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Beyond the Classroom
Development and Community
When students began online learning in schools some people expressed concern about the increase in students’ screen time, forgetting that even when students are in a classroom, they are often using their laptops.
We have heard a lot over the last few years about the harm associated with excessive screen time, including shrinking attention spans and weakening social skills. Limiting exposure for young children was the strong message until quite recently. Worries like these have a long history, with parents over time expressing reservations about the effects of each new wave of entertainment technology – radio, movies, TV.
However, is screen time all that damaging? Like all things – balance is the key. There are some positive effects with a couple of hours of screen-based leisure being associated with improved peer relationships and increased sociality. Gaming meets our fundamental needs for exploration, competence and social connection. Digital games often improve rather than undermine our reasoning abilities.
As for concerns about children getting isolated, the internet is the world’s best tool for distanced socialising. In our own school context, MS Teams has been a great way to keep in contact with students.
The only things that parents and educators probably need to ensure is that they monitor what children are watching and playing, sometimes playing and watching with them, and steer them toward brain-based games, age-appropriate educational videos, documentaries available on streaming services, co-operative and team-oriented video games and timeless films that don’t just entertain, or distract, but teach lessons about life, love and family.
Our students have demonstrated marvellous resilience throughout this time. However, history students will particularly enjoy the perspective provided by the impact of past world events. Hopefully, students will be inspired even more by those born in Australia in 1900. Some you may have seen this on LinkedIn:
Imagine you were born in 1900.
At 14 years old World War I starts and ends on your 18th birthday with 22 million people killed.
Later in the year a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until you are 20. 50 million people die from it in those 2 years. Yes, 50 million.
When you’re 29, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, global GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are now 33. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy.
When you turn 39, World War II starts. You aren’t even over the hill yet. Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war and the Holocaust kills 6 million.
At St Margaret’s, our staff, students and parents are involved in several committees and initiatives that assist us to inform our practices and ensure we continue to provide the best possible academic and pastoral care for all our students.
With our students returning to school next week, our Child and Youth Risk Management Strategy Committee will meet before the end of term.
This committee is made up of staff (teaching and support), students and parents from our Primary, Secondary and Boarding communities.
The Child and Youth Risk Management Strategy (C&YRMS) is a legislative requirement for all Queensland schools to have. It is designed to create safe and supportive environments for children, to minimise the risk of abuse, harm and inappropriate behaviour. The C&YRMS is to be clear, easily understood, implemented and monitored to ensure its effectiveness. You can find this document by clicking here.
Part of the monitoring process involves this committee coming together throughout the year to share ideas and information about the contents of this strategy in order to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our young people in regard to student protection. Although we officially review the strategy with the School Council in October each year, we continue to adjust the document to best suit the needs of the young people in our community.
I urge all members of our school community to read this document. Feedback is encouraged; please feel free to email me at: KGorrie@stmargarets.qld.edu.au with any suggestions or additions you may wish to see reflected in this document.
The gift of Gratitude
You will find on the POD under Year Level, Student Wellbeing, Mental Health Tips a link to a Gratitude Journal. A gratitude journal is good to use in both challenging and good times. It is always good to stop; to think and reflect on those things we are grateful for. Keeping a gratitude journal could be something families do together at the dinner table or can be done personally. One of my practices at the end of each day is to think about three things I am grateful for. I believe this practice can help us to realise how blessed we are, even when the day has been challenging.
Jesus reminds us in Philippians 4:4-7: Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about anything. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell God every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ.
Reflect on some of the things you are grateful for. Perhaps there is someone in our lives that we are grateful for, we may like to thank them. As a family, you may like to list some of the things you are truly grateful for and give thanks.
You can explore more about gratefulness by visiting this website: https://gratefulness.org/. You can also find on the POD, under the Spirituality and Faith tile, Grief, Loss and Change a link to one of my favourite films. It is called Gratitude and it is read by Br David Steindl-Rast: https://vimeo.com/44131171.
May we always have grateful hearts and give thanks.
In the current environment, keeping the Boarding girls connected has been one of our top priorities. This has been done through phone calls from the House Mothers and regular updates from the school and the Boarding House. One of the most successful initiatives have been the weekly MS Teams meetings where the girls come together, share stories and talk to each other about what has been happening at home. As some of the girls have returned to the Boarding House (mainly Years 11 and 12), it is important we continue to keep these meetings going so those who have not returned still feel they are a very important part of the community.
Next week, our Years 6-10 students can return to the Boarding House, but in our alternative accommodation. We have worked very hard to ensure this will operate and mirror what happens in the Boarding House on a daily basis. Some girls will be returning as day girls and others will continue to do their schoolwork from home. With this in mind, it is vital we continue our MS Teams meetings to ensure that all of the Boarding girls, no matter where they are, feel connected to the Boarding House.
As always, we want Boarding to be a place where individuals come together as equals to create a caring, supportive atmosphere where all members can learn and flourish. The best Boarding community is one where each member is included in the community-building process, is invested in their fellow Boarders’ success and well-being and feels a deep sense of connectedness.
Over the past weeks, the Year 10 students have been engaged in an extensive process to help guide them to make decisions around their Senior Education Pathway.
This process began with all Year 10 students completing online testing which provided each student with an individual profile. This profile is designed to help students identify some potential career options for when they leave school. The aim of this profile is to help students to:
This profile was prepared by Dr Marian Kratzing (Psychologist), founder and creator of Career Avenues. The profile has also been supported by follow-up lessons developed by Dr Kratzing that all Year 10 students have been asked to complete in preparation for their SET (Senior Education and Training) Plan meetings.
This week, Ms Naomi Holley, Ms Lesa Fowler and I have started meeting with the Year 10 students to plan and discuss their senior pathways. It has been great to see the girls be so engaged in their profiles and discussing careers and subjects for school and beyond.
A thank you must go to Ms Naomi Holley (Director of Careers and Pathways) for her management of this new initiative in enhancing the Careers and Futures program at St Margaret’s.
A reminder also to parents and guardians of Year 10 students, you can access information about the Years 11 and 12 Curriculum and subject selection through The POD Year 10 Year Level page by clicking on the ‘CETLE Students’ link in the ‘Need to Know’ section. This will take you through to the CELTLE (Centre for Teaching and Learning Excellence) page and from here, select ‘Students’. All information can then be found under ‘Subject Selection’.
An online Parent Information session for all Year 10 parents will be held on Thursday 4 June. This session will include information about the Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE), ATAR and Subject and Portfolio Pathways offered. Information will be emailed directly to Year 10 parents about how to engage in this session.
This week, I have communicated to all Year 8 parents outlining the process for subject selection in Years 9 and 10. This letter contains information for parents on how to support students on subject selection. Parents will also have an opportunity to ask any questions they may have via an online information session on Wednesday 3 June 2020, 6:30-7:00pm. Further information will be sent during the week before the session, regarding how to access this session.
Subject selection for the current Year 7 students will take place in Term 3, with information to be sent out later this term.
Transitioning back to school
St Margaret’s is looking forward to welcoming students back next Monday 25 May. There is no doubt that the transition back to school is a very exciting time for both students and parents.
However, for some it may also be a very anxious and stressful time for both parents and children. Parents need to be aware of their child’s feelings during any school transition and minimise anxiety, so the process is an enjoyable experience for all. It is important to talk to your daughters about the benefits of being at school, including socialisation. It is time to be getting back into routines, for example, going to bed and waking earlier, packing your school bag the night before etc.
Familiarisation is often key to reducing stress levels. It is also important for parents to talk to their children about their expectations and being more responsible for their own needs. If you require any assistance with your daughters as they transition back to school, please ensure you contact their respective Head of Year.
Make Good Choices
It was wonderful to welcome back our Pre-Prep, Prep and Year 1 students. There have been so many by-products of online learning at home. Two significant areas have been in personal growth as a learner and technological growth. As other students return, we will support the girls’ personal growth as they transition back as a member of class and year level group. Girls will need to exercise positive social skills as they negotiate membership of these bigger groups and may also use their technological skills to interact online. It is these online interactions that we ask parents to continue to monitor.
If you have watched any television over the past weeks you would have seen the advertisement for “Do it For Dolly”. The ad campaign’s tag line, “Are your words doing damage?” is very powerful and an important reminder of how to interact face-to-face and online. This week in Maggies Connect (wellbeing tile), we have shared advice for the girls about how they should communicate online by making good choices. I would encourage parents to read through this with your daughters, just as the teachers will, over the next few weeks.
Making good choices also includes being safe online. According to research, 49 per cent of teenagers reported they had added people to their social networking ‘friends’ list that they had never met face-to-face. This is not just limited to social networking, but also online global game platforms and game creation systems that bring people together through play. The online games your daughter is playing may seem quite innocent, but you need to check her settings are on private and she is not allowing ‘others’ to join her play. Costs can also be associated with these games and children can unwittingly pay for them. One such game being used by students is Roblox. I would encourage parents to check online games and vigilantly monitor your child’s online profile.
Over the upcoming weeks we will provide resources for online safety and responsibility for our Year 6 students. Students will complete 8 units (privacy, searching, sharing, gaming, social networking, risky behaviours and cyber bullying). Year 6 parents are encouraged to discuss the different aspects of the program. If the lessons are completed successfully, students will receive a Digital License and, more importantly, know how to interact safely and responsibly online. Together, we can encourage the girls to ‘make good choices’ - the smartest advice we can give them.
Rehearsals in Week 6
Music rehearsals will recommence in Week 6. Please note that some changes are occurring to ensure a safe environment is provided for both students and staff. Rehearsals for the remainder of Term 2 will take place in smaller groups with up to 10 students allowed to rehearse together at any given time. Arrangements are being made for larger ensembles to rehearse in sectionals with specific details to be provided directly to students and families by conductors. These details will also be made available via the weekly Music Newsletter and the relevant POD pages.
Private Music Lessons in Week 6
Face-to-face private music lessons will recommence in Week 6. Every effort is being made to ensure strict hygienic practices are in place for lessons. If parents are keen for lessons to continue in on-line mode, they are encouraged to contact the private music teacher directly about this option.
Old Girl News
2014 Music Captain, Strings Captain, Prefect and Old Girls' Association Prize winner, Annabelle Traves has added another leadership string to her bow, winning the Convocation Medal for undergraduate leadership at the University of Sydney. Annabelle graduated last year with a BMus(Perf) and recently accepted a master’s position for solo violin performance at the Hochschule fur Musik und Tanz Cologne in Germany. At just 14, Annabelle was part of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Rising Stars Program and her star has continued to rise through her remarkable talent and incredible work ethic. Congratulations, Annabelle!
During these times of isolation, a number of our ensembles have enjoyed putting together innovative performances that have engaged students in group music making whilst at home. Encorah had been learning a piece entitled The Schuyler Sisters from the acclaimed musical Hamilton prior to the school moving to online learning. Hamilton is a musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the USA, and incorporates contemporary music styles such as hip-hop and R&B. Many of the girls in the choir were keen to continue learning the piece and have collaborated, with their conductor, Ms Stephanie Taylor to put together an online performance. Thank you especially to Ms Taylor for editing the video and making this experience available to the girls. Please click here to view the performance.
St Margaret’s Spotlight
This week, we are featuring Valletta Hutchins (Year 6) on St Margaret’s Spotlight. Valletta is performing Waltz of the Flowers by Russian composer Pyotr Llyich Tchaikovsky with the performance available for viewing on the St Margaret’s Music POD page. Valletta is currently working toward her Grade 3 exam. She also plays the viola and guitar and this year is our Primary Strings Captain. Thank you Valletta for your contribution!
Over the next few weeks and months, sport will continue to look different as per the Return to Play – Guide for Queensland sport, recreation and fitness industries.
Stage 1, which commenced on 15 May and concludes on 12 June, is only intended for informal and unstructured physical activity and training. Therefore, St Margaret’s will be using this time to carefully plan a return to structured training and possible competition in Term 3. Further information regarding Term 3 sport has now been released by QGSSSA and is on the POD.
Metropolitan North Cross Country @ Home
A large group of students, across all age groups, have been participating in an individual and team Cross Country race whilst at home against schools within the Metropolitan North Region. It has been encouraging to see girls engage with this initiative from Met North and I look forward to releasing the results over the coming weeks.
Year 11 Design - online learning with guest presenter, Kirsti Simpson from Hassell Studio
During our time of online learning, the Year 11 Design students are grateful for Kirsti Simpson’s guest presentation during our MS Teams lesson. Here is what 2 of the class of 20 students had to say about the experience:
From Kirsti Simpson’s visit today, I have gained knowledge on her global outlook of the design world and her view in creating a timeless, evolving space which tells a story for people to enjoy. She focused on what Hassell does in preparation for their project, which included the use of different aspects of design capturing their brief and delivering something amazing and aesthetically pleasing. I especially enjoyed listening about the many global projects she has undertaken, including work with big companies such as Nike, Ovolo, Google, pop-up festivals and more.
My Design class were lucky enough to have a virtual presentation from Hassell principal, Kirsti Simpson. We gained valuable insight on developing innovative design solutions for clients that want to make change in workplaces and community precincts. Her commentary was relevant to our upcoming assignment of creating our own laneway, as we are required to consider all the common users of laneways and provide a useful take on the high-quality design that inspire growth for the existing and new businesses. We are very grateful for Kirsti to be able to spend time talking to our class about her previous and current projects through Hassell’s design response.
Your P&F are now on the POD!
The P&F Association is a vibrant, active and committed group of parents who support school events and take carriage of key signature events throughout the year, which serve to bring the community together while also helping to raise funds for the school.
You will find the new P&F Association page under your POD ‘Groups’. The page can also be viewed by clicking here.
This will allow for future updates on meetings, events and volunteering opportunities to be communicated directly to you through the POD.
Milestone Reunions 2020
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Reunion Weekend that falls in July will be hosted under the revised format on the 18, 19 and 20 September this year.
Although Government restrictions allow gatherings of up to 100 people from 10 July, due to the social distancing measures which need to be complied with for events, the best course of action is to reschedule the Reunion Weekend. These social distancing measures significantly limit the number of attendees we are able to host for reunion events.
It is our hope that by September, there will be a little more flexibility in the restrictions, enabling more of our past students to attend. Please see below the revised dates and format for each of the reunion events:
Friday 18 September
Class of 2010 - 10 Year Reunion, 6:30pm–9:00pm, Dinner
Class of 2000 - 20 Year Reunion, 6:30pm-9:00pm, Dinner
Saturday 19 September
Class of 1990 - 30 Year Reunion, 12noon–2:30pm, Luncheon
Class of 1980 - 40 Year Reunion, 12noon–2:30pm, Luncheon
Sunday 20 September
Class of 1970 - 50 Year Reunion, 12noon-2:30pm, Luncheon
Class of 1960 - 60 Year Reunion, 12noon-2:30pm, Luncheon
If you have already purchased a Reunion ticket via the Flexischools platform, this ticket will of course remain valid for the revised September date. In the event you will no longer be able to attend, a full refund can be arranged. Please contact the St Margaret’s Development and Community Office on: +61 7 3862 0768 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange this.
OGA Chapel Service and High Tea
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 social distancing requirements, the OGA Chapel Service and High Tea which is hosted on the Sunday of the Reunion Weekend, is cancelled for this year.
What’s new this week in Careers…
Year 13 EXPO Register here
Full Day Interactive UCAT Workshop - LIVE ONLINE
7 June 2020 (Sunday), 10:00am-6:30pm AEST (filling fast)
Parents are invited from 4:30pm onwards
Conducted by 2 of the NIE's Senior Teachers. Click here for more information about the program's structure.
Free Student Webinar (Years 10 and 11)
Topic: The Steps, Obstacles and Formula for Gaining Acceptance!
Date and Time: Sunday 7 June, 1:00pm (AEST) Register Here
Sign up today for this free online event! Delivered by current medical students, this event covers acceptance requirements, strategic admissions tips, information about applying to medical school and insights about life as a med student. Date: Saturday 23 May 2020, 1:00pm, AWST Register here
Talk it through with a USC student
Your students can get their uni questions answered by chatting online with one of our students, Monday to Friday, 10:00am to 5:00pm. TALK WITH USC
Queensland School of Film and Television
For a full list of the 2020 workshops available at the QSFT, visit: QSFT WORKSHOPS.
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