I am pleased to be able to present this report on the growth and development of St Pius X Parish School throughout 2022. The following report offers a summary of key decisions, events and achievements of the school, that are detailed in the body of this document.
The partnership between St Pius X and MacKillop Education continued in 2022, with professional learning continuing to deepen staff understanding around school relationships and trauma informed practices. Of note was work around yard conversations where discipline, redirection or calm are required at recess breaks. Staff had prompt cards generated that were designed to be linked with personal safety plans or school keys. These cards are intended to be a reminder to staff of ways to have safe, constructive and respectful conversations with students, where their behaviour or emotional regulation need scaffolded assistance. Thank you to Jake Bacon (Wellbeing Leader) for his continued dedication to this work.
First Nations Recognition
Continued professional learning in First Nations cultural awareness and recognition continued during the year with the purchase of an important classroom resource “Our Land, Our Stories”. This resource is designed to be used across curriculum learning areas and is intended to expose all students to both the past and ongoing richness of culture and contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. This resource was warmly received by staff and injected into classroom learning activities. Later in 2022 staff were involved in further opportunities to engage in the school’s work towards a Reconciliation Action Plan. This work has been supported for a number of years both at a system level by advising teacher Jeanette Morris and also by parent Mel Steffensen. This work will continue in the coming months with the formalisation of the RAP after further community consultation.
Recontextualised Prayer and Liturgy
An ongoing focus for our school has been to continue to create opportunities for prayer and liturgical experiences that are relevant and speak to our students, whatever faith background they come from. We believe all in our community have the right to be engaged and enriched by the richness of symbol and story from the Catholic Tradition. Through the year our teachers looked at the elements that needed to be included and highlighted in liturgy, and were given the responsibility of planning whole school liturgies led by their class groups. In Term 3, all staff participated in a professional learning day entitled Liturgy 101 which immersed participants in creative ways to in rich experiences of prayer which could be expanded upon in their own work. I thank Sara Graham (Religious Education Leader) for her leadership and continued attention to creativity and learning in this area.
The school’s Annual Action Plan prioritised the consolidation of agreed pedagogical practices across the school. A step before this was greater understanding for our teachers on the learning process, especially for reading. Kate Sewell (Literacy Leader) worked closely with Mel Willis (CEB) to create an intensive professional learning program for our staff in Term 1 that taught our teachers about the science surrounding learning. In a sense Kate was reminding our teachers that their job was to ‘interrupt the process of forgetting’. Kate’s work highlighted the need for elements such as daily review, guided practice and checking for understanding being reinforced as part of the predictable practice in all classrooms.
New Child Safe Standards
The end of Term 2 saw the introduction of the updated Victorian Child Safe Standards. The previous standards had brought a large focus onto the explicit steps required by all adults in our school and had provided much needed clarity around processes that would protect children and vulnerable people connected to our school. Our staff and School Advisory Council engaged in professional learning in the new standards, and current initiatives and priorities were aligned with the new standards.
Nationally Consistent Collection of Data
Each year our school is expected to collect accurate data on the adjustments made for students with varying levels and types of disability within our school. This process is gratifying as it illustrates the many ways in which adjustments are made to strive for full participation of all students in the school. The process is also crucial as the accurate documentation is key to receiving funding to finance the adjustments, including the work of our dedicated Learning Support Officers. I thank our staff for their attention to this process and especially pay tribute to Clare Green and Kate Harzmeyer (Learning Diversity Leaders) for their tireless dedication to this work.
Staff Professional Learning
All teachers were again required to create and maintain a professional learning plan that outlined their learning priority in alignment with the priorities of the school. Time was allowed for each teacher to meet with me throughout the year to track progress with these priorities.
The years affected by Covid 19 had demonstrated to our school community the importance of community events and outreach. Often these events have a fundraising aspect which of course makes them important for the financial support of the school. But perhaps equally as important is the way n which these events contribute to the social fabric of our school community. A key event was the return of our Twilight Fair, which was held indoors but generated the best profit and reviews ever.
Other community partnerships were rejuvenated including Vinnies Reading Club (St Vincent de Paul) Meals on Wheels (Warrnambool City Council) and Breakfast Club (Tracey Williams, Maddy McCosker & Kristen Sloane)
The Jungle Book Kids
Also returning to our calendar was our biannual school production, held over from 2021. The Jungle Book Kids was a rich Arts experience for all the students in our school and shared with the families of our school. The high standard of this production was due to the talent of our students and the dedication of our staff. Special thanks must go to Adele Webster and Mick Sully who were key contributors to the costuming and set design for this spectacular.
Thankyou and Farewell
The completion of my time at St Pius X brings a close to an important chapter in the life of our family. Our eldest daughter Sarah was born in my first year here, and she is now about to commence her second year of university. Dad working at St Pius X is all my children have known. The rooms and corridors hold important memories for us.
Whilst I leave to pursue a great opportunity, I have had to come to terms that this community has formed a significant part of my life, and formed a large part of who I am. From the bottom of my heart I want to thank the families who have entrusted us with the care and education of their children. I especially thank those families who have supported the school through contributions to our Parents and Friends Committee and the School Advisory Council. Their generosity was always appreciated and never taken for granted.
I want to thank my colleagues; LSOs administration and teachers who have guided and inspired me. I especially thank the deputy principals over this time Stacey Atkins and Clare Green, as well as our Business Manager Anne Kerr who have all given me incredible levels of support.
Importantly, I want to thank the students of our school, both those with us and those who have come before them. Seeing the light of learning and development in their eyes is the greatest reward for us as educators.
Finally I want to thank my family; Gabrielle, Sarah, Brigid and Daniel who have supported me, especially through the last 7 years of Principalship. Their love and assistance has been ever present, as has their forgiveness when school has taken me away from family time.
We often make our school vision statement explicit for all to see. It adorns our weekly newsletter and is a feature in our foyer, but as I say farewell I want to focus on our school motto “Service to God and our community.” We often look to the people who help and serve us as the face of Jesus, but the reality is that the face of Jesus is also to be found in the people who need our help.
My prayer is that all of you continue to be served as part of this diverse and vibrant school community, but also that you continue to find ways to serve each other.
Read more of the 2022 Annual Report by clicking here.