Welcome back to the 2020 school year. As we ease our students back into school routines we are very mindful of recent events and the impact that the bushfires have had on our students, parents, grandparents, neighbours and the wider Batlow community. We have had a visit from clergy, including Archbishop Christopher Prowse who presided over Mass last Saturday evening, and our Catholic Education Director, Mr Ross Fox. They have been very concerned for us and extend their condolences and support for the losses our community have suffered.
Our learning programs, particularly literacy and numeracy will begin shortly but we will also be devoting time to giving thanks to so many people who have reached out to our small school over the past four weeks with donations, back packs, and support.
Just last Saturday a lovely family from Hamilton in Victoria weeded our garden and spread mulch. They were camping in town and just wanted to help us in any way they could. Also over the weekend Jodie Roberts and her family drove from Gunnedah to deliver many items that she had gathered through donations in her home town. It is truly humbling to receive such acts of kindness.
Our biggest thank you goes to the Batlow community itself. I know this community is so close and have looked after each other with accommodation, supplies, lending a hand, a meal, and a simple cuppa. Our students, your children, have seen wonderful examples of courage, resilience and acts of kindness replayed over the past months. The impact of the bushfire crisis will differ for every child but please let us know if you have any concerns so that we can respond appropriately. More counselling has been dedicated to the school particularly this term. If you wish to access counselling for your child parents need to complete a referral form. This form can be accessed from the front office or you can request it to be sent to you via email.
Thank you to all families who were able to attend our open day on Tuesday 14 January. We hope it helped in some small way to gather and talk and let the children simply play with friends.
On a different note we have had some staff changes for 2020. We welcome to St Mary's Ms Maddison Crozier who will be taking Year 4/5/6. Ms Mercedes Brown will be commencing with Year 2/3 until our new staff member is able to get to Batlow later in the term. Ms Brown knows the students and the school programs well and she is also available to support a smooth transition to the new teacher. We are truly grateful to Mercedes for assisting our Year 2/3 students to have the smoothest start to the year as possible. MsAmy Buckmaster has taken the leap into K/1this year and is excited to take on a new cohort and a new stage of learning.
We are looking forward to gathering with the students tomorrow and starting our year with Kindergarten on Thursday morning. There will be a morning tea on Thursday morning for our new Kindergarten parents to mark this milestone. If any parents, especially from Year One would like to join us for ‘Tears and Tissues’ from 9:00-10:00am please let Loren Wilesmith know or simply come along.
Thank you to everyone who responded to the Awards Day Survey. Results were mixed but eveningAwards were the preference. Date and time will be notified in the newsletter at the beginning of Term 4, as we did in 2019. Thank you for the compliments on our Awards Day last year. It was a lovely ceremony and a wonderful celebration of our students achievements.
We're excited to share that the new School Banking theme for 2020 is Treetop Savers. We've developed a new range of rewards designed to appeal to all ages. In response to your feedback in the Customer Experience Surveys, we've made this year's rewards more eco-friendly and sustainable. All rewards are reusable and packaged using sustainably sourced paper.