Executive Director’s Term Three Message

26 July 2019

Welcome back staff and CEWA school families for the beginning of Term Three!

I hope the holidays brought time for fun and relaxation, though of course for many students they also brought opportunities for adventure and learning! I also acknowledge the dedication of so many teachers and staff members who spent time during the break extending their knowledge and skills in their vocation of serving the students in their care.

NAIDOC Week was celebrated during the school holidays, as was Aboriginal and Islander Sunday. Many of our schools have this year observed NAIDOC Week either before or after the holidays, which you can get a glimpse of in CEWA News. It is exciting to know that the young people enrolled in our schools are exploring issues like ‘Voice, Treaty, Truth’ in the context of our Catholic faith and commitment to justice.

Term Three will be an exciting and rewarding time for thousands of students and staff from Catholic schools across our State as the 2019 Catholic Arts program gets underway for the 30th consecutive year. The opening Mass for the Performing Arts Festival for Catholic Schools and Colleges was held at St Mary’s Cathedral in Perth and over the coming weeks students from Catholic schools across Western Australia will participate in a myriad of events including the Performing Arts Festival, Carnevale and the Angelico Art Exhibition.

While it is not until the end of the year, the Australian Catholic Youth Festival is on the horizon, and many CEWA staff are actively involved in making this an unmissable event for young people in our Catholic school and parish communities. Registrations are now open and I encourage you to explore the program and support this exciting event in your schools, colleges and parishes. We are extremely fortunate that the festival will this year be taking place in Perth – an opportunity to experience the largest gathering of the Church in Australia right here at home will not happen again in the near future!

Many of you will have already taken part in the process of ‘listening to what the Spirit is saying’ in the lead-up to the Plenary Council 2020. The Listening and Dialogue phase which began last year is now complete, with the second phase, Listening and Discernment launching last month. More than 220,000 people participated in the first phase, and with the continuing involvement of faith communities including our schools, the Plenary Council when it meets in October next year will have a remarkable opportunity to shape the future of the Church in Australia.

The Catholic Education Leaders’ Forum is taking place just next week.  For the second year in a row the July forum will be held at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre and will be attended by school and office leaders from right across the State.  Our Leaders’ Forums are always an important time for leaders to get together and focus our vision more sharply on how we can act together to build on the excellence of our schools.

A little later in the year the CEWA Aboriginal Teaching Assistant (ATA) Conference, sharing the Plenary Council theme of ‘Listen to what the Spirit is Saying’, will be held at the Catholic Education Centre in Leederville. This is the first ATA Conference since 2016, and will bring ATAs, Principals and other CEWA staff together to enable ATAs in their crucial roles in our school, and our service of Aboriginal students and communities.

I mentioned in my message before the holidays that nominations had been flowing in steadily for the 2019 LEAD Awards for Excellence.  Today, I’m happy to report that this year we received 55 nominations! It will be a tough task for the judges to pick the winners in the categories of Learning, Engagement, Accountability and Discipleship, but it is exciting to know that there is such a diversity of innovative and exciting initiatives coming out of our schools. We will be sharing a snapshot of information on all nominations ahead of the Awards presentation in August, and for the first time there will be a Peoples’ Choice Award category, which the public will be able to engage with and vote on. Keep a lookout for more on this very soon, or keep up with the CEWA Facebook page to get involved and share your school’s nominated project!

There is so much more coming up this term and I am looking forward to sharing more of the great news coming out of our schools over the coming months!

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