It is hard to believe that we are halfway through Term 1! As you read through the contents of this newsletter, you will see that there has been a lot happening around the College during the last two weeks. Our academic programs are progressing well and as I have been walking around the College it has been pleasing to see such productivity and positive engagement taking place in our classrooms. Academic learning extends beyond the classroom at MSM. Many clubs have recommenced for the year for example History Club and the dedicated members of the Writers Club who meet from 3.15-5.15pm on Friday afternoons. Breakfast Club Tutoring for students in Years 7-9 is available in the Innovation Centre on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings commencing at 8.00am.
Our cultural programs are well underway with the first Music Soiree for the year occurring last Tuesday night. There have also been lunchtime concerts performed by students on Tuesday and Friday this week. The various Dance Ensembles, including Liturgy Dancers have commenced their rehearsals. Urban Sketchers and Yarn Club have also commenced their lunchtime meetings.
Our sporting program is also well underway, although the wet weather over the last couple of days has delayed some activities. The modified swimming carnival at the Valley Pool was an event filled with MSM Spirit. Congratulations to our Age Champions!
The above list is not exhaustive, but there are so many opportunities for MSM students to get involved.
Year 12 Theme Launch
Congratulations to the Year 12 students on their successful theme launch at Assembly on Tuesday. They have selected a fantastic theme for 2022 “Take a Chance”.
MSM exists because Mary Aikenhead took a chance that was inspired by her deep faith and strong belief in Divine Providence. The publication “Ministry of Love. The Story of the Sisters of Charity”, tells the story of how the sisters arrived in Australia.
During a visit to Ireland in 1836, Australian based Bishop Polding had spoken to Mary Aikenhead about the work that she and her sisters were doing to alleviate poverty in Ireland. Conscious of the ever-increasing needs of those in the penal colony of New South Wales, Bishop Polding approached Mary Aikenhead requesting that some of her sisters come to Australia and help women convicts. With the support of Dublin’s Archbishop Murray, Mary Aikenhead asked for volunteers and the first five Sisters of Charity arrived on the ship Francis Spaight, in Sydney on New Year’s Eve 1838.
These pioneering sisters started works in health, education and social services. Resourcefulness, persistence and collaboration were key. Many of the sites and facilities that they worked tirelessly to fundraise, maintain and expand remain open under the care of others. Healthcare for people who were sick and poor and education as part of social reform were an intrinsic foundation of their work. (Achikian 2018: 18-19)
We have inherited an incredible legacy here at MSM that has been built on a pioneering spirit inspired by role models of strong, resourceful women. We need to embrace our heritage and continue to evolve our story. I challenge our students during 2022 to “Take a Chance” and respond to opportunities that come your way this year.
In faith and love
This skill will assist all students with their internal and external assessment tasks, particularly in subjects that have an external examination worth 50% of their final result (Mathematics and Science subjects).
Undoubtedly the single biggest change the QCE system has brought about is the way that students are now assessed. While the new assessment regime prioritises quality over quantity, the reduction in the number of assessment items comes with an extended period between each assessment item. The impact for students is that they must remain familiar with concepts and understandings over a longer period. When external examinations take place at the end of Year 12, some subjects will assess content from Units 3 and 4, meaning students will need to be able to retrieve content learnt more than 12 months earlier.
Retrieval Practice is a study technique described as a ‘memory recall challenge’ for the brain and tests what students can easily retrieve from their long-term memory when asked to write down what they can remember about a particular topic. An example of how a student can put Retrieval Practice into action may look something like the below:
Retrieval Practice works best when it forms part of a larger study program involving regular spaced practice, where students consistently go back to check their class materials and familiarise themselves with previous learning. There is no doubt Retrieval Practice is difficult, however, research indicates that the brain learns best when it is forced into discomfort and the work is not too easy. Retrieval Practice allows students to easily identify the concepts that are not yet in their long-term memory, and they can then target their attention to learning that material.
One of the benefits of the QCE system is the reduced quantity of assessment for students, however, this does bring the additional challenge of having more content to retrieve. I encourage all students to be building up their study notes as they learn across the term, rather than play catch up when the examinations get closer.
Attendance at School
Regular attendance at school is critical for your daughter’s learning and development. If your daughter is going to be absent during the term, parents need to request approval for this absence in writing from Ms Volp. While the value of a family vacation is accepted, as is the occasional need for attendance at events in term time, priority must be given to regular school attendance. This is particularly the case if your daughter’s absence will involve missing end-of-term assessment
There are circumstances that arise where your daughter can apply for an extension to an assessment deadline. Please note that, as per QCAA guidelines, family holidays during term time are not valid reasons for an extension. If your daughter falls behind in her studies, generally through illness or misadventure, then she is entitled to apply to modify her assessment deadlines. If your daughter feels that she may need to negotiate her deadlines, then I strongly encourage her to have a conversation with either Ms Lilley, Program Leader Middle School, for students in Years 7 – 9 or Ms Howe, Program Leader Senior School, for students in Years 10 - 12. Ms Lilley and Ms Howe are in the best position to ascertain whether your daughter will meet the requirements for adjustments to be made. Please note that any request must be made at least 48 hours before the due date.
Absences when assessment is due
If your daughter is absent on a day when she has an assignment due, your daughter is still expected to submit her assessment digitally using the process required for the specific subject. If your daughter is absent on the day that she is scheduled to sit an examination, please note that she will be required to complete the examination when she is back at the College either in a catch- up session during the school day or at a curriculum catch up on Thursday afternoon. Students will be expected to complete their missed examination as soon as practicable.
The MSM community has long been held in high regard for the education it provides and the calibre of principled young women who make up the alumni. When a product, such as education becomes recognised by characteristics, colours and style it is ostensibly a brand. The appeal, value and longevity of that brand is contingent on the protection of its image and integrity. The MSM brand has been built and strengthened by nearly 100 years of young women. It is a brand that offers appeal to employers, tertiary institutions and future families. In essence, the Mt St Michael’s brand offers success and standing by association. Despite not always recognising this, our students are deeply privileged to be granted an MSM education and a lifelong membership to the community. As with all privileges, responsibilities are in accompaniment. I have challenged our students to remember both their opportunity and ability to protect and strengthen our brand. I look forward to a reenergised approach from our students in wearing the uniform that sets them apart as a Mt St Michael’s girl with pride, from Panama hat to perfectly polished shoe. To our parents and caregivers, thank you for being inspired enough by the decades of MSM tradition to make your daughter a part of it. We appreciate your support in ensuring the continued legacy of our brand is nothing short of exceptional.
Friday 4 March - Photo Day
Friday 24 March - Year 7 Immunisation
On Monday 21 February MSM was able to run a modified swimming carnival that saw our finest sporty spices battling it out in the pool. While it was a different carnival that sadly could not involve all students this year, the day was still a fantastic display of house spirit and swimming talents.
Thank you to all the staff that attended the day, and all of the fantastic students that participated and made it the special day it was. We look forward to the “second part” of the swimming carnival, our house spirit swimming day which will see each year level spend a period of class vying for house points at the MSM pool.
The Music Soiree 1 Livestream was a varied and exciting program presented by Year 12 Music and Music Extension IA1 Performances for their “Innovations” unit. They have been studying how “music traditions have been challenged, further developed or reconceptualised to represent, reflect and even shape cultural, societal and technological change”. Repertoire ranged through music theatre and popular song to flute, violin and piano solos. Many pieces were reimagined by the addition of unusual timbres, most especially the famous “1+1” piece by Philip Glass for amplified table. With the addition of a flanger pedal, the performer Isobel, made a truly extraordinary range of sounds with only hands and fingernails on what was basically just a plasterboard box.
Thanks to Mr Adam Watson for the extensive audio support and management of the livestream, and to Mrs Linda Statham for photos and assistance on the evening. Thanks to music staff Mrs Kaitlin Littlewood, Mr Joel Woods and Dr Michal Rosiak who were also in attendance accompanying some of the students. Many staff and parents have emailed in to say how much they like the livestream format due to the convenience of viewing in the comfort of their own living room. But as performers, we think that the ambience of a live performance event is hard to beat, and so we hope that for future Soirees in 2022, that we are able to welcome the community back to form a live and no doubt very appreciative audience.
Monday 31 January – Friday 1 April
Wednesday 20 April – Friday 17 June
Tuesday 12 July – Friday 16 September
Tuesday 4 October – Friday 18 November (Year 12)
Tuesday 4 October – Friday 25 November (Years 7-11)