St Mary's Wellington
Reflections on National Apology
On 13th February, St Mary’s Catholic School held an assembly to acknowledge and celebrate the 10th anniversary of the National Apology made by former Prime Minister, Mr Kevin Rudd.
Mrs Loretta Stanley-Black and Ms Jody Chester were our special guests. Jody opened our assembly with a special Welcome to Country followed by a summary of the significance the Apology has had on Australian history. Loretta shared a very emotional speech on the grief, suffering and loss caused to her, her family and many Indigenous families of the Stolen Generation affected by the actions, policies and enforced laws of successive parliaments and governments.
We had an outstanding performance of ‘We are Australian’ by our amazing secondary students and readings by our students of quotes from many public figures of the Aboriginal community about what the Apology meant to them. Students had the chance to watch the Apology and time to reflect and remember those of the Stolen Generation.
Special congratulations to Demi Owens, who was named the winner of an art competition held by WACHS during Sorry Day 2017. Demi was presented with her award during the assembly.
Mr William Hill
Aboriginal Education Worker
National Young Leaders Day
Recently, Kate Hannelly (School Captain) and I flew to Sydney with Principal Mr Price, to attend and the National Young Leaders’ Day at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour.
We listened to four very inspiring speeches from Australian leaders: the Hon Gladys Berejiklian MP, Premier of NSW; John Coutis, Speaker and Mentor; AFL legend and 2014 Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes; and former NSW Commissioner of Police, Andrew Scipione.
The Premier’s speech was inspiring to each and every one of the 1,600 people in the room. John Coutis, who is without the lower part of his body, gave a speech that silenced the whole room. It was fantastic and touching.
Adam Goodes was also encouraging as he talked about his football career and how he became who he is now. He then spoke of the importance of continuing the fight against racism and discrimination.
Andrew Scipione was the 21st Police Commissioner of NSW until his retirement at the start of this year and motivated everyone, telling us about his career in the Police Force.
After the conference, we then went on a harbour cruise around Darling Harbour and walked along George Street, window-shopping. All three of us had a great time and Kate and I would like to extend our thanks to Mr Price for organising and accompanying us on this journey.
St Mary’s students experience a cultural excursion
Congratulations to our Stage 2 students who represented St Mary's Catholic School so positively during their cultural excursion to Dubbo in October. A visit to the Dubbo Western Plains Cultural Centre, art classes and dropping into the Old Dubbo Gaol were highlights of the day.
Mrs Clarke, Mrs Wykes and Miss Rich
Aboriginal heritage respected at St Mary’s, Wellington
Recently, Ms Denise Kelly, Aboriginal Education Worker at St Mary's Catholic School, Wellington completed a painting that was presented to the school at the opening school leadership Mass, celebrated by Father Carl Mackander on Wednesday 10th February 2016.
During Mass, Father Carl blessed the painting, which will be used as a "Welcome to St Mary's and Wiradjuri Country" sign to be displayed at the school entrance.
St Mary's is very proud of the inclusive manner in which our Aboriginal heritage is incorporated respectfully into the everyday life of the School.
Professional Developmet at St. Mary's, Wellington - November 2015
The staff of St Mary’s have made a considerable commitment to Professional Development in the last term of 2015. The Staff Development day saw Secondary teachers attending a conference with International educationalist, Dylan Williams on Formative Assessment. This provided strategies to allow teachers to be in tune with the learning of individual students on an ongoing basis - rather then focusing on the “Big A” Assessments.
Chris Stevens and Alistaire Thompson have been acting as mentors for some primary and secondary boys in a formal setting throughout the year. They both attended two courses recently - Rock and Water and Addressing Challenging Behaviours. The Rock and Water program will be implemented in 2016. This teaches students to be mindful and be better able to react to situation in an appropriate manner - either as a rock - standing up for a person's value in a controlled manner, or as water - accepting what cannot change and reacting in an accepting and flexible manner. The second course supported the Rock and Water program. This was presented by psychologist Julie Hollet.
St Mary’s hosted a follow up to the Restorative Justice program that the Wellington Learning Community sponsored earlier in the year. Psychologist, Di Frost provided staff with strategies for “circle talks” in which student conflicts can be resolved in a restorative and proactive manner.
Finally, the school’s Professional Learning Communities Leadership Team of Leanne Clarke, Simon price, Anna Brien, Maureen Milgate and Carole Reinhard attended the final two days of a course on implementing the Professional Learning Community model across the school. The successful implementation of this process has been one of the driving factors behind the excellent results that have been generated in both NAPLAN and school based assessments. In fact, the success at St Mary’s is recognised across the diocese. A number of schools are sending staff to the school to investigate the many tiers of individualised, explicit and flexible learning at the school.
Visit by Marist Brother
Earlier in 2015, the St. Mary’s Catholic School hosted a visit from Marist Brother Paul Hough, who works in children’s courts and schools, primarily amongst Aboriginal children and youth. A number of community groups that support the school including TAFE, WACS, Boomali, and the Wellington Council, attended a consultation meeting. Brother Paul congratulated St. Mary’s on its inclusive welcome it offers the Aboriginal community. He said that few schools he has visited is able to provide such a welcome. The work of Aboriginal Education Worker, Denise Kelly is again recognised.
Parent and Student involvement in Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL)
St. Mary’s is fortunate to have staff, parent and student involvement in the school’s PBL committee. Alison Owens has recently accepted the parent representative position and the school captains have been members of the committee for a number of years. Currently, Maddison Hunt and Jack Broome have also joined the representative team.
The PBL committee meets a number of times each term and reviews the framework, examines behaviour data, plans PBL focus lessons and the rewards. This has resulted in very successful changes to the Framework this year, with major rewards being awarded each term as opposed to the end of each year being a key feature.