School Response & Updates: COVID-19

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A Message from the Associate Principal - Middle School

Welcome to Middle School in 2020

A warm welcome to all Middle School students, parents and staff at the start of the 2020 school year and a particular welcome to those who are new to our school community. The first half of the term has been busy and productive as students settle into their new classes. We have enjoyed a number of school events including the New Student Orientation day, auditions for the School musical production ‘We Will Rock You’, CAS sports trials and matches, Camp and Peer Mentoring for Year 7 students, the House Swimming Carnival and the Bush Fire Appeal Charity Day last week. Students also participated in the first event to celebrate the School’s twentieth year with the Smoking Ceremony in Week 2. There has been a very positive and enthusiastic atmosphere in the Middle and School and it has been pleasing to see the focus and diligence demonstrated by so many students in their classes in the first weeks. I encourage all students to maintain this positive start and keep working to achieve ‘personal excellence with compassion for others’ during the remainder of year.

Pastoral Care and Supporting Student Learning

As you will be aware, the School has made some adjustments to the Pastoral Care System and structures to provide a more consistent and coherent approach from Year 7 through to Year 12. Our House system remains a central part of the pastoral care in the School with House Tutors being the primary point of contact for parents with general questions or concerns, followed by the respective Head of Year. Thank you to those parents who braved the storms of last week to attend the Parent – Tutor evening and to meet their child’s House Tutor. For those unable to attend, please contact your child’s Tutor who can answer any questions you may have and also provide a copy of the PowerPoint presentation with details of the information covered. As always, should you have any questions or concerns regarding a particular class or subject, please contact your child’s class teacher followed by the appropriate Head of Department. Communication is a key part of the three-way partnership between the student, parent and teacher and it is important both students and parents contact the relevant member of staff if there are any concerns or matters that require attention.

Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

Year 9 students experience two significant changes to their classes from Year 8 as they enter their final year in the Middle School. Firstly, classes in the ‘MESH’ subjects of Mathematics, English, Science and Humanities are ‘streamed’ accordingly to their academic ability based on the end of Year 8 results. Students have been placed in either ‘Advanced’, ‘Standard’ or ‘Modified’ Courses which have been designed to meet the appropriate level of challenge for students. Movement between courses can and will take place during the course of Year 9, subject to results from assessments. It is important for students to strive to achieve their best as the academic standards, expectations and requirements rise in Year 9, including their first experience of formal examinations, and to ensure they are progressing well academically. The second change is the commencement of elective subjects in the Arts (Visual Arts, Music, Drama, Dance) and Technologies (Design Technologies and Digital Technologies) Learning Areas with students having the ability to select their preferred areas of study. Students were provided an opportunity to request changes to elective classes (subject to a place being available) until the end of week 3 and the classes are now confirmed. A reminder that the selection process for Semester Two elective courses will take place at the start of Term 2.

Year 8 students have also experienced some changes to classes in the practical courses within the Arts Learning Area and the Technologies Learning Area. The School has introduced smaller class sizes in these particular courses to provide an enhanced learning environment with more space to complete the practical components of these courses. For Year 7 students, the big challenge of Term 1 is to adjust to their new learning environment with changes in courses, classrooms, teachers and ways of learning. We have been pleased with how the year group have settled in and the positive start they have made. It was fantastic to see so many Year 7 students and parents attend the Planning and Organization workshops coordinated by Mrs Barber and we are confident this will assist students as they adjust to the academic demands of Middle School and the increased expectations of working independently outside of the classroom.

NAPLAN Online 2020

In 2020 the School will complete the NAPLAN assessments online for the first time. Preparation, planning and testing of the school’s ICT infrastructure commenced last year and further testing will occur later in Term One as we prepare for the actual tests in Term 2. We are fortunate to have a high-quality ICT network and systems at the School and are confident that we are well prepared for the tests which occur in Term 2. Further information will be sent to students and parents in coming weeks and is also available on the ACARA website:  https://www.nap.edu.au/naplan/parent-carer-support

I would like to wish each and every student and their families well for for an exciting, rewarding and enjoyable year ahead.

Mr Richard Alchin
Associate Principal Middle School