Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox College - Newsletter

Volume 26 Edition 2 - March 2021

Welcome to Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox College eNewsletter

From the Head of College

Appointment of CEO Executive Principal

Last week, the NSW Coptic Education Board advised Heads of our Colleges they have recently appointed an Executive Principal/CEO to oversee the three colleges and this week we welcome Mr Santo Passarello who joins the system with a wealth of knowledge and years of experience as a previous Head of College. Mr Passarello will continue to build on the foundations and our successes that have been set over the past 25 years and guiding our Colleges to common goals, policies and practices. Mr Passarello will be at our college on Friday, 5 March following his introductory visits to SMSMCOC on Wednesday and SBCOC on Thursday, so please make him welcome when you see him. 

Easter Dates & Term Dates

In the Upcoming Dates Section of this Newsletter, please look at the dates listed, especially for the end of this term, Western Easter Break, commencement of next Term and Orthodox Easter closures.  In 2021, as Western and Eastern Churches celebrate Easter with quite a larger gap that has required considerable adjustment of dates, it is important that families know that students return for Term 2, quickly followed by the Easter Break for Orthodox Easter. 

Normally can be within a week or two of each other and oftentimes within the designated break times, however that is not the case this year.  The next year we are actually celebrate together will be 2025.

Kindergarten & Year 7 2022 - 2025 Enrolments

All parents are advised that vacancies for both 2022 Kindergarten and Year 7 have been filled, completed and closed, with 2023 enrolled to a approximately 50% at this stage and 2024 to about 40%. 

For 2021 all Primary, and most Secondary years are closed.  Positions therefore will only occur once students from respective years withdraw to create a vacancy.

Again this year, it has come to my attention that there are possibly some existing parents that have yet to enrol their Kindergarten child for next year, thinking that as they are existing parents their children are automatically enrolled. 

Whilst this is partly correct, all existing families WILL get given first priority …. however, All families still need to apply and register their children well in advance.  The school cannot assume you are going to enrol your child even if you have other children here as parents sometimes make the choice for alternate schools depending on their circumstances.  

Any further Applications will be placed on the Waiting List only.  As vacancies occur, offers will be forwarded accordingly according to a date recorded priority order so that equity is afforded to all on the Waiting List in same/similar situations.

So, I encourage ALL families to please Apply and Register your children at your earliest convenience to avoid being informed that your child will have to be placed on a Waiting List as I cannot remove a Registered child from the class list just to place the late applicant’s child in.

Applications and Registrations are currently being taken for KINDERGARTEN & YEAR 7 - 2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026. 

All SMC Year 6 students are automatically enrolled in Year 7 2022 at the school.  However, if you are not considering continuing at SMC for Year 7, PLEASE advise the school at your earliest convenience in writing but no later than the last Friday of Term 3, 2021 (17 September) as available vacancies are limited for external applicants.


I would again like to re-iterate and ask parents to PLEASE NOT use the STAFF CAR PARK to drop off or wait to collect children AT ANY TIME.

The Car Park is to be used solely by STAFF at the College.  It is already crowded, VERY difficult to manoeuvre and far more difficult to see anyone whilst trying to park so we must all be extra careful.  Staff members leave and return throughout the day attending their meetings and school related tasks and so we cannot continue to waste valuable time trying to find who owns the vehicle left blocking entry/exit accesses and where are they to be found in the school.

Unauthorised vehicles seen parked in the Staff Car Park/Driveway will be towed at the owners cost.  The College has no liability for anyone's vehicle within the Car Park and is not liable for any damage caused.  Please ensure others (who may not read this newsletter) collecting or dropping off your children are made aware of these requirements.

Traffic Drop Off and Collection 

Following the communication to the College for all families (emailed) on 16 Feb from Liverpool City Council regarding How & Where to Legally Park around the College, please study the aerial map with the same letter that follows in the Dep Head of College section.  Numerous meetings between Traffic Authorities including Roads and Safety Officers who together with the Liverpool Police Command and Highway Patrol have been liaising with me regarding traffic around our area.  Following extensive efforts to assist, the attached aerial map may provide useful areas advising parents where legal parking is permitted. Your continued cooperation and support is requested during the remaining time left until a further review is conducted mid year. We thank Council and our Liverpool Police Command for their efforts to assist both school and community in ensuring that road safety is being maintained for our students. 

Technology Updates

Attendance & Late Arrivals

We encourage all parents that have access to the Parent Portal (currently Years 7 - 10) SEQTA Engage for parents to  view live various aspects relating to their child/ren.  This includes being able to see their timetable and view their attendance not only for each day, however also view their attendance and lateness if relevant to each subject (Secondary School) as each lesson commences with a Roll Call.  The screen shots that follow this section guide you through the steps within SEQTA Engage for your child/ren.

This is one step for peace of mind and knowledge for parents knowing their child/ren not only are at school and noted, but also if there is a pattern of lateness arriving at each lesson which oftentimes results in disciplinary measures that parents may not be aware of.  The College is also in discussions regarding sms notifications for student absences.  No one is arguing that this form of notification isn't effective and valuable, however the issue we have is overcoming the glitches due to human error, that may sometimes occur in notifications going out to a family/ies advising their child/ren is not present, and in fact the student/s are and have been present - which causes enormous upset and anxiety not only to parents but within the College.

Please read Mrs Nada's Head of Primary Section which outlines further the need for all to encourage student/s not only attending each day, but arriving before or on time.  eg even arriving just 10 minutes late each day equates to missing 45 hours per year (just under two school weeks).

How to access your Child's information using SEQTA Engage Years 7-10

Building and Construction Update @ 3 Mar 21

From our College Chaplain, Rev Fr George Nakhil

Modern-day Heavenly Icons on Earth

In March of each year, the Church celebrates the luminous faces of Saint Kyrollos VI, Pope Shenouda III, Fr Mikhail Ibrahim, Fr Bishoy Kamel, and Fr Feltaous El-Syriany.

Indeed, they lived in the fruitful grace that has overflowed on many generations. They threw their nets and tasted depth in exertion and service, and their light became radiant to the ends of the earth. They kept the commandments and expressed what was not expressible.

Everyone who saw them, saw good soldiers of Jesus Christ. They were lights on a beacon and vessels of wisdom, and they were capable of deeds and words. They revealed to us the mystery of the new life, carried the Spirit, and became living witnesses of faith and power.

Perhaps those who see the icon of their faces touch their blessedness and their holiness through their living relationship with God. They loved the altar and learned Theology from the Holy Bible, the Liturgy books and the Psalmody. They established, built, rebuilt and created impossibilities and wonders in front of their harassers.  

They have had a close relationship with each other in their lives, because birds of a feather flock together, and they are now alive with the God of the living interceding for Church so that God may enrich her with His bountiful mercies.

Everyone who praises them praises prayer and worship, true piety and fatherhood, wisdom and virtue, the care of the stray sheep, the poor, the sick, the broken and the abandoned, acts of mercy, and the reasonable service acceptable to God.

From the Deputy Head of College - Mrs Grohala

Dear Parents and Students

A reminder is included received by the College from Liverpool City Council and forwarded to all parents by the Head of College on 16 February, 2021 concerning the outcome of the research and investigation regarding traffic flow to and from our College and follows with the aerial map identifying legal spaces where parents are able to park to drop off and collect their children to and from school: 

Further to our many phone conversations last week, I would like to summarise what we have discussed and provide a map for you to circulate to your school community showing them all available parking surrounding the school.


  • During the remainder of the time that the construction works are happening, there will be no parent access to the indented bay at all. It will be available to only buses and access to the construction site. This is for safety purposes.
  • The practice of vehicles lining up to drop off and pick up students from the front of the school will cease immediately. This process has had a negative impact on the flow of traffic on local streets, and again, whilst the indented bay is off limits to parent vehicles this pick up process is not safe.
  • Council will be considering some timed parking restrictions along the section of Australis Ave, on the opposite side of the road to the indented bay. When this is approved by TfNSW and Local Police I will let you know and provide a updated parking map.
  • When construction works have ceased, we can review the signage and parking options and make changes then if necessary.


I have attached to this email a ‘How to park safely at St Mark’s College’ map. It outlines all available and appropriate on street parking along surrounding streets to the college. There are always safe and available parking options, they just may not be the closest or deemed most convenient, but for us, safety is the most important component. There is no absolute requirement for a school to have a drop off and pick up zone. In fact, over the last few years we have removed them from some schools where they do not work for the safest movement of pedestrians and traffic. All this means is that students and/or parents will have to walk a little further to the school gate from a legal on street parking space, and if its’ raining they will need an umbrella!


Please distribute the map via any channels of communication you use with your school community, I have attached it as a pdf and jpeg. Please also let me know if you require any additional information.


I thank you for your support during this time. 

How and Where to Park for school days @ SMC

From the Head of Primary - Mrs Silvia Nada

Dear Parents/Guardians,

It is pleasing and very reassuring to see the children well settled at school and happy. We endeavour to always make St Mark's a safe place for children to enjoy their learning and grow in Christ. The parents and the home play a big role in this also , which assists the College tremendously in achieving what we do best. Encourage your child to always be their best self by being gentle, kind, courteous and polite. As stated in St Mark's Vision statement,  Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox College is a school that works in partnership with parents to create an atmosphere where Christian values and Coptic Orthodox tradition are the foundation of the school’s practices and where students and staff feel secure and supported by all members of the school community.

Attending school on time: 

Developing the habit of going to school every day is vital so children do not miss out on important introductions to lessons, ideas and skills they need for future learning.

Did you know:

  • missing half a day of school each week equates to one month of missed learning each year
  • arriving late even for 10 minutes per day equates to 45 hours lost in the year (just under two full school weeks)
  • the attendance habits set by children when they first start school continue to be modeled by parents throughout their school life
  • if children miss half a day of school each week between Pre-primary and Year 10, they would miss almost one full year of learning
  • learning is cumulative – if children miss a day, it is harder for them to catch up.

  • You can help by arriving and collecting your children on time;

    making sure they get nutritious meals and enough sleep;

    making appointments with doctors, dentists and specialists; and

    making holiday plans during school holidays and not during the school term.

    Unfortunately due to the regular occurrence of the above, the School will be contacting families with Warning Letters and/interviews depending on frequency of lateness etc.

    If one of your children is unwell and unable to go to school, let the school know straight away  by email to or the teacher on class dojo app. If they miss a day it is important you talk with their teacher to find out how you can help them catch up. If your child cannot attend school for a long period of time because of any physical health contact the college to see what options are available for your child. 

    Parent Teacher Interviews:

    Interviews to discuss your child's progress this term will take place in week 10. More information regarding the booking and the times will be posted on class dojo. God bless 

    Upcoming Dates

    Term 1 - 2021


    Thu 4     Early Bird Liturgy 6 - 8 am

    Fri 5       Period 1 & 2 Liturgy

    Mon 8    Holy & Great Fast Commences

    Thu 11   Early Bird Liturgy 6 - 8 am

    Fri 12      Period 1 & 2 Liturgy

    Thu 18    Early Bird Liturgy 6 - 8 am

    Fri 19      Period 1 & 2 Liturgy

    Thu 25   Early Bird Liturgy 6 - 8 am

    Fri 26     Period 1 & 2 Liturgy


    Thu 1     Early Bird Liturgy 6 - 8 am

                   LESSONS for TERM 1 CONCLUDE for K - 12

    Fri 2       Good Friday (Western Christian) SCHOOL CLOSED

    Sun 4     Easter Sunday (Western Christian)

    Easter Break commences Friday 2 April and concludes Friday 16 April.

    TERM 2 - Pentecost Term

    Mon 19 Staff Professional Dev Day

    Tue 20 Lessons Commence K - 12

    Thu 22   Early Bird Liturgy 6 - 8 am

    Fri 23     Period 1 & 2 Liturgy


    Mon 26 April - Friday 30 April

    Easter Sunday (Orthodox Christian) 2 May

    Easter Monday (Orthodox Christian) 3 May - School & Office Closed


    TUESDAY 4 MAY  All students and classes resume Term 2 

    Monthly Quote for Personal Growth