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24 March 2017

Week 8 at NCS has again seen our students and staff involved in an amazing range of activities! Each time I glance at the school calendar, I realise that teaching and learning experiences come in an incredible variety of shapes and styles. I consider myself to have been most fortunate to participate in just a few of these activities during the week.

On Tuesday, some 38 NCS Year 5 and 6 students joined with fellow students from Southern

Highlands and ICS Christian schools to participate in a ‘Followers in Training’ (FIT) program. This

creative program was presented by staff from the Crusader Union of Australia. Crusaders is a

Christian ministry group working with independent schools to help students know Jesus and to share Him with others. Students explored what the Bible has to say about servant leadership and they also participated in a number of practical electives such as ‘Teaching a memory verse at school’ and ‘Great ways to serve at school’.

Throughout this week I have been taking the opportunity to meet with all of our HSC students in

groups of three. My aim has been to learn names and recognise faces as I seek to know our senior students more fully. What a great pleasure it has been to spend time with these fine young men and women and to hear their stories about why they attend NCS! I have been greatly encouraged as many of them have shared information about their faith journeys and their hopes and dreams for the future. It is abundantly clear that they possess many gifts and talents and that they are willing to use these to benefit our NCS community.

All of our Year 10 students have spent this week away from school, participating in a special week of Rural Fire Service Training. On 6 March I remember attending a meeting of the Year 10 class when the aims and content of this training program were outlined to our students by two representatives from the RFS. I could see that there was an excellent mix of theory and practical activities and that all students who complete this course will receive a certificate of participation that is co-signed by Ann Sudmalis, Federal Member for Gilmore. Such a certificate would clearly add substance to any CV that our students might wish to present as they apply for future work or course opportunities. On Thursday I made a visit to the RFS training facility located in Albatross Road. During the last three days of this week, our students have been putting theory into practice as they demonstrated their abilities to use fire hoses to extinguish a blaze, to climb ladders safely and to fully understand the workings of an operational fire truck.

On Wednesday, Year 3 and 4 students participated in an Auskick Gala Day held at the Nowra, West Street oval. I was speaking with one young student at the conclusion of this day and she graphically described her kicking and handballing techniques. As a Victorian by birth, and a keen follower of AFL football, I was pleased to think that such an event may well be creating the AFL stars of tomorrow!

One major event that involved many NCS staff members was the Association of Teachers in Illawarra Christian Schools (ATICS) combined Christian schools staff professional development event. This was hosted by Cedars Christian College, located in Unanderra. I felt very privileged to join with some 240 other Christian educators as we shared a meal together and also had the opportunity to participate in many informal professional conversations with colleagues from other Christian schools. Craig Smith was the special guest speaker and he works for Autism Spectrum Australia as a Deputy Principal at Aspect Hunter School in Newcastle. He is involved in implementing innovative teaching programs for children with autism and is a regular presenter at national and international conferences. Craig’s presentation certainly inspired all educators in attendance as we considered how best to provide for children with special learning needs.

It was in this context that this week’s focus verse was presented by Steve Walton who is the

principal at Cedars Christian College. Steve reminded us that it was Jesus who said the following

words to His disciples when they thought that He was too busy to have children brought before Him. ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’

Finally, staff and a number of student leaders from both Primary and Secondary have been very busy preparing for our Open Week that will take place from 10.00am – 2.00pm each day of next week. Our student leaders have been trained to act as ‘tour guides’ for visitors who come to our school to explore the many educational programs that NCS has to potentially offer their children. As part of Open Week, on the Wednesday evening, there will be an information session entitled ‘Preparing for Kindergarten: What really Matters?’. We have given an open invitation to any parents in the wider community to attend this meeting, presented by Gai Lindsay, an expert guest speaker in this important area. Please continue to pray that God will draw people of His choosing to attend our Open Week activities.

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