News  » Principal's message - September Newsletter

Last updated 2:27 PM on 21 September 2017

I know that I wrote extensively about attendance in the last newsletter. I feel that the subject is of great importance. If students are not at school, they are missing learning.

I would like to thank parents who have responded positively to the introduction of our SMS system. We set this up to ensure that ALL parents and carers know whether their child is not at school or late for school. It is a legal requirement for students to attend school every day the school is open for instruction and to provide an explanation for absences by means of a phone call, text message email or written note within 7 days of the first day of the period of absence.

The acceptance of an explanation is at the discretion of the principal. If an explanation is not provided by a family within 7 days the absence is described as unexplained or unjustified. It is very important to explain all absences. Explanations from parents may include,

  • sickness,
  • misadventure or unforeseen event,
  • participation in special events not related to school, (this must be applied for prior to the event  using the appropriate form and documentation),
  • domestic necessity such as serious illness of an immediate family member,
  • attendance at funerals,
  • travel in Australia and overseas, (this must be applied for prior to the holiday using the appropriate form and documentation) and
  • recognised religious festivals.
  • If the reasons given are persistent and result in attendance dropping below 85%, the principal may question the reasons and not accept them. With sickness, a medical certificate may be requested from the principal.

    Attendance at school is of vital importance to ensure that students are not disadvantaged in their learning. It is important that parents work in partnership with the school to ensure that their children attend every day and arrive on time.

    SCHOOL REFUSAL

    Staff recently received training in identifying students who are school refusers. I have included a document for parents titled, ‘Getting to school and staying at school – Information for parents and carers'. I recommend that all parents read this document. It provides information to help parents identify when their child is a school refuser and provides strategies to help parents ensure that their child attends school. It is essential that we work together to support students in attending school. If you have concerns or need help, please contact the school on 9669 5118. You can ask for the year adviser of your child or request to speak to the principal.

    Farewell to Teaching Staff

    It is with sadness I write to farewell two staff members, both leaving at the end of this term.

     

     

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    Mr Thomas Fienberg is a music teacher with exceptional talent. He has recently applied for and gained a promotion position as Head Teacher Creative and Performing Arts. This is a well-deserved appointment. I am sure that the whole community knows Mr Fienberg. He is an amazing teacher, who is highly committed to providing the best outcomes for ALL students. He regularly delivers outstanding HSC results, which are above the state average. Students in his classes most always attain their best result in Music.

     

     

    As you likely know, Mr Fienberg has been instrumental in building JJ Cahill's Premier event of the year, Big Night Out. This is a musical and performance extravaganza that displays the talent of students and is always a packed event. Big Night Out is a wonderful legacy to leave our school. Mr Fienberg has also worked to develop the talents of younger teachers to ensure that the music programs at this great school continue into the future. He is a significant part or not only our school community but also the wider community, playing for the ANZAC day service each year with one of our previous students. His work this year resulted in one of our students invited to the Opera House to perform at Encore.

     

    Ms Brenda Doran-Higgins came to our school as a temporary teacher to work with staff to focus upon literacy. She has both a primary and high school teaching background and is one of our PDHPE teachers. Ms Doran-Higgins recently gained a position at another school as Head Teacher Welfare – PDHPE. She is passionate about our students at JJ Cahill Memorial High School, with excellent coaching skills and a high-level ability to build effective teams. I know she will leave a big hole in the PDHPE faculty and be sorely missed by students and staff.

    VET AWARDS

    I want to recognise Allan Ashley (pictured, right), one of our Year 12 students for achieving a VET Excellence Award for Construction from the Southern Sydney Business Education Network. I was fortunate to attend a breakfast in honour of student achievement in VET subjects across the Sydney area. Allen was accompanied by his father, Mr Kurt Ashley, who was very proud of his son. Well done Allen!

     

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    Deadly Kids Awards

     

    I attended the presentation of the Deadly Kids awards at the Great Hall of the University of NSW. Yilara Widders, a Year 8 student, received the award for JJ Cahill Memorial High School. She is a wonderful young woman who is growing in confidence and demonstrating leadership skills well beyond her years. She is truly a deadly kid. We are proud of you Yilara. Well done!

     

    Ralph David,

    Principal