Announcement: Head of St Narsai Assyrian Christian College

On behalf of the Assyrian Schools Board, it is my pleasure to announce the appointment of Mr Edwar Dinkha as the new Head of St Narsai Assyrian Christian College. Mr Dinkha has been appointed for an initial term of 12 months.

Mr Dinkha has served as the Deputy Principal of St Narsai for the last 8 years. Prior to this Mr Dinkha had extensive experience as a Head of Faculty, Coordinator of Assessment and Planning and teacher of TAS in various schools within NSW, New Zealand and Iraq.

Mr Dinkha holds a Masters of Education (Honours) from the University of Waikato, New Zealand, a Diploma in Technology, Massey University, NZ and a Diploma of Teaching, Auckland College of Education, NZ. In addition over the last 6 years Mr Dinkha has undertaken extensive professional development in a variety of areas especially those related to School Improvement.

As we await eagerly for the start of the 2018 school year in our wonderful new school, Mr Dinkha’s considerable knowledge and experience will serve us well. This is an exciting time for Mr Dinkha to be leading the school at such a significant time in our relatively short history.

I take this opportunity on behalf of the Assyrian Schools Community to congratulate Edwar on this appointment.

Brian Kennelly
Head Principal Assyrian Schools

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School Announcement

I am writing to advise the Assyrian Schools Community that the Principal of St Narsai Assyrian Christian College, Mr Aldo Rufo, has left the School.

At a recent Assyrian Schools Board meeting, the Board determined that Mr Rufo’s employment contract would not be renewed.

Mr Rufo began his employment with the Assyrian Schools in 2011 as the Administration Coordinator and teacher of HSIE at St Narsai. In Term 3 of 2012, Mr Rufo was appointed as the Deputy Principal of St Hurmizd, holding this position until he was appointed as the Principal of St Narsai in Term 4 of 2015.

With a focus on improvement, Mr Rufo achieved an enormous amount during this time. His main focus was on improving academic standards, particularly HSC results. Mr Rufo introduced a number of initiatives such as: Mentoring Programs for Staff, the concept of Professional Learning Communities, Leadership Programs for staff, a renewed focus on student welfare through the introduction of ‘Growth Mindset’ and ‘5 keys to success’, after school parent workshops, improving teacher practice and much more. At all times Mr Rufo asked the question: ‘how can we improve?’

On behalf of the Assyrian Schools Community, we wish Aldo all the best for life after St Narsai. We thank him for his considerable contribution to the education of staff, students and parents. Aldo will be greatly missed by the staff, students and parents of our community.

Brian Kennelly
Head Principal Assyrian Schools
21st November 2017

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Environmental Education and its Role in Restoring Native Ecosystems at St Narsai

Ornilla Shamon
Saint Narsai Assyrian Christian College,
673-683 Smithfield Road, Edensor Park NSW 2176

Dr AnneMarie Clements, Dr. Anne Baumann, Grant Webster, Maddy Young, Rosemary Snowdon
Anne Clements & Associates Pty Limited
PO Box 1623, North Sydney 2059

ABSTRACT
Increasingly, environmental educators are incorporating visits to natural areas into their environmental learning programs. Learning in natural environments is attractive to students and has an important impact on their attitudes towards the environment, their desire to look after the environment and their behaviour in natural areas which in turn influences their household environmental practices (Ballantyne and Packer, 2002). Combining observation with instruction is a powerful teaching strategy, allowing students to understand the impact of human action on wildlife and natural habitats.

The recent construction of Saint Narsai Assyrian Christian College, located in Horsley Park, western Sydney has presented a unique opportunity to incorporate environmental sustainability into the curriculum. Situated on former agricultural land (and formerly Cumberland Plain Woodland), the school site features a stretch of Reedy Creek, a degraded waterway that drains much of the Horsley Park area. Approval for the College included re-instating Reedy Creek to mimic the natural creekline and re-establishing Cumberland Plain Woodland in long-term conservation areas on the site. As part of the conservation works, baseline data was recorded for water quality, insect diversity, fauna species (including frogs and aquatic fauna) and seeded/planted vegetation. This presents a unique opportunity for school students to be actively involved in experiments, and biodiversity and environmental monitoring of the restoration of the onsite conservation areas.

By using the school grounds for sampling and population studies on the species present, possible trophic interactions and patterns of distribution of the plants and animals can be studied. Students will relate this to the short-term and long-term consequences on the ecosystem of species competing for resources and possible impacts of humans in the ecosystem. The implementation of the different aspects of environmental sustainability will result in the school having effective environmental education integrated into appropriate sections of the curriculum; ensuring students are active in maintaining and improving their surroundings.

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