Parent Forum

As mentioned in the last edition of our newsletter, all schools are required by the Diocese of Lismore Catholic Schools Limited board to review their Parent Forum model.  On Thursday, February 22nd, a small group of parents attended the presentation and discussed the options.  This is outlined in the attachment below, along with a survey link that all families are invited to complete, which will inform the option we choose.  Please complete this survey by Friday, March 15th.  We aim to introduce the chosen model during Term 3 this year and in the meantime our current Parent Formum executives will continue in their roles to support parent engagement. 

Mobile phones and smart watches

As per the Parent Handbook (Pages 8 & 12); mobile phones and smart watches (and the like) are not permitted at St James Primary.  This was a topic covered in the parent-grade information sessions and was at times hotly debated, which is a great example of parents and the school staff working together to understand perspectives and reasoning behind decisions.  The below letter was provided to all Stage 3 families (Year 5/6) and I feel it prudent to provide this to everyone so that we can work together to provide a safe and supportive digital space for our children and educate them to become responsible digital citizens.

School Improvement Goals: Fortnightly update

Short Term Goals

Our recent short-term goal was 'We will engage in the Grade parent information sessions so that everyone is informed, involved, and included in the 2024 learning journey.'  Thank you to our teachers for providing this important connecting activity and thank you to the many parents who attended.

Our new short-term goal is 'All families will engage in the Week 6 learning conferences to celebrate glows and co-create student goals so that all can achieve success.'

Long Term Goals

One of the longer-term goals is centred on building authentic partnerships with families that enhance connections with school and home.  Our recent parent-grade information sessions are a wonderful example of this goal in action.

Staffing News

Ms Lauren Ayres, current support teacher, finishes her time with us today; she is due to have her second baby in March.  We wish Lauren all the best and on behalf of our community, we thank her for her support of our students and the dedication she has given to them.  We look forward to hearing the happy news soon!

3-Way Conferences & Parent Meeting

Learning Conferences:

At St James Primary we hold Learning Conferences (Parent/Teacher/Student) each Term, which gives students and families significant opportunities to reflect upon achievements and set new aspirations for future learning.   This, along with formal A-E reports, social & emotional tracking, and celebration of learning events, create a cyclic package of communication about student learning and wellbeing with parents and teachers, and the child at the centre of the conversation.

Term 1 Conferences will be held next week: March 5th, 6th & 7th.  We thank our staff for their dedication to this process and we thank you, our parents for engaging with your children in their learning - this is one of the most important things you can do to support growth and promote learning as a life-long adventure.

Parent Information Meetings:

We held our Grade welcome meetings for parents in week 4.  These gatherings enabled teachers to provide important information about the Grade structures and enable you to meet your child’s teachers and ask questions.  The link to the video sessions is below:

2025 Enrolments

Enrolments for Kindergarten 2025 are now open; the school open day tours and the Principal's presentation will be on Tuesday, March 12th, with enrolments closing on Friday, April 5th. 

Online enrolments open from Monday, March 4th.

Web Article

To Conclude

We commenced our Lenten journey on February 14th with Ash Wednesday Mass; Lent is a very special opportunity to grow in our relationship with God and deepen our commitment to a way of life. Lord God, you who breathed the spirit of life within us.  Draw out of us the light and life you created.  May Lent grant us time to reflect upon our patterns, pray more deeply, and be generous to those in need.  

With blessings,

Nic.

Ash Wednesday Mass

Online Safety for Every Family

Connect with what your child or young person is doing online. Explore what apps, social media and games they regularly use. Start the conversation about safe online behaviour.

Reflect on your family’s online habits. Is your families screen time balanced and healthy?

Protect your child or young person with tools they need to stay safe online.

Learn about the latest games, apps and social media, including how to protect your information and report harmful content by using The eSafety Guide.

Make getting students to school on time every day a top priority.

Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school and themselves. Ensuring that students arrive at school on time every day is crucial for their academic success and wellbeing. Parents play a crucial role in instilling the importance of punctuality in their children. Here are some strategies for parents to make getting students to school on time every day a top priority:

  • Establish a Consistent Routine. Set a daily routine that includes specific times for waking up, getting ready, having breakfast, and leaving for school. Consistency helps children develop good habits.
  • Model Punctuality. Children often learn by example. Demonstrate the importance of punctuality by being on time for family events, appointments, and other commitments.
  • Limit or Have No Screen Time in the Morning. Minimise distractions such as excessive screen time in the morning. This helps your child stay focused on getting ready for school without unnecessary delays.

Upcoming Events

Please note the following events/dates scheduled for the remainder of Term 1.

- March 5th, 6th & 7th: Term 1 Learning Conferences

- March 22nd: Cross Country

- March 28th: Holy Week Liturgy & Easter Raffle

- March 29th: Good Friday Public Holiday

-  April 1st: Easter Monday Public Holiday

- April 3rd: School Photos

- April 12th: Whole School Retreat [Yandihndi]

Thumbs-up

- Parents for coming along to our Grade-Parent meetings.

- Students for their behaviour and engagement with the Ash Wednesday Mass.

- Parents who came along to the Parent Forum future discussion.

-  The Langan & Walsh Liu families for caring for our chickens over the past two weekends.

Welcome

Dear St James Community, 

On February 27th parents attended 'An Evening with the Principal', which was aimed at providing deeper opportunities for parents to listen to our school's philosophies, build relationships with each other, and ask questions of me.  My intention with this forum was to 'Build purposeful and strategic partnerships with families to enhance connections between school and home.'

This gathering's theme was: The St James Way.  I unpacked for the attendees what we do here at St James; when, why, and how.  The essence of the topic focussed on our approach to providing educational opportunities that are concentrated on the varying learning needs and circumstances of individual learners so that all can have academic growth and experience pastoral care.

Thank you to those who attended this meeting; we will hold another parent information/learning gathering in Term 2.

An evening with the Principal

In 2024 we are hosting some out-of-hours workshops for parents and families [without students].  The topics will vary over the year, with the first one being a wine and cheese 'Evening with the Principal' on Tuesday, February 27th at 7pm, and is titled 'The St James Way'.  At the end of the presentation, there will be an anonymous Q&A time available with the Principal, then time to mingle and chat.  Save the date!

New Bell Times (2024)

As outlined in the Parent Handbook [Page 18], the lunchtime bell times have changed for this year.  Lunchtime is now 1:05pm-1:15pm [eating time] and 1:15pm-1:45pm [lunch time/play time].  This occurs every day and is designed to allow greater alignment of our timetable for English and Mathematics learning and teaching.  All other bell times and start/end times are unchanged.

School Improvement Goals: Fortnightly update

Short Term Goals

The previous short-term goal was centred on welcoming everyone back to school for the 2024 school year.  I have witnessed a tremendous buzz of energy, joy, and productivity among students, staff, and families over the past weeks.  Thus, I think we nailed this goal!

Our new short-term goal is 'We will engage in the Grade parent information sessions so that everyone is informed, involved, and included in the 2024 learning journey.'

Long Term Goals

One of the longer-term goals is centred on promoting practices that enhance student achievement.  Over the past two weeks, we progressed this goal together by engaging students in the Mathematical Assessment Interview, which offers us great insights into the "what next" of maths learning for each student.  Data from the MAI tells us that students have shown good growth in the areas of counting, multiplication and division and our next step as a school is deepening students' understanding of place value.

Grade Blogs

As mentioned in the last edition of the newsletter, the Grade Letters have been replaced with a live website/blog from each classroom/Grade, which will be updated each Friday.  The weekly Grade Blogs will have:

- A blog that shows prior learning, with information about why this occurred and photos and/or videos.

- Information on what the students are learning in the week ahead and why, along with how you can support this at home.

- Celebration of awards and birthdays.

- Information about the Play is the Way life raft that students are focussing on for the week ahead.

- An overview of the learning for the Term in all Key learning areas.

The blogs can be accessed from the link below or via the school website under the Parents & Families - Grade Blogs section.  The first publication of the Grade pages occurred on Friday, February 9th, with updates being provided today.  Please read these each week.

2025 Kindergarten Enrolments

Enrolments for Kindergarten 2025 are now open; the school open day tours and Principal's presentation will be on Tuesday, March 12th, with enrolments closing on Friday, April 5th.

Parent Forum - 2024

In 2024 we are required by the Diocese of Lismore Catholic Schools Limited board to review our Parent Forum model; all schools in the Diocese need to choose 1 of 2 preferred options.  We will have our review early in the year so that we can set up the 2024 Forum aligned with the Diocese model.  To this end, the model presentation from the Catholic Schools Office to our community will be on Thursday, February 22nd, 3:30pm.  This is an open meeting and we hope that many parents will attend to shape the future of our Parent Forum.


Welcome to grade meetings

We will be holding Grade welcome meetings for parents next week.  These gatherings will enable teachers to provide important information about the Grade structures and enable you to meet your child’s teachers and ask questions.  The date and times of each meeting are as follows:

  • Kindergarten - Thursday, February 22nd 
    • Session 1: 8:10am
    • Session 2: 2:30pm
  • Year 1 - Thursday, February 22nd
    • Session 1: 8:10am
    • Session 2: 2:30pm
  • Year 2 - Thursday, February 22nd
    • Session 1: 8:10am
    • Session 2: 2:30pm
  • Year 3 – Wednesday, February 21st 
    • Session 1: 8:10am
    • Session 2: 2:30pm
  • Year 4 – Wednesday, February 21st 
    • Session 1: 8:10am
    • Session 2: 2:30pm
  • Year 5 – Tuesday, February 20th 
    • Session 1: 8:10am
    • Session 2: 2:30pm
  • Year 6 – Tuesday, February 20th
    • Session 1: 8:10am
    • Session 2: 2:30pm

Each Grade will also video and distribute the event to families if they are unable to attend one of the sessions. 

Year 6 Leaders

On Friday, February 9th our Year 6 students were inducted as leaders through our house system: Ryland - Learning for life; MacKillop - Seeds of justice; Hanly - Strength and gentleness & Polding - Stewards of creation.  We congratulate our Year 6 students on achieving this milestone and we look forward to seeing the energy, input, and role modeling that they will present to the school in various ways during the year ahead.  Congratulations kids!

Web Article

To conclude

Week 3 was a wonderful community celebration week.  The schoolyard was busy on several occasions for the welcome breakfast, Ash Wednesday Mass, and Show Your Colours Day.  Thank you to all involved in making these events opportunities for the kids to have fun and engage in new learnings, as well as promoting parent parentships, which is one of our specified school goals for 2024.  It was wonderful to see our community coming together as a 'Family in Christ.'

With blessings,

Nic.

Community Celebrations

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'Have A Say' 

'Have A Say' about travel to and from school in NSW. Share the link to this page. Parents/carers can have a say on walking and bike riding to school by completing a survey, taking a quick poll or sharing their ideas.

Resilient Kids Program

Families can access free services for their children and young people through the Resilient Kids Program. The Resilient Kids Program will implement mental health and trauma-informed support for primary and secondary school-aged children impacted by the March 2022 Northern Rivers flood events. It is funded through a $10 million grant from the National Emergency Management Agency and is being delivered by Healthy North Coast.

Social Futures is delivering counselling services for children, young people and their families that can be accessed through wellbeing hubs situated a:
● MURWILLUMBAH
Murwillumbah Community Centre Knox Park. Monday to Friday.
● MULLUMBIMBY
Byron Youth Service. 34 Gordon Street Mullumbimby. Monday and Thursday.

Families can complete the Resilient Kids Enquiry Form and a Social Futures team member will be in contact to discuss your child’s referral, https://socialfutures.org.au/service/resilient-kids/ or ring 1800 719 625 for further information.

Concussion

IMPORTANT - Please advise the school if your child suffers a concussion outside of school hours (e.g. while participating in community sport).

Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school and themselves. Help your child to learn that going to school on time, every day is important.

Reinforcing the idea that attending school regularly is crucial for a positive school experience. Foster a love for learning by encouraging your child's natural curiosity.

Help your child to see school as a place to explore new ideas, discover interests, and develop a lifelong passion for learning. Foster positive social connections at school by encouraging friendships. Knowing that they have friends to look forward to can motivate children to attend school regularly.

Free Webinars for Parents and Carers

esafety provides free webinars for parents/ carers. These live webinars give parents/ carers the knowledge, skills and tools to support their children or young people to have safe online experiences.

Webinars include:

  • Understanding how to support your child with online gaming (45min).
  • Understanding parental controls to safeguard your child (30min).
  • Online safety and social media: TikTok, YouTube and Instagram (30min).

To register go to esafety parent webinars.

Upcoming events/Term calendar

Please note the following events/dates scheduled for the remainder of Term 1.

- February 20th, 21st & 22nd - Grade Meetings 

- February 22nd Forum Meeting

- February 27th: An Evening with the Principal: The St James Way

- March 5th, 6th & 7th: Term 1 Learning Conferences

- March 22nd: Cross Country

- March 28th: Holy Week Liturgy & Easter Raffle

- March 29th: Good Friday Public Holiday

-  April 1st: Easter Monday Public Holiday

- April 3rd: School Photos

- April 12th: Whole School Retreat [Yandihndi]

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