As you are reading this edition of BYTES, Week 4 of Term 3 has come to a busy, but successful, conclusion. As always, I continue to marvel at the incredible range of teaching and learning activities that have taken place in a thriving K-12 community such as NCS! There have been numerous major sporting events that have seen teams of NCS students participating in events as far away as Sydney in the north and Ulladulla to the south. These events have covered an amazing range of sporting endeavours, including the CSSA State Athletics, rugby 7’s and volleyball, to name just a few. Our Primary Gymnastics program, being held weekly in the MPC, also commenced during this period. (You will be able to read further details relating to many of these events elsewhere in this newsletter.)
As Principal of NCS, I always count it as being a wonderful privilege to be invited to attend many of the special events that occur at our school. During the past fortnight I have been greatly encouraged as a result of the many NCS programs that I have witnessed.
Who could ever forget the amazing night that many of us shared as audience members on Wednesday, 15 August? This was when we gathered in the NBC Church Hall to listen to the talented members of the combined Shoalhaven City Concert Band and the NCS Concert Band. It was a power-packed evening of great musical items, where our students had the opportunity to perform with enthusiasm and gusto. It was amazing to think that many of the NCS band members have been learning their instruments for less than a year. We were also delighted to accept the gift of a timpani drum set that was generously donated to NCS by the Shoalhaven City Concert Band.
Our teachers have also been very busy throughout this time. Not only have they been conscientiously teaching their classes and accompanying our students on numerous valuable excursions, but all of our Primary teachers participated in an ATICS Professional Development Program that was hosted at NCS on the evening of Tuesday, 21 August. This gathering saw nearly 90 Primary teachers from the five ATICS Christian schools in attendance. The topic was an extremely relevant and practical one, designed to fully equip our teachers to prepare for the 2019 introduction of the new K-6 Science and Technology Curriculum. We were very fortunate to have Tanya Colli in attendance as our guest speaker. Tanya is an Inspector with the Primary Education Curriculum Standards section of NESA. Staff agreed that this evening had provided many excellent professional development opportunities.
Last week, many schools throughout Australia, including NCS, chose to celebrate Book Week in a wide variety of ways. I was delighted to receive invitations to read selected picture story books to children in many of our Primary classes from Kinder through to Year 6. What a pleasant task this was as our students actively engaged in the stories being presented. It certainly transported me back many years to the times when as a dad I had the opportunity to read to our three young daughters!
A few weeks ago, I also had the special privilege of representing NCS at the CSA National Leadership Summit that was held in Alice Springs. This event provided a wonderful opportunity to meet with leaders from many of the 140 CSA schools that are located in every state and territory throughout Australia. We were presented with an excellent program of workshops and addresses from keynote speakers. There was a major focus on the CSA Relational Schools Project that provided concrete data showing that our family of Christian schools is performing well above many international benchmarks when it comes to relating meaningfully with our students and parents/carers. As a Christian school, NCS values the concepts of partnering with our parents/carers and also ensuring that we develop productive two-way communication channels between home and school. This Leadership Summit provided many practical ideas about how our schools can carry out these aims in an even more effective manner.
No doubt you have also noticed the landscaping works that have taken place in recent weeks to the garden area outside the staffroom and near where Kinder parents drop off and collect their children each day. I have been delighted to see staff and parents sitting around the tables that have also been installed, enjoying relaxed conversation. We have mentioned these developments in a recent BYTES article but, on your behalf, I would wish to sincerely thank Jim Hefferan, our Grounds and Maintenance Manager, and his team for the expert way in which they maintain our school grounds – we are most appreciative!
The past weeks have also been a busy time as we have continued to conduct enrolment interviews following requests from many parents and carers who desire to join our NCS community. It is always a great pleasure to meet these new families and to hear their encouraging stories as to what factors had led them to consider our school for the future education of their children. Time and time again, I am informed that their most compelling reason has related to positive word of mouth. Often they have neighbours or work colleagues who already have children at NCS. I would wish to sincerely thank our many current parents and carers who have highly recommended our school to these potential new families.
I am trusting that all of our NCS parents and carers are now very familiar with the ‘Insight 2018’ special school community event that is rapidly approaching. (Please see important articles elsewhere in this edition of BYTES and complete your RSVP forms to ensure that you don’t miss out.) This is a completely new gathering that has never been held at our school before. So, please ensure that you set aside the evening of Wednesday, 5 September, in your diaries. We are very much looking forward to your company as we join with our School Board members in our Multi-Purpose Centre for this memorable event. You will participate in a program that creatively combines entertainment presented by talented students as well as information about educational initiatives, school values, strategic plans and building master plans designed to guide the growth and development of NCS well into the future. At the conclusion of the evening, you will be welcome to stay and enjoy relaxed conversation whilst enjoying a delicious supper.
We certainly live in an increasingly complex world where technological advances are occurring at an amazing rate. Obviously the world of education and schooling is integrally linked to these changing circumstances as we endeavor to equip our students to engage these new technologies in healthy and uplifting ways. However, there are times in all of our lives where the pace of change, and the many ‘voices’ that appear to be shouting for our attention, threaten to overpower us. The verse that I have chosen this week again comes from one of our morning staff devotions and it brings us a clear reminder of where we must ‘focus’ our attention if we wish to locate true peace, security and meaning. It is found in Psalm 46: 10 and simply states ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ (If you have time to read the rest of Psalm 46, I am confident that you will be refreshed by the words of great comfort and reassurance that are presented here.)