- NAPLAN Practice Tests, Years 3 & 5 (Term 1, Week 9)
- Cross Country (Term 2, Week 1)
- 2022 Enrolment Tours and Information Night (Term 2, Week 3)
- NAPLAN (Term 2, Weeks 4 & 5)
Please remember that the term dates are different across the ACT this year. Our first term is only 9 weeks long. The middle terms are 10 weeks long and the last term is 11 weeks long. The first day of Terms 2 and 3 (19 April and 12 July) are both pupil free days for professional learning for staff. Students do not attend school on these days. OSHClub will be available.
Please go to our school calendar on the website or SZapp for more details.
What an amazing amount of rain we've experienced.
We're keeping our neighbours in NSW in our prayers as they navigate the impact yet again of another natural disaster. Some people and communities have been hit hard with fires, COVID-19 and now floods on top of any other personal crises that may have occurred.
I am always in awe of the resilience displayed by any people who have been so consistently battered by crisis after crisis. It would take an enormous amount of psychological stamina and hard work to stay positive, optimistic and focused. It would be made easier in communities who respond with generosity and support for each other.
I'm a very faith filled person. I know that some other faith filled people would respond to a crisis with "I know that God has a plan" or "God only gives these trials to those who can handle it". I can see how this might give strength to some people at times, for a brief time. I stopped thinking this a long time ago, in the first few years after my daughter with significant disabilities was born.
God is not somewhere beyond us watching everything unfold with some kind of plan that we just can't understand. God is present with us. Our Catholic faith reminds us that every thing in our world finds its source in God. All Creation, the very Creation that we either connect deeply with or grind against, is the beautiful physical manifestation of our good, life-giving God. It has been for billions of years. We are part of that, 'made in the image and likeness of God'.
Knowing this, I don't need to know that God is 'out there with a plan'. I know that God is here, with us in the midst of all that is happening. God is present in Creation and all the people around me. They are the plan. I am the plan. We are the plan. That's why communities that support each other in crises have the greatest positive impact, because they are living the plan. The plan to be God's love for each other, to make present, here and now, God's love for the world.
One minor impact for us as a result of all the rain was our inability to hold our Kitchen Garden Working Bee last weekend. We are going to hold it again this weekend for anyone that can attend. Please do come along and help us on Sunday 28 March from 9.00am to 11.00 am. Children are welcome.
Attendance and absences
Next term our school, along with other schools, is moving to a new system for recording attendance. As we come to the end of the term teachers will be chasing up 'reasons for absences' for children if they haven't received an explanation for absences earlier in the term. This is a compliance requirement. Teachers must record a reason for absence.
Rebekah Brown has written more about school attendance below and the positive impact regular attendance has on student learning. I highly encourage you to read it.
At the end of this term I will go through the attendance records and be in touch with families if there are any patterns of excessive unexplained absences. I do this firstly to see if something is happening in a family that is making attendance or getting to school on time a challenge and some support is needed. Secondly, because absences, including lateness, has a cumulative effect on a student's learning at school.
Schools and families work in partnership. We put a great deal of time and effort into developing effective and impactful learning opportunities for students, starting at 8.50am. We really appreciate the ways that parents organise their family lives to ensure children are at school on time to make the most of that.
Pupil Free Day - Monday 19 April
Every Catholic School in the ACT is having a Pupil Free Day on Monday 19 April. This is to enable staff to continue undertaking the system wide professional learning program Catalyst.
No student is to come to school that day. Please make sure that you have arranged supervision for your child on Monday 19 April. OSHClub are open for bookings for the day and there are currently still places available.
This week, I am going to discuss the impacts of absenteeism on student achievement.
Teacher quality is the single most important in-school factor influencing student achievement (Hattie, 2009). However, the relationship between teacher quality is mediated by the amount of time students spend in the classroom. Irrespective of the reasons for absences, non-attendance affects students outcomes (AITSL).
Most Australian students attend school regularly, with 75% of Year 1-10 students attending at least 90% of school days. However, if 75% of students attend at least 90% of the time then the reverse suggests that 25% (1 in 4) Australian students are absent for more than 10% of school time, or 20 or more days. These students are missing at least a month of school over the schooling year.
Absenteeism (including regular late arrivals and early departures) have both academic and social impacts on students. It increases social isolation, including alienation and a lack of engagement with their community and peers. Attendance is also an important contributor to a student's overall academic achievement and all school days matter. The correlation between absences and achievement is consistently negative and declines in achievement are evident with any level of absence. "Although authorised absences and smaller amounts of absence were associated with only small declines in achievement, all absences count, and the impact of absence increases with the number of absences" (Hancock et al., 2013).
"Studies of chronic absenteeism (missing more than 10% of school days) show that absenteeism (regardless of the type), has a compounding negative impact on academic performance. As absences accrue over several years, the effect on a student’s academic achievement is cumulative. Hancock et al. (2013) found that Year 3 students with an accumulated absence rate of 10% in each of their first three years of schooling achieved approximately 36 points lower in Year 3 on the NAPLAN numeracy domain than students with no unauthorised absences during the same period. As students generally gain 100 points from Year 3 to Year 5 (Hancock et al. 2013), a 36 point difference is almost two thirds of a year’s growth in achievement that students with high rates of unauthorised absences fail to reach. This impact continues to be evident in further years as well" (AITSL).
Further information about the importance of attendance at school can be found Attendance_Matters.
Catholic Education (CECG) identifies the following levels of attendance:
- Excellent Attendance - 95% and above
2.5 days absence or less in a term or 10 absences over a year
- Regular Attendance - 90%-94.9%
2.6 to 5 days absence in a term or 10.1-20 absences in a year
- Emerging Absenteeism - 80%-89.9%
5.1 to 10 days absence in a term or 20.1-40 absences in a year
- Chronic Absenteeism - less than 80%
more than 10 days absence in a term or 40 absences in a year
Most of the above information has been sourced from the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership’s (AITSL) Spotlight Paper on Attendance Matters.
The Cross Country Carnival will now take place on Friday 23rd April, Week 1, Term 2.
If you are able to volunteer on the day, could you please fill out the electronic form by clicking on the link below.
Assistant Principal and Inclusion Coordinator
What are students learning about?
What the students are learning about
Year One had their very first assembly EVER today. Of course they had missed them last year due to COVID. They were spectacular! In particular their beautiful song about Being a Bucket Filler. Being a bucket filler simply reminds students to “fill” other people up rather than “empty” other people's buckets by hurting their feelings.
They sang like angels and read beautifully too. Well done Year One!
Catholic Life and Reflection
This week for staff prayer we have been led through some of the stations of the cross as preparation for Holy Week. On Wednesday morning we focussed on the sixth station, Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.
It had never occurred to me that this unplanned act of kindness would have been a surprise to the suffering Jesus. I imagine that the walk through the city, bleeding, humiliated and frightened would have been a blur of noise and heat and hate. Veronica’s simple act of kindness to wipe the blood and sweat from his brow would have been a significant contrast to the sea of humanity around him.
A gentle and important reminder that a simple unplanned act of kindness can greatly impact someone in their time of need. I would encourage you to watch this short clip from the Franscian order who began the practise of completing the Stations of the Cross as we know it today.
May God continue to bless all of our students and families.
Religious Education Coordinator
Notices from the Parish
Happy birthday to William B, Lucas M and Reedhee P who celebrated a birthday over the past week.
Please note that we ask students to not bring home made cupcakes to share with the class for their birthdays. This is a precautionary measure for health and hygiene. The Canteen offers a number of options to share with the class. Purchases can be made through the QKR app.
As we come to the end of a busy first term, we wanted to thank all our parents and carers for encouraging students to return their library books, read a wide range of books, and bring a library bag for borrowing.
This week, overdue notices have started going home and more will be sent home on Monday. Please check with your child if they received one. Thankfully, there weren’t too many overdue books. If you have lost a book, please make a payment of $8 via the QKR app and let us know via email.
Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge
The Easter holidays are the perfect time to pick up a book and we encourage all children to keep reading during the break. If they would like to add their books to the Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge, you can see the different categories at the link below.
For helpful tips to encourage your child to read and participate in the challenge, please follow the link below:
We have some lovely new books in the Library. Why not pick one up off our New Books display for the holidays?
E. Nesbit - A children's classic. "It" is a Psammead, a sand fairy which gives the children a wish a day. Their wishes bring much excitement but often a lot of trouble too.
B.B. Alston - A 12-year-old girl from the housing projects discovers her brother was more than he seemed...And so is she. Quinton Peters was the golden boy of the Rosewood City low-income housing projects, receiving full scholarship offers to two different Ivy League schools. When he mysteriously goes missing, his little sister, 13-year-old Amari Peters, can't understand why it's not a bigger deal. Why isn't his story all over the news? And why do the police automatically assume he was into something illegal? Then Amari discovers a ticking briefcase in her brother's closet. A briefcase meant for her eyes only. There was far more to Quinton, it seems, than she ever knew.
Amelia Mellor - Pearl and Vally Cole live in a bookshop. And not just any bookshop. In 1893, Cole's Book Arcade in Melbourne is the grandest bookshop in the world, brimming with every curiosity imaginable. Each day brings fresh delights for the siblings: voice-changing sweets, talking parrots, a new story written just for them by their eccentric father. When Pearl and Vally learn that Pa has risked the Arcade - and himself - in a shocking deal with the mysterious Obscurosmith, the siblings hatch a plan. Soon they are swept into a dangerous game with impossibly high stakes: defeat seven challenges by the stroke of midnight and both the Arcade and their father will be restored. But if they fail Pearl and Vally won't just lose Pa - they'll forget that he and the Arcade ever existed.
Zoe Foster Blake - Poor Finn is looking forward to drifting off to sleep in his cosy warm bed, when Mummy appears wanting a drink. Finn resettles her and has just fallen asleep, when he's woken again . . . this time by Daddy, who's had a bad dream. And so it goes. Just when Finn has one parent back to sleep, the other wakes up! When will these two sleep through the night?
Claire Saxby - An iceberg is born into spring and travels through the seasons before dying in a new spring.
Lauren Hudson (Teacher/Librarian)
Kirsty Vera (Library Assistant)
A reminder that payment for Year 6 camp is due Thursday 1st April. All outstanding payments need to be finalised by this date. Prompt payment would be appreciated.
If you need to discuss a payment plan please contact our finance officer Debbie Milne firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 6258 3592.
Managing anxiety before it becomes a problem
The president of Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA) recently highlighted the enormity of the anxiety problem that children are facing. A survey of primary schools across Australia conducted by the APPA showed that 80% of school leaders regard anxiety as a significant issue for children.
Research shows that childhood anxiety left unmanaged will almost certainly re emerge, highlighting the importance of early detection and management of anxiety. Parents, as first responders, play an important role by minimising the impact of stressful moments before they lead to full-blown anxiety. Here’s how they can help.
Recognise anxiety triggers
Recognising the events that trigger anxiety is the first step in helping a child to manage their stress. Rapid or unpredictable change, new social situations, unfamiliar events and difficult experiences are the most common anxiety stressors for kids.
Know how it shows
Stress and anxiety show in many ways however most children display anxiety behaviours that are unique to them. Typically, anxiety shows through physical signs such as chest pains, nausea and headaches. Anxiety can be observed through behavioural clues such as avoidance of activities, aggression, concentration difficulties and constant fiddling and movement. Worrying, overthinking and catastrophising are also common in children who experience anxiety. Knowing how anxiety shows in your child will alert you to respond appropriately with support and understanding.
Give kids tools to manage their states
Once anxiety is experienced it never truly disappears. It’s always there in the background. Anxiety needs managing so kids can get on with their lives rather than become overwhelmed by stress and worry. Providing children with tools to manage their thinking, emotional and physical states prevents anxiety from becoming debilitating. Management tools such as deep breathing, mindfulness and exercise as well as techniques to help kids distance themselves from their anxiety-inducing thoughts help them minimise the impact of stress.
Help them understand how anxiety works
Children who understand what happens in their brains and bodies when they are stressed are better able to manage their anxious states. Providing children with a thorough knowledge of how anxiety works and how it shows empowers them to push their worries into the background while they get on with their lives. Managing anxiety takes practice, but it’s absolutely essential if children are to flourish rather than become overwhelmed by stress and worry.
Stress and anxiety have accelerated with the impact of the pandemic. The growing rate of anxiety is no one’s fault, however it does mean that parents need to become more knowledgeable about how anxiety works, how it shows and how you can help your children.
Michael Grose, founder of Parenting Ideas, is one of Australia’s leading parenting educators. He’s an award-winning speaker and the author of 12 books for parents including Spoonfed Generation, and the bestselling Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It. Michael is a former teacher with 15 years experience, and has 30 years experience in parenting education. He also holds a Master of Educational Studies from Monash University specialising in parenting education.