I hope that you and your families had a happy and Holy Christmas period with your friends and family and return to school relaxed and revived. My name is Michael Slattery and on behalf of Bishop Bill and myself I wish you and your children well as they prepare for a year in our Catholic schools. As your new Director of Schools for the Maitland- Newcastle Diocese I'd like to thank you for choosing to send your child or children to a Catholic school and pray that 2017 will be a great success for the young boys and girls in our care.
As we all strive to bring Jesus into the minds and hearts of our school and Parish communities, I will commit to providing leadership and service to our schools through our actions at the Catholic Schools Office. The Catholic Schools Office (CSO), is responsible for the leadership, operation and management of systemic schools which educate more than 18,000 students in 45 Primary schools, 10 Secondary schools and one K-12 school in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.
The CSO employs more than 1200 teachers and around 550 support staff. Our main focus is providing support for schools to ensure each student receives a quality education and has the opportunity to grow academically, spiritually, physically and emotionally. I expect that our Catholic schools are welcoming and diverse communities with a particular commitment to the poor; for justice, integrity and peace.
Our principals and their school staff commit to bringing quality learning experiences to your child. I certainly look forward to visiting our schools and meeting the members of our school communities, learning the culture and heritage of each school and parish community, taking the opportunity to thank the staff personally and to encourage the students to do their personal best.
As I see it, our emphasis as teachers and support staff in our vocation in Catholic education is twofold. Firstly, the religious leadership exhibited by each member of our schools including teachers and support staff remembering that at the heart of everything is Jesus Christ. We support the parents in ensuring foundational knowledge and practice of our Catholic faith.
Secondly that our schools are places of learning for each teacher and for every young boy and girl. Places of deep learning about our God and our relationship with Jesus. Places of learning about our commitment to those less fortunate, and learning about ourselves as Christian citizens of the world, learning through the various curriculums on offer in our classrooms, and the multitude of extra curricula activities and sports outside the classroom.
Every day in our schools is a great day for learning and the young people in our care deserve our best efforts to make it so. The religious and learning agendas in our schools are my priority and I see these as major commitments for us all as we strive for improvement in our school and Parish communities.
I wish you and your family a happy 2017.