It has been another exciting school term in Catholic Education Western Australia, and as usual it seems to have flown by.
There is much to be grateful for in this school year already. This includes confirmation from February’s census data that our enrolments have increased this year, which I believe speaks to the value that the families of our State see in Catholic education.
Throughout this term nominations have been open for our LEAD Awards for Excellence. In past years we’ve seen some great initiatives highlighted through these awards, and I am pleased to say that we have once again received entries outlining some wonderfully innovative and effective projects developed and implemented by our school communities that align with the themes of Leadership, Engagement, Accountability, and Discipleship. So many of these projects, whether they have been put forward for consideration or have gone on to win a LEAD Award category or Merit Award, have made and continue to make a real difference to the learning, faith formation, personal development and wellbeing of our students, staff and whole school communities. Nominations close today, and I am looking forward to finding out more about our 2019 Award winners with you early in Term Three.
Digital transformation is something that has become increasingly important for so many industries and organisations in recent years, and learning and schooling is no different. While this transformation, like any, has its challenges, we continue to be optimistic about the new tools, partnerships and opportunities our own digital transformation is providing. In Term Two a number of our schools switched over to the Administration of Schools platform, which promises to bring best-practice consistency to the operation of our schools. Staff across the system also demonstrated how collaborative professional learning can tap into knowledge and experience regardless of location with Webinar Week, which will be back again next term. Our ViSN project, which is using technology to allow schools to share resources and expertise to deliver an increased range of courses for secondary students, gained international recognition.
At the start of National Reconciliation Week the second Reconciliation Action Plan for CEWA’s offices in the Dioceses of Broome, Bunbury, Geraldton and Perth was launched at the Catholic Education Centre in Leederville. While this plan covers only the work of these offices, it is intended to help promote reconciliation efforts across our system and the education sector. Witnessing the activities and learnings from all of our schools during NRC, it was evident that we are committed to a deeper understanding of what it means to be ‘grounded in truth’ and to ‘walk together with courage’. This Sunday, as NAIDOC Week celebrations across Australia begin, we also mark Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday; I encourage you to visit the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council’s website for more information and resources.
An integral part of what it means to be Catholic schools and a Catholic system is our commitment to growing spiritually and exploring our faith traditions and Catholic identity. This commitment can be seen in our schools every day, but at certain times and through certain events this really comes to the fore. This term saw the Catholic Schools Youth Summit for secondary students return as a partnership between CEWA and the University of Notre Dame, and later in the year the primary edition will take place once again after its successful introduction last year. 2019 also brings a unique opportunity for our young people in the form of the Australian Catholic Youth Festival, which is set to take place in Perth in December and will be the largest gathering of the Church in Australia this year. I strongly encourage all of you in our schools and colleges to throw your support behind this event to help make it the best that it can be.
I wish you all a safe and restful break over these holidays, and look forward to working with you again in Term Three to serve our children and young people.
Dr Debra Sayce
Catholic Education Western Australia