Synod on Synodality
This Synod, an opportunity for the church to listen deeply to the people of God, met for 6 days between 4 to 28 October. At the assembly’s closing mass, Pope Francis offered these reflections about our Church in his homily.
Brothers and sisters, I think of the victims of the atrocities of war; the sufferings of migrants, the hidden pain of those who are living alone and in poverty; those who are crushed by the burdens of life; those who have no more tears to shed, those who have no voice. And I think too of how often, behind fine words and attractive promises, people are exploited or nothing is done to prevent that from happening. It is a grave sin to exploit the vulnerable, a grave sin that corrodes fraternity and devastates society. As disciples of Jesus, we desire to bring to the world a different type of leaven, that of the Gospel. To put God in first place and, together with him, those whom he especially loves: the poor and the weak.
This, brothers and sisters, is the Church we are called to “dream”: a Church that is the servant of all, the servant of the least of our brothers and sisters. A Church that never demands an attestation of “good behaviour,” but welcomes, serves, loves and forgives. A Church with open doors that is a haven of mercy. “The merciful man”, said John Chrysostom, “is as a harbour to those who are in need; and the harbour receives all who are escaping shipwreck, and frees them from danger, whether they be evil or good; whatsoever kind of men they be that are in peril, it receives them into its shelter. You also, when you see a man suffering shipwreck on land through poverty, do not sit in judgment on him, nor require explanations, but relieve his distress.” (In pauperem Lazarum, II, 5).
As a Catholic College, St Columba’s is committed to this mission that welcomes, serves, loves and forgives. Each and every day we strive to be in right relationship with one another and with our planet, and as we live our calling to make a response to the most vulnerable.
Updated Student Digital Citizenship Policy
We have recently updated the Student Digital Citizenship Policy, which is provided here for your information. House Group Teachers have worked with students to understand the various elements of this Policy. This is supported by the work we do in our House Group Lessons related to cyber-safety and cyber-bullying. With the rate of advancements in this space, this is a policy that will be reviewed on a more regular basis.
Education in relation to digital citizenship is something that must be done in partnership with families. When it comes to online safety, the eSafety Commissioner can help. This organisation educates Australians about online safety risks and help to remove harmful content such as cyberbullying of children and young people, adult cyber abuse, image-based abuse and illegal and restricted content.
The eSafety Commissioner can support with:
- Advice for parents and young peopleon staying safe online
- Digital skills needed for staying safe in games and apps using the eSafety Guide
- Webinars for parents and carersto help children have positive online experiences
- Investigating reports of serious online abuseand help with the removal of this content.
Earlier this year, we also provided details about our online safety hub (accessible from your SEQTA Welcome page) for families, provided through our partnership with ySafe. Through this hub you can get advice about the latest apps and games, learn more about online safety topics from online experts, and get help with social media incidents.
If you have any concerns about your child’s safety and/or behaviour online please do not hesitate to contact the House Group Teacher or Leader.
Changes resulting from the House System Review
Last term I shared the recommendations that arose from the House System Review conducted by our external partner, Lucy Carroll. As a result of the recommendations based on the community consultation, and the feedback provided through the review process, the following changes will be implemented from 2024.
Kate Macpherson (currently de Lacy House Leader) has been appointed to a new role at the College, Director of Students. This role aims to provide an additional level of support to the House Group Teachers and House Leaders in supporting all students at the College. This means that Nakkita Egan as the Head of Students (a Leadership Team role) can focus on the more strategic elements of student wellbeing programs at the College.
House Group time has been extended on 3 days a week, and will run for 15 minutes on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, allowing for additional time to build connection in House Groups. On Wednesday and Friday, when there is no House Group, classes will commence at 8.35am. A copy of the 2024 timetable (which will commence on 22 November) is provided below for your information. There is no change to the start and finish times for each day.
The allocation and delivery of the House Lesson, which allows for the implementation of our Social/Emotional curriculum, has changed to allow us to make a response to the recommendations in relation to connection and relationships being fundamental to the delivery of this program. This will now be core group based to build on existing teacher and student relationships.
In relation to student mentoring, we are working on developing a program led by our Peer Support Leaders, who currently support the Year 7 Transition Program.
We look forward to implementing these changes and monitoring their impact on the programs we deliver at St Columba’s College.
Mondays Day 1 and Day 6
Tuesdays Day 2 and Day 7
Wednesdays Day 3 and Day 8
Thursdays Day 4 and Day 9
Fridays Day 5 and Day 10
Timetable for Days 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9
|House Group||8.35 AM||8.50 AM||15|
|Lesson 1||8.55 AM||10.10 AM||75|
|Recess||10.10 AM||10.30 AM||20|
|Lesson 2||10.30 AM||11.45 AM||75|
|Brain Break||11.45 AM||11.50 AM||5|
|Lesson 3||11.50 AM||1.05 PM||75|
|Lunch||1.05 PM||1.45 PM||40|
|Lesson 4||1.45 PM||3.00 PM||75|
Timetable for Days 3, 5, 8, 10
|Lesson 1||8.35 AM||9.50 AM||75|
|Recess||9.50 AM||10.15 AM||25|
|Lesson 2||10.15 AM||11.30 AM||75|
|Brain Break||11.30 AM||11.40 AM||10|
|Lesson 3||11.40 AM||12.55 PM||75|
|Lunch||12.55 PM||1.45 PM||50|
|Lesson 4||1.45 PM||3.00 PM||75|
As you might be aware from media reporting, there has been a rise in the number of reported COVID cases in recent weeks. While there is no requirement to self-isolate, it is recommended that infected individuals stay home for at least 5 days and until there are no longer any symptoms, as per the Victorian Government COVID website (reviewed on 3 November).
I take this opportunity to remind families about the illness prevention measures we should all be taking to support the physical health of everyone in the community. Attention to hand hygiene, and cough and sneeze hygiene, are proven effective measures to prevent the spread of illness. As per my previous communications, if your child is unwell, please keep them at home.