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Editorial by Sherryl Bremner

There have been two Academic Assemblies at the College since the start of Term 3 and it has indeed been a genuine pleasure for me to be able to lead these. During these ceremonies students who have been awarded Application to Studies, Academic Application and First Place in Subjects were presented with their certificates to acknowledge their success. It was a real joy to see the girls walk proudly across the stage and I was pleased to see some of my own students up there. For me there was also a realisation that the work put into the organisation of these assemblies had finally come to an end. It is a process that starts in earnest once the results from the first semester are calculated and finalised. A great deal of collating and checking lists is involved so that all of the prize winners can receive due recognition for their efforts for that semester, and in the case of the Academic Application, for the years that they have been attending Brigidine College.

Academic Assemblies at the College also provide an opportunity to showcase student performances in the area of Performing Arts. These do indeed demonstrate the depth of talent we are fortunate to be nurturing at the College. My thanks go to all those who helped ensure the smooth running of these joyous occasions.

Having been asked to write this Editorial I reflected on how ceremonies such as these had changed since I had been at school some, dare I say it, 40 years ago. It also had me thinking about the kinds of characteristics a successful student embodies.

Being a History teacher it is not uncommon for me to illustrate a point about my own experience, especially when studying recent history. In a previous syllabus we looked at the prime ministership of Gough Whitlam and I would recount that I was studying for my last ever school Mathematics examination on the day that Gough Whitlam was dismissed. Somehow I was still able to do as well as expected in my exam, despite the fact that the world seemed to be going crazy and established routines and structures were being eroded by forces that I could not really understand. (It’s interesting how some things don’t change over time!).

That year I did get to walk across the stage and receive an award for achieving an average of more than 75% in all my subjects, which was the criteria at my school in those days. That was the only time I received an academic award for success across all my subjects. I had received book prizes for coming first in a subject, which, believe it or not of this passionate History teacher, was German. I had worked hard in my senior years to get that award and I was inordinately proud of my achievement. I trust that the students who received awards in the assemblies were also similarly proud of their achievements and acknowledge that their hard working efforts and commitment have paid off.

I have also been reflecting on and researching what it is that makes a student successful. Common factors include prioritising study, having a routine and sticking to it, knowing or determining what your preferred learning style as well having good results. The last factor is somewhat subjective and this is why modern learning theory talks about the idea of one’s personal best.

The development of skills is also crucial whether they be metacognitive (research and synthesis of information) or developing one’s cognitive abilities. Embedded in the metacognitive skills is the notion also of learning how to handle ICT. One article suggested that having a sense of humour is a characteristic of a good student, while another put it that good students get excited about the material. Honest work was also a feature as were creativity, adaptability and having extrinsic motivation.

Many of these ideas are also embedded, albeit expressed in different terminology, in the General Capabilities of the Australian Curriculum that is now in place for Years 7 to 10 and that will be in place by 2019-2020 for Years 11 and 12. BOSTES is currently seeking teacher feedback on Draft Stage 6 syllabuses in English, Mathematics, Science and History.

One article suggested that good students participate, take notes, ask questions, avoid distractions and even sit near the teacher if possible. In these modern days where teachers and students are just as likely to be moving about the classroom, or not even in a classroom, I had a little giggle at that one.

I encourage our students to consider these qualities of success and I do hope that in doing so they can recognise themselves.

For those interested in reading one of the online articles I came across regarding how to be a successful student, click here. It is written in accessible language and could provide some beneficial advice to students who are looking to achieve academic success. Thanks to the internet, we are so fortunate to have access to so much information at our fingertips that it is hard to imagine a time without it.

The article also says that good students remember to have fun. I know I do in my work as a teacher at Brigidine and it is my hope that our students do too.

Sherryl Bremner
Acting Assistant Principal Teaching and Learning

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Study Skills

Your Mid-Year Check-Up

Taken from Prue Salter’s Study Skills Handbook

As we approach the second semester, now is a good time to go through the following checklist to see if you can improve your approach to school.

  1. Have you set yourself goals to strive for over this year? YES / NO
  2. Do you know what motivates you to do work? YES / NO
  3. Do you try to take a positive approach to your studies? YES / NO
  4. Do you make an effort to make the thoughts in your head positive ones? YES / NO
  5. Are you making the most of class time, listening and focusing and completing all work? YES / NO
  6. Have you been asking for help if you don’t understand something? YES / NO
  7. Have you been writing all your homework into your diary or online planner and getting it done? YES / NO
  8. Have you been breaking down bigger tasks and scheduling the work in your diary/planner? YES / NO
  9. Have you been keeping track of what you complete and rescheduling unfinished work? YES / NO
  10. Have you organised your folders for papers and digital resources for school? YES / NO
  11. Do you have folders or somewhere at home to file away all your work for your topics? YES / NO
  12. Have you decided what you will keep or do your study notes in? YES / NO
  13. Have you been working on study notes each time you finish a topic for a subject? YES / NO
  14. Do you have a term planner above your desk where you can easily see the heavy weeks? YES / NO
  15. Have you set up a good study environment at home, a place where you can focus and work? YES / NO
  16. Are you doing around an hour and a half of schoolwork most nights (2-3 hrs for seniors)? YES / NO
  17. Have you thought realistically about whether you have too many outside school activities? YES / NO
  18. Have you allocated set periods of time for school work (eg at least 3 x half hour blocks)? YES / NO
  19. Do you remove all distractions etc. when you are focusing on your schoolwork at home? YES / NO
  20. Do you prioritise each afternoon what you will work on that night? YES / NO
  21. When you make study notes, are you making them visual with mind maps, highlighting etc? YES / NO
  22. When you study for a test, do you both ‘learn’ the content and ‘practise’ the skills? YES / NO
  23. Do you try to do lots of the practise under examination conditions? YES / NO
  24. Have you reviewed the different study techniques that you should use for your learning style? YES / NO
  25. Are you doing more than ‘just reading’ when you study for an assessment? YES / NO
  26. Have you thought about how you will overcome the obstacles you face in achieving your best? YES / NO
  27. Have you set up some routines to try and create habits that will help you this year? YES / NO

You can learn more about being more effective and efficient in your schoolwork at www.studyskillshandbook.com.au by logging in with these details:

Username: Brigidinecollege
Password: Brigid1

Leanne Miller
Head of Library Services

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Careers News - Week 1, Term 3

University Open Days

University of Sydney: 27 August 2016, 9am to 4pm

UNSW: 3 September 2016

Macquarie University: 20 August 2016, 10am to 3pm

Western Sydney University: 28 August 2016, 10am to 2pm, Parramatta South Campus

University of Newcastle: 20 August 2016, 10am to 4pm

University of Wollongong:13 August 2016

UTS: 27 August 2016, 9am to 4pm

ANU: 27 August 2016, 9am to 4pm

University of Canberra: 27 August 2016

Other Upcoming Events

Western Sydney University Parent Information Evening

Parramatta Campus 21 July 2016
Campbelltown Campus 26 July 2016
Penrith Campus 3 August 2016

The information evenings will give parents the chance to obtain information on ATAR cut offs, HECS-HELP, the Western Sydney University experience and what the university has to offer.

For more information

UTS New Courses

UTS now has two new science courses, these include Forensic Science and a Bachelor of Biotechnology. To find out more about the courses follow the link below.

For more information

CSU Sydney Info Day

27 August 2016, Powerhouse Museum

This day will present the opportunity to meet academics, find out about courses and accommodation options and scholarships.

For more information

UNSW Women in Engineering Camp

Applications now open until 25 September 2016

The camp is for girls in Years 10 or 11, who are interested in a career in engineering. The camp will be held 9 - 13 of January 2017. FAQs and how to apply can be found on the website.

For more information

ACU Passion for Business - Early Entry Program

If you are a domestic or international student currently studying Year 12 in Australia and have completed, or are completing, a business related subject in Year 11 and/or Year 12, you are eligible to apply for entry to ACU through the P4B Program. Applications close 14 September 2016.

For more information

ACU Passion for Law and Commerce - Early Entry Program

If your passion is law and commerce, we will show you how to combine the two to provide you with the skills and opportunities to work in both the courtroom and the boardroom.
Applications close 16 September, 2016.

For more information

ACU New courses in 2017

B Science: This course will include the ACU core curriculum, community engagement and work integrated learning. The majors will be Biology and Chemistry.

B Teaching/B Science: This is a four-year program that will qualify students to teach general science to Year 10 and discipline science to Year 12. It will include the Religious Education units required to teach in Catholic schools.

B Theology/B Philosophy: This is a four-year dual degree program designed to engage students critically with questions of meaning, reality, knowledge and value in light of the Catholic intellectual tradition.

2017 Undergraduate Course Guide: http://www.acu.edu.au/

Universities Admissions Centre

UAC Education Access Scheme

EAS applications open 3 August 2016 for 2017.

The UAC website provides information booklets on applications and eligibility requirements.

For more information

UAC Schoolink Events

The dates for the various events can be found on the link below. They include information about ATAR, HSC subject choices, bonus points and the selection process.

For more information

Check the College portal for more Careers News, updated weekly! Simply go to Careers under Quick Links.
Students can also find all the latest Careers News on Firefly under College Community.

Michelle Read-Zorn
Careers Counsellor

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Editoiral by Sue Martin

As is usual at the start of the term, the staff engage in professional development. Building capacity is an integral part of any school improvement focus and most professional learning opportunities aim to contribute to this. Some of the most successful learning has occurred within our own community when we have engaged with one another’s expertise, shared the experience and started the conversation.

On Monday after a year of researching, the teaching staff presented their findings and recommendations on a range of topics that were drawn from the Strategic Plan and current developments in curriculum and wellbeing. These included: neuroscience and adolescent learning, STEM in the curriculum, learning beyond the classroom, alternative modes of delivery, learning spaces, assessment in Years 7 to 9, service learning, student leadership, optimising student wellbeing, spiritual formation in the development of girls’ wellbeing and optimising professional learning. They were excellent. They were rich in detail, thoughtful, considered in their recommendations and interestingly, reflected that Brigidine was already using evidence-based best practice in so many areas. The recommendations sought to build upon those in the spirit of ‘What is possible?’ - a question that drives much of our thinking about improvement.

Both project-based learning within and across different subjects and the universal design of curriculum for learning were evaluated favourably but these became far more interesting when the understandings of neuroscience indicated that multisensory classrooms, an emphasis on visual techniques and employing regular repetitions for mastery should be included in the planning. It became clear that learning spaces could be any size, anywhere, any colour, in fact anything as long as the teacher and learner were stimulated by the environment created.

The focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) highlighted the possibilities that innovative cross curricular activities might achieve despite the constraints imposed by the timetable. Perhaps STEM could be an extracurricular activity positioned outside the timetable? It was established that the skill sets related to STEM were the important components of a successful program but problem solving, logical and analytical thinking could be embedded in many subjects’ programs with careful planning. The idea that intracurricular skills had a place in every subject’s programs extended to leadership which teachers believed should be explicitly taught, enabling every girl to play a role as leader within the school community, especially in the area of service learning, spiritual formation and the pastoral system.

A powerful message emerged about the importance of feedback in assessment and homework, about the regularity, the form and meaningful nature of it for the girls. It was clear girls had a preference for one on one discussions with a teacher and this relational approach extended to wellbeing, resolving personal issues and the value of Mentor groups. The importance of student voice was emphasised in discerning service learning opportunities, the nature of spiritual formation and being powerful contributors to effective decision making within the school.

The opportunity to progress our thinking into developing action plans that capture and implement the recommendations represents yet another phase in school improvement and one that is an exciting development. The day was a testament to the quality and expertise of the teaching staff at Brigidine, all of whom were involved in the success of the day. It was worthwhile, productive and relevant professional learning for all.

A journal of articles produced by each group will be published this term.

Sue Martin
Acting Principal

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Prayer: We Dream a School . . .

We pray that what we read in the Gospels
comes alive in our classrooms and corridors.

Where all differences are accepted
and where each person is valued and challenged
to be who they are.

Where each member will read and write, compute and pray,
growing each day in faith, hope and love
with respect for each other.

To enrich the poor, the needy, the lonely, those with problems,
those with special gifts and all who struggle to learn.

Where learners are recognised as thinkers, feelers and doers
and the whole person is educated.

That celebrates learning as a lifelong, exciting journey
that delights in the aesthetic, the imaginative, the problem solving.

That is driven by hope by vision and inspiration
and open to the future that is God coming to us.

Where students grow in self knowledge, inward freedom, moral responsibility,
courage and sincere service to others
in harmony with the Earth and the dignity of all creation.

A school that promotes peace and justice to all,
That liberates and empowers,
that challenges stereotypes and the established norms and actions.

Where each one of us
gives to God the first place in
all we have and all we do.

St Brigid, pray for us. Amen.

(Prayer offered by the Maths Department at Monday’s Staff Development Day)

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Community

Archives

The Brigidine Archives were established to ensure that records which have value as authentic evidence of administrative, corporate, cultural and intellectual activity are made, kept and used. The work of the Archivist is vital for ensuring organisational efficiency and accountability. In doing this the Archivist collects, promotes and shares the rich heritage of the College and the Brigidine tradition with the Brigidine Community.

The establishment of Brigidine College St Ives Archive dates from 1989 when the Principal, Sr Anita Murray saw the need to provide financial
assistance for the care of the historical documents, papers & memorabilia that record the life of the school.

At this time a committee of concerned staff members (including a parent & ex-student) were collecting and collating the material. Whilst this group continued to work on the collection, they campaigned for a dedicated archivist position to be established. Around 1999 a committee member, Philippa Goddard, was given official responsibility for the Archive and in 2003 a professional Archivist was employed part-time and more stringent archival principles of provenance and original order were applied to the collection.

The Archives collection includes:

· Administration records

· Audio and audio visual items

· Ephemera

· Memorabilia

· Publications

· Photographs

· Plans

· Uniforms

The College is always interested in donations that will complete and fill gaps in our existing Archives collections. The archivist is available Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 9.30am – 2.30pm.

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Book a tour

Please complete the form below to request a tour of the College. We will confirm by email the availability of the date you request.

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Holiday Prayer

Loving Lord, thank you so much for holiday times and the wonder and excitement that they engender in all our hearts. We especially thank you for the many blessings we gain from these important times of holiday fun and family reunion.

May our inner soul be refreshed and rejuvenated in a relaxed atmosphere, surrounded by precious friends and family members, which provides us with such a special opportunities of close friendship and communal fun.

During this holiday season we also pray for those that are alone, ill or going through times of stress or difficulty. We pray that you draw close to each and every one of them. Let them know your special peace in their heart and give to each one your calming hand of love.

Father, I thank you for the opportunity to take a holiday and have a complete break from the daily rounds and the many responsibilities and routines that govern our lives.

It is such a joy to have this break and I pray that it will be a time of rest and refreshment when I can go quietly through the day without having to plan for the many ‘workaday’ things that have become the norm in our busy daily schedule.

I pray that during this holiday I will enjoy both spiritual and physical renewal and find rejuvenating rest for my mind and spirit as well as enjoy relaxation and respite for my body as well.

Loving Lord, as we prepare to leave for our journey we pray for travelling mercies, over land and sea, and place ourselves under your protective care. Be with us as we set our for our holiday and we ask that you keep us safe, every step of the way, as we journey to our destination.

We thank you for the beauty of nature that surrounds us with the loveliness of the ever-changing seasons that refresh and revitalise us. We bless you for the day and the night and for periods of sleep and rest - so that we may be refreshed and enabled to face the responsibilities of our daily round.

St Brigid, pray for us. Amen.

(Prayer offered at Staff meeting on Monday)

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Editorial by Jane Curran

Last week I spoke to the girls about the power of voice especially as we are currently in the midst of our own federal election and witness to the Presidential race in the USA. One of the greatest gifts that we have been blessed with is our voice. It allows us to connect and also disconnect. It allows us to reveal ourselves and mask our truth. It is only as powerful as we choose it to be. When I was 10 years old, my Dad took me to task because of an assumption I made and gave voice to. Dad’s surgery was near the ferry wharf of the suburb I grew up in but our house was a couple of kilometres away so I would often wander into the surgery after getting off the ferry in the hope I could get a lift home. If Dad was busy, I’d at least get money for an ice-cream while I waited. One day he was driving me home and I saw a man staggering out of the pub. I immediately said to Dad, “Look at that man – he is drunk.” My father’s words to me still stay with me today, “Jane, from where you sit, all you can see is that he is having difficulty walking. You can say no more than that”.

Socrates, a philosopher from Ancient Greece understood this a long time before Dad did. One day an acquaintance said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”

“Hold on a minute”, Socrates replied. “Before telling me anything I’d like you to pass a little test. Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. There are three filters. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

“No,” the man said, “Actually I just heard about it and ...”

“All right”, said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?”

“No, just the opposite.”

“So”, Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true. You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?”

“No, not really.”

“Well”, concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

At the moment, we are witnessing the power of voice and its capacity for both good and evil. On a global scale, we watch the American Presidential race play out and know that Shakespeare could have scripted it as we witness the feud between good and evil but we are still to see what wins. Iago and Macbeth are manifested in the Republican candidate vying for political supremacy. Forty-nine people were gunned down in an act of violence by a semi-automatic weapon and Donald Trump blames this individual act of a mad man as an act of terror perpetrated by Muslims and frames gun ownership as the reasonable and sane response to such violence.

Donald Trump has a voice and it is loud and penetrating. It allows for no opposition and his opinions become absolutes. While I sometimes wonder about the lack of strength in our national election, I would rather these gentle moderates than a radical whose voice resounds with vitriol and hatred, who sends forth ugliness as if it glorifies our world and the people in it.

Many American TV shows and movies foreground the right of free speech but their definition becomes blurred. Many people will argue that there are no filters on speech and anyone can say anything. Freedom of speech is not without responsibility. Think back to Socrates – is it true, is it good, is it useful?

I think the thing that worries me most sometimes is that Donald Trump is not some rich buffoon who is making a mockery of free speech or the American political system. He is alive and living among us everywhere including here at Brigidine. If a facebook post was written with the intention of hurting, if an image was liked with the intention of causing pain, if we have ever used our voice to hurt and destroy rather than build a connection, then our voice has taken away from who we should be.

As teachers, we are constantly surrounded by the beauty of student voices – in their short stories, their poetry, their speeches and their conversations. I am in awe of the power within the language and the girls’ capacity to capture a moment in time.

We want our girls to have a voice and we want to honour it and that means taking ownership of what we say and write, choosing what voice we use.

If we deny ourselves a voice, we allow a small group to influence what happens, we become dissatisfied with a solution we have had no voice in creating and have no say in decision-making. In effect, we become victims.

My message to the girls was simply:

What will be your voice? Will your words reflect your actions and will they strengthen our common humanity and our sense of justice? Do they make you more beautiful or do they make you ugly; do they enhance your understanding or make you appear ignorant.

Speak truly, speak well and speak usefully. Allow your voice to dignify you.

******************
I wish everyone an enjoyable break and for those travelling, return safely. I will be on leave at the commencement of next term, returning on Monday 15 August. Mrs Sue Martin will be Acting Principal in my absence and Mrs Sherryl Bremner will be Acting Assistant Principal Teaching and Learning.

Jane Curran
Principal

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Careers News

Universities

UWS Advantage Schemes

The UWS Advantage is designed to provide prospective students with more opportunities to study at UWS. Students may receive up to 10 Bonus ATAR points qualifying for a range of UWS schemes including regional bonus points, subject bonus points, the early offer program, educational access scheme and the elite athlete and performer bonus scheme. More details…

ANU: Degrees for High Achievers Roadshow

1 August 2016 – Online
Speak to staff, current students, and learn about the opportunity to undertake research as part of an undergraduate degree at ANU. More details…

UTS: Handbook 2016 – Scholarships

Links are provided to a wide range of scholarships offered at UTS. Some of these include faculty scholarships, Vice-Chancellor’s scholarships, equity scholarships, diversity access, indigenous scholarships and more. More details…

UTS: Bachelor of Information Technology Cooperative Scholarship Program

Round 1 Applications Open: 24 April
Round 1 Applications Close: 19 June
Round 2 Applications Open: 15 July
Round 2 Applications Close: 30 September

The Bachelor of Information Technology Cooperative Scholarship Program provides students with $15,500 per year of study, and two six month full-time industry placements with sponsor organisations. There are two rounds of applications in 2016 for the 2017 intake. More details…

UOW Information Evenings for Students and Parents

21 June 2016, 6pm – 8pm, Parramatta
These sessions will provide students and parents with the opportunity to talk to university representatives about courses offered and university life. More details…

ACU: University Experience

5 July 2016
This program will allow prospective students to get a taste of different degrees offered at university. There will be the chance to meet academic staff and current students. To register follow the link. More details…

Engineering & Technology Cadetships

Applications close: Friday 17 June
A reminder that applications for the Engineering & Technology Cadetships (ETCAD) Program close on the 17 of June. The 2016 program provides Year 12 students with the opportunity to apply for a Technology Cadetship at Westpac. On completion of their cadetship, Technology Cadets are well-placed to pursue a career in IT and in business. More details…

For more careers news please refer to the weekly careers newsletter under Beyond Brigidine on the College portal.

Michelle Read-Zorn
Careers Counsellor

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