Dear Parents, Caregivers and Students
When considering what to write in this newsletter, my initial thought was to reflect upon my first impressions of the College community. Then I thought how can you possibly do that when you have only witnessed the College community in action for approximately a month, which includes the days I spent here prior to the school year starting, the pupil free days and the nine days with the students in attendance.
But then I remembered reading an article about Elliott Abrams who is a former American diplomat, lawyer and political scientist who served in foreign policy positions for U.S. under a number of United States Presidents. Elliott was an integral member of a number of task forces that were responsible for resolving disputes, which possibly could have led to major wars between superpower countries. When considering his role and the importance of first impressions in the initial negotiations he stated that, “First impressions matter. Experts say we size up new people in somewhere between 30 seconds and two minutes.” So, while St Joseph’s College is not a person, it is a living community and here are my first impressions after approximately a month.
Firstly, I have found the students, staff, parents and wider community of St Joseph’s College to be very welcoming. Each day numerous members of the community have gone out of their way to take the opportunity to come up say hello, welcome me, wish me the best of luck and say that they hope I enjoy my time as part of the St Joseph’s community. I greatly appreciate these efforts and I am sure that I will enjoy my time here.
Secondly, I think this is a very happy and caring school. The amazing smiles on the faces of the students in the classrooms and the playground, the laughter of the staff in the staffrooms and the interactions that I have witnessed between all members of the school community over the first month highlight the joy, care for each other and enthusiasm that the community brings to school each day. Father Ray Crowley often speaks about how when he goes into a school community he goes and talks to the office staff, the groundsman, the cleaners and the youngest students. He does this because he believes that if these people are happy then then the school is going well. Based upon my conversations with these groups, I would have to say that St Joseph’s College is going well.
Thirdly, it would appear that the students and staff are proud to be members of the St Joseph’s College community. I believe that this is reflected in a number of ways including; the outstanding way in which the majority of students wear their school uniforms, the great care the students, groundsman and cleaners take to ensure the school looks great each day, the way the staff and students talk about the school and its history.
My final observations would suggest that the students and staff are really committed to striving to make the most of each day’s opportunities. From the determination and exhaustion on the faces of the students at the swimming carnival, to the great efforts of the staff who have worked so hard to prepare and ensure the year starts successfully, to the students being prepared and on time to classes. All of this evidence confirms that we are going to have a great year.
Congratulations students and staff of St Joseph’s College, what a lovely school to be a part of and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to be here.
Student Protection Contacts
The Diocese of Toowoomba Catholic schools firmly believes that Student Protection is everybody’s business. The safety and wellbeing of our students is of paramount importance.
The Diocese of Toowoomba Catholic Schools has Student Protection Processes and Guidelines in place in all of our 31 schools. These procedures reflect legislative and regulatory reporting requirements, and the policies of Toowoomba Catholic Schools. All staff are trained in these processes and all of our schools have at least two nominated staff members, known as Student Protection Contacts, from whom students and staff can access support and advice.
At St Joseph’s College our student protection contacts are; Mr Joe Cryle, Mrs Julieanne Rassmussen, Mrs Heather D’Arcy, Mrs Melissa Zenke, Mr Rodney Spain, Mrs Catherine Barton and myself.
Further information regarding student protection policy and procedures can be accessed at; https://www.twb.catholic.edu.au/parents-and-community/student-protection/