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Development and Community
The Queensland Government is conducting its annual state-wide survey of all students who completed Year 12 in 2019. The Next Step survey is a brief, confidential survey that gains a comprehensive picture of the employment, study and life choices made by Queensland school completers in the year after they finish Year 12.
Between March and June, all our students who completed Year 12 last year can expect to receive instructions to complete a web-based survey or a telephone call from the Queensland Government Statistician’s Office. If you have a 2019 graduate in your household, please encourage them to take part. If their contact details have changed, please assist the interviewer with their updated details or forward the survey to their new address so they can participate.
Further information on Next Step is available online at www.qld.gov.au/nextstep or on toll free telephone 1800 068 587.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for all the positive emails and comments I have received about our communication and online learning. I apologise that I have not responded to each one individually. However, I would like to acknowledge what a ‘lift’ it is to me and to the staff to hear from you. We all very much appreciate you taking the time to contact us with the positives.
Learning online (Maggies Connect) is likely to continue for the next few weeks and we remain committed to providing high quality teaching and learning experiences while we need to focus exclusively on this mode of delivery.
With most of our students (and families) now studying or working from home, it might be time for our students to reflect on this and ensure that they identify little changes which may need to be made to be more effective or efficient. The following list may assist:
Have a separate workspace: Ideally the place where students are working shouldn’t be a place they go to relax, like their bedroom or lounge. Equally, the workspace doesn’t have to be in a lockable office area. It just needs to be a place, ideally with a desk or table with a comfortable chair, where other members of the household know is designated for study. Also, parents should be able to see the work and see the screen that the students are working from, to ensure online activities are safe and students are staying on task.
Establish a routine: In the Secondary school students are remaining on their weekly timetable, and in the Primary school students have a set schedule as well. This in itself helps to maintain a routine. However, other helpful habits can be to get up each day at the same time and making sure to get some outside time for fresh air during breaks as part of the routine.
Focus on one distraction: The bizarre but true rule of productivity is that the busier you are, the more you’ll actually do. It is important for students not to succumb to some of the distractions of home, like turning on the TV, playing with the pet dog or making frequent visits to the fridge during times set aside for lessons. When breaks occur, students should choose one of these distractions as downtime, then go back to work when the schedule begins again.
Look after your body: Make sure the area students are studying in is well-lit so they don’t strain their eyes. Also remember to eat well, drink lots of water, and schedule some daily exercise.
Make it hard to waste time on social media: Social media is designed to make it easy for people to open and browse quickly. Keeping phones out of the workspace can help to counteract this. Otherwise, logging out of the apps, making it so that to access them they have to be logged into can also help as it is a bit more cumbersome to do this all the time and the novelty soon wears off!
The gift of Peace
A simple yet moving ANZAC Day ceremony was held in our cul-de-sac on ANZAC Day. As the dawn light made its way through the sky, we could hear from different points of the suburb bugles and trumpets being played. It certainly was a very touching experience. Each year as we commemorate ANZAC Day, we are reminded of the gift of peace that so many gave their lives for, and this year was no different as the gift of peace descended onto the Service.
The gift of peace is offered by Jesus to the whole of humanity. Not long after Easter, the disciples were huddled together in a room. They were frightened as Jesus, their friend and Saviour had been crucified. They were too scared to venture out into the world. So, Jesus came to them. Jesus came into the room and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
At this time of social isolation, we may be huddled in our houses, but I do not sense fear. I see strength and courage as we try to work together with the unknown. Over the last week or so I have had the great privilege of talking with staff and families and they have expressed much joy in being able to spend time as a family. The situation is not easy; however, people are making the best of what they have. There is a busyness of all being under the same roof at the same time, yet there is also peacefulness of not having to rush here or there.
Jesus offers us the gift of peace. For those friends who were huddled in the room, for all of us in our time of being at home more than usual, Jesus offers us a deep peace, an inner peace that can sustain us for the journey.
Peace be with you now and always.
On the POD page under Spirituality and Faith, Prayer and Worship you will find a poem by Wendell Berry; “The Peace of the Wild Things”.
There have been plenty of humorous conversations from our Boarding Staff and Boarding Parents as we are making our phone calls to check in on their daughter’s progress. Some parents have shared the comments of their daughters and their expectations at home. From the different conversations we’ve had, I couldn’t help but share with you all. The comments reveal how much the girls miss their Boarding routine and our wonderful perks. Well, we miss your daughters just as much, which is why we love hearing from you all.
In the meantime, keep resilient and stay connected while we are adapting to this change together.
“Mum, I am expecting to be woken up at 7:30am, 7:45am and 8am.”
Mums reply: “You’re dreamin!”
“Mum, is there a healthier option for lunch? We had this yesterday!”
Mum: “Yeah sure, at the shops, 30km away! Off you go.”
“Dad, we have run out of ink again for the printer. I am telling my teacher it’s your fault I didn’t do homework?.”
“Dad, can you turn the aircon off at night?”
Dad: “What aircon? We don’t have aircon!”
“What’s for supper?”
Dad: “Good question. What’s for supper Mum?”
Mum: “Since when do we do Supper!”
“Mum where is my white striped top? I put it in the laundry on Monday!”
Mum: “It’s only been 2 days! Grrr.”
“Sorry Ange, can’t talk I’m on a horse!”
At the end of last week, I was sitting in my office feeling a little exhausted. It had been a big week of learning for me as a teacher. Over the week I received so much feedback from the students in my classes, my academic advising group, parents and staff about how they are going in the online learning environment. I am not sure you know this about me, but I am a quite the reflective journal writer! Some of my colleagues call it ‘Scrapbooking’, but when I read something or receive feedback, I cut it out, stick it in and write about it in my professional journal! Last week, I had a lot to reflect on and so much professional reading about the process of online learning.
This led to me sending a “Friday Afternoon Thoughts” email to the staff about my week and my learnings in the online teaching environment. As we have navigated the second week, I thought I would share with you my lessons and what staff have been asked to consider.
Lesson 1: I feel like I am constantly talking to myself, so I need to stop!
Talking to a class is a very different experience when you are online. However, what I know is that the students appreciate the check in, but they certainly do not want us to be talking at them for a whole lesson.
Lesson 2: Sometimes I can’t tell if my class has got a concept, or is even listening, and that is ok!
Not being able to see my class and read them for feedback I have been relying on them sending me work!! This is not as sustainable as I am drowning in little bits of student work. I have had to let go of this somewhat… by this I mean I can’t be sure every time I leave my class, they all have it, but this is not forever, and creating work for me and my students is not helping any of us!
Lesson 3: If I do look at my screen too long, this is not good for me… are my eyes square yet?
Even though we are working to our normal school timetable, the benefit of travel between class and no screens during Morning Tea and Lunch is priceless. At the moment I am not doing this, and neither are the girls! They are catching up with friends in break times. Make sure you give some time for your classes not be on their screen… this goes for us too!
Lesson 4: I need to find a pattern to this new ‘norm’.
This is probably my most important learning. This is different, not bad or good different, just different. I need to find my rhythm and share this with my class, so they know what to expect. The importance of routine is paramount, and we need to help build and maintain this with our classes. No one way is right, the girls will get used to dealing with all our differences online, just like they have when we are at school. There is no need to increase the amount of work or homework we expect the girls to do, if they finish, congratulate them and let them work on or give them a break.
Remember this is not forever, let’s do this all again next week!
Due to the spreading out of assessment as a result of COVID-19, we have had to make changes to the Assessment Calendars published in Term 1. The revised Assessment Calendars are now available for students to access on the Pod.
As a result of these changes, we have also had to make amendments to the end of Semester reporting schedule. End of Semester reports for Years 7-11 will now be published on Friday 17 July. Further information regarding Year 12 reporting will be communicated in the next few weeks.
Special Report: Wellbeing - Checklist for Secondary
The global pandemic is having a profound impact on our adolescents with many being forced to miss out on so many rites of passage. Some are becoming more anxious or depressed which is completely understandable given the current situation. However, should your teen display any unusual behaviour that lasts for more than 2-3 weeks, it may be a cause for concern.
Research shows there are specific risk factors that increase the likelihood of teenagers developing a mental health problem. Some are set in stone, whilst others are able to be modified. Adolescents are considered to be more at risk of anxiety and depression disorders which may affect their mood, thinking and behaviour. It can impact their ability to function and perform normal activities.
It is, therefore, vitally important for adult carers to remain vigilant during this time for any signs of distress, even though your adolescent may not have any prior history of a mental health disorder. Early intervention, diagnosis and treatment is more important than ever. In the current climate, one useful thing you can do is help your teen focus on the things that they can control - such as their learning, diet, exercise and sleep.
In this Special Report, adult carers will be provided with a checklist that can be used as a guide in determining if there is any cause for concern. We hope you take time to reflect on the information offered in this Special Report, and as always, we welcome your feedback.
If you do have any concerns about the wellbeing of your child, please contact your daughter’s Head of Year for further information or seek medical or professional help.
Please click here to view the Special Report.
Being resilient is key to managing the times in which we are now living. For some, resilience is innate. However, as it involves behaviours, thoughts and actions it can be taught and learned. On one hand, resilience can be developed when one is exposed to risk, challenges and by experiencing that feeling of discomfort. Something, no doubt, everyone is feeling as we negotiate the new ‘normal’ in life and learning. On the other hand, the skills of resilience can be taught. One such skill is practising gratitude.
Research has found that people who practise gratitude face problems and challenges in their lives with resilience. They also have an ability to reframe problems as a possibility for growth. Gratitude has physical, psychological and social benefits. Gratitude is an element of our spiritual practices, but there is emerging research that gratitude has the potential to bridge between academic and social well-being. It has been found that grateful youth have higher results, experience more positive emotions and ultimately go on to live more meaningful lives.
I recently listened to a podcast that talked about an evening ritual or review of the day. The key points for every evening are:
If you would like to read more about this area, a great but simple read is “The Resilience Project - Finding Happiness through Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness” by Hugh Van Cuylenburg.
Congratulations to all girls who made a musical contribution at ANZAC Day commemorations held last Saturday morning. A project entitled Music For Mateship– Isolated But United On ANZAC Day 2020 was launched calling on musicians to perform the Last Post/Rouse from their front driveway as part of the commemorations. Charlotte Aralar (Year 11) was to perform at our School’s ANZAC Day Service, but instead this year made the musical contribution to her local community. Congratulations also to Anastasia Esler (Year 8) and Hilary Davis (Year 8) who also performed within their local communities. These performances I am sure would have been very much appreciated by all who attended from outside their homes.
Private Music Lessons
Private music lessons are continuing to occur for the most part in online mode. Thank you to parents and teachers for facilitating the continuity of learning for our music students. A reminder that if parents require teachers to rearrange student lesson times, please provide sufficient notice to allow teachers to make necessary changes to their schedules. Changes at late notice may not always be possible.
St Margaret’s Spotlight
Students undertaking private music lessons will have the opportunity to showcase their skills on the St Margaret’s Music POD page. Music teachers will soon be seeking videos of students performing a piece on their respective instrument to share with the school community. Stay tuned for further details!
St Margaret’s Sport is delighted to announce the launching of the Virtual Interhouse Cross Country for 2020. The Virtual Interhouse Cross Country requires you to get out and walk, jog or run during the week beginning Monday 4 May to Sunday 10 May. The distance required to be run by all age groups is 3km.
Event awards are as follows:
*Individuals can record as many runs as they like; however, only their fastest 3km run will count.
*Students can record as many runs as they like throughout the specified timeframe at whatever distance they choose (e.g. 6km) to contribute towards their overall House kilometre total.
To get involved, students are asked to download the Strava Training: Run and Ride Application onto their smart phone and join their House group within the ‘Clubs’ section. A ‘How to Guide’ is available on the Secondary Sport POD page and by clicking here (PDF 627.2KB).
ANZAC Day Rowing Challenge
A number of St Margaret’s rowers participated in the 2020 ANZAC Day Rowing Challenge. This challenge united rowers from both Australia and New Zealand to record 2,504 metres, as many times as possible, at home, on their ergos from dawn to dusk on Saturday 25 April. The number, 2504, signifies the date of ANZAC Day 25.04.2020 and was a wonderful way that St Margaret’s rowers could together, whilst apart, honour the memory of the soldiers who rowed their way onto Gallipoli.
Weekly Fitness Challenges
The first fitness challenge for Term 2 was released this week on the St M Fit Club page, with our super Sports Captain, Gabrielle Geldard, leading the way with a 60s Shuttle Run (check out the video on the St M Fit Club Pod Page). To challenge Gabby, perform the shuttle run as many times as you like over the week and submit your results via the link here, with the winner announced on Friday!
P&F General Meeting – Monday 11 May
The next P&F Association General Meeting will be held online via Microsoft TEAMS on Monday 11 May 2020 from 6:30pm.
If you would like to join this meeting, please email P&F@stmargarets.qld.edu.au by Tuesday 5 May and an online meeting invitation will be sent to you prior to the meeting.
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 are still offering takeaway meals with collection daily from M’s Café between 2:00–4:00pm.
Orders can be placed on the POD.
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, at: 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.
What’s new this week…
Check it out!
A Virtual Expo including over 70 institutions from across Australia on 7 and 8 May, from 12pm-8pm. Log in to see webcasts, download course guides, take virtual tours and engage with faculty staff and current students. Check out the website for more information and to Register.
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