Cyber Safety, Social Skills, Learning Engagement and Encounter
Dear St Edmund’s College Family and Friends
Following yesterday’s letter to all parents and carers about Family Zone I feel the need to reiterate the College’s position on why we have chosen to partner with a cyber safety technology provider to help manage student laptop and mobile device usage.
It is certainly not to pry and invade the privacy of users as it does not have this capability. It is also not about overriding parental authority as this is fundamentally contradictory to its purpose. It is not pointing the finger at mobile phones as the source of distraction or blaming the technology for going too far. In fact, it’s the opposite of all of these.
Contrary to what has been inferred Family Zone actually safeguards users against unwanted online incursion and potential internet identity fraud. It gives parents appropriate controls to manage online usage at home and out-of-school hours rather than diminishing authority. It ensures that mobile devices and laptops are used responsibly where the advantages of digital technology are purposefully directed towards benefiting learning and teaching.
‘St Edmund’s College has a proud history of pastoral care for all students in its community. The College adoption of Family Zone is yet another example of the College taking its duty of care to provide students with a safe environment in which to learn at school and at home. This will enable parents to teach their son’s how to use the internet in a safe, smart and responsible way. The Mobile Zone app and personalised family advice from cyber experts will give parents of St Edmund’s College peace of mind when they’re at home and on the go.’ (Dr Michael Carr-Gregg – Adolescent Psychologist)
Ultimately, Family Zone is about prioritising cyber safety at school and at home, nurturing and developing the boys’ interpersonal and social skills, and maximising opportunities to utilise new technologies to engage learners. In this way we are endeavouring to keep true to our Edmund Rice Education ethos by upholding the dignity of all members of our College community in a learning environment where God can be encountered.
Open Learning Centre Capital Assistance Application
Yesterday we put our case forward to the Capital Assistance Project Assessment panel at the Queensland Catholic Education Commission for funding assistance to build a new library which we have named the Open Learning Centre. In the next few weeks we will find out if our application has been received favourably and whether we will progress towards the next stage. There is no guarantee that our application will get the nod, especially given the competitive nature of capital assistance applications for government funding. We are one of many Catholic schools across Queensland seeking to address educational disadvantage through a building project. Our case of having a library that is approximately 300m² under the guidelines may or may not be viewed as a priority over cases elsewhere. We continue to remain hopeful in this uncertain space.
Partnership with The University of Queensland
We are delighted to be partnering with The University of Queensland in a research program that aims to improve physical and mental health of young people in adolescence, while reducing their risk of chronic disease in adulthood. The program, Health4Life, examines the effectiveness of a digital intervention innovation to prevent and modify risk factors for illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. It addresses the ‘the Big 6’ risk behaviours of poor diet, physical activity, unhealthy sleep, recreational screen time, alcohol use and smoking. The program will initially involve Year 7 students next term who will complete a survey and shown how to use the Health4Life app.
Subsequent surveys undertaken by these same students in Years 8 and 9, as well as refresher app training will provide a three-year scope to monitor progress and behavioural changes. Thank you to Mr Ashley Montgomery, Head of Department Health and Physical Education, who will be coordinating the research project at the College.
Farwell and thank you to the following staff who leave us at the end of the term:
• Mr Peter Dadds – Retiring
• Mr Brad Jennings – Resignation
While Mr Brad Jennings has only been with us for a Term he has made a significant impact. We wish him well in his professional pursuits as he explores other options in his career.
Mr Peter Dadds will be taking a well-earned rest to retire after 28 years of dedicated service to the teaching profession. This has included five years at St Edmund’s College teaching Mathematics. Peter also taught at St Laurence’s College and Bremer State High School. Peter is a gifted teacher who never tired in his efforts to engage learners and excite them with Mathematics. He will be greatly missed and very hard to replace. We wish him well and hope that he can still be a presence at St Edmund’s College for the occasional visit as a guest Relief Teacher.
Please be advised that the following staff will be taking Leave from the start of next term:
• Mr Frank Byrnes - All of Terms 3 and 4
• Ms Natalie Henness – Term 3 - Weeks 1 to 4
• Mr Mitchelll Davis – Term 3 - Weeks 1 and 2
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
We keep in our prayers fellow staff member Yvette Knoetze who has been on Leave for twelve months while recovering from major spinal surgery. Yvette has informed me that she will undergo further surgery in the next few weeks to address ongoing complications. While she remains upbeat about the weeks ahead she is enduring terrible pain and discomfort. Please keep Yvette in your prayers.
Live Jesus in Our Hearts - Forever
Diarmuid O’Riordan, Principal