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Last Sunday’s Gospel reading came from Mark and was about the parable of the mustard seed. In this parable Jesus was trying to explain the notion of the Kingdom of Heaven. The passage states…

Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.” (Mk 4:26-34)

Our faith aspires to build the Kingdom in all communities that we are in. A bigger picture view of the response is one of Christianity in general. Our faith (on earth) started from the birth of Christ; a single person. Over time, it has grown into a belief that directs the life and actions of so many people. The shade of the mustard tree (our faith) protects us and allows us to spread the good news to others.

Within our own school community. The Gospel values centred on the life of Jesus Christ “shade” each of us. If we grow from these values we will create our own “kingdom” that respects the dignity of each and reflects justice, love and peace for all. There will always be occasions when these values are tested by our young men or even adults within our community. However, if we are faithful to our College Catholic identity, these bigger picture values are our priority and set our direction. This can sometimes be lost within the everyday expectations that come with teaching and learning. Good Catholic schools need to balance being good schools but not at the expense of their Catholic identity. This can cause tensions at times, but this identity is what creates our “Kingdom” and the shade for our community members.

Our young men completed their last day of Term 2 today. Over the past week, they have been undertaking various forms of assessment which will allow us to make informed judgements about how they are currently progressing at this point in time within each of their subjects. The assessment feedback and student reporting is important information to both students and teachers. Each young man should review his individual assessment results and overall semester result with interest and compare it with the target that he had set for himself. The feedback from each individual piece of assessment completed over the semester will give him some knowledge about where his strengths and challenges may lie. Many of our students can fall into the trap of simply looking at their overall result and try to make some generalised assumptions about what they may need to do to further improve within their subjects. A more thorough way of doing this is to look at each assessment piece and the criteria results and teacher comments throughout the assignment or test. They should be looking for common threads amongst these criteria results or comments. This is a time consuming practice, but is a very useful way to reflect upon the semester’s work and ways to further improve.

The other significant piece of feedback will come from the parent, student and teacher interviews conducted in the second week of next term. As the time is short in these interviews, it is best to come with some questions already for the teacher rather than discuss past assessment pieces. The interviews should be more future focussed and concentrate more on targets for the semester and actions to be undertaken to try and achieve the targets.

Next week, our teaching staff will be at the College completing marking and reporting, and undertaking a series of professional development workshops around our Pedagogical Framework, The Art and Science of Teaching. We will also spend a full day working on report data to consider what it is telling us about out teaching practices and to assess some programs or practices that were introduced across a range of subjects and year levels. We will also work on whole school initiatives and expectations around student well-being and behaviour formation. This week is an invaluable week for teaching staff to participate in prolonged and relevant professional development as opposed to student free days at the beginning of each term.

During today’s assembly, we farewelled three current staff members. Firstly, Mrs Melanie McNamara will complete her contract. Melanie joined us to replace Mr Clinton Hall after his accident some weeks ago. Mr Bernie Haughey will take the whole second semester off for long service leave and Mr John Tucker will be away for Term 3 on long service leave. Mr Phil McGreevy will replace Mr Haughey and Mr Mike Bramwell will replace Mr Tucker during their terms of absence.

During the holidays, clinics will be held for several sports and our Confraternity team will travel to Charters Towers for the Confraternity Rugby League carnival. There are also many students and staff involved in the Queensland and Australian Schoolboys Rugby trials and championships. I would like to thank the many staff who have made themselves available during this time to allow our young men to enjoy the opportunities they have been given.

I hope that each of our young men can have a restful and enjoyable break from school during the holiday period. I appreciate that many parents will be working over this period and I hope that your son(s) is helpful and supportive to you during his break and that you get to enjoy some good quality time together.

Live Jesus in our Hearts!

Mr Chris Mayes - College Principal