From the Principal

Last week was a lovely week of welcomes.

We welcome back our students and families from the summer holiday break. I am sure every student grew at least 5 cm over the break! It was great to see new students coming to join classes across the school. It is always wonderful to welcome new families to our school community.

On Monday I watched as our lovely new Class One teacher, Prue, welcomed her new students, receiving a rose from each and guiding them into their classroom to begin their journeys together. It was wonderful to spend some time together with the Class One parents in a morning tea after the ceremony.

On Tuesday it was the turn of the Kindergarten Teachers to welcome their new little charges into the school. For some parents, it was an emotional farewell as their first child began the school journey and for others the day marked the beginning of some child-free time at home as their youngest child joined the kindergarten.

This week we also welcomed back some students who have been away from the school for a little while and have now returned. It’s great to see those familiar faces back with us again.

In the Administration Office, we also welcomed some new faces. Georgi was initially joining us in the Reception role, however she willingly stepped in to the Principal Assistant role, and is doing a great job of replacing Jacquie who will be away for approximately 6 months. Felicity has joined us in the Reception role for this period and is already a welcoming and helpful presence at the front desk.

It has been great to welcome all of our amazing staff back, the holiday break is such an important opportunity to rest and re-charge and, whilst our students returned last week, many teachers have been busy with planning for the year from the middle of January. This year we have welcomed three new teachers to our staff; Prue in Class One, Eva teaching Drama and English in the High School and Jess teaching History and Careers.

At our first College meeting for the year, the new College Chair was elected. This year we will be working with a team of teachers in the “Chair” position – congratulations and welcome to the position to Rosina, Rachel K and Malcolm. I would like to thank Maree for the wonderful job she has done as Chair of the College of Teachers last year. Our College holds and nurtures the spiritual heart of the school and I thank Maree for the work she has done in leading this important part of the school.

Over the break, we also welcomed some new additions to our site. We have a new (temporary) classroom in the High School, with “Lemon Myrtle” room having been brought in and placed next to Lily PIlly room. Gavin has some amazing video footage of the building being lifted high in the air, over the trees, and put into place. We will try to upload a link to the footage to our School website. The new classroom is a temporary addition until we are able to build some more permanent classrooms. In this regard, the Master Planning process is continuing and we will have further information for our school community about this later this term. The other major building work over the holiday break was an addition to our Library, which will allow us to bring the book collections currency housed in the ICT office out into the library space, giving our ICT crew a little more room to work.

Finally, you may have noticed our new noticeboards on site. The large notice-board down at the carpark entrance to the school contains school notices. You will find copies of the bulletin, advertisements for school events and other key school documents on this noticeboard. We have another new noticeboard up at the Administration Office. This notice board is for appropriate notices from our school and local community. Please see Felicity in the office if you wish to place a notice on our community noticeboard.

Peace
Nerrida

From The Principal

Hello everyone,

What a wonderful last few weeks of term we have had.  There have been so many special events on in the school that it seems there was almost not a day without a play, ceremony, showcase, excursion or special visitor.  Our Christmas Markets last week were a lovely way for the community to come together at the end of the year.  Congratulations and thank you to the Class 2 parents for their work on bringing this together.

As always, this has been a year full of wonderful learning, achievements to celebrate on every level, beautiful school community events and the joy of being a part of the development of young human beings.

I would like to close the year by thanking the dedicated, caring and hardworking teachers, aides and assistants in the school.  Your hard work and never-failing care for the students is amazing. I would also like to thank the incredible administration, support and site team.  Your hard work keeps this wonderful school functioning and allows our teachers to teach and our students to learn. Thank you also to all of the Class Coordinators and to the P&F executive for giving so generously of your time and skills to support the work of the school.  I would like to thank all of the parents for entrusting your precious children into our care and working with us to support their learning and development.  And finally, a huge thank you to our amazing students – you are the reason we are all here.

Please all have a safe and peaceful Christmas break.  I look forward to seeing you all in the new school year.

Peace
Nerrida

From The Principal

Another busy week has ended and it seems that the end of the year is rushing towards us.  With the Year 12 formal held this week, our graduating class have said their goodbyes to the school and are now enjoying a well-earned rest.  I look upon our graduating students with a sense of pride and gratitude that we have been able to share in their journeys (some for more than 12 years).

When I draw my gaze back to our lovely Kindergarten  children, I wonder what riddles we will have to solve together and what twists and turns our journey may take.  Whilst it is wonderful to celebrate the lovely human beings who leave us in Year 12. the real enjoyment is in the journey we take together through the school years.

With this in mind, I ask that if you have any concerns about your child or any information you would like to share, please do contact your child’s teachers or guardians and have a conversation with them.  We work best to support the children when we work together.

On another note, I have noticed that quite a lot of students are arriving late to school each morning.  When a student arrives late, they miss the important morning verse and coming together of the class.  They may also miss an introduction to a lesson or some morning circle activities.  In addition to this, when a child walks into a class that has already started, their arrival disrupts the rest of the class (even when they try to enter quietly). Please support your child, and the rest of the class, by ensuring your child arrives at school on time each day.

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

We are now over half way through the term and there is so much happening around the school.  HSC exams have now finished (thank you to the whole school community for your patience and understanding in supporting the ‘quiet zones’ throughout the exams).  I am looking forward to the final Year 12 formal next week, when we will have the chance to celebrate and farewell our graduating class.

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From The Principal

Hello,
It’s wonderful to be back for Term 4.  Last term ended on such a lovely high note with the graduation of our 2015 HSC students.  Now the new term has started and we have just welcomed a new set of HSC student into their roles as the senior students in the school.

At the other end of the school, our Kindergarten children will soon start looking through the archway, towards their Classroom for next year.  We are very pleased to announce that we have appointed Prue Ritchie as the Class One Teacher.  Prue is an experienced and skilled Steiner teacher who is looking forward to taking the class on their journey through the Primary School.

Whilst we are on the subject of staff movements.  I am sad to let you know that Joseph and Delaney will be leaving our school at the end of this year.  Both Joseph and Delaney are very sad to be leaving our wonderful school, but both are leaving to take up exciting personal opportunities.  I wish them both well, their expertise, passion and skill will be very much missed in the High School.  We are now actively recruiting to fill these two positions for next year.

Recently a team of parents, teachers, students and administration staff worked together to develop and refine the school’s Mission and Vision statements.  These statements clearly indicate our main purpose and what our highest ideal is as a school.

Mission (why are we here?)
To provide a nurturing, creative and academic education inspired by the indications of Rudolf Steiner for a healthy social life and the developing human being.
Vision (what do we want to achieve?)
To enable each individual to realise their potential to be self aware, resourceful and resilient with the empathy, skills and initiative to make a positive contribution to the world.
Thank you to the parents, staff and students who contributed to the development of these two important statements – they eloquently sum up our purpose and vision.Peace
Nerrida

From The Principal

Hello everyone,

What a special week this has been for our school community! The Spring Fair was a wonderful community event with such a feeling of warmth, sharing and celebration. Congratulations to the Class Three parents for developing a vision for the Fair and then making it happen. Thank you to all of our school community for your work together to make the day so special. It was really wonderful to see the high level of participation from our High School student in almost every aspect of the fair. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how participation and communication are needed to build community and the Spring Fair was a lovely example of this.

The week continued in a lovely spirit with our Year 12 students celebrating their last days at the school. There has been such a feeling of warmth, gratitude, sadness and excitement from our graduating class. On Wednesday, a group of Year 12 students painted a beautiful mural on the wall of the D&T building as a thank you gift and then on Wednesday afternoon the students made a wonderful afternoon tea for the teachers to express their gratitude. Then yesterday the whole school gathered for the formal graduation ceremony. This was a moving event and a real celebration of the journey these students have undertaken. Several parents have asked for a copy of my address to the students and so I have included it in this bulletin.

I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday break.

Peace
Nerrida

The beautiful land on which our school is built has a history stretching back to the beginning of the dreaming. We are privileged to have the use of it now. I would like to acknowledge that this ceremony is being held on the traditional lands of the Arakwal people of the Bundjalung Nation, and pay my respects to elders both past and present. I would also like to acknowledge the incredibly dedicated and caring team of teachers who have worked with our wonderful graduating class over the years.

To our graduating students, today marks a special moment in your lives. For thirteen years you have been at school. You have played. You have made friends. You have learned how to read and write and how numbers work. You have learned how to follow the rules and, later, how to ask questions about the rules and think for yourself. You have learned how to get on with others and be part of a group. You have learned about history and geography and art and music. You have discovered what things you are good at and you have learned how to work at the things that don’t come so easy. You’ve learned how to celebrate the passing of the seasons and how to be part of our school community.

Some of you have been at this school since kindergarten and some of you joined us a little later. Through all of this learning and growing, the most important things you have started to discover are who you are and what you believe in. The quest to understand these things doesn’t stop here, it goes on for the rest of your lives.
When I graduated from school there was no such thing as mobile phones, eftpos or ATMs (we paid cash), petrol cost 36 cents a litre and there were about 4 and a ½ billion people in the world. When you started school, 13 years ago, Apple had just launched a little music program called “ITunes”, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat did not exist and neither did the term ‘social media’ and there were 6.3 billion people in the world. Today, we carry personal computers, in the form of mobile phones, around in our pockets, a spacecraft has just passed the outermost planet in our solar system, robots work to complete jobs ranging from making cars to performing complex surgery on human beings, the world’s climate is becoming increasingly unstable and there are almost 7 and a half billion people on our planet.

Our world is changing and the change is happening quickly. It is almost impossible to imagine what it will look like in 2028 when today’s kindergarten children graduate. So what can I say to you today as you prepare step out into a complex, changing and challenging world?

I could tell you to go out there and follow your dreams – but I won’t as I already know you are going to do it, you are doing now. I could tell you that now that you have graduated, the world is yours – but I won’t because it isn’t.
Instead I am going to ask that you step out into the world with an attitude of kindness. That you walk gently and try to see, really see, what it is to be the other. Remember the story of Parzifal and be prepared to ask, “what ails thee?” Then have the courage to act out of this kindness. Do what you know is right, even when the doing might not directly serve your own wants and desires.

Go out into the world and ask questions. Stand up for what you believe in. Make strong, ethical choices. Care for others, even if you don’t understand their lives or their choices. Actively care for this magnificent planet and speak up when others don’t. Find happiness in the small things. Draw pictures, make music, plant gardens, write poems – be a creator in the world. Accept that you are not perfect and sometimes you will get it wrong, make mistakes – and then learn from them. Be prepared to wait and work for the things you want. Look for the music and the beauty around you (it is always there).

Class of 2015, we, your teachers, your family and your school community, are so very proud of you. Almost 100 years ago, Rudolf Steiner said “Receive children in reverence, educate them in love, and let them go forth in freedom.” We received you with reverence, we have educated you with so much love, and now it is time for you to go forth in freedom.

Your education at Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School has finished, my wish for you all is that you can go on to fulfill the highest, truest expression of yourselves as the wonderful human beings you are.

From The Principal

Hello everyone,
This week I was having a discussion with some parents and teachers about what makes a healthy school community and how we can work to build this.  One of the central pillars of “community” is involvement and participation.  There are many opportunities for parents to get involved at our school.  At the class level, there are reading programs, craft programs, class meetings and other projects and activities.  There are also festivals, showcases and special occasions like this week’s Book Week celebrations (more about that later).
Another part of having a healthy school community is having clear communication and opportunity for dialogue, discussion and debate.  There are a number of forums for this within the school, including our regular Friday markets (where members of the management team and the Board are frequently in attendance and happy to talk), the Chai Tent (organised by the P&F as an opportunity to relax over a cup of chai and have a chat with me), monthly P&F meetings (the Chair of the Board and I try to always attend these meetings), the AGM and Special General Meetings of the Association and various surveys, bulletins, class meetings and community events.
The responsibility for building and maintaining a healthy school community rests with all of us.  The challenge is for each of us to get involved and play a part in the continuous forming of our wonderful school.  When we are working side by side for the common good, when we are communicating clearly, positively and openly, then we are working in a healthy community.
This week we had a lovely example of our primary school community coming together to celebrate Book Week.  The students (and teachers) really look forward to this event and love the opportunity to dress up as their favourite character.  I am sure there were a few parents (and teachers) up late on Wednesday night organising costumes.  This year the teachers chose the theme of “Winnie the Pooh” for the celebration.  It’s not often that I get the chance to dress up and have some fun …. so I jumped at the chance to be Kanga (sorry about the pun).
I hope to see some of you at the Repair, Care and Maintenance day at the school tomorrow.
Peace,
Nerrida

From The Principal

Hello everyone,

It seems that there is a hint of the coming Spring in the air.  The weather seems just a bit warmer, the grass is a bit greener and the plovers nesting in the grass in my front yard are fiercely protecting their babies.   Meanwhile at school, the Spring Fair preparations are in full swing with raffle tickets selling, gardening activities happening and preparations underway for the great Spring Fair Pickle-off.
The feeling as we move out of the quiet, reflective time of winter, is one of hope, vitality and lightness.  For the younger children, it can be a time of extra energy and testing new boundaries (think of new lambs playing and jumping in the sunshine).  As I look around the playground in the kindergarten and the primary school, that is exactly the image that can be seen as children laugh, play and test out new boundaries in the warm sunshine.
Another sign that Spring is just around the corner is that it is time to spruce up our school again on Saturday at our Repair, Care and Maintenance Day.  This is a terrific opportunity to join together  with other members of our school community to give the school grounds some extra, tender, loving care.  There are jobs to suit everybody and you can come for a little while or stay for the whole day.  The difference in our school is really noticeable after an R.C & M day.  Being part of a school community isn’t just about paying fees or coming to a job, it’s also about joining together to contribute to something wonderful and worthwhile.  I hope to see many of you there.
Finally, there are a few illnesses travelling around the school at the moment (chicken pox, viruses and colds).  If your child is unwell, please keep them home until they are better.  This will serve the two-fold purpose of allowing them a speedier recovery and also helping stop the further spread of the illness.
Peace,
Nerrida

From The Principal

Hello everyone,

The school has been a hive of activity this week.  We have welcomed a number of new students to our classes since the beginning of this term and it has been wonderful to see excited families beginning their journey with us.
Julie and Teera have been conducting Kindergarten interviews over the last few days and should soon be able to advise parents in relation to kindergarten enrolments for next year.  This is always a difficult process as we know we only have a limited number of places each year and some families will miss out.  Yvette, Teera and Julie work with great care, integrity and sensitivity in this process.
Class 6 students presented their play to a very appreciative audience this week.  The process of putting on a play is not only a lot of fun, but it provides great opportunities for growth and learning.  The days leading up the play often include the tension of forgotten lines, prop and wardrobe malfunctions and last minute changes to the script.  Then, finally the play comes together and the students have a wonderful sense of both group and individual achievement.  Working through the challenges and finally presenting the play is a wonderful resilience building exercise for students (and the teacher!).
In the High School, students and some teachers have been involved in a lip syncing competition at lunch times.  This has been organised as a house event and the participation has been inspiring.  It is wonderful seeing students so confident and comfortable performing in front of their peers.
Everywhere I look, across the school, I see teachers who are utterly dedicated to their students and their practice.  This dedication translates into happy, engaged students who really want to be at school.
Finally, today I spent some time looking at our hive of native bees.  I regularly go down to the hive when I need a break from the office.  The bees are a little slower and less active in the colder weather.  They huddle at the entrance to the hive, watching the slow procession of bees march down the landing board and take off in search of pollen for the hive.  If you have some spare moments at the school, please do go down and have a look at the hive.  It is in the garden outside the Class 3 room.
Peace
Nerrida

From The Principal

Hello everyone,

I have had a wonderful week this week, meeting with parents and teachers in a range of forums at school. On Monday night I attended the regular Board meeting where I worked with the Directors on a range of issues relating to the current and future operations of the school.  On Tuesday night I joined with our regular study group to discuss the Steiner lectures we are currently studying.  On Wednesday I met with a group of parents to share thoughts and ideas about the vision, mission and values of the school and then on Wednesday night I joined with Gael and Andy to meet with Class 9 parents. This morning I had a wonderful meeting with Tanja and Lisa from the P&F.   I love having the opportunity to meet and talk with members of the school community and this has been a particularly fruitful week.
In order to provide further opportunities for communication with the school community the P&F and generously offered to organise a Chai tent at the Friday markets where you can come and catch up with me over a lovely cup of chai.  I will be available to answer any questions and also to talk about current issues, plans and activities in the school.  The first chai tent event will be on the Friday market on 7th August.   For those parents who are unable to come to this event, but would like an opportunity to catch up with me in an informal setting, I will also be available for questions and discussion following the P&F meeting on Monday 7th September.  Of course, if you need to communicate at any other time, please feel free to call, email or set up an appointment to come and see me.
Finally, just a reminder that I sent out the link to our school survey via email earlier this week.  If you have not yet completed the survey, please do take some time to share your thoughts and ideas as we will be using some of this information to help us to plan for future improvement across the school.  In case you did not receive the email, the link for the parent survey is http://bit.ly/1VrNhTi . The link to the student survey is http://bit.ly/1LrVy6L  Your assistance in completing this survey would be very much appreciated.
Peace
Nerrida

From The Principal

Hello everyone,The start of a new term is always exciting as the school bursts into life with teachers and students all happy to be back working and learning together.We are currently working with the Embedding Excellence Program, an AIS initiative aimed at helping us to evaluate our performance and then make plans for improvement across the school.  The first step in this process is to work with the Vision, Mission and Values of the school.  Our teaching staff participated in a workshop on the first day of term and we are now inviting parents to join in the process of developing a Vision, Mission and Values statement which accurately reflects who we are now as a school and what we aspire to be.  Please see the invitation attached in this bulletin.  I encourage you to join us and be a part of this process.

As a further part of this program, we will be surveying teachers, support staff, some year levels of students, and the parent community.  Emails will be sent out next Monday with the link to the survey, please do take the time to complete the survey and share your thoughts and ideas about our school.

Peace
Nerrida

From The Principal

The end of the term has arrived and as I watch excited students and very tired teachers leaving the site, I am reflecting on what a busy, productive and event-filled term this has been.
There have been school camps, excursions, visits from musicians, singers, dancers, overseas students and their teachers, performances, special activities, after school activities, the introduction of a new school constitution, our Annual General meeting, a range of parent and staff meetings, and a range of rich, engaging, inspired and thoughtfully prepared learning experiences in every part of the school.  No wonder everyone is ready for a break!
Our Winter festival last week was, once again a beautiful, inspiring and moving experience.  Our senior students showed wonderful leadership in assisting with the set-up and running of the event.  The team of staff, lead by Tom and Loani, put such a lot of work into ensuring that this is a very special occasion in the life of our school.  Each year we learn a little more from the year before, and each year our staff create something very special.
This week, our Year 9 and 10 students presented their Electives showcase.  The artworks were expressive, creative and of such a wonderful standard.  The performance of “The Snow Queen”, was awe-inspiring (did anyone expect those goblins to come streaming down from their silk pods high up, near the ceiling of the hall?).  With beautiful set-design, wonderful music, truly funny clowning and clever use of audio-visuals, it was a wonderful showcase of just what our Year 9 and 10 students are capable of achieving.
Finally, today, we had a visit from some of our Cape Byron Alumni to talk to High School classes about their lives and the opportunities available to them once they had graduated. I was lucky enough to share lunch with them today and thought they were wonderful ambassadors for our school.
Thank you to staff, students and our school community for making this such a wonderful semester.  Have a safe, joyful and restful break and I look forward to seeing you again in the new term.
Peace
Nerrida

From The Principal

As the days grow shorter, it feels like we are getting ever busier.  Perhaps it is just because the end of the term is drawing near, the teachers are all writing reports, some classes are out on camps and excursions, the High School Electives Showcase night is almost upon us and there are a number of events happening in and around the school.  Thank goodness for the Winter Festival, which will give us a few moments of quiet reverence and reflection (as well as some beautiful sounds and sights).  You may have noticed the typo in last week’s bulletin.  Rest assured the Winter Festival is happening on Friday the 19th of June (next Friday)……. not the final day of term as was accidentally advertised.
This week we have been blessed with a wonderful visit from the African Children’s Choir.  Our students have really enjoyed sharing in a workshop with the children from the choir, hearing some of their stories and listening to their amazing music.  Thank you Loani for putting such a huge effort into making sure our school could be a part of this amazing tour.  It is a humbling experience to hear these children talk about some of the challenges of their lives in Uganda.  To look upon the lives of another with respect, care, empathy and an open heart is to experience being fully human.
Finally, it was wonderful to see some of the lovely crafts on display at the market this afternoon.  The Wednesday craft co-op have been meeting regularly and working away all term on some beautiful crafts.  My special little “King Winter” will take pride of place on my desk now. If you are interested in joining the craft group, please do come in on a Wednesday morning.  It is a great opportunity to chat and enjoy making with some other members of our school community.

Peace

Nerrida

From The Principal

“Let us recall how the year’s course, in its regular sequence through Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter has a spiritual content. How, in what appears outwardly during the year’s course, in Winter’s snow, Spring’s sprouting waxing life, in Summer’s life of blossoming and Autumn’s life of ripening and fruiting; how in all this which discloses itself physically to humankind, something spiritual is hidden, something spiritual sustains us.”
– Rudolf Steiner, (Festivals and their Meaning)

Winter has arrived and, whilst we do not have the experience of “Winter’s snow”, we nevertheless feel the change of the cold, crisp air, the clear winter night skies and the shorter days and longer nights.  We can also feel the change of the seasons within ourselves.  This is a more reflective time, a time when we can sense the need to “come inside” and experience our own selves in the stillness.  It is a lovely thing to take the time to quietly consider what it is that spiritually sustains each of us through all of the year.

Throughout the school, preparations are underway for our Winter Festival.  When I walked through the school this week there were High School children working away at making lanterns, primary school students practising beautiful festival songs and fire twirlers making their magic in the (empty) car park.

The celebration of festivals is a very important aspect of Steiner education. It is a wonderful opportunity for parents to take time to experience with their child a connection to the natural world and to give acknowledgement to something beyond busy every day activity. As they move through the school the children of all ages become familiar with the rhythm and certainty of the seasons and calendar of festivals. It brings certainty and security in a world of so much uncertainty. The beauty and traditions provide enrichment and allow everyone who participates to feel connected to the world and to each other.

We appeal to you to find ways to acknowledge the festivals through making the time to attend or being involved in discussions with your child about the meaning of each festival or season as it arises. Lantern making is a world-wide Steiner activity and the deeper meaning of bringing light into darkness is something that will live beyond the actual festival evening.  Perhaps now is the time for you to start working on your own lantern to join our lantern walk during the Winter Festival.

Peace

Nerrida

From The Principal

I am writing this as we make the long trip back from the Year 7 camp at Bingara.  We have had a wonderful week…… Incredible watching the students working and living together and pushing themselves to take on new challenges. We had the extra challenge of some rainy weather (and a short but intense storm), however this didn’t stop us from having an amazing time.

The learning that happens on camp is so very important.  Every child (and teacher) comes back from a camp knowing a little more about themselves and how they can stand in the world.

Peace
Nerrida

From The Principal

The daylight hours certainly seem to be noticeably shorter and suddenly our thoughts are moving from Autumn towards the coming Winter season and, of course, our Winter festival.  The weather is certainly quite changeable at the moment – with the much colder mornings being counterbalanced by some quite warm and sunny afternoons.  At this time of the year, we always seem to find our lost property bins overflowing as children shed their many layers during the day and forget to take them home.  If your child’s wardrobe is suddenly looking very empty, please do check our lost property bins.

Today a team of students attended the Regional Cross Country finals.  Our team represented our school beautifully, showed wonderful sportsmanship and maturity and achieved outstanding results.  Our school placed fourth overall and several of our students placed highly in their events.  Congratulations to all of the students who participated and thank you to Ric and Lizzie for putting so much effort into ensuring the day was a success.  It is important that our students have the opportunity to mix with students from other schools in a range of cultural, educational and sporting events.

This week, parents of students in Class 5 and 6 had the opportunity to listen to a presentation on cybersafety, provided by the Police Community Liaison Officer.  Technology is not something we should be afraid of, however it is very important that parents understand some of the risks and dangers inherent in the technology available today, particularly in relation to some of the social networking applications.  I note with interest that the Police Officer strongly advised parents to think carefully before providing primary school aged children access to smart phones (which are in essence, just portable computers).

Next week I will be joining the Year 7 students on their horse-riding camp.  I am so excited that I have the opportunity to spend this time with our newest High School students ……. time to polish up the riding boots and pull out my swag in preparation.

 

From The Principal

The autumn weather is well and truly upon us, with chilly nights with beautiful clear skies and sparkling stars, damp and misty mornings and then days of warm sunshine. I like to think of this as the Goldilocks time of the year – not too hot, not too cold…. but just right for learning and playing.

Yesterday morning I tiptoed down to Kindy, drawn by the smell of cooking and also the faint but delicate aroma of something special being made for Mothers’ Day. It is always such a privilege to spend some time watching the serious business of play happening in so many different ways: cubby houses, kings and queens and a serious construction site in the corner.

I was glad I had had some Kindy time in the morning, as my afternoon was taken up with dealing with the very unfortunate article printed in the Sydney Morning Herald which misrepresented our school as being linked with cheating in the HSC last year. I feel upset and angry for our wonderful teachers and students that such a link was made. I have responded by doing an interview with ABC radio and also Katie and I have written to the Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald. The text of our letter is as follows:

To the Editor,

We are writing in relation to the article “The many ways to (attempt) to cheat in the HSC”, published on page 7 of todays Sydney Morning Herald. This article was based on information provided by BOSTES about cheating in HSC exams last year.

In the centre of the article was a graphic and text box with a list naming the schools with the “highest level of misadventure applications (% of HSC Cohort)”. Our school, Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School, was listed second with a figure of 25%. To place this list in the centre of this article incorrectly links misadventure applications with cheating. BOSTES require a high standard of documentation and evidence to accompany any misadventure applications, with provision for special consideration being made in genuine cases to ensure students who have suffered misadventure are not disadvantaged.

We are a small, single-stream Steiner school. Last year we had a class of 24 students sit their HSC. A small number of those students unfortunately suffered misadventure and made application to BOSTES, with appropriate evidence attached. It is very unfortunate that your newspaper has chosen to represent this in such a way that it could be linked with cheating or malpractice.

Our teachers are extremely dedicated, our processes are very thorough and we are very proud of our students and their genuine achievements. Of our small HSC class last year, one of our students ranked 1st in the state in drama, 3 of our students were chosen to perform at the Encore performances at the Sydney Opera House (chosen as among the best music students in the state) and a number of our students achieved scores above 90% in their subjects.

Your article has incorrectly linked our school with HSC cheating and has potentially damaged the reputation of the school, our wonderful teachers and our dedicated students. We ask that you print an apology and make it clear that Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School has not been linked with cheating in the HSC.

Yours sincerely,

Nerrida Johnson    and     Katie Biggin
Principal                              Deputy Principal

I want to be very clear to our school community that there is absolutely no link between misadventure applications and cheating. The NSW Board of Studies have not linked our school to cheating, nor have they linked the process of making misadventure applications to cheating. Katie and I absolutely stand by our teachers and students. If you have any questions about this media article, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

Peace
Nerrida

From The Principal

Hello everyone and welcome back to a new term. I hope everyone had an enjoyable term break. As always, it was wonderful to see our students bringing the school back to life after their break.

This week we welcomed a group of our senior students back from their trip to Vietnam. They all look tired, but are filled to the brim with stories of adventures, experiences and encounters from their visit to a country with such a different culture to our own. We hope to make this valuable learning experience available to students every two years. I am grateful to Rachel Knight and Katie Biggin for putting so much effort into organising this camp and for giving up some of their holiday time to travel with our students. I look forward to seeing some of their stories in next week’s bulletin.

Over the last few weeks I have enjoyed watching some of our senior primary students running around the school as they practise for the upcoming cross country running event. This event, shared with the High School, is an important part of our sporting calendar and a great opportunity for students to train and participate in a fun physical activity together.

Lastly, my visit to the Goetheanum to participate in the ‘Transitions’ conference was a a wonderful experience. The workshops I presented were booked out with participants from all over the world. It was a wonderful experience to spend time with educators, researchers and medical practitioners from the global Steiner community. I will be giving a version of the workshops I presented, for both parents and teachers, later this term.

Peace
Nerrida

From The Principal

I am writing this from the “Transitions” conference at the Goetheanum in Switzerland. I am very fortunate to be here, attending an international conference at the world centre for all things related to Anthroposophy and the work of Rudolf Steiner.  I am delivering a series of workshop titled, “Navigating the Calm and Storm of the Mini-Adolescence – 8 – 10 years”.  There are 32 people attending my workshops and they come from Steiner Schools all over the world (including Peru, Guatemala, Myanmar, China and Moldovia).  It is quite an experience to be delivering a workshop with two translators working in the room (translating into Chinese and Spanish).  I am learning so much from the Global Steiner community whilst I am here and  am looking forward to delivering a version of the workshop for the school community when I return.

Back at home, Teera and Katie have been working hard in my absence and managing all of those wonderful activities that come with the last week of term.  It has certainly been a busy term with many camps and excursions, new teachers and students settling in, work towards the adoption of a new constitution and a BOSTES inspection.  I would like to thank all of our wonderful staff and the school community for helping to make the school such a wonderful, enriching and nurturing place for our students this term.

Have a safe and enjoyable Easter break and we look forward to seeing you again next term.

Peace

Nerrida

From the Principal

“When autumn mists gather
and leaves fall gently down.
New strength in me rises
to bear life’s waiting crown”

  What a beautiful autumn festival we experienced this morning.  With the mist rising in the valleys and the dew on the grass, there was a gentle hint of autumn in the warm air.  With singing and playing, verses and dances and reverent contributions to the harvest table, we celebrated the changing season with our lovely school community.  Autumn is the time when we move from the outward activities of the summer towards the more inward, reflective time of winter.  On the way, through the autumn months, we ‘come back to ourselves’ and this can feel a little unsettling.  This is the time we are called on to find the strength to work through the grumbles and inner instability to be our true ‘better selves.’  Our students showed a beautiful example of this with their participation in the festival today.

Our Year 9 students have been sailing the high seas (well the bay at least) on their camp.  I have heard that they had a wonderful time and there are some very tired and happy students (and teachers) heading for home as I write this.  Next week, our Year 8 students finally head out on their camp.  They have been waiting patiently since the camp was postponed a couple of weeks ago due to bad weather.

Finally, I would like to apologise for the ‘absent student’ text messages which were mistakenly sent out today to many parents.  We have a problem with our administration software system which is causing the text messages to be sent out.  We are in contact with the software support team and are attempting to rectify the problem and ensure this doesn’t happen again.  We are in the process of transferring to a new system and hopefully will have no further problems in the future.

Peace

Nerrida