Principal’s Update – Black Box Theatre Takes Centre Stage

Black Box Theatre – Building Works Take Centre Stage

It is with much enthusiasm we aim to complete Term 3 on a high with the announcement of the building works for St Catherine’s School’s new Black Box Theatre commencing today.

The custom-designed performance, rehearsal and learning space will provide a sophisticated example of St Catherine’s School’s Towards 2025 Strategic Plan and our commitment to learning beyond the classroom.

As the central phase of the redevelopment of our Performing Arts precinct within the Dorothy Pizzey Centre, our Black Box Theatre will provide a home for Performing Arts at St Catherine’s School. The space will offer a spectacular venue for our Senior School and Barbreck music recitals, concerto concerts and jazz evenings, in addition to a bespoke playhouse for our musical, drama and future dance productions.

Thank you to our remarkable lead donors whose gifts have enabled our vision for this new theatre to be possible. Their support for our School’s Strategic Intent 6: We Equip our Future provides innovative and contemporary learning spaces, delivering exceptional opportunities for our students. Families are invited to contact our Director of Advancement, Ms Jacqueline Williams, should they wish to be part of this exciting project through the generosity of their giving.

Our Head of Performing Arts, Mr James Brown, provides further information regarding the contemporary space and the educational benefits for our students in his Blue Ribbon article this week, available to read here.

I look forward to welcoming our wider St Catherine’s community to join us on campus in 2022 and enjoy opening night in the new theatre for our Senior School production.

Further information on the theatre is available here and via the video below.

Enduring Care and Appreciation

This year, and in particular across Term 3 with the lengthy lockdown period, a very genuine respect and appreciation for teachers and their value to learning has emerged. As such, I offer my heartfelt congratulations to all teachers for their enduring care of our students.

I think we have learned much about our capacity to deal with change. We have also understood with a sense of wisdom, the capacity of our students. Indeed, they are significantly more independent, resilient and motivated than we have ever given them give them recognition for in the past.

I extend my appreciation to the 25 families and 14 staff who are currently undertaking quarantine following the COVID-19 positive case in our ELC last week. The ELC educators are immensely proud of the children for continuing to manage their learning in the digital landscape through the Learn@Home program. Whilst this is not quite the same as being in a classroom and interacting and collaborating with peers, the children have learnt new skills and made new discoveries. We look forward to seeing our youngest learners resuming classroom learning as soon possible.

We thank families for their cooperation and patience as we navigated the requirements associated with managing the positive case. We are grateful for the extended support from our community, specifically for those who are unwell and in quarantine. The world we now live in feels so removed from where we were two years ago.

We remain grateful there have been no further positive cases to date. The ELC building underwent an extensive Covid-19 deep clean on the day we were informed of the positive case. I know you will join me in extending warm wishes to our ELC staff who are currently recovering from Covid-19. We wish them a speedy recovery back to full health.

Staffing Arrangements Term 4

As Term 3 draws to a close, I wish Senior School Mathematics teacher, Miss Tamara Andrews and Barbreck teachers, Mr Tim Tainsh and Miss Kirrilly Wootton the very best for their well-deserved long service leave, we look forward to seeing them in the new year. We also welcome back Ms Simone Schilte and Mrs Loretta Iacuone, both returning from Long Service Leave this term. With this mind, I offer my thanks to Term 3 replacement teachers, Mrs Emma Stephens in Year 3 and Ms Kristin Dhono-Isworo in Year 4.

In planning for Term 4, Kristin will continue with the Year 4 cohort, replacing Mr Tim Tainsh and Miss Melissa Mabilia who will step in with the Year 5 girls. We also welcome Mr Tim Dorening into the Mathematics Faculty for Term 4.

The government announcement this week was a modest easing of COVID-19 restrictions as a result of Victoria reaching 70% of the eligible population having received a first dose vaccination. None of the measures announced specifically related to schools, although it was indicated this will be addressed when the pandemic ‘roadmap’ is anticipated to be released in announcements on Sunday.

The measures announced this week largely involve a slight easing of restrictions on outdoor social activity from midnight Friday. With this in mind, I encourage all families to enjoy the Spring sunshine over the forthcoming two weeks and if you are a Melbourne or Bulldogs supporter – enjoy the footy finals too.

This term, our Wellbeing Team have endeavoured to maintain routine to provide a secure and structured learning environment. However, as the holidays approach, your daughters are no doubt looking forward to some well-deserved relaxation and self-paced days. Our School Psychologist, Ms Amelia King, has offered some suggestions about how to support your daughter over the holidays, as we are mindful this can be a time when the usual freedoms on offer are sorely missed in lockdown.

Amelia’s Tips to Support Your Daughter During Lockdown in School Holidays and other suggestions are available via the link and found on the Parents@Home page of mystcatherines.

Take care and stay safe.

Mrs Michelle Carroll, Principal