End of Term 3 Newsletter
I have been afforded the opportunity to introduce myself as the new president of CSPWA. I have had children in Catholic Schools in WA for 22 years with my youngest child currently in Year 11. My involvement in my children’s schools has led me in several directions, however namely it has presented me with the opportunity to sit on this state council for 10 years – initially PFFWA and more recently the accurately named Catholic School Parents Western Australia.
I am the proud mother of 4 children, three who have graduated from Catholic Schools who these days are gainfully employed respectively as an architect, a PR & marketing officer and an apprentice electrician. I have no doubt that the Catholic School education received has played a pivotal role in their development as all-rounded individuals, with the ability to productively contribute in a meaningful way to society.
My professional life has been a true blessing where my reality of being a parent often helps me exponentially. I am a Registered Nurse at Perth Children’s Hospital specialising in Burns, Plastics and Orthopedics. I am fortunate that after several dozen years that this is still a passion.
As Term 3 draws to a close, we reflect that for so many of our families this has been an incredibly busy term particularly with the Spirit of the Arts (Catholic Performing Arts Festival) which was conducted across the majority of the term. The calibre of performances whether it be in dance, choral speech, instrumental, choral, theatrical productions or the like or work submitted for display in the Angelico Arts Awards was truly inspirational for all who witnessed. The culmination of the festival last Monday at the Final Concert was well worth attending. The young people who performed were nothing short of awe inspiring, an absolute credit to all involved with them! The hard work of our children, teachers and schools supported by their parents has been well displayed throughout the Festival. All are to be warmly congratulated!
This week is also the final week of ‘normal schooling’ for many of our Year 12 students. Those families with a 2022 Leaver will no doubt be preparing for the final countdown to the conclusion of the chosen courses of study and the inevitable reception of the WACE certificate of graduation from high school and for those studying ATAR subjects, the final ATAR score that always arrives around Christmas! I wish the students well and we parents well in the shopping for study snacks, nutritious meal preparation, conducive study environment preparations and the hope-filled conversations that will fill your homes.
This term CSPWA held our Awards of Excellence Night. The fabulous turn-out of parents from some of our metropolitan as well as country-based schools on the evening held at the Rose and Crown, Guildford was testament to the high regard so many of our individual parents, principals, parishes and P&F groups are held. The presentation by our Keynote speaker, Laura Alison, Chief Psychologist from CEWA on the topic of ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing – the Home/School Partnership’ was extremely well received by the attendees. My gratitude to the administrative staff of CSPWA for facilitating such a positive, fun and all-round enjoyable evening. There certainly was no evidence of shrinkflation on the night!
Recently some members of CSPWA attended the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) Conference in Melbourne, engaging in the multitude of opportunities to gain valuable knowledge of further enhancing opportunities for meaningful parent engagement in their children’s education as well as listen to very high calibre speakers both from Australia and countries abroad. The insightful presentations from some of the speakers will be of great benefit to many of our parents. Please see the article about the conference later in this newsletter.
No matter what stage your children are in their schooling journey, and therefore you are in yours – whether it be attending Kindy roster, canteen duty, volunteering for Performing Arts, coaching sporting teams, holding a prefect’s hand (figuratively speaking!) or the like, the premise remains the same … our children’s benefit from having their parent/s involved and particularly when parents are engaged in their education, is exponential.
I look forward to hearing stories from schools near and far – especially in those places warmer than the cool springtime temperatures of the metropolitan area! – everyone has a story to tell and the sharing of ideas and great work that is being achieved is always welcome. It can be just the right information just at the right time for others in a community that you may never meet in this lifetime and that you don’t even know you’re helping. Enriching opportunities for others is just one of the hidden benefits of sharing your story.
I wish you all (children and parents!) some time of relaxation and enjoyment during the upcoming school break. Rest is restorative for mind, body and soul no matter your age and stage.
Bye for now
As you come to the end of a very busy term, do you feel exhausted like us??? Book Week, Science Week, Performing Arts Festival, Sports Carnivals- although they are all great fun, the continuous events of term 3 can take their toll.
Why not put some time by to recharge, by joining with our Parent Pilgrimage. We often hear of the importance of looking after ourselves first in order to better look after the others in our lives. Spending a couple of hours on a Sunday morning experiencing the ancient faith tradition of pilgrimage provides a wonderful way to recharge the batteries and have some time to encounter God, ourselves, others and nature.
The CSPWA Parent Pilgrimage will take place on Sunday 18th September and follow the first section of the Camino Salvado pilgrimage route. It will commence at St Joseph's Church in Subiaco, go through the city to St Mary's Cathedral and along the river to Bardon Park in Maylands (a distance of approximately 8kms).
Please click here to download our flyer: 2022 Pilgrimage Flyer. Registration is via Trybooking: https://www.trybooking.com/CBKXV. Further information, including a copy of the Pilgrim Prayer will be forwarded upon registration. Please note this is an adults only event. Please wear appropriate footwear and pack water, snacks, hat and sun protection. Some refreshments will be provided at the end of the walk in Bardon Park, Maylands.
Thank you to those who completed the Catholic School Parents Australia 2022 Parent Survey on Student Wellbeing and Learning. Over 6000 parents and carers completed the survey, with over 1,200 of those sharing their contact details to be involved in a follow up reference group. The reference groups will include:
- Families of child with disability
- First Nations Families
- Families with English as a second language
- Families in Remote areas
- Families in Rural areas
- Families of a Child in school majorly impacted by COVID
- Boarding School Families
- General Reference Groups
In the coming weeks, those who nominated to be involved in the next step will be invited to participate in the online forums. All information shared during these forums will be treated confidentially and anonymously and used for reporting to government and Catholic education on the existing and emerging issues concerning parents/carers in relation to the wellbeing and learning of their children.
If you would like to be involved in any of these discussions, please contact John O'Brien at [email protected]
Red Frogs recognise that the culture of young people is often dominated by alcohol and that excessive consumption of alcohol and other substances can lead to dangerous and life-altering behaviours.
Their mission is to provide a positive peer presence in alcohol-fuelled environments where young people gather; educate young people on safe partying behaviours; and promote alcohol-free and/or diversionary activities that engage young people in these environments.
Over 1500 Red Frog volunteers provide direct relief, safety and support to young people during Schoolies/Leavers Week across 14 locations.
To find out more, please see:
Frequently asked questions for parents: https://redfrogs.com.au/programs/schoolies/information-for-parents/parent-faqs-for-schoolies
Parent Advice Facebook Group, click here to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/336107717124472
There is also an official Leavers website which is compiled in partnership with WA Police and has a lot of very useful and practical information. Please see: www.leaverswa.com.au. For tips on what you can do to help your school leaver have a safe and enjoyable Leavers, please see: www.leaverswa.com.au/Parents/Before-They-Go--Information-for-Parents.
Here at CSPWA we are very aware that many children and young people are spending more and more time online. Although the internet brings many benefits, it is important as parents and carers to be aware of the risks.
The eSafety Commissioner has released new resources to help parents and carers from all backgrounds protect their families online. These new videos and advice sheets will give you the confidence to talk to your children about online safety, including managing popular apps, social media and online bullying. They include tips to help them stay safe and important information about what to do if something bad does happen online.
The new resources are available in English, Simplified Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese, Tamil and Dari and can be downloaded from eSafety’s website here.
Staff have been working hard in the CSPWA office over the last few months to develop additional resources and guides for parents to assist them in identifying both their local and federal members of parliament. The importance of developing good relationships with these members of our extended school communities cannot be overstated.
The development of positive relationships with your representatives at all levels of government enables politicians firstly to know first-hand the great work that happens at your school and secondly to establish relationships with the members of your school community (taxpayers and voters!) In addition, if you do come up against a challenge or issue of some kind, they are more likely to take a personal interest and advocate on your behalf with the government or local council.
Although the next Federal and WA State Elections won't occur until 2025, we should not wait until election time to establish relationships. Most politicians are keen to be out and about in the community getting to know the members of their electorate and many have information regarding grants that are available to community groups such as P&Fs. If your local members know who you are and regularly attend your school events, they will be more likely to make time to meet with you and listen to your concerns in the busy time leading up to an election.
We will keep you updated as resources are finalised and uploaded to our website. We will have a list of members and their contact details, attached to each school in all of the dioceses, and updated versions of our resources "CSPWA Guide to Building Relationships with your Government Representatives" and "Draft letter to Politicians and Local Government Representatives."
We look forward to assisting you all in prioritising this work into next year.