St. Pat’s ~ Lithgow New School Hall Opened
enator Matt Thistlethwaite officially opened the new Saint Mary of the Cross Hall in Lithgow on 11th November 2011. Funding for this project was part of the Government’s stimulus package. Other distinguished guests included Parish Priest Fr. Owen Gibbons, former Parish Priest Fr. Greg Kennedy, Pastoral Associate Sr. Anne Housten RSJ, Principal Mrs Pam Haddin, P&C President Mrs Cassandra Yates, Aboriginal Elder Mrs Gloria Rogers and Acting Executive Director of Schools Mr Brian Morrissey. A whole school Mass was followed by a shared morning tea. Mrs Rogers gave a wonderful Welcome to Country in the traditional Wiradjiri language, then translated into English, which was really embraced by the children. Mrs Haddin gave the opening address
and Father Owen Blessed the Hall. An Address by Mr Morrissey was well received, especially when he asked everyone to sing Happy Birthday to Sr. Anne. And what is a celebration without a cake - cut by Sr. Anne and Junior Josephite, Josie Young. The school choir, accompanied by Mrs Scott, performed the new School Song for the first time in front of its creator, Mrs Cil Van Der Velden. During the course of the afternoon, the audience was entertained by St. Pat’s School Band with Mrs Debbie Edgell conducting and there were two very special performances by Callum Woodrow and Adrian Ma, both very talented children. Full credit must go to St. Patrick’s staff for their preparation for this event and a wonderful time was had by all. Tracey Young
he Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan (ATSIEAP) was launched by the Minister for School Education, Peter Garrett, in June this year. The Plan outlines 55 actions at national, systemic and local levels, across six key areas including: Readiness for school; Engagement and connections; Attendance; Literacy and numeracy; Leadership, quality teaching and workforce development and Pathways to real post-school options. The Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers have agreed, through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), to achieve six significant targets designed to close the gap, which include: halving the gap in reading, writing and numeracy by 2018 and halving the gap in Year 12 or equivalent attainment rates by 2020. In the 2010 Budget, the Gillard Government prioritised $15.4 million over four years to deliver on its commitments under the Action Plan. The Action Plan commits all schools to involve the families of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island students, teachers and Aboriginal Education Workers (AEWs) in developing Personalised Learning Plans (PLPs) for students from the first year of
Aboriginal Education Workers at the Term 4 Meeting in Dubbo schooling to Year 10. Many of our Primary schools have had classroom teachers and AEWs begin the PLP journey. Our aim as a Diocese is to strengthen the connections between Aboriginal families and their school communities. We want to begin the conversations to discover and nurture individual interests, talents and aspirations, as well as identify and
address gaps in knowledge and skills. The AEWs, in our Schools fortunate enough to have them as part of their team, are instrumental in highlighting Aboriginal issues within their school communities and liasing with Aboriginal families to build stronger, positive connections with school environments. Janine Kearney CEO Dubbo
CATHOLIC OBSERVER - DECEMBER EDITION - PAGE 24
Quarterly publication of the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst, NSW, Australia.