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Beyond the Classroom
Development and Community
At the Parent Information Evenings at the beginning of the year, I spoke about the importance of developing students’ executive functioning and self-regulation skills. The skills enable us, as adults, to function effectively in society. They allow us to be effective in our planning, focus our attention, remember instructions and deal with competing priorities. They help us set and achieve goals and control our emotions and impulses.
Everyone benefits when children have the opportunity to develop executive functioning skills. As we all know children are not born with these skills, just the ability to develop them. Home and school work together to assist in their development. This is usually done by establishing routines, modelling positive social behaviour and having reliable and supportive relationships. Over time, schools encourage greater responsibility and independence in their students. When we do this, we are really giving students more opportunity to exercise their executive functioning and self-regulation skills. Students can do this because right from infancy they should have received the scaffolding required to grow their skills incrementally.
According to the Centre on the Developing Child at Harvard University, these skills require three types of brain function: working memory; mental flexibility; and self- control.
Working memory allows us to retain and use information.
Mental Flexibility helps us to sustain or shift attention in response to different rules, settings or demands.
Self-control enables us to set priorities and resist impulsive actions or responses.
Those who coped best with online learning at home were those who were well and truly on their way to developing these skills.
Last week, I had the opportunity to walk around the Sports Precinct site in my pink St Margaret’s hard hat. It is a huge area and I am excited about so many things I saw there, but particularly, the rock-climbing wall. Below is a picture of me with said pink hard hat standing in the pool!
With two weeks now behind us with most students back in the school, all staff and students are relishing the time back in the classroom to consolidate the work that our students did online at the beginning of term.
With our students on the verge of entering a heavy assessment period, many students are also spending more time on their school work at the moment. A good study schedule maintains steady progress towards academic goals through adequate time allocation throughout the course of study (and not just leaving it all to the end!).
Feedback is one of the most powerful influences on student achievement. It is important for students to access feedback through the various means we have available. Some of their courses of study offer drafting feedback if they are undertaking an assignment. Teachers give feedback in classes about homework tasks or set activities. Students also have access to continuous reporting comments that can help inform them on improvements they can make for subsequent assessments.
The influence of feedback only works if students use that feedback for future development or maintenance of their work. We encourage students to engage with this feedback within our Academic Advising and Form classes, in order to inform specific goals for improvement. Now is the perfect time to revisit those goals to inform their study habits moving into assessment.
The gift of Hope
Desmond Tutu said, “Hope is being able to see there is light despite all of the darkness”.
Having hope does not mean we don’t suffer or face extraordinary challenges. Hope allows us to see that glimmer of light even when there is darkness. Gardeners understand this hope. When planting seeds, there is hope that what has been planted will germinate and grow into a plant. The seed is planted into the deep dark soil. There is no light, yet even in the darkness something is happening, something is germinating even if it cannot be seen. However, one does not plant the seed then just leave it, we tend it by watering and caring for it.
When we may be facing our own darkness, somehow there are glimmers of light within darkness. It may be someone trying to reach out to us, a kind word, or even just noticing something special. After time in the dark soil, the seed germinates and gradually makes its way towards the light. There is excitement when new growth comes to the surface. Nature has a way of demonstrating to us that there is always a glimmer of hope, even if we may not see it.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
In last week’s eNews, Head of Senior House (Boarding), Gracemere Mataia described the St Margaret’s community as resilient. In addition to this I believe the St Margaret’s community has shown itself to be extremely flexible. The definition of flexible is capable of bending easily without breaking. Given the way Term 2 has unfolded, all members of the school community have shown how flexible they can be. In Boarding, the House Mothers have taken on extra duties to ensure all health and safety protocols are being followed. The girls themselves have graciously accepted the measures introduced to keep them safe. Boarding parents have been understanding of the new rules in place and are thankful that we are looking after their daughters’ wellbeing in this ever-changing environment.
Almost two weeks ago we welcomed Boarders from Years 7 to 10 to our additional Boarding accommodation at Albion Manor. Again, the Junior and Senior House Mothers based at the Manor have shown their flexibility in being able to adapt to a new location and make the Manor a warm and comfortable space for the girls to live. The Boarders staying at the Manor, and their parents, have been flexible in supporting this alternate accommodation as an extension of our Boarding House. The girls are loving the spacious rooms and the relaxed and warm atmosphere provided there. The success of this accommodation, in addition to all the changes implemented in the last three months in Boarding, have been made possible by a number of departments in which we work closely. The St Margaret’s Facilities, Transport, Catering, Laundry and Health Centre staff are all wonderful support to the team in Boarding and assist us to be flexible in the face of constant change. It has been a true team effort.
Year 10 SET Plan interviews
Thank you for supporting your daughters through the SET Plan interview process over the past few weeks. I enjoyed meeting many of you and look forward to working with you throughout the next two years. Most of the girls have completed their interview; however, due to some student absences some interviews will continue next term.
Tonight (Thursday 4 June), we will hold our online Parent Information Event to support the Year 10 girls to finalise subject choices for 2021. I will be providing information about the new Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) system, the Australian Tertiary Rank (ATAR) Subject Scaling and the Subject Selection process. If you are unable to attend this online event, copies of the PowerPoint presentation will be available on the Year 10 POD page.
Year 11 subject changes
Students considering a subject change in Year 11 should make an appointment with me to discuss their options. When considering a subject change or dropping to 5 subjects, it is important to remember that all subjects increase in difficulty in the senior years, so persistence and hard work are needed in all subjects to improve. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss a change during Week 1 of Term 3.
Due to interruptions to assessment as a result of COVID-19 throughout Semester 1, the Academic Assembly due to be held on Tuesday 14 July has been cancelled. Many students have had major interruptions to their assessment, and we can’t calculate GPA’s in a fair and balanced way. We are continuing to work with reporting data to calculate GPA’s for the End of Semester 1 Report Cards; however, due to missed assessment some GPA’s will be calculated with missed assessment. If you have any questions about this, please email me.
Nicole Devlin and I often get requests from day parents to assist them in finding tutors to help their daughters on an individual basis. As a school, we do not provide tutoring services or names of tutors outside the Supervised Study Program and subject-based tutorials run by staff during break times or before and after school. The best option for parents looking for past students who are external tutors are to contact them directly.
Years 9 and 10 Study Hall
Years 9 and 10 students will again have Study Hall. Year 9 Study Hall will take place on Wednesday 10 June and Thursday 11 June. The Year 10 Study Hall will take place on Monday 8 June and Tuesday 9 June. These days aim to assist the girls in learning valuable study skills as they move toward preparing for the external exam process in their senior years of schooling.
On these days, Year 9 girls will complete their Maths and STEM Exams, while the Year 10 girls will complete their Maths Exam and French and Chinese Speaking Exams. Alongside these exams, the girls will be provided with the time to practise good study and review habits. During the non-exam time, they will have the chance to meet with teachers to ask questions and check for understanding as they go over concepts for their upcoming assessments. Each student has been encouraged to devise a study plan for the days to assist them in managing their time effectively.
We hope these days will provide the girls will valuable time and lessons about how to prepare for exams, as well as provide us with feedback to continue to support them on their journey.
The internet is a very powerful tool when used appropriately. Over the last couple of months with our world being turned upside down by COVID 19, our students are evidently spending more time online. The E-Safety Commission has reported that 90% of parents believe their child does benefit from being online. However, 60% of parents have also acknowledged there are certain risks involved with digital usage. These risks include accessing inappropriate content, contact with strangers, excessive use, reduced physical activity, sharing personal information, being bullied, feeling isolated, displaying negative self-image and being exposed to viruses, scams and fraud.
At St Margaret’s, teachers have regular conversations regarding these risks with the girls. However, I do encourage parents to also have these conversations at home. St Margaret’s students can find more information about cyber safety on their Year Level page on the POD. While I recommend parents to access this information on the POD Parent Resource page for tips on how to work with your daughters and their internet usage, you may also be interested to visit the following link which outlines the parent statistics regarding students digital participation: https://www.esafety.gov.au/about-us/research/digital-participation/kids-online-parent-views.
I am sure many parents would agree that avid reading was a bonus of online learning. For the school, it provided us with the opportunity to redesign the Primary Library. No doubt your daughter has told you about these changes, which include a casual reading area, non-fiction books leading into our ‘research room’, large tables which allow for collaborative learning and better use of the bench seat. Our new library assistant, Mrs Stephanie Gillan was busy rearranging whilst also running the ‘drive by’ library. Thank you to Mrs Gillan for her commitment in overseeing this massive task come to fruition. I can’t wait for parents to see this updated space, especially the entrance console which displays our three donated bronze sculptures, including ‘Sisters’: a sculpture generously donated by our 2019 Year 6 students.
Our Accelerated Reader (AR) Program provides us with evidence of the amount of reading that has occurred in Years 3-6 during the past months. AR is an online program which assists teachers to manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Each student undertakes a range of reading assessments to ascertain their best fit reading level and then selects books from the Library at her level. When the book is finished, students take a short online quiz which provides teachers with information about how well students have comprehended the text. With over 32,000 AR quizzes available, books in our Primary Library have been levelled and colour-coded to assist the girls in selecting a book which they should be able to be read without frustration or loss of motivation. Books are also assigned points based on the length of the book. Students earn points or a portion of a book’s points depending on how well they do on the reading quiz. Therefore, the program is not about the level, but rather the number of books read and so it is not useful for a student to be on the wrong level. Picture books are also levelled; I would encourage students to access these from the new AR picture book trolley. Reading these allow students to read lots of short stories, check comprehension and increase words read more regularly.
Over the upcoming weeks we will acknowledge, at our Millionaire Readers Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, 30 girls who have read over one million words. Whilst we do acknowledge these readers, the program is about competing with oneself. Congratulations to all girls for reading a total of 43,989,635 words so far this year. Positive encouragement of good reading habits from teachers and parents far surpasses discussions focused on reading levels and colours. Teachers will monitor each girl’s reading and provide guidance for book selection. Year 6 girls are also able to visit the Secondary Library on Monday–Thursday between 7:30am–5:00pm and on Friday, 7:30am–4:00pm.
Parents can best assist by ensuring their daughter reads each night (the diagram below highlights the reason) and they continue to read aloud to their daughters to model fluent and expressive reading, as well as to instil a love of literature.
Rehearsals for the remainder of Term 2
With the Qld Premier recently announcing a change to the number of people who can meet together, music rehearsals are now able to be held in groups of 20. Conductors will be communicating with families/students via the Music Newsletter/POD any changes to the current schedule.
St Margaret’s Spotlight
This week, we are featuring two alto saxophonists in St Margaret’s Spotlight. Elise Castley (Year 6) is a member of the Chaseley Concert Band and is currently working towards her Grade 2 AMEB exam. Elise is performing “House of the Rising Sun”. Anastasia Esler (Year 8) is a member of both the Jackson Wind Ensemble and Sister Helen Wind Symphony and is currently working towards her Grade 3 AMEB exam. Anastasia is performing “Bachelor Girl”. Thank you to both Elise and Anastasia for their musical contributions this week.
A return to sport is at the tips of our fingers and it has been a wonderful sight seeing girls engaged in small groups for conditioning sessions throughout the school grounds, in preparation for their Term 3 sports.
Registrations for all Term 3 sports are open and we request all girls to sign on by Friday 12 June. The links to all registration forms can be found below:
Athletics: Athletics Registration Form
Hockey: Hockey Registration Form
Netball: Netball Registration Form
Rowing: Rowing Registration Form
Tennis: Tennis Registration Form
Volleyball: Volleyball Registration Form
All trials and trainings sessions have been scheduled for Term 3 (except for Volleyball) and details can be found on the information sheets pertaining to each sport on the Secondary Sport POD page. Please note, due to the evolving situation these trainings sessions may change. If changes do occur, St Margaret’s Sport will endeavour to communicate this as soon as possible.
The BSRA released a statement last week affirming its commitment to the resumption of Rowing. To read the full statement, please click here (PDF 112KB). Jared Bidwell, Head of Rowing has mapped out a return to Rowing across stages 2 and 3 for girls in Year 8-12. For all the details, please access the Secondary Sport POD page or email Head of Rowing: email@example.com.
Private Speech and Drama Tuition – Semester 2 New Enrolments
The Private Speech and Drama Program has limited vacancies in some year levels for Semester 2. If you would like to enrol your daughter for Speech and Drama lessons commencing next term or would simply like some information about the program, please contact the Coordinator on 07 3842 0750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
June/July School Holiday Program - Bookings now open - secure your spot!
The school holidays are just around the corner and we can’t wait to show you the fun-filled and exciting activities we have planned for our June/July School Holiday Program. Further details of the program can be found here (PDF 496.5KB). Boys and girls, siblings, friends and family welcome!
Bookings for the St Margaret’s OSHC June/July School Holiday Program has opened. If you require care for the upcoming school holiday period, please return your booking form by 12 June 2020.
How do I book?
Complete the official booking form attached to the program. For further details, please email: email@example.com.
What is the cost?*
Early Bird Fees: $60 per day
Early Bird Bookings close: 5 June 2020
Fees: $65 per day*
Bookings close: 12 June 2020
*Incursions and excursions incur additional costs. These are compulsory for all students and therefore you are able to claim CCS.
What are the hours of operation?
The service is open from 7:00am until 6:00pm.
How can I obtain more information?
If you would like further information regarding our OSHC Program or if you would like to make a booking, feel free to contact me on 0423 547 653 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copies of our special 125 Year edition of the Flyer magazine are landing in post boxes this week. We hope you enjoy this wonderful issue which has been put together in celebration of a very special, and different, year.
We hope you enjoy seeing the amazing generosity of people coming to fruition in print through the Donor Impact Report section. Whether it be supporting bursaries to help members of our community during what is an uncertain time, the results of our Giving Day rounding out the Capital Campaign for the new sports precinct, or how our 2019 Foundation Prize recipient is making a difference to our farming community through a contribution to Drought Angels, kindness and comradery runs deep at St Margaret’s.
As you heard from our Principal earlier this week, we are confident the school will be able to take possession of the eastern and southern sides of the precinct (the tennis courts, sports gym and HPE building) at the end of July, then the pool one month after that. It is the biggest construction project in St Margaret’s 125-year history and will make a tremendous impact on our students in terms of the delivery of our health and physical education curriculum and sports program, and the benefits to student wellbeing for generations to come.
We are most excited to see the precinct open to students later in Semester 2 and I would, once again, like to sincerely thank our donors who have contributed to help make this a reality.
What’s new this week in Careers…
Torrens University Interactive Online Workshop 22-25 June:
Virtual Careers Expo
The Virtual Careers Expo held on 7-8 May is now available online. With over 70 different exhibitors, students and parents have full access to webcasts, Q&A’s and resources across all participating universities and institutions.
Upcoming UCAT NIE Events:
7 June 2020: Live Online & Interactive Full Day UCAT Preparation Workshop (Years 10, 11 and 12)
9 June 2020: UCAT Verbal Reasoning 'Advanced Skills' Crash Course (Years 11 and 12)
UCAT and Interview Preparation Books
Comprehensive UCAT Online Preparation Platform
Complete UCAT Preparation Courses
Medical Interview Training
COVID-19 period support scheme: 20% off on UCAT Workshops and Courses
Discount Code: NIE2020SPRT
Details about the available UCAT and Interview preparation resources and services NIE offers can be downloaded via this link: Preparing for the UCAT & Interviews
Careers in Health
Tuesday 9 June, 4:00pm (AEST)
Join us for the JCU Careers in Health Webinar, presented by Professor Richard Murray. Be inspired by the wide range of career options available in the human and animal healthcare industries and have all your questions answered. Register here
Visit the Careers POD page 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