Welcome back to the school community and a very warm welcome to our new families who are joining us for the first time.
I sincerely hope you all had a restful break and are completely refreshed and ready for a great new start in the school year.
We have many new students in every year level. A growing enrolment is great for our school community and enables us as a College to provide a broad and engaging program for the students.
On Tuesday 30th January, the Year 7 students started and it was absolutely brilliant to see them all dressed smart, ready to begin their secondary college journey.
Our start to the year has been remarkably smooth and we are confident that many of our school improvement initiatives are gaining traction. We are very confident that we will continue to see further improvement in student outcomes this year and in years to come.
We also welcome the following new and returning teaching staff:
Our Year 7 students commenced on Tuesday, 30th January. They were welcomed in the gym and introduced to their teachers. They completed a two-day Start Up Program to assist them with getting to know each other and learning about the school expectations and curriculum outline for Semester 1. They participated in Wellbeing, Plagiarism and Study workshops and were allocated a school locker.
Our Year 8-10 students commenced on Wednesday, 31st of January. They were welcomed back and commenced their day with a similar Start Up Program. They participated in Wellbeing, Study, Plagiarism and Career workshops and were reminded of the school policies and expectations. They received an assessment timeline for Semester 1.
Our Year 11 students commenced the year with an induction camp on Tuesday 30th January. They stayed overnight at CYC The Island in Cowes and participated in goal setting activities for VCE and discussed future educational pathways. They participated in several team building and initiative activities.
Our Year 12 students participated in a very important and informative overnight camp at Melbourne Discovery in the CBD. This camp was an introduction to Year 12 for students. They visited Melbourne University, RMIT and Australian Catholic University. Students worked on developing curriculum inspiration and explored future pathways. They also visited the State Library of Victoria where they completed a VCE Research Essentials Workshop and then participated in a Great Race around Melbourne to assist with the development of their team building skills. Mr Broecker and I were fortunate to have dinner with them on the Tuesday night.
Parents please be aware that the staff car park is an out-of-bounds zone during drop off and pick up times. Parents are not permitted to enter the car park as it endangers our students' safety.
If you are visiting the office or meeting with a teacher inside school hours, please ensure you use the marked Visitor's parking only which are located closest to the office entrance.
Please be reminded that any students driving themselves to school need to park their vehicles on Victoria Road (street parking). Please do not park on Josephine Avenue or in the staff car park.
There are only 25 DAYS until the 2018 Relay for Life! Registrations need to be completed as soon as possible.
This year, Relay for Life is starting at 5.45pm on Friday the 2nd of March to 6pm Saturday the 3rd of March at Akoonah Park Berwick.
Are you ready to participate in Fountain Gate Secondary College's 3rd 24 hour relay?
As a community we raise much needed funds for cancer research, all while enjoying food and entertainment through supporting our community and those who are affected by cancer.
Walk for 30 minutes while enjoying the fun activities and costumes on Friday night, camp out over night with your friends, wake up to an egg and bacon breakfast, or even arrive on the Saturday to enjoy stalls, games, auctions and raffles.
Leave your footprint in the walk for hope by taking part in the candle light ceremony and honour those who have fought, survived or lost to cancer.
For a $30 registration fee using the link provided, you will have joined the team and the money will not only be donated in full to the Cancer Council, it also provides you with a free Relay For Life Polo.
If you can't make the event, please donate to help Fountain Gate Secondary College reach their fundraising goal of $5000. Last year with 75 Fountain Gate Secondary College students and teachers over $6000 was raised, and for a second year Fountain Gate Secondary College won a research grant. So let's do it again! Register now with all your friends and family, you won't regret it.
Please do not forget that you can give ongoing support to your child by monitoring their progress using COMPASS. All new families to the school received their login details via SMS earlier this week.
To access Compass just log in to:
https://fgsc-vic.compass.education/login.aspx using the username and password that you have received in your SMS. 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:
" Read progress reports.
" Read semester reports
" Monitor your child's attendance data.
" Approve or enter upcoming or past absences for your child.
" View information about upcoming excursions.
" Update your registered email and mobile phone number details (used for SMS alerts).
" Book for Parent/Teacher/Student Interviews.
" View the school calendar for important dates/events.
" Access news items that may be posted on a daily basis.
If you have difficulty logging in, or do not know your login details, please contact the College for assistance on 8762 6839.
Construction for our College STEM centre has begun. For the new families joining us for the first time, we are very proud to advise that our college received state government funding of $4.5 million dollars in 2017 to build a new STEM Centre at our school.
What is STEM, you may ask? STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Research shows that 75% of the fastest growing occupations will require these four subjects. A critical component of STEM is the ability for students to learn computer coding across a range of different year levels. Research is showing at least 50% of workers will need, advanced skills to configure and build systems. Coding involves the algorithmic language of computers and teaches students how computers are built, how they work, helping them to construct their function and behaviour.
This is why it is so important as a progressive Secondary College we get in at the ground level and become a leader in this field allowing us to maximise learning opportunities for students.
Construction is commencing next week. We eagerly anticipate a smooth and hassle-free project, with little disturbance to our students. The STEM centre will be completed by the second week in Term 4.
The STEM program will be led by Michael Street (STEM Leader), accompanied by Amy Mraz (STEM Learning Specialist), Nicole Tritter (STEM Learning Specialist), Lauren Waters (English Learning Specialist) and Stacey Dannock (Mathematics Learning Specialist).
Fountain Gate Secondary College is proud to have been selected to take part in Ourschool, an exciting new project aimed at helping state secondary schools harness the expertise of their alumni (former students).
Our school is a not-for-profit service that will help Fountain Gate Secondary College invite alumni back to the school to provide advice and career guidance to current students.
It's the first alumni service for state secondary schools in Australia. Alumni organisations in private schools are well established and provide huge benefits to schools. This new service will help us grow our alumni community to benefit our students.
If you are reading this and you are a former student of Fountain Gate Secondary College, please get in touch with us by sending us an email.
We'd like to remind all of our new Alumni's that they are always welcome back and wish them all nothing but the best with their future endeavours. We look forward to hearing all about their journeys outside of school in the near future.
Introducing the Fountain gate Secondary College School Captains (from left to right); Kaleb Drane, Maddison Patmore, Lasi Bartsch and Kirsty Thomas.
We congratulate them on their appointments and wish them all the best with their leadership work this year!
Below are some very important study tips designed to assist students. I strongly encourage parents and students to read the advice in order to implement a good and positive study habit.
Take advantage of every opportunity to prepare for your exams. A little study "here and there" can add up to significant amounts of time. As an example, if you put aside just 15 minutes each day for learning across 3 months, you would reduce your exam preparations by about 23 hours!
If you need to study in a noisy environment, purchase a cheap pair of disposable foam ear plugs (<$1) and a pair of jackhammer ear muffs (<$25), and enjoy the instant silence!
Minimise the amount of notes you write while a teacher is delivering their class. Students who divide their attention between listening, watching, comprehending and writing notes will only remember about 5% of what was presented 72 hours later - as opposed to 50% if they didn't write at the same time. You're also likely to miss vital concepts, resulting in additional study requirements outside school hours.
Allocate a time limit in which to complete each individual task. Time boxing forces you to complete tasks sooner and to work smarter (work has a tendency to expand and fill the time that is available for its completion!) To further improve efficiency, give yourself 25% less time than you conservatively estimate it will take you to complete a task. This forces you to get creative and find more efficient ways to work.
After writing an essay or passage, copy and paste it into Google Translate. This will enable you to listen to what you've written, making it significantly easier to identify sections that need to be reworked. Paste your work into the LHS box and select 'English' from the language choices in the RI-IS box, followed by the voice icon.
Perfectionism often leads to many students avoiding their studies. If you're a perfectionist, it may be beneficial to learn about the "The Pareto Principle" which states that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. So rather than spending significant amounts of time trying to perfect essays and assignments, aim for a slightly lower standard, saving considerable time, as well as reducing the chances of future procrastination.
When faced with a difficult topic or problem, don't shy away from asking questions. There is no point in sitting through class without knowing what your peers or teacher are actually talking about, so speak up! More often than not, someone else has the same question in mind and will be, albeit silently, thanking you.
Don't leave past examination papers to the last minute. Many of the skills you'll need to complete the exam paper correctly cannot be developed in the space of a few weeks. Therefore, start working through past examination questions ASAP.
During REM sleep, your brain consolidates and processes the information you've learned during the day, forms neural connections that strengthen memory, and replenishes its supply of neurotransmitters. The more REM stages per night, the greater the amount of information that is stored in long-term memory. Therefore, aim for at least 7.5 hours of sleep on regular nights (> 9 hours on days spent preparing for tests and exams).
Stop multitasking. Not only is it less efficient (productivity decreases by 40%), it drops your IQ by 10 points. This means more unnecessary mistakes that you'll only have to go back and correct, wasting even more precious time.
When preparing for the exams, don't forget to build up strength in your hand. All the learning and mental preparation in the world won't help if your hand cramps up and you can't write. Attach one or more AAA batteries to your pens/pencils, and use these tweaked utensils to write with between now and the exams. Sit-ups also improve hand strength, as well as the quality of writing.
It's much easier to procrastinate when you have games and the internet ready to access at every weak moment. Even worse is the knowledge that your friends are most likely chatting on social media. The solution? Make a study pact with your friends. Download a distraction blocker app and block all social media sites for an agreed period of time. Then you'll know that you're not missing out on anything on Facebook, making it so much easier to get stuck into your studies!
To get the most from learning sessions (and cut down on study time), spread learning across a longer time frame rather than cramming before your exams (spaced learning). You will learn more in ten 2-hour sessions than in two 10-hour sessions!
Do a rhythmic activity for 1 - 5 minutes. For example, tennis, jogging, tapping, drumming etc. This will increase dopamine levels in the brain, which improves focus, motivation and task completion (very well researched and documented).
Blue wavelengths of light from the screens of smart phones, tablet computers and e-readers suppresses the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin, delaying sleep onset and making us feel alert. Experts recommend that these devices should not be used 1-2 hours before sleep. If evening electronics are necessary, use blue-light filter glasses. Alternatively, blue light filters can be installed on screens. A variety of apps are available that reduce the emissions of blue light from phones and computers. Examples include F.lux (iPhone and PC) and Twilight (Android).
Even mild dehydration (<2%) which is characterised by a mildly dry mouth and dry lips can decrease concentration and test performance by 10 to 20%. Therefore, drink one glass of water within 5 minutes. Your alertness and energy levels will greatly improve if you're not sufficiently hydrated. At the very least, the levels of stress hormone (cortisol) will drop significantly within 10 minutes.
Once you get home from school, take a 30-minute break and have something to eat and drink. Then take a shower and change into something you'd wear on a non-school day. You'll feel as if you've started a new day, making it easier to commit to continued study. If you're very tired, take a 70 to 100-minute nap, followed by a shower and change of clothes
Decrease the temperature in your study area. If necessary, layer up with clothes and open a window so you get a continual supply of fresh air. Air from cooling or heating vents is recycled throughout the house and often has a lower concentration of oxygen, so keep a window partially open when using an air conditioner.
Telling yourself that you have to study for your exams can be overwhelming, especially when you're tired or beginning to feel anxious. Instead of saying you're going to study, set a task that has a clear end point. For example, you could read a chapter from a text book, complete half an exam paper, or work through 20 exam questions.
Radiation from mobile phones delays and reduces sleep, and causes headaches and confusion. The research, sponsored by mobile phone companies themselves, shows that using the handsets in the hour before sleep causes people to take longer to reach the deeper stages of slumber and to spend less time in them. This interferes with the body's ability to repair damage, causes mood and personality changes, ADD-Iike symptoms, depression, lack of concentration and reduced academic performance.
Find your 'power hours' - the times of the day where your energy, focus and motivation are at their highest levels. Use these times to complete difficult or challenging tasks. Do not work on concentration intensive tasks when your alertness and energy levels are low. Not only will you make avoidable mistakes, tasks will require more time and effort to complete, increasing the likelihood of you becoming overwhelmed or demotivated. Use these times to eat, relax, clean, sort, research or answer emails.
Start every revision session with a test so you can determine what needs to be reviewed from the previous day's study session and which areas need the greatest attention in the new topic being addressed.
Although it's important to have a comprehensive set of notes from which to learn, spending large amounts of time preparing such materials in the weeks leading up to tests and exams is a huge waste of time. Writing, re-writing and silent reading are only effective (and only moderately so) if the materials are of great interest, which is usually not the case when preparing for tests and exams! The writing process is also time consuming, reducing the time available to memorise information and to work through practice examination papers.
Most people tend to remember best what they learn at the beginning of a learning session, so use these times to work on new or difficult materials. People are also able to best recall words that were repeated or connected in some way, together with unusual words that stand out from the rest. Therefore, link concepts together whilst learning, and if possible - make learning interesting and fun!
Circle or highlight the questions you can't answer or answer incorrectly, as you come across them. You'll be able to quickly identify which questions should be re-visited before your exams, saving you considerable amounts in study time.
If you know what your teacher plans to cover, read the relevant passages or pages of the textbook before you go to class. This provides you with a scaffold of understanding: you will have an idea of the broader picture, which will help you identify the important points as the teacher introduces them. Even if you don't understand things completely, you will have an idea of what you don't understand so that you can make sure you pay close attention and/or ask well-thought-out questions when those topics come up. It also means you will already recognise everything you are shown in class, improving your ability to recall this information later.
Try to explain a difficult concept to your pet, a stuffed animal, or a willing human! Teaching someone is the most effective way to learn, and will also highlight any gaps in your understanding.
After learning a topic or subtopic, test your knowledge and further engrain information into long-term memory using practice testing. Examples include (a) Asking yourself questions and answering them. Flash cards are great for this. (b) Doing practice questions without the aid of notes or textbook materials. (c) Sitting tests in a testing environment. (d) Stating answers and then working out the corresponding question.
Studies show that immediate retesting without time between tests has very little benefit in increasing learning. Rather, practice testing should be done when enough time (at least 24 hours) has elapsed between practice tests. The same applies when learning - separate learning and revision sessions involving a specific topic by at least 24 hours.
Short-term memory has a limited capacity and can only hold a small amount of information (seven plus or minus two chunks or items of information) at one time. Therefore, keep the number of points you're trying to memorise to 5 or 6 at a time.
Most students believe that it is more effective to conduct all study in the one quiet location. However, it has been shown that studying in different environments actually improves how much information is committed to memory. It also assists in the development of new neural pathways - which speeds up future learning, as well as how effectively we can retrieve and apply information. So try to study in as many different locations as you can!
A great way to reduce procrastination online is to set all of your websites to log you out automatically, so you have to enter a password every time. Then, make that password "ThislsAWasteOfTime" or "IAmProcrastinating" or something along those lines. This will force you to acknowledge that what you're doing is not helpful, and hopefully to get you back on task.
Studying/learning too long depletes the brain of the neurotransmitters required for efficient processing and memory storage. Research shows that the average student cannot engage in intense study, and in particular, memorise the same subject materials effectively for more than 4 consecutive hours - even with 10-minute breaks every hour. After 4 hours, efficiency and memory begin to suffer. Therefore, change subjects or tasks every few hours and try not to study/commit course materials to memory for more than 4 hours at a time.
When you're preparing for tests and exams, it's important to take a 10-minute break every hour. Use this time to relax or exercise, or to engage in an activity you enjoy - as long as NO technology is involved! Not only do the breaks give your mind a rest from learning, doing something different will actually improve brain function.
People who eat a good quality breakfast (high in protein, low in simple carbohydrates) perform to a higher standard in tests and exams (up to 40% in one study!) They are also much less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.
The more of your senses you use to form a memory, the easier it is to remember. Therefore, associate information you are memorising with familiar sights, sounds, smell, taste and even touch.
Topics that you do not like or regularly put off are typically the topics that you do not understand and that require the greatest amount of attention. These materials should be addressed first so that you have plenty of time to absorb, understand and commit information to memory.
If you struggle to concentrate for long periods, try a schedule consisting of 25 minutes study followed by a 5-minute break. After four 25-minute study sessions, take a 30-minute break, and then repeat. Such a schedule allows you to work very productively with easily achievable goals. There are many apps and websites available to help you maintain this learning technique, otherwise known as the "Pomodoro technique".
It's been suggested that peppermint stimulates brain activity and assists in concentration. Therefore, brew some peppermint tea when studying to help you focus and complete more work.
Should any VCE study student require assistance with a study guide, please see the VCE Team in the VCE Sub-school Office.
I look forward to meeting all our new students and families in the coming weeks. Should you need any assistance with your student's transition into their year level, please do not hesitate to contact the College.