DR MICHAEL SLATTERY: Great learning-great communities

As we approach Catholic Schools Week 6th-11th March I am reminded of the caption on our promotional posters which reads Great Learning – Great Communities.

In the last week I have visited some Manning schools including St Clare’s High School and St Joseph’s Primary School in Taree, St Joseph’s Primary School Wingham, St Joseph’s Primary School, Bulahdelah, and also Rosary Park Catholic School in Branxton. The classroom visits told me that our facilities and resources are first class, and my observations of lessons indicated high quality teaching practice and student engagement. In addressing students at their school assemblies and within classrooms I was impressed with the care taken with prayer and the religious tone within our diocesan schools.

Bishop Bill continues to remind us of the centrality of Jesus in all we do, and I saw this reflected in the ways Principals and teachers guided the students through their prayer and religion lesson experiences. Of particular note was the pastoral concern for students by dedicated and committed teachers. They clearly knew each student and their individual learning needs.

Each school has formed over many years to serve the needs of its community. Great communities are built by dedicated school staff, parents, parishioners, parish priests and willing students. Great communities depend upon a generosity of spirit and a willingness to serve others for the greater good. These communities are certainly present in our diocese and we should be proud of them.

Too often the armchair critics demonise Catholic schools and I feel sure that if they visited schools and observed the wonderful ways in which adults care for the holistic needs of the students, the attitude would most certainly change.

Please keep our school communities in your prayers and with Gods blessings they remain places of great learning and great communities.

Dr Michael Slattery Image
Dr Michael Slattery

Dr Michael Slattery is the Director of Catholic Schools, Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.