Term 4, Week 8 Newsletter
Courtney Hunnibell informed me last week that she has accepted a position in the Preschool Class at Byron Community School and will commence this role at the beginning of Term One 2024. Courtney has been at St Finbarr’s since 2017. She will be a wonderful asset to her new school and will be greatly missed from our St Finbarr’s community. Abbey Tancred,who has worked with us this term, has accepted a teaching position with us next year and we look forward to Abbey being part of our team.
Christmas Picnic Singalong
I can’t think of a better way to finish up the year than an informal outdoor singalong on the school oval. Classes will be presenting on the outdoor stage as well as some Dancers and live music from our resident muso, Kristan Burnnard from Burning Hands. Please join us next Wednesday at 6pm and settle in with a rug and a picnic hamper.
Thank you to those who responded to our Digital Technology Survey recently. It is greatly appreciated that families have gone to the effort of sharing their thoughts. On top of our recent After School Care Survey it shows that the community is active and engaged in our children’s education. Please be aware that your responses are valued and respected and that we listen and also make decisions based on latest research, professional judgement, classroom experience and an ongoing commitment to improving learning outcomes for students. The Digital Technology Survey, whilst far from perfect, reinforced what many had previously predicted, that there is a wide range of opinions around the best use of technology and its value in a primary school setting. Some parents responded that they found some of the questions vague or confusing, however the general comment at the end was a vehicle for further explanation of their thinking. The survey questions came from suggestions from our parent group as well as questions from another primary school survey. The leadership team will be meeting with our parent group next Monday to analyse and respond to the data.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLANNING
The safety of our students, families and staﬀ is our highest priority. In order to best ensure this, the school leadership and staﬀ, supported by the Catholic Schools Oﬃce, plan for a number of possible incidents, emergencies or natural disasters that could take place at school or during the school term. The events of recent years have reinforced how important this planning is and we all have a role to play when it comes to emergency management, including families.
Our students participate in various safety drills and staﬀ participate through training and safety drills. We’d like to share with you the role of parents and families in emergency management.
A number of the situations we plan for include a school lockdown as one of the immediate safety actions to ensure the safety of our students and staﬀ. We understand that some may understand the word ‘lockdown’ to mean there is an immediate safety risk to all students. It is important to understand that when a school initiates a lockdown this may not be the case.
Depending on the situation, the purpose of a school lockdown will diﬀer. A school lockdown may be a preparation step for an evacuation, or a school lockdown may allow emergency services access to an area of the school without having to navigate past students. Regardless of the purpose of a school lockdown, no one can be admitted to the school grounds other than emergency services.
Should we initiate a school lockdown, parents and families will be informed via text message and Compass notiﬁcation. We will also inform parents and families as soon as the school lockdown has been lifted or if there are any actions required of parents and families. It is important that you do not attempt to attend the school during a school lockdown. We understand that you may be concerned however attending the school may also add risk to a possible emergency situation, block emergency services or impede an evacuation.
In the event of a natural disaster, such as ﬂood or bushﬁre, the school leadership, supported by the Catholic Schools Oﬃce, will determine if it is safe for the school to open. If there is a probability the school may have to close part way through the day, the school will not open for that day as it is extremely diﬃcult to evacuate a school site and ensure all students are able to go directly home safely.
In a bush ﬁre or ﬂood event it is important that parents and families have a plan to get your child/ren home from school, or into your care, at short notice. Please be aware that school buses may not be running and the school can not allow your child/ren to go home to an empty house or home with another parent without your permission.
How can you help us prepare for emergency situations? Please ensure that:
- You have downloaded [Compass APP] and have allowed notiﬁcations.
- Any changes to your contact details or custodial arrangements have been updated with the school.
- [for schools in bush ﬁre or ﬂood prone regions] You have a bush ﬁre/ﬂood plan in place that all members of your family understand.
- In the event of a school lockdown or evacuation, directions in the parent notiﬁcations are followed.
It is always our hope that these measures will never be needed but it is also our responsibility to ensure our school community is prepared and informed should the need arise. We thank you in advance for your support and cooperation.
Work Health and Safety Manager, Catholic Schools Oﬃce
2023 Fun Run wrap up
We are very proud to announce that our school community raised $43,477 for our Ninja playground, what an amazing effort! This end result was a combined effort of; raisley fundraising, generous sponsors, class canteen days, cake stalls, icepole sales, snow cones, raffles, lucky birds sales and a lot of parent support. We are so thankful to you all for your generous support.
Term 4 School Fees
Term 4 school fees are due for completion, please ensure all 2023 fees are settled by the end of the year. If you need assistance with your fees please contact Alison in the front office.
Please join us this Friday 2:10pm for our school assembly in the hall. All welcome.
Congratulations Mrs McEvilly-Butler and Mr Keane
This year two of our wonderful teachers were involved in a STEM (Science Technology and Mathematics) Teacher Enrichment Academy Primary Program
The program provided teachers with knowledge, skills, resources and support to make real change in their classroom teaching. It inspired teachers to pursue their interests in mathematics, science and technology, and to pass on that inspiration to their students. In particular, the Academy project at St Finbarr’s has:
- introduced and supported exciting and effective approaches to learning as well as enhanced teachers’ knowledge of content and approaches to teaching integrated mathematics, science and technology in Years 3-6 of the Australian Curriculum for NSW;
- developed a community of practice for participating teachers, with ongoing support and engagement through mentoring, online forums, newsletters, seminars and events; and
- developed teachers’ awareness of relevant STEM-related applications to society and career pathways.
12 primary schools from the Lismore region were selected to participate in the
NESA-accredited program and we are very proud of the work Mary and Joe have completed this year.
Yours in Partnership,
Last Friday, our K-2 students celebrated the Liturgy of the Word at school. This was a beautiful celebration that the teachers had prepared alongside the students with the theme of God's creation
All students participated throughout the celebration joinging in singing, reading, liturgical movement, setting up the sacred space and/or being a part of the Gospel procession. Our Students also created a beautiful sacred space filling it with gifts from God's creation.
Vinnies 2023 Christmas Appeal
This year, to support the Vinnies Christmas Appeal, we are asking each year group to support this very worthwhile appeal by contributing a small gift that would be appropriate for a child of a particular age.
We ask that based on the age group assigned to your child’s class, each gift is wrapped and includes a label of who the gift would suit, such as, age and gender. Please see the flyer attached to help with ideas. Gifts can be brought in by your children and handed to their classroom teacher/s over the next two weeks.
These gifts will then be distributed to our local St Vincent's conference who will distribute these in our local area.
As a school community, we will also be contributing $1000 in gift cards ( 20, $50 gift cards) with each card being delivered with a jar of homemade cookies that will be baked by some of our students at school.
If you would like to be involved in assisting with the baking of cookies with our students, please email email@example.com to assist with this.
Kindergarten-Babies and Toddlers
Year 1 & 2-Young children 4-8 years
Year 3 & 4 -Older Children 9-12 years
Year 5 & 6-Teenagers and Adults
Year 5 Camp
Last week, a number of teachers had the opportunity to take our Year 5 students overnight to Camp Goodenough. This was a wonderful experience for all involved. Our students participated in many activities that tested their skills. They all had to work both individually and in teams while supporting one another to complete various challenges which included the crate stack, team pursuit, high ropes and building a go cart and racing it.
Students were required to particpate in a kitchen roster where they were in charge of a duty which included announcing and serving the food, being a part of the clean up, along with taking care of their own plates, cups and cutlery.
It is always such a privilledge to take our students away on a camp, to see them develop in their independence, navigate a context that is not familiar to them and to challenge themselves in activities that push them outside of their comfort zones.
While the weather was a little wet and cold, this did not dampen their spirits as they continued having lots of fun with plenty of laughs along the way. Our Year 5 students were a credit to St Finbarr's with all teachers being proud of how well they particpated in the activites, were respectful to the instructors, their teachers and one another.
Your is partnership,
Mrs Sonya Piccoli
Assistant Principal Mission & Additional Needs
Learning & Teaching
As you are aware this year teachers in K-2 have been implementing the ‘new NSW Curriculum’ in English and Mathematics. These years are essential to establish foundations for future learning success, particularly the development of oral language, reading and writing skills, and mathematical knowledge and skills. ‘Back to basics’ is a term that has been used when referring to building strong foundations and the focus on the new curriculum. Teachers and students across K-2 have been working extremely hard with this new curriculum and as a leader it makes me extremely proud to see a consistent approach being implemented across the school and the level of understanding our students are demonstrating based on the new approaches to learning and teaching.
In 2024, students and teachers in Yrs 3-10 will also be working from the new English and Mathematics curriculum. The positive change coming from this reform will be to provide every student with challenging learning material appropriate to their current level of knowledge and skills. This means that students who need more time to master curriculum content will have it; students who are ready to move on more quickly can do so. The new curriculum will set clear standards for achievement in mandated subjects by the completion of schooling. It will provide a better way of monitoring students’ long-term progress, which will make it easier for parents/carers to know if their child is on track.
If you have any questions around Curriculum Reform visit the NSW Curriculum Website: https://curriculum.nsw.edu.au/about-the-curriculum/introduction
Semester Two Reports
Semester Two Reports will be available on Compass after 4pm on Friday Week 9. To better align our school reports with state, system and school priorities there have been some changes to components of the Semester Reports.
One of the key changes you will notice is that Effort has been replaced with Engagement in Learning this has been a diocesan based decision to ensure a consistent language and meaning across the diocese. Engagement in Learning indicates the degree of dedication, attentiveness, interaction, responsiveness and curiosity that students show when they are learning.The three consistent standards used across the Diocese on the Student Report for ‘Engagement in Learning’ are;
- Commendable, Consistent and Needs Support
Each of these standards is unpacked further within the information for parents/caregivers page of the Student Report.
Another change you will notice is to the comments. This change has been made to better support reporting of your child's understanding with the Key Learning Areas. English and Mathematics will have comments attached with dot points articulating your child's areas of achievement and growth within these KLA's along with their learning goals. There will be an additional section where teachers will make comments on your childs strengths across other Key Learning Areas and their areas for development. The general comment will reflect how your child demonstrates the St Finbarr's vision statement (Loving like Jesus, Growing as Friends and Learning for Life ) in their day to day words, deeds and actions.
Digital Devices and your child's sleep
Many parents struggle with navigating tech use for their children - often there are so many confusing messages and the nagging power from children just wears exhausted parents down. Sleep is VITAL for learning and well being. Tired children can't learn effectively and they struggle to be resilient and manage their emotions. Below are simple but effective tips for helping children have a good night's sleep which we know will dramatically improve cognitive function when they're at school.
Yours in Partnership,
Assistant Principal - Learning and Teaching
STEM-Teacher Enrichment Academy
Mrs McEvilly Butler and Mr Keane have been part of the STEM Teacher Enrichment Academy this year. It is a year-long professional development program from the University of Sydney.
Five schools from the Diocese of Lismore have taken part, along with many other schools from the Northern Rivers. The purpose of the program is to ignite a passion for teaching and learning about STEM and develop skills to engage in STEM education effectively.
We have compiled a book documenting our journey with STEM this year at St Finbarr's. The students have been fantastic in their engagement in learning within Science and Technology and in their efforts to complete STEM challenges.
The artwork was created by Luna K-B, Emi S and Ayla M from Year 4 Wategos, and Bonnie M in Year 6. The front cover illustration was created by Luna also. Fabulous work!
The book is available as a free ebook on the Apple Book Store https://books.apple.com/
It will be also accessible via the school website and as a flipbook pdf https://heyzine.com/flip-
The book is designed for teachers at other schools to give them ideas and guidelines on how to build a culture of STEM, but also as a showcase of the wonderful work our students have created.
Mrs Mary McEvilly-Butler
Science & Technology Teacher
Stage 2 & Surfsafe
Stage 2 & 3 students completed their final Surfsafe session last week. The program’s aim is to ensure our children have a sound knowledge of how to be safe when in or around our beaches as well as improving skills in surf swimming and board riding, personal safety and basic rescue techniques.
Surf Safe Fun
Diocesan Tennis Trials
Congratulations to Rocky U for being the only St Finbarr’s student selected for Diocesan Summer Sports Trials this year. Well done!