Annual Report

Principal’s Report

AGM

Good evening everyone.

It is truly an honour to be speaking with you this evening on behalf of Chris Cully, the Principal of Hammond Park Catholic Primary School.

In the prayer this evening, I spoke of the joy that is felt belonging to the HPCPS community, a belonging pervaded by a sense of personal calling, purpose and service.  It is important to occasionally pause and look over what has been achieved- an AGM provides such an opportunity for a school community.

In 2017, HPCPS has celebrated its 5th year.  In many ways, this 5th year has represented the shift from a brand-new school to one that is becoming more established.  Many of our programs are now several years into operation and have continued to be enhanced in 2017.

Our school’s vision statement speaks to our goal of providing a holistic Catholic Education to empower students to reach their potential and contribute to the wider world.  A holistic education means that our approach aims to support the development of the whole child- encompassing the religious/spiritual, academic, physical, aesthetic and social/emotional dimensions.  At HPCPS, we strive to meet this vision through our 4 pillars: faith, education, care and future.

Our mission statement reminds us that our faith in Jesus is central to all we do as a Catholic school.  Students are involved in regular prayer experiences throughout the day and once a week the whole school gathers for prayer.  This year, students from Pre-Primary to Year 5 have regularly attended mass at the parish of Mater Christi, and we have held several whole school Masses here at Hammond Park, as well as our monthly parish masses on-site.  As part of the parish of Mater Christi, students have celebrated the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist, and in 2018, we will have our first Confirmation candidates.

In 2017, HPCPS has actively supported the following charities- Caritas through Project Compassion, LifeLink and the Vinnie’s Christmas appeal.  Next year, the school will continue to develop a coordinated approach to community outreach to more effectively help those in need.

Religious Education (RE) is considered the first learning area in a Catholic school and students have daily RE lessons.  In 2017, the Year 3’s and 5’s have completed the Bishops’ Religious Literacy Assessment, which assesses the students’ knowledge in the area of RE.  In 2018, staff at HPCPS will be working towards enhancing the application of critical and creative thinking in RE, as well as in other learning areas.

Our Education at HPCPS is authentic and contemporary, and we have developed a strong learning and teaching philosophy which continually guides our practice.  In our early years, staff continue to work towards the National Quality Standards and bring our Early Years Charter to life, through the ongoing review of our Quality Improvement Plan.  In 2018, HPCPS will have a middle years coordinator to support the growth in this area of the school.

The Mini Lit program has continued to support students experiencing difficulty with literacy in Pre-Primary to Year 2.  In 2017, the Reading Tutor program was introduced to support students with reading difficulties in the older years.  The whole school has continued the VOICES writing approach to guide the development of writing traits and a research-based program called Brightpath was implemented this year to assist teachers to make informed judgements about the students’ writing.  To continue to enhance the reading resources in the school, the Lexile program was introduced to the library for students in Years 2 to 5.  Students in these years have also been engaged in our STEAM initiative this year, which will continue to be enhanced in 2018.  Next year, HPCPS will also implement a research-based whole school approach to numeracy with the support of the University of Notre Dame. 

This year, students have been involved for the first time in interschool carnivals for cross country and athletics. The school was also represented strongly in the Performing Arts Festival for choir, dance and drama.  Students have had opportunities to further develop their performing arts skills through our Easter and Christmas celebrations.

Our Care at Hammond Park- care for ourselves, others, the environment and for God, enhances all of our relationships.  HPCPS has used the Aussie Optimism program to support students in Years 1-5 with their social and emotional development.  A whole school approach to protective behaviours was introduced this year and a parent information session held.  The HPCPS Virtues program also began this year to support character education.  Next year, the staff have decided to introduce the Highway Heroes program for Kindergarten to Year 6, to more effectively complement the Virtues and Protective Behaviours approaches.  This program focuses on the development of social management and awareness skills, emotional self-regulation skills and skills that promote active interest in learning.

Our mission statement reminds us of the importance of preparing students for their changing world through our future pillar.  One significant way we focus on this at HPCPS has been our bush play program.  Students in Kindergarten to Year 5 have weekly bush play, which in 2017 has been supported by a dedicated conservation coach.  HPCPS has also received grants to support environmental education.  Next year, we will be continuing to embed nature pedagogy throughout our school through a focus on more effectively integrating our indoor and outdoor spaces.

This year, two IT coaches have been supporting staff with their use of digital technologies.  A cyber safety presentation by Paul Litherland was offered to the parent community and the development of coding skills has been supported through incursions as well as through the extra-curricular program Code Club.

Communication with the parent community has been a huge focus in 2017 with the introduction of our school app.  With much persistence and effort, this has led to a more streamlined approach to school communication.  In 2018, we will be continuing to investigate the best ways to engage our parent community in school initiatives.

As I have reflected on what the school has achieved in its first 5 years, I have been comparing our journey to the completion of a puzzle.  Isn’t there something magical about dumping colourful puzzle pieces on the floor, moving them all around until…. Click!  Two jigsaw parts fit together and a little bit of mystery transforms into a recognisable fragment of the picture. Whilst the HPCPS puzzle is not finished, we can see clearly what the picture is becoming and I am so proud of all of the students, staff, parents and community members who are ultimately the most important pieces.

To Leah, Nicole, Mel and Bec - I sincerely thank you for all you have contributed to the school over the past 2 years.  We have felt a strong partnership with the P&F and are so deeply appreciative of everything you have done for the good of our school community.  We would like to offer you a small gift as a sign of our appreciation.

To Neil and the school board- I offer my heartfelt thanks for all you do for HPCPS.  As we commence our final building stage in 2018, we look forward with anticipation for the physical completion of our school and acknowledge all of the work each of you have done for helping to bring this vision to fruition.  As Lindsay and Hayley depart the Board this year, I wish to particularly thank each of them for their dedication and passion that they have shown to all things HPCPS.

To Father Dat- thank you for your support of the faith life of our school and for your involvement in monthly masses, the Board and the celebration of Mass and Sacraments.

To our parent community- thank you for all you do to support us at Hammond Park.  We feel so privileged that you have placed your children in our care and for your willingness to provide assistance to the students and staff.

To the dedicated and passionate teaching staff of HPCPS- I thank you immensely.  Our students are so loved and nurtured here and it is because of the commitment of each of you.  To Sinead, Kristy, Robyn, Jacinta and Amanda- we will miss you all but we wish you all of the best as you move forward in with the next part of your journeys.

To the extended leadership team- Deb, Niki, Hannah, Lyndsey- thank you for the wonderful work you have driven in the Early Years, Literacy and Numeracy, Performing Arts, and Cross- Curricular Priorities.  We look forward to welcoming Kylie to lead the Middle Years in 2018.

To Amanda, Nicoletta and Shelley, our incredible admin team- I cannot thank you enough for all that you do for the good of our students, parents and staff.  Your welcoming nature, organisation, willingness to help and care are so valued by us all.

To Lyndsey our acting Assistant Principal- it has been an honour to work so closely with you this year and I am so grateful for everything you have done to support the school.

Finally, I wish the whole Hammond Park Catholic Primary School community a joyous and holy Christmas, and every best wish for the new year.