Welcome to Term 4 2023
Well just like that, Term 4 is underway, and the end of the year is approaching like the light at the end of the tunnel! The shift from Term 3 to 4 is almost palpable in the school year as we are all, what feels like suddenly, winding up and consolidating the learnings and events of the year.
Term 3 was, as expected, a very industrious one with so many events, carnivals, productions, exhibitions and so on. We have much to celebrate, and from everything I attended and witnessed, we have much to be hopeful and thankful for and I have no doubt that the future for so many of our children is so bright
For some of us, this end of the year is the end of an era, whether that be your last child is finishing primary school and your years as a primary parent are now finished and the excitement and anticipation of secondary school awaits, perhaps your youngest child is, like mine, completing secondary school and the years of being a school parent are coming to a rapid conclusion. For me it has been a 23-year journey, one I can hardly remember not being on! Already I reflect upon the years with fondness, of course there have been challenges along the way, but there have been so many joyous occasions, so many connections made and relationships built – some have lasted the distance and others have been a point in time – it has been all part of the wonderful journey of being a parent of young people attending school in our outstanding Catholic School system here in WA.
2023, on reflection, has been our most ‘normal’ post-pandemic year, and for some of our families, this has been their first year of full attendance at school. When the pandemic descended upon us back in 2020, little did we know that it would continue to impact us for several years to come. Of course, COVID-19 is still in the community and like many other viruses it continues to impact the health of some of our community, may we be ever mindful of those less robust than others. I am thankful that so many of our families have managed to transition smoothly back into regular schooling and life, but am aware that for some, post pandemic anxiety and school refusal has become an issue and our thoughts and prayers are offered that with supports in place, these young people will be able to attend school again this year and into the future.
The issue of transitioning from one section of schooling to another is very topical for many of our families at this time of the year. Whether it be from home to kindergarten, secondary to tertiary learning, or for so many, making the move from primary to secondary schooling, this is a BIG event. Please remember that CSPA (Catholic School Parents Australia) has developed in partnership with the federal government, a well-researched and resourced toolkit: Gearing up for Parent Engagement in Student Learning, to help teachers, schools and families with this transition process. Please take the time to access this wonderful resource.
As P&F ACMs are plentiful at this time of the year, please keep an eye out for the CSPWA Induction evening in February 2024, this is a great opportunity for P&F committees, both established and new in their roles to come together - both primary and secondary schools – to learn from each other and from the staff here at CSPWA. The information and insights gained from this evening can really make a huge difference to your understanding of your role within your school’s P&F committee. The highly competent administrative staff of CSPWA are always only a phone call or email away, please do not hesitate to contact them, they are a wonderful resource for you. They are always happy to assist and guide parents and carers of children in our catholic schools.
A final note of farewell for 2023, I sincerely thank all of the administrative staff of CSPWA – Jonelle, Jennifer, Nicole and Siobhan for their exceptionally hard work and dedication to their roles throughout the year. Much of their work is out of the public eye, but they are always working very diligently to establish and maintain good relationships throughout the community associated with Catholic Schools here in WA.
I wish all of our families, a very happy, blessed and safe Christmas, may we always be mindful of the ‘reason for the season’, and look forward to seeing what is in store for 2024.
World Teachers' Day is held internationally on 5 October. As the day usually falls during the Australian school holidays, we celebrate it on the last Friday in October, which will be the 27th. On this day we recognise the amazing contribution and work of over 66,000 teachers and leaders in Catholic schools throughout Australia.
This year’s theme is 'Hats off to Teachers' and there are many ways you can celebrate World Teachers' Day within your school community. The World Teachers Day Celebration Kit is available to download on their website World Teachers Day.
Other suggestions include:
- Connecting with your parent committee to host a morning tea for teachers.
- Create thank you gifts or cards.
- Get the kids involved in making some art.
Catholic School Parents WA would also like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all of our childrens' teachers.We have the greatest respect for all you do to ensure our children have the opportunity to reach their full potential not just academically, but spiritually, physically and emotionally. We know we are so lucky to have you accompany us on our children's educational journey, from Kindy to Year 12!
Term 4 can be a very stressful time for our highschool students (and their families!) as they commence their final exams. We encourage you to take some time to read the advice provided by Headspace, on how parents can help their children navigate this time.
To help reduce stress and ensure that you're as organised as you can be, learn more about planning and looking after yourself and about staying focused in order to be as ready for the exam as you can be.
Take the time to plan
Prepare a study plan and goals for each day / week. Make sure it's balanced with other important things in your life - that way it will be easier to stick to.
Talk to your employers early to let them know you need to limit your shifts / hours while studying.
Create a study space that is comfortable, quiet, well lit, organised, and has no distractions nearby, such as a TV, phone, people talking, etc.
Make sure you have everything you need for each study session as this helps to feel more confident and organised.
Look after yourself
Self care is especially important when you have a big demand in your life - that way you have the energy to commit to what you need to accomplish.
Continue with some of the activities you enjoy, this will bring your stress levels down and will help you focus on your study plan, such as sport, spending time with friends, internet, etc.
Eat well before or while studying. Grab nutritional snacks that keep you going, such as fruit/nuts/dairy, etc.
Remember to get some exercise every day as this helps you to keep focused and energetic.
Rest when you need to
Work out what times of day you have the most energy and plan to study then.
Don't study more than 40-60 mins without a short break. Even a 5 minute break will help. A glass of water helps too!
When you have a break do something physical or fun, such as go for a short run or play with a pet.
Try to keep your focus on school and exams rather than other stuff happening in your life; you don't need this extra worry around relationships, friendships etc. right now.
Relaxation is important, especially before bed, to slow the brain activity down. Try some slow, deep breathing, a shower or a bath, herbal tea etc.
Learn more about sleeping well.
Say "no" to parties during the weeks close to the exams. This will help to keep you refreshed and energised.
When studying, switch your phone and email off to stop the distractions.
Try to keep a focus on your health and wellbeing by not using things like drugs or alcohol; they can make it much harder to study.
Ask for help:
Stay at school until your last day so you don't miss any important info about exams, or fun events with your colleagues.
Practice writing essays and show your teachers for feedback for improvement.
Ask teachers the best way to study for each subject; they have many years experience they can share with you.
Some teachers are happy to be contacted during the time leading up to the exams. Find out which ones you can contact and make use of this if you need to.
If you have trouble approaching your own teacher for advice, talk to one of the other ones who teach the same subject.
Group study sessions with classmates can be a helpful and entertaining way of studying, but keep your focus on what you want to achieve with these sessions.
Talk about what you are studying with family members and friends as this helps to retain the info more, especially names and dates, etc.
For further information, please go to How To Reduce Stress & Prepare for Exams | headspace or Exam stress | ReachOut Australia.
Check out the CSPA website for further resources on mental health and wellbeing, esafety and much more.
FAMILY ENGAGEMENT IN SCHOOLS - Free Family Engagement Workshop
Together for Humanity are holding a free Family Engagement event at The Westin, Perth on Friday 10th November from 10am - 2pm - Family Engagement in Schools: Enabling and Energising.
Free for all parents and caring guardians of school-aged children plus those preparing to embark on their educational journey, the events explore the pivotal role of family engagement in elevating student success.
Topics covered include: What is family engagement? Why it's the key to academic triumph and well being, and unravelling barriers in schools.
Parents and carers of school students or anyone interested in the topic are welcome. Complimentary morning tea and lunch included. If you're interested in how you can support children to get the most of their education, be sure to secure your place.
‘Artificial intelligence will shape our future more powerfully than any other innovation this century. Anyone who does not understand it will soon find themselves feeling left behind, waking up in a world full of technology that feels more and more like magic.’
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a term used to describe computer systems that can undertake tasks or activities that require features of human intelligence such as planning, problem solving or logical action. AI is not a new field. However, there has been significant interest and growth in the technology over the last decade due to advances in computer processing power, algorithm complexity, and data availability and storage.
Moving forward, practical steps are required to build the capacity of teachers and their students to learn about and with AI and emerging technologies, and to build their capacity to thrive in an AI world. It is an appropriate time to identify opportunities to integrate or strengthen learning about and with AI and emerging technologies within the Australian Curriculum. These opportunities exist within the Design and Technologies and Digital Technologies Learning Areas and in the General Capabilities component with its emphasis on developing student ‘Information and Communication Technology Capability’, ‘Critical and Creative Thinking’, and ‘Ethical Understanding’.
AI and emerging technologies need to be carefully ‘incubated’ in a controlled way in a diverse range of school settings, including rural and low income school communities, in order to identify practical, safety, ethical and technical issues. This ‘incubation’ must be accompanied by robust, theoretically-informed research on their pedagogical potential and impacts of the technologies on learners and learning.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- AI is a term used to describe a machine or computer program that uses features of human-like thinking to undertake a task. AI can be embodied in some robots or disembodied, that is ‘infused’ into computing applications (e.g. internet search engines, social media facial recognition tagging technology). Right now, we have narrow AI which is only able to do the single or focused task it was designed to do (e.g. facial recognition technology);
- AI in school education is still in the early stages of development. Educators need to develop foundational knowledge of learning about and with AI in order to empower students to thrive in an AI world;
- Learning about and with AI will require teachers to understand the economic and social changes that the technology will bring as well as its potential educational uses and ethical considerations; and
- There is much work to be done around the ethical, legal and governance frameworks to ensure that AI technology is used for good, and that transparent processes are in place to ensure accountability at classroom, school community and school system levels.
The above information has been taken from a report published by the Department of Education. Click here to access the full 'AI in Schools Report'.
As published in The Guardian, ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot that uses natural language processing to create humanlike conversational dialogue. The language model can respond to questions and compose various written content, including articles, social media posts, essays, code and emails.
Federal education minister Jason Clare said state and territory ministers have agreed on a draft framework for teachers on how the technology should be used in schools.
"It has not yet been publicly released ahead of consultation with schools and teachers, but recommends an overhaul of assessments to prevent students using such tools to 'bluff the system'," Clare said.
ChatGPT, which generates text on any subject in response to a prompt or query, has concerned many teachers given the potential for plagiarism, cheating and negative impacts on student learning.
Click here to read the full article.
What do you know about vaping?
The Lung Foundation advises the term 'vaping' is used to describe the act of smoking e-cigarettes or 'vapes' which are battery powered devices that look like metal pens, USBs and other small boxy-shaped systems.
Vapes use cartridges with liquids, or 'juice', which usually have artificial flavourings and toxic chemicals in them. The vape liquid is heated into an aerosol, or 'vapour', and inhaled into the lungs.
Vape liquid isn't properly tested or regulated, and research shows many types contain nicotine even if they say they don't. This is really harmful to a developing brain.
The most important thing you need to know about vaping is that it isn't safe for your health, despite what you may hear from others. Vaping has made lots of people sick with the following symptoms:
In 2024, Catholic School Parents WA will celebrate 70 years of representing and advocating of behalf of parents who choose a Catholic Education for their children in Western Australia
The theme of the 2024 conference will be “Communication for Connection” and will focus all forms of communication within our school communities. Communication has certainly changed in the last 70 years and where in those days many didn't even have a phone in their home, now we all have one in our pockets!
The conference will centre around the positive outcomes of communication which is respectful of all and strengths based. We will also address the important role that parents play together with schools in establishing and maintaining effective and positive practices.
The conference, which will included our AGM will take place on Saturday 8th June, preceeded by the anniversary dinner on Friday evening 7th June. The dinner will include the presentation of the CSPWA Awards of Excellence in Building Positive School Communities.
As in previous years we hope to secure a grant from our friends at Lotterywest to enable us to financially assist parents from rural and remote regions of our state to attend the conference.
Additional information about this exciting event will be provided in our next newsletter towards the end of this term.
We look forward to seeing you all at the conference.
As many of our are schools are approaching their Annual Community Meetings (ACM) this term, our office has been receiving calls from P&Fs regarding planning for the ACM, and what needs to be reported.
We have put together an ACM pack, which includes a guide on how to prepare for the ACM, a sample agenda and a suite of resources that could assist the current and incoming P&F committee with tips on handover, how to attract new committee members, and the importance of having a planning meeting to prepare for 2024.
Please see the links below to view and download the documents. You may also like to include some of our role descriptions as part of your advertising for any vacant committee positions.
ACMs are a good opportunity for Parent Groups to review the year that's been and congratulate themselves for the wonderful work they have done!
We've had a very busy start to the term here in the CSPWA office. As we mentioned earlier in the newsletter, most schools will be holding their Annual Community Meetings in November, so we have been receiving calls from Parent Groups with lots of questions about how to plan for the ACM. With the new Terms of Reference being adopted by most schools at their last ACM, committee members will now have been appointed to their roles for a period of two years, so will not need to re-elect at this ACM. There has also been significant changes to the Treasurer role for some schools, so members are looking for support on how to explain the role to anyone wanting to nominate for the position in 2024. I've had the opportunity to visit several schools in the last 2 weeks to present to the parent groups and help them to navigate the changes.
Staff have also put together an ACM guide with accompanying resources, and a handover pack as long standing committee members step down and prepare to pass on their knowledge to new parents. Please get in touch if you would like us to email or send out these resources.
We have also been assisting committees to prepare for their planning meetings, to look at which events in 2024 will be friendraisers, and which will be fundraisers, and how P&F's can support their school with bigger projects and initiate those donations to the school before the end of the year. Although the Terms of Reference states that the P&F should aim to spend funds collected in the same year in which they are received, the committee can still carry over enough funds to ensure invoices due early in the year can be paid, and P&F welcome back to school events can be funded.
Please get in touch with me if you would like support at your last P&F meeting for the year, or to brainstorm ideas for your planning meeting. You may also like to contact us for advice or resources once your new P&F Committee has been elected, and you want to start planning for 2024. I can be contacted on 9338 9987 or via email [email protected].