- Principal's Message
- Parent Teacher Conferences now open
- Catholic Primary Schools Music Program 2022 - Closing soon!
- New Literacy Strategy in the Early Years
- TreadLightly school recycling drive
- Compass App update
- Scholastic Bookclub Loop
- Notification of road works
- World's Greatest Shave
- St Patrick's College - Information evening & tours
- Parish Bulletin
- Community News
The Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36)
A reflection on the Gospel from the 2nd Sunday of Lent (Year C)
Written by Mr Casimir Douglas
The Gospel reading for this upcoming Sunday, the second of the Lenten observance, is Luke’s recount of the event known as the Transfiguration. So significant is this event in the life of the Disciples that it remains a point of reflection and reference in the epistles of the New Testament, particularly the letters of Peter. Indeed, the richness of this passage, and the revelation and illumination made possible through it, means that there are an innumerable array of lenses through which to examine the text. To provide a comprehensive reflection on this passage, would require words infinitum. Therefore, I will narrow the expanse to exploring the themes of worthiness and listening in the passage.
Whilst the alteration of Jesus’s appearance in this passage tends to dominate the exegetical discussion, the question of worthiness focuses on why the witnesses to such an extraordinary event were excluded to just a few Disciples: Peter, John and James. The narrative appears to suggest that only these three were worthy of, and therefore privy to, the glorious light of the transfiguration. Why were these few judged as worthy, and the other Disciples not? The use of light to represent the revelation of Christ’s glory and divinity is not confined to the Gospels either. In the story of the Christian persecutor, Saul (the future St Paul the Apostle), and his journey on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-19), Christ appears to him in a light so profound it blinds him for three days, yet Saul’s companions do not even perceive the slightest glimmer of this holy shimmer. Why was Saul judged worthy and his companions not?
Among the most cherished educational values and principles in the contemporary school community is belonging. Fittingly, among the most significant social challenges of the contemporary school student is fitting in. Any school community and school student, in their understanding of belonging and fitting in, must be informed by the research of renowned social worker, speaker, and global vulnerability icon, Brené Brown. In her book, Daring Greatly (2012), Brown identifies the key difference between belonging and fitting in: “Belonging is when you are accepted as your true and authentic self. Fitting in is changing who you are in order to be included”. Love and belonging are a prerequisite for human connection. Brown’s research reveals that those who report a strong experience of connectedness in their lives all had one commonality, their sense of worthiness: “If we want to experience love and belonging, we must believe that we are worthy of love and belonging”. A sense of self-worthiness is the key ingredient to belonging; that is to embrace, celebrate, and dare bravely to be your true and authentic self, rather than settling for fitting in.
God’s love for us is boundless and unconditional, we are created in His image, and our worthiness is inherent. Our true and authentic self is accepted, included, embraced and celebrated by God’s grace and mercy. This is mirrored in the divine mystery of the events of the Transfiguration and the Road to Damascus; our worthiness is a divine birthright. And as explained by Brené Brown, we need only believe it. And how to cultivate this belief? By listening.
The conversionary event for Saul, now St Paul, set him on a vastly different path, as he also beheld the voice of Jesus in this apparition: “Saul, Saul… I am Jesus… get up and enter the city and you will be told what you are to do” (Acts 9:5-6). Despite not seeing the light, even his companions heard the divine voice of Christ! Saul was called by name, summoned and commanded to listen, not just in these few words, but informed that he will be given further instruction. First the light to capture attention, then the exhortation to listen, and the central instruction to listen to Jesus. And Saul did listen. Is there a greater example of changing from merely fitting in to embracing your true and authentic self? To transition from the key persecutor of Christians, to their preacher, teacher, and leader?
Peter, after witnessing the Christ, Moses and Elijah gathered together on the mountain illuminated in light, began to speak, though: “he did not know what he was saying. (Luke 9: 33)”. Then ‘while he was saying this’ a voice speaks to Peter from the cloud. Luke’s writing suggests that the voice emerges abruptly, interrupting Peter’s rambling, as a means to caution and chastise him for all the talking, as if to say, ‘Peter, please listen’. Indeed, these are the words that the Gospel writer, Luke, attributes to the divine voice in this moment: “This is my Son, my Chosen, listen to him! (Luke 9:35)”. First the light to capture attention, then the exhortation to listen, and the central instruction to listen to Jesus.
Paul, Peter, John and James were chosen in these passages not because only they are worthy, but because we all are worthy. Worthy of life, worthy of belonging, worthy of connection, worthy of compassion, worthy of grace, worthy of mercy, worthy of truth, worthy of justice, worthy of being accepted, included, embraced and celebrated. Worthy of love. The point of their inclusion in these mysteries of Christ’s divine revelation is not that others were excluded, but that we are all invited into the love, grace and mercy of God and into our inherent worthiness. I pray that we may listen, not only for the divine voice of God calling us into our worthiness, but also to our own voices, chorused in conviction and certainty, that, yes, we are worthy of love and belonging.
Raphael, Italian, 1520 AD
Dear Parents and Carers,
Grace to you and peace.
PRINCIPAL’S MORNING TEA
At our Friday afternoon Assembly last week, there were eleven students who received a Gospel Value Award for demonstrating the value of JUSTICE last week.
These students attended a special Principal’s Morning Tea in Josephite Hall this Tuesday (8th March).
The students thoroughly enjoyed the delicious morning tea, and I thoroughly enjoyed their company. They even managed to convince me to relive my past glory days of goal celebrations after scoring in soccer. Whilst I was convinced that my cartwheel was not very athletic, the students kindly scored it 10/10! We discussed the students' hobbies, interests, and what they were grateful for in their lives, which included siblings, parents, cats, soccer, swimming and great white sharks!
One of the key operational goals in the domain of Catholic Identity from our 2022 Annual Priorities, was to: "Establish and promote the five Gospel values of respect, empathy, dignity, justice, and integrity into the cultural norms and life of the school". For our students to access and understand these values, we have prioritised breaking down the broad concepts of each of the Gospel values into simple and tangible language for the students:
Respect - Kind, Thankful, Positive
Justice - Helpful, Fair, Caring
Empathy - Gentle, Learn, Listen
Dignity - Yourself, Do Your Best, Proud
Integrity - Honest, Brave, Safe
Teachers will be framing the language with the students using the active verb ‘be’ as a prefix and a presupposition to engender a sense of dynamism and actionability in the Gospel values. For example, when speaking to the students at the Monday morning Prayer Assembly this week, I said to them: “This is what it means to live with justice: to be helpful, be fair and be caring”. Also, I encourage all teachers when addressing behavioural issues or concerns with students to use these words as prompts for the students to reflect on their behaviour and their choices: “Were you helpful? Were you fair? Were you caring?”
But even more important than using the language with our students, is that we as the adult community of the school, model these behaviours ourselves in our interactions with each other and primarily, with our students. Our children are always watching us, they learn their interactions from our behaviours. Yes, from what we say, but more importantly what we do.
Additionally, please find below a document that provides a framework, intended for students, that provides a common language of the understanding of the Gospel values through the prism of ‘head, heart and hands’.
In exciting technological and pedagogical news, the school has committed to a six-month trial of a Promethean Board, which arrived on Monday. A Promethean Board is an 72" interactive whiteboard that also allows you to project an image from a laptop or computer. You can also interact with the board through touch or specialized pens. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that students learn better when they are fully engaged, and that multi-sensory, hands-on learning is the best way to engage them, a new emphasis on developing twenty-first-century skills for students, the requirement for educator proficiency in technology, and research documenting increased learning with the use of interactive whiteboards have spurred the adoption of this technology in the school.
The Promethean Board comes with a variety of preloaded teaching tools, and enables teachers and students to capture and crop images; draw and annotate over content; and reinforce classroom routines. The Whiteboard app allows users to turn their interactive display into a blank canvas, and the board has 20 points of touch on the screen, and can therefore have multiple students and staff accessing and using the board at the same time. Teachers and students can connect their devices to mirror to the panel, where up to 39 devices can connect to a session, with a teacher able to choose up to four devices to share content simultaneously.
Over the coming weeks, teachers will be provided with professional learning on how to navigate and use the technology, explore best practice and pedgogy in using the Promethean Board in the classroom, and investigate and identify opportunities for its implementation across the curriculum. As the board is portable it will also be used for outdoor gatherings as a means to provide a screen for presentations. The Board will live in the Library, but will be able to be booked for use in classrooms.
Allow me to be clear that whilst the technology is impressive, it is not the driver of learning. The pedagogical principles are the drivers of its implementation. Case in point, many of our teachers currently use whiteboard markers to annotate their TV screens in the classroom! I did indeed enjoy using the annotation tool on the Promethean Board when analysing my Principal's Welcome on the school website.
May the grace of Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Mr Casimir Douglas
Bookings for Parent Teacher Conferences for Term 1 2022 are now open.
Interviews are booked by logging into Compass, selecting ‘Conferences’ from the menu, then selecting ‘Parent Teacher Interviews Term 1 2022’. From here you will be able to select the appropriate and suitable time for you to meet with your child/ren’s teacher/s. Bookings close on Wednesday 16th March. Please note that if you have already attended or booked a Learning Plan meeting with your child’s teacher, then you do not need to schedule another meeting.
Interviews will be conducted online via the video-conferencing app, Zoom. Please see your email for details.
Please direct queries to your child's classroom teacher, or for Compass enquiries, to the office on 03 6337 7200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Catholic Primary Schools Music Program is getting ready to start for 2022, and enrolments and re-enrolments are closing soon!
Students in Gr3-6 interested in learning an instrument had the opportunity to meet the music tutors and hear some instruments recently, which garnered much enthusiasm!
Details on the program can be found using the link below, including lots of demonstrations and information about how to enrol in the program. Enquiries can be directed to email@example.com
Catholic Education Tasmania Literacy Strategy
Literate Learners for Life
Every student … every subject … every year
The aim of the CET Literacy Strategy, Literate Learners for Life, is to improve system-wide growth in reading achievement for all students. The project will identify best practice in reading instruction across Prep to Year 12.
As part of CET’s Literacy Strategy all Catholic primary schools in Tasmania have been asked to implement the InitiaLit program in the early years. Here at St Thomas More’s, as usual, we have been carefully assessing what your child can already do in literacy so that we can continue helping them to grow in their learning; the only difference is that we will be using a new literacy program, called InitiaLit. If you would like to read more about InitiaLit you can find more information in the attached document called InitiaLit Parent/Carer Fact Sheet.
We will soon start sending home readers home with your child to practice their reading at home. For more information about this please see the attached document called InitiaLit Home Reading.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact Tracey Kidd, STM’s Literacy Leader. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have old sports and lifestyle footwear you no longer need, like thongs, soccer shoes or trainers? Good news! Our school is taking part in the TreadLightly School Recycling Drive between 21-27th March!! TreadLightly takes unwanted sports and active lifestyle shoes and gives them new life as retail, gym and playground flooring.
Simply collect as many shoes as possible between 21–27 March to help keep shoes out of landfill and win prizes for your school. Don't forget to check the list of shoes they can - and can't - recycle below!
Throughout the year we administer Book Club for Scholastic Australia. Approximately once a month students will be given catalogues offering books for sale. Please feel no obligation to buy.
Ordering is easy - simply go online and place your order. Payment is to be made ONLY via Scholastic’s Linked Online Ordering and Payment system (i.e. no cash/cheque payments to school). LOOP allows parents to order and pay via the Scholastic website or app. Please see the brochure below for further information. There is no need to return order forms to school. Books are sent directly to the school and distributed to students.
Each order earns the school valuable reward points which are used to purchase Library and classroom resources.
For more information about Scholastic and Book Club, visit www.scholastic.com.au
The Department of State Growth has advised they will be replacing Electronic School Speed Signs near St Thomas More's from the week commencing 15th March 2022.
Works will be conducted between 7:00am and 5:00pm from Monday to Friday, however will pause during peak drop off and pickup times. There may be some temporary traffic changes during this period of works, including lane closures and reduced speed limits. Please keep to speed limits and follow the directions of traffic controllers and signs.
Enquiries can be directed to email@example.com, and more informaion can be found at transport.tas.gov.au