Weekly Reflection

A Prayer to Mary MacKillop

Ever generous God,

You inspired Saint Mary MacKillop to live her life faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and constant in bringing hope and encouragement to those who were disheartened, lonely or needy.

With confidence in your generous providence and through the intercession of Saint Mary MacKillop, we ask that you grant our prayerful requests. 

We ask that our faith and hope be fired afresh by the Holy Spirit so that we too, like Mary MacKillop, may live with courage, trust and openness.

Ever generous God hear our prayer.

We ask this through Jesus Christ.

Amen.

The Feast of Mary MacKillop was celebrated on 8 August.

Live Life to the Full

At this time of unprecedented anxiety and uncertainty in our local communities it is timely that the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has released its 2020-2021 Social Justice Statement.

“Mental health is not simply the absence of illnesses, but having the capacity and opportunity to thrive – that is, to participate in the fullness of life to which Jesus invites us (Jn 10:10). We are a unity of body, mind and spirit.

The abundant life to which we are invited engages our whole selves, physically, psychologically and spiritually. It touches all aspects of our life together in community – social, economic and cultural – because God created us out of love and for loving relationships.

We are social beings. We need the bonds of family, friends and the broader community to celebrate the joys and hopes of life. These bonds help us to face the usual challenges of life, but they are even more important in times of anxiety or despair.

We need the economic means to meet the costs of living, to develop our potential through opportunities to study, to pursue our personal callings through our work, and to plan for the future.

A just economy ensures we can contribute to and share in the benefits of our society’s common wealth.”

Mark Coleridge Archbishop of Brisbane President, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

You can read the entire statement by following this link:  www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au


Shaun Coates

Religious Education and Faith Development Coordinator

From the Principal

The blooming of the wattle always brings great hope. The vibrant yellow of our national floral emblem is a sign that winter is almost over and that soon the sunshine and flowers of spring will burst from the ground.

It helps to keep the seasons in perspective. To remember that winter is part of an annual cycle and will come to an end. The bitter cold winds of this past week will pass, and we will soon be enjoying the warm summer sun.

The same can be said of our return to Distance Learning Mode.

When our Year 12 students left the College last Tuesday, they were very flat as were their teachers. But it helps to keep in mind the big picture and be assured that this too will end. Six weeks seems like a long time, but if we look ahead, we realise that this will pass. The pandemic will be beaten, a vaccination will become available, and our lives will return to a semblance of normality.

For many, their lives will be forever changed; however, a long term view brings hope and comfort. So this week, may the vibrancy of the wattle bring all of us confidence in a bright and prosperous future.

Marlene Jorgensen

Principal

From the Deputy Principal Students

Lockdown is hard. It hurts our kids and it’s a drain on parents.

The first time was tricky. There were challenges. For some, it was horrible. But most of us managed ok and got through it.

This time it’s different. The pressure is higher. The demands are greater. The children are more oppositional. The home learning stretch will be longer. There’s work stress, family stress, and stress about being stressed!

While we can’t click our fingers and make it magically disappear, there are real strategies that parents and children can rely on to not just survive, but thrive – even in a far-too-long lockdown. They’re simple ideas that you can start on right away.

Join Dr Justin Coulson, one of Australia’s most trusted parenting specialists, in a free online webinar on Wednesday 19 August at 8pm when he shares four secrets to make it through the pain of the winter COVID-19 Victorian lockdown.  

By the end of the webinar, you will:

  • Feel reassured, with less stress and pressure around your kids, their schooling, and life
  • Have concrete strategies you can start on immediately to make your family happier
  • Know how to be on the same page as your partner
  • Be able to develop habits and practices that will ensure your children – and YOU – can get your daily work done, even while everyone is stuck at home.

Parents don’t need to attend the live webinar if they have other commitments. A recording will be emailed to everyone who registers.

    Register for Lightening the Lockdown Load webinar

    Learning at home

    I attended a webinar presented by the eSafety Commissioner last week. The information provided was very valuable and I’d like to share some of it with you.

    We recognise that staying safe online is something many parents and guardians are concerned about and that privacy and protecting young people should be a priority.

    Given the changing environment, eSafety is focused on providing the most up-to-date material about online safety. Its homepage has a direct link to the latest information relevant to COVID-19. You can also sign up to their newsletter to keep up-to-date as new resources come online.

    I encourage you to read the most recent blogposts, COVID-19: an online safety kit for parents and carers and COVID-19: protecting children from online abuse. They contain links to useful resources for young people and parents. The eSafety website also has information on developing good habits and supporting kids while they are online.

    As your children are likely to be interacting more online to learn, play and socialise over the coming weeks, it’s even more important to set expectations about online behaviour, regardless of their comfort level or proficiency with technology. Have a conversation with them to ensure they know they have reporting pathways if something negative happens online. 

    Some simple ideas are available in eSafety's Top 5 Online Safety Tips for Kids and its guide to Reporting Cyber Bullying.

    The e-Safety parents page also has more tips and resources about the use of digital technology at home and an Australian edition of COVID-19 Global Online Safety Advice for Parents and Carers.

    Rob Blackley

    Deputy Principal Students

    From the Deputy Principal Learning and Teaching

    Week 5 has begun with all our students participating in Distance Learning Mode (DLM) via our Teams platform.

    Last week I had the opportunity to be in 10A’s homeroom meetings and it is wonderful to see how our homeroom teachers are supporting your child through this time with affirmations, advice for wellbeing and learning and social interaction. We know how entwined wellbeing and learning are and we aim for excellence in both during this difficult time.

    The Teams platform has become invaluable for our Subject and Pathway Selection presentations and our student and family interviews.

    The Vincit and Year 10 VCAL Pathway Interviews will take place tomorrow, Wednesday 12 August, from 4pm to 5.30pm. This provides a chance for students and families to ask questions and be sure they are choosing the best pathway to achieve their career goals.

    Student acceleration interviews will also be held this week. Please contact Year 9 Gadal Director Ms Lauren Hill if you have any further questions on the information received during the meetings.

    2021 booklists

    Our Domain Leaders are working with their teams to confirm booklist items for 2021. We are aware of the financial impact books and other items have on a family budget and the need to ensure students have access to quality resources to achieve success. We aim to achieve a balance between both considerations.

    Year 12 update

    The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) is working with government to ensure no Victorian student is adversely affected by the impacts of COVID-19 and remote and flexible learning during this Stage 4 lockdown.

    As further information and advice are received, we will begin implementing any new requirements. Below is a letter to Year 12 students from Victorian Deputy Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino outlining the special consideration that will be applied to the process of calculating VCE scroes this year.

    Our Pathways Coordinator, Ms Sasha Dickson, is available to discuss career options with our Year 12 students.

    The College has a large team who work together to ensure our students are supported in their decision making for their pathways beyond Year 12. This includes Year 12 Coordinator Ms Karina Dunne, VCE Coordinator Ms Carissa Lock, VCAL/VINCIT Coordinator Ms Narelle Layton, VET Coordinator Ms Bianca Mifsud and Pathways Coordinator Ms Sasha Dickson as well as our Domain Leaders and Wellbeing Counsellors.

    During these challenging times students and parents should remain confident that they will be supported throughout the rest of the year.

    Please contact the College if you have any concerns.

    Letter from the Victorian Deputy Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino

    Joanne Holmes

    Deputy Principal Learning and Teaching

    Careers News

    It has been a very busy time in the Pathways office with Year 10 and 11 students choosing their subjects for 2021 and we now have Year 9 students going through this process.

    Even though pathways appointments are different (held online via Teams and not in person) it is encouraging to see how many students have been proactive and made appropriate subject selections.

    Year 12 students are now entering the tertiary application process. The Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) has opened and many students have attended their registration sessions through Teams. They are beginning to enter course options they wish to be considered for in 2021.

    The best way for the students to make an informed choice is to attend tertiary open days. Even though these cannot be held onsite, most are still occurring virtually. An Open Day calendar is available below.

    I encourage families to register for these events and attend virtually so students can see what campuses and courses are on offer.

    On Thursday 20 August, there will be an online Information Night to explain the VTAC application process and offer system. The session run for approximately one hour, starting at 7pm. There will be a presentation followed by a question and answer session. More information about the event has been sent to all Year 12 parents and guardians today.

    Open Day Calendar 2020

    Sasha Dickson

    Pathways Coordinator

    Mathematics Update

    We find ourselves back into Distance Learning Mode (DLM) for the second time this year and although it is challenging, both teachers and students have taken it in their stride.

    Our Maths teachers gained many new skills during the first round of DLM and have worked tirelessly to develop and improve these techniques. This picture (right) shows one of our teachers’ workspaces at home, highlighting their commitment to online learning.

    Our junior students have begun working on new topics this term - fractions for Year 7 and algebra for Year 8 and 9.

    Though these are hard concepts to grasp even in a regular classroom, our students have continued to show their resilience and enthusiasm to learn.

    Below are some photos of what students have been learning. My personal favourite is Mrs Kremer’s and Ms Kro’s Year 7 maths class who used Skittles to represent fraction parts. It illustrates one of the many innovative ways our teachers are making mathematics fun and exciting for students.

    Our senior students continued to work hard towards their goals, particularly our VCE students.

    One significant change during DLM is how we complete our Mathematics Assessment Tasks.

    Luckily, our textbook companies, Jacaranda, Cambridge and Edrolo all provide ways to assess online, which has allowed students and teachers to evaluate how successful their learning has been on every topic.

    Some Year 12 students are finishing their final topics for the year and are beginning to prepare for their exams. We’ve been using lots of different revision tools, such as Studyclix and 10minutequiz, to revise for both SACs and exams.

    I encourage parents and guardians to talk to their children about what they are learning in class and for our students to show their family what they’ve been working on.

    For parents and guardians of senior students, it is worthwhile asking about the strategies your child has used to motivate themselves and develop as individual learners. Have they created study schedules and mapped out their weekly learning tasks, including regular breaks and times away from their screens to relax?


    Mathematics can be a difficult subject. It is important that during these times, students find the right balance of school work and rest.
    Doan Nguyen

    Mathematics Domain Leader

    EAL Staff Reflections

    Some of our English as an Additional Language (EAL) students may experience more significant challenges during Distance Learning Mode (DLM) and need extra support in a home-learning environment.

    The College is privileged to have such dedicated and supportive staff who work with our EAL students to keep them motivated, engaged and connected during this time.

    Below are some reflections on DLM from our support staff.

    “Although distance learning initially made it challenging to support our EAL students, the use of Teams has made it a positive experience. It is helpful to have individual ‘chat channels’ set up for students in Teams so they can communicate with support staff (in collaboration with the teachers) by asking questions, requesting help, posting their work and receiving feedback. Students who require more focussed support can request a call with me. I can use Teams to set up calls with individuals or small groups of students, talk through the set tasks and give verbal encouragement.” Ms Gabby Meathral

    “During DLM connecting with our students is more important than ever. They cannot see you physically, but knowing support is still there is vital. A private channel in Teams enables students to ask questions, clarify what they should do, and we can brainstorm together, just like we would in the classroom. Students and I have found that when we can communicate like this, we understand each other better than through email where information can be misunderstood. However, connecting with students via email does have a place. Check-in emails can make students feel like they are not alone, and that support is close at hand. Knowing they can contact someone about their work or life in general, is all the reassurance they may need during these difficult times.” Ms Carolyn Howard

    “During DLM, I’m maintaining a presence to reassure students that I am always available to provide support, or even just to discuss concerns; not every student needs help every day by it is reassuring for them that every day, getting help is possible.” Mr Cyril Fox

    Maria Krajina

    EAL Coordinator

    Winter Sleepout

    Our annual Winter Sleepout last Friday night and the sale of face masks over the past few weeks has seen a dedicated group of students and teachers raise $1814 for St Vincent de Paul, 300 Blankets and Hope Street Youth and Family Services.

    College Social Justice Coordinator Ms Clare Hume and Student Leadership Coordinator Ms Nirasha Pandi along with 14 students turned off their heaters and slept on the floor with one blanket, pillow and a mat.

    COVID-19 restrictions meant the group were unable to gather in person this year, so the event was run online through Teams.

    The sleepout included many activities designed to highlight the plight of homeless people. Teachers and staff built blanket shelters, played an interactive video game and created posters. They also heard from organisations that help the homeless and disadvantaged in our local community and the story of a former CRC student who experienced homelessness after leaving school.

    To add to the sleepout tally, two generous staff members, Mrs Amy Rowley and Mrs Green, made and sold face masks to staff (prior to Stage 4 lockdown).

    Student reflections

    “After participating in the Winter Sleep Out, I have a new appreciation and understanding for those who are homeless. It’s not their fault - it happens as a result of bad luck and unfortunate circumstances and could happen to anyone at any moment. You don’t realise how hard it must be for them to get a good night’s sleep, or how many things they have to do just to survive, with the added issue of being stuck with their thoughts all day, every day. I think we all need to appreciate the fact that we have a safe place to call home, and all the little things that we have that homeless people miss out on.” Sophie Hine

    “I learnt that homelessness isn’t just a person that lives on the street but can come in many different forms. I also learnt that although people live stable lives, homelessness can still happen to anyone.” Madlen Hill

    “Homelessness isn’t the worst thing when the only alternative is being a victim.” Abby Timms

    “An image of a homeless person can be thought of by anyone, more than once will it be someone begging on the pathways. This experience allowed us to find a more accurate perception, which in no one case is the same.” Darcy Makin

    “I learnt that every homeless person has their own story about how they became homeless and it may not be what you think.” Elesha Gruis

    “I came to realise the realities of those who are homeless, and the barriers they overcome every day. They deserve equal rights and every one of them should be treated respectfully.” Raheal Mengistu

    “You think you know what homeless people experience, but after completing interesting and interactive activities relating to homelessness, and after sleeping in a fort with only a sleeping bag and a pillow, I can say I have experienced only a very small part of what people go through when they have no home of their own. Homeless people are humans like you, no different to you.” Ophelia Fernando

    “I found it really interesting how despite having my warmest pyjamas and a blanket I was still so cold because I was not on an actual bed, and how uncomfortable it was tossing and turning all night. I can only imagine how restless the homeless would be when this is mixed with fear and insecurity.”  Maddison Fenton

    Social Justice Team

    Supporting Businesses of our CRC Melton Community

    Our Student Representative Council understand that Stage 4 lockdown restrictions have made things difficult for many businesses.

    The students have come up with an initiative to promote businesses owned by members of the CRC Community through the College newsletter.

    If you are a current or former family or student and are interested in taking part, please email src@crcmelton.com.au for more information.

    Outdoor Education

    Unit 4 Outdoor and Environmental Studies students conducted water and soil testing using samples from Westlakes as part of their studies on Healthy Outdoor Environments last month.

    Students investigated different components of the water and soil to assess how healthy Westlakes is as an environment.

    They tested the pH, temperature, turbidity and conductivity of the water, and the texture, moisture and colour of the soil.

    Based on their findings, the students concluded that Westlakes is a healthy environment that can support a range of wildlife and flora.

    We are lucky to have such a thriving natural environment so close by.

    Annika Miesen

    Health, Physical and Outdoor Education teacher

    Virtual Cross Country Update

    CRC Melton is in third place after the first week of the SACCSS Virtual Cross Country Challenge. 

    Remember, every kilometre you run counts toward our College total for the SACCSS Competition and points for your house.

    Here are the tallies and top scorers from Week 1. And it's not too late to join the challenge - just email jgrech@crcmelton.com.au to get started.

    From the Front Office

    Under current government restrictions, all contact with the College must be made either by phone or email (unless it falls under one of the four exemptions listed by the government). 

    We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this matter.

    Staff Stories

    Here's a snapshot of what our staff have been up to this week. They were asked to share an anecdote, success story, a light-hearted reflection, interesting observation, news or uplifting moment with our College community. 
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