Annual Report

Principal’s Report

AGM

Good evening everyone and welcome to our School AGM for 2016.

Your attendance is most welcome and it says something of your interest in your children and their school. This is a night where we can speak of past achievements and future planning. The AGM is a community meeting where good people meet to discuss how we can continue to enhance the learning environment for every student at HPCPS.

I’d like to begin by telling a story of a North American Indian chief who is old and weak and can no longer lead his tribe. His face was weathered and tired, his eyes filled with peace and patient waiting. Calling his three sons together, he spoke his final wish.

‘When I die, one of you must succeed me as the leader of our tribe. I want each of you to climb the holy mountain and bring back something of beauty. The one whose gift is the most outstanding will succeed me and lead the tribe.’

The three sons departed, following the path deep into the forest, travelling through tall trees, and finally climbing the mountain, which was cold and wet and covered with huge rocks. After some days they returned from their travels.

The first son brought in a flower from the top of the mountain, rare, beautiful and delicate, with a preciousness that called for great care.

The second brought a stone, colourful, smooth and polished by rain and sandy winds.

The third son’s hand was empty.

He said: ‘Father I have brought nothing back to show you. As I stood at the peak of our holy mountain, I saw on the other side, through the valley and out into sunlight, a beautiful land filled with green fields and a crystal clear lake. I breathed the mist and caught in my eyes the warmth of the coming sun, and I had a vision of where our tribe could go for a better life. I was so overwhelmed by what I saw and what I was thinking that I returned with nothing.’

And the father replied:
Son, you shall be our tribe’s new leader, for you have brought back the most precious gift of all – the gift of a vision.’

I tell this story because, firstly I like it, but more importantly -because it’s about each of us. Being in a foundation school is ‘vision at work’. It’s visioning for what’s possible, it’s allowing vision to challenge what’s considered regular or normal or expected, to ask what’s possible, what’s authentic, what’s known and what can be realised when creativity, curiosity and imagination are permitted and encouraged.

In God calling us together to grow this new school community, it is the gift of vision which unites us, it inspires us and it gathers us.

I know this to be real when I interview prospective parents and I listen to why HPCPS is a school of interest to them.

I know this to be real when teachers explore an area of interest and bring their energy and skills and professional judgement to a new initiative which benefits a child’s learning.

I know this to be real when I see parent involvement in our school;

  • The P&F Association and ALL the fund and friend raising activities
  • The School Board
  • SDB, Canteen volunteers, Craft activities, Play Club, School Banking
  • Book Club, Run Club, Classroom helpers,

I know this to be real when I see that a child’s sense of wonder, curiosity and creativity is enriched through flexible, natural, adaptive and contemporary learning environments.

You and I have a responsibility to build a school which we can be proud of. It needs to be a school where feeling welcomed is the norm, where enabling a child to achieve their personal best is what we do, where working together as parents and teachers we honour each other and where Jesus is central to all of this. Consider what we have achieved together in four years. Is there something different about HPCPS? I think so. The very best of any school is when staff work in partnership with parents to help their child reach their full potential.

At HPCPS, we believe that teaching is intentional and creative. It involves using evidence-based practice and a comprehensive knowledge of the curriculum to personalise learning experiences that cater for the needs of all students.

We believe that students should have the opportunity to apply their knowledge, understandings and skills in authentic, real world situations.

Two years earlier an Early Years Charter document was created. It is a pertinent document which we use to articulate the school’s philosophy, pedagogical practices and if you will ‘the HPCPS way’ for teaching and learning.

It is a working document which needs to be revisited to reflect the way we believe teaching and learning should occur. As well as ensuring it aligns with current research.

This year staff assisted in the review of the Early Years philosophy and charter documents. This review helped to identify some of the key language and terminology associated with good teaching and learning practices at HPCPS.

The language identified in this process also aided in the development for the update of the four pillars, vision and mission statements. More of that later.

Schools are required to meet a standard of practise for learning in the Early Years, which is set out in the National Quality Framework. We are required to meet standards relating to education programs, health and safety, physical environment, staffing, relationships, partnerships and leadership and management services.

This Framework is underpinned by the Education and Care Services National Law. It identifies a minimum requirement for schools, which aims to raise quality and drive continuous improvement. Schools are required to identify areas for improvement and document this in a Quality Improvement Plan.

Over the past year staff have assisted in embedding many practices and processes to ensure we met the requirements. Early this year HPCPS completed a 2016 National Quality Standards Quality Improvement Plan and is in the process of enacting improvements in the areas required. Staff will participate again in the review of the school’s practises against the National Quality Framework in early 2017.

This year we have successfully implemented several elements to our Literacy program.
Firstly, the Mini-Lit program in years one through to our students in the year three/four class. Mini-Lit is an early literacy program for those who may be experiencing some difficulty with reading and spelling. It is a practical and systematic approach to explicitly teaching literacy skills, particularly reading and spelling skills.

The successful implementation of this program has been due to the support received from Parents, Teachers and most importantly the Teacher Assistants who have been working so closely with the students involved in the program.

Another key element to be implemented has been the VOICES strategy across the school to provide a whole school approach to writing. The VOICES strategy provides a platform for the teachers to explicitly teach elements that the students need in order to be successful writers. It is an approach that allows the students to have a sense of ownership of their own writing as it can be specifically targeted to the individual students needs as well as providing a holistic approach to writing.

Performing arts has always been an integral part of the liturgical life of HPCPS with staff and parents being involved from the onset with the children to bring to life stories from scripture. (Ron Desai, Lisa Franklin, Kelly Agostini, Steve Meerton, Steve Mead to name a few).
Last year Mrs Lisa Burro and Mrs Vicki Sheehy supported Mr Hayden to expand the children's contributions as our school numbers grew, bringing coordinated events together with music, visual arts and drama. This year under the direction and encouragement of Mr David Hayden in his role of Performing Arts Coordinator the school made its mark at both the Catholic Schools Performing Arts Festival and the Carnevale.

Under Lisa's tutelage the inaugural HPCPS choir sang their heavenly socks off and received both a merit certificate and praise from other schools with many more years’ experience.
The classes from Year Two and the combined Year Ones each performed in the drama section of the festival with original plays written by David and Mrs Hannah Hughes...again both receiving merit certificates for their efforts, and praise from the judges for being the youngest students participating.

We will as a whole school collectively be performing a play written by Hannah in a couple of weeks time for our Christmas concert where you will be able to witness how performing arts has come of age in this school, and incorporates the skills of many others , including Miss Alyce Abreu. Hannah will take on David's coordinator role as of next year, and both Hannah and David have joined the steering committee for the Catholic Schools Performing Arts Festival 2017.

In 2017, HPCPS will implement a model for STEAM enrichment (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). We have an emerging arts and science emphasis, with science, music and visual arts specialist teachers employed. We also have a high level of teacher expertise in technology, drama and dance. The model will lead to deep learning of content and skills in a cross-curricular context, supporting current literature. This model will be timetabled weekly into the curriculum, and will be aimed at all students from Years 2-5. Classroom and specialist teachers will plan and teach collaboratively, with an emphasis on inquiry and the development of key future skills, such as problem solving, digital fluency, creativity and innovation, through the exploration of areas such as robotics, coding, photography, dance and drama. There will be an emphasis on the exploration of real world problems and will engage professionals from the STEAM fields. Showcases of student learning will occur each term.

Since 2014, students at HPCPS have engaged in Bush play experiences in the natural environment that surrounds our school. Bush Play experiences offer meaningful, open-ended interactions to occur between children and the natural world around them. Bush play learning experiences develop children’s inquiry, exploration, and discovery through an authentic connection to nature. Bush Play fosters an appreciation of the natural environment, develops environmental awareness and provides a platform for ongoing environmental education.
In 2017, HPCPS will provide a trained Nature Pedagogy teacher, Lyndsey Sherwood to assist in the implementation of Bush Play learning experiences aimed at Years P-5.
Using a teaching approach that incorporates inquiry based learning, classroom teachers will work with Lyndsey each term, to implement learning through nature.

This year we developed a Strategic Plan for 2017-2020, the school Vision and Mission Statements were established and our Four Pillars were revised. That sentence was easy to read but belies the extensive consultation, the constant refining of words and the final stamp of approval from all agencies. We acknowledge Jacinta Petersen’s commitment to this task and her skilful execution of the consultation process.

Assisting with the whole process we were fortunate to engage the services of Ainslee Perrigo, a consultant lawyer who was able to interpret the data and frame the statements for our consideration. Ainslee’s work was instrumental in achieving the results we now have. The revised statements are all available on the web page and will feature on all school documentation.

The HPCPS is a very special place and so many people contribute to maintaining this vibrant community. To everyone involved please accept my sincere thanks and I ask
God to bless you abundantly for your generosity and commitment.

I recognise Leah Bennett, Bec McRae, Mel Riggs and Nicole Heyder for their leadership of our P&F. A considerable amount of money is raised for our school from the efforts of this dedicated team of parents. The P&F must also be recognised for their building of community, it’s not all about asking, sometimes giving back has as many rewards.

This hard work demands our appreciation and we thank every member of the P&F for this outstanding effort.

For the School Board it has been exciting times with the completion of Stage 2 and now the attention is firmly on Stage 3, which is planned for construction in 2018.

Under Mr Neil Alweyn’s leadership the work of the School Board continues to prosper.
Neil has an uncanny ability to bring clarity to long exchanges between Board members. It’s a gift which we all appreciate and it makes for the Board to be decisive in decision making. We all recognise Neil as an amazing Board Chair and we thank him for his positive influence and skill in making our Board run so well.

We thank Hayley Davies for her thorough ‘minutes’ noting all our meetings and the topics addressed. It is essential to have good records and with Hayley’s attention to detail, we have that in spades.

And then there’s Lindsay, our celebrated treasurer. Lindsay’s scrutiny of every dollar in and his zealous examination of every dollar out serves us well. Lindsay misses nothing, trust me I’ve tried. Lindsay has high expectations of the financial management of the school and he is conscious to spend wisely and save carefully. We are very fortunate to have Lindsay participate with the financials for the school. Mr Alweyn has made mention of our three retiring Board members and I too wish to thank them for their tireless and dedicated contribution to the work of the school board. Steve, Tanya and Jason I shall miss your company, your wisdom and your support. The service you have offered the school has become the new benchmark.

To the many parents who work willingly to assist our school in any and every endeavour I offer you my thanks. The staff and I would not be able to achieve the things we do without your support.

To Mr Hayden who leaves HPCPS this year we say farewell and ask God to bless him abundantly as he commences a new and exciting position at St Patrick’s in Fremantle.
We thank Mr Hayden for working amongst us and sharing his gifts so freely with everyone in his care. Mr Hayden was HPCPS’s first teacher and the second member of the Fab 5, that being Mrs Vinci, Mrs New, My Hayden, Mr Niven and myself, to leave HPCPS. Our school was enriched by your presence and we thank God for calling you here.

To the educational staff of HPCPS, I can say proudly once again, you are the most professional and dedicated team that I have ever had the pleasure of working with.
For what reason God called us together it was surely to provide a safe, supportive, pastoral and educationally sound learning environment. Well done to each of you.

And thank you too for all that Singapore means to each of us. That experience honours the professionalism seen at HPCPS.

To our front office team, Shelley New, Nicoletta Nici and girl Friday –Amanda Archibald, whom manage our school with such style and professionalism, -we applaud your generosity and interest in caring for parents, staff and students. It would not be possible to choose three better people to create the first impression of our school.
Thank you team Office.

To my colleague in Leadership, Mrs Jacinta Petersen, my sincere thanks for your advice, support and care for the past 12 months. Mrs Petersen represents so much of what is good about HPCPS. Jacinta’s interest and commitment to the school is absolute and total. Jacinta, it is an honour to work alongside you and share in leading this school community.

And my final comment is to wish you all the very best for the celebration of the birth of the Christ child.