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Diocese of Toowoomba Catholic Schools

Thank you to professional and school officers

Tracey Jaeger, Rebecca Booth and Lyndell Gillam at theProfessional and School Officers' breakfast

Over 50 Toowoomba Catholic Schools professional and school officers gathered for a thank you breakfast this week.

"This breakfast is an opportunity to share how valued and valuable to our schools and the Catholic Schools Office, administration, teacher aide and professional officers are in educating our students.  Some of you are the first person that parents, students and members of the community meet when they visit a school.  Some of you work alongside teachers to support student learning.  Some provide administrative support to school leaders, teachers and members of the Catholic Schools Office so that they can work effectively and efficiently.  Others provide leadership, service and support to schools in areas of finance, governance, teaching and learning, information services and human resources," said Dr Pat Coughlan, Executive Director: Catholic Schools.

"Whilst we can't have all of you here today, I ask that you go back and share this message with other members of your school and office communities.  You all make a valuable contribution."

Networking and enjoying breakfast together, the group were also inspired by guest speaker, Dr Ken Avenell, Senior Manager: Professional Learning and Leadership. He reminded those gathered of why literacy teaching is a role we all need to play.

"Reading is one of the hardest skills to learn; harder than learning the piano.  However, it is essential to work with our students to grow this skill if we are going to provide them with the best possible chances to lead a healthy and fulfilled life," said Dr Avenell.

Dr Avenell shared some statistics that prove that those who are literate are more able to contribute positively to our world and have better health, employment and self esteem.

Diocese of Toowoomba Catholic Schools' focus on improving reading outcomes for all students has begun with all Prep to Year 4 teachers having specific training and coaching in proven teaching strategies.  

Dr Avenell was keen to point out that whilst teachers have been engaged in this training, each person has a role to play in supporting this focus.

"Some of you have a more direct impact through working with students in classrooms.  However, we can all influence students' thinking about reading in our roles and our families and I encourage each of you to consider how your work is an enabler for schools when they are focussed on the goal of reading improvement."  

Toowoomba Catholic Schools educate over 9000 students, in 31 schools and employ approximately 1300 people.