Principal’s Blog

Living Justice – Celebrating Refugee Week

Our refugee students and families play a vital role in creating an opportunity to celebrate the differences and diversity within our schools, helping students look beyond their own personal experiences to help others. Whilst this week in our Church community we are called on to pray for and celebrate all that refugees bring to us it is also timely for us to acknowledge a simple but powerful strategy that Clonard has had in place for our refugee students. 

Clonard is part of the RESP (Refugee Education Support Program) partnership which put in place a Homework Club for our refugee students. Our students worked with volunteer tutors from the community. We are grateful for our work with EdConnect who helped recruit our volunteers. This project was captured in a case study which celebrates the outcomes of the program for both the students and volunteers. Unfortunately, with COVID19 we have needed to put this on hold for Semester 1 but look forward to recommencing in Term 3.

Capturing the Learning from Remote Learning

This week there has been a flurry of activity in an intentional effort to capture the experience of remote learning and the insights the experience of remote learning has to offer for us moving forward. Several staff have engaged in webinars with researchers sharing the first findings emerging from analyses of the experience whilst our student leaders have been engaging with students gathering commentary on their experiences to add to the survey data that was recently collected. Thank you to those families who also responded to the family survey and to the families who are taking part in our forum on Monday evening. This forum will be facilitated by Jo Ryan, Natalie Stephenson and Hugh Saunders who are our senior leaders in learning at the College. We look forward to sharing with you a report on the themes and findings that have emerged once all the data sets have been collated and compared with some of the research emerging internationally.

Master Planning

At Monday evening’s Stewardship Council, a decision was endorsed to commence the process of beginning a new phase of master planning for the College. With the completion of the previous masterplan, following the opening of the Brigidine Centre and the refurbishment of the staffroom, it is timely that we begin looking to the future needs of the College to ensure our facilities support the educational vision of the College. The process of developing the master plan will take place over the next 6-12 months. We look forward to communicating the progress of this project and engaging in dialogue with our community as part of the consultation processes.

Supporting the Wellbeing of our Young People

Today we received the announcement that the Federal Government has provided funding to the Geelong Child Youth Suicide Prevention Protocol Group as part of a whole-of-community place-based suicide prevention initiative in Geelong. The Group has brought together representatives from health, education, police, ambulance, youth mental health and other community services. All levels of government are participating in the Group so that we can ensure we are providing the relevant supports for the region.

The Group has already committed to a range of actions to support the Geelong community. These include:

· Working with schools across Government, Catholic and Independent sectors to provide training and support to students and staff.

· Building capacity around risk assessment, risk monitoring and risk identification in young people, including through working with frontline services.

· Developing a communications strategy through schools for friends, parents, family and the broader community on understanding and responding to risk.

Our College has welcomed the opportunity to engage with the Protocol group and broader community whilst discerning a response within our own context. As part of this response, a small reference group of staff, students and parents attended a trial introductory workshop to an approach called ECPR – Emotional CPR. Those in attendance were positive about the approach and encouraged us to further our thinking as to how this might be implemented for staff, students and families in the new semester. 

Headspace is also working to provide our communities with advice and information for families and young people who may need supports in the coming school holidays. This will be provided as it comes to hand. We have received a number of Fact Sheets from Headspace which are available on their website. To support families we have created a space on our College website where these Fact Sheets can also be found. The link to this page is here

The saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ is never more apt than in these current times.