Head of Campus Update – 22 February 2018

Welcome back! Over the past month the students have settled back into the routines of school life and have settled happily into their new year levels and new responsibilities. The Year 8 and 10 students have learned more about themselves and each other during their Outdoor Education camps (see reports below) and the Year 9 girls have learned a lot about the city of Melbourne after their 2 week City Experience.

This year we welcomed some new staff into the school, each with their own unique backgrounds and teaching experiences. We welcome;

Ms Linda Shardlow –Director of Staff Learning and Research and Math teacher
Ms Karen Dreher – My Summit (Aspire) teacher

We welcome back Mrs Janine Dissegna (Biology and Science teacher) and Ms Annabel Williams (AFL trainee and alumnae – Class of 2017)

From BGS we welcome;

Mr Laurie McDonald – Head of Digital Technologies and IT teacher
Mr Simon Powys – Physics and Maths teacher

And returning from maternity leave, we welcome back;

Ms Danijela Draskovic – Maths and Science
Mrs Mary Clare Terrill – English and Humanities
Mrs Bronwyn Huisintveld – Maths and Humanities
Ms Katrina Matthews – English and Humanities

We also welcomed home our students who went on the Thailand Service trip and our exchange students who spent their summer holidays in England and Scotland. Jessica Elfick, Naomi Drego, Clare McCurdy, Hannah Ramsden and Yebin Yang all enjoyed their time boarding at Queen Margaret School in York while Ruby Graziano and Keely Stickley had a fabulous time attending St Margaret’s School for Girls in Aberdeen and living with their Scottish exchange families.

It was with great pleasure we received the Year 12 student results at the end of 2017. Nineteen percent of the students received an ATAR of over 95 placing them in the top 5% of the nation, 43% obtained an ATAR over 85 (top 15% of the nation) and 57% received an ATAR of over 80 (top 20% of the nation).

Congratulations to Sophie Li who was dux of the class of 2017 with an ATAR of 99.85 and who achieved a perfect study score of 50 in Physics. We were pleased to welcome Sophie back to school assembly where she shared some of her tips on how to succeed in VCE. These included;

  • Balance your study with things you like to do. Relaxing is important so make sure you give yourself breaks in your study
  • Work hard and work smart. You need maximise your learning in minimal amount of time so stay away from your phone, social media and other distractions while you study and direct your full attention to your work. Smart studying means being strict with time
  • It is more important to be engaged in classes than taking notes. Being engaged and involved in class will help you have a deeper understanding. You can get the notes or powerpoint from your teacher later
  • Be willing to ask questions. Your teachers are there to help you so talk to them!
  • For students in younger year levels, work hard now to master the skills which will give you a strong foundation and confidence when you embark on VCE

We thank Sophie for sharing your wisdom with the students and wish her all the best in her combined Engineering/Law Degree at Monash University.

Many of the tips Sophie shared in her talk also appear in the new SMS and BGS Learning Behaviours which were unveiled this year. By now all families should have received a letter from the school which outlines the learning behaviours we will be encouraging, assessing and reporting on from this year. These Learning Behaviours will be embedded in assessment tasks and classroom activities.  Teachers will assess students on a growth continuum and communicate the growth through feedback to students and reports to parents. The new Learning Behaviours are;

Self regulation – ability to ‘own’ their learning. The ability to foster positive work habits and commitment to learning in order to meet the demands of the subject.

Communication – ability to express oneself with authenticity and confidence. The ability to process and interpret information

Collaboration – the ability to influence and empathise with others, and to evaluate, analyse and incorporate the ideas of others.

Openness to Learning (Risk Taking and Resilience) – the ability to be flexible and adaptable in thinking and attitude. Understanding the importance of exploring and experimenting and to work positively through times of failure.

Critical and Creative Thinking -the ability to ask the right questions. The ability to rethink and think anew. The ability to approach tasks with curiosity and imagination.

In her presentation at school assembly, our Deputy Head (Teaching and Learning) Ms Judy Taylor noted ‘Queen Margaret was someone who made a significant impact on her society.  So these behaviours are in the DNA of the school anyway.  A link to the past, embedded in the present and a path to the future’.

We are embarking on a busy couple of weeks in senior school and I would like to remind you of a few very important events.

A reminder that Friday 9 March is a student free day where the staff will be engaged in their professional learning program.

Other regular Term 1 student activities include Running Club which trains before school every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, HPV spin training before school every Tuesday and Friday, Aerobics training Fridays 3.15 – 4.30, Cheerleading training Thu 7.00am – 8.10am and Yoga on Wednesday mornings. The 2018 School Production of Return to the Forbidden Planet is also well into its rehearsals and we look forward to enjoying the shows on 23 and 24 March

Mrs Fiona Williams
Head of St Margaret’s Senior School