From the Deputy Head of Middle School

Spring Is In The Air

The days are getting warmer, the daffodils are blooming, lambs are appearing, and when the sun pops out there is some warmth to it. And this year we have the added bonus of the Olympics to help us get that extra bounce in our steps.

You can certainly feel the extra energy around the Middle School. There have been two big fundraising efforts this week – one to aid Legacy and the other for the Ponheary Ly Foundation in Cambodia. On the sporting front, the Year 7s were all run and jump at their special Athletics day on Saturday, netballers spent Monday scoring goals at the Victorian Schools Championship, and many students are looking forward to the Winter Sport Presentation Evenings tonight. If that’s not enough action, we also had the William Carey Assembly yesterday, and the Semester 2 round of Parent Student Teacher Interviews on Monday. Year 9 Geography students are off on a field trip today, and a small group of students attended the Junior Academy conference to discuss everything from animal rights to Aristotle and Plato.

Without a shadow of doubt, the biggest source of energy is the return of the Year 8 students! Whether it has been walking in Hattah’s beautiful environment, learning to throw a boomerang, watching cows being milked, or using the Shop Ethical App in a local supermarket, the Year 8s have engaged in a very unique and educational program. You will be able to read more about their adventures in next week’s newsletter, and their individual reflections will be sent to you later in the term.

With all this energy buzzing around, it’s a great time to make a fresh start and to set some goals for the remainder of the year. While subject-specific goals need the input of teachers, this is also a good time to set some home-based goals. Maybe your Year 8 student should be cooking dinner once a week (after all, they did look after themselves for a whole week!), or maybe it’s now time for Year 7s to take on the responsibility of looking in CareyLink and finding out for themselves where their Saturday Athletics meet is taking place, and maybe Year 9s really need to start allocating extra time to homework tasks now that they have chosen their Year 10 subjects.

I urge you all to sit down with your child and work together to set some achievable goals. Of course there is much more to it than setting the goals. You need a strategy. The discussion needs to be about HOW the goal is to be achieved, what behaviours are going to need to change, and how to stay motivated. Our Australian Olympic team has many great role models. As a family it is fascinating to sit down and listen to some of these highly talented athletes being interviewed. They talk strategy, commitment and determination all the time. I encourage all families to sit together and enjoy the races, but also take time to listen to the athletes – it’s a great learning opportunity.

Spring is also a great time for a bit of a spring clean. Middle School teachers have been reviewing our assessment and reporting processes. We have been discussing the number and types of assessments set at different Year levels, the ways we give feedback and how effective that feedback is, and the place of rubrics and the learner profile in our continuous reporting model. Rural camp leaders have also had the opportunity to review their camp and its program. I would also welcome your comments on both assessment and reporting, and on the three-week Challenge and Choice program. Please email your thoughts to or contact me on 9816 1484.

Finally, I would like to thank you all for your help with your child’s subject choice preferences for 2017. It is such a big task to focus students towards next year when we are only in August!

Meredith Plaisted
Deputy Head of Middle School – Student Learning