The Middle School Centenary Assembly, the Drone photo, the whole school Commencement Service and the staff social have all been exemplary and wonderful examples of an inclusive and diverse community at its best. I have no doubt that the upcoming Centenary Fair will be equally successful and a powerful community builder.
Much of our focus so far this term in Middle School has been based around welcoming new students and teachers into our fold and to set the tone for our community for the years ahead.
Teachers have been working towards making students feel safe and ready to learn in the classroom. Learning names and finding time for an informal chat have been high on the teachers’ agenda as are some informal class activities which have encouraged interaction between the students themselves. In many cases, students have completed formative tasks so that teachers know what concepts to target to maximise learning and reaching that delicate balance between not too easy and not too hard. Classroom routines and seating plans have been set so that students know what to expect and what boundaries they can push!
The traditional calendar events have seen our students broadening their friendships and developing an understanding of the scope of our community connections. Playing APS Saturday sports, splashing and stroking in the House swimming, enjoying sensational musical performances in assembly and participating in casual clothes day charity fundraisers. We know that these activities remain in the minds of our students for years to come, and it is often the case that parents hear more about these than classroom activities.
To ensure that students are not just a ‘face in the crowd’, these whole Middle School activities have been complemented with a variety of year level community builders.
We were thrilled to welcome over 200 grandparents to the Year 8 Connections afternoon. Students and their guests appeared to thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to share some time together and participate in a classroom lessons ranging from French conversation, to Bunsen burner flames to extension maths. Year 9 C-Change students have already been off campus and using their initiative, team work and orienteering skills through Jells Park. Of course, many Year 7s have already headed off to Camp Toona, its beautiful beaches providing the perfect space to find a friend.
In even smaller groups, our Leaders and Academic award winners and their families have enjoyed morning teas to celebrate their successes. Our English As Additional language students have had some special workshops spending time to get to know each other and our Canvas learning management system.
Many students have also joined some of our boutique CRASH clubs. Carey Social and Recreational Hubs operate during lunchtimes and have become quite the place for students to find their tribe. Classic Chats, Anime, E sports and Movie Club all have about 20 regular attendees and we love that Creative Writing Workshops and History club have their regulars too. We have over 15 CRASH clubs operating each week, helping students connect and feel that they belong to a community.
Of course, the upcoming Parent Teacher Interviews are another way for students, parents and teachers to feel part of a dynamic learning community. These begin next week on Tuesday 14 March. As these are online, classes finish after period 4 so that all involved can get home before the first interview.
Maybe not a celebration, but certainly an annual community event, NAPLAN begins on Wednesday 15 March for all Year 7 and 9 students. Restarting laptops the night before is recommended.
I hope that you and your family are feeling part of the Middle School community. Please let me know if I can help in any way.
Deputy Head of Middle School – Student Learning