Welcome to Term 3 2023
Term 3 is well underway with the conclusion of Week 5 upon us.
For many families this term is an exceptionally busy one with the six weeks of the Catholic Performing Arts Festival, many cross-country carnivals, athletics carnivals, exam preparations and the conclusion of winter sport seasons. All of a sudden, we reach this time of the year, and we switch from settling into the year and consolidating learnings to preparing for end of year happenings and looking towards next year!
For the families with children in Year 12, preparations are well and truly underway for Mock exams heading for ATAR exams in October/November. This time of the year can be somewhat daunting both for the students in the family as well as the parents. Having had three children already experience this myself, and living through it one last time this year, I completely relate to the ‘emotional roller-coaster’ of Year 12. It really is an exciting time, I acknowledge not without stresses, but the knowledge we adults have that our children’s lives are about to get really exciting with untold experiences awaiting them, makes it worth the work now. The schools offer so much support to our children, please take the time to explore what your school has in place - preferably ahead of when your child may require it. Keep talking with your child, I find the inescapable trips in the car where you have a captured audience, is a really good opportunity!
Many of our children in years 3 and 4 will be receiving their Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist around this time of the year, and many of the year 6s will be Confirmed. The schools work as part of the parish community to facilitate the preparation for these beautiful celebrations. Please keep all of the children, families, teachers and their parish priests in your prayers as their faith journeys continue.
Further in this newsletter there are photos and an article about the CSPWA Awards of Excellence evening held last week. I won’t steal the show or give you any spoilers, I would like to extend my vote of thanks to the administration staff of CSPWA who work tirelessly throughout the year for all parents of children in Catholic Schools, but they absolutely went the extra mile to put on this event last week. All those present certainly appeared to be having a fabulous time and there were some wonderful nominations for each of the categories. We love to see so much passion and fun amongst our parent communities in the schools.
Lastly, I would like to leave you with a point to contemplate. Our Catholic School Parents WA council consists of parents who have children in Catholic schools – just like you. Many of us volunteer in multiple places including our children’s schools and sporting clubs etc, participating in a variety of roles. There is plenty of literature around which espouses the benefits of volunteering both to the volunteer and recipients, as well as the added benefits it has for our children by witnessing their parents giving back to the community. I would like you to consider nominating to have a seat at our table here at CSPWA, working in the space of the ‘bigger picture’ can be exciting and rewarding. We would like to hear from you should you be considering this opportunity.
Until next time, Marina.
Catholic School Parents Western Australia Inc. (CSPWA) provides an independent voice for parents of children in Catholic schools and assists them in working collaboratively with their school to provide a Catholic education which will help all children reach their full potential.
CSPWA are currently seeking new volunteers to join our State Council. The vacancies have arisen due to the retirement of several long standing members whose children have now completed their educational journey within Catholic Education.
The three key prerequisites for this role are:
(a) a passion for and commitment to Catholic Education
(b) you have a child currently in a Catholic school
(c) that school is currently financially affiliated with CSPWA
The Council of CSPWA Inc. is responsible for the governance of the organisation and ensuring that it's objectives are met. Elected members of the Council represent all parents of children in Catholic schools in Western Australia.
CSPWA Council is made up of Catholic school parents from the dioceses' of Perth, Geraldton, Broome and Bunbury and we meet in person once a term. Outside of the face to face meetings, councillors assist office staff with planning events and in being a conduit between their schools and CSPWA to gain parent feedback in the conversations that matter.
For more information on what the role entails, please see: CSPWA Charter for Council.
CSPWA council members sit on numerous committees/working parties/reference groups at both state and federal level, seeking to bring the diverse voice of all parents to the table. To that end if you are a First Nations parent, a parent of a child with a disability, a parent whose children attend a rural or remote school or indeed you feel you have other skills which would add positively to our Council, we would love to hear from you. This time around we are also seeking a councillor with accounting skills to work with our finance officer.
If you would like to speak further about this important role please don't hesitate to call Siobhan on 0409 025 683.
We look forward to hearing from you!
The CSPWA 2023 Awards of Excellence in Building Positive School Communities, took place on Friday 11th August at The Guildford Hotel. Thank you to all of those who nominated someone in their school community, and many congratulations to all of the winners.
This year we had over 120 people register for the event, and we thank each and every one of you for your support. In addition to the many parents present, we also welcomed Ms Eva Skira AM - Chair Catholic Education Commission WA, Dr Debra Sayce - Executive Director CEWA, Mr Wayne Bull - Deputy Executive Director CEWA, Dr Glennda Scully - Director Finance, Infrastucture and Digital Techology, Rev Mark Powell - Director Religious Education, and Mr Jonathon Woolfry - Deputy Chair Catholic Education Commission WA. We were particularly delighted to welcome all those principals who came along to support their parents, positive school communities in action right there!
At a time when the word parent is often used within a negative context, the CSPWA Awards of Excellence are a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase and celebrate the amazing and positive work of parents within our school communities. We know there are many more great things happening out there that we don't always hear about in the office so we would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your contributions.
Mary McKillop said "we must teach more by example than by word" and so volunteering in your school community is first and foremost a gift to your children. Through volunteering we are demonstating to our children the power of contributing to the common good.
The Catholic school community today is often the first real experience of community that families encounter. Of course, it used to be the Parish and for some families it still is. However, for more and more it is the school, so it is incumbant on us to ensure our communities are welcoming, inclusive and aim to accompany one another along the joyful path of our children's educational journey. Community is not a one way street and it is also not about the loudest voices, it includes each and every member of that community and the Agnes Weymouth Award is acknowledgement of that.
Although there can only ever be one winner, the reality is that all who were nominated are winners and your schools in particular are winners by having you all involved and engaged in such positive and innovative ways.
Below are the winners of our 5 categories, along with a link to a short summary of all of the nominations our office received for that category. We hope you enjoy reading all the nominations.
Parent Category: Sofi Ietto-Conti (St Augustine Primary School)
Judges Special Mention to Yvette and Matt Bendall (St Luke's College Karratha)
Parent Group: The Carer's Collective (Holy Cross College)
Principal: Angela Hegney (Our Lady of Lourdes Dardanup)
Parish: Father Totanes, St Lawrence Parish (St Lawrence's Primary School Bluff Point)
Agnes Weymouth: Rachael Langdon (Emmaus Catholic Primary School)
To celebrate the launch of the new P&F Terms of Reference, Catholic School Parents Western Australia ran our first ever photo competition for P&Fs to win 1 of 3 great prizes. We had close to 200 photos submitted, which was fantastic! Thank you to all of the schools who took the time to send in their entries, we can now use these genuine photos of the parents who support us and our schools on our website and brochures in the future.
The 3 prizes on offer were:
1st Prize - $1,500 donation back to your school P&F
2nd Prize - A school P&F banner, thanks to Snap Northbridge
3rd Prize - $500 of school resources for your school library
And the winners are:
1st Prize: St Joseph’s Moora
Ensuring that their parents were checked in on, last year the P&F organised a little treat pack for R U Ok? Day. P&F volunteers handed them out at drop off and made sure they included their teachers in the deliveries.
Judges feedback: I absolutely loved the R U Ok bags, with the personal note and the fact the P&F personally handed them out to the school community. I was also impressed with their note attached explaining what they do, highlighting how the P&F actively engages with the wider community not just the school.
2nd prize: Notre Dame Catholic Primary School
The photo submitted is of the annual Dad's and Kids' Campout, organised fully by Dads with some funding from the P&F. The Dad’s volunteer to cook and serve dinner to everyone, then breakfast the next day.
Judges feedback: This school was chosen for the sheer number of events that the P&F organise, and that their focus is building the school community.
3rd Prize: Sacred Heart Mundaring
This is a photo of some of the school’s lovely dads helping out at the Mother’s Day stall.
Judges feedback: I loved the Dads also getting involved (including dressing up) to assist the P&F in the Mother’s day stall.
The judges also wanted to make a special mention of Mary’s Mount Primary School for going out to wider community events and promoting your school, and St John’s Rangeway for going that extra mile at easter inviting the Easter Bunny- I bet the children really loved that.
Thank you to all the schools who sent in photos highlighting the great job our P&Fs are doing for our schools and surrounding communities. Well done and keep up the great work.
The Spirit of the Arts gives so many opportunities for schools to display the God-given, school and family supported gifts and talents of so many of our students. In my many years of being a Catholic School parent, attending musical, theatrical and mixed media art displays, not once have I walked away feeling anything but humbled from the experience and full of wonder and admiration at the incredible talent of our children - in fact, often I find I have to remind myself that I am watching work produced by children not adults!
Earlier this week the Angelico Arts Awards were presented to the 2023 recipients in an evening which showcased the impressive artistic talents of many students across the Catholic School sector.
Each year CSPWA presents an award to a student displaying creativity and talent that will be enhanced by the encouragement award to further pursue their unique artistic endeavours.
Judging this award is both a little daunting and a great thrill to look at the interpretation of the criteria of presenting work with a theme or intention that is reflective of parents and children.
This year’s recipient is Sophia Barber from Emmanuel Catholic College, Beeliar for her mixed media work titled 'Memories of the Heart'.
R U OK? Day – 14th September
Got a feeling that someone you know or care about it isn’t behaving as they normally would? Perhaps they seem out of sorts? More agitated or withdrawn? Or they’re just not themselves. Trust that gut instinct and act on it. Learn more about the signs and when it's time to ask R U OK?
By starting a conversation and commenting on the changes you’ve noticed, you could help that family member, friend or workmate open up. If they say they are not OK, you can follow the conversation steps as referenced in the link below, to show them they’re supported and help them find strategies to better manage the load. If they are OK, that person will know you’re someone who cares enough to ask. (ref: www.ruok.org.au)
For more information on learning how to notice signs or know when it’s the right time to ask R U OK? Please visit the R U OK? website at Signs it's time to ask R U OK?
World Mental Health Day is 10th October, with Mental Health Week WA taking place from 7th - 14th October.
Health Direct advise about 1 in 7 children and adolescents aged 4 to 17 have recently experienced a mental health disorder in Australia. The most common disorder is ADHD, followed by anxiety, depression and conduct disorder.
There are plenty of things that can be done to improve mental health and help prevent mental health issues from developing. For example, getting enough sleep, eating well and doing regular physical activity, is important for children, just as it is for adults.
Long-lasting and safe and secure relationships, such as with the child’s family (including extended family and carers), are considered the most influential factors in a child’s life. Mental health difficulties in children might present as frequent or intense struggles with their emotions, their thoughts, behaviours, learning or relationships.
As a parent or concerned adult, there are some simple steps you can take to support a child’s mental health. These are things like taking an active interest in the child, encouraging them to talk about what’s happening in their life and being aware of changes in their behaviour. Seek support from your doctor or other health or mental health professional if you are concerned.
Some great resources for further information on Mental Health and supporting those going through a challenging time:
the link below will take you to a handbook prepared by the Government of Western Australia. This handbook contains information for Year 10 students about the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE). It also contains information about course types, general advice for students, further resources and much more. Although you may already have some information about studying in Years 11 and 12, you should confirm what will be involved for students achieving a WACE in 2025. This handbook is a starting point for that process of confirmation.
Students entering Year 11 in 2024 must meet a number of requirements in order to be awarded a WACE. These include a set of general requirements about course completion, demonstrating the literacy and numeracy standard, the breadth and depth requirement and the achievement standard requirement. Further information about the WACE requirements can also be found in this handbook. Encourage your child to be diligent in checking their sources as they seek advice around what is required to achieve a WACE. Make sure they are accessing information that is current, accurate and relevant to them.
Teachers and counsellors at your child's school will have up-to-date information about the WACE requirements. They will also have an understanding of your child'e achievements and potential. Talk also to family and friends whose children have completed Years 11 and 12 recently will have a sense of what the final years of secondary schooling involve.
While the details of your child's plan might be unclear, take some time to talk about their goals and plans for the future. The choices they make are a starting point as they move towards the end of their secondary schooling. Whether they already know exactly which subjects they are going to select or are uncertain of their plans, remember the benefits that come from challenges that keep them on their toes and the value of having worked to achieve success. Learning to solve problems and develop resilience provide valuable skills. (ref: scsa.wa.edu.au)
Time to dust off the costume box and get your children ready for Book Week!
Each year since 1945 the Children's Book Council of Australia, (CBCA) has brought children and books together across Australia through Children's Book Week®. During this time, schools and public libraries spend one glorious week celebrating books and Australian children's authors and illustrators. Classroom teachers, teacher librarians and public librarians create colourful displays, develop activities, run competitions and tell stories relating to a theme to highlight the importance of reading. You will often see parades with students dressed as their favourite book character.
Raising Children advises it is important to read to babies and young children to help your child get to know sounds, words and language, and develop early literacy skills. It can help to promote brain development, imagination and learning.
The Australian Institue of Health and Welfare advise reading regularly with children from a young age stimulates patterns of brain development and strengthens parent-child relationships. This, in turn, builds language, literacy, and social-emotional skills.
Importance of early detection of dyslexia.
Dyslexia will normally become apparent during the early years of schooling, when a child shows an unexplained difficulty in reading despite having the capabilities to learn, including sound verbal abilities. Even though dyslexia can become apparent in the early years many children are not identified and an evaluation may not be done until adulthood.
Many unidentified children develop coping strategies both positive and negative, which can disguise dyslexia. Most children with dyslexia have to work much harder than their peers to remember and apply classroom information. Some children with dyslexia pretend to be less capable than they actually are,this is a negative coping strategy. (ref: Australian Dyslexia Association)
Catholic Education WA have partnered with the Western Australian Council of Social Service (WACOSS) to promote this new free resource for families and children across Australia.
Digital inclusion makes sure that everyone has access to the benefits of technology. However, due to age, education, or circumstance, a growing number of people are excluded from using online services provided by the government and service providers. The project aims to improve digital inclusion within the community through the focus areas of Ability, Access, and Affordability.
- Learning basic computer skills (select Foundation Skills)
- Identifing scams and keeping your children safe online (select Esafety)
- Getting better at using your device – both Android or Apple (select Tech Tips)
- The National Disability Insurance Scheme (select Information for people with disabilities)
- Online translation services to help you use the internet if English is not your first language (select CALD)
- Resources that have been developed specifically by and for First Nations peoples (select First Nations)
The website also contains easy english guides to assist you with choosing a mobile and NBN plan, explaining your consumer rights, and assisting you to set up online banking. There is also an accessibility option which allows you to increase or decrease the text on the website and change the contrast, and options to translate the information into 45 different languages.
Win $10,000 for Shade at your School!
Does your school have outdoor areas languishing because of no shade?
Cancer Council WA is offering one lucky school $10,000 to make outdoor areas more shady! To enter, make sure your school is a current SunSmart School by renewing membership or join the program. Entries must be received by 5pm Friday 10 November 2023. All valid entries will be placed into the draw and one school (the winner) will be chosen at random. The draw will take place at the offices of Cancer Council WA between 13 November 2023 and 19 November 2023.
For futher information and resources, click on the links below:
The Fathering Project improves child development outcomes by engaging fathers and father-figures through programs, activities, evidence-based resources and tactical learning strategies. Everything we do, from research to the development of outreach programs, is designed to improve the lives of children and their journey towards adulthood. (ref: the fathering project)
The Councilors and staff of CSPWA would like to wish all fathers and father figures a Happy Father's Day for Sunday, 3rd September! You are all so very much appreciated!!
Refer to the links below for further information on the Fathering Project:
Hello everyone, for those I haven't met in person or spoken to on the phone yet, my name is Nicole and I have officially moved into the Liaison Officer role at CSPWA this term. I had been working as the Admin and Support Officer for the past year, and as the Admin Officer prior to that.
Towards the end of term two, our team welcomed Jonelle Schultz, who took over the role as Admin Officer for 3 days a week. Hopefully many of you had the opportunity to meet Jonelle at our Awards of Excellence celebration last Friday.
In my new role as Liaison Officer, I hope to get out to meet as many of you as a I can, whether it be in person or online. Please reach out to me if you would like further information on how CSPWA can support your P&F, whether it be to transition to the new Terms of Reference, gain knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of the P&F, hear tips on how to run both fundraiser and friend-rasier activities at your school, or to look at ways of recruiting more parent volunteers in your school community. I am happy to try and attend a P&F meeting, either in person or online, or schedule another suitable time to meet with parents and provide support. I can be contacted on 9338 9987 or via email [email protected].