CSPWA End of Term 1 Edition
What a term!
Rarely have I anticipated and looked forward to the joy of the Easter season more. I suspect that I am not the only one and that all members of our statewide Catholic school community will welcome the break from routine that the school holidays afford us.
Whilst although on one hand we are all very aware that here in WA we have been blessed regarding the severity of our COVID-19 experience, we extend our sincere condolences to those who have lost family members in recent months. We also keep in our prayers those who are in hospital and in intensive care and wish them all a speedy recovery.
According to the many parents we have been in touch with this term, the work that is going on in our schools to keep students and staff safe is just phenomenal. Although it is an anxious and uncertain time for all, our Catholic school communities are pulling together for the good of everyone. While there is no doubt that there are those who are frustrated with the frequent but necessary changes in instructions from the Chief Medical Officer, our schools have managed to keep parents informed as quickly and effectively as they can. We know that the extra load placed on our school leaders as they take on the responsibility of contact tracing along with managing the added financial burden placed on them as they seek to provide the additional resources required to ensure the health and safety of our children and their teachers, could only have been made possible with their total and utter commitment to their school communities.
We also know that many P&Fs are continuing to have meetings, albeit online. (We will all be experts at Teams and Zoom by the time we are through all this?) CSPWA applaud those of you who continue to persevere with these meetings as the importance of continuing to reach out your school communities cannot be understated. There seem to be never-ending stories across the media about the impact that COVID-19 is having on the health and wellbeing of many members of our society, particularly our young people. Every little thing we can do to stay connected with one another is important even if it is just to check in on how others are going. P&Fs are generally in a good position to reach out to members of their communities, and we strongly encourage you to continue doing so. I know that many are planning events and good things later in the year and we are looking forward to hearing about these in due course.
However even as we continue to navigate our way through COVID-19 school life moves on. We know through the social media pages of schools that teaching and learning continues, celebrations of special days, such as Harmony Day, Bullying No Way Day and St Patricks Day to name but a few, are as creative as always.
You will all be aware, by the appearance of key Federal politicians in our state in recent weeks, that a Federal election looms large. This provides a great opportunity for you as school parents to build on the relationships you may already have with your local Federal representatives or indeed to build new ones. We encourage you to reach out to politicians from all sides of the political divide and question them about how they propose to continue their support of Catholic education. A key concern for us as parents within the Catholic education system here in WA is that of COVID-19 financial support. To date we have received very little financial support, while diligently complying with all the measures put in place by our state government to keep our communities as safe as we can. Here at CSPWA we have always maintained that COVID-9 is not an educational issue but in fact a health issue and therefore it seems most unfair that our children cannot access their fair share of public funding to help with the vital additional measures that have had to be put in place to ensure their safety. This is a topic which should be raised with your local representatives. If you would like any help or assistance with setting up meetings or agendas for these meetings, please do not hesitate to contact our office and we will be very happy to assist you.
I don’t feel that I can sign off without mentioning the dreadful situation that is unfolding in Ukraine. It is heart wrenching to watch the news and to see the plight of Ukrainian families being torn apart through death, destruction or having to escape to other countries. We urge you all as we approach the holy season of Easter to pray hard for these families and to that end, we share a prayer provided by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB in this newsletter. You may choose to read it at the commencement of your next P&F meeting or indeed just privately with your own family.
It is often distressing for children or young people to witness war or conflict on TV or elsewhere and so I share with you here an article which you may find useful in having a conversation about this very confronting and distressing situation. https://theconversation.com/how-to-talk-to-children-about-the-invasion-of-ukraine-and-why-those-conversations-are-important-177983
Finally on a more positive note, on behalf of the council and staff of Catholic School Parents WA I wish you all the joys of the Easter season and the wonderful message it brings to all, that out of darkness comes light.
In a letter to all schools from the Archbishop of Perth, the Most Reverend Timothy Costelloe SDB, he has asked that we share a prayer for the people of Ukraine with our communities.
We cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like for families just like our own, to live through this destruction and heartbreak. We ask that you maybe use this prayer for the start of your next P&F meeting, families praying for families.
We turn to you, Lord Jesus Christ, Word of God made flesh for us, and we entrust the people of Ukraine to you who once said to your disciples, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you” (Jn 14:27).
Hear the cry of your people; change the hearts of those who have unleashed such suffering on the innocent; strengthen the resolve of those who are working to bring the conflict to an end; be close to those who have been driven from their homes and from their homeland; heal the wounds of mind and heart inflicted on the children; comfort the frightened and the lost; strengthen the faith of those who are bereaved; give eternal rest and joy to those who have died.
In your own agony on the cross you entrusted your mother to the beloved disciple, and entrusted him and all disciples to your mother’s care (Jn 19:26). It was through Mary’s faith that you, the Word made flesh, came to dwell among us. That same faith strengthened Mary as she stood at the foot of the cross. We pray that your suffering people in Ukraine may know and experience that Mary stands with them, too, in this time of their great distress.
You have given Mary to us as the Mother of the Church and the Help of Christians. With great confidence in the power of her prayer, in accordance with the tradition of your Church, and in communion with our bishop and all the Holy People of God, we consecrate and entrust the people of Ukraine to Mary and ask that our prayers might be joined with hers as we come before you now in hope and in trusting faith.
Hear our prayers, O Lord, and raise up champions of peace, of justice and of healing, so that the weapons of war may be silenced and the people of Ukraine may know the peace that only you can give.
Mary, Mother of the Church, Help of Christians,
Mother of the Ukrainian people, pray for us.
Despite having to move our School Parent Induction event online at the last minute due to the COVID regulations, feedback suggests it was still a very successful evening. Fifty four participants had registered to attend, and we were able to record the session and upload it to our website. The benefit of it being online meant that several of our rural school P&Fs were able to 'attend'. The lesson learned, therefore is that we will most likely record it in future so that parents in rural and remote parts of the state will be able to access the information shared on the evening.
The induction session covered a wide range of topics, including:
CSPWA and they work they engage in on behalf of parents,
The benefits of fundraising, friendraising and volunteering,
Ideas on how to attract volunteers,
An overview of the School Parent Association Induction (which is available at no cost to school parent groups affiliated with CSPWA
There are also additional factsheets on the above topics available in the resources section of our website.
CSPWA staff members would like to thank those parents who took the time to attend on the evening and also for the conversation afterwards sharing ideas on how to keep connected even though unable to meet in person at the present time.
To view the recorded session, please go to:
To complete the School Parent Association Induction, please go to:
To view CSPWA resources, please go to:
Following on from a lively conversation at the end of the CSPWA Online Induction event in February this year, it was decided that in addition to the regular CSPWA FB page that we would create a 'Groups' page, specifically for sharing 'fundraising' and 'friendraising' ideas.
The "Groups" page on the CSPWA Facebook page is now active and ready for you to join! The aim of the group is to provide a positive space to share information and ideas and to ask questions around P&F fundraising and friend-raising activities. We would love to hear about your sausage sizzles, Quiz Nights and other initiatives that have worked well for your parent group.
This is also a good opportunity to look at how our usual events can be done differently due to the current COVID situation. There was mention at our Induction Evening of virtual Quiz Nights and virtual wine tasting events, scavenger hunts in the local community and online movie nights that families can do together.
There are a few simple eligibility criteria to meet, and guidelines to accept to access the group. All those who registered for the online induction will be sent an invite, or you can ask to join through this link: www.facebook.com/groups/cspwaconnect/.
We have been busy in the office planning for three big events this year.
The first on the calendar is the CSPWA Annual General Meeting, which is scheduled for Thursday 16th June (Term 2, week 8). An invitation and agenda will be sent closer to the date. The AGM also provides the opportunity for parents from affiliated schools to think about nominating for CSPWA Council. If you would like to find out a little bit more about what this role entails, or how you could contribute to the work of CSPWA please contact Siobhan at firstname.lastname@example.org
The second event is the Annual Awards of Excellence in Building Positive School Communities which is scheduled for Friday 26th August, restrictions allowing (Term 3, week 6). We will again be calling for nominations from all five categories; Parent, Parent Group, Parish, Principal and the Agnes Weymouth award.
Information regarding the Awards of Excellence will be posted on the CSPWA website in early Term 2 along with links to the nomination forms. In the meantime, we urge you to consider nominating members of your school community for any one (or more!) of the above mentioned categories.
Finally we are very excited to announce our first ever Parent Pilgrimage, tentatively scheduled for Sunday 18 September. We are currently researching possible locations and hope to have this confimed in early term 2. We hope that you'll be able to take a break from your busy schedule for a day of reflection, prayer, learning, enrichment and good company.
New research by Catholic School Parents Australia (CSPA) aims to capture parent perspectives on issues of concern to help inform future federal government policy.
“We will be gathering evidence nationally on existing and emerging issues of concern for Catholic school families, especially issues that impact on their children’s health, wellbeing and learning,” CSPA chair, Karl Rodrigues said.
“We are keen to hear parent perspectives from a cross-section of families including those with children experiencing challenges around learning and from families with children in remote school settings.”
The research will incorporate surveys, parent/carer interviews and strategic reference group discussions.
“We will be working with our CSPA state and territory members and the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth to undertake this research across Terms 2 and 3 this year,” Karl said.
“It’s an exciting opportunity that will shed critical insights into how to enhance parent engagement in student learning, and will no doubt capture the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on school communities.”
CSPA is the national representative body for parents/carers with children and young people in Catholic schools. Working with Catholic school principals and parents, CSPA seeks to better understand how parents and carers can work in partnership with school staff to benefit the health, wellbeing and learning of students. CSPWA is an affiliated member of CSPA.
Learn more about work already undertaken on the Parent Engagement website and watch out for new video resources which will be available by early 2023. CSPA acknowledges the funding received from the Australian Government for this work.
Find out more about CSPA here.
Image: Catholic School Parents Australia
Article: Australian Catholic Education News
With National Ride2School Day approaching on Friday 25 March, the Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) is encouraging families and carers to ensure their young people are road safety aware by completing RoadSet to teach students in Years 7-10 to be safer, better road users. The course covers road safety issues relating to pedestrians, cyclists, skateboard and scooter riders, passengers and ultimately becoming a safe driver.
The free online program leads students through 10 interactive modules, each taking approximately 5-10 minutes to complete. RoadSet is available to students, families and community groups across Australia and can be easily accessed on computers, smartphones and tablets.
This is a great way for parents/carers to engage in some fun activities with their children in addition to providing them with some vital life skills. You are never too young to be road aware.
Please see roadset.com.au for more information.
As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, investments in wellbeing and pastoral care have never been more important in Catholic schools.
"The CEWA Wellbeing Framework seeks to enhance the capabilities, connections and conditions for students, staff and wider school communities".
Business News - March 2022
NAPLAN (the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy) is the only national assessment that all Australian children undertake. It provides comparable data about student performance in literacy and numeracy nationally and over time.
It is a nationwide measure to see whether or not young Australians are developing the literacy and numeracy skills that provide the critical foundation for other learning, and for their productive and rewarding participation in the community.
Many of you will have heard in the media recently, that there are changes coming to NAPLAN from 2023. By clicking the link below you will find a FAQ’s document which should answer most of the queries you may have.
For more information about how NAPLAN fits into the education landscape please click below.
Reminder: This survey closes on 30th March 2022.
Sometimes we seem to be a little inundated with surveys, however they are a very powerful way to collect information which will inform future policy in Australia. It's easy to dismiss them as 'just another survey'. Nevertheless, we should think of those in other countries who would never in their wildest dreams be asked to contribute to a national conversation. It is a privilege, that we shouldn't take lightly, to be asked to contribute.
This national survey, funded by by the National Mental Health Commission, invites children to share their stories about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their wellbeing, and how they have coped.
There are two surveys available; one for children and young people aged 9 to 17, and one for for their parents, carers or grandparents.
Each survey should take about 10 minutes to complete and is completely confidential. Children will need parental consent to complete the survey. The results will inform decisions about how best to support children as the pandemic continues, and as the country emerges from it. The Australian Human Rights Commission will report the findings later this year.
To access the surveys, please click here.
To view the media release, please click here.
Did you know that approximately 80% of young people turn to their parents in the first instance for careers advice?
Do you feel competent as a parent to provide that advice?
The reality is that there are job opportunities for young people today that didn’t even exist ten years ago - jobs and career pathways that didn’t exist ten years ago.
Career conversations therefore are more important than ever to ensure our young people are aware of all the opportunities available to them. These sessions will also help to build the capacity and knowledge of parents to engage in these important conversations in a meaningful way.
There are plenty of options to choose from so book one today using the QR code provided in the flyer below.
Usually in term 1, the Support Officer would be attending P&F meetings to provide information, support new P&F members with setting things up, or offering ideas for events and ways to attract more volunteers. Even though there are restrictions in place, I just wanted to let you know that the offer is still there to join your P&F meetings via Zoom or Teams, or I am happy to arrange a virtual catch up with any of the Office Bearers from your Parent Group at another convenient time to provide support and information.