Principal Newsletter

Staffing Changes, Special Programs, Year 12 Practice Exam, Reading for Pleasure, 'The Arrival’ buy back – Year 8 English Students, District Athletics, Rugby, VTAC Applications, Exciting new Year 7 Learning Centre, Sports Week, Left over Parent Club funds, Parent-Teacher Interviews & Are you logging onto Compass?
Friday 22nd September, 2017.
Principal.

Staffing Changes

I am pleased to announce the appointment of a STEM Leading Teacher, Michael Street. Michael comes from Lauriston Girls’ School in Armadale.

Tessa Clark has been appointed Receptionist, to take over the role from Sal Murgana who has taken up the task of being Assistant to the Principal Team.

Special Programs

We have started trialling an intervention reading program for a number of students in Year 7 and 8 who are well below the expected levels for reading. In addition, a number of Year 11 VCE students have been identified as requiring additional support in English. They will be able to access this support over the term break and into Term 4.

A VCE Tutorial Program will offered every Wednesday and Thursday afterschool in the VCE centre throughout Term 4. This allows students an opportunity to work one-on-one with their teacher to improve their academic performance.

A big ‘thank you’VCE staff will be giving up their personal time during the school holidays to assist our students with academic development. Their teaching commitment is to be commended.

Year 12 Practice Exam

For many kids tests are a cause of anxiety and sleepless nights. The fear of doing poorly on an important exam can cause students to stay up poring over their notes from class. Exams do not have to be a source of anxiety for our kids, though with the help of resources like practice exams, students can better prepare themselves for the upcoming exams in November.

Getting Prepared

There are many benefits to utilising practice exams, and adequately preparing for the final exam is a big one. With practice exams, students can get a feel for the types of questions they should expect to see during the test period, and they will also help them understand areas they need to improve on. Prior to taking practice exams, students can feel overwhelmed by the amount of material they are expected to review and study. After sitting down with their practice exam results, however, they can get a better sense of which areas are weakest. Armed with this knowledge, they can focus their efforts in a more productive manner.

Alleviating Anxiety

Knowing which subject areas are the most difficult to grasp can help students feel more confident in their studying abilities. If students know beforehand that they didn’t do very well on the math portion of their practice exam but excelled at science, they can save time and energy by skipping some science preparation and designating more time to mathematical equations. Students should feel positive about using practice exams, as well because research demonstrates that practice exams and distributed practicing are two extremely effective study techniques.
Another benefit of taking practice exams is the familiarity of material. Using these study materials, students can get a feel for the layout and question types the exams will have and won’t be as nervous when answering the questions. They will feel more self-assured because they will be used to reading and analysing similar question structures.

Timing out the test

Timed exams can be a big problem for students who aren’t used to having a strict time limit. With testing exercises, students can take their work home where they can time themselves as they work on questions. Doing these drills will allow students to understand how much time they have to spend on each problem. This way, they can adjust to the timing and be prepared for the final.

Reading for Pleasure

Did you know that reading for pleasure can actually increase the rate of children’s learning? Professor Alice Sullivan’s research at the London Institute of Education demonstrates that “reading for pleasure was linked to greater intellectual progress, both for vocabulary, spelling and mathematics. Reading for pleasure made a very substantial difference – around four times greater than the difference made by having a parent with a degree compared to having parents with no qualifications”.

There is a clear link between reading and vocabulary development, as reading exposes young people to new vocabulary. Research also links reading for pleasure and progress in maths. It is a concern that reading for pleasure tends to decline as children move from the primary years into secondary school.

Discussion groups in our Year 7 classes were held early in Term 3. Pre-service teachers took notes about the reading habits of 86 Year 7 students during reciprocal teaching classes. A number of students reported that they used to read a lot more in primary school. 44 of 86 students who participated in the discussions stated that they read once a week, less than once a week or never. Only 15 of the 86 students said they are reading daily. There were some questions raised by students, such as: Do snap-chat news articles count? Does social media count? Why would I read books when I can just play video games?

Some students identified that they definitely prefer print books to e-readers. Some students said they find books boring and would rather be outside playing sports. Several students stated that they enjoy fantasy books such as Harry Potter and Twilight.

Some students identified that they will read for hours in a day if they find a book they can’t put down, and if they don’t have an interesting book they do no reading at all. The time spent reading seems to depend a lot on whether students have a book they’re interested in.

It is vital that families and teachers partner together in promoting reading for pleasure. Our students have access to a wide range of books through the library. It is important to foster a love of reading in children. Please encourage your children to read. Discuss with them books, magazines or newspaper articles you have read and enjoyed. Consider reading an article or book together, or asking questions about something your child is reading.

'The Arrival’ buy back – Year 8 English Students

The College is looking to gather extra copies of ‘The Arrival’ by Shaun Tan. This is the text Year 8 students used in Term 1 of this year for their Reading Assessment Unit.
If your copy of the book is still in good condition, you have the option of returning this to the library to receive a credit of $10 on your school statement.
If you are interested, please return your copy of ‘The Arrival’ to the school library by Friday 3rd of November.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call Lauren Waters (Head of English) on 8762 6839.

District Athletics

Our district athletics carnival was held on Monday, 18th September, at Casey Fields. The weather had been against us in the days prior to our Monday. It was a very windy day, but despite this, we can report on aspects that made the day a wonderful success as well as the individual outstanding performances of some standout students.

The atmosphere of the day was the involvement of our students in numerous events throughout the day.

For a student to give their all for Fountain Gate is no easy task! Fatigue can quickly set in going from event to event, jumping to sprinting to throwing. However, a number of students not only managed to do this but consistently do it successfully. We congratulate the under 17 Girls 4x100m relay winners, under 17 Boys 4x100m relay runners who finished in second place, various age groups who gave an amazing performance in our throwing events such as Shot Put, Javelin and Discuss and Tyiss Holloway (10B) who gave up a 20metre lead in the Boys 17's 400m sprint due to a pulled hamstring!

We look forward to congratulating many more of our students. All in all, the 2017 Casey District Athletics Carnival was a wonderful success for all students and teachers involved. We could not be more proud of the commitment and spirit demonstrated by our students and look forward to the growing success that is sure to follow next year.

Rugby

On Wednesday 9th August, the Fountain Gate S.C. rugby teams competed in the South East Regional Rugby Sevens tournament at Moorabbin Rugby Club and completely demolished the competition in every game. Our teams were undefeated; winning the Under 14 Boys and Girls titles, as well as the Under 16 Boys and Girls titles for the day. An absolutely outstanding effort by all of the teams! All four teams will go on to compete for FGSC at the state championships.

Rugby Gallery

VTAC Applications

The Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) has opened for 2017 Year 12 students considering further education pathways. We advise all students sitting for the VCE to open an online account with VTAC. The site has lots of advice regarding further education preferences.

Exciting new Year 7 Learning Centre:

In 2018, we will have a new Year 7 Learning Centre! The existing library is being refurbished. Three Year 7 classes at a time will be time-tabled for their English classes, with five teachers, allowing for intervention and English as an Additional Language groupings and higher levels of support and personalisation of learning for all students. These classes will also have some of their Mathematics classes in the space.

Teachers will collaborate and have the opportunity to team teach and use a variety of grouping and instructional methods to cater for the varied learning needs of our students. Students will be encouraged to collaborate in groups within their learning.

Acoustic panelling will be installed these holidays on the ceiling to reduce noise in the space. Term 4 we will test the acoustics and make adjustments to the space as needed. Attractive new furniture has been ordered for the space, allowing for a high level of flexibility. The furniture has been carefully selected. Tables are individual and easily moveable for different seating arrangements. Specially designed teacher focus group tables will also feature. The Bodyfurn chairs are comfortable and allow for some student movement.

About the furniture: Researchers from the University of Waikato used a range of methods to investigate the introduction of Bodyfurn® to a cross-section of students in primary and intermediate classrooms. They videoed classes and using computer software, carefully observed the classroom dynamics and behaviour before and after the new furniture was introduced. They also asked the students and teachers what they thought, individually and in groups. It was found that the furniture was more comfortable and easier to use. It also reduced off-task behaviour. The report concluded that “Bodyfurn® classroom furniture impacted positively on classroom learning environments”. Put simply, the new furniture made classrooms better places for learning.

We are excited about the new Learning Centre. It will be a literature-rich, colourful and inviting space in which Year Sevens can feel connected and learn.

Two additional classrooms will be rejuvenated with new furniture and colours to create additional Year 7 spaces.

All students in the College will continue to have access to the library facility and will be encouraged to borrow books.

Sports Week

“This week saw the Young Leaders and House Captains work together to host ‘Sports Week’. At lunchtime each day this week students were invited to participate in a different sport to earn points for their house.

On Monday, the students tested their skills playing with the hula hoops and hacky sacks before competing in a game of tug of war. Tuesday’s lunchtime was filled with an exciting game of multi-sports and on Wednesday a game of vortex. Thursday’s weather saw few participants in a game of tiggy and on Friday many students headed down to the gym for a high spirited game of dodgeball.

Each day house points were awarded to the winning teams, the top 5 participants, for good sportsmanship and to the best male and best female for each game.

To finish off the week students and staff were invited to wear their favourite sports teams scarf or beanie.

Miss Byers, Mr Pav, Mr Harris and Mr Yilmaz would like to thank all the students who help to run each of the games and all of the students and staff who participated.”

Sports Week Gallery

Left over Parent Club funds

The college has had approximately $6,000 sitting in an account for a number of years. I have been speaking to a number of students to allocate the funds to something that they would appreciate, and a common response was more access to watering points. The college has received some quotes and we will organise these to be installed for the students.

Parent-Teacher Interviews

It was great to see so many of our students’ families at our recent Parent-Teacher interviews. We urge you to discuss the advice and suggestions given by teachers to students, and negotiate ways your child can act on this advice as a means of maximising success during the end of year assessments, regardless of whether your child is a VCE or junior student.

Are you logging into Compass?

Please do not forget that you can give ongoing support to your child by monitoring their progress using COMPASS.

Just log in to:

https://fgsc-vic.compass.education using the username and password that you have received from the school. Alternatively, you can now download the Compass App onto your phone or tablet for easy access via the Google Play Store or iTunes App Store.

You can use the Compass portal to:

If you have difficulty logging in, or if you have misplaced your login details, please contact the College for assistance on 8762 6839.

The last day of the term is 22nd September. Students will be dismissed at 2:30pm. We will return to school on the 9th of October.

I wish everyone a wonderful holiday break and look forward to catching up with you all next term.