From Mr McMullen

In this first newsletter for 2021, I would like to provide a few COVID reminders and a glimpse into our school’s busy first two weeks. I also share a message I gave to the Year 7-12 students on their first full day together.

COVID-19 update

At the time of writing this newsletter, our state has been blessed with over two weeks without any new COVID-19 community cases. The government has responded by reducing some of the restrictions.

There are still restrictions in place which we need to maintain. These include (but are not limited to just these):

-Maintain a physical distance between people of at least 1.5m

-Students over the age of 12 must wear a mask when on public and charted transport (bus travel to and from school and excursions)

-Parents/Carers can only access the school for essential meetings and need to sign in at the front office (this assists in tracing if required)

This last point means that parents/carers need to remain in the car park area until at least 2.45 pm. Please do not move onto the playing field or past the footpath surrounding the car park.

We greatly appreciate your cooperation in this matter.

A New Year

The first two weeks of the school year have been a very busy time. Our school has enjoyed our largest intake of new students in Prep, Kindergarten, Year 7 and across the other grades. As such we have had over 220 students and their families start at William Carey in 2020. This is the biggest intake in more than 10 years!

The increase has meant our school has had to settle all these new students into school life while meeting COVID-19 adjustments to help protect our community’s health and safety. The adjustments we made enabled most of our normal starting activities to go ahead. I would say that for me, the change to chatting to Kindergarten parents outdoors (rather than in the library), was a real improvement. It increased the opportunities for casual conversations with parents and carers sharing the big moment of starting at a new school and the emotions that go with it.

I want to thank families’ willingness and flexibility in working with the school and the staff, and student helpers who stepped up to look after our newest and often our youngest students.

WCCS Car Park

The first couple weeks of the school are also the busiest in the car park. The morning drop-off appears to be proceeding well. However, the afternoon is highly congested. One thing that worsens the congestion has been the habit of some drivers who move into the roundabout before it is clear, stopping in the roundabout blocks any other movement. This prevents outgoing traffic from leaving the area, so the congestion builds. Please drive thoughtfully to help all traffic move as quickly as possible.

At this peak time of year, we have deployed additional staff to help with traffic flow. Please follow their directions as they serve you in assisting with the pickup of your children. Many schools do not have a car park at all, so while the onsite parking is congested, it is also a resource that families in other schools do not have.

Swimming Carnival

Last Friday was a bit drizzly, but this did not dampen the enthusiasm of the Primary swimming carnival. I arrived for the very end of the carnival and there were lots of happy faces because of a well-run day and good competition between the house groups. We regularly recognise those who come in 1st, 2nd or 3rd place. I would also like to highlight that for many completing a swimming race is itself a challenge. Congratulations go to all the competitors (especially our first-time racers in Year 3)! It will be the High School’s turn to hit the pool this Friday.

Helpful Mistakes

I spoke briefly with all the High School grades last week and delivered a simple message. “I expect William Carey students to make lots of mistakes”. This caused a bit of a stir. There are lots of types of mistakes, and I want students to feel courageous to make the right kind or helpful mistakes. Helpful mistakes are an essential part of learning.

Three types of helpful mistakes include:

Stretch mistakes – these are made when learning new skills or attempting things that are just a bit harder than they are used to.

Aha! mistakes – errors that reveal unexpected solutions or new ideas. The discovery of the first antibiotics was made by an ‘aha’ mistake.

Sloppy mistakes – an indicator that the work is too easy, you are not paying enough attention, and it’s time to move onto something a bit more challenging.

For our students to learn new things, making wise and courageous choices, it is essential that students are encouraged to make ‘helpful mistakes’. These are essential for learning how to learn. Remembering that perfection is not the goal of school, rather growth is the goal of school.

God is very interested in our growth, and it is often through challenging times that we are stretched and learn the most. These are times when we can experience trusting more and more in Jesus Christ. These are times of growth; they are also times in which we experience God’s goodness and grace.

I wish all our students a wonderful and productive year of growth and learning by making loads of ‘helpful mistakes’ and a year of experiencing God’s grace and goodness.

In His service

Keith McMullen