The Chronicle Issue 4

By May 15, 2020 No Comments

Principal Report

Dear Parents, Guardians, Friends and Students

I’m sure that like many of you I have been aware of many things on social media related to COVID-19 and how we as a people are responding and how we should be on the other side of the pandemic. There has also been the inevitable, repetitive news reports where ‘so called’ experts are in amongst the ‘real’ experts. It has been interesting listening to people’s responses to the information overload and how they are sorting through the minutiae. 

In amongst all of this, there has been time to evaluate all that is really important in our lives. For me family is always paramount and this is where my strength comes from. Like me I am sure there have been many of you who have not been able to have contact with your immediate and extended family because of regional borders. This has meant that we have all had to find different ways to connect. FaceTime, House Party, Zoom, Teams meetings have become very familiar to all of us. Phone calls and emails have never been so important. Personally, I can’t wait to cross this regional border and go and visit my children and their partners and my grandchildren.  

My prayer for all of us is that we never, ever take for granted those simple things that come from connecting with family and also friends. That we never underestimate the value of a smile, words of love and kindness to each other. This is a time to re-evaluate our priorities and in moving out of this pandemic make decisions about the important things that need to stay in our lives and perhaps those things from before the pandemic that need to be let go of. 

It has certainly been a time when I have seen the best of our staff.  

Teachers and Teaching Assistants: 
have prepared packs, taught face to face, made phone calls home to those students who are not at school, looked out for each other. 

Resi-care staff:  
have without exception embraced redeployment while the students have not been here, doing physical work that is not part of their usual duties. 

Other staff:  
have done a combination of their usual duties and working outside with the team on the driveway. 

Without exception they have demonstrated faith, optimism, resilience and willingness to work and support our wonderful students and the whole College community! 

I read this recently that Pope Francis had said and it resonated with me: 

At this moment in history, Francis says, “We have recognised the importance of joining the entire human family in the search for a sustainable and integral development.” We have also understood that “for better or worse all our actions affect others because everything is connected in our common home, and if the health authorities order that we remain confined in our home, it is the people who make this possible, aware of their co-responsibility in stopping the pandemic.” 

He insists that “an emergency like COVID-19 is overcome in the first place by the antibodies of solidarity.” This lesson “breaks all the fatalism in which we have immersed ourselves and allows us to return to be the architects and protagonists of a common history,” he says, and it enables us “to respond together to the many evils that are affecting so many of our brothers and sisters across the globe.” 

Through all of this, I have tried to focus on the positive. The wonderful things that we as human beings are doing to support each other. The prayers being offered not just for our immediate families and communities but for those who are far worse of than us. It has been a time where I have given thanks for all of the blessings that we have and the strong leadership that we have been witness to at all levels. I am a proud Australian who believes we are so lucky to live on this island continent. I watch with joy the way that the planet is healing itself and wonder if we can learn from the lessons that are truly being taught to us at the moment that are as a result of this opportunity being presented now. 

We have welcomed back this term our day students and are looking forward to the arrival of those Year 10 – 12 boarders who are preparing to return this week. Please know that the wellbeing and pastoral care of all of our students will remain our priority. We will continue to maintain regular contact with parents and students who continue to learn from home. The teaching team will send home new work packages regularly, please let them know if they don’t arrive. 

I look forward to seeing you all in person in the near future. Stay safe and well. 

God Bless,

Marie Barton
Principal

Prayer

Dear Lord 

May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake. 
May we who are at little risk, remember those most vulnerable. 
May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or paying their rent or mortgage. 
May we who have had to cancel our trips remember those that have no safe place to go. 
May we who are losing money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all. 
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home to go to.
As anxiety grips our country, let us choose love. 
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbours.  

Amen. 

With thanks to Shaun and the web 

Deputy Principal Report

During the holidays I reflected on some of His Holiness Pope Francis’ writings. In particular I gained much comfort in one of his letters about COVID-19. In this letter he spoke about people coming together in solidarity through community to offer hope and to revitalise spirit and to look to the future of “life after the pandemic”. Humanity gives us the gift of empathy and compassions for others, but it also gives us the gift of hope and strength for survival. The down time COVID-19 forced upon us disturbed and disrupted our lives that were running on autopilot and threw us into slowing down. This time allowed us to be renourished and this lead to conversations and discussions that focused on humanist and ecological conversions. This placed our planet, human life and dignity at the centre of our thoughts. It distracted us from a life of excess consumption of material things and business and shifted us towards something way more valuable – time for prayer, reflection, self and family. As the traffic on the roads came to a hold, planes stopped flying overhead, people stopped racing from one job or event to another, the planet was slowly being restored as was our human spirit.

Miriam-Rose an Aboriginal elder, artist and Catholic educator of the Ngan’gityemerri language group from Nauiyu (Daly River) in the Northern teaches about Dadirri. During this time I hope all of us stepped in Dadirri which is an inner, deep listening and quiet.  This deep listening and quiet allows us to connect more deeply to our God. I experience  Dadirri when I watch a sunset over the Edmund Rice fields or when I see the full moon rising over the mountain or simply like I did on Mother’s Day sitting in the sun enjoying the gentle rays of sunshine on my face that came from the crisp clear blue sky.

Over the break as I was taking advantage of this ‘slower-paced’ time in my life to reflect –  my Dadirri. Who would have thought that COVID would have come into our lives to place a few more blocks and bumps? For many people the effects have been massive and have brought such hard shift, tragedy and devastation. My heart breaks for those people and their families.

Above: Dadirri teaches us to connect more deeply to our God.

Above: Staff and students recently celebrated Edmund Rice Day with a shared morning tea.  

Very fortunately my journey has not been affected really – again I have to reflect on the privileged position me and my family and friends are in. The reality is however, that unfortunately it is the poorest of the poor and most disadvantaged and marginalised that will in the long term suffer the real effects of this tragedy.

Conversely, this reaffirms to me in some way large or small we must use our influence, talents and gifts to help others who are less fortunate. Where inclusion, diversity and equality should be fought by all – for all. These times remind us of our priorities as leaders, teachers and staff in an EREA system – leadership of humanity changes the lives of staff and pupils.

Choosing a vocation of working in a Catholic EREA College gives us the perfect platform to try and make some change – it may only be a ripple. Having the capacity and opportunities in work in this area also awakens the joys and rewards it brings to be given the opportunity to be able to have an influence in helping others – particularly during this time.

I know the staff have enjoyed connecting with our students and their communities in different ways and have been heartened by their interactions and conversations. The teaching of humanity and our student’s wellbeing and their connectedness to our community is always our priority and provides rich reward and nourishment for our staff.

I would like to close my message with a prayer from Pope Francis

“Stand firm in your struggle and care for each other as brothers and sisters. I pray for you, I pray with you. I want to ask God our Father to bless you, to fill you with his love, and to defend you on this path, giving you the strength that keeps us standing tall and that never disappoints: hope. Please pray for me because I need it too”.

Live Jesus in our Hearts Forever

Paula Bacchiella
Deputy Principal

Flexible Remote Learning

WHAT A MONTH IT HAS BEEN FOR THE SENIOR STUDENTS!

UNIQUE is the only way to describe the events of the last few months!  The Coronavirus, (COVID-19) has not only created unprecedented style of teaching, but also unprecedented style of learning!  The ERC Year 10 teachers in English/HASS/Science/Maths and Religious Education have all been busy preparing REMOTE learning packs!  The time and effort taken to put these packs together by dedicated teachers who have cared for the learning of our students has been a marathon task!

Teachers have had to adapt quickly and efficiently to researching suitable Curriculum related topics, collating the topics, designing rubrics and assessment matrixes has been one huge undertaking by all senior school task.  Couple that with the remote communities, the logistics of getting the physical packs to each and every student has been a major task for the administration of the school.  Certainly, COVID-19 has inspired and motivated everyone in Senior school to create unique work packs which can be sent to students in remote communities, and many of them do not have internet, computers or wireless technology.

The media has been promoting “remote teaching and learning” however this is a  misnomer since ERC students  live in remote communities which are also in lockdown, and they do not have facilities such as internet and many do not have computers, so it proves impossible for ERC students to have such luxury as “remote learning”.  What ERC staff have done is to create work which requires dedicated follow up by phone, and it has been a very complex logistical effort by all!  The COVID-19 virus has certainly put ERC teachers at the forefront of learning styles which has doubled the workload for all staff.

The Senior WACE  Year 11 & 12 students, have in the main, continued with their set SCSA Curriculum Authority programmes, with the exception of the externally set exam task, which has been put back until the Curriculum Authority makes a decision as to when the exam will be set after the COVID-19 emergency is over.

The senior students generally have their course outlines and assessment tasks given to them at the start of any module at the beginning of term, so they are cognisant of their responsibility to undertake work at home, which is normally part of their requirements in completing WACE work. As WACE students are largely under the Curriculum Authority WA requirements, ERC must follow such guidelines as set by SCSA. Subject teachers have been available at all times to follow up students queries or concerns.

Everyone has put in a sterling effort on behalf of the teachers, and we hope that senior school students will now reciprocate by completing the work in their communities as life slowly gets back to normal. There is a long road ahead of us!

Talit Paul
Year 10 & Senior Subject Teaching Team

It was a very wonderful experience learning all these technologies to deliver our lessons.  I spent almost all of my school break learning different technologies, suggested by my CEWA Mathematics Team and of course with the assistance of my children.

On the first week of returning back to school, my students are just as excited as myself, for different reasons.  For me it is the excitement of new teaching strategy but for them it is catching up with friends, but they are all sooo good.  I even asked them to download the ONE Note app on their phones and other apps needed for their studies.  I found this useful, not for classroom teaching but rather sending homework, which they detest afterwards but I will continue with my plan because they will see the benefit later on.

I also conducted a survey using the new technology I recently learnt “Microsoft Forms” and the majority of the responses wanted Face to Face delivery on campus.  Most students found it difficult to study on their own without interaction from teachers and fellow students.

It is very pleasing to see our students returning and watching them enjoy school once again.

Anna Tanner
Year 11 & 12 Teaching Team

For Year Nine, this term, we are doing chemical sciences, how to write a scientific report, COVID-19 related topics, spelling, financial matters for mathematics, graphing, numbers, the Industrial Revolution and we are hoping to do cooking this term too.  In Religious Education we are covering feelings/emotions, people achieving emotional freedom.  We are planning to do music/arts, work in the computer lab on research projects.

Katherine Wright
Year 9 Teaching Team

Well, the Covid-19 pandemic has definitely made the start of the term very different to how it usually is. The Year 7 Team has been busy writing weekly work packages and posting them out to the students who have not been able to return to school to complete at home. We have also been helping the few Year 7 students who have returned to school complete the work packages, so all of our students are receiving the same amount of work in the same format.

The Year 7 Team has also been trying our best to contact our students who have not returned. We have just wanted to check in with them, have a chat and to answer any questions they might have about the work packages. All of us have had some pleasant phone calls with some of our students and/or their folks which has been great. We have also had the chance to reconnect with the students who have returned.

While this time of uncertainty is challenging for many people the staff at Edmund Rice College have been doing their best to cater for all of our students whether they are on campus or at home, and will continue to do so – now and beyond Covid-19.

Robert Cooper
Year 7 Teaching Team

The majority of Year 12 APS students returned home 2 weeks before the end of term.  Each student was given an Animal Health Booklet containing 3-4 weeks work to complete whilst at home.  Students, parents or guardians were telephoned during the isolation period to check on students’ wellbeing and progress.  Connectivity issues did make communications to some living in remote areas more difficult, though generally most were able to remain engaged with their studies.

Jennine Thomasson
Year 12 Teaching Team

In the final two weeks of Term 2, when the students had been sent home, I sent a large package of English activities and login and password details for students to access online learning databases (Education Perfect, Sound Waves and Encyclopaedia Britannica). I  made several attempts to contact students by phone without a lot of  success, however, I did manage to make contact with some carers via email so I will continue to make contact once a week. I have prepared information sheets  to assist with 2 assessments which are due by Week 5. These assessments have already been sent to the students as part of this term’s requirements.  In the next mailout, I am  including  English grammar activity sheets, reminder to students of their login and passwords to Education Perfect and Sound Waves online, which I encouraged them to use if they had access to the internet.

Rochelle Veness
Year 11 Teaching Team

Miss Anna, Mr Brett and I have been calling our Year 8 students three times a week to see how they are going with their school work and to answer any questions they may have.  It has been wonderful to hear of all the adventures our students have been on during this very unusual time, from fishing at their local lake with their family, to collecting food in the bush, to playing games with their siblings in their own front yard.  I have had a report from an adult in one of the communities who drove past the home of one of our Year 8 students and she told me that our student was sitting on her front lawn with her work pack thoroughly engrossed in her school work!  Another student has worked extra hard at home during this time and has emailed more than 50 pages of completed school work back to us to be marked.  I would like to applaud and congratulate these students on their mighty effort, for showing such dedication to their own education and to all our students for their resilience to cope so well with the changing landscape of learning.

We would also like to congratulate our parents and families who have helped their children transition to this new way of learning and who have been very understanding of the changes that were needed to help keep our community safe.  I have been very proud to be part of a collegial community that has worked so hard, above and beyond the usual call of duty, to support our students and their families during this very unusual time.  Lastly, to our Leadership Team at the College who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that our staff, families and students are completely supported throughout this time.

We are really looking forward to having our students back safe and sound next term.

Miss Paige, Miss Anna & Mr Brett
Year 8 Teaching Team

Edmund Rice Day

Above:  Students write “Letters of Hope” to people/communities who are experiencing vulnerability or in need of support.

During this tough time, as a community, Edmund Rice College still managed to celebrate the life of Edmund Ignatius Rice. We were challenged to “look outside our window” and to look for those who needed support but also to look for and be the signs of hope and love for our community and the world, through our actions and words.

Students started the day by participating in an Edmund Rice Day prayer and then wrote “Letters of Hope” to people/communities who are experiencing vulnerability or in need of our support. The students’ letters voiced their strong belief that we are all in this together and that they were grateful for what everyone in the community/world is trying to do to ensure everyone is safe.

The staff and students also shared morning tea and a special lunch made by the fabulous kitchen staff. It was a day where the community was able to come together, smile, laugh, share stories and remember that we are in this together and through the teachings of Jesus and in the footsteps of Edmund Rice we can we show love and offer hope for everyone in our community.

Courtney Clark
Mt Sion House Coordinator and Identity Leader

Driveway Project

As you know, last term finished ahead of schedule, due to COVID-19. Boarding staff spent a week cleaning the Boarding Houses from top to bottom so they could be treated with a disinfectant spray and then closed down until we received notification that we could re-open this term.

Since then boarding staff have been busy helping on the driveway project.

For those who have not personally visited our College, our driveway is 4 kms long from the gate to the school buildings.

For the past several years the overgrowth on the driveway has been concerning for vehicles and fire risk and many strategies have been discussed.

This extra long break from regular school has been the perfect time to implement our plans for clearing and eventually burning off.

Above:  Staff have been working extremely hard to complete the driveway project.

Many different staff have helped with this mammoth task from Cleaning ladies, Admin, Kitchen, Equine, Boarding, T.A’s and A.T.A’s and our awesome maintenance guys, providing us with safety equipment and tools for the jobs and showing us what we needed to do and then helping us get on with the job.

The maintenance team started chainsawing the Oleanders and small trees which were then stacked along the roadside by staff for chipping.

The rest of the staff on the road crew started clearing and raking away the deadfall wood and leaf litter. This was collected in large bins and tipped into the trailers to be taken away to a paddock for burning later.

Chipping commenced in the school holidays with the maintenance crew, ably assisted by our Principal Marie Barton and her husband Peter.

The start of this term saw the continuation of clean up with staff jumping back into raking leaves, cutting, stacking and chipping.

To date, the felling/chipping crew have passed Hanley Oval halfway down the driveway and the raking crew are approx 1 km down the driveway.

This week boarding commences for Years 10, 11, and 12. This will mean less staff will be available for working on the driveway.

The project will continue until completion but at a slower pace as staff return to their usual jobs.

Check out our next edition of the College Chronicle for an update.

Liz Drummond
Residential Supervisor

On Farm – APS

On the 12th of May, while some students are still in their community due to Covid-19 working on their APS work booklet, the rest had the privilege to be on the farm to broaden their knowledge about cattle. Ros Maindok, the Farm Manager,  had delivered an awesome talk about cattle diseases and taught students why and how to do backlining on cattle. Students had a great time learning about how to weigh the cattle, finding out the right dosage for backlining and inspecting the health of the animals.

Salonee Poongavanon
Teaching Staff

Above:  APS students work on the farm to broaden their knowledge about the cattle.

Boarding Report

I think everyone would agree that 2020 has been very unusual and a bit scary at times. The Boarding students had to leave ERC Boarding very quickly near the end of Term 1, as we prepared for COVID-19. I am very pleased to see the great work Mark McGowan and the WA communities are doing to stamp out the virus so quickly. I am also glad that it means that the Boarding students have been able to return this week. We have welcomed Year 10-12’s at this stage and are looking at asking more students to return in the coming weeks.

The Boarding staff have not been sitting around relaxing during this time however. We have worked with other staff to clean up the sides of the driveway. Anyone who regularly travels down our driveway would have seen many staff members out there felling trees, chipping trees and raking leaves. We have also used this time to clean the boarding houses and then give them a hygienic spray, which means the dorms are looking better than ever. We have also participated in some PD’s and meetings.

There have been many letters sent by the College to parents, and also contact with teachers and Miss Trish and myself. We’ve loved talking to the parents and students and getting updates while they have been away. Things do look and feel a bit different now as we have smaller numbers, the Boarders are in single rooms and we have to practice social distancing.

We are still unable to take the students on excursions, even shopping. Instead staff are doing shopping for the students and trying to make times in Boarding a bit more fun. We’ve started some outdoor activities and are enjoying meals alfresco. Please feel free to contact myself 0457518155, or Team Leaders, Trish 0437218346 or Liz 0457518154 at any time.

Sam Jenner
Head of Boarding

Edmund Rice College

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