Principal's Blog

Each week, our Principal shares his reflections on learning in this Catholic community.

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Week 1 Term 3 2015

Dear Parents, Students, Staff and Friends of the Magdalene Community,

Welcome back to Term 3. I hope that all students had an opportunity to reenergise and have come back full of enthusiasm, ready to tackle the journey ahead with determination and commitment. As we begin the new term, I congratulate many students on fine performances in Semester One and challenge all students to build on the successes. Each person should also continue to focus on areas for development, which were made evident in reports and teacher interviews at the end of last term. This will ensure that each individual is able to continue along the road to personal excellence in all that they attempt.

Over the holidays a number of senior classes were conducted for Year 12 students, as they approach the Trial Higher School Certificate Examinations, beginning in week three. These classes enabled students to clarify and revise subject matter studied in the HSC courses, while continuing to consolidate their understanding of all relevant concepts. I thank the teachers for conducting the holiday classes and acknowledge the students for their commitment to achieving their best. 

Next Wednesday the community will celebrate the feast day of Mary Magdalene, our patron. The day will begin with Mass at 9.30am which will be followed by activities to promote a sense of community. As has been the case in recent times in the afternoon funds will be collected for the Magdalene/St Clare’s Care Fund. 

This fund was set up three years ago to support families in the school community who are encountering financial difficulties due to significant illness, suffered by a family member. Over time the fund has supported a number of families who have appreciated the practical support as well as the kind thoughts of the community.

Last Monday all members of the teaching staff were involved in a professional development day with a focus on standards across the school. The establishment of consistent standards is of great importance to student learning growth at Magdalene. This understanding is essential to improve knowledge of requirements and the strategies that can be used to achieve each of the standards. With the reliance on report grades, it is essential that there is common understanding of what each grade (standard) entails and how this can be achieved.  The consistency of grade allocation and standards will be enhanced as a result of the staff involvement in the professional development day.

This week our community will bid farewell to Miss Saywell, who will take up a permanent appointment at Mamre Christian College. I take this opportunity to thank Miss Saywell for her contribution to the school and wish her all the best in her new position. As a result of this change, some Mathematics classes will be changing their teacher with Mr Arzapitian teaching a range of junior Mathematics classes for the remainder of the year.

Last Monday we received the wonderful news that Mrs Violi gave birth to a beautiful new baby daughter, Sofia. I congratulate Mrs Violi and her husband David on the birth of Sofia. I wish Sofia every blessing all the days of her life.

During the holidays NAIDOC Week was observed across the nation. NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is an opportunity for each of us to gain a greater understanding of indigenous people’s past while looking forward to a bright future in our community. The theme of Naidoc Week in 2015 is:

“We stand on Sacred Ground. Learn Respect Celebrate.”

This is a recognition of the present and a challenge for the future. I include the following prayer as a reflection of times past and hope in the future.

Prayer for the Journey of Healing

 Almighty and loving God,

 you who created ALL people in your image,

 lead us to seek your compassion as we listen to the stories of our past. 

You gave your only Son, Jesus, who died and rose again

 so that sins will be forgiven. 

We place before you the pain and anguish of dispossession of land,

 language, lore, culture and family kinship that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have experienced.

 We live in faith that all people will rise from the depths of despair and hopelessness. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families have endured the pain and loss of loved ones,

 through the separation of children from their families. 

We are sorry and ask God’s forgiveness. 

Toughen the hearts of the broken, homeless and afflicted and heal their spirits.

 In your mercy and compassion walk with us as we continue our journey of healing 

to create a future that is just and equitable. 

Lord, you are our hope. Amen.

 

 National Council of Churches in Australia (NATSIEC)

God Bless 

 

Mr John Lo Cascio

Principal

 

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Week 9 Term 2 2015

Dear Parents, Students, Staff and Friends of the Magdalene Community,

On Thursday 11 June the school celebrated the tremendous talent that is evident in our community through ‘Magdalene Shines’. As expressed by compere Ben Brown this was truly a “showcase and celebration of talent.” I was impressed by students’ willingness to use their talent and become involved in the evening which proved to be an outstanding evening of entertainment. I acknowledge the students who were involved and congratulate them on their commitment and obvious talent. I also thank Mr Mäe, Mr O’Donnell and Ms Flick for their organisation of the evening. I express my gratitude to each of the teacher volunteers for giving up their time to support the students. Finally thank you to everyone who came along to support the students and give them the recognition they deserve.

I remind parents that Parent /Teacher/ Student interviews for Years 7 to 10 will be conducted over the coming week. A designated evening has been nominated for students in each of the year groups and all students are able to make bookings for Friday 26 June. As all teachers will be involved in interviews there will be no lessons on that day and students not involved in interviews will not be required to attend school. 

Next term students will return to school on Tuesday July 14. The first day of term is a staff development day, which will be used to develop greater understanding of “Grades and academic standards” across year groups. This knowledge will then be applied to assessment tasks and differentiated lessons across the school. The day will be facilitated by Mrs Cheryl Russell, from the Catholic Education Office, and the Magdalene Leadership Team. The overall aim of the professional learning is to continue a focus on excellence by having a thorough understanding of standards.

Over the holidays two members of the teaching staff will be married to their respective fiancées. I wish Mr Aaron Boom and his fiancée Anita and Miss Marie Partridge and her fiancée Paul all the very best for their wedding day. I also wish them every blessing in their future lives together.

Last week Mrs Violi began her maternity leave for the remainder of 2015. I take this opportunity to wish Mrs Violi and her husband David all the best for the impending birth of their baby and assure them our thoughts and prayers will be with them. 

Tonight the school will be conducting the annual winter sleep out in support of homeless people in our society. There are a number of teachers and students involved in the Ignite retreat and the sleep out. The event is conducted so participants  can gain a greater understanding of the plight of the homeless as well as offer them support. I thank everybody involved and will include a more comprehensive report in the next newsletter.

The past week has been recognised as World Refugee Week. Refugee Week is an annual event which promotes positive images of refugees and celebrates the valuable contribution refugees make to Australian society. The ultimate aim is to facilitate better understanding between different communities and encourage successful integration, enabling refugees to live in safety and to continue making a valuable contribution to Australia. 

The theme of Refugee Week is “With courage let us all combine”. It is a challenge for each of us to reach out and increase our understanding and support of refugees so they feel very much part of our community.

 

A Prayer for Refugees

 

Almighty and merciful God,

whose Son became a refugee

and had no place to call his own;

Look with mercy on those who today

are fleeing from danger,

homeless and hungry.

Bless those who work to

bring them relief;

inspire generosity and compassion in all our hearts; 

and guide the nations of the world towards that day

when all will rejoice in your Kingdom of justice and of peace;

 

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Amen.

 

God Bless 

Mr John Lo Cascio

Principal

 

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Week 7 Term 2 2015

Dear Parents, Students, Staff and Friends of the Magdalene Community,

Last Friday the staff of the school were taken through a reflective spiritual journey by Fr Richard Leonard. Fr Richard allowed us to focus on the young people in our care and the world in which they live. That world is a media saturated world where our students are continually subjected to messages that are at times immoral and unchristian. Messages that are reinforced continually in the many web sites they visit or the media that they view for entertainment. At times this can be in conflict with the values we profess and give young people a warped sense of what is right. With this in mind it is essential that we as educators and parents are aware of that world and continually reinforce our values and challenge some social norms as being unacceptable.

Fr Richard reminded us of our role as Christian educators to enable the young people in our care to become hope filled, faith filled loving men and women who will make a difference to society because of their values. We at Magdalene take that role very seriously. Our name Magdalene Catholic High School suggests we are committed to a Catholic outlook and our mission is to enable our students to develop their faith, academic ability and knowledge in a supportive faithful and value-laden environment. As educators at Magdalene we take this role very seriously. As we accept this role we will continue to work in partnership with parents as we promote the development and knowledge of Christian values among the young people in our care.

I remind parents, as we approach the end of term, that all students in Years 7 to 11 will receive their Mid - Year Reports. These reports are a reflection of student progress to date. The reports are a snap shot of student performance and are a summary of current learning and a guide to improved future learning. The reports are also supported by parent teacher interviews, which are meant to add to the information in the reports and increase understanding of student progress and direction. I remind parents of the importance of these two forms of communication and look forward to seeing you at parent teacher interviews. The dates for the interviews are as follows:

Year 11 

Monday 15 June,  3.00pm - 7.00pm -Bookings open Friday June 5.

Years 7-9 

Monday, 22 June, 3.00pm - 7.00pm - Bookings open Friday  June 12. 

Years 8-10 

Wednesday, 24 June 3.00pm - 7.00pm - Bookings open Friday June 12.

Last Wednesday the student body recognised the following students at our assembly. The students were acknowledged by their peers for their commitment to academic excellence and their support of other students in their learning. Congratulations to:

Year 7 -   Brooke Smith

Year 8 -   Peter Cornett

Year 9 -   Elise Vella

Year 10 - Mikaela Buttigieg

Year 11 - Damon Koulouris

Year 12 - Jordan Duncan

Last Monday a number of staff and students attended the funeral of Mrs Lisa Boaro. Mrs Boaro is the mother of Madeline (Year 10), Rachel (Year 8) and Nicholas (St Paul’s Camden). It is with a great deal of sadness that we farewelled Mrs Boaro. On behalf of our community I assure Mr Paul Boaro, Madeline, Rachael and Nicholas as well as the extended   family of our heart felt sympathies, our prayers and support at this very sad time.

Over this last week we have really felt winter set in with the drop in temperature and cold weather. It is also a time when the poor and needy are in most need of support and assistance. As a school we have made many attempts to support the poor and needy through our collections for the St Vincent de Paul Society which continue at present. This week our prayer has a focus on the poor and needy recognising their plight. It is also timely to reflect on the Gospel last Thursday in which Jesus reinforces, to the disciples, that the greatest Commandment is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.”

In order to truly love those around us we also need to recognise our role in improving their situation. At Magdalene we have the opportunity to do just that. I encourage all students to support the Winter Sleepout and the St Vincent de Paul Winter Collection.

Prayer for the poor and needy

 Lord God,

You came to give honour to the least, those forgotten, overlooked and misjudged.

You came to give first place to the last, those left behind, misunderstood and undervalued.

You came to give a warm welcome to the lost, those who are orphaned, abandoned and destitute.

 

Help us to be your ears to listen to their cries.

Help us to be your voice speaking out love and acceptance.

Help us to be your feet walking beside those in need.

Help us to be your hands to clothe, feed and shelter them.

 

You came for the least, the lost and last of this world. 

Lord, hear our prayer.

 

Amen.

 (a contemporary prayer for the poor and vulnerable from www.lords-prayer-words.com)

God Bless 

 

Mr John Lo Cascio

Principal