Dear Parents and Guardians,
You will shortly receive the first semester reports for your sons and daughters. Teachers have been extremely busy over the past three weeks marking late-semester assignments and exams, as well as compiling all the necessary information for the reports. In the same time period, our Years 7 & 9 students have completed their NAPLAN tests, those students in Years 11 & 12 undertaking a Unit 3/4 subject have sat their compulsory General Achievement Test (GAT) and students from a small number of VCE subjects have sat external exams.
CREW NEWS – The CREW (Catholic Regional Education Wangaratta) Board met last Thursday evening to continue their work on developing a CREW Catholic Identity policy. Whilst all the individual member schools of CREW have a Catholic Identity policy of their own, the Board has decided to take the progressive action of formulating an over-arching policy that will draw the five schools even more closely together. The session was facilitated by Deputy Director (Catholic Identity) of the Sandhurst CEO (Catholic Education Office), Ms Brenda Keenan. This was the second such session Brenda has led for us: we anticipate that the policy will be ready for ratification in early fourth term.
The CREW liturgy this year will be held later in the year than usual in order to coincide with the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Monsignor John White in July. The formal
celebration by the parish and community will take place on Saturday July 21; the CREW celebrations will take place on Friday July 20. Students from Years 7 – 10 from Galen will be joined by students from Grades 4 – 6 from the Catholic primary schools. The staff from all five schools will share a joint Professional Learning Day on August 27 with the focus on developing global citizens, especially through potential immersion language programs. The presenter for this day will be Professor Margaret Gearon from Monash University.
Sandhurst Board Chairs seminar – Chair of the Galen Board, Tony Lane, and I attended a special seminar for Board Chairs and Board members in Shepparton last Friday evening and Saturday morning. American educational consultant, Dr George Ortero, an expert in parent engagement in schools, was the keynote presenter. He highlighted the importance of parental engagement in the learning process, saying that research has shown conclusively that when parents are involved in their children’s learning, the learning outcomes for those children increase measurably.
We were also provided with a briefing on the recent Gonski Report on school funding. This is a major resource for both the federal government and opposition as they formulate their policies on how and how much government funding will be provided to non-government schools, including Catholic schools. There will be much more information from and reference to this report as the next federal election approaches.
Senior School kitchenette – Early in first term, the Senior SRC requested that senior students have access to tea and coffee making facilities, a sandwich toaster and a microwave. I am very happy to report that due to the initiative and drive of this group of student leaders, we are very close to starting construction of an outdoor, undercover kitchenette. Final plans have been drafted and we are hopeful that construction will start some time in the next few weeks.
Trade Training Centre update – We are still waiting for the final formal acceptance by DEEWR of the costings submitted by the cluster of four schools for the Trade Training Centre. We have been assured that this will be released very soon. Meanwhile, work has begun on preparing the space at the eastern end of the Junior School for two new portable classrooms to replace the two Year 8 rooms which will be removed to make way for the new Trade Training Centre.
Shared Provision – Galen has been in consultation with Sacred Heart Yarrawonga, Marian College Myrtleford and Catholic College Wodonga about the possibilities of
sharing some senior classes that would mean an even broader range of subjects being available to our students. We will be in a position to speak more about this at the
Information Nights next term.
Staff news – Staff members, Mrs Fiona Harmer and Mrs Olga Byrne have commenced periods of long service leave of four weeks and two weeks respectively. We wish them well on their leave. Mrs Carla Murphy will commence maternity leave from the end of this term – we also wish her all the very best for the birth of her first child.
Bernard Neal – Principal