New School Year; Fresh Faces; New Progress and Help at Hand

June 29, 2015 2015 E-bulletins

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New school joins NSW Parents Council for 2015 year

The Scots School Albury is the latest member of the NSW Parents Council.

Last November we met with their executive and welcomed the opportunity of new members to our Executive for the remainder of the 2014-2015 period. A great school with passionate parents. Watch this space.

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Parent Associations – a heartbeat of any school

When new CEO Noel Hadjimichael started in October 2014, there was one invitation sitting on his desk he could not refuse – his first parent meeting at a school representing our organisation. Off to Summer Hill and the P & F of Trinity Grammar School.

This was no surprise to me,” Noel said. “I had served with Executive Member Bob Fozzard over ten years ago on our Executive and had never seen him shirk an opportunity to showcase what Trinity was doing.

When I arrived I found the library and a band of committed parents giving up their time to make a significant contribution to their school.

Noel was guest speaker – but he did little talking and a lot of listening. The NSTrinitypf (2)W Parents Council has a key role to bolster, guide and mentor parent groups so that they can reach their aspirations.

At the end of the meeting I was able to say that I could only promise to come back in early 2015 to deliver news of our projects, parent engagement strategies and our lobbying.

First term this year – I have my diary locked in for a return to Trinity to advertise our Parents Congress to be held on Sunday 8 March with Bernard Salt as facilitator and a raft of outreach activities relevant to parents of school aged children.

When I see this photo of the P & F team, I see assets, capability, commitment and a lot of energy.

Independent schools across NSW – more than just sandstone or striped ties

Independent school choice has boomed over the past 25 years – with more than a doubling of the share of students being educated at schools outside the State public or Catholic systemic networks. With that growth (driven by good policy, rising affluence, greater interest in education and sometimes smaller families) has come also greater diversity in choice. A common curriculum base and high quality teaching is compatible with options that mix secular, faith-based or ethnic community driven desires for something that makes sense for each child.

The NSW Parents’ Council (NSWPC) is proud that we represent schools from all regions, many faiths and various philosophies. When parents, politicians or the press think independent schools they sometimes only think of the well-established schools with several generations of solid parent support. But we also need to remember that choice has opened up optiofirst in subject 2014ns for many to consider alternate education settings that may be just right for their children. That small school tucked away in the side street or that college up the road in a country location is part of that revolution.

Welcome to school year 2015 – hoping that all parents and parent organisations associated with our sector have a great four terms of achievement, quality outcomes and personal satisfaction with their education efforts. More membership and a bigger network will allow the NSWPC to meet its role as the voice of parents who choose independent schooling for their families.

More than just classroom studies and school text books

When travelling to Canberra for meetings last year with the office of the Federal Minister of Education at Parliament House, Noel Hadjimichael, our CEO, stopped by to watch his son David play cricket in Camden representing Macarthur Anglican School against Broughton Anglican.FullSizeRender (5)

With so much on teenagers’ plates these days (social media, sport on weekends, parties, online blogs and part-time jobs) Noel was struck at how important it was to see education as a holistic enterprise. It was not so important who won (congrats to Broughton) nor was it so much of a big deal that a school day was spent on sport. Importantly, the team was across several years and involved students who did not usually mix that much – different classes, different backgrounds, diverse interests. It was the teamwork and the focus that was key.

Independent schools are well known for their commitment to the whole individual (spiritual, physical, mental and intellectual growth) and that morning’s struggle on the pitch was an excellent preparation for some straight talking and careful listening in Canberra.

Working with key groups on important issues

The NSW Parents’ Council is committed to working on the issues that burden parents, schools and educators. The importance of goodwill between various communities in our multi-faith, multiracial and multicultural society is an obvious priority.humanity

We recently supported the Together for Humanity program led by Rabbi Zalman Kastel (based in Sydney’s northern suburbs) and their Parliament House luncheon celebrating the Jewish festival of the light prior to Christmas/New Year school holidays.

More engagement with Sydney’s Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist and Sikh communities are planned to promote engagement in the education space.

Keeping our kids safe when they are online

Last year the NSW Parents Council got involved with Instagram to launch their latest safety initiative to meet the needs of parents and children. Our social media saturated digital environment is ripe for those who wish to break boundaries, cause harm, or just act irresponsibly.

Our CEO Noel was at the launch and was suitably framed by the developers – remember that you can get worthwhile info from

Click here.

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Working with parents, school leaders and the community across the Riverina

When in the Riverina late last year, NSWPC CEO Noel Hadjimichael visited schools from the Lutheran schools network. Issues like internet speed, curriculum changes, funding questions and parent skills support were raised.

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It is great news that a number of face to face or web based information sessions, workshops or skills lectures will be offered to regional centres like Wagga, Albury, Henty, Leeton, Wollongong, Keira, Newcastle, Coffs Harbour, Forbes and the New England over 2015 to ensure access for dedicated parents and their organisations. 2015 is shaping up as an active year for parents and their advocates. Contact Noel on Click here.

A vital ingredient to your child’s success is parent engagement

The support and involvement of a parent in their children’s education is incredibly beneficial. It enriches the child’s learning and strengthens their development through school. A parent who engages with their child’s homework and school activity is able to be of better assistance to their child’s confidence, motivation and progression. FullSizeRender (2)

Such engagement includes asking questions about their homework, reviewing their homework, asking questions about their school projects, being interested in what they like and dislike at school, making time to be available and willing to help and attending school events.

A child that is assured that they have their parent’s support and encouragement is likely to feel more confident and positive about school, which also gives them a solid path for success.

Introducing Melissa Wile (Project Co-ordinator) and our newest team member

Melissa – tell us a bit about you personally: is it really true you were a hot shot at the Law Society of NSW dealing with problem lawyers?Thanks Anne, I’m no hot shot but it did open my eyes about membership service, the importance of getting things right and treating every person with courtesy and candour. I’m 29 years old and grew up in Camden on the edge of Sydney. My mother, who originally comes from Sarawak, met my Dad in Malaysia when he was a commercial helicopter pilot.

Educated at local schools, I played touch football and participated at martial arts combined with ballroom dancing. My dad, a Vietnam vet who served with the Royal Australian Navy always says I’m never standing still. I’m a humanitarian who always feels the most fulfilled when helping people, the environment and animals. However, this may surprise you as I completed a combined law and communications degree from UWS. I enjoy creative, social and diverse environments.

I love meeting people and hearing about their passions and goals in life. This is probably a good starting point to working for parents and their organizations across the State.

In my younger days I was a corporal in the Air Force Cadets, achieved my Silver in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and was a NSW finalist in Miss World Australia. If anything I am a hard worker and a stubborn person committed to getting things done. Sadly my modelling days never started (laugh).

Importantly I have worked for both city and country law firms – dealing with real life problems for people who need solutions. My work at the NSW Law Society was very project orientated with a great emphasis on meeting deadlines, balancing interests and ensuring high quality information was delivered. I even blog in my spare time (like lots of my generation) and look forward to the challenges ahead with the NSW Parents’ Council.

So far, what are your thoughts on the NSW Parents’ Council?

I see the NSW Parents’ Council as an organisation that really encourages, uplifts and greatly supports parents to be the true leaders that they are. I believe that a true leader is someone who raises others and encourages them to be achievers for themselves and others, and I believe that this is the essence of being a parent. My mentors, like my parents and others who I have worked with, have given me the confidence to tackle a diverse range of tasks. I am thrilled to be part of an organisation that is respected and delivers practical support to parents and parent organisations. This support aligns with my belief in the freedom that parents should have in providing the role models and care for their children.

It is early days, but what will your role involve?

I will be assisting the organisation in preparing programs and seminars that will provide parents with excellent assistance and knowledge that will help them in supporting their children’s needs. I also have an idea that I will be the contact person for parent bodies and schools when dealing with the administration, membership services and outreach of the NSW Parents’ Council. Our CEO Noel Hadjimichael is an energetic guy – and I see us making some big steps towards better and more comprehensive parent engagement, support and assistance. Importantly, we are only a phone call or mouse click away. I might also go on the road and visit schools when our projects like Scary Scaling are rolled out to schools over the course of the year.

Any last thoughts, will you be able to get all this done?

We are very lucky that we have a large number of committed parents working as part of the Council: Office Bearers, executive members, representatives on Board of Studies committees and the like. Also a number of great interns have started this year – young, full of ability and plenty of enthusiasm. I also get to show them the ropes. I’m confident that we will get a lot done and give parents value for their membership.

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