Welcome Back to Term 2

Dear OLMC Parents and Carers

Welcome back to Term 2! I trust that Easter brought blessings to your families, together with much needed spiritual nourishment. We were fortunate as a community to acknowledge Easter as we finished Term 1. When the students returned yesterday to their Continuous Learning Program they were able to commence with a House Assembly, checking in and reconnecting with their House sisters and experiencing an acknowledgment of ANZAC Day, a significant cultural and historical event that has contributed to the shaping of our nation. The qualities exhibited by the ANZACS - those of service, loyalty and courage - continue to stand us in good stead during the current pandemic.

I know that, for many of you, the two weeks of April holidays would have been very different from what you had anticipated in January 2020. Cancelled overseas trips, cancelled domestic vacations, even cancelled visits to family members have contributed to our changing social landscape at present. We have all had to practise social distancing, not just in the supermarket but also from our neighbours in our streets. Some of you will have been working from home alongside caring for your children for many weeks now. In similar ways, many staff at the College have continued working during the break to prepare for Term 2, all the while caring for their own families. It reminds us that we are all in this together! In spite of the current circumstances, I hope that you have found some time to have a relaxing break and that your daughters have returned with enthusiasm for Term 2. Reconnecting to peers, familiarity and routine will help your daughters to process the demands of this new environment and teach them the coping mechanisms that will serve them well in their lives.

The Managed Return to School Plan, which I have sent to you all, outlines our phased approach to the return of students to the campus this term. Commencing from Week 1, 28 April, the College is open, particularly for children of essential workers and vulnerable students. The government authorities rightly consider teachers and support staff of schools as essential workers and we have therefore responded positively to our responsibility to open the campus. I would like to acknowledge the ongoing work of all staff from Term 1 onwards, including during the non-term time, to devise and deliver continuous learning to all students of the College. Nothing has halted for staff in terms of planning, preparation and delivery of learning and I deeply appreciate their efforts. I also wish to acknowledge the vital role of the Pastoral and Inclusive Learning Teams, who are continually monitoring our students’ engagement and wellbeing and the Mission Team who are supporting the spiritual and prayer life of us all.  As a Catholic faith community, we know that all of these elements underpin effective student learning.

The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely challenged everyone. In uncertain times that is one thing of which we can be certain.  The unrelenting complexity that is COVID-19, coupled with the almost daily updates to advice delivered by Federal and State politicians and Health authorities, demands of us resilience, agility, collaboration and kindness. Sometimes fear of the unknown or circumstances over which we have no control can drive a very emotional response from us and make us lash out at others. This is not our Mercy way. The way we treat others, our tone and language in speaking with and writing to others and our actions, should always be dignified and kind. For this reason, I wish to thank the many families who have taken the time to write with kindness, expressing their gratitude for the efforts of College staff. I have made sure to pass their good wishes onto the staff. As a Mercy community, whatever Term 2 brings, we will be ready to support every member of our community.

One of the ways that we can support each other at this time is to access goods and services in our OLMC community. We understand that many businesses may have been impacted heavily by the pandemic. Therefore, we have established an OLMC Community Business Directory that provides an opportunity for members of the OLMC community to promote their business and assist in connecting all our members in supporting those businesses now and in the future as they return to normal trading.

If you are interested in adding your business to the Directory, please click the link below to complete an application form. If you have any questions, please contact the College Development Officer, Mrs Susan Giacomelli susan.giacomelli@olmc.nsw.edu.au

Here is the link to the form:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSepZV8AuEONFDCvn2AxDBkhae8B4LoPN5i5o_qrAYJwHqtCxA/viewform?usp=sf_link

I want to advise you of the following information, which you will find useful as we return in Term 2:

The College Uniform Shop is open during the school term every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 8.00am – 9.30am.

  • To ensure the Uniform Shop is safe there will be a limit of one family in the shop at any one time.
  • The Uniform Shop will be open on Saturday, 9 May. Strictly appointment only via the College website.
  • Purchases can also be made via our online uniform shop, by e-mail uniformshop@olmc.nsw.edu.au or by phone. 

https://www.olmc.nsw.edu.au/enrolments/uniform-shop/

The College Canteen will re-open in Week 3 of Term 2. From Week 3 the Canteen will be open daily before school from 8.00am and during recess and lunch. The Canteen menu can be found on the College website https://www.olmc.nsw.edu.au/enrolments/canteen/

As the term progresses, and further advice and instructions to schools is provided by the relevant authorities, I will maintain constant communication with you, providing you with updates regarding learning and all developments. Remember that you can access COVID-19 Fee Help if needed by submitting the application for Fee Deferral, which is located on the College website.

We need to rely on each other now more than ever. We need to focus our attention, collaborate and use our collective wisdom for our collective good. Some of the adjustments we have made to our lives provoked by COVID-19 will produce some positive changes that we may choose to embrace for the future. When we model patience and agility for our students our example will be one of the most important gifts we can give to them!

The College is open, the campus has been cleaned and hand sanitiser and soap is provided onsite for all staff and students. Learning continues, community continues, faith continues.  We are doing everything we can at the College to keep everyone safe, well and healthy just as you are within your own families. We are missing the students’ presence and looking forward to their return commencing Week 3!

Until we are together again, you continue to remain in my thoughts and prayers.

Warm regards

Mrs Marie Wood
Principal (Acting)

 

 


A Mercy Prayer for the Pandemic 

One of our Year 7 students, Sabrina Harb, has written a prayer that incorporates the eight Mercy values.

Dear God

Help us show mercy in all that we do, as we strive to become better people who are resilient and courageous.

Guide us to get back up again if we fall.

Help us show dignity and justice to all and demonstrate excellence in our work always.

Help us all to show compassion, hospitality and service to those who have Coronavirus and who are in hospital at this time for any reason.

Help us to show respect to the environment. Through our stewardship may we see Mother earth regenerate at this time.

We pray that all people can work together to help stop the spread of Coronavirus. Return all people to good health and hold those who have lost their battle close to your side.

Amen.

Easter

As I went through the virtual Stations of the Cross, I had time to reflect on and think about the different people who were impacted by this journey. Jesus, a man who had to make the long and hard journey alone. A journey full of pain, hurt and great sadness. Mary, a mother watching on as her son was tortured, tormented and humiliated. Actions which would have torn at her own heart and soul.

I also watched the Easter services being live-streamed from St Mary’s Cathedral. There was something hauntingly beautiful about the emptiness of the space. The image of Jesus lying in full view along the face of the altar was a visible sign of Easter hope.

While the physical experience of being at Mass was very different this year, I feel that I was still able to enter into the spiritual side of Easter. Whilst remaining socially distant, I love that we are able to be spiritually close.

ANZAC Day

What an amazing coming together of the community on ANZAC Day. Light up the Dawn was a community initiative where people stood on their driveways or porches with candles in an act of solidarity. Some displayed red poppies, wreaths, or Australian flags and wrote messages of hope and thanks in chalk on driveways. Many members of our OLMC community participated and their images are below. To hear the Last Post ring out in the still, dark sky filled me with emotions and took my mind to relatives who went off to fight bravely for our country. Closer to home it reminded me of the people who are continuing to work hard to stop the spread of COVID-19. The doctors, nurses, scientists and all other people working to help society continue to function. We are facing a new battle with a different enemy, but a shared response on how to overcome it.

 

The Environment and Earth Day

On 22 April, was the 50th celebration of Earth Day. As we stay home, I am sure many of you have seen images or heard stories about the way the environment is celebrating. India can see the Himalayas for the first time in over a decade. Bird and animal life has come back to parts of Italy. The Great Wall of China is the clearest it has ever been. Good has to come out of this. If we are people of hope, then we have to believe this.

Wonderful things are happening all over the world, but sometimes it may be difficult to see them. Earthday has many ways you may be able to keep up to date with activities, campaigns and videos all directed at ways to have hope and courage at this difficult time for people and the planet.

Wishing you all a safe and happy week ahead

Mrs Gabby Scanlon 
Director of Mission

 

 


Katarina Butler

What is your Leadership Portfolio?

Stewardship Leader

What are the key responsibilities of your Portfolio?

To challenge the school community to be conscious of the way their actions impact the environment, both in the classroom and at home.

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

I hope to encourage girls to be conscious of what they consume and how they do so. Our goal is to create a ‘plastic-free OLMC’, challenging the entire school body to be mindful of their waste. I am also hoping to engage students in a number of initiatives to raise awareness of global issues. I will be focusing on a range of issues, especially those pertinent to the Australian community such as coal mining, fracking and global warming. 

 

 

 


Continuous Learning

At the start of Term Two, we are still in the pandemic, but the news is more positive. The numbers of cases in NSW is low and there is talk of the restrictions being lifted very soon. This is all good news for schools and especially our students and staff at OLMC.

We are excited to be implementing the first phase of the Managed Return to School Plan. Seeing the faces of staff (and some students) across the campus, on the Zoom screen, is uplifting. The girls have transitioned back into Term Two successfully, despite the first day back for students being a little rocky. A global technological glitch prevented some students from accessing their House assembly in the morning, but things were soon resolved and the students were on their way!

Over the holidays, the staff worked hard to respond to the feedback received from the students, via a Pulse Survey, at the end of Term One. Continuous Learning in Term Two is focused on:

  • Weekly learning targets for each subject
  • Learning activities uploaded on Monday and due on Friday
  • Live Zoom sessions for all students
  • Tracking of attendance and engagement

Our teachers are focused on a three-pronged pedagogical approach to the delivery of Continuous Learning via:

  1. Instructional videos - these are pre-recorded and uploaded to Canvas. Students can watch them as many times as they need, when they want.
  2. Learning activities - these are uploaded on Monday and completed by Friday. The learning activities culminate in the evidence of learning and are designed to support students working towards a learning target for each subject. Learning targets and corresponding activities are structured in what students ‘must’, ‘should’ and ‘could’ do, depending on their level of ability and engagement.
  3. Live Zoom sessions - Zooming gives students the opportunity to ask questions, collaborate with their peers and apply their learning. Their purpose is to engage and extend student learning whilst prioritising relationships and connection as essential to wellbeing.

This blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning has been embraced by the students who have demonstrated resilience and independence.  We are confident they will use their self-paced learning time to effectively meet their weekly learning targets, and reach out to their teachers if they need to. Any student can ask their teacher for support at any point during the week. They can ask for help in a variety of ways such as discussion boards, email and via a live Zoom session. Monday and Friday morning homeroom sessions enable further support via the House Mentor, who will be ready to ask the right questions, make helpful suggestions and support the students.

Naturally we would expect students to experience challenges. Challenges arise at the best of times. If your daughter experiences difficulties, this may not be a bad thing! Overcoming a challenge, finding a way around a challenge and reaching a solution is all part of learning. There are many people to provide support. IT Help (ITHelp@olmc.nsw.edu.au), House Mentors, House Leaders, Subject teachers and Counsellors are all available to respond to questions and offer encouragement.

VET/Careers

Universities Admission Centre (UAC)
UAC has been providing regular updates on matters relating to university entry for 2021 with regards to the COVID-19 situation. You can read more at https://www.uac.edu.au/uac-covid-19-update#entry:11344:url

One of their initiatives has been regular posts, podcasts and information through social media.

https://www.facebook.com/uacinfo/

https://www.instagram.com/uacinfo/

Wednesday, 6 May @4:00pm 
Over the past few weeks, UAC have been gathering students’ questions and searching for the answers. They have had conversations with NESA, ACTBSSS & ACTAC, and come up with solutions that will help Year 12 students. Kim Paino, UAC's General Manager of Marketing and Engagement, will report back.  

If you have questions you want Kim to pre-prepare, leave them in the comments on the post on Facebook or Instagram, and then tune in on the day.

 

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Coping with Change

We have all had a number of weeks to process and adjust to the new normal. For some people, this has been an easy adjustment and for others, they have required more support. In times of change, you may have felt a little out of control or like you are not living up to your own, or others, expectations for yourself. No one expects that you have to function at 100 per cent all the time. People make mistakes - it's learning from the mistakes that really counts. Some tips to help adjust to change can be found include:

  1. Think and focus only on what is in your control. Understanding your role, what is expected of you and how much is in your control can help you put things in perspective. The things that are usually in your control are your own thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
  2. Accept that the change that is happening is beyond your control and choose to feel calm about this. Try and see it as an opportunity to grow, learn and develop new skills.
  3. Keep to a regular schedule as much as possible. Wake up at a set time each day and plan out your day to help you feel organised and that you have a greater sense of control. Having some parts of our life stay the same amidst change can provide a useful reminder to us that there are things that are still in our control.
  4. As you focus on what is in your control, you may come across some challenges. It is important to deal with these proactively by problem-solving and/or setting some goals to face these challenges. Seeking support or advice can also be useful at this time.
  5. Focus on eating mostly fresh foods that support physical wellbeing. Don’t wait for motivation to kick in before implementing these wellbeing initiatives, just make them part of your regular routine so that they develop into healthy habits.
  6. Manage your stress by taking care of your wellbeing, talk to others, practice mindfulness, guided relaxation and/or meditation.
  7. There are a number of ways that people can react to change and all of these are normal. Lean on friends and family for emotional support. If things don’t improve, consider seeking some professional support. The school counsellors are on-site and able to provide support as needed.

Telephone and online support is a great way to access help for free. Some of these include:

  • Lifeline (13 11 14) has 24/7 phone and online support.
  • Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) has 24/7 phone and online support for young people aged 5 to 25.
  • Eheadspace has free online and phone support for young people aged 12 to 25.
  • If you can get a face-to-face appointment, you could ask your health professional if you can have a session over FaceTime/Skype/Zoom.

Mrs Sandra Portela
Senior School Counsellor


School Fees

School fees for Instalment 2 have been sent to all families and are due Friday, 1 May 2020 unless you are on an existing direct debit arrangement with the College. Payment may be made by BPay, cheque, money order or by credit cards via the Parent Community Portal (Visa or Mastercard).

The College realises the disruption and financial impact COVID-19 has made on family financial situations. Please refer to the College website for COVID-19 Fee Help or alternatively let the Finance Office know and understand your circumstances via email or telephone call.

Any queries regarding fees or payments can be directed to the Finance Office on 8838 1214 weekdays during 8.00am–4.00pm or by email to finance@olmc.nsw.edu.au

 

Mrs Anne-Maree Ironside
Finance Manager