St John's College Dubbo
St John’s College Opening School Liturgies
The 2018 school year at St John’s College commenced with an Opening School Liturgy for Years 7, 11 and 12 on Thursday 1st February, in the Barbara Amos Hall. Years 8, 9 and 10 celebrated their Opening School Liturgy on Friday 2nd February.
It was wonderful to see happy, enthusiastic students ready for another year of education and learning.
Thank you to Fr Greg Kennedy, College Chaplain; Tom Fiander, the College's new Youth Minister for 2018; Mr Rob Exner, REC - Ministry and Mission; Elissa Burden and the College Choir; Maggie and Paul Dunn; and our Senior Liturgy Committee for their time and effort in preparing the Liturgies.
St John’s College teacher achieves elite status
Mrs Natalie Polak, Learning and Teacher Co-ordinator at St John’s College, Dubbo, recently achieved national teaching accreditation at the Highly Accomplished level, joining an elite group of 170 higher level teachers in NSW.
Natalie was presented with a medal acknowledging her achievement by The Hon. Rob Stokes, NSW Minister for Education, at an award ceremony in Sydney on 11th September 2017.
Natalie said she was humbled to have her teaching knowledge, practice and engagement celebrated. She was also proud to represent St John’s College and Catholic Education, Diocese of Bathurst (CEDB) at this distinguished event.
When asked what the accreditation means to her, Natalie said, “Being recognised as a Highly Accomplished teacher has opened the door to wonderful professional opportunities”.
This year Natalie was invited to be a member of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) Expert Standing Teaching Committee.
“I am very fortunate to be able to work every day with young minds and progressive educators at St John’s College and share my insights on education at a national level now with AITSL”, she said.
Principal of St John’s College, Mrs Kerry Morris, said Natalie is an outstanding teacher. “As a member of the College leadership team, Natalie works collaboratively to enhance the learning experiences offered to teachers and students to drive greater growth. In particular, Natalie plays a significant role in developing teachers, providing strategic leadership that promotes innovation and excellence in teaching practices throughout the College”.
Accreditation is the structured process through which teachers demonstrate quality evidence-based practice over time, by applying the knowledge and skills articulated in the standards. Teachers seek accreditation at the higher career stages as a means of having their current higher level capabilities as a teacher recognised.
Mrs Jenny Allen, Executive Director at CEDB, explained the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers apply to all career stages.
“The Standards define the knowledge, practice and professional engagement needed for high quality, effective teaching that improves student learning outcomes. They use nationally agreed indicators of teacher quality to guide the preparation, support and development of teachers throughout their careers”.
“Natalie is an excellent example of the calibre of the leaders in our schools. By developing herself and building her expertise as a teacher, Natalie is able to develop others based on the dimension of our Model of Christ Centred Learning, which focuses on developing a learning culture that deepens insight and meaning”, said Mrs Allen.
St. John’s College Dubbo – 2015 Indonesia Sister School Exchange
A sense of excitement and awakening was always at hand for St. John’s College students and teachers who took part in the 2015 Indonesia Sister School Exchange trip to the city of Cilegon. With a population of 400,000 (considered modest by Indonesian standards), Cilegon sits 200km North West from Jakarta on the island of Java.
From the first day of the trip, the students were bombarded with colour, pomp and ceremony. This heightened level of festivity was also due to this being the first visit from St. John’s College principal, Kerry Morris to both SMANDAKS Senior School and SMPIT Junior School.
St. John’s students made strong connections with Indonesian students, mainly through their extensive “selfie” obligations, made greater by the emphasis on “group selfies”. With the respective billeting arrangements, students were able to gain first-hand experience of everyday Indonesian life, allowing them to witness the warm hospitality, tasty Javanese cuisine and profound Islamic faith; including the customary 4.30 am wake up call for morning prayer.
Outside of Cilegon, students first visited Jakarta which entailed a fun day at Dufan theme park. From there, it was onto Bandung to witness an Angklung (Indonesian xylophone) concert and a visit to a nearby sulphur lake.
Upon returning to Cilegon, it was time for St. John’s College students to show off their skills and talents to the Indonesians. Things started off in front of the Governor of the Banten province no less, where students performed an enthusiastic rendition of “Call me maybe”. In sporting pursuits, St. John’s College students battled hard in the humid conditions when playing SMANDAKS in a game of Futsal. Junior students dressed up in traditional Javanese clothes and took part in a charity fundraiser performing a few songs on the Angklung. A visit was also made to the Cilegon mayor’s office, which resulted in Lillian Guelen and Emily Exner finding their way into the local newspaper.
As for teachers, Madame Strahorn provided Indonesian students with a French lesson, bringing new meaning to the phrase “lost in translation” and Mr Josh (as called by Indonesian pupils) delivered a dynamic lesson on Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet which culminated with his class singing Waltzing Matilda.
Throughout the stay, the most memorable feature was the sincere warm heartedness and care of the Indonesian people, made all too obvious by the lengthy farewells at Jakarta airport. The families went to great lengths to provide the students with the most enriching and comfortable experience possible. As a community, we look forward to reciprocating their kindness in 2016.