A warm and heartfelt WELCOME to all our Families, Staff and Students and as we commence this 2021 Academic year, I pray this year runs slightly more smoothly for all and that through each person's efforts, everyone be able to achieve success with their endeavours.
In particular I welcome all our new incoming Kindergarten students and their families, along with all new students and families commencing in their respective year groups throughout the College.
It also gives me great pleasure to welcome the following new member of Staff and returning members of Staff from their Maternity Leave and hope their time in the St Mark's Coptic Orthodox family is rewarding and fruitful for both themselves and also the students they will be caring and instructing:
Mr Andre Trujilo - Visual Arts (Stges 4 - 6) & Creative Arts (Stges 2 & 3)
Mrs Marianne Margi - Primary
Mrs Bianca Khoury - Primary
Miss Rachel Bestawros - Primary Yr 5 additional class, temporarily during Term 1 until a permanent replacement can be secured. Following this Miss Bestawros will resume her tasks in the Learning Support Unit for Primary.
My CONGRATULATIONS to the Yr 12 Class of 2020 and each of their teachers on the brilliant achievements following the 2020 HSC Results. (Summary Ads included). Every student of the 69 in the cohort worked hard to achieve their respective best and like all other Yr 12 students everywhere, had to manage and excel in on-line learning, and for those achieving Band 6's and All-Rounder status (achieving Band 6 in all and each of their courses).
English, Science and Mathematics deserve special mention as collectively, their results were consistently above all state averages for all their courses. Overall SMCOC received a State standing of 88th in the State across 880 secondary schools: made up of 74th in Mathematics Advanced & Extensions; 31st in English Advanced & Extensions. (Only English & Maths show state standings hence why Science is not indicated with a standing). Under the challenging circumstances experienced in 2020, the result was nonetheless a BRILLIANT achievement from all. Bravo and Well done!
STAFF CAR PARK
As other members of the Management Team have already outlined certain areas for parents consideration, and highlighting upcoming events etc throughout this Newsletter, 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 soley 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
Please understand that like every school in the City, ours also suffers with the topic of transport and collections. In all cases, parents and guardians must understand that the school endeavours to do its best in collecting and exiting students safely and in a timely and orderly manner. However, no school or school personnel has any authority outside of the school fence. The traffic laws are for all road users to ensure they traffic requirements safely and within the law. Parents are continuing to stop around the Round-a-Bout and thereby are holding up the traffic trying to get on with their business and get through. Additionally, our neighbours MUST BE respected and not have to deal with parents parking across their driveways or parents sitting on their fences or people leaving their snack rubbish outside their yards. Please, we ask and plead with each of you to be courteous, patient and to maintain the road rules at all times as we cannot override these Road Laws and subsequent fines that may be administered by the Police or Traffic Wardens.
Drivers Arriving Early Blocking Traffic
The point of the Drop Off & Collection plan is to ensure continuous traffic flow. This however is being hampered terribly by drivers that start arriving from 2 pm and whilst remaining in their cars are actually contributing to the blocking and build up with others trying to come in early also to collect. Cars therefore build up very quickly and now it seems the line has reached the roundabout at the beginning of Australis Ave (1.5 km away!!!), which basically cuts any movement into or out of Wattle Grove for 1,000's of people.
Facebook posts and emails to the school have gone into overdrive with complaints and blaming the school with aggressive emails and threats being sent daily. In our endeavour to assist in maintaining the required instructions from Dept of Health for staggered times and Kiss and Drop service, it seems to have caused the opposite effect with terrible blocking of flow-traffic.
Drivers are NOT to remain stationery in their vehicles outside the school blocking incoming traffic. If you wish to arrive early, then please go and park your cars and walk to the gate and remain standing there whilst observing the Covid distance requirement to collect your child or children and then walk back to your car.
This is very frustrating and unless parents observe the road rules correctly and keep traffic flowing and display courtesy to our frustrated residents and all road users, then we'll have no option than to stop the Kiss & Drop facility as it's causing more harm than it is assisting. We have tried to stagger end times to assist in traffic flow and even this is not helping as drivers continue to remain stationary and block others with built up backing. Keep moving, or instead just please park properly and walk to collect.
Students aged 12+ travelling to and from school
A reminder that currently and until further official notice is received, that it is compulsory for ALL students travelling to and from school using public buses or trains, or privately owned bus services wear a mask at all times whilst travelling.