From the Principal Newsletter

EP9 | Newsletter

Principal’s Message

Anthony Elmore, Principal
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Teaching and Learning Update

Emma Bailey, Assistant Principal Learning & Development and Year 11 Students Charlotte, Eva and Evie
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Pastoral Care Update

Cassandra Massey, Assistant Principal, Catholic Identity and Mission
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Anthony Elmore, Principal TRANSCRIPT:

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Hello, Anthony here from the college and welcome to our next episode of our college newsletter.

We’ve had a wonderful few weeks here at the college since we last spoke. It has been wonderful for us to be able to welcome so many new members of our community for our college Principal’s Tours. And whilst in this unusual time that we still have, with our COVID restrictions in place, we’ve still been able to welcome so many people to come and experience the St Michael’s community. And it’s been a really great opportunity for our students to be able to showcase their talents, our staff to showcase what it is to be a member of the St Michael’s family.

And so I encourage our families, our community to still talk to their families, friends and let them know that our Principal’s Tours are back in operation and enrolments for 2021 and 2022 and for 2023 are open now. And so, we would hate for anyone, particularly our current families to miss out, and so if you contact Kris, our enrolments officer, we would love to hear from you over these next few weeks.

For our 2022 families, large numbers of enrolments already, and we’ll be contacting you directly shortly to arrange for those interview processes to be completed.

This week, we had a visit from our Senior Leader, Martina Millard, and it was a really great opportunity for us to sit and have a look at the progress and performance of St Michael’s community. And your sons and daughters really are the heart and soul of what is happening here at the college.

For us to spend the day examining the progress and performance of the college based on what it is that we’re providing for your daughters, for your sons, in learning and teaching, in facilities and in the co-curricular and sporting activities.

I was so proud to be able to sit with my team and go through and look at what wonderful opportunities, and to showcase the great achievement that your daughters and sons have been producing here at the college. I look forward to being able to share more of that information with you over the coming weeks.

You would have received information from the emails from Brisbane Catholic Education about the Brisbane Catholic Education Listens survey. This is a survey that happens annually with all schools within the Brisbane Catholic Education system. I encourage you to take the time to respond to that survey. As you know, here at St Michael’s, we are committed to continuous improvement, and when families take the time to complete that survey, that gives us that opportunity to take on board information that is provided for us to improve the service that we can provide to your daughters and sons and to you, our very valued families.

It was lovely last week for us to spend time with families at our family and community engagement evening – and what great engagement we had. What you’ll see as a flow from that particular meeting, we heard from families asking some wonderful questions, and particularly, and something that really resonated for me when I think of my own daughters and son, how can we as parents support our children in their study habits?

It’s easy for us as parents to sit at home when our kids come home in the afternoon and say, “Time to do your homework or time to study.” But what are the practical steps that we use to support our children? We heard from our parents the other day about that. And so the learning and teaching team is putting together a full program of support for families. So, how do we as parents support our children? So, we’ll be looking to bring in some guest speakers directly aimed and targeted at parents. So, as parents, how do we support our children? And so keep an eye out for that over the next few weeks and months as well.

It was lovely for us to be able to spend time this week with our Year 12’s as part of their Year 12 retreat program. Of course, with everything that’s happened this year, we weren’t able to go and spend three days away together, but we had that wonderful experience together in retreat.

Our Year 12 students, watching them journey across their time here at the college, and they have grown and developed into outstanding young women and men, young women and men that their parents would justifiably be so proud of. A great experience for them to learn and understand how to experience retreat in their lives, how to recognise and see the face of Jesus in the ordinary and the everyday. I love the occasion. And so that was a wonderful opportunity to spend with those Year 12 students.

Our Year 11 leadership process is continuing and towards the end of this week, we will be able to announce our 2021 college captains. I acknowledge all of the young people who put themselves forward through that process and I look forward to going through the final interview stage with those students, and then that announcement time. So, I thank those young people and acknowledge the families that have supported them through that particular process.

Looking ahead on the 4th of September, and you will see later in the newsletter, Emma Bailey will talk about it in her learning and teaching update. On the 4th of September, we have a pupil free day and that’s all schools across Queensland having a pupil free day to support the confirmation endorsement process and to support a time where all teachers can get together and ensure that we are constantly looking at the quality and consistency of learning and teaching. And so we’ll remind families as that date draws near.

And finally, I wish all fathers and those in the community who fill that role a very happy Father’s Day for the first Sunday in September. You might be looking at this initially and thinking, “Oh, he’s jumping the gun a little bit there.” But we won’t have another newsletter before that time. We certainly hoped to be able to acknowledge Father’s Day in our traditional way, by having our Father’s Day morning tea. But as we saw with Mother’s Day this year, with the current situation and the COVID restrictions, we had to change the way that happened and the celebrations occurred here at the college. And so that is probably how things will happen again and you’ll receive information from Cassandra Massey, our Assistant Principal, Catholic Identity and Mission. But I wish all fathers and those that fill that role in the community a very happy Father’s Day. And I hope as a community, you all have the chance to sit and acknowledge and have a wonderful occasion on Father’s Day this year.

I thank you for your ongoing support of the college, for your support of our young women and men, our students who are the heart and soul of the school. Not every day is rainbows and unicorns, but with our young people, the decisions we make as parents to support our young people, as teachers, as role models, our young people, they are here because they’ve been loved into existence. They are the face of Christ for us every day and every day we will nurture and support them. And I thank you for your ongoing support and your trust in us as a community to support your young people, so they can exceed their potential, they can live into their brilliance and excellence that we know that they have.

Have a wonderful week. Thank you.

Teaching and Learning Update – Emma Bailey, Assistant Principal Learning & Development and Year 11 Students Charlotte, Eva and Evie TRANSCRIPT:

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Emma Bailey: Good morning, I’m Emma Bailey, and I’m the Assistant Principal for Learning and Development here at St Michael’s College.

At the moment, we have some really important events happening in terms of learning and teaching. In particular, our students that are entering Year 9, 10 and 11 in 2021 are currently undertaking their subject selection processes.

So, our students that are entering Year 11 in 2021 have been engaging in that set planning process and have been meeting with their mentors and having really important conversations about their future and about their pathways.

The draft lines for these cohorts will be published and made available to students at the beginning of term four, once some of that data has been analysed and put in place.

I’d also like to provide an update with regard to the QCAA confirmation event, which is coming up on Friday the 4th of September and Saturday the 5th of September. This also coincides with a pupil free day, which is happening on Friday the 4th of September.

This provides teachers with an opportunity to engage in that confirmation event with QCAA, and also provides an additional opportunity for teachers to engage in professional learning at the college as well.

After that confirmation event has taken place, the students’ results for their second internal assessment will become available, and this will be early in term four as per the QCAA guideline.

Students in Year 12 will be able to access the result for this second internal assessment through their myQCE account, and this will include their grade or result out of 75 for most subjects, and out of 50 for the maths and science subjects. That’ll happen early term four as per the QCAA timeline.

Our Year 12’s have been engaging in a study afternoon on a Thursday afternoon, where they are being supported in developing study plans as they prepare for their final assessments, which take place from week three of term four.

To further support our students as they prepare for this final assessment period in term four, we’ve also engaged a motivational speaker who will come and speak with our students at the end of term three.

Our Year 11 students during their study period on a Thursday afternoon are engaging in becoming more familiar with their knowledge in the application of the cognitive verbs.

This week is science week, and here at the college we’ve incorporated a number of different science activities to really highlight the importance of engaging with and having an understanding of science. And I pass on for you a message from our Head of Science, Miss Julie Miles.

Miss Miles has put together a fantastic variety of activities for students to be engaged with. Some of these have included looking at rainbow milk, which looks at surface tension, guessing the sounds that the bells are making and justifying why, and a huge variety of activities. And from these activities is an opportunity for students that have engaged to win some fantastic science prizes, including things like VR glasses.

We’ve also had six of our classes and teachers engage in a national project, which has enabled them to share their data and be involved with schools from all across the country, a fantastic opportunity to get involved with.

In addition to this, other fantastic work that’s been happening around the college includes what’s happening in our Year 11 Health class.

I’ll leave you now with Charlotte, Eva, and Evie, to speak more about this and to give you more details.

After our unit on body image, we were really shocked to see how much of a concern body image was within our community, and we wanted to encourage everyone that our friends and peers, which are normally the main causes for bad body image, would now be supporters and promoters of positive body image.

Yeah. So after we did the surveys, we’ve got to do another survey and then report all our findings back to the individuals. And then with the videos that have been playing in Pastoral Care each morning, and then also the posters that we made, I think it would be a good way to promote that.

Yeah, and it’s really good to see how we can educate staff and students on all the various issues surrounding body image and how they can develop individual skills and create more of a supportive environment, and overall just accepting and more positive in school. And it increases their focus and engagement, not having to worry about it anymore, since we’re reducing the stigma surrounding body image amongst teens.

Emma Bailey: There’s so many opportunities here at the college in relation to learning and teaching. So many different pathways and options for students to be involved in. As we’ve just heard from our Year 11 Health students, the way that they are engaging with their learning is fantastic to see.

It’s also important that we acknowledge students that are going above and beyond, so students like Cody and Damon who have recently completed their Griffith Engineering University first course as well.

So, congratulations to all of the students who are getting involved and really taking advantage of all of the opportunities here at the college. I wish you all the best.

Pastoral Care Update – Cassandra Massey, Assistant Principal, Catholic Identity and Mission TRANSCRIPT:

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During this term, we’ve had students participate in the Year 8 reflection day, the Year 11 leadership day, and the Year 12 retreat day. Students in Year 10 will participate in a day later in this term.

The Year 8 reflection day led by Dave Jorna, was well received by the students who participated. The students were engaged in exploring identity and how they can have a positive influence on the lives of others, and also reflecting on how the gospel messages are alive and relevant in their daily lives.

The Year 11 students were led by Bernie Kelly through a day focused on leadership. The day encouraged all students to be leaders in 2021. They identified projects that were important to them for further exploration.

The Year 12 retreat day was an opportunity to provide an experience for the students to explore their journey through life and into the future. One of the key messages for the day was to remind the students that they are all loved by God and they are not alone in this journey.

All the Year 12 students who participated in the day, responded well concluding the day with the Eucharistic celebration led by Father Peter. It really was a lovely experience.

Thank you to all of the students who have approached these days with an open mind and actively participated in the activities, allowing them to grow in the love of God.

You will have received an email from me about the BCE Listens survey. The survey aims to help the school and system leaders better understand the views and experiences of key members of the community, that is the parents, the staff, and the students.

If you have not received a link to participate in the BCE Listens survey, please feel free to contact me. Thank you.