CSPWA End of Term 4 Newsletter 2020
I can hardly believe our children only have a week left of this very different school year. Although it has been a trying year, we have all learned a lot, not the least of which is how important our families and Catholic school communities are in our lives!
In this final Newsletter of 2020, I would firstly like to wish all those who are leaving Catholic education all the very best in the next part of your journey. Whether you are a student getting ready to move into the next phase of learning or work, or a family coming to the end of your child’s journey through school, it is an emotional time. I would like to wish you all the best wherever life takes you from here and I hope that when you walk past your child’s school in the future that it will evoke happy memories of good times.
To those families joining Catholic education next year, welcome, and we hope your child/ren thrive no matter what year they commence in. We look forward to our paths crossing somewhere along your journey.
With Term 4 and in fact the whole school year coming to an end, many parent groups are in the midst of, or have recently held AGMs. This provides a great opportunity for members of the school community to hear about the successes of the year and to talk a little about the year to come. Following the AGM or perhaps at the first meeting of the new year it is a good idea for the parent group, school leadership team and members of the school advisory council to get together to plan for the year ahead. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page moving ahead in terms of goals and objectives.
In the office, planning for next year is well under way. The 18th February has been diarised for the annual parent induction evening. This event provides an introduction to CSPWA and the support it lends to parent groups including information about the various roles within parent groups. If you are new to an executive role or would just like to find out more about the role of the parent group in the school, please come along, you will find all the relevant information later in the newsletter. The evening provides a great opportunity to network with parents from other schools and to share ideas and knowledge.
The 2021 CSPWA State conference has been rescheduled for May/June 2021, having had to be cancelled this year due to Covid-19. Watch this space for information regarding this event.
As touched upon in almost every newsletter this year it has been an extraordinary one. However, with state borders opening there is at last the opportunity for families and friends to reconnect after many many months of not being able to see each other. We pray that it is a smooth transition and that everyone remains safe.
In the busyness and excitement of the Christmas season and particularly this year with the prospect of seeing family again, it is important that we keep in our thoughts those who have suffered or have gone through tough times this year. Charities like Vinnies as always do great work at this time of the year to ensure that families who are doing it tough do not miss out. Many of our schools help with the collection of foodstuffs and toys for Vinnies and if at all possible, we ask that you think about contributing in some way. It is so important that our children are part of this and understand the importance of physically helping others who are not so fortunate.
Finally, it just remains for me, on behalf of the council and staff of Catholic School Parents, to wish each and every member of our Catholic school communities a very happy and blessed Christmas. We remember the true meaning of Christmas and welcome the infant Jesus into our homes and hearts.
President CSPWA 2020
“Catholic schools would not exist without the outstanding dedication and contribution of parents. We urge school staff to continue involving parents in the development of the school’s outcomes”.
Bishops Mandate #77
The Bishops Mandate letter makes a very powerful statement about the role that parents have traditionally played in Catholic schools in WA and in fact across Australia. From the early days when parents and grandparents would collect at weekends at their children’s schools, to mend leaks, fix guttering and bake lamingtons amongst a plethora of other activities, to today’s Parents and Friends Associations and School Boards, the goal has remained constant. That is to add strength to our school communities by providing the assistance required to ensure the best outcomes for our children and young people. This is predominately achieved through ‘fundraising’ and more importantly ‘friendraising’.
In recent years, many schools have applied a parent levy which is added to the school fee schedule, and which in turn takes the pressure off additional fundraising throughout the year. This enables the P&F /Parent Group to concentrate on ‘friendraising’ activities, hugely important in building positive and vibrant school communities.
At a time when mental health and wellbeing is taking centre stage for many communities, including our school communities, it is important to acknowledge the role that volunteering plays in this. Whilst many parents put their hands up to help, in order to provide the extra’s that the school budget does not allow for, the other huge benefit to those who volunteer is the role it plays in contributing to their own wellbeing.
The graphic below which we sourced from the Ignite Youth Foundation website shows clearly the benefits of volunteering with regard to our mental health and wellbeing.
Image: Ignite Youth Foundation
We can see from this graphic that while volunteering on school parent groups, not only contributes substantially to our school community, importantly it provides significant benefits to us as volunteer parents and carers. We hear regularly today, especially in the health and wellbeing space that in order to help others we need to look after ourselves first. Volunteering is a great way to do both!
International Volunteer Day takes place annually on 5th December to raise awareness of the very important role volunteers play in today’s society and so we at CSPWA would like to add our voice of thanks to the many many parents and carers who volunteer in whatever way they can to our Catholic school communities.
Although we recognise that we live in an ever busy world and that not everyone has the time required to volunteer it is important to remember every little bit helps.
Many years ago one of our much loved past CSPWA (then known as the Parents and Friends Federation) councillors wrote the following piece. It is as valid today as it was then and we hope it inspires you as you move from one school year to the next.
“I am particularly proud of the Parents and Friends Federation’s reputation, hard-earned over many years. We live in turbulent times when substantial distrust exists between people, government and nations. It would be easy to excuse ourselves by not taking any responsibility for the affairs of the world and society around us – thinking there is nothing we can do. However, as individuals and organisations we can at all times be honest with ourselves and honest with others and respect all people regardless of nationality, creed or political persuasion. Let us all continue to be known for our caring qualities, integrity and trustworthiness.”
Agnes Weymouth - Past President /Council Member of CSPWA
Transitions are moments in life which involve moving from one stage to another and dealing with the changes that come with them. These can include starting school, university or work; moving out of home, moving in with a partner or having children.
Click on the link below to read this excellent resource by Headspace about the transition from primary to secondary level.
Linda Stade is an education writer, speaker, and consultant in Western Australia. She has worked in various teaching and management roles in education for twenty-eight years. In this article she looks at how difficult school life can be for introverted students.
"School is designed for extroverts. It is loud and busy and dictated to by bells and buzzers and the urgency of getting through lessons and assessments. Even recess and lunch are full-on. There are co-curricular and meetings to attend, not to mention friendship groups and dramas to negotiate. It is utterly exhausting and depleting for introverts."
To continue reading click on the link below.
It is imperative we are kept up to date with your information.
The next Western Australian state election is due to take place on Saturday 13 March 2021 to elect members to the Parliament of Western Australia. All seats in the Legislative Assembly along with all those in the Legislative Council will be up for election.
In recent weeks staff and council members of Catholic School Parents WA have been meeting with politicians from both the Labor and Liberal parties. Our goal is to ensure those whose portfolios included education, are aware of the challenges and concerns that parents who choose a Catholic education for their children have.
These meetings also provide the opportunity to inform politicians of the very positive work that CSPWA are currently engaged in.
Politicians are always keen to hear what is happening at grass roots level, and to that end we encourage school parent groups in partnership with their school principal to invite local members to attend parent group meetings to enable them to not only understand the various challenges that school parents have but also to hear about and celebrate the successes.
In order to assist schools in building positive relationships with politicians, CSPWA have developed a resource which provides information and tips on how to go about establishing these important relationships.
Supporting Family Conversations is a Healthway-funded project run by Telethon Kids Institute which developed and trialled an intervention delivered through schools to Year 7 parents to address adolescent alcohol use and online safety.
The website has been designed to meet parents’ and schools’ information needs, and to support communication between parents and their young adolescent children about alcohol and cybersafety.
For useful tips on talking with children about alcohol and online safety, visit the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org to talk to the project team.
Across Australia, families, schools and parishes have had to face significant challenges and uncertainty this year, adapting to the new conditions of living with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The usual opportunities for gathering to celebrate and connect in our families, school and church communities have not been possible, which has impacted the wellbeing for many in our communities.
It is at times like these, that our prayers and connection with family, friends and colleagues, is especially important.
With this in mind, and understanding there may be restrictions on end of year celebrations and liturgies in many communities, the National Catholic Education Commission has produced a Christmas Family Prayer for school and education office staff, students and families, which can be downloaded and/or printed.
Image: Bright Star by Grace Kumbi. Source: Bible Society