From the Principal

Welcome Back

Welcome back for Term 2 and whilst it is a start we could never have imagined, we’re trying to make the most of it here at the College.

This time has been interesting on so many levels. Prior to this pandemic you could say that we lived in the most distracted time in history. Electronic devices have significantly changed the way we live our lives and care for each other and our environment. We have become distracted from what is going on with each other and across the world.

For most of human history this has not been the case. Our brains once had a downtime. A considerable amount of research now makes the case that silence, solitude, and even boredom can be extremely important for wellbeing and creativity. Our brains do not perform at their best when they are endlessly stimulated and over-stimulated. We need to regularly disconnect if we want to bring our best to life.

And then COVID-19 happened. It has given us downtime in the form of isolation, no longer being able to visit people, attend events or social gatherings but it has also increased the amount of time we now find acceptable to spend on devices, purely because for our boys to learn or for us as adults to work, we have to be. This dichotomy has raised in many, fear, anxiety and perhaps even despair at times, as whilst we yearned for a simpler life prior, we now yearn for more complexity in our daily lives.

But what if we see this pandemic as an opportunity to turn to our beloved Savior in trust and complete abandonment so as to rest in His merciful hands. To rest in the hands of God means we are secure, despite the uncertainty of life. It means we are free to love God and others, despite the challenges we face. It means we raise our eyes to Heaven, rather than look down in fear.

Solitude and silence are essential skills for all of us to develop. We needed a break – a break from noise, from people, from too much of everything. No matter how much we may like the company of others or how much we may dislike boredom, we do need to make time for solitude and silence. 

The Christian tradition has also been the story of vast numbers of men and women who stepped away from the busyness and business of the world to encounter the presence of God. I have written about this before in relation to the boys and their mobile phones. It seems that moments of silence, stillness and solitude are a doorway into encountering the divine. There is a great story in the Old Testament about the prophet Elijah ending up encountering God not in the noise and chaos but rather in the stillness:

The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”.

The story of Elijah amplifies the point that God waits for you when you can find the time for stillness and silence. 

Take this moment to consider seeing COVID-19 as the point where we reset our lives and see the beauty of each other and our world, where we see kindness and care of each other as something simple, easy and worthwhile. I’ve attached here a video the boys may like, The Great Realisation. It tells our story, their story now of the need to stop and to just be, to listen and to gain the wisdom that we are all made in the image and likeness of God. 

Mothers Day 2020

I’ve been asked if I’m looking forward to Mother’s Day this year, as it will likely be the first one where I’m not standing on the side of a soccer field somewhere across Sydney on a cold Sunday morning. I’m in two minds about it; yes, I will cherish the sleep in but I do miss seeing my son play soccer with his team. I’ve watched him over the past 6 weeks move from thinking remote schooling will be great to “I just want to see my friends again, I’ve had enough”. I think many mum’s are with me here - the routine of ferrying them to training 4 or 5 nights a week and then to the game on the weekend, whilst seeming onerous at the time, actually brings great joy as you watch them develop in so many areas. To see them laugh and joke around with their mates again in person and not over a gaming console is now something I’m very much looking forward to.

So, this mother’s day I hope that all our mum’s have a lovely day with their son’s and daughter's; I hope they do something for you, even if it’s only making a cup of tea. Enjoy the slower pace because before we know it, we’ll be back at it again.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Return to Face-to-Face Teaching

It has been lovely this week to see Year 12 return to the classroom. We look forward to seeing all our boys return to the College grounds over the coming weeks. 

Health and Hygiene Reminder for Returning to School

Ensuring the Health and Hygiene of our school community is paramount upon the students and staff returning. To do this, the following measures have been put in place:

  1. The College is being cleaned twice daily, including attention given to high touch surfaces such as doorknobs, desks, bathrooms, and sinks.

  2. Hand sanitiser is available in every classroom and the front office

  3. Soap dispensers in toilets will be refilled twice a day

  4. Yard at recess and lunch will be restricted to one year group only at the moment

  5. Students should bring a water bottle to school; there will be a water filling station available for student use

  6. No large gatherings i.e. assemblies, House meetings, MCC sport to take place until further notice.


Students are reminded to:

  • wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (see video), or use hand sanitiser at regular intervals throughout the day, particularly before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
  • cover coughs and sneezes with their elbow or a tissue
  • place used tissues straight into the bin
  • avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth
  • not share food or drink
  • mobile phones are regularly touched and breathed on they should be cleaned regularly. 

Please talk to your son’s about the importance of their personal hygiene and ensuring they adhere to the guidelines above. They must be respectful of others' space and as much as possible, keep 1.5m distance from staff and other students.

 

Brigid Taylor
Acting Principal 

 

 

From the Assistant Principal

Welcome to Term 2

Welcome back to Term 2. I trust that you had an enjoyable holiday, despite the social distancing measures, and had an opportunity to reflect on the Season of Easter in some way.

Return to Face to Face Teaching

As you are aware, the College has commenced the gradual return of students to Face to Face teaching. During these times of transition, it is important that students engage positively with their teachers and fellow students in the classroom and maintain high standards of behaviour. Students are also reminded about behaviour on Public Transport and to be courteous to adults at all times. Ms Taylor has already outlined our processes and expectations regarding hygiene and maintaining appropriate social distancing when back at school. Reminders are in place around the College and hand sanitiser has been placed in every classroom. As an added precaution the bubblers onsite have been disabled, however, the water bottle filling function is still active, your son is asked to bring a water bottle with him every day.

 

Online Learning 

Many of our students will be engaging with online learning for some weeks to come. It is important that teaching and learning continues for all students. 

 

Teachers have been active in developing resources for students on our new Learning Management System, Canvas. Student engagement has been positive and it is pleasing to note that many parents have taken the opportunity to observe their son’s learning through this platform. If you have not had an opportunity to do this as yet, please refer to the instructions sent home by email.

 

Another tool that has been utilised for remote learning has been the video conferencing tool, Zoom. Ms Taylor sent you a letter which details some requirements for the use of Zoom, including the recording of online sessions and processes for families who do not want this to occur. When using Zoom, students are asked to have their full name displayed during Zoom sessions and, should they wish to engage in audio mode only, have an appropriate display image in place.

 

Compass

A letter was sent to you recently outlining Parent Access to our new Portal, Compass. Compass is replacing Sentral, and will be an essential tool for communication in the College. Among its many features, parents can monitor attendance, access academic reports, communicate with teachers, and manage bookings for Parent/Student/Teacher interviews. If you have not had the opportunity as yet, could you please log into Compass and familiarise yourself with it. Should you require any assistance, please contact the College.

Uniform and Grooming 

A reminder that Term 2 sees the Winter Uniform being worn by all students. As students return to school in the coming weeks, they are reminded that Blazers must be worn to and from school and ties and top buttons done up. Should you need to purchase any items of uniform, the Uniform Shop will be open every day (except Thursday) during Week 3 between 10am and 2pm by appointment only. Appointments can be made by emailing June Mitchell june.mitchell@syd.catholic.edu.au. Once your appointment has been confirmed, make your way directly to the Uniform shop via the main driveway on Miller Street, where June will sign you in upon arrival (signing in at the office is not required).

Students will need to attend to hair cuts and be neatly shaven. Please be mindful of the College Policy on haircuts which can be found in the College Diary. 

College Office
A reminder that the College office is currently undergoing renovations which involves the inclusion of a dedicated Student Services Area and upgraded sickbay. During this time, the Office will not be accessible. Should you need to come to the College for an appointment, please go to the main gate on Miller street and follow the instructions. 

I leave you with this prayer from the World Council of Churches for use during this pandemic... 

 

God of life,

you have promised to be with us every day,

also in difficult days, like in times like these.

Give us

clarity in our minds,

strength in our work and discernment,

rest as we sleep,

peace in our minds.

Be with those

who need help

more than we do ourselves

help us to see what we can offer

from your love.

Amen.

 

Anthony Munro
Acting Assistant Principal 

 

 

Faith Formation

Term 2 Update

 

This Easter season has certainly been one that will not be soon forgotten. With its challenges and the rearranging of our lives, that the world has gone through, it has certainly been heartening to remember that the Resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday gives us hope that in the end, all will be well.

I hope that you and your families have found some time in the midst of your lives to be at peace, to be still, and to pray.

Month of May

For millions of Catholics around the world, their devotion to Mary is a source of strength and comfort. Mary is regarded not only as the Mother of God, but also the Mother of the Church; of each one us. The Month of May has long been connected to Mary and a time where people turn more purposefully towards her Immaculate Heart in prayer and devotion. 

This year, Sydney Catholic Schools has compiled a prayer resource with daily reflections for each day of May which can be found here

You might like to take some time over the month to read over some of these reflections or pray a decade of the Rosary with your family.
 

Virtual Rosary


An initiative started during the social distancing restrictions last term, the Virtual Rosary will continue during the month of May and all are welcome to join via Zoom to spend 10 minutes of their day in prayer.

It is held during the scheduled lunchtime at 1.45pm every day except Thursday when it is held at 12.20pm.

Students just need to join using this link: https://scscatholic.zoom.us/j/2368772382 

 

Gabriel Rulewski
Solidarity and Youth Ministry Coordinator

 

Teaching and Learning

Canvas

Canvas
 

Last week all parents and guardians were given access to Canvas LMS - the school's online learning management system.   This allows you to view, monitor, and keep up to date with your son's progress on Canvas.  Most subjects are now being delivered using this platform.   

 

If you did not receive information about your Canvas account and are interested in having this set up, please email reception@maristcollege.com so they can add your email address to our system.

 

Some of the common queries that we have been getting about this program are:

1)  Can notifications be turned off? Yes.  You can sign into Canvas and turn off the notifications in your profile settings.

  1. Sign into Canvas:  https://sydneycs.instructure.com/login/canvas

  2. Go to your Account and select “Notifications” from the menu

  3. Change any notifications on the right-hand side.

2)  Can I change my email for Canvas? No.  You can add additional emails to receive notifications, however, you will be unable to change the primary email address.  Please contact the front office if you wish to update your email address.  They will notify IT to update Canvas.

3) Why is [this] course missing? Some courses are not listed because teachers are yet to make the material visible.   We are working closely with teachers to ensure that all current content is visible.
 

4)  When I click on a notification link, it says "access denied"? Please sign into Canvas first with your given account.  This is a known issue and we are investigating with the help of Canvas and Sydney Catholic Schools.  The correct URL for Parents to sign into Canvas is https://sydneycs.instructure.com.

5)  Why is the calendar empty?

The calendar is mostly empty in Canvas because we have not added the timetables of students.  We do not plan on doing this either.  Please use Compass or Sentral for accessing your son's timetable.

We are replying to all queries that come to us and fixing as many as we can.  If you require any technical assistance with Canvas, please email ict@maristns.catholic.edu.au.


Cian Byrne

Zoom Changes and Update

The Zoom Application and the way we use it has changed starting this week.     Zoom has been undergoing many changes during these times to help meet the security and privacy concerns for schools.   

In the latest version of the Zoom App (Version 5) released last week, a new data security feature was introduced to encrypt all the information sent between users.  This makes the application much more secure.  To help with the introduction of this feature, any person running the older Zoom App will no longer be able to connect to meetings after 30 May.   We would like for students to update the Zoom App when prompted to ensure continuity of online learning (most of the time this happens automatically).

Another change has also taken place to help make Zoom a safer environment for students.   Previously students were signing into the Zoom Platform using their Google account.  This created a free, un-managed Zoom Profile.  

Sydney Catholic Schools is now managing student accounts.   To ensure that students can continue using the Zoom Platform, they must now sign in with "SSO" when launching the app.  We have sent instructions via email to each student and will be putting this change in the daily notices on Sentral.

Since all student accounts are now 'managed' some features that were available have now been disabled and locked to address security concerns.  Some of these include:

- Virtual Backgrounds (disabled)

- Chat Features (disabled)

- Recording (disabled)

- Waiting Rooms (always enabled)

- Only meetings with teachers allowed

We are working closely with the whole school community to meet the needs and requirements of online learning as we adapt to these applications.

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns via ict@maristns.catholic.edu.au.

The ARC is OPEN

Pastoral Care and Wellbeing

The Mind, Body & Spirit Wellbeing Initiative

Week 2 marks the return to on-site learning for our Year 12's, but also the second week of our Mind, Body & Spirit Wellbeing Initiative. This week's focus is "Keeping Healthy." When you get some time, it would be great if you could access the resources and information related to Keeping Healthy. The components include physical exercise, nutrition, humour, and brain fitness. Click here for further information.

Your Wellbeing

To access any of the services listed below, please click here.

Learning Support

New MCNS Learning Support Website

 

Solidarity

Solidarity Initiative

Many of the Solidarity initiatives at the College are in hibernation. It’s certainly hard to run any initiative when most of our community aren’t physically at school. However, these challenges still provide us an opportunity to serve the poor.

 

I read an article recently that people are not all in the same boat in regards to the corona-virus situation. We are all in the same storm, yes, but not all have the same capacity to ride it out. I found it a very apt analogy. I’m certainly grateful for my job given the hundreds of thousands that are now facing unemployment. I’m also aware that my faith encourages me to love my neighbour and to serve those around me during the hard times as well as the good.

 

Jesuit Social Services runs the Ignite Food Store  which provides low-cost groceries for families in the Mount Druitt area of Western Sydney so they can afford to eat. The area is one of the most disadvantaged in NSW and the impacts of the corona-virus have only exacerbated the issues they already faced.  Due to the panic-buying and supply chain issues the store is having trouble maintaining stock. The College is holding a voluntary food drive to support the store that will run during the term. 

 

If you are able to and would like to support the drive, you can simply drop off any food items to the College or send them with your son on a day they attend school. We will then organise for them to be delivered to the store. A list of the kinds of items the store needs is attached.

Any and all support is greatly appreciated. 

Gabriel Rulewski
Solidarity Coordinator

 

Careers

Career Opportunities

 

Careers on CANVAS

A canvas page for Careers has been established and all students in Years 9, 10, 11 and 12 are encouraged to accept the invitation to this course.   It would also be helpful for parents to connect with this site.  Essentially, all careers related information will be shared virtually via this mode.  This is inclusive of information on virtual career events, links, and information on the Universities & Tertiary providers, copies of career opportunities published in High notes, information on UAC.   Please move through to the modules from the homepage to view such resources.   There will be ongoing announcements regarding new material that has been added onto the site.

 

Careers events @ MCNS

This term, given the present circumstances, Higher education institutions & organisations will not be making any school visits.  Most of the higher education providers have moved their information evenings and events online to virtual presentations/ webinars.  Furthermore, the Universities are encouraging students to book personal sessions with them directly. Therefore I would strongly suggest that all students in year 12 take advantage of the virtual tours, webinars, direct phone contact with the universities & high educational institutions.

Careers Opportunities

The regular Careers Opportunities will appear in High Notes each edition.  Past copies will be posted on our Careers canvas site.  Please refer to this if you require a reminder regarding any events. 

Click here for all Career Opportunities

Nicola Brown
Careers Advisor

School Notices

Embrace Your Space

To promote a positive learning experience we are asking the students to embrace their learning space at home and be inspired to learn.  Take a pic and send it to Mrs Pacifique at julie.pacifique@syd.catholic.edu.au, each submission will receive a house point.  I look forward to seeing some creativity!!  Click here to see students in their learning space.

 

Philosophy Club

 

Ms Dunne's Zoom Meeting

Email Ms Dunne if you are interested in attending: tracey.dunne@syd.catholic.edu.au

Community Notices

Uniform Shop

Blue Sport shorts are now available in most sizes. The white Sport Polos and Junior Blazers are made in Indonesia, therefore, we are unsure of when they will arrive. We are waiting for Midford to advise us when they will arrive. We apologise for any inconvenience and will keep you updated.

Appointments for the Uniform Shop can be made by emailing June Mitchell june.mitchell@syd.catholic.edu.au. Once your appointment has been confirmed, make your way directly to the Uniform Shop via the main driveway on Miller Street, where Ms Mitchell will sign you in upon arrival (signing in at the office is not required).

June Mitchell
Uniform Shop