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The new principal who is puzzling parents

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New Principal at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary School in Fairfield, Jackie Vella (right), puzzles parents, Dimitri and Fiona Papaikonomou, with Maths problems. PHOTO: Supplied

The new Principal at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary School in Fairfield has already “puzzled” many parents in the school community with her very personal and “hands-on” approach.

In her first semester at the school Jackie Vella has already met many of the parents at OLR, and has even conducted a “Maths Puzzles” workshop especially for them, to assist with their understanding of their children’s learning.

The interactive workshop was designed to allow parents to live the experience of a Maths Problem Solving Lesson. Many students in the OLR school community are from migrant or refugee families, for whom English is their second language. The Maths Puzzles workshop helped parents to not only understand what their children are learning in their Maths classes, but also to meet and get to know their new Principal.

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Parent, Roden Shakoori helps her son, Fadi Atoza, with a Maths puzzle. PHOTO: Supplied

“It was so much fun and took me back to school,” said Dimitri and Fiona Papaikonomou, whose daughter started school at OLR this term.

Ms Vella, who was formally Principal at St Therese’s Primary School in Padstow, has a keen interest in Mathematics and Gifted Education and said she hopes to share her experiences in these two areas with the school community.

She has big shoes to fill, replacing Br Nicholas Harsas as Principal, as the beloved Patrician Brother had served the school community for 11 years prior to leaving.

Principal Jackie Vella presents a leader badge to Year 6 student, Nicholas Mouarkesh at the opening School Mass. Looking on is parish priest, Fr Michael de Stoop. PHOTO: Supplied

However, Ms Vella has made a promising start, taking time to meet in person many of the staff, students and parents.

Since beginning at the school, Ms Vella has also spent much time personally visiting each classroom and working alongside teachers.

This refreshing approach has been welcomed by staff and students as one teacher said, “It reflects ‘walking alongside’ us as educators… rather than doing all the many ‘Principal’ things she needs to attend to. It makes us feel she appreciates what is happening at the coalface.”

Ms Vella reads a book with Kinder student, Manasseh Anti Oti. PHOTO: Supplied

During Catholic Schools Week, parents of OLR students were given many opportunities to engage in the life of the school, promoting the idea that the education of children is a partnership between the school and the parents.

Ms Vella said she appreciated the “wonderful support” given to the school by the parent community.

Students at Our Lady of the Rosary receive much support in the classroom from teachers and parents. PHOTO: Supplied

As a way of further promoting the “family” spirit of the entire school community, a Harmony Day will be held on 21 March when students will come to school wearing clothes that reflect their national dress. Students will be called to assembly by other students saying “hello” in different languages and parents will bring food from their various countries to share for morning tea.

Catholic Schools Week also marked the opening of enrolments at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary School in Fairfield for 2020. The school is currently accepting enrolments and information is available at the school office.

More info: 02 9724 5997


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