Executive Director’s message: looking ahead to Term Three

21 July 2020

Dear colleagues, parents and caregivers,

I hope that the holidays were a time of rest and rejuvenation with your families and friends. No doubt many of you took the opportunity to visit new places within WA over the break, exploring locally rather than further abroad.

As we get back to teaching and learning at school, let us pray for students, families and our fellow educators in Victoria who face the uncertainty, restrictions, and health risks associated with the ongoing COVID-19 situation in their state. While we pray that the measures taken in Victoria are effective in limiting the spread of the coronavirus there, it is also an important reminder for us to stay vigilant at home and particularly at school, continuing to reinforce good hygiene practices with students and staying home if feeling unwell.

Looking forward to this Term, there are a number of exciting events and developments coming up for our system.

St Martin De Porres School is now up and running in Broome. This is a new Curriculum and Reengagement in Education school that brings a unique school option to Broome, being uniquely equipped to serve the learning needs of students who have not found that mainstream school has met these needs. The school is being led by Foundation Principal, Ms Panda Gardner, who has a wealth of experience working in Catholic education in the Diocese of Broome. I wish the school community all the best for their first term!

As I mentioned at the end of last term, there are some changes to how Catholic Arts events are taking place this year. The Angelico Exhibitions will be going ahead in 3D virtual form, which will not only give student artists the opportunity to have their work shown publicly despite the lack of a traditional exhibition, but increases accessibility and has the potential to reach a wider audience. Entries for primary school students have already closed, but CEWA secondary students have until 31 July to enter their work.

For a number of years, the annual Catholic Education LEAD Awards have been a platform to recognise and showcase outstanding initiatives beingundertaken by CEWA schools and colleges. This year the program is being aligned with our Strategic Directions and the principles of Quality Catholic Education (QCE), and has been renamed the QCE Awards to reflect this. There are changes to the categories, but the Awards will continue to celebrate school programs and initiatives that exemplify Christ-centred, student-focused education. Applications for the QCE Awards will close on 1 September, with the Awards Ceremony to be held in October.

Another event which has been crucial to strengthening our system over a number of years now is the Catholic Education Leaders’ Forum. This has been held twice a year in Perth for Principals and school and system leaders, but in August 2020 we will be holding Leaders Forum events in each of the four dioceses, across a number of locations. I am excited to see how moving these important conversations closer to home for many schools will influence the discussions that we have around how best to deliver exceptional learning and faith formation opportunities for all of our students.

For parents, please keep an eye out for a CEWA survey which will come from your school soon and take no more than two minutes to complete. With so much taking place that was out of the ordinary for schools, students and families in Terms One and Two, we want to give you an opportunity to provide feedback and share your experience with education as affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

During Term Three, on 8 August, we celebrate the Feast of St Mary MacKillop, a significant date for the Catholic community in Australia, and I would like to leave you with a quote from St Mary of the Cross that is fitting for the start of a new term:

With God’s aid we shall get on and gain fresh strength and energy for the worklet us remember this term the importance of the work we do to serve our students, and ask God to give us perspective and inspiration.

I look forward to hearing stories of learning, growth and celebration from our schools this term, and to being able to visit some schools again in person.

All the best for the term ahead,

Dr Debra Sayce
Executive Director
Catholic Education Western Australia

(Main image – Students and staff members at Chisholm Catholic College get involved in LifeLink)

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