Annual Report

Principal’s Report

AGM 2018


Good evening everyone and thank you for attending our School AGM for 2018

Your attendance tonight is valued and it speaks well of your interest in our school.  The AGM is a community meeting where good people meet to hear of the progress of our school in 2018 and listen to what 2019 might bring.  My report is based on the 2018 School Improvement Plan.

We both share 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 that we do.

In preparing my speech for tonight I was drawn to reflect on what it means to be a member of a Catholic School in 2018.  Pope Francis (2015) suggested that; ‘In a society which struggles to find points of reference, young people need a positive reference point in their school …. Teachers must build an educational relationship with each student, who must feel accepted and loved for who he or she is, with all of his or her limitations and potential.’

And as parents, we must work together in partnership to help our students learn in a school which is publicly and proudly grounded in the conviction that the best way to do this is by ensuring that the Christian Faith is at the heart of our endeavours.  I believe, and I hope you share my reality that this is lived here at HPCPS, not just spoken about.

Turning our attention to how our efforts this year have worked to ensure HPCPS has been a positive reference point for all our students, let’s see how things went.

In 2018, staff have been working toward developing a Whole School Mathematics approach.  Staff have participated in 3 professional development days with the University of Notre Dame, as well as working on the development of this approach in staff development meetings throughout the year.  NAPLAN results indicated that growth in Numeracy this year is moving closer to the national average.  This will be a continued focus in 2019. 

In Literacy, staff have been involved in moderation of writing assessments using the Brightpath program and have used the results of this in reviewing and updating our whole school writing approach.  The Diana Rigg PLD Spelling program continues to be used across the school and reading support is provided through the Mini-Lit and Reading Tutor programs. Both are evidence-based programmes which focus on the explicit teaching of essential reading and literacy skills.  My appreciation to Liesl Heathcote, Michelle Meyerkort, Donna Edwards, Sharron Welch, Sionna Macaulay, Theresa Edmonds and Lucy De Abreu for conducting the Mini-Lit programme in 2018.  The Reading Tutor programme will be available for students from Year 3 to Year 6 in 2019.

Reading strategies are explicitly taught in each classroom through shared and guided reading activities.  Staff have regularly participated in professional learning throughout the year to review our Literacy approaches and reflect on our practices.  NAPLAN 2018 indicates that HPCPS has lower percentages in the top bands when compared to the national mean.  Our focus in 2019 will remain similar to 2018 by providing not only support, through the programmes mentioned previously, but to extend our efforts to enable each child to achieve their personal best which will be reflected in NAPLAN results.

In Religious Education, the Bishop’s Religious Literacy Assessment for Years 3 and 5 is an opportunity for HPCPS to compare its achievement against CEWA results.  Our aim in 2018 was to significantly increase the Year 3 mean and Year 5 mean achieved in 2017 to be at or above CEWA attainment.  We were close, so our intent remains the same in 2019 to increase the Year 3 and Year 5 school mean in BRLA to be at or above the CEWA mean.  All teaching staff attended a professional development day in Religious Education exploring content, inquiry and critical/creative thinking.  This day was presented to staff by Jacinta Petersen, and was accredited by the Catholic Education Office for 6 hours of professional renewal for teaching religious education.

At HPCPS the Pre-Kindergarten through to the Year 2 classrooms participate in reflective practice around the National Quality Standards.  As part of this practice the staff participate in professional learning, self-reflections and a yearly auditing process.  The yearly audits identify areas in which we are not only achieving the standards but, areas in which we need some improvement.  Schools are required to identify areas for improvement and document this in a Quality Improvement Plan.

The Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) is updated yearly and focuses on the areas of improvement.  Areas in which we have had improvement are around the health and safety of children, the induction and training of an OHS officer and the implementation of teaching strategies to maximise student’s learning.

Mrs Jenni Prelevich was appointed as HPCPS’ occupational health and safety officer.  A position Jen has embraced with glee.

Areas identified for improvement in the 2018/2019 QIP were around engagement of families, policy development, communicating with and informing families, and outreach programs.  The Quality improvement plan for 2019 will soon be available for families to view on the school app.  My thanks to Deb Glorie for her support and guidance with the National Standards and the development of the 2019 Quality Improvement Plan.

The STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), enrichment initiative continued in 2018 for all students in Year 2 to Year 6.  The model leads students to deep learning of content and skills in a cross-curricular context.  Classroom and specialist teachers taught collaboratively, with an emphasis on inquiry and the development of key future skills.  This year we were invited to a STEM Conference to share what we have been doing at HPCPS with the wider educational community.  My appreciation to Vicki Sheehy for representing our school and presenting an information booth at the National Conference.

Since 2014, students at HPCPS have engaged in Bush play experiences in the natural environment which surrounds our school.  Bush Play experiences provide meaningful, open-ended interactions between children and the natural world around them.  This year Lyndsey Sherwood, a qualified Nature Pedagogy teacher, has been involved in a coaching model to assist our teachers develop their expertise by incorporating the natural environment in their learning and teaching programmes.  Using a teaching approach which incorporates inquiry-based learning, our teachers have an opportunity to work with students in a setting which is the envy of many metropolitan schools.  The outside education day, coordinated by Lyndsey, was a great success this term with students completing a regular day of learning outside their classroom

Establishing the student leadership programme this year was a success story worth noting.  With a review of student leadership literature, and under the guidance of our Assistant Principal Jacinta Petersen, the Pillar Leaders initiative has exceeded all expectations.  Well removed from head boy or head girl models of leadership, the Pillar Student Leadership model is more inclusive, more integrated with the ethos of the school, and more pervasive with its influence throughout the school.  I am so proud of these students and what they have accomplished this year.  The initiative has outreach to every one of the Foundation Pillars; Faith, Education, Care and Future.  It requires of our students to accept responsibility, to show initiative, and be supportive of other students in our school.  It is a knock out success story.  Appreciation and applause to Dr Petersen for design and inspiration, the amazing Shelley New for being across everything, and the very gifted Donna Bathols for making it work.

We have maintained our vision to make certain school communication remained a priority in 2018.  The school app continues to re-define how we share information, how we gather information, and how we maintain a ‘go to’ data bank of all our most significant documentation.  Our HPCPS app has gained National recognition for its availability, its ease of use and the frequency it is being used.  DigiStorm attend to every issue we have raised with them by the next business day, and any contact parents make direct, even less.  A very special thank you to Shelley New for her ongoing support with the school app, and her reminders that keeping your device’s software up to date, sufficient storage space, and the pertinent notifications turned on will maximise the use of the app.

This year we were keen to explore Parent Engagement at HPCPS.  There is a difference though between ‘involvement’ and ‘engagement’.  Involvement is participation and support of your child’s day to day activities and the life of the school.  For example, P&F meetings and fundraising activities, participation in school sporting events or classroom help.  Engagement is having a strong understanding and commitment to the education process and how it can be supported at home.  Both are good, but our interest in 2018 was the later.  A focus group was formed to investigate parent engagement.  In Term 4 this newly formed focus group attended a workshop on what engagement can achieve for a school community run by Jennifer Chaplyn, Consultant Employment and Community Relations Team, at the Catholic Education Office.  It brought clarity to what is possible and how important parent engagement is to every school.  The volunteer’s sundowner in T4 was an opportunity for parent engagement.  This initiative will remain a goal in 2019.

Four Town Hall sessions were presented this year to assist with parent engagement on a range of topics, as shown below.  We will continue to offer Town Hall sessions in 2019.

Term 1: Faith Pillar- Catholic Education WA's Child Safe Framework

Term 2: Care Pillar- How is Bush Play of benefit to our children

Term 3: Education Pillar- The Importance of Reading at HPCPS

Term 4: Future Pillar- A Day in the Life of an iPad at HPCPS

A survey will soon be available to assess how parents have viewed engagement in 2018 and what suggestions for 2019 could be offered.

HPCPS stepped forward in 2018 with a very impressive conservation team headed up by Lyndsey Sherwood, Priscilla Hawthorne, Kayla-Marie Williams and Donna Bathols.  Joined by some passionate parents, we saw ‘Terracycle’ bins appear to collect unused beauty products, Nespresso pods and oral care health products.  Waste free lunches continued to be promoted throughout the school.  A very large paper recycling bin appeared which has reduced our general waste by a considerable volume.  Nothing was spared from the eyes of the conservationists including an invitation from Priscilla Hawthorne, to re-pot as many native plants as possible before the clearing commences.  On Sunday 30 September 2018, we had an amazing turn out from parents, children and staff to re-locate so much flora in readiness for planting in 2019.  At last look some of these native plants are looking a bit desperate, but their fate in a mulcher might have been worst.

IT has continued to be a valued partner in the learning environment at HPCPS.  Staff participated in a survey to determine levels of competency with the use of technology for learning and the results showed a very high level.  This argurs well for helping children use this technology to achieve something that they may not have been able to do without it.  The use of mobile technology is not about substitution rather it is about Redefinition.  Aiming to re-define the learning task is the ultimate goal with any use of technology.  Not isolated to the classroom we have a very active student Tech Club which operates every Wednesday before school.  My thanks to Kylie Phillips for coordinating this student club.

A programme which has found such a worthy place in our school is Highway Heroes, conducted by Chelsie Wheeler.  Children in their health lesson engage in such topics as Connecting 4 Friendships, Mood Drivers and Maps, or Triple B's 4 Calming Down, and Thinking about our Thinking.  Children learnt about resilience, being the ability to cope with the many circumstances that arise in our lives and the ability to persist ‘when the going gets tough’.  Additionally, Chelsie works with small groups of children to further explore these topics all adding to the wellbeing of every child at HPCPS.  Highway Heroes is being extended in 2019 so we can spread its positive influence across the school.

The Performing Arts remained a priority area throughout 2018, and again coordinated by Alyce Basilo.  This year we saw entries to the Catholic Performing Arts Festival from Renee Smith and Kylie Phillips with their Year 3 classes participating in the Choral Speech section.  We also had two entries in the Primary Choral Singing section.  Donna Bathols conducted her students in class Fewer, and the school Choir, conducted by our music specialist Mrs Burro also performed for the Festival.

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 Megan Bylsma, Lauren Holland, Matt Yarnold and Beccy Gaidzionis 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.

Special thank you to Lauren Holland for stepping up to cover a vacancy in the P&F exec early in 2018.

For the School Board it has been exciting times with the planning for our final building programme, stage 3, which is planned to begin with the clearing of the land this week.  It was a long process and we faced many obstacles, not all of them bollards, but the final outcome will be a beautiful new building for our school.

Sadly, tonight we say thank you to Neil Alweyn as chair of the School Board for the past 5 years.  Under Neil’s leadership the School Board continued to prosper.  I’ve said before, one of Neil’s many gifts is his ability to bring clarity to long exchanges between Board members.  It is a gift which assists board members 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.  Neil was involved on the selection panel for most staff employed at HPCPS.  He has obviously done an amazing job!!  We will see a new Board Chairperson emerge in 2019 when the Board meet to vote in the new executive team.

I must thank Leah Bennett for her thorough ‘minutes’ from our meetings and the topics addressed.  It is essential to have good records and with Leah’s attention to detail, we are assured of that.

And to Tecla Ngoma, for her thorough examination of the school financial records, we express our thanks.  Assisting Tecla in a mentor role, we acknowledge Lindsay Daniels for his support, financial wisdom, and enabling a smooth transition from one exceptional treasurer to another!

To Sam Scarle, Domanique O’Reilly and Lucy De Abreu who leave HPCPS this year, we say thank you and farewell and ask God to bless them for working amongst us and sharing their gifts so freely with the students in their care.  Our school was enriched by Sam, Dominque and Lucy’s presence and we thank God for calling them here.

Leaving us too in 2019 but for a very different reason, will be Kayla-Marie Williams.  Kayla has applied for parental leave so she can care for her first born child and not have to worry about 30 pre-primary children.  Although sad to see Kayla leave us, we will all look forward to hearing the good news of baby Williams arrival, and of course another enrolment for HPCPS.

Returning to HPCPS in 2019, we welcome back three beautiful people, Niki Della Torre, Sarah Tsocas and Amanda Archibald.  Niki will be teaching in Pre-Primary Sheoak, Sarah returns to teach physical education, and Amanda returns to take charge of the school once again.  Seriously, I still remember a staff meeting where every decision being made or approval being granted was coming from Amanda.  Jacinta and I were not even considered.  And there are other days when Boston McNally bails me up and tells me he is the Principal of the school.  Still I have my assistant principal who supports me being in charge, providing I check with her first.

I’m pleased to welcome three new staff members to the community for 2019.  A familiar friend and wonderful teacher assistant returns to HPCPS, Ms Joanna Vinci will be working in Pre Primary.  Mr Brendan Burke joins us from Sacred Heart Thornlie and will be teaching alongside Adam O’Neill in Year 4.  Jacinta and I haven’t named their classrooms for 2019, so we will know them as 4A and 4B.  We welcome too, Mr Kade Broad who will be working alongside Georgina Tre’-wav-as in Year 2.  I’m delighted too to advise that Claire Dada is to return to staff in 2019.  Claire will teach with Niki in Pre Primary Sheoak.

To the staff of HPCPS, I can say with pride, you are indeed a professional and dedicated team.  For whatever reason God called us together it was surely to provide a safe, supportive, pastoral and educationally sound learning environment for every child at HPCPS.  Onya.

To Team Office, Executive Assistant Shelley New, Finance Officer Nicoletta Nici and Admin Officer Emma Polain, who collectively make our school work with such style and professionalism, -we applaud your generosity and interest in caring for parents, staff and students.  At the level these three ladies work, it doesn’t get any better it just gets different.  I know Jacinta’s words would echo mine in expressing our heartfelt appreciation for the support and care you offer us each and every day.

To my wonderful colleague in Leadership, Dr Jacinta Petersen, my sincere thanks for your advice, support and care for the past 12 months.  Jacinta is a conscientious worker and she is absolutely passionate about HPCPS.  Jacinta’s interest and commitment to our school, her colleagues are absolute and total.  Jacinta, it remains an honour to work with you and share in leading this vibrant school community.

And finally, I have the honour to be a principal of such an amazing school, none of it possible without the support from every single person in this room.  We have worked hard and soon we can rest well.  I wish you and your families all the very best for the celebration of Christmas.  May the birth of the Christ child bring peace and happiness to you and all your loved ones.