Term 1, Week 4 - 15th February, 2024
From the Principal
It is the end of Week 4 and it is hard to believe that we are almost half way through Term 1!
Ash Wednesday Reflection
Written by Michael McGirr
It is curious that this year Ash Wednesday happened to fall on the same day as St Valentine’s Day. This doesn’t happen very often. St Valentine’s Day is a great occasion for florists and restaurants. Some people get carried away and arrange to propose marriage in hot air balloons and beside beautiful waterfalls. This is all great fun, and it is delightful to see people dizzy with love. We all know that real love is about more than the good times. It is a commitment to grow together and encounter each other more and more deeply, even when the going is tough. There are legends about St Valentine but it’s not clear who he may have been. The chances are, however, that he was a martyr in the early period of the Christian story. He knew that love meant sacrifice. Love lays down its own life to give life to others.
Ash Wednesday is the perfect day to think about love. We don’t see flowers in church on Ash Wednesday and we are asked to eat modestly. On Wednesday we started our journey towards our observance and celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus at Easter. The cross of Jesus is the ultimate symbol of how profoundly God loves the world.
We pray for all who are trying to rise from the ashes in their lives. May our support for Project Compassion remind us that now is the time to turn to the Lord with all our hearts and embrace the needs of God’s whole family.
The Year 5 and 6 students presented a special liturgy on Wednesday to celebrate Ash Wednesday and mark the beginning of the season of Lent (beginning Wednesday the 14th of Feb, and ending Saturday the 30th of March). The students each shared their 'butterfly promise' - a promise they have made to commit to during Lent.
This week, the season of Lent began with Ash Wednesday, which also marked the beginning of Caritas Australia’s annual Project Compassion Appeal.
The theme of Project Compassion 2024 is ‘For All Future Generations’ and reminds us that the good we do today extends to impact the lives of generations to come. By donating to Project Compassion, Caritas Australia, the Catholic Agency for International Aid and Development, can work with local communities around the world to end poverty, promote justice and uphold dignity.
Each child has received a Project Compassion box for their donations.
Other school events we are holding to raise money this term for Project Compassion, are:
18th March - St Patrick's Day Dress Up - Wear Green & Bring a Gold Coin
28th March - Coin Line Challenge (Class vs Class) & Sponge the Teacher
School Student Protection Contact (SSPC) Training
Yesterday Paul Fomiatti and I attended the annual School Student Protection Contact (SSPC) training in Toowoomba.
Our school has three SSPCs - Paul Fomiatti, Naomi Smith, and myself. You have hopefully seen the 'Feeling Safe' posters displayed around the school.
We heard from guest speaker Paul Ninnes -Co-Founder and Managing Director of Real Talk. Real Talk is an organisation all about getting real on the topics of sex, relationships and personal identity for students in Years 5 and up. Based on Christian values and using personal sharing from a team of dynamic presenters, Real Talk provides presentations, programs and up-to-date resources for teachers to use when teaching the curriculum. Real Talk also provides resources and education for parents.
As part of our school’s subscription to Real Talk Education, the Real Talk team have given our school community 1 year FREE basic access to their Real Talk Parents site. I strongly encourage you to take a look at what Real Talk has to offer.
Sign up here: www.realtalkeducation.org/parents
The site includes quick reference guides, conversation starters, printable resources, videos and curated links for parenting on the tough topics to do with relationships and eSafety.
Before & After School Routine
A few reminders to parents & carers about our before and after school routine.
Our first supervised duty of the school day is at 8:30am. Before this time students must be seated at the pews under the school. Students are not to arrive at school before 8:15am at the earliest as they are unsupervised up until 8:30am. Parents should let the school know via phone call if their children are arriving before 8:30am. I strongly encourage parents of younger children to wait to drop students off at 8:30am to ensure their safety.
In the afternoons, school students should not be using the playground equipment unless they are supervised by their parent/s. If students are waiting for pick up, they are to be standing at the front of the school with the teacher on bus duty. If you pick your children up from the side gate, please walk into the school to collect them as we do not have a teacher on duty at the side of the school in the afternoons.
Lastly, please support us by speaking to your children about the importance of staying safe before and after school. As we now have many students walking home or to the pool after school, it is important that they understand how to cross the road safely. This is something school staff have spoken to the students about, and we would appreciate that the message is also enforced at home. Thank you for your support.
Year 5 & 6 Student Leaders
22nd February - GRIP Leadership in Toowoomba (Year 6 students)
26th February - Audiology testing
28th February - Parent Engagement Network meeting in the Library at 3:30pm
28th February - Darling Downs swimming trials
29th February - Year 5/6 Leadership retreat (at school)
1st March - Year 6 Leadership Commissioning Mass & speeches (time TBA)
I will be away next week at the Toowoomba Catholic Schools Leadership forum. Darcy Barnes & Olivia Osborne will be deputising in my absence.
Yours in education,
LIFE IN THE LIBRARY
We celebrate stories in all their shapes and sizes this week. School libraries are holders of rich stories in the form of fiction. Students have been challenged to look for stories around them and to think about the importance of stories wherever they encounter them.
Year 5/6 Reflections Around Stories
* Libraries bring stories into our lives by providing great fiction which builds our imaginations and inspires us.
*People keep stories in their lives because they have come from their ancestors or they are part of their culture.
*Stories allow us to learn about other people, new authors and illustrators.
*Stories are important because they can make you feel happy, sometimes sad and they entertain us.
*We can find stories wherever there are people.
*Humans need stories because they help us to learn words which allow us to share our ideas and feelings.
Week 3 and 4
Spend some time sharing stories during the next few days!
Students of the Week - Week 3 & 4
Sight Word Awards
We are a Sunsmart Accredited School
St Maria Goretti School is a certified SunSmart School.
As a SunSmart School, we are required to implement an approved Sun Protection Policy that meets the Department of Education Sun Safety for Students guidelines.
The purpose of the St Maria Goretti Sun Safe Policy is to minimise the UV radiation exposure from the sun, therefore reducing the risk of staff, students, and members of the school community, developing skin cancer.
Being a SunSmart School ensures that we are:
- Reducing exposure to UV and skin cancer risks.
- Meeting the sun protection regulatory and duty of care requirements.
- Accessing current, evidence-based information, resources, advice, and support.
- Influencing good sun protection behaviours through modelling and education.
- Raising awareness on the risks of UV exposure to our staff, students, and school community.
The school community is committed to providing shade in areas where students congregate, during recess and lunch, and when teaching outdoors and playing sport. Students are encouraged to use available shade when outside.
Our uniforms are SunSmart - shirts with collars, elbow length sleeves, longer style shorts and a wide brimmed hat. St Maria Goretti School enforces the NO HAT, NO PLAY rule. Students may wear close-fitting wrap-around style sunglasses that meet the Australian Standard AS1067 and provide an Eye Protection Factor of 9 or above.
All students and staff are encouraged to apply SPF30 or higher broad spectrum sunscreen which is available under the school.
Our full Sunsafe Policy can be provided on request.
NAPLAN 2024 Schedule
Students in Year 3 and Year 5 will be sitting NAPLAN between 13 and 25 March 2024.
NAPLAN assesses literacy and numeracy skills that students are already learning at school. On its own, NAPLAN is not a test that can be studied for, and students are not expected to do so.
NAPLAN is just one aspect of a school’s assessment and reporting process – it does not replace ongoing assessments made by teachers about student performance; however, students and parents may use individual results to discuss progress with teachers.
This is the second year NAPLAN will be held in March, having previously taken place in May. This change was made so school systems would have access to results earlier in the school year, so they can be used to inform teaching and learning plans for the remainder of the year.
Why NAPLAN is conducted online...
• All schools transitioned to NAPLAN online in 2022, as the online format improves NAPLAN.
• NAPLAN online provides a better assessment and more precise results.
• One of the main benefits of NAPLAN online is that it uses tailored (or adaptive) testing. This means that students receive questions better suited to their abilities, so they can show what they know and can do.
• Online testing also allows us to provide a wide range of accessibility options to support students with disability to access NAPLAN.
• Feedback from students is that they find the online test more engaging.