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Beyond the Classroom
Development and Community
Last term ended a little abruptly and I had no chance to acknowledge in the last eNews of Term 1 our departing contract staff - Robert Grant, Andrea Dragona and Kirrily Wells. Emily Ethell also left us as she had resigned to go to live and work in Germany. Those plans, of course, have been delayed and I am pleased that Ms Ethell has been able to secure a position at another school. I also did not have the opportunity to publicly congratulate the Head of Faculty - Global Studies, Mathew Stein, who has left us to take up a promoted position, as Head of Secondary at the Lakes College. Mathew will be missed not only as a dynamic teacher in the classroom but as a highly contributing school leader and colleague. We wish him well.
We welcome back from extended leave - Alina Layton, Head of Faculty - English; Noel Peinke, Assistant Head of Faculty - English; Suzie Edwards - Primary HPE and Marilyn Ivers, teacher of English and French.
We begin our Term 2 in a very different way with online learning and teaching. As our usual mode of operation changes, new opportunities appear. We have had rowers participating in online ergo competitions both locally and nationwide and the Running Club continues to operate with students earning virtual badges. Later this week, Prefect Challenges will appear on the POD where year levels will be asked to participate in online challenges. There will be challenges for both Secondary and Primary year levels. To encourage competition and participation, a Spirit Cup will be awarded to the winning year level. While we focus on delivering outstanding learning and teaching opportunities, we are acutely aware of engaging students and keeping them connected to each other through this very unusual time in schools.
I welcome back all to our school community, even though it is from afar. With the students now in online learning mode, many things are very different. However, I feel there are also many things that remain the same. One of the most prominent of these at the moment is that our staff remain extremely committed to your daughter’s learning. It has been so lovely for our staff and students to reconnect again after the Easter break, and I know the teaching staff are working hard to ensure the learning experiences our students are engaging with remain rigorous, and that they are always on hand to assist as they would in the classroom environment.
Please know that although we are all online, we are still available at any time if you have any questions or concerns.
In an online environment, it is very important for parents to be aware of their child’s safety in this environment, and I urge all parents to have a conversation with their children about this. Please be aware of your daughter’s activities online, who and what they are engaging with, and communicate with them about these activities. Our student protection policies and procedures certainly extend to the online forum and I have included information and contacts for this below.
St Margaret’s takes student protection seriously, and so it is timely that I remind all families about the policies and processes that we have here.
St Margaret's Anglican Girls School is committed to:
Student Protection Officers are persons designated as liaison people to whom students may refer if they are not feeling safe; or to whom they make complaints of harm, inappropriate behaviour or physical/sexual abuse. The St Margaret's Student Protection Officers are:
All Student Protection documentation, including all policies and procedures can be viewed on our internet page at: https://www.stmargarets.qld.edu.au/discover-st-margaret-s/student-protection.
Our statement of commitment is as follows:
St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School supports the rights of children and young people and are committed to ensure the safety, welfare and wellbeing of students. St Margaret’s is therefore committed to responding to allegations of student harm resulting from the conduct or actions of any person including that of employees.
This commitment includes the provision of a safe and supportive living and learning environment for all students and requires all employees, volunteers and visitors to model and encourage behaviour that upholds the dignity and protection of students from harm.
In support of this commitment, St Margaret’s is dedicated to our Child and Youth Risk Management Strategy which includes having relevant policies, procedures and training in place to effectively address the safety and wellbeing of students in our care.
Welcome back to Term 2!
It was not that long ago that Christians all over the world celebrated Easter, which is an invitation to new life through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter is one of the most significant times in the life of the Christian community. The Easter season, which we are in now, reminds us that while we are living in such a volatile time in history, there is a sure foundation in Jesus Christ.
In this interesting and ever-changing climate there is a very real need to find what earths or grounds us. It is very easy to get caught up and be hypervigilant, watching the news and social media about the constantly changing situation in regard to COVID-19. Easter reminds us of new life and invites us to be grounded in faith in a God who experienced many changes in life. A God who knew what it felt like to have the whole world turned upside down to the point of death on the cross. Easter reminds us that God meets us in the messiness of life, because God experienced this too. This is faith, knowing that God is there in the messiest of times. For our sake and our children’s, we need to find solid ground to drive our roots deep into earth’s wisdom knowing that there is so much we don’t know. Yet there is a sure foundation in the known, whether that be our faith, our community or our family. We are called to earth ourselves into all that makes us feel whole and real. Yet sometimes the only thing we can know is the minute of space in which we find ourselves right now, this moment is what gives us something to stand on and to breathe deeply knowing we are loved and God is there with us.
For those who would like to explore spirituality and faith at this time, there is a new tile on the POD called, “Spirituality and Faith”. You will find many resources for families to do together. The resources will be regularly updated. In the Prayer Spaces in Schools (at home) there is an opportunity for students to upload photos of Prayer Spaces they have created at home.
Living in Boarding ignites a sense of relationship building that is quite unique. The girls and staff live and learn alongside one another for the majority of the year, developing relationships, friendships and mentorships along the way. The opportunity to build relationships is ever present as interactions go well beyond the walls of the classroom into the common rooms and around the dinner table. The Boarding environment enables relationship building at all times and is one of the most important skills the girls learn on their journey in the Boarding House.
Continuing these relationships and community building during this time of online learning is just as important, if not more important, in keeping our connections going. To ensure that this continues we have put some measures in place to keep developing our relationships:
We hope that these initiatives will help to keep our Boarding girls connected with the Boarding community.
Welcome back to Term 2! This week has seen the whole school curriculum go online for the first time in the history of St Margaret’s. Even in the best of circumstances, effective learning online can be difficult to deliver and accomplish. However, our teachers are committed to providing the best learning experience and, overall the move to online learning has been very successful. This is not to say that we have not had some hiccups, but I want to congratulate all students and thank all staff for moving and adjusting teaching, learning and assessment to accommodate what is our ‘norm’ for the moment.
Please find below some information for specific year levels:
Year 10 Update
This term is a busy term for the Year 10 cohort as they embark on selecting subjects for study in Years 11 and 12. Over the next few weeks, the Year 10 cohort will be completing the second phase of the Career Avenue Program with their Academic Advisor. This will involve them in a series of activities that will direct them to reflect on subjects and careers which may interest them for their senior phase of learning. In the third phase of this process, each student will attend a SET Plan interview with either Mrs Nicole Devlin - Acting Dean of Academic Performance, Ms Lesa Fowler - Head of Boarding or Ms Naomi Holley - Director of Careers and Portfolio Pathways. Information about this process has been sent home via email to all Year 10 parents.
Year 11 Update
This cohort should be very proud of the way they have begun their journey into senior schooling. Over the next four weeks I will be arranging to meet with each Year 11 girl to discuss their academic progress and to check in to discuss feedback from teachers as they look to complete Unit 1.
As always, I am available to meet with or take a phone call from parents if you have any questions about your daughter or curriculum and assessment changes. For your information I have included below a link to the QCAA website that might provide you with the answers about the QCE and ATAR systems: https://www.qcaa.qld.edu.au/senior.
Year 12 Update
This week, I emailed students and parents with updates from QCAA with regard to the impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 school year for Year 12 students. I followed this up with a presentation to the Year 12 students through the Year Level Assembly to contextualise some of the answers provided by QCAA. This presentation will be available for parents on the POD on Friday. In this presentation I have asked the girls to email me any questions they may still have about assessment going forward and I will answer these through a Forum on the Year 12 POD page. Parents, if you have any questions please email them to me and I will add to the Forum and answer them, as your question may be one that another wants the answer to (frequently asked).
Years 7 to 12 Assessment Planners have been updated on the Year Level POD pages. The Years 11 and 12 planners include all assignments and exams for the year. Exam Block schedules will be available in Week 3. The Years 7 to 10 planners provide due dates for the rests of Semester 1 assessment only.
Dealing with Disappointment
The Coronavirus has turned our world upside down in a matter of weeks, impacting many areas of our daily lives. This has resulted in the indefinite postponement of many special events such as school trips, milestone birthdays and sporting events.
Not only is this difficult for adults to come to terms with, but young people are also affected leaving many feeling overwhelmed and disappointed. Although disappointment is a normal part of growing up, how young people respond will determine the impact it will have on their future happiness. Adults need to remember that young people have a lot of choice regarding how they respond to disappointment. It is considered a healthy and positive emotion and essential to a young person’s emotional, intellectual and social development.
Disappointment can be a tricky emotion to deal with at any age. Therefore, it is important for adult carers to help kids manage their disappointment by recognising that their feelings are real and encouraging them to look at the problem objectively.
Please note there has been an increase with online predators and inappropriate online usage nationwide. I encourage parents to talk to their daughters regarding their online footprint and, in particular, their safety. Heads of Year will speak on this topic at Year Level Assemblies this week.
For further information regarding these topics, please go to the Parent Resource tile in the POD then click on SchoolTV. This site contains excellent resources to assist parents navigate their way through these challenging times.
Well, Term 2 has started very differently to what we had hoped for and planned. I have been very impressed by the way all members of our school community have responded. Students, teachers and parents together have been in the learning pit. The teachers have worked exceptionally hard to develop online lessons that address our teaching and learning approach, are academically rigorous and reflective of our student needs. At all times, the teachers are online teaching and available to all students, both those at home and at school. This term, we have added Maggies Connect to the POD. On this page we identify new procedures and activities for isolation family time. Check out this week’s page for Anzac Day and family character development activities.
Students in Years 3-6 have negotiated the technology to participate in lessons that are either online, face to face teaching with the teacher of that subject, PowerPoint lessons, recorded teaching and lessons and investigations that require independent learning. Whilst for students in Pre-Prep to Year 2 learning is not as technology based, they are still learning, practising and extending their thinking through the activities provided in the online learning and teaching program. Evidence suggests that parents of early childhood students who engage at home in reading and sharing books, playing with print (letters and numbers), singing songs, drawing and painting are encouraging thinking and talking, and support their child’s development (National Children’s Bureau, 2019). For all students, they are not only learning to negotiate the learning pit, but they are developing learner dispositions including resilience, growth mindset (a belief they can accomplish the work) and, most significantly, becoming independent learners.
To parents, we thank you for your support and your efforts to support your daughter with home learning. Remember you are not the primary educator of your child, we are; we are just doing it a little differently now. We have your back and your child is at the forefront of our thoughts, actions and decisions. You are your child’s parent, and we will be her teacher. Keep safe, love and be kind, as that is what everyone needs now more than ever.
It has been wonderful to see how music has been used as a means of connecting with others in our community throughout the Coronavirus crisis, whether it be through couch choir, online concerts or other musical collaborations. In this vein, musicians have been invited to perform within their local communities as part of the upcoming ANZAC Day Service. A project entitled Music For Mateship– Isolated But United On ANZAC Day 2020 has been launched and calls on musicians who are able to perform the Last Post/Rouse from their front driveway at 6am. This year, Charlotte Aralar (Year 11) was to perform these pieces on the trumpet at our School’s ANZAC Day Service; however, Charlotte will now be performing the piece from her driveway to her neighbours as part of the Music For Mateship initiative.
Dr Syntageros has been in touch with our instrumentalists within our Band Program and has provided them with further details and sheet music should others be interested in also participating in this special form of community service. Details of this wonderful initiative can be found here: https://musicformateship.org/. We look forward to hearing the moving performances on the morning of April 25 as we pay our respects to those who have served in our armed forces.
Private Music Lessons
Private Music Lessons have commenced for Term 2. Lessons are being given online. If students are attending school and have a scheduled online music lesson, they are asked to come down to the Sister Helen Orchestra Room (SHOR) with their instrument and laptop where supervision will be provided.
The majority of music ensembles are recommencing online music rehearsals this week (with the exception of Rock Bands, Percussion Ensemble, Serenata and Belle Voci) through Microsoft Teams. Thank you to our conductors who have been planning innovative ways of engaging the girls within the various ensembles. Some ensembles will be involved in multitracked recordings whilst others will video performances of themselves to be collated as a whole. During these times of isolation, music is a wonderful way to stay connected with others, as well as enhance well-being. Conductors will communicate with students their expectations for these rehearsals.
As we continue to navigate a world without organised sport, it has been pleasing to see so many students stay involved in St Margaret’s Sport through several online initiatives. To continue to stay engaged, active and connected, the Sports Department encourages all community members to become involved in the following:
Run Club – Log your kilometres by clicking on the link here to unlock a variety of virtual badges and enter into a variety of leader boards.
St Margaret’s Fit Club – Become a member via the POD of the St Margaret’s Fit Club and gain access to a variety of content, including a series of ‘At Home Workouts’, running and walking programs and a restorative Yoga sequence.
Weekly Sport Challenge – Test your strength, speed, endurance and agility against each other by becoming involved in the weekly sport challenge. This week’s challenge involves the 2020 Sports Captains completing the most amount of shuttle runs over 10m in 60s. To view the video check out the Fit Club Page. Send through your results with a photo to email@example.com to be a part of the challenge.
Sport Specific Fitness and Skills – Programs for both Tennis and Netball will be provided throughout the next 5 weeks and at times will be supported by accompanied videos. These programs will be accessible via the sport specific POD pages.
Interstate Indoor Rowing Challenge
Congratulations to all the St Margaret’s girls who were involved in the Interstate Indoor Rowing Challenge. The challenge involved rowers from all over Australia logging their indoor rowing metres between 6-20 April. At the half-way point, Queensland was leading the tally with 12,369,875 metres rowed with 422 participants, with Victoria second with only 7,698,309 metres rowed and 243 participants. The final results will be released via the Rowing POD page. Go Queenslanders!
Jane Haeusler (Year 10) who participated in the Queensland School Sport Tennis Titles in March and gained selection in the Queensland Tennis team. Unfortunately, Jane will be unable to participate in the National titles due to COVID-19.
Congratulations to Mackenzie O’Brien (Year 12) whose installation featuring work in response to our Port of Brisbane art excursion, has been awarded our April “Artwork of the Month” (PDF 253.1KB). The teachers made the April choice to give our Visual Art Captains a break whilst on Student Free Days at the end of Term 1.
By now, students in Years 9, 10 and 11 should have received art resource packs for special practical projects to be undertaken at home. We hope the girls enjoy the materials provided.
As we start Term 2 in this unusual and unprecedented time, we are fortunate at St Margaret’s to have one of the largest and most connected communities. Communities get through these times best when they do it together. Below you will find a couple of the services that we are providing to members of the St Margaret’s community that may be of assistance and notice of our upcoming P&F General Meeting.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the P&F Association for their generous contribution, and the individuals who kindly donated towards bursaries at the end of the last term, to help us to provide some assistance to our families who may be in need of support.
Home-made takeaway meals
Our chefs are offering at cost meals to our families. Many of you will still be working and caring for children and we thought this service could provide some small respite (and you know we have the reputation for the best Boarding House food in Brisbane!).
We will be offering takeaway meals for the next couple of weeks with collection daily from M’s Café between 2:00-4:00pm.
Orders can be placed on the POD by clicking here.
We have established a page on the St Margaret’s website where our families and our suppliers (who very often generously give back to our community when asked) can advertise their business and we encourage our community members to support them.
Please send your advertisement to our Director of Marketing and Communications, Wendy Johnston: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please state your relationship to our community. We will promote this page via social media as well. This is a free service.
P&F General Meeting
The next P&F Association General Meeting will be held on Monday 11 May 2020 from 6:30pm. This meeting will be held online and further details on how to join will be provided to the parent community via email prior to the meeting.
If you have an agenda item or suggestions, we encourage you to send these via email to David Lisle, President, P&F Association: P&F@stmargarets.qld.edu.au.
What’s new this week…
COVID-19 and the impacts to US Admissions
On 26 April, Crimson Education Head of Service Operations and Harvard graduate, David Freed, will be giving a comprehensive webinar on changes to university admissions, SAT/ACT testing and how the disruption may affect the admissions process in the future: https://app.livestorm.co/crimson-education/the-impacts-of-covid-19-on-future-us-college-applicants-or-apac.
Get into Med School with Medview!
Are you considering a career in medicine? Medview are here to help. To support students on their journey to medical school, we are offering free consultations with our team of admissions experts. Book a free consultation with an admissions expert today: Book a consultation.
University of Sydney
Virtual Campus Tour: Students can explore our campus by taking a virtual tour.
Webinar and Q&A series: We are rolling out a series of webinars and live Q&A sessions so that your students can still receive all the information they need whilst learning from home. Our webinars are scheduled to start in Term 2 and students can sign up to receive updates about when and how to connect with us. A schedule and further information to be released in the coming weeks.
Visit the Careers page on the POD for the latest information on:
Contact Our Admissions Team
An independent day and boarding school for girls from Pre-Prep to Year 12; Boarding from Year 5; Boys Pre-Prep and Prep
A School of the Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Advent St Margaret's School Council Ltd ABN: 69069684019 CRICOS Code: 00511K