Dear Parents and Carers

It has been an evolving and challenging experience for everyone this week in our community and I know that we are all feeling the pressure of the rapidity of change that is occurring as a result of COVID-19. Around the globe, so many countries and their leaders are having to make decisions never before imagined or considered – nothing is different here in Australia as we look to our leaders for guidance and protection and nothing is different here in our Mercy community. 

Everyone at OLMC, staff and students alike, are doing their very best to connect to what is now the “new normal” – to deliver continuous learning experiences and to maintain our strong and positive Mercy relationships. In such a period of rapid transition, I am truly grateful for the professionalism of the teachers and of the support staff, all of whom have families and concerns of their own and who place the students at the forefront of everything that they do. We are all only human and are doing what is humanly possible. Thank you to the many parents who have expressed their support for these efforts. They provide encouragement when it is most needed!

If there is a positive, and I believe that we must always look for one, it is the way we here at OLMC have been ready and able to utilise technology to instantly support students who are accessing the OLMC Continuous Learning Program. Nothing is perfect but we have worked on resolving issues collaboratively and that sense of commitment and shared purpose is invaluable.

I thought that you might like to hear some reflections from two students who wrote to me recently about their experiences of the Continuous Learning Program– a student in Year 7 and a student in Year 12:

From Ruhaani in Year 7:

“Dear Mrs Wood

I hope you are doing really well. Although I’m really enjoying online learning I wish I could be at school. It is just easier that way and more efficient to receive information, but I guess you have to do what you have to do, and I do understand it’s for the better.”

And from Abi in Year 12:

“Dear Mrs Wood

 I would like to say that online learning has been a great experience for me so far. I have been able to take control of my learning through my teachers' guidance and this has helped me develop as an independent learner. 

My peers and I are benefiting from and enjoying the zoom meetings with our teachers.”

Positivity, agility, autonomy, collaboration, independence, resilience, concern for others! What great qualities our students are demonstrating here. I am so proud of them. Whether our students are at home or at school, I am encouraged that these qualities are being strengthened at this time and in so many ways. 

As you would expect, OLMC staff are demonstrating these same qualities. At a time when there is more work rather than less, they have embraced the challenges of delivering quality learning for the students and embraced the professional learning it also offers them. The ZOOM lessons being successfully offered to Year 12 will now, having been tested, be offered to all classes at least once before the end of this term. We know that girls learn best when they are strongly connected and in a supportive and engaging environment and we are doing our best to provide this for them. We do appreciate the support of parents, as we work with you in partnership to create a solid foundation for your daughters. When you talk positively with them about their learning and these new modes of delivery then you are helping them to make sense of this “new world” and helping them to recognise the opportunities it offers them. You help them to control their uncertainty and you build their coping mechanisms and confidence. Thank you!

I will be communicating with you all again via email before the end of this term. I will communicate any changes from the government or health authorities as soon as they are conveyed. The College remains open for all students to attend until Tuesday, 7 April when the term break begins.

In the meantime, please take care and know that you are all in my prayers.

Warm regards

Mrs Marie Wood
Principal (Acting)

 

 

 

 


The world is an ever-changing place and in times of uncertainty, sometimes the best thing to do is to stop and pray.

Prayer

Prayer affords us the opportunity to still our mind as we listen to the voice of God.

“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad.” Let us take time to fix our thoughts. When it seems that there are many things broken in the world, let us stop to thank God for all we have and all we are.

The prayer below, Prayer for Guidance, is from a book called Praying in the Spirit of Catherine McAuley.

Come, O life-giving Spirit, transform us.
Stir up in us the flame of love which is your gift.

Give us wisdom to see as you see.
Give us understanding to hear as you hear.
Give us courage and strength to walk the way of justice and integrity.

Kindle in us wonder and awe,
that we may have grateful spirits.
You, who dwell within us, praying unceasingly,
fill us with love and devotion.

Holy Wisdom, guide us in the choices we must make.
Give us discerning hearts that we may choose what is good,
in accordance with your desire.
Loving God of Mercy, finish in us the work you have begun.

Amen

 

Meditation

At this time, meditation can also be used to clear your mind. Christian meditation has been used for centuries as a way to calm and focus the mind and open up the possibility of allowing God’s voice to be heard. At the beginning of the day, why not start with a beautiful meditation to set you up for the day and all that it holds for you. https://youtu.be/ONLFEkb7vTc

Mercy Messages

Sr Mary-Louise called me last week to say that the Sisters and residents at Stella Maris Nursing Home in Cronulla were low in Spirit as the doors have been closed to all visitors. We often stop and think about the way that lockdowns have affected us and our immediate family, but it is a sobering moment to think about the elderly nuns and other residents who are living through a time of isolation, fear and loneliness.

Year 7 and 8 girls banded together to make 73 personalised cards for the Sisters and residents of Stella Maris. These included messages of prayer, good thoughts and well wishes. The cards are being delivered to the nursing home and Sr Mary-Louise wanted to pass on her thanks to each of the staff and students who assisted in this most worthwhile service.

It is so wonderful to see the students jump straight in and offer their assistance to help others. Thank you girls, your good deed will not be forgotten.

Go gently, and keep your spirits high.

Mrs Gabby Scanlon
Director of Mission


Thalia Lake

What is your Leadership Portfolio?

Sports Leader.

 

 

What are the key responsibilities of your Portfolio?

As a Sports Leader, I am responsible for organising and motivating Mercy Girls to participate in all carnivals and sporting events.

 

 

What is your vision as Leader of this Portfolio in 2019/2020?

My goal as a Sports Leader is to increase the participation at all sporting carnivals. Whether it be participating in the novelty events or racing as a competitor, it would like everyone to step out of their comfort zones. It would be fulfilling to have every student try at least 1 sport co-curricular. Always remember to give things a go!

 

 


Continuous Learning

At OLMC Parramatta, our core business of learning through a Mercy community continues. In recent weeks, our mission to ‘expand beyond what we know we can be’ has never felt so real or so true. Whatever the future holds, you can be assured -

  • We will provide a valuable Mercy education to the girls in our community
  • We will continue to engage with students and their families
  • We, as a professional staff, will put our students at the centre of all we do.

Government advice and directives regarding the pandemic fluctuate daily. Our Principal, will continue to update the entire school community as news unfolds.

Regardless of whether our community gathers physically on the College campus, or meets together virtually through our digital platforms, our Continuous Learning environment means that students will continue to learn and teachers will continue to teach. Our core purpose has not changed. The way we engage with our core purpose is what has changed and will continue to evolve.

Students

Our Continuous Learning approach requires students to check in each morning and at other times in the day – we are focused on supporting wellbeing and engagement. Students are expected to engage with the teacher and the set learning activities and to ask for guidance when they need it. They can do this through Canvas Discussion and Chats, which are safe online conversation features. We know that one of the challenges of online learning is each student’s capacity to self-pace. This requires a level of independence and self-awareness. Some students manage this more effectively than others – which is why we have support protocols for the students to follow.

Teachers

In the same respect, teachers are also expected to ensure their students are learning in a supported manner. The teachers are committed to ensuring students are connected and achieving their personal weekly targets. These targets may be around learning, self-care or forming healthy habits. Teachers engage students through discussion questions. They set clear learning intentions and weekly targets for the students to work towards. They are designed to keep students focused. The teachers also use multiple methods of feedback and formative/summative assessment to give students insight and guidance on their learning progress and stay in regular contact with students.

Parents

We understand this is a busy time for parents who may be working from home, juggling a busier home environment and dealing with the impact of the pandemic. You are not expected to home-school your daughter, but rather to support her independence and encourage her self-pacing practices. It’s been a long term and the students have demonstrated resilience and positivity. The final few days of term are about getting comfortable in our new continuous learning ‘skin’. We are deeply appreciative of the support and encouragement of the parent community at this time.

ZOOM

We’ve only been engaged in Continuous Learning for 7 days. But we’ve been preparing for this shift for a few weeks. At the outset, we knew there were various models we could follow, but we are committed to using the most effective model for our school community. As you know, our online learning model continues to evolve in response to community need. For this reason, from Term 2, all students in Years 7-12 will use live Zoom sessions as part of our Continuous Learning model. This will enable students to be engaged in direct instruction and to enable touch-base sessions to occur. We will not be following a traditional school day. This kind of practice does not work in an online environment, nor is it sustainable. Instead, the College’s use of live Zoom sessions will complement our current Continuous Learning model. Further information about this aspect of Continuous Learning will be provided by the end of Term 1 and students will receive protocols to support them. In the final few days of the term, all students will engage in a live Zoom touch-base session with each of their subject teachers.

Our commitment

We recognise that the assumptions underpinning a traditional, physical school environment are no longer relevant in a COVID-19 world. Our Continuous Learning approach is adaptive to changing circumstances but will never compromise on our Mercy values or expectations of excellence for every student.

Connection

At the beginning of each day, each student must visit the OLMC Continuous Learning Canvas Course. She needs to:

  • Complete the Daily Check-In
  • Read Parramatters – the daily newsletter
  • Watch the Principal’s Message via video link
  • Engage with Homeroom on Tuesday mornings via Zoom

Student View

We like to look at things from the individual student’s perspective. For each girl, each day might look, feel and run slightly different, but a typical day of learning should include:

  • Identifying three subjects/courses she will work on that day (no more than three per day!)
  • Completion of the Track my Learning spreadsheet to record learning focus and breaks
  • Working towards a weekly target set by the teacher and ‘giving everything a go’
  • Working in 30-minute spurts, with mini-breaks to recharge
  • Engaging in class discussion and chat via Canvas platforms
  • Being present in Zoom lessons with teacher and classmates at least once per week
  • Asking for support when needed
  • Reflecting and reviewing learning through discussion with parents, peers and teachers

Further Information

Please visit our new Continuous Learning page on the College website for further information about our approach. Also, keep an eye on your emails as we send information and ask for your thoughts and feedback.

We have many strategies, tools and opportunities that we can employ, all of which point to a very bright future. As a dynamic and dignified place of learning, we will remain connected and will remain a Mercy community.

Ms Gemma Van de Peer
Deputy Principal (Acting)

VET/Careers

With many changes and cancellations to events at universities, TAFE and other institutions due to COVID-19, there are a few important links for Year 12 students this fortnight.

UAC COVID-19 UPDATE

 

Please be assured that UAC is committed to ensuring that their services remain available and no student is disadvantaged during this challenging time.

Year 12 students will still be emailed their UAC PIN on 1 April. Further advice regarding special arrangements for Year 12 students will be made available in the coming weeks and months as UAC works with universities, NESA and other stakeholders to ensure that no student is disadvantaged in relation to university entry in 2021.

 

To read the full update from UAC, please go to the following link.

 

https://www.uac.edu.au/uac-covid-19-update

2021 Course Guides for Tertiary Institutions

 

To assist Year 12 students in accessing course guides from tertiary providers, they are all now available in one online folder. Use the link below to find what you are looking for.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/16p8vrtu8MZlJEXG9T_YXVPERLBl6pMfU

Should you have any questions or need help with anything further, please contact me at the College via email: louise.weihen@olmc.nsw.edu.au

 

Wishing all our community well

 

Mrs Louise Weihen
VET/Careers Leader of Learning


From the Counsellors

Tips for Wellbeing

The following tips may be helpful in boosting your wellbeing:

  • Take a break from media. Don’t immerse yourself in the constant updates from sensationalised media outlets. Be informed, but get your information from reliable sources such as the World Health Organisation https://www.who.int/ or the Australian Government Department of Health https://www.health.gov.au/
  • Eat a healthy diet focused on fruits, vegetables, protein and carbohydrates
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Exercise regularly
  • Acknowledge your worries by writing them down. This can help by getting them out of your head. You can also start to challenge the thoughts and think about whether the thought is true or not. Start to think about which worries you actually have control to do something about. Worrying about things that are outside of our control is not helpful
  • Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, guided relaxation, meditation and mindfulness are all great ways to reduce stress
  • Stay connected with family and friends.

Please reach out for support if you need it. Support can include family and friends or external supports such as those listed in the College Diary on page 28. For your convenience a few helpful supports are:

  • Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 (24-hour web chat service, although waiting times for this can be up to 40 minutes in the evenings)
  • Lifeline: 13 11 14 (24-hour telephone service and online chat 7:00am-midnight)
  • Dr Russ Harris, a qualified GP and trainer in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy has put together an animated video which has some further advice for managing your feelings at this time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmvNCdpHUYM&feature=youtu.be

Mrs Sandra Portela
Senior College Counsellor


Sport

Due to the ongoing spread of COVID 19, numerous sporting events have been cancelled. Term 1 sports are cancelled and Term 2 sports may also be cancelled in the future. Final decisions about Term 2 sports will be made by mid-April. School Sport Australia has cancelled all sports for 2020 which will have a flow-on effect to NSWCCC & PDSSSC carnivals and selections. PDSSSC & CGSSSA will try and hold one-off Gala days later in the year.

On Canvas in the MyOLMC Information Gateway, you will find the MyOLMC Sports page containing a list of all OLMC sports. This list will be updated regularly regarding cancellations. 

In light of this, with everyone self-isolating, it is important to stay fit and healthy. Exercise can not only improve your physical health but it also makes you feel good. Research shows that being sedentary is not good for your physical and mental health, so staying active during this time is essential for overall well-being. Being physically active helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol and can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It also helps maintain muscle mass and bone density.

Physical activity helps keep your immune system working effectively. It flushes bacteria from the lungs and airways, increases white blood cell circulation and raises body temperature, all of which help the body fight infection.

As well as the physical health benefits, keeping active is a great way to ward off some of the psychological issues associated with being isolated for an extended period of time. Exercise helps relieve stress and can help you feel happier and healthier.

Here are a number of physical activity ideas you can try:

  • create your own fitness Circuit (push-ups, sit-ups, dips, squats, mountain climbers, lunges, plank, etc)
  • walking/jogging/bike riding
  • playing with your dog
  • skipping or hoola hoop
  • online yoga/pilates/zumba/aerobics session 
  • learn a new skill like juggling (or bounce juggle, foot juggle), spinning a ball on your finger
  • shooting a basketball/netball
  • kick a soccer ball or hitting a tennis ball against a wall or with a family member
  • playing hacky sack, cup ball, bottle knockdown, quoits, darts, cup stacking
  • playing bocce 
  • jumping on a trampoline
  • Practising handstands or cartwheels
  • simple outdoor parkour
  • practising or learning a martial art online
  • ‘Just Dance’ online
  • playing an instrument, gardening, or tidying your room.

On Canvas there is a ‘Break Time’ tile on Continuous Learning. Please access this tile for further information as well as a fitness routine that students may like to try:

The importance of achieving and maintaining good health is so important to living our lives to the fullest and reaching our goals. Making positive decisions around nutrition and physical activity are key and can help us develop an effective daily routine.

To start with, a little bit of nutritional advice:

  • Be sure to get in 5 serves of vegetables each day to boost your immunity. This will help your body ward off and fight infections, such as viruses.
  • Do your best to reduce your intake of sugar. This not only compromises the body’s immune response, but it affects your sleep, concentration, memory, and learning.

Another really important practice to include in your daily routine is exercise. Exercise is also very effective in triggering the body’s protective functions, so it’s quite crucial that you’re being physically active each day.

Thirty minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each day will keep you physically fit. We will prescribe a range of movements that will help you keep your endurance, strength, balance and flexibility in check.

There are a range of additional benefits of being physically active that go beyond your fitness. These include:

  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Increased ability to concentrate, think and learn Enhanced mood and reduced levels of stress
  • An opportunity to have some fun and try something new.

The 20-minute workout can be done by anyone, anywhere, at any time. You are encouraged to do at least 10 additional minutes of physical activity each day so that you meet the recommended guidelines.

Hoping you and your families stay safe and healthy and looking forward to seeing you back at school soon.

Mr Stuart Guthrie
Sports Coordinator

 

 


The Uniform Shop will be closed after Wednesday, 1 April. All winter uniform appointments that were due to occur will be cancelled for an indefinite period.

We are still able to take orders via the College Online Uniform Shop until the end of term https://shop.olmc.nsw.edu.au/

Uniforms will be mailed by Express Post to your home address. 

If you are not able to buy the winter uniform before the new term, students will be permitted to return in their summer uniform.

In Term 2, we will ensure that we allocate additional appointments to fill all outstanding orders. 

 

 


Canteen Notice

The school canteen is now closed until the commencement of the new term.