Cultural Connection

Welcome back to Term 3!

I hope all the rain we have been having didn’t dampen any holiday plans and that everyone was able to enjoy some time with family and friends. After the disruption from COVID in the final week of Term 2, it is great to have everyone back on site.

Term 3 is one of our busiest terms on the calendar. Some of the activities and events include:

·       Senior students preparing themselves for mock WACE exams and finalising VET Certificates ahead of Graduation

·       The cross-campus Primary production of Aladdin which is shaping up to be a wonderful colour-filled creation, please secure your tickets now as demand is high.

·       Book Week

·       Science Week

·       Athletics Carnivals

·       Art and Technologies exhibitions

Term 3 is also when we, as a School, look ahead to next year, planning timetables, subject selections, possible staffing changes and looking at new ways of providing the best educational outcomes for our students. An exciting time however, very much remembering that there is still a semester of school to complete.

Last week our staff came together for our annual Staff Expo, which sees our teaching and non-teaching staff immersed in two days of personal and professional development. Staff Expo was one reason that The Educator magazine chose St Stephen’s School as an Employer of Choice.

This year’s Expo theme, Cultural Connections, was chosen after the Staff Expo Committee noticed that ideas around inclusivity, diversity and growing our understanding of Australia’s Indigenous culture and its people were reoccurring concepts in the feedback the School has received while working towards our new Strategic Plan.

Staff were lucky to hear from Balladong Noongar man Jesse Fleay who has achieved an incredible amount in his life to date. Jesse has a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Politics and International Relations, completed two Masters Degrees in Communications and Research and developed an expertise in policy. He is set to finish is PhD this year. Jesse has been involved in several landmark social change initiatives including drafting and being a signatory to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which won the Sydney Peace Prize this year. Jesse has kindly gifted the School with two framed copies of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which will shortly be on display in our campus libraries.

Staff Expo provided staff the perfect opportunity to visit the Kaadadjan Centre on Thursday for a day to connect with the land and culture through a series of activities and cultural talks. The day included hearing from Noongar Elder Maitland Hill, who lives near the property, about some of his cultural beliefs and perused his artefacts.

It was wonderful to hear from both men and see all staff coming together to learn, connect and leave with a stronger understanding of indigenous culture. One of the many things that I particularly noticed was the varied experiences of both men. Each had their own story to tell and no one’s story is the same. This highlighted for us, as a school, that approaches to reconciliation rests with everyone and as a school we need to ask, discover, listen and work together.

We look forward to bringing our new knowledge and experience into the classrooms, starting with our belated NAIDOC Week celebrations this week.

I look forward to continuing our work with the community towards the new Strategic Plan and mapping out the next chapter for our School.

I look forward to seeing you around campus and at many of the events this term.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1Thessalonians 5:11

Take care and God Bless,

Donella Beare.