Dear Parents and Caregivers
Welcome back to the start of another new year at Mary Mac! It was so wonderful seeing all our students return with big smiles on their faces (I think some parents had even bigger smiles!). I would like to extend a huge welcome to our new families. I hope you enjoy your time in our beautiful community. There are a number of new initiatives happening this year which I would like to share with you:
Kindergarten Upgrade Our builder has done a fantastic job getting this huge project finished on time and now our staff and students have an outstanding new learning space which has been specifically designed to match our play based learning philosophy. Feel free to come and have a look! Photos will be attached below in case you don’t get the chance to visit. I know our staff are very happy with this upgrade and I’m sure our new Kindergarten students and their parents will be just as pleased.
Occupational and Speech Therapists Our school is the first Catholic school to employ its own therapists as staff members. Alana Portacio is our Speech Therapist and she will work on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, whilst Alice Storer is our Occupational Therapist and she will work on Mondays and Tuesdays. On top of this, we have retained the services of Katy Forest and her students from Curtin University who will be working with our Kindergarten and Pre Primary students every Wednesday. I realise that we have a lot of students who will require the support these ladies provide, and I ask you to be patient as we work our way through the list, starting with the students who have the greatest needs. However, I know this is a very exciting initiative which will benefit our students for years to come.
Teachers’ EBA As you are aware, we are in the midst of a critical teacher shortage. We are very blessed to have a full contingency of dedicated and talented teachers this year, so please make sure you look after them and show your appreciation for all that they do for our students. From the start of this year, all teachers in Catholic schools have started with a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement which has been designed to attract and retain people into teaching. Unfortunately, around 50% of graduate teachers leave the profession within the first five years and never return. Therefore, CEWA have implemented a number of changes to help relieve this situation. All teachers now have moved onto a 38 hour week and have a right to disconnect clause in their contracts. This means they are not required to initiate, read or respond to electronic or other communication from school staff, parents or community members outside of working hours or when not on site. As school hours are from 8.00am to 4.00pm, the teachers don’t have to respond to any form of communication from parents or anyone else. This is designed to help reduce their workloads and give them back their precious family time. In some countries, this right to disconnect is actually enshrined in law. I know you will be understanding of this change and know that the teachers will respond to your messages the next working day. There are a number of other changes which I will communicate to you throughout the year.
Empathy Reflection Empathy is about finding echoes of another person within yourself.
Code of Conduct Reminder All parents are reminded that everyone in our community is required to follow the CEWA Code of Conduct which is in place to protect us and make our school a safe and welcoming place for all. Unfortunately, when this code is not adhered to, conflicts can arise, leading to people feeling uncomfortable and unsafe. Please remember to always treat everyone with courtesy and respect at all times. The Code of Conduct is on the school’s website for you to read in full at any time. I will place segments of it in the newsletter each fortnight as a reminder. It is in everyone’s best interests that the Code is always adhered to.
Conduct Statements 1 and 2: You act safely and competently. You give priority to the students’ safety and well being in all your behaviour and decision making.
P&F Meeting Our first meeting for the year will be held in the staffroom on Monday 5 February from 8.45am. The P&F is an important group in our community and they have two main functions; community building and fund raising. If you would like to support our wonderful P&F, please come along to the meeting. We are still looking for a President and Vice President. We have organised it so that it is not too much of a commitment or workload for parents, and it is a great place to make new friends and do great things for our community.
Edudance The very popular Edudance programme commences on Monday 5 February for all students in the Blue classes from Pre Primary to Year 6. The concert will be held in the hall on Monday 25 March at 6pm so please make sure you save the date.
Parent Information Night This will take place on Monday 12 February (Week 3) starting at 6.00pm in the hall. I will speak briefly to everyone and then you will move off to two sessions in the classrooms. The first session goes from 6.20pm to 6.50pm and the second one goes from 7.00pm to 7.30pm. Please remember that this evening is of a general nature. If you would like to speak to your child’s teacher individually, please make an appointment for a separate time.
Ash Wednesday Easter is going to be early this year and Lent begins on Wednesday 14 February with a whole school Mass in our Church at 8.45am. All parents and grandparents are welcome to attend.