STAFFING UPDATE – TERM 2
As we approach the end of Semester One, staff have been extremely busy with assessment task completion, marking and providing feedback for students. With this being such a busy time, any variation to the daily routine is heightened by the stress and anxiety some students have around their classes. The College attempts to minimise the number of internal changes with teaching loads and will always try to provide consistency for the students, however, this is not always possible due to unforeseen circumstances and illness.
Currently staffing variations are evident with Mrs Thompson continuing her leave to care for her husband; Mr Drummond has returned to Savio Education Centre for the remainder of the term and we await the return of three staff members who re-join us for the beginning of Term 3 from their respective maternity leave, which will result in slight changes to the current timetable.
We wish Mr Lawson all the best as he embarks on a cultural immersion to South America with other members of the EREA community for three weeks commencing in the last week of this term. We look forward to hearing all about his experiences and welcome the opportunity for him to share with us his reflections on his return and trust that he has a safe journey.
TERM 2 – SEMESTER ONE FOCUS
Attendance: we ask for your support in terms of ensuring that you are monitoring your son’s attendance and punctuality closely. Whilst we are still addressing lateness of buses with the respective companies, parents are reminded that the College day begins at 8:30 am. As always, we will continue to work with parents to keep a close check that their son is attending school every day and all day as required by law. An important part of the daily schedules of our Pastoral Coordinators and Front Office staff is to monitor and follow up on patterns of absence or lateness. The feedback we receive from parents when we contact them about suspicious absences is generally extremely positive and appreciative.
Community Awareness: travelling to and from school each day requires added responsibilities. Many of our commuters within the community often email and phone in positive comments regarding students from the College and their respectful behaviours. This is always very pleasing to hear as the Penrith community does hold St Dominic’s in high regard and as a community we endeavour to maintain this reputation. Of course, this reputation applies to students who travel to and from school on trains and buses. On occasion, concerned members of the public alert us to the poor behaviour of some students they encounter of a morning or afternoon where their experience is not so positive. Students are reminded that they are representing the entire College when travelling on public transport and their behaviour must reflect this responsibility. We as a community enjoy receiving so many positive comments made about how well dressed the students are, whilst waiting at bus stops around the local streets as they are going to and from work, and I encourage all students to continue to maintain this high level of community awareness and recognise their role in ensuring it continues.
Social Media: we ask that parents are aware of the number of platforms their son currently uses in relation to social media. Throughout the past month there have been too many students who have willingly posted negative information about themselves or others. Ownership of information is lost, as soon as it is up-loaded, students are once again reminded about their own digital citizenship and the enormous responsibility that comes with engaging in social media. Often students make poor decisions with regards to what, when and how they engage in these platforms, especially regarding context or establishing intent to what message they are attempting to convey to others. Often it is too late to attempt to explain the meaning of a message or undo a poor online decision and consequences will be required. The Office of the e-Safety Commissioner is an excellent online resource and can provide parents with examples and discussion points to assist in the conversation with your son about his safety online (www.esafety.gov.au). As parents, the iParent resource may be extremely useful and can assist in the experiences your son may be having online.
All St Dominic’s boys are expected to treat themselves, their peers, their teachers and their families with utmost respect, both in the way they speak and the choices that they make. Similarly, every St Dominic’s student is expected to take full responsibility for their actions. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time and as an authentic Catholic community the College endeavours to help students learn from and move past their mistakes, restoring those relationships affected by poor choices. Owning and accepting responsibility for our mistakes is essential to maintaining one’s place in the community and earning the respect of others.