Why Choose St Dominic's?

Choosing the right education for your child is one of the most important decisions you will ever make.

As parents, carers or grandparents you have a choice - and the right - to offer your child the best education available.

The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle proudly hosts some of the best schools in Newcastle, Maitland, the Hunter and Upper Hunter, Lake Macquarie and Manning regions.

Catholic schools offer a unique educational experience which forms the child or young person as a person of integrity, compassion, faith and wisdom. Catholic schools also work closely with their local parish to enhance in students a capacity to make sense of their world, to make judgements and to recognise the uniqueness of others within a faith community.

Each school has a supportive community of teachers, parents, carers, clergy, parishioners and support staff who work together to focus on students; encouraging success, promoting discipline, supporting creativity and instilling compassion. This means that Catholic schools don’t just teach religious studies, they seek to develop spirit, mind, body and character and cultivate Gospel values that support lives filled with joy, endeavour and hope in the future.

St Dominic’s Centre has a commitment to focusing on each individual child’s ability, offering a unique array of educational, creative, sporting and formation opportunities for students.

Finally, Catholic schools offer peace of mind to parents; knowing they’ve made the right choice and the best investment for their child’s future.It is because of this and the many opportunities available to students that we believe choosing a Catholic education, is the right choice to make.

WHY DO STUDENTS AND PARENTS CHOOSE ST DOMINIC’S CENTRE?

1. OUR CATHOLIC FAITH AND IDENTITY

St Dominic’s is a proudly systemic Catholic school that is steeped in the traditions of the Dominican Order of Preachers. Our faith is the foundation of the work we do with our students, families and each other. We have highly visible symbols of both our faith and our traditions around the school and participate in regular rituals that celebrate our Catholicity. It is, however, the intangible factor that makes St Dominic’s truly special. It is the spirit of connectedness within our community. The living examples of faith that are seen each day in our students and teachers. We honour the individuality of each student knowing that we see the image of Jesus in each one. Staff are committed to continuing the work that Jesus started and that St Dominic continued in reaching out to the marginalised, giving them hope and walking beside them on their journey.

2. COMMITTED STAFF

Staff at St Dominic’s are practising Catholics who are specialised in teaching special education across Kindergarten to Year 10. In primary, we have staff who are fluent in Auslan while other staff are competent in key sign language. Our secondary teachers are specialists in particular subject areas increasing their own skills and knowledge to ensure contemporary and engaging lessons for all students.

Teaching and learning is the key focus for staff at St Dominic’s as we are committed to continually improving student outcomes for all students. Teachers are supported by learning support assistants in each class who are committed to building independence in our students through strategies such as gradual release of responsibility and student-centred goal setting and learning. We have an onsite occupational therapist, speech therapist and psychologist who form our multi-disciplinary team. This team works within the classrooms to embed strategies and interventions to improve learning outcomes for all students.

We are a total communication school and this is heavily supported by our multi-disciplinary team. We also have a pastoral care worker who coordinates family outreach programs and builds links with local agencies. We empower our families to become advocates for their children so that they can continue to optimise outcomes in a post-school setting.

3. SPECIALIST FACILITIES

St Dominic’s was originally built for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, making the ambience of the school ideal for optimal learning. Students with other additional needs also benefit from this design as it minimises noise, distraction and sensory overload. Recently, St Dominic’s has undergone extensive refurbishment after a lengthy consultation period with students, staff and specialists in disability, play and landscape architecture. The result is contemporary and flexible learning zones that support excellent outcomes for students.

In addition to our classrooms we offer: a movement room, designed by our occupational and speech therapists; The Sanctuary, which provides a space for students to self-regulate their emotions; Prac Room that provides our students with the opportunity for life skills that are transferrable to a post-school world. Our outdoor areas are also learning zones and are utilised in many aspects of our teaching and learning.

4. LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

St Dominic’s contemporary flexible learning spaces allow students to work both collaboratively and independently. Each of our classrooms are zoned to either work quietly and independently or in groups to enable the students to realise their potential. The teaching and learning at St Dominic’s is student-centred, which empowers the students to achieve independence in addition to the learning outcomes set by NESA. All of our staff set high expectations for students and create a safe and trusting environment in which to achieve these.

Our core outcomes are to educate our young people so that they may become meaningful contributors to our wider community. Students and staff alike acknowledge many teachable moments throughout the day and engage with one another in a respectful and dignified relationship. We adopt a total communication approach that includes: sign language; Auslan; visuals; and assistive technology. This enables us to offer a suite of options when creating individual plans with and for a child. Our Personalised Plan (PP) procedure is inclusive and collaborative with as many of the child’s support team in attendance as possible. It is from this that goals are set and programming and interventions are developed.

5. OUR COMMUNITY

St Dominic’s is a thriving, dynamic, Catholic community. We are located on a site shared by a primary and secondary school with whom we share a close relationship. We work with many of our local community businesses and agencies to ensure our students have a multitude of opportunities. Each staff member acknowledges and values the importance of a home-school partnership and we pledge to walk this part of a child’s journey alongside the family.

We honour and celebrate our Dominican heritage and remain committed to ensuring a strong link with the Dominican Sisters. We live and celebrate our faith in all we do with our students and families, through rituals and liturgies as well as in our relationship with each other and with Jesus. There are many symbols within the school that show visitors who we are and what we stand for. However, it goes deeper than this. It is the intangible sense of connection and the shared living of faith that makes St Dominic’s the very special place it is.