School Newsletter Week 6 - Sutherland Shire Christian School

Term 1 Week 5 Friday 27 February 2015
Sutherland Shire Christian School
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Year 11 Textiles students with their very creative “Paper Dress” designs.
They are from left: Bronte Lang, Eleanor Spence, Casey Askew,
Laura Hackshall-Clarke, Alison Vanmidde and Brittany Davis.
SSCS introduces same-day SMS to
inform parents of student absence
By Mr David Stonestreet, Deputy Principal
New Year
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To better meet our charter of partnership
with parents, SSCS is currently finalising
a system which will see parents receive
an SMS on the day their child is absent,
and up to two automated emails as
be at school, please phone Reception
immediately so we can act.
Since the Education Act also requires
parents to confirm the reason for a
student’s absence from school within
seven days, SSCS has designed a
system of three reminders to help
parents fulfil this legal requirement, with
the SMS being the first.
The SMS will not only serve to confirm
your child is not at school, but also
help parents to officially verify such an
absence, as required by the Government. Edumate will send an automated
Should you receive this SMS on a
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day that your child was expected to
Parents must verify absence within seven days
From page 1
SMS to parents each day for any student
marked absent.
The SMS will remind parents to verify the
absence either through the Edumate portal
or by sending in a written note. This will be
followed by an email at the end of the day.
If the absence is still unverified three days later,
a final email reminder will be sent.
After seven days the Government requires
of the school to close the absence as
“unexplained”. This status can then not be
changed, even if parents send a note later.
The preferred (and easiest) method to verify
a student absence is to log in to Edumate and
view the page for your child. There is a section
entitled “Recent Absences” where you can click
to enter the reason.
No more Absentee Line
The new system means parents will not have to
phone the Absentee Line anymore. This line will
be shut down when the system is implemented.
Parents can still phone or email the school
(on the normal number) to inform of a child’s
absence in the case of formal exams or
However, parents will still have to officially
verify that absence on Edumate or through a
written note.
It is hoped that the SMS and email reminder
system will go live sometime before the end of
the term.
Vacations now ‘absence’
A change has been made by the Minister for
Education for 2015 where any student absent
from school for the purpose of a vacation now
must be marked as an absence (“leave”), rather
than an exemption, from school.
These absences appear, along with absences
for sickness, on the official student record and
school reports.
The Education authorities are encouraging
families to holiday or travel during school
vacations rather than school time.
Parents are reminded that such periods of
leave must be applied for in advance and in
writing to the Principal, who has to authority
to approve or refuse leave from school
Weekly Digest for Secondary
The Weekly Digest sent
to all Secondary parents
continues to receive
positive feedback.
We are pleased that
it is helping to inform
parents of upcoming
assessments while
providing other relevant
I have received a few
reports of parents
receiving two copies of
the digest – the reason
is that the report is sent
to both parents, so if
parents share a common
email address in our
database, two copies
will be sent to the one
The only solution would
be to provide the school
with a second unique
email address for the
other parent.
- Mr David Stonestreet
Bus bay a
No Parking
Please remember
that no parking is
allowed in the Bus
bays when dropping
off or collecting
children. Cars
parked in these
lanes cause backups and dangerous
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SSCS’ fundamental purposes
Before school starts in the
morning I spend time praying
about specific issues in the
school, for two staff members
and for families and
individual children who may
have particular needs.
From the
Mr Brett Hartley
I’m thankful for members
of our community who are
committed to praying for the
school and those in need,
whether they do this privately
or in groups such as our
monthly prayer group, which
I attended recently.
The book of Acts in the Bible provides helpful
insights into the establishment of the early church
where Christians related to one another through
the apostles teaching, fellowship meals and
prayer: “They devoted themselves to the apostles
teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of
bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42
Reading the book of Acts I develop a picture of
Christian people seeking to relate to each other
with the purpose of making wise decisions so that
they might grow in holiness and further God’s
As the Christian community sought to do this,
they experienced persecution from those outside
of the community and tensions within it. SSCS
is not a church as described in the book of Acts,
and therefore I need to be cautious in drawing
direct parallels to how the school should operate.
However, there are some helpful principles for our
Raison d’être
Firstly, the school needs to hold fast to its raison
d’être, to the fundamental reason it exists. Just
as the early church held fast to the truths of the
Gospel, our school needs to remember why we
are here. The school website provides two key
purposes for SSCS.
1. To honour God in providing affordable, high
quality education that is founded on the
Bible. These Scriptures are the foundation
of all reason and underpin true knowledge
and learning, and therefore are inherent to
Christian schooling.
2. To assist Christian parents in fulfilling their
God-given responsibility to teach their
As the Principal given the privilege of leading our
school community, I want to not just hold on to
these fundamental purposes, but also to make
them a tangible reality in the life of the school.
Best quality education
From this firm foundation, I also am excited to
work with our staff to help them to provide the
best quality education they can for our students.
I am persuaded that the best way to achieve
this with our team is through collaborative
professional learning and development.
At the beginning of the year, I conducted two
surveys with all SSCS staff to hear their thinking
on areas of need in the life of the school and
some practical suggestions on how to meet those
needs. Over the next few weeks teachers and
support staff will be working collaboratively in
small groups to discuss the survey responses and
come up with practical solutions to the needs they
perceive exist.
I am looking forward to seeing what the staff
come up with and then communicating some of
these ideas with the broader school community
through the newsletter. In turn, I will be very
interested to hear the thoughts of parents on
these ideas.
Hear more from students
Finally, the staff survey responses overwhelmingly
noted that the school needs to hear more from
our students.
Over the next few months we will be taking some
initiatives to hear the views of students about their
learning and their involvement in the broader life
of the school.
I am very committed to doing
this, believing that it will make a
substantial positive difference to
student learning outcomes.
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Focus on learning
A school is a learning community
where we all can learn new and
wonderful things.
Facebook page. You may want
to discuss or reinforce these at
To help encourage each other
in our learning, we have two
learning focuses each week in
the Junior School.
The remaining Be’s for this term
are Be Respectful of Property, Be
Safe, Be an Upstander, Be like a
Tree (Ps 1), Be Full of Hope.
One Learning focus is the “Be”
We also have a Learning Focus
each week for all students
to focus on. This week was
These are usually related to
our Rainbow Reminders or a
particular Christian value that we
are looking to understand and
grow in.
These are usually introduced at
the Monday morning assembly
and regularly appear on our
The remaining Learning Focuses
for this term are Maths Problem
Solving, Wrasse (silent “e”),
Thinking Routine, Reading
Fluently and an Easter Bible
Junior School
By Mr Paul Carter
Head of Junior School
Grace Summers (1R)
Harper Leong (2D)
Maxwell Taplin (6D)
SSCS starts own Puppet Club
This week we began our lunch time “Puppet Club”. We have begun with
Year 6 students, but will be offering it to other grades later in the year. The
students chose their puppets and began writing and rehearsing Puppet Plays
to perform for the Junior School during Week 10. - Mrs Christine Wright
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For Prayer and Praise
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my
whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!” - Psalm 119:9-10 (ESV)
• Pray that all students in the school will live according to God’s great word and seek Him
with all their heart.
• Pray for students to encourage each other in their studies and in their faith.
• Praise God for the wonderful world he made and that we can learn so much about it and
the way things work.
• Pray for students who are unhappy and struggling with friendships.
• Give thanks for the whole school information night, and the wisdom and skill God has given
to the staff at our school.
Students must use SSCS school bags
By Mrs Sharon Abrahams, Secondary Coordinator
Parents this is a reminder that
your child needs to be using
their SSCS Laptop backpack
each day at school. This applies
to all year 7 - 11 students.
Parents of Year 12 students,
please be aware that your child
also needs to be using the
regulation SSCS backpack each
This is the old style that
was used prior to the laptop
backpacks being introduced.
If your child’s school bag isn’t
able to be used due to wear
and tear and you don’t want to
purchase a new backpack, you
have the option to purchase a
second-hand SSCS backpack
via the second-hand uniform
card system in the School
Another option is to enquire in
the school community if there
are any SSCS backpacks
available for donation.
Donate or Sell SSCS backpacks (non laptop backpacks) to current Year 12 students
All parents of Secondary School
students, if you have any of
these bags available for sale,
please fill out a card in the
Second-Hand Uniform box in the
School Office.
If you would like to donate a
bag, please send them in to Mrs
Haralambou or Mrs Abrahams.
Thank you for your support.
Still space to enrol for Piano, Strings, Trumpet lessons
The Peripatetic instrumental program is
up and running with 10 tutors coming to
SSCS throughout the week, to teach our
vacancies for tuition in Piano, Strings
(violin, Viola, Cello) and Trumpet.
See Reception for an application form
to join our exciting team of tutors! Most tutors have reached their maximum Mrs Bronwyn Irvine, Peripatetic
number of enrolments, but there are still Coordinator
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German students have fun making masks for Karneval
Sn i p p e ts
By Mrs Gemma McWhirter, Teaching Staff
In Week 4 the students of German celebrated
Karneval (or “Goodbye Meat!”).
This is a traditional Christian celebration to mark
the time just before Lent.
Many people around the world observe Lent
for 40 days before Easter, when they will give
something up (traditionally meat, but now often
other things like lollies or chocolate) as a way to
be reminded of the enormous sacrifice that Jesus
made for us at Easter.
So, Karneval is a celebration to use up all the rich
foods before going into this time of fasting.
In German classes we made masks, a German
Karneval custom, and ate lots of
lollies while we sang and danced to
modern German folk music.
Crazy Karneval fun was had by all!
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Christianity: a different way
The world has always
been rather bewildering,
but it is tempting to
think that it has recently
become more bewildering.
The Islamist attacks in
France have led to mass
demonstrations of people,
including European political
leaders, proclaiming “Je
suis Charlie”. In one sense,
that is understandable
Rev Dr Peter Barnes
after the brutality of the
terrorists. Yet, given the
decadence and anti-Christian blasphemy of the
magazine Charlie Hebdo, there needs to be a
cry: “Je ne suis pas Charlie”. The Christian gets
the impression that we are obliged to choose
between being terrorised by crazed Islamists or
swept along by degenerate pornographers.
This has been coming for a while, and it is more
than a simple choice between two options.
Westerners believe in democracy - or they think
they do. However, there are essentially two
reasons for embracing something that resembles
democracy. The first one is that one believes in
humanity, and there is nothing higher to which
one can appeal. This was the view of JeanJacques Rousseau in The Social Contract,
published in 1762. Rousseau declared that
“Whoever refuses to obey the general will shall
be compelled to do so by the whole body. This
means nothing less than he will be forced to be
free.” The second approach is the Christian one,
as presented by C. S. Lewis: “I am a democrat
because I believe in the Fall of Man.”
This difference is crucial and is increasingly
coming to the fore. Rousseau’s version of
democracy is prevailing over Lewis’. Many
Westerners who do not know what is going on
still think that democracy equals freedom. We
may well find that, having assaulted decency,
democracy will take away our freedoms. Blaise
Pascal noted back in the seventeenth century
that “It is odd, when one thinks of it, that there are
people in the world who, having renounced all the
laws of God and nature, have themselves made
laws which they rigorously obey.” This explains,
for example, the growing virulence and confusion
of the political Left. It sees itself as expanding
freedoms when in reality it is taking them away.
Those who stand in the way of the juggernaut
will have to undergo compulsory counselling
programs in equality.
The West, having embraced Rousseau’s version
of democracy, is trampling all over Christian
freedoms. The mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed,
dismissed his fire chief, Kelvin Cochran, in
January 2015 because Mr Cochran published
a book which condemns homosexual acts as
“vile, vulgar and inappropriate”. This dismissal,
of course, was done in the name of tolerance
and equality. Back in October of 2014, the mayor
of Houston, Annise Parker (who is a lesbian),
issued subpoenas to five local pastors who had
preached against the homosexual lifestyle. She
was eventually forced to rescind the order, but it
is a straw in the wind - not so much an indication
of where we are going, but where we already are.
Spurgeon once commented that “Truth lies
between two extremes, and man, like a
pendulum, swings either too much this way or
that.” Actually, we are living in dangerous times
where two fiercely anti-Christian world views are
feeding off each other. Indeed, like the Herodians
and Pharisees of old (Mark 3:6), they sometimes
find themselves making common cause against
the hated Christians. The violent Islamists attack
the decadent West, and the decadent West
replies by promoting more decadence. Both sides
have adopted the tactic of “Playing the victim
and acting the bully.” Motivated by a different
affection, and seeking a different way, Christians
will press on as sojourners and exiles in this
world (1 Peter 2:11), seeking a better country
(Hebrews 11:16), and serving a heavenly king
(John 18:36-38).
• Rev Dr Peter Barnes is the minister of
Revesby Presbyterian Church. He was a
member of our School Board for
a number of years. This article
first appeared in The Pulse. We
are reprinting it with Dr Barnes’
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Year 1
Chinese New Year
Written by the children of Year 1
On Wednesday 18 February, Mrs Tan came to
our classroom and taught us about celebrating
Chinese New Year.
The first thing we learnt was how to say “Happy
New Year” in Mandarin.
Mrs Tan told us it is the Year of the Goat and that
the colour of Chinese New Year is red.
We looked at a video of a lion dance. There were
two people in each costume, and there was a red
lion, a gold lion and a white lion.
We saw pictures of celebrations including
firecrackers that were really loud. Some of us had
to close our ears!
We made red envelopes that have money in
them. Children get these for Chinese New Year.
We got to eat yummy biscuits that Mrs Tan made
us. We sang a song. We learned how to write
Happy New Year in Chinese characters.
We loved learning about Chinese
New Year, and we want to say to
“xie xie” (thank you) to Mrs Tan for
coming in and teaching us!
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Secondary Zone Swimming
Mr Phil Askew, Head of PDHPE/Sport
Congratulations to all those Secondary School
students who attended the Zone carnival on
Thursday at Engadine Leisure Centre and
participated to the best of their ability.
It is great for staff, parents and fellow students
to see everyone having a go.
I would like to encourage those students who
qualified, but didn’t participate this year, to
reflect on their reasons and to step-up next
opportunity they get.
Having said that, we should acknowledge the
strong performances of some of our swimmers
on the day.
So, congratulations to Samuel Zhang for
achieving Age Champion 12 Years boys, and
the following students for high rankings in their
age groups:
Luke Marre: 2nd 16 year boys
Larissa Butler: 3rd 17 year girls
Paige Clifton: 3rd 14 year girls
Sport is not just about the winning. If it were, it
would be of little value indeed.
Julia Jacobson: 4th 14 year girls
Bijou Fawcett: 4th 15 year girls
Left: James Waters, Jono Priestley and Luke Marre congratulate our 12 years Age Champ!
Right: Second place! Going to State are Paige Clifton, Amelia Sara, Julia Jacobson and Abbey
Baker to compete in the Girls 12-14 4x50 LC Metre Freestyle and Medley Secondary Relays.
Secondary CSSA Football (Soccer) Trials
Over the last few weeks some of our
talented students have taken the
initiative to trial for the State soccer
teams, with the added bonus that if
selected, they will get to participate
in the National Christian Schools
games at Brisbane in Term 2.
So it is fantastic that we have no
fewer than six players representing
SSCS at the Games.
Congratulations to Mitchell Ward,
Deborah Ann de la Harpe, Marrissa
Drury, Shaelee Ibbotson, Lara
Dipple, and Bijou Fawcett for gaining
selection in their respective divisions.
From all reports the Games will be a
great experience.
Special mention goes to Deborah
Ann who has also gained selection in
the Combined Independent Schools
team to play in the All Schools
Deborah is an outstanding young
talent. - Mr Phil Askew
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P to 12
What’s on
Mon 2 March
CSSA Secondary Touch Football Gala Day
Year 12 Modern History Seminar - Versailles
Tue 3 March
AFL Auskick Clinics (After School)
Wed 4 March
Year 11 Drama & Year 12 Advanced English to
“The Crucile” Performance
Year 11 Biology Ecosystem Field Trip - Kurnell
Year 10 Career Testing
Year 12 D&T to Design & Tech Exhibition
Thu 5 March
Year 11 & 12 Textiles to TexStyle Exhibition
Secondary [email protected] 11am
Fri 6 March
Year 12 Business Studies Excursion to
Mon 9 March
CSSA Junior School State Swimming
Tue 10 March
AFL Auskick Clinics (After School)
Wed 11 MArch
Fri 13 March
Year 10 WHS White Card for Work Experience
Knox House Gala Day Fundraiser
Community Corner
Film Competition to raise awareness about mental health
Headspace Miranda is a free mental
health service for young people, and
is inviting YOU to enter an exciting film
competition to raise awareness and
reduce stigma surrounding mental health.
Entries close 21 April 2015, applicants
must be between 12-25 years old. Enter
on the Headspace website: headspace. or contact Brodie on 9575
1500. First prize is a camera!
Items in Community Corner of the newsletter are placed at the discretion of the School.
However, the School does not endorse any such item.
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