From the Head of School
Mrs Erica Thomas
Over the last few weeks there has been considerable media attention in three main educational areas:
- The second Gonski report (Gonski 2.0)– that calls for a review of education and increased focus on “evidence- based” policy both in the measurement of individual students and the effectiveness of different teaching practices. This report was commissioned by the Federal Government with the aim of finding pathways to educational improvement.
- The State Government’s announcement this week- that the K-12 curriculum would be reviewed -According to the Education Minister, Rob Stokes “This is a once in a generation chance to examine, declutter and improve the NSW curriculum to make it simpler to understand and to teach.” He argues that greater focus needed to be on the basics- literacy and numeracy.
- The State Minister of Education’s call to ‘scrap’ NAPLAN.
Parents must be wondering what schools are currently doing and so I thought I would let you know the following:
- At NGS we data track our students utilising a range of data including but not limited to, the following: academic testing at Year 2,4,6,8 and 10, NAPLAN in Year 3,5,7 and 9; assessment results 7-12 and Independent HSC result analysis. From 2018 this data is collated in one piece of software that looks at academic growth of individual students and helps inform conversations with students and parents.
- Schools have been moving to teach 21 Century skills, integrating the best of technology and responding to changing post school landscapes. We have offered new courses, developed programmes and invested in professional learning. Currently we are exploring a continuous reporting model.
- In both primary and lower secondary, more time is spent on Literacy and Numeracy than any other subject area – this is typical in most schools.
- NAPLAN has been in place now for 10 years and is the only National test that benchmarks student achievement: there are both pros and cons. You can see what I think about the current debate at https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5398479/teachers-question-timing-of-debate-over-future-of-naplan-testing/?cs=2451
Teachers and educational leaders have devoted their working lives to improving learning outcomes for students. While we are aware that education can be a political tool and that debate about curriculum and assessment is healthy, the disappointment felt by many over the last weeks is palpable. The lack of educational voices in the debates and a seeming disregard for the hard work of teachers and what teachers and schools currently do every day, is central to concern. At NGS we strive to meet the learning needs of each student within a framework that encourages personal social and emotional growth. While we can argue we are well positioned to meet these suggested changes – and we are – it would be great to hear the ‘educational voice’ more often as we tackle these ‘big picture’ questions.
Deputy Head of School
Mr Alan Parsons
Shortland Term – Engagement
This term, Shortland House celebrates the second of the factors that, according to Seligman, lead to human flourishing and upon which our Positive Education and Wellbeing programs from K to 12 are based, that is Engagement (Seligman, 2012). Given the research that indicates a significant correlation between school achievement and engagement and student resilience and engagement, it is worth investigating what we at NGS can do to maintain and improve our levels of student engagement. Fredericks (Fredricks, Blumenfeld, & Paris, 2004) describes three categories of school engagement;
- Behavioural – compliance and participation; crucial for positive outcomes in both curricular and extra-curricular activities
- Emotional – measuring positive and negative reactions to teachers, peers and school with positive reactions varying from liking to strongly identifying with the school.
- Cognitive – the willingness to commit and exert effort. The innate need to understand and master content, moving from simple memorization to deep self-regulated learning strategies.
Student engagement can then be considered a multidimensional construct in which all three factors are interrelated. How can we continue to develop and strengthen this educationally and socially protective characteristic of our school? Lee and Smith (1995) found schools that offered opportunities for student voices to be heard, that exhibited fair, reasonable and transparent assessment practices and discipline procedures and held students accountable for compliance with high behavioural standards resulted in greater levels of overall student engagement.
As a school with a constantly evolving pedagogies, continuously striving to implement best practice in learning and teaching, we look beyond the classroom and recognise the worth in the conservative, traditional values we promote; Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence. I would suggest that without Respect, we cannot live up to the values of Integrity, Service and Excellence.
With this in mind, and in light of the research on student engagement, we do expect high standards across all domains at NGS and this certainly includes standards of uniform and appearance. Certainly, the great majority of our students wear their uniform with pride and take the same pride in their personal grooming. These students in doing so reflect respect – self-respect and respect for this community. Some, however, need reminders of these standards, spelled out for all in the student Programme Book.
Parental support of the School’s expectations regarding uniform, hair, jewellery and general appearance is appreciated. If your son or daughter is considering, for example, an extra piercing or two or a new hairstyle that may not be considered conservative, please encourage them to refer to the Programme Book or their Head of House before their decision becomes the subject of any discipline procedures.
“Lead us not into temptation ….” Radishes vs Choc Chip Cookies
We know from a plethora of research that the greatest predictor of success at university and in life, however we individually define success, is not IQ nor an ATAR nor natural talent, but self-regulation or self-discipline (Angela Lee Duckworth, 2006; Angela L Duckworth & Seligman, 2005). For those people who have self-regulation, defined as the “ability to inhibit a dominant response to perform a sub-dominant response”, as one of their top five signature strengths, this is indeed good news. With only four percent of the population registering self-regulation within their top signature strengths, however, this does present a challenge.
Of interest as we enter NAPLAN territory is the finding by Duckworth, Quinn and Tsukayma that in the American experience, IQ is a better predictor over time of results in standardised tests such as the SAT, once students enter university, self-regulation is more strongly associated with Grade Point Average (GPA) than the SAT scores (Angela L. Duckworth, Quinn, & Tsukayama, 2012). In a study examining the correlation between self-discipline, IQ and end of year GPA of Year 8 students, the correlation between IQ and GPA was found to be r=0.32, less than half the correlation between self-discipline and GPA calculated at r=0.67 (Angela L Duckworth & Seligman, 2005).
Not only does self-discipline predict academic performance more robustly than IQ, it also predicts which students will improve their grades over the course of the school year while IQ does not. In our context then, the evidence would suggest that students’ individual results on their NAPLAN standardised tests, may be more readily predicted by IQ whereas improving grades on student reports, the culmination of many months of sustained effort, is better predicted by self-regulation.
Given the significance of self-regulation as a key driver of success in life, what do we know of the mechanisms that define this strength? Baumeister et al, in their paper “Ego depletion: Is the active self a limited resource?” (Baumeister, Bratslavsky, Muraven, & Tice, 1998) presents three models of self-regulation:
- Self-regulation is a skill that can be developed gradually over a significant period of time. Over a relatively short period of time there is little change in self-regulation.
- Self-regulation is a ‘knowledge structure’. Once known through experiences, self-regulation facilitates future self-control, thereby making future acts of self-control easier.
- Self-regulation resembles energy. Acts of self-regulation involve exertion and therefore the expending of energy, thereby depleting supply over time. As a consequence, subsequent self-regulation is impaired.
In my next article I will look at an experiment performed by Baumeister and his colleagues that was designed to investigate these three models and find which is most accurate. Hopefully this next article will help make sense also of the title of this item.
Head of Primary
Ms Alicha Dyer
Across Australia one million students will this week sit tests in numeracy, reading, writing and language conventions. NAPLAN gives us a picture of several aspects of students’ learning. These include: their performance under test conditions, their basic use of punctuation, grammar, spelling, numeracy skills and writing a persuasive or narrative text.
It is important to remember that NAPLAN tests what students should already know from their everyday learning and there are no prizes or repercussions for doing well or not so well. Making it a big deal won’t improve students’ performances, although it may increase their anxiety and reduce their performance.
We inform our learners that no matter how they “perform” on the day, or how they “score in the test” it’s not a reflection of who they are or who they will become. We also need to remind them that they are each, in their own way “exceptional and unique” and that they deserve to be recognised for that.
If your child is feeling anxious about NAPLAN please contact your child’s teacher.
During this national testing week it is important to remind primary students of the following:
- The people who organise and collate NAPLAN results don’t know that some of our children love to sing, are passionate about Art or are confident to teach others how to use a computer program
- They have not seen the way that some of our learners can dance with grace or speak confidently to a large group. They do not know that friends count on them to be there for them when they are needing support. They don’t know that many of our children participate in sports, play an instrument or that they are caring, thoughtful and that every day our learners try to be the best that they can be. These learner attributes cannot be tested.
- NAPLAN testing can’t always tell you that you have improved on something you once found difficult.
- So come to school ready to do your best for the NAPLAN test and remember there is no one way to ‘test’ all of the wonderful things that make you, YOU!”
Director of Studies
Mr Philip Fielden
NAPLAN Has Started!
The first of the 2018 NAPLAN tests took place on Tuesday with students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 completing their Writing Tests. As you can see from the photos, this year we have made the transition to online tests as we believe that there are significant advantages for our students in doing so.
The first online test in the senior school was done by Year 7 and they were highly engaged with the stimulus and completing the task. The Reading tests will take place on Wednesday, Conventions of Language on Thursday and Numeracy on Friday. We wish all of our students well with their tests.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s NAPLAN tests this week, please feel free to contact me at school.
Year 12 Reports and Parent Teacher Evening
We are working hard to publish the Year 12 reports this week. We are confident of getting the reports out this week, which will give you plenty of time to read them before next week’s Parent Teacher Evening. The evening will be on Thursday, May 24 and all appointments will be on the ground floor of the Holland Building.
Mrs Gowdy will be sending out an email this week to enable you to book your appointments.
Year 7-10 Half Yearly Examinations – Week 5
A reminder that the half-yearly examinations for students in years 7-10 will take place in Week 5 this term (May 28-June 1).
A timetable of examinations will be published very soon.
Students should be receiving study guides for each of their subjects; you can also access them via the year group homepages on SchoolBox.
In preparing for their examinations, we strongly suggest that students remember the advice that they received from Dr Salter in last week’s study skills sessions.
Director of Pre-school
Mrs Angela Tapp
This week, Pre-school is promoting a low waste lunch week. We do this once every term. This is in line with our Sustainability Policy and we are encouraging all families to participate. To do this, we suggest sending a packed lunch box that has little or no packaging or waste. We appreciate the time and effort that goes in to providing a low waste lunch box and would be grateful to receive any feedback. If you could think about:
- Reusable lunch boxes and containers * No pre-packaged foods such as fruit cups, cheese wrappers etc.
- Reusable drink bottles for water * No cling wrap, foil or snap lock bags
- Reusable cutlery
- Appropriate proportion sizes
You might find it interesting to know that by buying lunch box food in bulk and by packing a low waste lunch, families can save up to $400 a year and help the environment as well.
A low waste lunch week compliments our compositing. There are often photos on SchoolBox of the Pre-school children doing our composting each week. Books such as “Michael Recycle, “Litter Bug Doug”, “Charlie and Lola – Look After Your Planet” and “One Less Fish” are also an interesting source of information about how we can look after our environment.
On another note, we hope all our Mothers enjoyed opening the special gift that was created at Pre-school. There was a lot of love put into decorating those pots. We hope you all had a peaceful day.
From the Director of Sport
Mr Daniel Kozey
HRIS Football Gala Day
Our Boys and Girls Open Football teams took to the fields in the HRIS Opens Football Gala Days. Both teams performed strongly despite finishing outside the top half of the competition. A strong platform from which to build, and with a strong U15 team we can expect some great things from our Boys and Girls in the next few years. Thank you to Ms Parezanovic and Mr Juchniewicz for their expert coaching on the day.
Congratulations to Sophie Barber, Isobel Prince, Aela Streatfield and Bella Williams on their representation of NGS and HRIS at the recent AICES Netball Championships. Our girls were a part of the team that finished in 2nd place at the event. Aela Streatfield was selected to the AICES U15 Netball team to compete at the NSWCIS Championships in the middle of Term 3.
The following girls will represent NGS at the HRIS Netball Gala Day to be held next week:
- U14 – Eve Ashmore, Amy-Jorjia Barnett, Isabelle Colbert, May Dundas, Alice Elliot, Eliza Ginns, Veronica Kuru, Piper Rao, Millie Robbs and Amelia Ryan
- U16 – Leela Bagga, Elyse Barber, Sophie Barber, Eliza Guest, Brodie Horn, Vivien Kuru, Isobel Prince, Aela Streatfield and Bella Williams
- Opens – Emma Droop, Emma McGrath, Jacqueline Melvelle, Sophia Drinkwater, Alexandra Earp, Paige Peterson, Emily Prickett and Shelby Walters
Henry Riddell was selected to the AICES Opens Rugby team for 2018. We wish him well for the upcoming AICES Rugby fixtures.
Secondary Students Upcoming Representative Entry Dates
Any Secondary students wishing to nominate for HRIS Gala Days and representative trials are to email Mr Kozey (Daniel.Kozey@ngs.nsw.edu.au) as soon as possible.
Trials and Gala Days are held in the following sports:
Basketball, Football (Soccer), Golf, Hockey, Netball, Rugby Union, Softball, Tennis and Touch Football
Students will be entered into HRIS representative pathways for the following sports through results at our NGS Carnivals: Athletics, Cross Country and Swimming
The Centenary Diamond Ball
On sale SOON
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In the News
The Herald – 15 May, 2018 NAPLAN
Uniform Shop Opening Hours
Winter Uniform Change-over dates
The transition period of Summer to Winter uniform is as follows:
Summer / Winter uniform transition period:
Beginning: Week 3 – Monday, 14 May
Ending: Week 5 – Friday, 1 June
During the transition period students may wear either their Summer or Winter uniform to school.
Full winter uniform
Week 6 – Monday, 4 June
All students must wear their full Winter uniform to school from this date onwards.
Special edition Centenary ties are now available to purchase from the Uniform shop for $20.
Students are permitted to wear the Centenary tie to school for the remainder of 2018.
Uniform Shop Opening Hours
Monday: 8.00am – 2.00pm
Wednesday: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Friday: 10.00am – 4.00pm
If you would like to place an order via phone or email, please contact Kerrie at the uniform shop on 4908 4035 or Kerrie.email@example.com
Canteen Specials Menu for Term 2
Tuesday – Singapore noodle stir fry with chicken, broccoli, cabbage, zucchini, red capsicum, carrots, free range eggs, garlic, ginger and soy sauce
Wednesday – Beef Nachos with cheese, guacamole and natural yogurt
Thursday – Spinach and ricotta frittata made with free range eggs and served with garden salad and caramelised balsamic dressing
Friday – Stuffed baked potatoes with corn, bacon, cheese and shallots
The chicken burrito wrap is now available Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It is made with brown rice, shredded chicken breast, grated cheese, coriander and avocado.
Don’t miss out and place your order through >flexischools
A limited quantity of specials will be available to purchase at the canteen on the day.