In this newsletter each fortnight I try to provide families and friends of the College with a range of information that gives both a general and a day-to-day sense of what is taking place in the school. I usually emphasise one-off events and achievements, along with matters related to the identity of the College. In this edition however, I would like to start with a focus on the day-to-day core business of the school which of course is learning and teaching.
As is the case in most endeavours, if you stay still you go backwards. Hence the College curriculum and learning practices are constantly being updated to ensure they remain contemporary to meet the needs of our students. The change to the Westcourt program outlined to our current Year 8 families last week is a good example.
Our staff and learning leaders have been working together on a Learning Framework which focuses on student-centred learning, evidence-based teaching and a common approach to the curriculum across the school. Within this framework, project-based learning (PBL) remains an important methodology but far from the only methodology and operates with a range of integrated high-impact teaching strategies to form our instructional practice.
Learning and teaching at St Joseph’s happens within the broader EREA learning statement which articulates that “our mission in education is to liberate learners by explicitly co-creating the learning conditions, dispositions and relationships to enable deep listening, confidence, agency and freedom for all."
Last week the College celebrated Diversity Week and I am grateful to those staff and students who were involved in the many events that took place. During the same week, we saw a number of news reports that made me reflect on just how important it is that St Joseph’s continues to educate our young men about inclusivity and respect for diversity. If our society is ever to move past events like those that occurred at the Manly Sea Eagles Rugby club, the Victorian Shrine of Remembrance and the racial/religious vilification of Carlton footballer Adam Saad we need to start in our schools.
As you will be aware the ‘triUMPH’ (3 schools Uniting to Make Poverty History) music festival scheduled for Friday 9 September has been cancelled indefinitely. The organising committee of students and staff, led by former staff member Mr Simon Cahir, developed an alternative proposal which they dubbed ‘triUMPH lite’. This proposal was put to the principals of the five Geelong Catholic secondary schools and was agreed to.
The core goals of the triUMPH music festival are to bring our students together in solidarity and to support our friends and neighbors in Timor-Leste. The goal for this year included raising $30,000, enough to provide scholarships for a group of trainee teachers in Viqueque.
The ‘triUMPH lite’ event will see all five schools conduct some triUMPH like events on September 9 at their school. At St Joseph’s this will be a casual clothes day with each student asked to contribute five dollars towards the triUMPH fundraising goal. The day will have an extended lunchtime during which a range of food will be available for purchase, a number of bands will be performing and other activities will be available. Westcourt students will join in the event at the Edmund Rice Campus.
The Xbox raffle tickets will be sold in the lead-up to the day with the winning ticket drawn and live streamed across the five schools. Merchandise will be available in the lead-up to the day. Arrangements have been made for families who have pre-purchased tickets to have the money refunded or donated to the fundraising for the day.
Further information about triUMPH lite will be available closer to the day.