From the Head of Middle School

One of the great joys of being in the Middle School is the overwhelming feeling that we are part of an inclusive and supportive community. Although we are all very different, most of us see the best in each other and when we deviate from this we have wonderful community members who support us getting back on track. Term 2 can traditionally present some real challenges: colder weather (perhaps not as cold as a few years ago thanks to changes in the climate), key assessment tasks and reporting, the novelty of the new year is over, and the fact that it can be dark and foreboding before we even get home – this can conspire to make the term a difficult journey. When times are tough, what usually gets us through are the people around us that make us feel good and I am so lucky to work in a community that you don’t have to travel too far to get a sympathetic ear, supportive advice, a laugh, a distraction, or a solution. Seeing the best in people is such a wonderful trait to have, there is nothing better than being around an ‘energy giver’ rather than an ‘energy taker’. As significant adults in kids’ lives, it certainly helps if we can be a big part of the solution to challenging times – not the cause.

We have a very busy couple of weeks with NAPLAN, Literature Festival, Happiness Week, Winter Sports Day, the Robinson River trip, and many other things. When families and students are juggling all these things, the following processes work really well:

  • connect to the moment – be mindfully present when you are engaged in an activity or with someone
  • be involved – actively involve yourself in activities, be proactive and get things done
  • be prepared – be organised, have the things you need to make things happen, plan, plan, plan
  • be creative – use lists, diagrams, idea maps, thinking tools
  • be strong – dig deep, courageous, persistent and positive.

A reminder that NAPLAN continues this week for Years 7 and 9. From early observation, students appear comfortable undertaking the tests and this will lead to the collection of useful data on the Year 7 and 9 cohort’s performance, and individual students can also get a snapshot of their progress. Another useful aspect is that the majority of Year 9 students had the opportunity sit the tests under examination conditions in the MGH, which is a good experience for future examination periods – sitting still and quietly with 200 peers focussing on the same task is certainly not a usual experience. We will use the data we receive later in the year to analyse Year 7 and 9s, as well as the individual growth, and use this as a tool for further program development.

Community Service is a hallmark of the Carey experience and certainly supports our values of caring for others and contributing to those in need. The Year 9 C-Change Community is a big part of our outreach experiences in the Middle School journey. Across Year 9, there are groups supporting a wide variety of organisations, foundations and charities. The object of this project is three-fold:

  • to enable students to make connections to an issue of interest and create awareness of the needs of others
  • to develop an event plan on how that awareness can be shared
  • to support kids in developing planning and project management skills.

There are some wonderful events and activities planned for the next six weeks, and the project will conclude towards the end of term. Thanks to all who have contributed and provided assistance to these activities, events and efforts.

Music Camp
Our musicians – both staff and students – had a wonderful and productive weekend of enthusiastic and energetic music learning on Music Camp last weekend. We look forward to enjoying the fruits of their practice later at music evenings and events throughout the term. It is always wonderful to hear how music in Middle School is flourishing – I especially enjoyed the choral evening last week, to see so many students display such beautiful vocal skills and talents was terrific.

Michael Nelson
Head of Middle School