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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Term Times 8:30 ~ 3:30
Holidays 10:00 ~ 3:00
Fax: (02) 6684 7399