Term Two, Week Four - 22 May 2020
Message From the Principal

Message From the Principal

I was thinking that this article might be a COVID-19-free space! But it’s very hard to do! Our whole lives have been put on hold, from the way we work, learn, socialise, shop and where we can go. Now as we begin to see a return to “normality”, as a College, we’re asking what we’ve learned, how we can integrate it into the new or ‘next’ normal of College life.

We are at a crossroads – we can run back to “business as usual” or forge a new path forward. This post and next I’m going to explore some of the big learnings and the questions we’re now asking as a College.

  • Learning can happen anywhere, anytime
  • Successful online learning needs a teacher to design it carefully
  • Learning independently is a vital skill for all students; some students have thrived but it has been a real struggle for others.
  • Students have loved that they’ve been getting more sleep!

  • Questions – What would happen if we allowed older students to work from home one day a week or extended our school day to allow greater flexibility?
  • Could we shift some of our learning into the online environment to give our students more freedom and autonomy?
  • If students can find out anything they need to online, how can we “power-up” the skills students need to learn independently?

  • Students have had time to focus on other “life skills”
    • How do we build lifelong dispositions, attitudes and skills?
    • How can we build more real experiences into our learning?
    • How can we break down the four walls of the classroom?
    • How can we draw in external experts and take our students out into the real world?
This experience has reaffirmed how important schools and teachers are in our community and in the lives of our students, but there are things about the structures we could change to make learning more powerful. Whilst digital technology has been around for a long time, this emergency has pushed us to rapidly evolve digital learning. As the ancient Chinese proverb says: the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second-best time is now. It’s not too late.
Mrs Megan Hastie – Principal
Head of Junior School

Head of Junior School

We’ve been anticipating the ‘bust out’ for a while, and now it’s here. An easing of restrictions, schools are now returning to full time attendance, and there’s a different landscape for doing life together. We’re breathing a sigh of relief, but making sure there’s 1.5m between us grownups as we do.

Something else is getting a ‘bust out’, and that’s the Kindergarten rooms. This week there have been tradies removing windows and installing sliding doors in a section of the western side of the classroom. This allows the class to experience a different landscape – a large outdoor area connects to the classroom. The area will be a courtyard with synthetic grass and rubberised surface, garden beds and seating. Eventually we will install a new covered learning area.

Our Prep outdoor learning space is also at final planning stage, ready for completion in the next few months. This will create a wonderful amphitheatre that offers better protection from the winter winds.

As we return to full time attendance for all classes next week I ask you to get your morning and afternoon plan all set. What time for pick up and who will be there standing in front of the car are essential agreements to make for all K-6 families. Bus travel and Camp Australia are back to normal as well. Please let the class teacher know about the arrangements. I will be there (along with class teachers on a roster) every afternoon and most mornings to help make the drop off and collection smooth and safe.

Mr Andrew McPhail – Head of Junior School
Head of Senior School

Head of Senior School

Turn negatives into positives

Growing up in the 90’s I revered Michael Jordan as an incredible basketball player and athlete. Whilst I followed Jordan, basketball wasn’t where my gifts lay. I didn’t have the finesse or the silky shooting and ball skills required for the game. I’d get fouled off the court in most games I played!

In July of 1993, Jordan’s father was murdered. The event caused him to question his career and all that went along with it. Unexpectedly, Jordan retired from basketball during his prime to play Major League Baseball. My mates and I couldn’t believe it but still expected him to dominate in baseball too. However, the experiment didn’t really work out. After a year and a half he returned to basketball. The experience did teach him a lot about himself and basketball. He had even greater success upon his return! When speaking about the death of his father to a reporter, Jordan spoke about one of his more famous quotes, “my dad always taught me to turn a negative situation into a positive situation, and that’s what I decided to do.”

While our negatives might be better or worse than someone else’s, no one is immune to negative things happening in their life. Look no further than the coronavirus and the mixture of experiences we’ve had. As we now consider the future, we are encouraging our students to look past some of the hardships they may have experienced and grasp the positives associated with their learning. Some of these positives may not have been apparent at the time to students, because learning by yourself can be hard as you need to motivate yourself and can’t rely on others to help as much. You’ve also got to keep yourself on track and work to solve your own problems with limited help.

It may be the development of an improved attitude of persistence, a better ability to focus, an increased sense of personal responsibility for learning or perhaps greater willingness to adopt more guidance and direction from teachers and tutors. I am without doubt as a result of this situation, which no one wanted, students will have developed some learning dispositions at an earlier stage of their life than they might have otherwise. 

Mr Peter Gibson – Head of Senior School
Chaplain

Chaplain

I’ve always loved team sports. I could run around for hours chasing a ball (cricket, football, soccer, I don’t care!). Ask me to go for a run for fitness’ own sake, and there’s no chance of it happening. I love the idea that different members of the team bring different skills. I love the idea that together we are greater than any one individual. I love the idea that there is someone else alongside me who can make up for my own mistakes! 

The same can be true of any community. At our best, we look after each other, encourage each other, help one another to grow and show grace to each other. As we re-enter a more normal phase of school community next week, it’s a good time to pause and consider the kind of community we want to be. And what part we each play in creating it. 

The Bible has a couple of foundational ideas that shape a Christian view of community. Firstly, relationships will often be hard, because we are all flawed people. Living together is hard, because we’re not perfect people. Secondly though, there is good news. God loves imperfect people (us!) so much that he sent Jesus to die for us. Christian communities should be places where those who have experienced God’s grace and love, live out that same grace and love towards others. 

May the transition into on-campus learning be smooth and joyful for your family. May each of us come to understand the grace God has shown towards us through Jesus, and may we find in Jesus the power to embody that same love towards each other.
Mr Dan Odell – Chaplain
Prep News

Prep News

Prep have enjoyed being back together on Mondays and Thursdays. Our home corner has been transformed into a tea and cake shop and has been busy with happy, hungry customers. This week our children helped to make chocolate play dough cupcakes to add to our ever expanding menu! It has been wonderful to have the sounds of busy and engaged children in our classroom once again. 

Mrs Belinda Hardie – Prep Teacher 
Junior School News

Junior School News

Stage One Explore The 13-Storey Treehouse

Stage One enjoyed reading the first two chapters of the 13-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton. In this story Andy and Terry live in an amazing treehouse with crazy and inventive rooms. Stage One brainstormed different rooms they could design for a treehouse. They worked on creating their own room by carefully sketching, outlining and colouring. Some of the rooms designed included the stunt room, the sport room, the elephant room, the pet paradise room, an underwater aquarium room and the pillow room (Mrs Luke’s favourite for reading). Mrs Luke, Mrs Eagleton and Mrs Downes were very impressed with these young, creative Stage One designers. 

Mrs Helen Luke – Teacher Librarian

 

Kindergarten create ‘Stickmen’ and ‘Stickladies’

Kindergarten have enjoyed InitiaLit picture books being read by their teachers and uploaded to Seesaw during remote learning. This week, Stickman by Julia Donaldson was loved by all. Children then used their imaginations to create their own ‘Stickmen’ and ‘Stickladies’ to take them on their own adventures…stay safe Stickman!

Mrs Rebecca Scarratt – Kindergarten Teacher 

 

Senior School News

Senior School News

Students make creative modifications to their Duke of Edinburgh activities during COVID-19 pandemic

Students undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – Australia have taken the initiative to creatively modify their activities for community service, physical recreation and skill development due to the social restrictions imposed by COVID-19.

Tijana – Silver Award, Year 10 “As I am unable to assist in the junior school library, when I go for a walk around my neighbourhood (places like parks and grass areas) , I collect any rubbish I find with gloves and a plastic bag, disposing of the waste in the bin.”

Ava-Elise – Bronze Award, Year 9 “As I am unable to wash ambulances due to COVID-19, I will be making baked goods and sending them to the local ambulance stations for the frontline health workers.”

Lily – Bronze Award, Year 9. “Instead of netball coaching I’ve been going around helping my great grandparents and my other grandparents with things they need.”

Ashley – Bronze Award, Year 9 “For my physical recreation, instead of basketball training with my team at the basketball stadium in Shoalhaven, I have been doing shooting practice with the ring in my backyard and doing off-season fitness and strength training.”

Mitchell – Bronze Award, Year 9 “I have been able to continue guitar practice as I’m able to do it over Skype instead of going to my teachers house. For swimming, I have turned to going for a swim in the backyard and going for walks. For my library service, I have been using time I would usually be in the library to read books and send reviews to Mrs Brown once I’ve finished them.”

Dylan – Bronze Award, Year 9 “As I can not train with my soccer team, I have been doing training at home including ball drills, beep tests and 5km runs in and around Killalea State Park. With no games to referee, I have been studying the laws of the game online with tests from approved websites.”

Kieran – Bronze Award, Year 9 “I usually help out in the library by putting away books, tidying up the shelves and sorting out the board games. As this is not currently possible, I am reading different books and writing reports on them. The most recent book was called ‘Stung’ by Bethany Wiggins.”   

Thomas – Bronze Year 9 “As I am unable to help out at the library due to Covid-19 I have decided to bake sweet treats for my Mum’s work. She works at Greenacres which provides services for people with disabilities. She will be able to supply them with some yummy snacks and cakes.”

Mr Nathan Alterator – Duke of Edinburgh Coordinator

Year 12 VET Hospitality back in the Kitchen!

It was wonderful to have Year 12 VET Hospitality students returning to the kitchen for practical lessons! This week we practiced the cookery method of stir frying while making crispy beef with bok choy and noodles. Welcome back Year 12, we have missed you!

Mrs Sarah Young – VET Hospitality Teacher

Year 12 Chemistry back in the lab!

Year 12 practical work, investigating the solubility of alcohols with increasing carbon chain length.

Mr Sven Barter – Coordinator of Science

Congratulations to the 2019 Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award recipients
These students have completed various activities that involved a physical recreation, a skill, a service to the community and two outdoor expeditions. 
 
Mr Andrew Brown – Silver Duke of Edinburgh Coordinator 

Well done Jacob!

Year Eight Technology have been investigating different types of materials and using the laser cutter to prototype their jewellery box design out of recycled cardboard boxes. They were given the opportunity to continue their investigations at home through the design and manufacture of a seat using recycled cardboard boxes. Congratulations to Jacob Turnbull on his fantastic creation!

Mrs Meegan Knight – TAS Teacher

 
Library News

Library News

Stage Three Energy Poster Making

After several weeks of researching renewable energy sources by Stage Three students both at home and at school the students were ready to present their learning. Stage Three selected their best information and created detailed draft posters. They then published their work to help others learn about the energy source they had researched. Mrs Luke and the Stage Three teachers were very impressed with the finished posters which were both informative and visually appealing.

Cow Drawing in Junior Library

In Week Three Prep Blue enjoyed being back in the library together and meeting Mrs Luke’s cow called Enid. They loved reading Too Many Pears by Jackie French and Belinda by Pamela Allen. We then discovered how to draw a cow. Mrs Luke was very impressed with how well Prep listened to the very tricky instructions. The finished cows were very beautiful and colourful.

Mrs Helen Luke – Teacher Librarian
P & F News

P & F News

Next Meetings – Monday 27 July and Monday 23 November in the Administration building.

Everyone is welcome to join us in the meetings. We chat about raising funds and friends within the College Community.

The College executive also share about upcoming events and how the P&F can support the College vision. 

Pre-Loved Uniform Shop

The Pre-Loved uniform shop will be open every week on:
 
Monday – 8:30am to 9:30am
Tuesday – 8:30am to 9:30am
Friday – 8:30am to 9:30am
Due to social distancing and convenience appointments are necessary. Appointments are every 15 minutes or you can book a 30 minute appointment. Please note that all sales are CASH only.
 
Appointments – susandifazio@gmail.com
 
College Notices

College Notices