My welcome to the CSO office staff celebration of World Teachers Day last Friday, October 29.
I hope the school communities found time to celebrate the wonderful work of their teachers.
Bishop Michael, Sisters and Brothers of the Immaculata, Representatives from the Chancery, ADIG, Centacare and my colleagues from the Catholic Schools Office.
My thanks to Gary Burdett, Gerard Hore and Carmel Heagney for their preparations to bring us together today.
Today we are celebrating World Teachers’ Day, which has been celebrated since 1994. This year’s theme is “Teachers at the heart of education recovery” - a theme related to the role of teachers in dealing with the impact of the pandemic. World Teachers’ Day is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the vital role of teachers in society. I have always been very proud to say “I am a teacher” because I am appreciative of teachers’ impact on young people’s lives. Young people are at the centre of what schools do every day. Our Catholic schools are based on the Mission of the Church which is God’s Mission. Therefore, we express our Catholic faith through education as our teachers are critical to the Mission.
This year we also celebrate 200 years of Catholic Education in Australia. That celebration includes a celebration of our teachers. I could be ‘cheeky’ enough to remind everyone that our first Australian Saint (Saint Mary MacKillop of the Cross) was a teacher. As we celebrate World Teachers’ Day, please think of all the saints that every day present the face of Christ to our young people in the classrooms of the Diocese of Armidale. And let us remember that Christ was also a teacher. And I will finish with a quote from the prayer: 200 Years Faith in the Future: of Catholic Education in Australia.
As Christ the Teacher,
you grace the staff and leaders of Catholic education today.
As they build on the achievements of their predecessors, direct them in their present efforts to ensure that every young Australian has the opportunity for excellent education and formation in faith.
We all remember when, in March and April 2020, those words seemed to be everywhere as our country and the world realised that COVID-19 wasn’t going to be “just a little flu” and that an extraordinary united response was needed. Those same words, “We’re all in this together”, can also fit these early November days in the Church’s life each year. Happily for us, the “this” that “we’re all in” is the love of God. And the “all” is all the people who have ever lived. This is what Christians call “The Communion of Saints”. We have no certain idea about what life after earthly death is like. We do know, in faith, we can’t escape the love of God. At this time of the year (All Saints’ Day, 1 November) we celebrate those who are experiencing the fullness of the love of God in what we call Heaven. We also lovingly remember (All Souls’ Day, 2 November) those who, after their lives on Earth, are still preparing to enter into the completeness of God’s love.
This latter state is part of Catholic and Orthodox Christian understanding. Catholics call it Purgatory, a process/place of “emptying”. In thinking about Purgatory, perhaps we would do well to discard the thought of it being a place of punishment and think of it as a process through which God continues his loving tending of us so as to bring us to be the persons God invited us to be from the very start of our existence. In our Earthly lives we may not have responded as fully as we should have to that invitation. God is not going to let our slowness or weakness of response stand in the way of God’s ever-patient love.
In November, let’s rejoice at being members of the Communion of Saints.
Gerard Hore (EO: Catholic Life)
Retreat Opportunities 2022 - Date Claimer?
This is advance notice that Armidale CSO will offer the opportunity for school staff members to take part in one of four retreats next year; one per term. Each will last from Monday evening to Thursday evening but, since they will be held at Opal Cove near Coffs Harbour, participants should plan on being absent from school for a week.
The retreats are open to school staff members employed by Armidale CSO for at least three years, whether in teaching or other roles, full-time or part-time. When the time comes to express interest, applicants will need to do so with their principals' permission.
The retreats are not open to members of school leadership teams or to Catholic Schools Office personnel for 2022.
CSO will cover the cost of accommodation, meals, transport and replacement at school. Part-time employees will only be paid for the time they would normally work at school during the retreat week.
The first two retreats will see the same program offered; first in the school week 7-11 March 2022 and again in the week 6-10 June. Speaking broadly, the “theme” will be one of strengthening, re-finding or maybe beginning a relationship with God as central to our lives as a whole and to our work in Catholic education in particular. People who consider themselves “not very religious” (now or ever) will be very welcome to express interest.
More details of these two retreats and news of the other two will be provided later.
Gary Burdett; Deputy Director
Gerard Hore; Education Officer, Catholic Life
Working With Children Check Extended For Three Months
The Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) has advised that working with children checks due to expire between 27 September 2021 and 26 January 2021 have been extended for three months, this extension does not apply to those previously extended in July 2021.
Anyone granted an extension will be advised by email from the OCG.
Curriculum audits in Term 4 will be the following -
Stage 6 CAPA - documentation to be submitted before the end of term.
Stage 6 Maths - documentation to be submitted before the end of term.
Early Stage 1/Stage 1 Maths - documentation due Friday 12th November
Zoom audit - Friday 19th November.
Please register to attend the ES1/S1 Maths audithere.
2021 CSO Data Collection Schedule K-9
Important updates regarding Term 4 PAT Adaptive Assessments have been made to the 2021 CSO Data Collection Schedule K-9. Please refer to this link to see updates. If you have any further questions, please contact Claire Ryan via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 0448 567 835.
Scholarships for Vulnerable Youth
Applications are now open for $1,000 scholarships for NSW students in Years 10, 11 and 12. Students in the Catholic sector can apply for these scholarships if they are studying in Year 10, 11 or 12 in 2022 and are a social housing client or living in out-of-home care. More details availablehere.
Holy Trinity , Inverell have emerged undefeated in the Stage 3 Debating competition. Many thanks to all teams who participated -
St Xavier, Gunnedah
Sacred Heart, Boggabri
St Joseph’s, Barraba
St Nicholas, Tamworth
St Joseph’s, Uralla
Holy Trinity, Inverell.
Students participated enthusiastically and were ably supported by their teachers.
Supporting Children through change and uncertainty
Please find attached two free, upcoming webinars from Mackillop Family Services on helping students through uncertainty and change.
As always, the Society ofSt Vincent de Paul seeks to share the peace and joy of Christmas with the poor of our communities. See this from Cassie Croft about how your school can be involved.
New Bibles? Samples on their way.
I wrote to RECs late last term about the soon to be published
Holy Bible CEV Catholic Edition with Encyclopedia. I think it looks excellent, a wonderful resource.
Good news is that, after a delay, supplies have arrived in Australia. RECs should receive a sample copy in the next few weeks.
Proficient Teacher and Maintenance of Accreditation Extension
NESA has given all teachers who are overdue or due to complete accreditation requirements in Term 3 or Term 4, 2021 an extension until the end of week 6 of Term 1, 2022 (4 March 2022)
Week 8 Cut Off for Proficient Teacher Submissions
This term, the end of Week 8 will be the cut off for Proficient Teacher submissions for 2021. Please contact me if you need support with your submission or have any questions.