Assistant Principals Term 3 Update: Important Messages for Stages 4, 5 & 6

Education is not a race to be won. It is a journey where every step and every day counts, and the end point never actually arrives. Kathy Walker

Stage 4

There has been quite a lot going on for students in Stage 4 over the past weeks.

Year 7 students participated in Medieval Day last week, culminating a term’s work on medieval religious practices, literature and history. Students had a wonderful day re-enacting medieval entertainment and other practices. Students’ academic assessments due this week will be an opportunity for them to showcase the knowledge they have developed about this important period of history.

One important focus for Year 8 students this term has been their opportunity to choose elective subjects for Years 9 and 10. Students have been invited to participate in ‘Mini-Bites’, a series of lessons that reflect the elective subjects. Final choices for Stage 5 electives need to be made via the online portal by September 7, 2017. Most students have confirmed their options, but please check this with your son or daughter. All students and parents have already been invited to discuss subject choices with Ms Refalo or Mrs Swift. If you missed out on an opportunity for a discussion and would like to do this, please notify Ms Refalo.

With regard to students’ uniforms, member of the school community are reminded that students should wear their sports uniforms only on days when they have PACT sport or physical PDHPE lessons. The winter uniform, which looks smart and is well-tailored, is worn on all other days.

Stage 5

All parents of students in Year 9 have now received their NAPLAN reports. Please take the time to read through this report to see how your child is performing in the two key learning areas of literacy and numeracy. These tests provide an important measure of how all students are performing against national standards. Within the NAPLAN reports all Year 9 students will have also received a supplementary report outlining if they have met the minimum standard of literacy and numeracy to receive the HSC in 2020.

As explained in earlier newsletters, all students need to score a Band 8 or above in reading, writing and numeracy tests by Year 12 to qualify for the HSC.
Those students who have already achieved these standards in the recent NAPLAN tests have pre-qualified for the HSC award. Other students will be able to meet the standards by passing new, short, online reading, writing and numeracy tests when they are ready in Year 10, 11 or 12. Students will have many chances to meet the standard and no student will be prevented from achieving their HSC due to their Year 9 NAPLAN results. These 45-minute tests will be sat at school and are different to NAPLAN tests. The reading and numeracy tests will include 45 multiple choice questions and the writing test will require students to respond to a question based on a prompt or stimulus.

The Stage 5 students completed their examinations over the past few weeks and are now receiving their results. Many students are achieving pleasing results and showing good growth standards. Please start the discussion with your son / daughter regarding these results. Throughout the year students have been receiving feedback from their teachers about your assessments. But are they making the most of this feedback? Many students are too focused on what mark they received and neglect to make the most of the feedback they are given. Once you receive the examination back, what was the specific feedback that you received? Here are some starter questions that you can sit down with your son / daughter and go through with them.
• Which areas do you need to ask for help on as you still don’t understand?  
• Are there sections of your study notes that you need to re-do?
• Which questions from your test paper should you re-do? Re-do them!
• Should you re-write any questions or essays and re-submit?
• Was there any revision work you did not complete before the test?
• What changes do you need to make in the way you study for that subject next time?
• Did you plan ahead to give yourself enough time to revise?

With regard to students’ uniforms, member of the school community are reminded that students should wear their sports uniforms only on days when they have PACT sport, physical PDHPE lessons or elective lessons. The winter uniform, which looks smart and is well-tailored, is worn on all other days.

Stage 6

The quote from Kathy Walker is particularly pertinent for our Year 12s who are nearing the completion of their secondary education. Those who will achieve success in the HSC and beyond, are not necessarily those who have the highest IQ or those who are ‘training’ for the exams but those young men and women who can see the bigger picture, who see the HSC, in whatever form it appears for them, as just one step in their life-long learning adventure. The next two weeks will be busy ones for Year 12. They may become consumed with the end of school activities, such as Terra Sancta Day, their Graduation Mass and Ceremony, the formal. But amongst the frivolities many will be feeling a sense of grief and uncertainty as they come to terms with the reality that after the celebrations and the examinations, is a world they may only have imagined.

We keep Year 12 in our prayers as they complete this step of their journey and ask that God holds them in the palm of His hand.

Meanwhile, Year 11 have completed their end of Preliminary Course Examinations. They will receive a change of subject form in the coming week on which they will indicate the subjects they do not wish to continue and/or course level changes for the HSC. This process will be explained to the cohort at their next assembly. For the most part, Year 11 students will continue their current pattern of study.
On receiving their Preliminary Examination results and feedback, they will need to take time to assess their current learning strategies and reflect on the practices that enhanced or inhibited the achievement of their best. This is a fundamentally important process for success in the HSC year.

Finally, as you know, it is an expectation of the College that all students be at school by 7.55am and in Homeroom by 8.00am. Unfortunately, there has been a growing number of Year 11 students who are late to school without valid reason. Despite multiple restorative conversations to change this behaviour lateness continues to be an issue. As a number of students have been unable to manage their time and meet these College expectations, a penalty will be imposed to make up the time missing by being late to school. Parents and caregivers should have received a personalised letter outlining this policy.

Thank you for your continuing support of your child’s education and the College.