From the Head of School
Mrs Erica Thomas

From the Head of School image

As I walked into the Park Campus assembly last Friday afternoon I did wonder whether Kindergarten at the end of their first full week of school would cope with the discipline of sitting still on a humid Friday afternoon. There was a lovely spirit in assembly and Kindergarten managed the event well. My thanks to the staff at Park Campus who are establishing routines with the youngest of our students at the start of the term.  >Welcome to Kindergarten Film. Pre-school students are also happily developing new skills and making friends at the start of their educational journey.

In the assemblies on Hill Campus this week we launched our new International Projects in Vietnam. Students will have opportunities to engage with the issues of a developing nation over the coming months. Our support will extend to an organisation near Vung Tao in the South and another in Hoi An. Our support will be directed at a specific school that includes a training centre for teenagers and an orphanage nearby.  We expect to send our first student visitors to Vietnam in December this year and will open the trip to students in Years 10 and 11 before the end of this term.

Over the coming weeks, School and representative swimming carnivals will take place. School carnivals are important events to showcase talented students, to encourage participation, develop School and House spirit and to give genuine leadership opportunities to our student leaders. Safety of our students is a priority and I ask that all students follow the directions of the staff as they enjoy these events.

The co-curricular program has a staggered beginning this term. Over 33 activities are on offer across the year and we are thrilled with the number of students who have embraced some of the newer activities. Staffing and student numbers are being finalised and the majority of Term 1 activities should be running by the end of this month.

Grammaphones

Grammaphones

Syntax

Syntax @NGS

From the Deputy Head of School
Mr Alan Parsons

From the Deputy Head of School image

Social Media and the Impact on Adolescents

The very word ‘Facebook’ today conjures up a range of emotions in people from addictive dependence through to complete distain depending upon the relationship a person has with the tribal world of Social Media. Over the next few weeks, I would like to look at the impact of Social Media on our students through some current research.

Defining Social Media
Internet sites that are designed to enable interaction between people are considered Social Media sites. The best known of these include Facebook (population 1,1000,000,000), Twitter (population 310,000,000), Google+ (population 120,000,000), Instagram (population 100,000,000), virtual worlds such as Second Life, Club Penguin and The Sims and various gaming sites.

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Recent research in the area indicates that engagement in social media as a routine activity by adolescents enhances their communication, social and technical skills. Participants have multiple daily opportunities to connect with friends and others with similar interests.

According to a 2009 poll of American teenagers by “Common Senses Media” published online in the article “Is Technology Networking Changing Childhood? A National Poll”, 22% of teenagers log on to their favourite social media site more than 10 times each day and more than half log on more than once per day. By this year, 2016, in Australia, according to “The Financial Standard”, there will be more smart phones than people, increasing dramatically the ease of access and presumably then the number of daily connections by our teenagers to their favourite social media sites. Thus, a large part of this generation’s social and emotional development is occurring while they are connected to the web.

According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, because of their limited emotional and social maturity, lack of consideration of consequences and susceptibility to peer pressure, adolescents are therefore at some risk as they navigate their way through and experiment with social media. They face such problems as cyberbullying, privacy issues, internet addiction and sleep deprivation.

Parents who lack online savvy or have little time or technical abilities may find it difficult to relate to their online teenagers, described by Australian clinical psychologist, Michael Carr-Gregg as a “tribal Generation” with their own unique forms of communication. This disconnect can at times result in a lack of understanding by parents and teachers that the teens’ online lives are an extension of their offline lives and become a crucial part of their personal identity.

In a follow up article to this introduction, I will examine the significant benefits that can come from the use of social media by adolescents as well as identifying the potential risks faced by our online teenagers. As with all things though, balance, moderation, trust and understanding are needed to ensure the many possible benefits outweigh the possible risks.

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From the Director of Learning and Teaching
Mrs Lisa Peterson

From the Director of Learning and Teaching image

Information Evenings

Parents and students of Year 11 are warmly welcomed to the Year 11 Information Evening to be held in Horbury Hunt Hall from 6.00pm – 7.00pm this Thursday, 11 February. This is an opportunity to hear about the requirements for study in Year 11 and gain some advice on how to approach the year. Students will also receive their Assessment Schedule and Course Outline for 2016. As this is a School event, students are requested to wear School uniform.

The Year 5 & 6 Meet the Teachers and Year 7 information evening will be held on Wednesday, 17 February.


Year 8 Academic Assessment

Students in Year 8 will be completing a series of academic assessments this Friday. These tests provide valuable information about a student’s skills in the key areas of literacy and numeracy which allow our staff to design appropriate learning experiences for them. These are not tests students can study for, and we would encourage them to view them as a measure of their ability at a particular point in time.

Students need to bring a black or blue pen with them to the tests, which will take place in Horbury Hunt Hall immediately after Roll Call.

Parents will soon receive notification of an information evening for Year 8.


The Learning Centre

The Learning Centre is an academic service offered to students who would like some assistance to improve their skills in key subjects, or give their academic performance a boost. The Learning Centre operates in the Library Monday – Thursday from 3.15pm to 5.00pm. Students can sign in for a short session or stay for the entire afternoon, depending on the assistance they require. Teachers will be on hand to assist with homework, skill development and consolidation.

Monday – Dr Diskin (Science and Mathematics)
Tuesday – Mrs Roberts (Study Skills and Geography) and Miss Armstrong (Mathematics)
Wednesday – Mr Parr (English)
Thursday – Mrs Wood (English) and Mr Fielden (History)

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From the Director of Operations
Mr Duncan McKensey

From the Director of Operations image

School Opal Card

Reminder to all parents with children travelling to School via either bus, train or ferry please ensure that you apply online for a new Opal card at transportnsw.info/school-students. This also applies to students who catch our NGS buses (Toronto, Maitland, Swansea). The cards are free and will be of benefit both for to school travel and in some years, excursions. Should you require assistance or direction regarding how to order please contact Mrs McGowan or Mrs Foster.  All travelling students will be required to have an Opal card by the end of February.

From Term One 2016, eligible students within the Opal network will be able to travel to and from school with the new School Opal Card.

Most students who already have a 2015 school student travel pass will have their School Opal Card automatically issued and sent to the school.

Some students, including new applicants and students changing school or campuses, updating their personal details, or going from Year 2 to 3 or Year 6 to 7 who have already applied or who need to apply, will have their School Opal Cards posted to their home address. Most School Opal Cards should be received in the first two weeks of Term One 2016.

Students who have been approved to travel on more than one operator or to more than one home address, for example where there is shared parental responsibility, will only receive a single Opal Card.

Travelling in Term One
School students will need to carry their School Opal Card and tap on and off when travelling. A grace period applies until the end of February. Students must be in school uniform or be able to provide evidence (such as a school ID or school books) that they are travelling to or from school during this time.

To report a lost, stolen or damaged School Opal Card, customers should phone 131 500 or visit transportnsw.info/school-students.

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From The Dean of the Cathedral
Father Stephen Williams

Confirmation Service and Preparation Classes

Confirmations in 2016 will be at 8.00am on Easter Sunday. Father Stephen Williams will be conducting weekly preparation classes during NGS lunch hours at CCC for students interested in being confirmed this year.

Students who are interested should come to the first meeting and find out more information.

– Thursday, 18 February
– Thursday, 25 February
– Thursday, 10 March
– Thursday, 17 March
– Thursday, 24 March

Parents who are interested in enrolling their son or daughter should contact Father Stephen Williams dean@newcastlecathedral.org.au

From the Director of Primary
Mrs Alicha Dyer

From the Director of Primary image

I have enjoyed witnessing this week how well our Primary students are settling into life at NGS.  Research shows us that students need to feel accepted, safe, and have developed positive relationships with both their teachers and peers, in order to learn.  While we are relentlessly committed to high quality, relevant, research-based teaching and learning we also are very mindful that all of our efforts can be lost if we do not have the same relentless commitment to the development of positive relationships within the School community.

Parents and teachers have important roles to play in helping children develop friendships.  We set examples for children to follow through the ways we manage relationships.  We can also act as coaches for children, teaching them helpful social skills and talking through friendship issues to help with solving problems.  As our students learn how to manage social situations, having opportunities to talk about friendships with parents and teachers helps them feel supported and develops their communication skills.

Our Kindergarten to Year 4 Information Evening takes place on Wednesday, 10 February at 6.00pm in the Hall at Park Campus.  It is wonderful to meet with parents at this event as an open dialogue about learning is one of the essential ingredients for academic success. Miss Amy Bibby, our Head of Learning and Teaching in K-6 will be discussing the benefits of Inquiry Learning for students in Kindergarten to Year 4.  Miss Bibby will also address parents of students in Years 5 and 6 at their Information Evening which is on Wednesday, 17 February at the Hill Campus.  I would urge all parents to take on board the information offered by teachers during these information evenings.

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From the Director of Pre-school
Ms Angela Tapp

As we write our first Newletter article for 2016, we have just completed our first full week at Pre-school and it has been fabulous! The children have settled beautifully into their new environment and it has been a pleasure getting to know the new children and their families, as well as reconnecting with ‘old’ families. It is always interesting to see those children who attended last year developing into our ‘big helpers’ this year – becoming socially and emotionally confident as they proudly help the new children settle into our Pre-school routine.

Unfortunately, our first day was wet which wasn’t ideal (Miss Lizzie said it was only the 2nd wet first day she has had in 14 years) so, we were inside for the majority of the day. However, the children coped beautifully and, with fine weather at the beginning of this week we commenced our summer routine and most children and families have already mastered the (summer) morning routine of unpacking their bag, placing their lunch box and drink bottle into the fridge, putting on their hats, having their family member sign them in and applying sunscreen and hand gel (or hand washing) before saying goodbye.

Next week we will start our specialist lessons, music and library.  This means that on Monday mornings at 9.30am the Shakers will walk across to the music room and participate in a 30 minute music lesson and, at 10.00am, the Groovers will have their turn. This routine will be repeated on Thursday mornings with the Groover children going first at 9.30am. Library is scheduled on Fridays and each room will have a 20 minute lesson commencing at 9.30am.

Next week, families will also receive their Pre-school Term Calendar detailing all the events, visitors and happenings organised for Term 1. Our first visitor to the Pre-school will be Julie from Pacific Smiles who will be talking to the children and engaging them in activities about healthy eating and dental hygiene. This will take place in week 4.

Finally, just a little reminder of why we love working with Pre-schoolers… Miss Lizzie was outside when one of the Groover boys came up to show her a bite on his leg. Miss Lizzie said “Oh is that a Mossie bite?” “No!” he said “It’s a skito bite!”

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Head of Co-curricular
Mrs Corey Rowntree

Head of Co-curricular image

This week saw the commencement of many of the 2016 Co-curricular activities.

Information regarding the activities commencement dates and finer details for the events can be found on Schoolbox. Please do not hesitate to spend time with your child going through these expectations.

Please if you have any questions regarding the activity of your choice please do not hesitate to email the MIC of the activity which you will find on the School website in the Co-curricular handbook.

>Click here for a list of the activities and the venues.

From the Tyrrell House Coordinators
Mr Paul Lumley & Mrs Carla Holmes

Tyrrell Term – Celebrating Justice and Citizenship

During Term 1, Tyrrell House has the privilege of directing the focus of the School towards initiatives in Vietnam which will significantly change the lives of people less fortunate than ourselves. Our actions will be underpinned by the Signature Strength of Justice, and in particular a facet of Justice involving citizenship.

We look forward to holding our House Day in Week 8 and Chapel in Week 11. More to follow on these as the term progresses.

As part of the activities this term Tyrrell House will continue beautifying the new garden on Merrick and will provide a lasting symbol of our commitment to the Vietnam project.

We appreciate your support of Tyrrell House and the Vietnam project this term.

Year 10 Musical – The Wiz
Mr Stuart Boyd - Year 10 Musical Producer

Rehearsals have already begun for the Year 10 Musical. The dance audition took place last Friday and the song audition happens this Friday. The following week roles will be announced!

As this is a compulsory activity and forms part of the Year 10 Wellbeing Programme, all Year 10 students are required to attend rehearsals every Friday afternoon until 5.00pm for all of Terms 1 and 2. There is also a week of compulsory rehearsals in the last week of the mid year holidays. For parents of Year 10 students, >Click here for more details.

From the Director of Music
Mr Kevin Young

From the Director of Music image

Singapore Tour 2015

>Click here for a full report


Music Camp

Music Camp was an excellent few days with our wonderful guest leaders, Mr George Ellis, orchestra and Mr Paul Jarman, choir.

All of the ensembles had the opportunity to look at new repertoire and prepare for the year ahead and the various music performances.

Camp is a great way to start the year and I’d like to thanks the many staff who attended and the students for coming along and getting back into ensemble mode.

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Co–Curricular 2016

All Co-Curricular ensembles commence this week. If you are uncertain what group you should be in, please come and see one of the Music staff in the Parnell Basement.

Monday:  Brass RaZoo: Arts Space and  Bamboozle: HHH
Tuesday:  Grammarphones: Stewart Drama Space , Chamber Choir: Arts Space
Thursday:  Concert Band: HHH, Stewart Strings: Stewart Drama Space, Symphony Orchestra: Arts Space

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300 Club
Golden Ticket Draw - Rowing Fundraiser

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Uniform Shop
Trading Hours for 2016

The Uniform shop hours are as follows.

Monday: 8.00am – 2.00pm
Wednesday & Friday: 10.00am – 4.00pm

Canteen Duties

Hill Campus

Mon 15 February:
Aznive Beesley
HELP NEEDED

Tue 16 February:
Hayley Martin
HELP NEEDED

Wed 17 February:
Kerrie Kerr
Julieanne Vickery

Thu 18 February:
Indra Deamer
Jo MacDougall

Fri 19 February:
Beth Winzer
HELP NEEDED


Park Campus

Mon 15 February:
Megan Myers

Tue 16 February:
HELP NEEDED

Wed 17 February:
HELP NEEDED

Thu 18 February:
Swimming Carnival

Fri 19 February:
Lesley Filby
Nerida Gray