The Catholic Education Office will close on 24 December and will re-open on Monday 5 January, 2009. 2008 has been another very successful year for Vocational Education and Training, with many students and one teacher receiving recognition for their outstanding achievements in Vocational Education and Training through out the year. The Illawarra Schools Vocational Training Awards were held at Villa D'oro Function Centre on 25th November 2008.
Student finalists and their parents were invited guests for the opening of the exhibition on Sunday November 30, the beginning of the Season of Advent. The Director gave special thanks to parents, students, principals, teachers and CEO personnel who were able to attend on the day. Celebrating 25 Years as a school, the students and staff of Holy Spirit College, Bellambi, hosted Bishop Peter Ingham and other distinguished guests at a celebratory mass in the College grounds on Friday November 14. The Josephite and Marist Fathers traditions of these schools were acknowledged at the Silver Jubilee ceremony. The day was also an opportunity to turn the first earth on the site of a new Multi Purpose Centre planned for building in early 2009 together with the blessing of a new student quadrangle dedicated to the Marist Fathers. Bishop Peter Ingham had the unusual privilege of assisting in the breaking of new ground for the Centre, not with a shovel, but a bobcat digger.
Principals and Assistant principals, members of the Catholic Education Office Leadership Team and staff of the Catholic Education Office recently participated in Seminars on the new School Review and Improvement processes being undertaken by all systemic schools in the Diocese of Wollongong.
Among the audience to the Seminar on Thursday were three staff from the Catholic Education Office in Bathurst. On Wednesday November 12, priests, principals and the Catholic Education Office leadership team met in Wollongong for the second Priests and principals meeting Day. Nearly 200 people attended the Diocesan Special Education Conference held at the Campbelltown Catholic Club on Thursday November 13.
The Regional Science Fair held at the University of Wollongong on 28th October and facilitated by the Science Faculty was well-represented by Catholic schools from the Wollongong Diocese as well as independent and departmental schools. Students were asked to conduct a scientific investigation on a topic of interest that showcased the complexities of a true scientific process. The Wollongong Religious Literacy Project was the subject of a significant symposium recently held in Sydney. Speakers at the Stamford Airport Hotel on Monday November 17 included Peter Turner, Director of Schools for Wollongong Diocese, Pat O’Gorman and Beth Riolo, Learning Officers for the Project, Dr Shukri Sanber, Dr Graham English, Dr Kristin Johnston and Professor Jude Butcher from the Catholic University.
On Friday 21 November the Diocesan Sports Council staged the 12th Annual CDF Diocesan Sports Awards to recognise the outstanding achievements of both students and teachers from primary and secondary schools. Maree Hamilton, St Michael's, Nowra and Scott Ashcroft, St Pat's Campbelltown received teacher service awards for years of dedicated work to the students in our schools. On October 1, students and teachers from St Joseph’s Catholic High School, Nazareth Primary School Shellharbour and Mt Carmel College Varroville were presented with awards for their efforts in implementing the CCE project known as the Parliamentary Club. The 2008 Catholic Schools Parent Conference was a wonderful opportunity to talk with other parents and educators, to share stories, gain new skills and some new understanding about what’s happening in Catholic schools and education more broadly.
The conference, structured around keynote sessions and workshops, was, thought provoking, informative and fun.
New School Captains Kathryn Weaver and Angus Jackson have been elected and inducted on October 15 at St John the Evangelist Catholic High School, Nowra. St John's Year 8 student Tyler Wright has created history by winning the Beachley Surfing Classic at Manly Beach in October. Tyler defeated the world’s best surfers including World Champion Stephanie Gilmore to win the title. Twenty-one staff from Catholic schools and the Catholic Education Office attended the Quiet Reflection Day held at Kerever Park on October 2, 2008. Blessed with beautiful weather participants had time to engage in conversation as well as time for silence, space to be, and time to ‘savour the day!
On the occasion of World Teachers’ Day on Friday 31st October 2008, the Australian College of Educators held its peer recognition awards for teachers who make a significant contribution to their community. Bishop Peter Ingham officiated at the Diocesan Launch of World Mission Month at the Wollongong City Art Gallery during September before a gathering representative of parishes, schools and Catholic organisations and ministries of the Church of Wollongong.
Mission visitors to the Diocese of Wollongong during the Mission Month of October were two missionaries from Peru: Emeritus Bishop Juan Jose Larrenata Olleta OP for the Vicariate Apostolic of Puerto Maldonado and his diocesan priest Fr Miguel Piovesan. The final of the 14th CDF Diocesan Public Speaking Competition was held on Wednesday 5 November at St Francis Xavier’s School, Wollongong with the Director of Schools, Mr Peter Turner in the audience to listen to all speakers and present the winning trophies. Twelve finalists were selected following the Regional Competitions at St Michael’s Thirroul coordinated by Michelle Shearman and St John the Evangelist, Campbelltown, coordinated by Michelle Bunder. The first training day for coaches was also used to give staff from Religious Education and Learning Services as well as staff from other dioceses (Parramatta, Broken Bay, Sydney and Brisbane), the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the framework and its implementation. Positive Behaviour Support was established in the USA by Professor Tim Lewis and Professor George Sugai. SPB4L links to the Diocesan priorities for the next 5 years in particular the School Review and Improvement document and the Diocesan Learning & Teaching Framework. Certificates of Affirmation and Excellence were made to thirty four staff of Catholic Schools and the Catholic Education Office at the eighth Annual Catholic Development Fund Excellence in Schooling Awards held on Thursday 11 September. Speakers at the occasion included Tony Sanderson, Manager of the CDF, Bishop Peter Ingham and Peter Turner, Director of Schools.
On Thursday September 11 a Re-connector for people who have participated in the faith formation programs of Berakah, Bethsaida, and Journey was held at Villa D’Oro Function Centre in Wollongong. During the evening a number of people who have been called to action because of their experiences on the different courses spoke. One of Australia's next generation of leaders, Aaron Wood, was the special keynote speaker at the Southern Illawarra Primary Schools Leadership Day on Friday September 5. Aaron Wood, a recent Australian Environmentalist of the Year and subject of an ABC Australian Story, is the organiser of the International River Health Conference, which invites about 500 children from all over Australia and the world. 70 teachers from across the Diocese gathered at the Catholic Education Office on Thursday September 4 to participate in the marking of the 2008 Year 4 Religious Literacy Assessment Part A Workbook. The Part B Extended Task Assessment is derived from the Year 4 Unit, One with God’s Creation. There will be an opportunity to view children’s work samples from Part B at the Catholic Education Office from Monday 15 September to Friday 19 September.
All students at Mary Immaculate Primary School, Eagle Vale, prepared for their concert night on Friday 5 September, 2008. Having chosen to be part of a team - Drama, Dance, Visual Arts and Music, they presented the school's core values of Respect, Faith, Celebration, Compassion, Justice & Doing Your Best. Meanwhile Our Lady Help of Christians Primary School at Rosemedow had their own Olympic Opening Ceremony on August 8 to coincide with Beijing's ceremony.
110 Reading Recovery teachers from Catholic schools and the Department of Education and Training, Illawarra and South Coast Region, participated in their annual professional learning day at the Seaspray Conference Centre on Friday, August 29. This year the visiting presenter was Heather Turpin, a Reading Recovery Trainer who has worked for the Victorian Department of Education contributing to the Victorian Early Years Literacy Program.

Participants appreciated the introduction to the day by Noel Henry, Head of School Services who spoke of himself as a reader and connected with all the teachers through his experiences with books and schooling in this area.
The Women in Leadership Committee held their Annual Dinner at the Villa D’oro recently. Bethsaida, one of the faith formation courses offered by the Catholic Education Office, was held during August.
The Bethsaida course has input about Christology, Ministry and Spirituality to encourage in participants an integration of personal spiritualities and pastoral action. The week invited participants to experience a time of rest, quiet, solitude, personal reading and journalling.
Fifty years of Catholic Education at Stella Maris School, Shellharbour, was celebrated at a special anniversary mass at Sacred Heart Church, Warilla and a plaque unveiling ceremony at the school, on Sunday August 17. In a beautifully inclusive mass, principal, parishoners, staff, students, past principals, students, parents, Bishop Peter Ingham and members of the Congregation of Sisters of Charity gave thanks for the work in Catholic Education provided by the Sisters of Charity as school principals and the staff of the school over 50years.
Twenty secondary mathematics teachers from across the Diocese recently attended a one day workshop on the effective use of Sketchpad and Geogbra applications.
The day was such a success that a decision was made to shorten lunch and finish after 3pm (always a sign of an effective and engaging presentation). Principals attending the recent Principals-Catholic Education Office Meeting for Term 3 on August 14 were congratulated for their contribution to World Youth Day by Director of Schools Peter Turner.
Principals of the eleven Macarthur Region schools who accommodated pilgrims during World Youth Day week were especially recognised with the presentation of a framed Certificate of Appreciation. The vital importance of Literacy and Numeracy to Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Wollongong was recently highlighted at a Literacy and Numeracy Forum held on August 18 at the Campbelltown Catholic Club.
Following an introduction from Director of Schools, Peter Turner and a Keynote address from Rosalie Nott from the Catholic Education Commission, 80 staff participated in workshop activities. With participants from Primary and Secondary schools and guests from the University of Wollongong and the Department of Education, discussions included the development of a common understanding and philosophical position on Literacy and Numeracy. A Plenary Panel Discussion saw questions on L&T put to Ann Baxter and Jan Turnbill from the University of Wollongong, together with Rosalie Nott and Peter Turner. Students at St Francis of Assisi Primary School at Warrawong and St Columbkille’s Corrimal hosted special guests at the official opening and blessing of newly refurbished classrooms and offices at their schools on July 31 and August 1 respectively.
Bishop Peter Ingham and Director of Schools, Peter Turner were present to speak to the students, their parents and special guests. Suz Marden visited Stella Maris Primary School at Shellharbour to lead the opening prayer celebration for Staff Development Day on Tuesday July 22.
As part of the prayer, staff members created five beautiful silk cloth paintings which will be carried by students in the opening procession of the school’s Jubilee Mass.
The Magdalene Catholic High School at Narellan celebrated its tenth Feast Day on Friday July 25 with a special mass in the school grounds.
The most ambitious event in the history of the Australian Catholic Church took place during July 2008 with World Youth Day (WYD) in Sydney. WYD pilgrims came from over 20 countries including the USA, Italy, Germany, England, Scotland, France, Poland, Syria, Latvia, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Columbia and Brazil.
High among the achievements of the Days in the Diocese was the hosting by Catholic Education of 45 pilgrims from the pacific island of Kiribati. With a focus on confirming the faith experience of young people, a range of actions at school and Diocesan level will be put in place after World Youth Day to further enhance the commitment of young people to the Church.
Nearly 2000 national and international pilgrims to the World Youth Day week held in Sydney from July 14 -20 were accommodated in twelve schools in the Macarthur Region of the Diocese of Wollongong. Volunteer teachers became Site Managers with responsibility for managing the school sites overnight and for the logistics of organising breakfast distribution to their pilgrims. Among the special guests at the Conference were visiting pilgrims from Kiribati who told their story, danced and sang for the WYD pilgrims.
Staff are reminded that the Diocese of Wollongong’s CDF sponsored Excellence in Schooling Awards are again seeking nominations.
Bishop Peter Ingham and the Diocesan Director of Schools, Peter Turner have added their comments on a DVD and Resource Kit developed by the Catholic Education Office on the National Apology to the Stolen Generations.
The Kit, which includes resources and links to curriculum materials for teachers and students, was released to schools in the last week of Term 2 so that it might be used as an aid to NAIDOC Week, celebrated from July 6-13. Director of Schools, Peter Turner said "I strongly recommend these to you and I urge our schools to see them as a valuable learning and teaching tool in raising awareness about the history of the first Australians and the generations of Aboriginal people torn from their families.
The Leadership Team of the Catholic Education Office recently held their regular Leadership Team Meeting at St Mary’s Primary School at Milton. The visitors joined Year 6 Confirmation candidates at a preparation mass on Friday June 20 and visited staff and classes. Students at four schools in the Illawarra are enjoying recent additions and refurbishments at their schools.
Meanwhile Stage Three of the building program at Corpus Christi Catholic High School at Oak Flats is nearly completed with Year 9 having moved into their new Learning Spaces in May and the Learning Resource Centre is near completion. The first of two biannual meetings of Priests and Principals took place on Wednesday June 11 in Wollongong.
Participating for the first time, Wollongong Catholic Schools took out five of the major prizes awarded. A framed picture of Mary MacKillop was presented to the school by the Sisters of St Joseph to mark the occasion.
He spoke to the CEO Leadership Team on Wednesday Oct 29, to a gathering of principals and assistant principals on Thursday 30 and staff at the Catholic Education Office on Friday October 31. Executive Director Peter Hill and consultants Gene Smith and Chris Derwin were grateful for the opportunity to consider SR&I as a suitable and effective process for schools in the Diocese of Bathurst.
Principals, Assistant Principals and Middle leaders in systemic schools gathered to focus on leadership, to be thanked for the work they do in our schools and to thank our school leaders’ partners who support our leaders in their work. Cheryl spoke of the many challenges facing school leaders in the current educational and political climate and the need for educators and members of the teaching profession , and in particular school leaders, to speak out about their concerns surrounding major political educational decisions.
The two day Conference, supported by the Mater Dei Special School, University of Sydney, Wollongong Catholic Education Office and the NSW Catholic Education Commission, attracted participants from across the Diocese and State. Approximately sixty participants including Directors of Catholic Education Officers and Heads of RE & Curriculum from all around Australia and New Zealand, representing twenty one Dioceses, participated in the symposium, hosted by the Catholic Education Office, Wollongong and Australian Catholic University National.
The evening was proudly sponsored by the Catholic Development Fund and attracted close to 500 guests to St Mary Star of the Sea College. Zoe engaged the audience with an exciting questionnaire with the Master of Ceremonies, John Sparks. Governor, Professor Marie Bashir, presented awards in her role as state patron of the Constitution Education Fund Australia (CEFA), the nation’s premier private provider of civics and citizenship education. The Parliamentary Club was created at St Joseph’s in 2004 and has now been implemented by 23 schools around the nation with a further 63 awaiting training. The Saturday Keynote Address was delivered by Director of Schools Peter Turner on the theme of “Catholic Schools at a Crossroads: Brave Past!

Facilitated by Suz Marden and Cynthia McCammon, the day provided an opportunity to reflect on the gift of life and the wonder of creation so evident in the season of spring in the Southern Highlands.
Senior students and teachers from Catholic high schools and colleges between Narellan and Nowra attend the function hosted by Catholic Mission.
The framework sets out to build capacities across all school staff and takes 3-5 years to be implemented. 100 guests joined the recipients of awards at the Villa D’oro Function Centre in Wollongong. The start was very exciting as students from each of the schools involved; Magdalene Catholic High School, St Gregory's College, Ingleburn High School and Picton High School, were setting up their pit stand displays. The evening concluded with a special tribute to Sr Anna Warlow, thanking her and acknowledging the wonderful, inspirational work she has done in the Wollongong Diocese. He spoke enthusiastically about leading for environmental change and the need for positive thinking to achieve one’s goals. The Southern Illawarra Schools network which is in its third year, attempts to link staff and students in learning and leading activities.
The day was very successful in that all of the marking for the short answer questions was completed and teachers were able to share their learnings and understandings of religious literacy for their Year 4 students. The Religious Literacy Assessment is one of the ways we report on and celebrate the great work that is done in the area of religious education across our diocese. Along with a Torch Relay and March of Nations, representatives of the students and staff took oaths in preparation for their own mini-olympics which were held over the two weeks of the official Olympics. This is a week long residential program designed to develop skills for theological reflection, and a clearer expression and commitment to the Christian lifestyle. Run by Anna Warlow sgs and her Team, Bethsaida is a time of Renewal for people who have already participated in the Berakah course. The unveiling of a commemorative plaque at the school’s entrance was prefaced with an address by Congregational councillor Sr Laureen Dixon, Director of Schools Peter Turner and current school principal Sr Colleen Mills.
The day had been organised as a response to a request from Mathematics Coordinators at previous Network meetings. Volunteer staff from Catholic Schools who gave of their time and effort to support World Youth Day will be thanked at a special Director’s Reception in Campbelltown on Monday September 15 and Wollongong on Thursday September 18.
In the Diocese of Wollongong the Days in the Diocese activities, which included home stay hosting of 1500 international pilgrims across the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands from 10-14 July, culminated with the Everything Aussie Festival at Lang Park and Vigil Mass at the WIN Entertainment Centre on Saturday July 12.
These visitors enjoyed their stay at the Vincentian Centre at Gerroa while they attended activities including the Wildlife Park at Nowra and a Rugby League match at WIN Stadium. With fewer than expected volunteers coming forward to act as site managers and helpers at these accommodation sites, school staff were asked to forgo their school vacation and did so with great generosity. Catholic Social Teaching on Ecology and Climate Change was an energetic and interactive event interweaving music, drama, speakers, DVD footage, storytelling, prayer and an open forum around ecological and indigenous justice issues. It is a resource that should be integrated into all Key Learning Areas in the curriculum".
The team were guests at the school where they met with principal Tony Kent and parish priest Fr Francis Tran. Students at St Joseph’s Primary School at Bulli are enjoying the addition of a shade structure officially opened on Friday May 2.
The standard was very high and all students demonstrated an enthusiasm for science and a curiosity to continue their work. The day long conference was an opportunity to showcase Wollongong Diocese’s Religious Literacy Project, receive professional critique and affirmation and opened the door to new opportunities for collaboration and further development. The day was moderated by Mark Raue, Head of Wollongong Religious Education and Learning Services.
The evening was a fitting culmination to a busy sporting year and certainly a positive advertisement for the pathways and structures now available to our students and teachers. The Vince Villa Trophy was awarded to the champion secondary schools across all sports in 2008 with St Mary Star of the Sea College winning the girls trophy, Holy Spirit College winning the boys trophy and for the second consecutive year, the overall trophy was awarded to Holy Spirit College as the Champion Secondary School across all sports. The Governor praised all recipients for their substantial achievement in this important area of education. The NSW Quality Teaching Council has recommended the training course developed by Don Perna to the NSW Institute of Teachers which has approved the training.
It offers a systematic approach to Behaviour management and support in which all decisions are based on data collected by the school.
Nominated by their peers, the Awards recognise staff in the categories of Teaching (Primary, Secondary and Early Career), Pastoral Care, School Support, Social Justice Advocacy and Leadership.
It was a night of re-connecting with the spirit of the programs and meeting up with friends old and new. Another guest speaker included Jane Littrich who spoke on the Journey of the WYD Cross and Icon. The Part B assessment involves school-based marking with results being sent into the CEO and ACU for reporting back with Part A in the formal report package that is given to students in term 4. Enquiries about the residential faith formation opportunities offered by the CEO can be made to Pat O’Gorman (42530946) or Beth Riolo (42530988).
The pilgrims also participated in a Climate Change Social Justice Conference organised by the Catholic Education Office at the University of Wollongong on July 11. St Gregory’s College at Campbelltown was also used as a Command Centre and day site for pilgrims unable to attend events in Sydney.
Director of Schools Peter Turner praised the generosity of staff from schools and the Catholic Education Office. Students at St Columbkille’s Parish Primary School at Corrimal are benefiting from the refurbishment of their classrooms which have been opened up and modernised while students at St Francis of Assisi Parish Primary School at Warrawong are also enjoying their recent classroom modernisation.
The theme of the Journey of the Cross and Icon was explored with reflections on the success of the WYD Cross in the Diocese celebrated by Bishop Peter Ingham, Jane Littrich from the WYD Office and Pat O’Gorman representing schools. Warren Dawson the Coordinator for School Wide Positive Behaviour Support with Education Queensland conducted the three day training at the Campbelltown Catholic Club. Students at Holy Cross Helensburgh are also grateful for their school’s improvements which were officially opened in November 2007. WYD Executive Officer, Daniel Hopper also foreshadowed the WYD Week spectacular events planned for Sydney. Outstanding achievement in Civics and Citizenship Education Awards were presented to teachers Pat Newell from Mount Carmel College Varroville, Don Perna from St Joseph’s Catholic High School Albion Park and Michelle Masterson and Justin Devlin from Nazareth Primary School.

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