Academic Programs Term 4, 2016
One of the opportunities that made itself available on my recent leave was the chance to visit some schools in London. There I saw three year olds being introduced to De Bono’s ‘thinking hats’ and Year 9 girls discussing in class possible meanings for the term ‘reality’. All across the world schools are trying to support students in the development of their thinking and creativity. Looking at the events in the world that have been unfolding over the last few months – continuing violence in Syria and Yemen, intractable problems with refugees, powerful storms and their aftermaths, dubious decisions by political leaders – we see that young people are joining adults in a world that needs more careful thinking and less empty rhetoric. Most of our students may be heading into a term of tests, where consolidated learning is presented for assessment, but I encourage teachers, parents and students to keep the larger world in focus. Marks and grades are not ends in themselves – they are signs of where students are thinking clearly, grasping ideas and applying processes. These cognitive skills are what our students will take with them into the complex world beyond Loreto Kirribilli.
Year 12 have already commenced their final Higher School Certificate examinations. We continue to send them our prayers for clarity of thought and purposeful preparation. Hopefully the questions will allow the students to display the knowledge and skills they have acquired in their classes over the last four terms. The girls need to maintain their systematic study preparation and a calm approach to each paper. The written HSC examinations began on Thursday, 13 October with the first written paper for English, and will finish on Friday, 4 November with the Design and Technology paper. Students need to check their examination timetable closely. HSC results will be available to students Thursday, 15 December with ATARs published on the UAC website on Friday, 16 December. On this Friday we invite all of our Class of 2016 to return to school for a celebratory morning tea.
Year 11 commence their HSC program in Term 4 and need to step up to the new expectations of their teachers. The presentation to Year 11 students and parents on Wednesday, 11 October covered much of the administrative information needed for a comprehensive understanding of the procedures underpinning the HSC and ATARs. A copy of the slideshow will be made available to parents on CH@LK.
For the next two weeks Year 11 students will be refining their subject choices for their HSC pattern of study – careful thought is needed at this stage and I would advise students to speak to their teachers, relevant subject coordinators, Ms Natalie O’Keefe (our Careers Advisor) and me. No changes to courses will officially begin until Week 4 (Monday, 31 October). I strongly suggest that students to make their decisions with knowledge and information about marks and ranks rather than on an emotional reaction or judgement. Students considering extension courses should have submitted their written applications to Ms Duggan by Tuesday, 18 October. More detail about changes to patterns of study have been posted on CH@LK for Year 11 students and parents.
Year 10 are involved the end-of-course internal examinations in Week 4. All of the internal examinations contribute towards their Record of School Achievement (RoSA) grades. As you are aware there are no School Certificate tests. A course on ethical scholarship written by the Board of Studies called ‘All My Own Work’ is compulsory for every student to complete before commencing their Year 11 studies and we have embedded the course in several of the subjects and assessments completed by Year 10 during the year to date. The girls will complete the course with an online quiz to assess their understanding of this important material on within the Year 10 examination block. I would recommend that students take this test seriously.
The last weeks of Year 10 are an opportunity for enriched and experiential learning for our girls. In the weeks following the internal examinations Year 10 will be involved in some pastoral activities such as the Drivers’ Education excursion, a Charism Day, a Women’s Health seminar and Protective Behaviours sessions. They will also be involved in a six day program called ‘Think, Know, Act’ where they will be actively engaged in inquiry, collaboration and creativity to identify and compose a response to a specific challenge arising from the complexities of 21st century living. The program will be prefaced by the Urban Challenge, an amazing race competition through the streets and suburbs of inner Sydney. Students will work in groups to create a film and complementary interactive website, the best of which will be posted on the school’s website. Students will be withdrawn from scheduled classes to work towards the Expo Day on Friday, 2 December where we will have external judges assessing the products that the students make and present. Parents will be invited to the Expo Day to see the work of their daughters and hopefully gain some insight into imaginative ways to solve the challenges of tomorrow.
Years 7, 8 and 9
Year 7, 8 and 9 sit for most of their end-of-year examinations also in Week 4. I hope that all of the junior secondary students used their October holidays to refresh themselves for Term 4. Students are encouraged to use the study tips provided by their teachers and Academic Advisors. I would also direct them to the online Study Skills tools we have made available through the school’s website and CH@LK as it contains very effective suggestions. Thorough planning and a proactive approach are essential so that students do not feel overloaded.
Subject choices for Years 9 and 11 2017 have been, or are about to be, finalised and I would like to thank the current students of Years 8 and 10, and their parents, for their cooperation and courtesy during this process.
The last term of the year is a hectic one for all of our students – it can be a rewarding one too if students maintain their focus on their studies in a balanced way and consider that their learning will allow them to engage thoughtfully in the complexities of the world beyond the gates of our school.
Sandra Duggan (Ms)
Director of Academic Programs