Ms Ash

Dear Parents, Students, Guardians and other Parishioners,

 

There have been two very interesting articles in the papers recently. Both were in the “Australian”. One was about the visit by a leading education expert, Professor Karen Mapp from Harvard University and the other was about the findings of a research paper on Australian students’ stress and level of confidence.

 

Professor Mapp is here to talk up the   importance of teachers talking to parents. I hope you all know that we value the partnership we have with our parents. Schools and parents must work together if students are going to be able to achieve the best possible success for each student. Parents and staff need to work together like the different part of the body work together to do a task. The task is to act, support, encourage and inform each other so we are all on the same path. Each has a different role but need to work in partnership to get things done.

 

The Professor is of the opinion that the older a student gets the more important it is that schools and families meet and share information. The professor says she has spoken to many teenagers who say that they want their school and family to meet more often not less often as they grow up. This is interesting because I bet most of us think it is more important in the early years. Parental contact with the teachers often falls away as children grow up.

 

Parents sometimes feel they are not welcome in secondary schools but we need to change that idea. At St Elizabeth’s we understand that home and school working together supports the development and potential of every child. That is why Goal Setting and Goal Progress meetings are so important and why we welcome you when you come to tell us about something you have noticed at home. Don’t close down that communication after Year 6, when your child moves on to secondary school, keep that home & school relationship going!

 

The other article in the Australian newspaper was about an ACER (Australian Council of Educational Research) research project on student stress and confidence. I read about the high numbers of children experiencing stress and I was alarmed! Half of all Australian students claim to be `very stressed’ which is up 23% from 2003. What is happening to our children that they are so worried? What has happened to the idea of a happy childhood?

 

In terms of confidence, results showed that students were less confident about their school work than in previous years. Confidence has fallen from 76% of students feeling confident about the work they do at school to 59%. Even worse, 70% of students said they could do better at their school work than they actually do and 38% of children `give up’ when they find a task to be demanding effort!

 

Professor Michael Bernard, an educational psychologist with ACER and creator of the ` You Can Do It’ Program which we run at our school said that a lack of resilience in our children was a concern. They are not able to stand up to pressure. He suggested that parents are not allowing their children to take responsibility for their actions and because parents hover over their children and tend to be over-involved in their children’s lives, children are not developing skills of resilience. Resilient children take responsibility for their own actions, they are persistent, they are organised and they deal with their own friendship issues in a positive manner. All this develops a confident and well-adjusted member of society. The You Can Do It Program is a great way of helping our students become more resilient.

 

I wonder too about the influence of screen time on our students. I am a huge believer in using technology but I believe in using technology as a tool for learning and using it as a tool for positive recreation in addition to being an active and socially engaged person. Screen time should be part of childhood, not all of your childhood!

 

When you get your child’s report next week, don’t just look at their achievement. More important than achievement is the effort that they put in. If they are not putting 100% effort into their learning for every lesson, you need to ask them some important questions.  It is only by putting in their best effort that they will learn to be persistent. You can’t be persistent for them, you can’t be confident for them, you can’t make friends for them, you can’t make them into well organised people, they have to learn to do it for themselves. It is only by putting in effort that they will develop the confidence they need to succeed.  Our work is to encourage them to learn those skills so they become independent and responsible as well as confident!

 

Changing Bursars!

Ms Laurel Hill, our Bursar, came to us from Catholic Education Melbourne. Now they have realised that they cannot deliver their support to schools effectively without her!  So Laurel has been approached to go back to Melbourne headquarters and they had redesigned her job to suit her!

 

Fortunately, Ms Kelly Jacobs, who left here to take up full time work at St Macartans in Mornington last year, has been finding the drive to and from Mornington too much and she is thrilled to have a chance to come back.

 

We have been blessed to have worked with Laurel who brought a wide range of skills to our team. We will welcome Kelly Jacobs back in Term 3 and farewell Laurel Hill at the end of this term. We certainly thank her for her work here and wish her all the very best.