From Mr McMullen

It has been another busy fortnight at school for students and staff, both in relation to regular school life and also updates for schools regarding how to operate with updated restrictions. I want to touch on both topics in this newsletter, but first I would like to touch on the topic of treating others with kindness (even when we are feeling stressed or frustrated).

It goes without saying our car park is an extremely busy place at the start and the end of the day. Currently with fewer students using public transport, it is even busier. Each day we have over 1,000 cars entering and leaving the school car park. This occurs within two 30-minute windows of time. Our goal is to manage this process in a safe way and provide as smooth a flow as possible. The current high traffic levels make this task an extremely challenging one for our staff to manage and a frustrating one for parents to participate in. This can lead to situations of conflict.

The vast majority of our parents are working with the school in a most cooperative manner and exercising patience and kindness. However, the school’s neighbours have noted that the way some of our parents speak to each other and their use of car horns gives them an image of our parent body that is not positive. It is also not an accurate one!

I recognise the frustration traffic congestion causes and we are organising to meet with the local council to consider options regarding traffic flow. In the short term you can improve your pickup and drop off experience by:

* Arriving a bit earlier in the morning and a bit later in the afternoon to avoid the busiest time

* Following staff directions when in the car park

* Speaking to and treat others as you would like them to treat you, with respect

* Avoiding using your horn – it raises people’s stress levels and rarely makes a significant difference

* Responding to others with kindness (even if they have not been kind to you) – it reduces their stress levels and yours. It will also take the energy out of a possible conflict situation.

There are many benefits of exercising kindness. This is what the Australian government’s Health direct webpage says about the benefits of kindness.

“Small acts of kindness can have enormous power for both the person being kind and the recipient, whether that’s a stranger or someone in the same family. Many studies have found that kindness, compassion and giving are associated with:

* Improved happiness

* Good mental health

* A stronger immune system

* Reduced anxiety, stress and depression

* Improved relationships

* A longer life

Research also shows that the happiness people get from giving to others creates a ‘positive feedback loop’. The more you give, the more positive you feel. This, in turn, fuels greater happiness.

People who witness or benefit from someone’s kindness and compassion are also more likely to be kind themselves.” https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/acts-of-kindness-and-compassion

This advice is well aligned with biblical teaching. The bible describes the effects of kind words as refreshing, nourishing, life giving, healthy and wise. Here are 10 verses on the topic.

Science Week

This week is Science Week and it has been celebrated in both the High School and Primary. The theme for the week is ‘Deep Blue – innovation for the future of our oceans.’ Our students have been learning about God’s majestic creation of the oceans and the living things that call them home. They have also been learning about how human activity impacts the oceans. High School science students engaged in an ‘escape room’ activity using their knowledge and problem solving skills to escape from a submarine that has broken down.

Our Primary students have participated in a range of ‘under the sea’ activities through the week, culminating in a ‘deep blue’ crazy hair day on Friday.

COVID-19 Restrictions

New NSW Government COVID-19 restrictions were published on Monday. I have communicated these details in a letter to the community earlier this week. Key information to note is:

* If your child is unwell, do not send them to school and seek medical advice

* Inform the school by email (your relevant Deputy Principal) if your child has had had a COVID-19 test

* Prior to your child returning to school, provide the school with the documentation to establish the test result was negative via covidtests@wccs.nsw.edu.au.

Thank you for your ongoing support as we work together to adjust to this ever-changing set of circumstances. Please continue to pray for our school community and remember our Year 12 students as they complete their Trial HSC examinations.

Yours in Christ

Keith McMullen

Gracious words are a honeycomb,
    sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Proverbs 16:24