It has been great to see so many students getting straight back into school life in this, our first full week of Term 2. The weather was perfect for our cross country on Wednesday, and it was fabulous to witness those who ran their hearts out and were clearly working to beat their personal best. Others took the opportunity to chat with friends as they power-walked the course and staff at every station around the course made sure that everyone was safe.

Congratulations to the winners in each group – Charlotte Walters and Sacha Rubenstein (Year 10), Hannah Schwarz and Matthew Reubenson (Year 9), Cassidy Feinberg and Jordan Ghorbani (Year 8) and Shterni White and Lior Wark (Year 7). Well done to the winners of the open event (Years 11 and 12), Ailee Gabriel and Jacob Kerbel.

As we enjoy some lovely autumnal sunshine, you may have noticed that some of our school gardens are looking particularly good at the moment; Erin, our gardener, has been working hard to keep them tidy and healthy, and most of the natives planted near the High School front entrance are starting to get established. I’m very excited to also be involved in teaching some Biology in the Science Learning Area this term and have used this as a great excuse to visit Bunnings and invest in some seeds and plants for various experiments.

JNF week in the Primary School was a huge success, with great excitement accompanying the visit of Eldad who arrived from Melbourne to distribute JNF ‘passports’ and start the mass collection of stickers. It is always wonderful to hear the children’s enthusiasm for learning about Israel, its history and its people and excellent to know that another tree planting has taken place on campus.

On an information technology note, as a school, we have continued our ‘measured curiosity’ about artificial intelligence software, including ChatGPT. I have found this tool useful to start my thinking when I’ve been writing on a couple of topics, but it hasn’t particularly saved me the hours I had hoped it might! Ms Boyd has done some professional learning on the subject and will share her learning with High School staff later this term. One of the challenging things we’ve learnt is that under 18’s have to obtain parent permission to use it, which is a frustrating hindrance – I had some really good ideas for revision exercises that I’d been thinking of trialling - it's annoying mainly because we know that many students are already using the software outside school and we would like it to be easier to teach them how to use it appropriately.

Our advertisement for the new Director of Jewish Learning position is now visible on the front page of the Carmel School website and live on SEEK. This has come about as a result of the Jewish Life and Learning review and our desire to invest in our Jewish programs. We are obviously keen to get the message to as many people as we can, to ensure we employ the best person possible. Please do pass this information to everyone in your network, so they can in turn pass the message on and spread the word. You may know of suitable candidates in South Africa, United Kingdom, Israel or America – let them know what a fabulous school we have here!

Shabbat shalom.

Julie Harris