I wish to thank all the families who attended our Parent Information Nights last week. It was delightful to see so many parents join us to hear about our 2012-2016 Strategic Plan and for me to have the opportunity of sharing our educational vision for Loreto Marryatville. If you were unable to attend, please visit the College reception to collect a copy of the Strategic Plan. Our hope is that each family has a copy and is able to see the plan in action in all that we do with our students, as we look forward and progress over the next four years. I will also be hosting a number of coffee mornings on the Junior College Campus, over the term, to address elements of the Plan and educational vision in more depth. Please look for the dates in upcoming newsletters; I look forward to our conversations together.
At the Parent Information Nights, I also shared with the parent body a new Pastoral Care Initiative, the ‘Go For Good’ program, which is being implemented across R-12 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. If you were unable to attend the meetings, I encourage you to speak with your daughter and ask her about this program. It is based on Dr Martin Seligman’s work on Positive Psychology and is a wonderful way of helping our students and staff to think positively about their life and to show gratitude for what they have. It dovetails with our Ignatian spirituality of reflection and gratitude, which already underpins what we do in our College.
Dr Seligman has been part of the Thinkers in Residence program supported by the Government of South Australia and the Catholic Education Office. His work is based on scientific research and his findings have led to a new understanding of well-being represented by the acronym PERMA.
PERMA is defined as follows:
P: Positive Emotions – experiencing joy and pleasure which can be increased
by exercising gratitude and kindness;
E: Engagement – being actively and consciously involved in activities
by having a deep knowledge of one’s strengths and focusing on developing
R: Relationships – having enjoyable and supportive interactions with others;
M: Meaning – creating a purposeful meaning to our lives which can be exercised
by belonging and serving something bigger than oneself;
A: Accomplishment – completing our goals and following our core values; this is
exercised through self-discipline and grit.
As a staff, we are very excited about exploring further the elements of PERMA with our students and whole College community. I encourage you to read Dr Seligman’s most recent publication, Flourish. It is really a must read for anyone interested in the mental health of our young people and, indeed, the mental health of our communities and our society as we navigate the 21C.
Thank you to all who have provided us with such positive feedback on the Parent Information Nights. We greatly appreciate your feedback and support and encourage you to please keep the communication lines open. I would like to share the following link which was sent to me after the information nights, by one of our parents who was familiar with Dr Seligman’s work. It’s a wonderful clip which I have shared with the whole staff and I think you, too, will find it very enlightening, as we work together in partnership, to foster the well-being of our students; your daughters. The link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=iCvmsMzlF7o
Also, given the essence of my input at Parent Information Nights, I will include in upcoming newsletters ‘Parenting Tips’ on various topics which may be of assistance and interest to parents. These information sheets have been prepared by collating latest research and are sent to Principals of schools as a way of supporting their parent body. I hope you will find them useful over the year. I have included the first one in the Resources for Parents page which is on Virtues and dovetails beautifully with the content of my presentation last week.
Last week we shared in a very spiritual and moving Ash Wednesday liturgy and we thank Fr Paul Mullins for his presence at the College. Fr Mullins reminded us of the significance of Lent and referred to the Gospel teachings where we are asked to do good but to not expect compliments or payment in return; to not brag about what we do because that is not what God asks of us.
The 40 days of Lent give all of us an opportunity to reflect on our lives; to give to others; to fast and to engage in activities which help the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves. At the College we will have daily prayer and weekly mass and liturgies to remind the girls of this special time. I hope that at home, also, you as a family can join together and reinforce the lessons that the girls are exposed to at school. I encourage you to support the work of Caritas as the girls engage through their home classes in fund raising activities throughout this term.
I would also like to draw your attention that Wednesday of this week was the United Nations World Day of Social Justice and all Australians were asked to mark the day by acknowledging social exclusion and injustice and making a personal commitment to act in a just manner.
There are many ways that we can do this and, perhaps, as a family in this year of Justice, you might like to consider some of the following suggestions shared with us by Mrs Isabelle Roberts, our R-5 REC:
At our Parent Information nights last week I emphasised the importance of all students attending our whole school events, whether they are in races or not. The importance of all staff and students being involved in such events, together, is critical to developing, amongst many others, the skills of support, cooperation, collaboration and leadership, and in enriching the community spirit of sharing together with felicity, which is such an important part of belonging to the Loreto College community. It was, therefore, with some disappointment that there were large numbers of students who were absent on Swimming Carnival day; their absence let down their House Leaders, team mates and staff who had spent many hours in preparation for the day. Genuine illness is always an exception, but the large numbers absent were not consistent with genuine illness on a normal school day. I again ask all parents to support the College in whole school events, as much time is spent by staff and students to organise and plan these large scale events to allow students to experience “the more”, which is so important in our community. We invite you, as parents, to come and join us at these carnivals so you, too, can see the wonderful experiences that the girls will have; these are the memories they will take with them long after they have left school.
Next Thursday, 28 February, is the Year 6-12 Athletics Carnival held at Santos Stadium; the expectation of the College is that all students will be in attendance, whether they are actively in events or spectators. It is not appropriate for students to be given permission to stay home to catch up on school work.
We are still very concerned with the lack of courtesy displayed by some of our parents to each other at pick up times, in paticular 3pm-4pm. We ask you to please adhere to the two minute parking regulation in consideration of all our parents. There are some vehicles which do not move at all. Out of sheer frustration, some parents have reported to the College the make and registration numbers of cars which they see regularly in breach of the parking regulations.
As the College does not have the names of the owners of these cars we, unfortunately, cannot speak to them directly. In support, however, of the parents who are becoming increasingly frustrated by those who are not doing the right thing, from the next Newsletter onwards, we will publish the make and registration number of any vehicles in breach of the parking regulations. In this way, we hope to alert those car owners to assist us in all working together in the spirit of courtesy and cooperation for all parents.
We understand that some families have daughters in different sub-schools, but we do provide supervision in Talbot Grove until 3:30pm. After this the R-5 girls are taken into the office area. Older siblings can collect their younger siblings from the office between 3:30pm and 3:50 pm, hence reducing the traffic flow.
As the weather is fine at the moment, I also ask that if you have students in Years 6-12, that you consider parking a little further away and either walking to Talbot Grove to pick up your daughters or perhaps they could walk to your car. That way, we can limit the car pick ups for those students in Years R-5.
In this year of Justice, perhaps this is one way of role modelling to your daughters the care and courtesy we have for each other. I thank you in anticipation of your cooperation with this matter.
A special congratulations to the following students for their outstanding achievements:
As we enter the season of Lent let us pray:
Your whole life, Lord, was a preparation for your passion, death and resurrection.
I now have these forty days of Lent to prepare myself to stand with you.
Help me to live these mysteries with a sense of fervour, gratitude and awe.