Listen with the same passion with which we want to be heard”
Dear Parents, Guardians, Friends and Students
I am standing at my desk and can’t believe we are already at the end of Week 3. I started our new Academic year for 2021 as the Acting Principal. I feel very blessed to have been given this opportunity and I have not taken this role and the responsibility that comes with this lightly. The staff of Edmund Rice College are the most committed and passionate team I have worked with. It was wonderful for me to return to their love and warmth. I started the term asking the staff just to listen, listen deeply – to their colleagues, our young people and to that voice that lies deep within ourselves. Taking time to be with and to listen is one of our greatest gifts we can give to each other and ourselves. I told the staff and students that my door is always open to listen. Many times, I may not have an answer; most often people are already holding the solution – they just need time to work through it.
My other message to the staff and our young people is to take hold of opportunity. Just say yes! At the end of year in 2020 I received a call from EREA inviting me to take up a challenge to work in Brisbane to help some schools out with their Curriculum. I knew the role would not be easy and would challenge me professionally and personally, but I jumped in. I had to openly show my vulnerability by articulating my weaknesses and acknowledging there were some things I did not know. I had to reach out to those around me who held the wisdom to help and guide me on my journey. However, taking this leap was one of the most professionally rewarding experiences I have had. I listened and learnt so much.
Developing authentic relationships with my team and the teachers from the schools I was helping, was key to the success of my experience. Authentic relationships are in fact the key to success in many areas in life – personal and professional. Relationships have to be worked at and you have to give time and energy for them to flourish. You must also have patience, a level to deep understanding and compassion to accept and celebrate differences and diversity. Much of what I learnt during my time away has better prepared me for my Leadership role that I am in today. This opportunity was a very precious gift given to me and I hold it dearly.
During my first few weeks I have loved many things about the role. I have been leaving the side door open to my office and have enjoyed many visits from the students popping in to ask questions or just to chat. Occasionally the odd football flies in too and that gives me a laugh and brings me joy. I am humbled that our young people feel comfortable to just pop in. I love it! Likewise, I have enjoyed the staff popping in and out to ‘chew the fat’ on a whole range of matters. All the staff have been amazing and so supportive. The ladies in the office are outstanding – Miss Shelley, Miss Trish, Miss Fleur and Miss Rene. They have been so helpful and make things run smoothly for me. I am also very blessed to have an excellent; Head of Boarding – Miss Sam, Pastoral Care Coordinator – Mr Scott, Deputy Principal – Miss Tracey and Business Manager – Mr Geoff, walking along side me. We are working closely as a collaborative team and work through all aspects of leadership and decision making together. I would like to thank all the Staff and students at Edmund Rice College for making my vocation as an Educator so rewarding and fulfilling.
Deputy Principal Report
Round 2 OLNA results are in… and there has been some significant gains made by students in their overall literacy and numeracy academic achievements. These gains have resulted in students moving from Foundation to General courses and whilst students may find this shift challenging, the dedicated staff at ERC do and will continue to support students in their lessons so that they can continue to achieve an upward trajectory of academic success and engagement in their learning.
Parents, information regarding your child’s recent OLNA results will be sent home in the coming weeks, and we encourage you to contact your child’s English or Mathematics teachers to discuss your child’s learning programs and achievements in upper school.
Data Informed Practices
Throughout the year, teaching staff have been involved in the collation and tracking of student data to inform curriculum development and learning programs across the teaching and learning cycle of the college and to identify students below standard and those students who need extension. Data collected has come from several different sources such as: teacher observations, student conferences, marking rubrics, learning journals/portfolios, peer feedback, standardised tests (PAT, OLNA & NAPLAN), school developed tests and Brightpath data.
The collection and collation of this data has not only provided opportunity for staff to scrutinise and plan appropriately to meet and extend student learning; it has also provided opportunity to celebrate student successes as sometimes the slightest upward shift may be missed when focus shifts from learning to behaviour. I encourage parents and guardians when making appointments with teaching staff to discuss your child’s academic results, that you look at the data and evidence provided by teaching staff and in collaboration with the college and home, we can continue to work together to support the onward academic successes of your child at their individual level.
Intensive Literacy Program
An initiative of the College this year was the development and implementation of an intensive literacy program for students who need additional support as evidenced by the data collected. Miss Rochelle initially developed the literacy program, and this has been continued and further developed by Mr Robert with assistance from Miss Courtney, Miss Lisa, and Miss Jaye. These staff are all experts in their field and have had many years’ experience in collecting data and developing intensive literacy and numeracy programs that are tailored for individual student needs.
Currently we have approximately, eight – ten students from years 7 – 12 who have been identified as needing additional intensive literacy support and they have been working with these staff regularly since school resumed. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and students are engaging well in their program which is complimented by the informed practices of their class teachers. It is projected that this program will continue well beyond 2022 and will eventually encompass an intensive numeracy program in addition to providing additional support for academic extension for those students achieving above their year standard. As a small-staffed school, I would like to acknowledge the additional work and time it takes to establish an effective program such as this and the passion and commitment staff have when it comes to helping your children continue to develop literacy skills that will assist them well beyond the school gates and into their adult lives.
Additional information will be sent home to parents of students participating in the program in coming weeks so please be on the look out for that and regular information will be made available in our college publications.
Good Standing Activity – Mini Golf … or Ten-Pin Bowling!?
At the conclusion of last term, students participated in a good standing activity and as we know some of the best laid plans can (and sometimes do) go awry… and instead of mini-golf we ended up at ten-pin bowling. This was after a detour to a lovely park at Burns Beach to enjoy morning tea and a walk along the beach where students collected shells, sand, and a partly preserved blowfish! Students and supervising staff, Mr Greg, Mr Robert, and Miss Lisa went with the flow, and we all enjoyed a robust and competitive game of bowling … who knew Will Fawcett would have scooped up first place in my team coming from behind to take the win! A hot game of laser tag… Keriarkers, Marcus and Adam just did not give me a chance to even move without lasering me. We enjoyed a quick BBQ at Neil Hawkins Park before heading back to school. Despite changes to the planned activity, it was a great day enjoyed by staff and students and one I am looking forward to enjoying again before the end of the school year.
ASBT Northam TAFE Students
A recent development and change for our ASBT Certificate II students have been for these students to move their learning off-site to the Northam TAFE campus every Tuesday. This opportunity allows for a greater scope of competencies to be delivered and supported by TAFE lecturers. Each of the students enrolled in this certificate is a government funded position and as such students are encouraged to make the most that this opportunity provides for them. For some of these students, success in attaining an apprenticeship or traineeship is a very real possibility and well within their reach. Unfortunately, some students are choosing not to engage in a certificate that does not see their parents/guardians with any out-of-pocket expense, and this is disappointing to see. As staff we will continue to challenge these behaviours and support students in making positive choices, however ongoing behaviours could result in funding being removed and the position being awarded to someone who is on the waitlist.
In addition, to ASBT moving to Northam TAFE, our College VET Coordinator, Mrs Theresa Oakley has been making inquiries regarding the provision of additional VET certificates that we may be able to secure for student participation at Northam TAFE for 2022 and beyond. We are hopeful that we may have additional news regarding this development early 2022 for students and families and when we do have further news regarding this it will be published in our college publications.
Above: Students enjoy their Good Standing Activity.
Edmund Rice College opened its doors on the 18th September to host our Open Day. Staff and students were put to work in the days leading up to the event with everyone participating in the spring clean up and pitching in to make sure everything was in tip top shape and sparkly clean for visitors. Armed with brooms, buckets, shovels and lots and lots of soapy suds water, staff and students made quick work of getting the school looking fabulous for its special day. Farm staff and students from the Equine and Cattle Clubs were on hand to ensure our machinery got a good clean and the animals were soaped up and scrubbed down to look good on the day.
Taking a break from the unusual weather, we were blessed with a beautiful sunny day as the gates opened to a host of visitors including past students, staff, friends, family and prospective students. The day was filled with walking tours showcasing our classrooms along with driving tours of the farm.
The Museum gave everyone a chance to engross themselves in our school history and of course it was then onto the obligatory petting of cows, horses and sheep while ensuring regular stops at the café and olive sampling stall, kept everyone refreshed and revitalised.
I would like to thank all the staff and students who prepared their classrooms, cleaned up inside and out, washed down buildings, machinery and animals to make our school look its very best on the day and a special thank you to all of our visitors. It was a great pleasure to host everybody and we look forward to seeing you again.
This year a new format was introduced. We began with a Liturgy organised by Courtney Clark and once that was finished, we transported all the students to Bindoon Oval to set up the activities we were involved in on the day.
Bindoon Primary school was invited and the year 5’s and 6’s walked from the school to the oval to play a part in the day. Once everyone was on site, we began the day with a Welcome to Country, thanks to Mr Greg our Yuet legend and we invited all the students to place a small number of leaves on the fire. This allowed us all to participate in the ceremony.
Once this was finished, we all moved up to the oval to watch the teams ERC 1 play ERC 2 in football. Some of the teachers also joined in on the fun. Mazenod was invited however, they unfortunately had other commitments. While the teams played football, the kangaroo, pork and lamb spun nicely in the spit making our mouths water.
Mr Brett (Jamie Oliver) and his sister, Blondie (Nigella Lawson), did an outstanding job with the cooking and produced a feed fit for a King or Queen and as usual the damper just melted in your mouth. Most of the Bindoon Primary School students had never tasted kangaroo so it was a new experience for them, with most of them having a try.
Once lunch was finished, we then moved on to the activities. These consisted of, leaf painting, mural painting, face painting and beading. The students rotated through the activities and were able to take the items they created back to school. We then packed up ready to return to school.
The day was a different format compared to the others we had, yet fun was had by all. I would especially like to thank the parents and families that travelled to spend time with their children and joined in on the day. I would also like to say a very big THANK YOU to Brett and his family for organising, preparing and cooking the food, you have come through for us every year.
Each year we have increased our Aboriginal numbers and we currently have 107 Aboriginal students from Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The furthest is Katherine to Bindoon which is 3459.7 km compared to Kununurra which is 2945.6 km. Still a long way from home. I would like to say a big thank you to our Aboriginal Community and hope they continue to support the school in years to come.
Year 7-10 Police Presentation
On the 27th October 2021, the year 7-10 students had the police come to talk about sexting, how to protect your information online and scenarios of what they can do or where they can go to get help if they are ever put in a situation like these. Students learnt that they can protect their account by:
- Use of strong passwords
- Private settings on your account
- Never give your passwords out to anyone
- Never add or talk to anyone you don’t know
- Block and report any suspicious people online
They learnt that not everyone is who they say they are online, that they should avoid meeting someone in person who they have only ever spoken to online. Students watched a short clip about a girl named Carly who was 14 years old and was lured to her death by an online predator. From this, they learnt to always know who you are talking to on social media and if something doesn’t feel right, tell a trusted adult i.e. teacher, friend, family member, counsellor, psych.
Students then discussed the legalities and consequences of sexting. They learnt that if they are under 16, they cannot have photos taken of them in an intimate image or be in a sexual relationship even if both parties consent. Sexting is illegal and there are consequences for those 16 years and older. The Officers talked about what happens if you are convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor and get put on the reportable sex offender’s registry. When put on this list they are under strict conditions to give out personal information to police that can be seen by the public and can affect you getting certain jobs including banning you from local sporting events or any event where children are present. If you are caught, you could be on the sex offenders registry for up to 8 years from when you are a child or for life if the offence is serious enough. The strategies that were strongly put forth for students were:
- Once something is on social media it stays on their forever – think before you post.
- Tell a trusted adult if you are ever in this situation
- Block the person on social media
- Report to the police
- Change your password if needed (e.g. someone hacking into your account)
The students then went through specific scenarios on what they could do in different situations and were confident that they understood the legalities, consequences and places they can go for help if they are ever in this situation.
News from Farm
Wednesday 3rd November was the beginning of shearing for Edmund Rice College. We were all grateful for the sun to be shining as the 3 shearers, comprising of Wayne, Shane and Chris took control of the board and Mel, who is finishing her training under Wayne’s guidance to become a wool classer. The beginning of shearing can always be difficult as we have new students on the board and some of us old folk are trying to remember where to start. However, once we got over our first day jitters, we all got into our groove and moved along at a steady pace. Over the course of three days we had a total tally of 1028 sheep shorn which produce 13 bales of wool. We had an assortment of wool including some prem wool ( wool that is not 12 months old) and some wool that was over 24 months old.
As in previous articles where I may have mentioned the weather once or twice, it will come as no surprise that weather has also impacted the condition of the sheep. The merino lambs had some dermatitis due to the wet conditions and we have had to work hard to deal with body strike on crossbred lambs. It is critical to the wellbeing of our flock that we manage them appropriately and humanely, so regular inspections and maintenance will be ongoing. To assist with this management, shearing for Edmund Rice College we will revert back to an annual shearing season.
A big thank you to everyone who helped over the three days especially Paula, Tracey and Trish who ferried our Piece and lunch to the shed during our time shearing and also special thanks to Geo and all the kitchen staff for feeding the hungry hoards during this time. Thanks must also go to all the students who worked hard over the three days, especially to those who came in early, stayed behind after school time and cleaned up the shed each day.
So as the last shearing day closed down on Friday, we looked immediately forward to baling and stock feed. Breaks in the weather on Saturday morning through to Monday afternoon resulted in the Gravel Pit being baled up by Charlie Glass for a total of 442 Round bales which equates to 13.8 bales per hectare. The school bought out the square baler to finish off the Mares paddock behind the workshop, producing 820 little squares off 3.3 Hectares which is 248.4 bales per hectare. These bales will be used in equine. The Border Balansia and Serradella has flowered and is beginning to set seed. These crops are planted for long term pasture improvement and are used to fix nitrogen into the soil, which improves soil fertility and stocking rates.
As you know, WA Health is now offering vaccinations for children aged 12 years and over and is currently working with the Department of Education on opportunities for students who are boarding, to be vaccinated against COVID-19. We are encouraging the parents and legal guardians of students aged 12 years and over to have your child vaccinated, to protect themselves, the school community and families from COVID-19.
The Western Australia Government has also declared that staff working in schools must be vaccinated, and that in Boarding schools, staff must be vaccinated before the end of January 2022.
Last term the College sent parents a permission form, for our staff to take the Boarding students to a COVID clinic for their Vaccine. To date, we have received 0 forms back.
“Please be aware it is a requirement that all students receiving their vaccination organised by their school will need to bring a signed consent form by their parent and/or legal guardian with them on the day. You must ensure the parent and/or legal guardian
- registers their child as a dependent in the parents’ account in VaccinateWA (see attached for helpful information on how to register your dependant)
- Completes the COVID-19 vaccination consent form (PDF 252KB) from HealthyWA. The form must be completed and signed (attached is an editable pdf of the consent form for those who may find it easier to complete it as such). Please note, although people aged 16-17 years old are intellectually sound to provide their own consent, if they are attending a vaccination clinic organised by their school, it is a condition for them to have their consent form signed by a parent and/or legal guardian upon attending.”
I have recently emailed parents an electronic version of the form and a set of steps to register your child as a dependant.
“We are encouraged by the rollout of safe and effective vaccines, but the truth is simple: No person is safe until all — everyone, everywhere — are safe, and no country is safe until all countries are safe. Only by working together can we ensure that no one is left behind. Only by working together can we recover better and build a world where everyone thrives in peace, dignity, and equality on a healthy planet. It is possible, together.” Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations
Head of Boarding