Our Explicit Improvement Agenda
Student Voice and Agency
Planning for Improved Student Learning - key focus in Mathematics
Welcome to the 2024 School Year and celebrations of Learning
We warmly welcome you to the beginning of the school year. It is fantastic to have our students back at school, ready to begin another year of learning and growing. We especially welcome our Foundation students and congratulate them on the way they have settled into school life and routines. They have been amazing in being able to find their way around and getting ready to start their day of learning. In this week’s newsletter our Foundation students share their thoughts on beginning school. Congratulations to all students on the way they have established learning expectations in their classrooms as part of our Learning to Learn inquiry focus and our Whole School Approach to Positive Behaviour Support [WSAPBS]. Students have embraced agency in their learning and creating their classroom spaces to fully optimise their learning opportunities.
We warmly welcome Fr. Michael Willemsen to our Parish and our new staff members Claire Knight (5CK), Ciara Nelson (3CN) and Joshua Kippen (6JK). We welcome all staff back to the 2024 school year and feel so blessed to have such a dedicated and committed staff who worked during the holiday period to ensure the beginning of the year went smoothly for our students and families.
Our explicit improvement agenda focus in 2024 will focus on embedding:
- Student voice and agency
- Planning for improved student learning - key focus in Mathematics.
We are very much looking forward to the year ahead, celebrating our student’s learning, growth and achievements.
We are very excited to introduce a new initiative this year to acknowledge and make visual our student feedback in our school community. Each week we invite all staff to contribute positive feedback on student learning behaviours and achievements that have been noticed and celebrated throughout the week. Please see the Student Feedback section of this week's newsletter to see all the amazing things our students have demonstrated or participated in the past weeks - congratulations and thank you.
The Resilience Project - TRP
Class teachers and specialist staff have been busy over the past week becoming familiar with - The Resilience Project. As mentioned in previous correspondence, TRP is an evidence based program which will complement our existing Wellbeing initiatives and includes key focus areas to explicitly teach emotional literacy, connection, purpose and kindness under the GEM framework - Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness. Students are provided with a TRP journal and there is a dedicated time each week in our students’ timetable to focus on TRP and our students’ wellbeing.
Year 6 Student Leaders
The 2024 Year 6 Student Leaders were presented with their badges during our beginning of the school year Mass last Thursday morning. Our warmest congratulations to our 2024 Student Leaders, we know they will be exemplary role models in our school community:
- School Leaders Alyra and Jovan
- Faith Leaders Dior and Jayden
- Learning Leaders Tiffany and Jeremy
- Environment Leaders Sophie and Adam
- Eden House Leader Romeo
- Portland House Leader Leo
- Penola House Leader Hanisi
- Fitzroy House Leader Milania
Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent
Please refer to Religious Education section in the newsletter for information on Shrove Tuesday (13 February), Ash Wednesday (14 February) and the Season of Lent (including class Project Compassion).
Permission eforms were sent out to all families via PAM this week and must be completed by TODAY if you wish your child to participate in the pancake eating next week. Unfortunately children who do not have a completed permission form will not be able to participate.
Student Learning Conversations (Parent Teacher Interviews)
The beginning of the year Student Learning Conversations will be held on:
- Wednesday 6 March, 2023 from 3.40 pm - 6.20 pm
- Thursday 7 March, 2023 from 3.40 pm - 6.20 pm
The purpose of this time is to acquaint yourself with your child’s teacher and for your child to share their learning data, goals and strategies for the Term. As a school we value the opportunity for students to be active in their learning, to meet with parents and to establish a positive working partnership for the 2024 school year. More information will be sent home to parents regarding the booking process for the Student Learning Conversations in the coming weeks.
The newsletter is published weekly each Thursday afternoon. We strongly encourage you to subscribe to the Mary MacKillop SchoolZine App to receive the newsletter, school information, updates on school events, alerts and emergency information.
We look forward to an exciting year of learning and working in partnership with you.
School/Class Mass and Reconciliation celebrations
All parents, families and friends are invited to celebrate Mass and Reconciliation services during the year. When attending a celebration please sign in at the School Office. We do ask that all parents and visitors in our school have their mobile phones either switched off, on silent and put away during prayer and liturgical celebrations. Also, taking of photographs or videos is not permitted. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.
Please refer to the table outlining Term 1 2024 Eucharistic and liturgical celebrations:
All parents, families and friends are welcome to attend our Ash Wednesday Mass on Wednesday 14th February, beginning at 11.30am in the Allen Hall.
As a school we will celebrate Shrove Tuesday on Tuesday 13th February. Please refer to an email sent to families seeking permission for students to participate in Pancake Day, which is due today.
Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B
Sunday, February 11, 2024
Jesus cures a person with leprosy, who reports his cure to everyone.
In today’s Gospel, we hear about a good choice that Jesus made. He was approached by man who had leprosy, which is a horrible skin disease. It can be spread from person to person. Today it can be healed with medication, but in Jesus’ day, people who had leprosy were considered unclean and had to live away from everyone else. They couldn’t be touched. A person with leprosy asked Jesus for help. The man asked Jesus to heal his leprosy.
What did Jesus choose to do? Why?
No one was supposed to touch people with leprosy. But Jesus made the good, loving choice to heal the man. He calls us to make good, loving choices too.
We can make good, loving choices at home, at school, and at church. We can remember that Jesus helped others and calls us to be helpful and kind.
PARISH SACRAMENTAL PROGRAM 2024
FIRST RECONCILIATION ENROLMENT AND PARENT FORMATION NIGHT - The final session is on Thursday 15th February at 7.00pm in the Church. Parents are invited to attend only one of the two workshops offered. Children are not expected to attend as this is a parent-only formation night. An enrolment fee of $50.00 can be paid online at CDF Pay (https://olhc.cdfpay.org.au). It is now open and closes at 10.00am on Friday, February 16th . For more information, please get in touch with the Sacrament Coordinator at the parish office or consult the 2024 Sacrament Program Booklet on the parish website, www.olhc.org.au.
Click on the link to access a copy of the 2024 Sacrament Program Booklet
Our Lady Help of Christians Parish Information
Mary MacKillop Primary School is one of the three Parish Primary Schools belonging to the Parish of Our Lady Help of Christians, Narre Warren within the Diocese of Sale. We welcome Fr Michael Willensen our new Parish Priest and Fr Ajin Albarnas continues be the Assistant Priest. We are grateful for their ongoing prayers, involvement and support of the students, families and staff of Mary MacKillop School.
Click on the link below to download the weekly newsletter.
We had an exciting time in the Junior building as the new Foundation students began their primary school journey last Thursday. Thanks to all the families who came along in the morning to witness the first moments of school. We had very busy classrooms with parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, siblings, cousins and friends! Class teachers were just as excited and are looking forward to working in partnership with all families throughout the year.
Here are a few comments students made after reflecting on their first day of school:
- Charlotte – I like seeing the day chart in the morning.
- Zac P – I liked going outside to play with my friends.
- Mila – I like playtime and I had so much fun.
- Benjamin – We get to play on the small oval.
- Elijah - The playground is really big.
- Yenny – I made some new friends.
- Mia – I liked drawing on my ‘First Day of School’ crown.
- Zac M – We got to see our Buddies on the first day.
- Ariana – My Buddy gave me a balloon.
- Chris – I saw my buddy and they gave me a certificate.
As we approach the end of our first full week at school, a sense of calm is prevalent in our classrooms. Students are settled into the routines and the learning that is taking place. Teachers and LSO staff have started targeted teaching and working with students to support their learning.
Students and teachers were so engaged in their teaching and learning they never noticed a visit to capture a sense of what is happening in our classrooms.
Term 1 - Week 1
- Congratulations to all students, especially our Year 6 students on the oval, for moving to their class line as soon as they hear the music at the end of recess and lunch times.
- Well done to the boys playing soccer on the oval who stopped playing when the music was heard and started making their way to their line.
- Congratulations to students on how well they are using - WAGOLL What A Good One Looks Like in their classes - well done.
- It is great to see how well all students are lining up in their class lines at the end of recess and lunch times ready to begin their learning.
- Well done to all students on the way they entered the Allen Hall for our beginning of school year Mass - Fr. Michael was so impressed with everyone’s efforts.
- Congratulations to all members of our school choir for their beautiful singing in our Mass - well done.
- Well done to our Year 6 student leaders on the way they demonstrated leadership during our Mass.
- Congratulations to our Foundation students on the way they have settled into school life and routines.
- Well done to all students on the way they have begun the 2024 school year - awesome work!
Term 1 - Week 2
- Well done to our Year 1 students for their fantastic Chitter Chatter Chants during Little Learners Love Literacy!
- Congratulations to our Middle and Senior students on the way they continue to line up at the end of recess and lunch time plays.
- Well done to our Foundation students on the way they participated in their specialist lessons this week.
- Well done to the Senior students who have been good role models to the other students. Your example to others is an indication of true leadership.
- Well done to our Year 2 students on the way they have embraced the new year. They have really taken on our expectation of quality work and we are so proud of the work they have completed so far.
- Fantastic to see the boys in Grades 3 and 5 walking calmly through the courtyards to get to their classroom.
- Well done to all students who say “Good Morning” at the front gates each day.
- Thanks to the Year 4, 5 & 6 students for spending playtime in the correct areas and NOT the junior oval.
Dear School Community,
It’s good to be back. Not because it’s the start of the school year, but because I was a parishioner here for 10 years from 1989. Our family home was in Roy Close, Narre Warren North (next to Mary MacKillop Primary). My father and mother are Bernie and Connie and I am 57, the fifth of six children. You can see who my football team is from the photo with Fr Brendan. It’s a selfie taken at the elimination final last season. Carlton won by 6 points. We’re still friends and enjoy the occasional game of golf together as well as going to the footy.
I have felt warmly welcomed by everyone in the three weeks so far, especially our hard working staff in the Parish Office. Fr Ajin ensured that my start here was smooth and he has been very patient and generous with me. I’ve enjoyed some of Anthony’s Vietnamese cooking in the presbytery and I’m looking forward to accompanying him to the seminary on February 18 when he begins his formation to be a priest for our Diocese. Please continue to pray for him and encourage him.
As we begin this new chapter of Parish life together at Our Lady Help of Christians, I look forward to further opportunities to be with the school community now that the commencement Mass has been celebrated. I am committed to building on the 13 year legacy of Fr Brendan and the priests before him. This Parish is very different to Bairnsdale, where I was for 8 years while also being the Parish Priest of Lakes Entrance and Orbost. But, having been born in Dandenong and raised in Doveton, I continue to feel quite at home here.
Sincerely in Christ,
Child Safe Standards
Our school is safe, student centred and animated by our school values.
We aim to Inspire Hearts and Minds.
"Children are the future of the human family: all of us are expected to promote their growth, health and tranquillity." Pope Francis 2021
At Mary MacKillop Primary School, we believe that ensuring the safety of the students in our care is an integral part of who we are as a Catholic faith community. We adhere to Victorian Child Safe Standards and Ministerial Order No. 1359. We embed a culture of child safety and the matter is taken very seriously.
MMPS Child Safe Standards
Child Safe Policy
Child friendly version of Child Safe Policy (updated June 2022) Congratulations to our Year 6 Student Leaders on their creation of the student friendly version of the Child Safe Policy. This policy has been uploaded to our website. Child Safe page and can be found in the following link https://www.marymacnarre.catholic.edu.au/child-safety-standards
Parental Use of Mobile Phones (Privacy Laws)
We ask all parents to be mindful of their mobile phone usage, child safety and privacy laws when visiting our school. During such times as morning Prayer time, Mass, Assemblies and school events/gatherings, we ask parents to turn off or put away their mobile phones and to respect the privacy of all students. Photographs and video footage cannot be taken of students without parental permission. Reminders of safe mobile phone usage will be shared with the school community at morning prayer times and assemblies. On special occasions such as student awards at assemblies or student graduations, space will be made available for parents to photograph their child in a child safe way. We thank you for working in partnership with us to respect the privacy of all our students.
Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV)
The updated CECV Statement of Commitment to Child Safety - A safe, nurturing and empowering culture for all children and young people in Catholic schools, is attached to this newsletter. This statement has been updated in light of the revised Child Safe Standards coming into effect from 1 July 2022 and the supporting Ministerial Order No. 1359
Child Safe Resources to support Students, Parents/Carers
What is Safer Internet Day?
Safer Internet Day is a global event that brings together communities, families, schools and organisations from more than 200 countries to help create safer online spaces. This worldwide initiative is celebrating 20 years in 2023, making it a great time to reflect as well as look forward. Technology has evolved dramatically in the past two decades and the benefits have been huge. These developments have also exposed us to many risks with real-world impacts, making online safety awareness even more important.
That's why we are calling on Australians to Connect. Reflect. Protect.
- Connect safely and with purpose – by keeping apps and devices secure and using social media in positive ways.
- Reflect before we act – by taking a moment to consider how what we do and say online may affect others.
- Protect ourselves and others by taking action – by telling family, friends or colleagues about eSafety and how we can help.
Mary MacKillop School was proud to support Safer Internet Day on 6 February 2024. Together, we can all #ConnectReflectProtect. Our school is committed to raising online safety awareness and helping students build positive online relationships. By using eSafety resources, our school is helping our students have safer, more positive experiences online.
All families at Mary MacKillop School are encouraged to take an active part by doing these simple things - Connect Reflect Protect. We can work towards making every day a Safer Internet Day. Further information can be found in a separate letter sent to families via email earlier in the week.
CCYP - Commission for Children and Young People
Today parents face a multitude of modern-day challenges in raising happy, well and resilient young people. Whilst there is a great deal of information available, this can often be confusing and overwhelming for parents looking for guidance. SchoolTV addresses this as a new online resource designed to empower you as parents with credible and sound information with realistic, practical ongoing support strategies. All SchoolTV topics are divided into series. The number of topics relating to a series will differ and over time new topics will be added. Every month from February to November, a new topic is published for you to review. Take the time to explore each series and topic and make sure you visit the resources section. Here you will find useful factsheets, apps, books, websites and other additional videos - all on one single topic!
SPECIAL REPORT: The Wellbeing Barometer 2024
The Wellbeing Barometer survey has proven to be an invaluable tool for schools, providing insights into the state of youth mental health and wellbeing. Whilst last year’s results focussed the spotlight on areas of concern, there were also many highlights that demonstrated the resilience and adaptability of students and emphasised the necessity of prevention strategies. Participating in this year's survey, will assist in identifying areas of strength and concern, as well as pinpointing opportunities for early intervention. Previously gathered information has helped support families as they navigate difficult conversations that enable understanding and foster connections to build relationships.
This survey is part of an ongoing, longitudinal study, with the results being instrumental in tailoring support for students and their families. Participation is strongly encouraged, as it provides a comprehensive view of students' experiences, challenges, and achievements over the past year. Its aim is to capture a comprehensive picture of young people's lives, allowing for a tailored approach to enhance mental and emotional wellbeing.
We encourage you to take a few moments to complete a survey for each of your children. This will help us determine the nature and extent of your concerns and how best to support families in the months ahead. Responses remain anonymous and will only be reported on an aggregated basis. You are asked to base your responses on observations made in the last 12 months.
Acquiring the skills for future independence, taking healthy risks, and giving young people the opportunity to emancipate from parents, are key developmental tasks that are essential if we are to stave off the impact of mental illness in the future. Please reflect on the information offered in this Special Report, and as always, we welcome your feedback. If this raises any concerns for you or your child, please reach out to the school or seek professional medical advice.
Here is the link to your special report: https://marymacnarre.catholic.schooltv.me/wellbeing_news/special-report-wellbeing-barometer-2024-au
We are a Happy Families School!
Our school is subscribed to the Happy Families School Membership! Owned and run by Dr Justin Coulson, one of Australia’s leading parenting experts, the membership offers a wealth of parenting education and resources. We will regularly share resources available through our membership with you, including Insight Articles and Webinars. You can also access your resources at any time using the below URL (unique to our school) and password.
Unique URL - https://schools.happyfamilies.com.au/login/mmnwn
Password - happymmnwn
We recommend bookmarking this link. You should only need to put the password in once and the site will remember you.
A new Insights article is released weekly during the term, and we will include these with the school newsletter. Insights articles are written by Dr Justin Coulson and other leading experts and provide parenting education and support for a wide variety of traditional and contemporary parenting challenges. You can also access 300+ previous Insights articles on our school’s URL.
Here is the latest weekly Insight Article (attached) - Play is Declining, and so is Mental Health
You have access to 4 live webinars a year (one per term). We will announce upcoming webinar details in the Insights articles. You’ll have access to the recording via our school’s URL but as the webinars are live, we recommend you watch them in real time so that you can ask Dr Justin and / or the guest presenter any questions you may have.
We hope you enjoy the Insights and webinars!