FROM THE PRINCIPAL
And that’s a wrap! Over six months of graft, passion, energy and creativity culminated in the final performance of our St James’ musical, The Little Mermaid Jr on Saturday evening, 8 May 2021.
Our school production helps define St James'. It is the sum of all the parts that gives us strength as a school. The cast, crew, staff, parent helpers and backstage support were all reliant on each other to deliver their piece of the show. And that they certainly did!
The final performance allowed the cast to shine and to have a little fun with The Little Mermaid Jr the way only our amazing students could.
Sebastian (Ryder Kereopa, Yr 9) was larger than life and definitely caught the eye, but sometimes it is also the subtle side acts that build the suspense. Especially delightful was the kitchen scene where our French chef extraordinaire (Rohan Toomer, Yr 9) elevated the night with his brilliant and nuanced performance.
We all had favourites; King Titan (Leo Carchrie, Yr 12), the wicked Ursula (Hayley Greig, Yr 11 and Tamzin Gair, Yr 9) or the mesmerising Scuttle (Kate Morrissey, Yr 9). Even the devastating injury Hayley sustained during the matinee performance could not dampen the performers’ collective spirits – they worked to sustain the show, fill the role seamlessly and pull together, as they embraced that time honoured showbusiness tradition...‘the show must go on’.
Ariel (Georgia Jansen, Yr 12) rounded out her secondary schooling with a pitch perfect and powerful display of a voice without limits. She set our hearts racing and our gave us all goosebumps.
The amazing young talent coming through was also on fine display, including Flounder (Ebony Ridgeway, Yr 7) and Prince Eric (Noah Monger, Yr 8), so we look forward to more incredible productions in the years to come.
These are exciting times for the Performing Arts team! They led us out of the latest lockdown gloom and into a new era of hope, building on the fairytale tradition of living happily ever after…
My thanks go to St James teaching staff, David Johnson, Tracey Cooke, Sam Alcock, Christina Claire, Annalisa Sorgiovanni and Sian Yates, who can now rest well after a sensational end to the 2021 St James’ production.
The enthusiasm and excitement that followed the musical has lead into a focused start to the Semester 1 examination period for our Senior School students. The Year 12 students commenced their exams this week and from next week onwards our Year 11s, followed by the lower years, will be taking their exams. You will find some helpful study strategies and wellbeing tips in this newsletter, to help you support your children during this time.
I wish our students (and their parents) all the best in the weeks ahead.
Mr Adrian Pree | Principal
From the Head of Junior School
As a school, our purpose is to educate the students across all learning areas and prepare them for life beyond school.
This is similar to the role of parents, as parents know that they have done a good job at raising their children when their children have become independent young adults with a career, house and family of their own. However, as a school, we have to track how our students are progressing. As such, we keep track of their progress via their classwork and various assessments or tests.
As our children progress through their schooling, they are exposed to more assessments, tests and exams. In the formative years of their early learning journey, this does not look like that which occurs in Year 12. I note that our Senior School students are in the process of taking their first examinations for 2021 and are busy revising and studying the topics that they’ve covered in class. How, though, do we prepare the Junior School students for these exams and tests?
This preparation starts with tests and assessments in class, alongside weekly spelling tests and other class activities. The more formal aspect of this starts with the NAPLAN tests, we have held over the last two weeks for our Years 3 and 5 students. These tests cover Numeracy, Reading, Writing and Language Conventions.
We take care to help students become comfortable when approaching tests and to manage their anxiety or apprehension. To this end, we have aimed to keep things as normal as possible, with testing conducted in their classrooms and their teacher supervising.
Some questions we have been asked about NAPLAN include:
What is NAPLAN? NAPLAN is a general assessment of literacy and numeracy proficiency, providing a snapshot of how children across the country answer a particular set of Mathematics and English test questions on one day in May.
Is NAPLAN linked to the Australian curriculum? NAPLAN is not connected directly to the Australian curriculum, so it is not an assessment of the content students learn each day at school.
What is NAPLAN good for? NAPLAN gives schools, systems and parents the ability to measure student’s achievements against national minimum standards and to compare student performance across states and territories.
It is important to remember that NAPLAN is a snapshot of what happens on a few days in May. The students have tried their very best, just as they strive to do each and every day.
Mr Dan Mornement | Head of Junior School
From the Head of Senior School
As our students in Years 8 - 12 are busily undertaking and preparing for their upcoming examinations, I thought it helpful to reflect on why we hold exams, how best to prepare and what we can learn from the process.
Why are exams held? Exams provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding. There is an art to preparing for an exam, organising one’s thoughts, sequencing ideas, anticipating questions, planning answers and working to a set timeframe. These are also life skills, which are developed and refined when challenged and under pressure.
What is the preparation required? Students are encouraged to become familiar with the art of refinement. Class notes become study notes, which become palm cards. This leads to passive study where one revises individually, making notes, mind-maps or perhaps develops mnemonics to learn the content. Then, they move into active study using question and answer sessions with another person, timed practice on past papers and seeking assistance from specialist staff to strive for excellence.
What is learnt from the process? Students learn to gather information, filter important content, develop strengths and work on weaknesses. They take control of their destiny, use the resources and support on offer and work collaboratively with others. Most importantly, they learn what they need to do next for further learning, to develop more effective study habits and ways to prepare for the next test!
I wish our Senior School students every success in preparing for their upcoming exams..
Mr Chris Hall | Head of Senior School
On 31 March 2021, the Year 10s made their way to Perth for the RAC ‘BStreetSmart’ convention. The convention was extremely confronting to us all as it provided a new outlook and insight into the horrors and instant consequences that being unsafe on the road can have. I’m sure all of us can agree that the presentations were truly heart-wrenching to hear, especially coming from the people who had experienced it firsthand.
The most memorable was the live re-enactment of a car crash. The re-enactment portrayed a group of teenagers deciding to drive home from a party after all of them had been drinking. As the horrific events of the car crash unraveled, we were taken through a step by step, quick-pace process on how firefighters, police officers and paramedics would handle this situation. They also explained the long-term consequences, including the legal actions taken and the people involved including their loved ones who are affected.
Despite this being a less-gory version of an accident that is very common on the road, we were all on the edge of our seats, hoping the actors got out safely. From a personal view, this day was truly an eye-opener into how fast you can lose everything, and I am excited for the future Year 10s who get to experience the day.
Morven Selfridge | Year 10 Student
Experimenting in CHEMISTRY
In Term 1 the Year 12 Chemistry class made their way down to Providence Christian College in Southern River. Once we arrived, we were sorted into groups and learnt about the chemical analysis technique called titrations, while carrying out a series of titration experiments.
We all enjoyed doing the titrations, as well as learning about them, using new equipment, and, although being in a larger sized class was weird, we enjoyed meeting all the other students. The day was really fun, and everyone was happy but tired, on the long ride home.
Courtney Stead | Year 12 Student
A STING in the TALE
In Week 3 all Year 7 Science students had the opportunity to observe real-life scorpions and tarantulas.
During their lesson, students first had to recognise that the organisms fit into the Kingdom Animalia and the Phylum Arthropoda. They recognised that the Animalia Kingdom contains a diverse range of organisms including humans and creepy crawlies.
Understanding the importance of classification and naming all living things using the Linnaeus system, students learnt how to write scientific names using binomial nomenclature (a two-name naming system). They practised writing the scientific names of both the scorpion (Liocheles waigiensis) and the tarantula (Phlogius crassipes).
A great opportunity for students to combine their learning in class being able to observe the critters... from the safety of the plastic containers!
Ms Kristen Redmond | Science Teacher
Happy Children | Happy Learning
Happiness is not the absence of sadness; it is the way our children work with sadness that ensures their happiness longevity.
Every parent wants their child to be happy and value their learning at school. While what children learn is important, it is how they learn that counts. Homework, assignments, tests and exams are an integral part of the learning processes. However, unfortunately, they can be contributors to the stress levels of our children. Parents can feel out of control when it comes to school learning but by fostering the right values and creating a supportive environment at home, students will learn.
To help, parents can:
• Foster a love of learning | Encourage reading and build positive relationships between family and school.
• Set ground rules for homework and study | Make a space that is clean and clear, set timeframes for work (and play), be positive about assessments, help out and support, without doing it for them.
• Know when a break is needed from learning | Children do not need to be learning every minute of the day, breaks to play and enjoy relaxing moments are enhancers for learning.
• Develop positive relationships with peers | For older students, encourage study groups in your home, provide healthy snacks and quiet space to focus.
Ms Teresa Gastevich | School Counsellor
HELPFUL HINTS FROM SATORI
Why Core Strength Matters
The muscles of your ‘core’ are your body or trunk muscles that control your pelvis and spine. They are important because they stabilise your body so that you can do things with your limbs such as climbing, dancing, balancing and jumping. Core strength also helps to maintain your posture during more fine motor tasks such as writing, tying shoelaces, doing up buttons, and even cutting with a knife and fork.
Some of the things that can indicate poor core strength in children include:
- Leaning against a wall when lining up to go back into class.
- Being unable to sit still when sitting on the mat.
- Constantly changing position when sitting in a chair.
- Holding their head up with their hand when sitting at a desk.
- Slouching in their chair when writing.
- Difficulties participating in sport, such as getting tired quickly or having difficulty managing bat or racket sports.
- ‘W’ sitting – when your bottom sits on the floor in between your bent knees so your legs look like a letter W.
There are lots of easy ways to improve a child’s core strength:
At the park:
- Swinging themselves on a swing.
- Climbing trees or rope nets.
- Balancing on balance beams or stepping stones.
- Rocking on a spring rocker or see-saw.
- Kicking a ball.
- Throwing and catching a ball.
- Swimming in a pool.
- Playing totem tennis.
- Riding a bike.
- Doing Yoga.
In the Community:
- Doing gymnastics or dancing.
- Doing martial arts.
- Playing team sports.
Core strength is very important both at home and at school. It is one of those ‘unexpected’ things that can have a big impact on a student’s ability to focus, concentrate and learn in the classroom. If you are interested in some other activities to develop core strength, please drop me an email at email@example.com.
Kelsey Hayes | Occupational Therapist
Jennifer George | MAWA Regional Ambassador
Earlier this year I was appointed as a regional ambassador for the Mathematics Association of Western Australia (MAWA). I was excited to apply for this opportunity as I was keen to promote the love of teaching Maths with the local community.
The role involves supporting MAWA by promoting the organisation and the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT) in addition to identifying professional learning gaps and requirements within the region. This will include St James’ hosting ‘Have Sum Fun’ competitions at our school, to make the competition more accessible to schools which find it too far to travel to the usual competition venue of Perth city.
It is a role that helps promote to parents and students the extensive range of opportunities that MAWA offers to support and extend students in their learning. I am keen to work with my colleagues from all schools and to help support them and their teaching, as well as learning from them and enhancing what we offer in the Mathematics Department at St James’.
Ms Jen George | Head of Mathematics