College’s great minds take out state title

Written by SMC Administrator. Posted in News, Timeline

A team of St Mary’s College Senior School students are state champions following an outstanding Tournament of Minds (TOM) showing at Ogilvie High School on the weekend.

Students, Shreya Karunakara (Year 9), Estella Edwards (Year 7), Stefani Khoo (Year 7), Isabella Cox (Year 9), Emily Walter (Year 8), Natalie De Cesare (Year 9) and Alyssa Lee (Year 9) held off teams from other Tasmanian schools to claim the Social Sciences category for Senior School competitors.

Congratulations must also go to the College’s Junior School team (Zyla Williams, Adalia Hauler, Madeleine Ambrose, Grace Cox, Grace Marshall, Lucy McKenna and Anna Fracalossi), who did a fabulous job representing SMC at the event.

TOM is a national problem-solving program aimed at enhancing student thinking. The competition requires teams to work cooperatively as they tackle stimulating open-ended challenges which demand experimental and reward creative and critical thinking.

On tournament day, teams of seven students are required to present their solutions to two challenges – the Long-Term Challenge and the Spontaneous Challenge.

The Long-Term Challenge sees students given six weeks to prepare their solution, including script writing and creating costumes and props. This solution is then performed to a panel of judges and an audience.

The Spontaneous Challenge is a previously unseen ‘on the spot’ challenge, where teams are only given a few minutes to discuss and plan their responses. Participants are judged on their ability to develop ideas and work collaboratively towards a solution.

All the girls are to be commended on their dedication, creativity and team work throughout the challenge period.

Thank you to all parents for transporting and supporting students on the day. Thank you also to St Mary’s College teachers, Jenny Noble and Karen Walter for their assistance, guidance and encouragement in the lead-up to the competition.

Students band together to show support for Aussie kids

Written by SMC Administrator. Posted in News, Timeline

SMC’s Year 9B Religion students have banded together to demonstrate their support for the protection of children.

Friday 7 September was White Balloon Day, the annual fund and awareness-raising campaign for Bravehearts, an organisation dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse.

The campaign, which is now in its 22nd year, uses the white balloon as a symbol of hope for survivors of child sexual assault and encourages them to break the silence by speaking out. 

In a show of solidarity for those affected by the issue, students completed a montage of white chalk drawings featuring messages of hope and support.

While in the past people have bought and released white balloons to mark the day, this year supporters were asked to consider alternative activities as the world becomes more conscious about the effects of plastics on the environment.

Braveheart founder, Hetty Johnson said: “We’re asking people to ‘chalk about it’, so getting some chalk and drawing balloons on footpaths with a message to children and survivors that we care about.”

Youth gain valuable road safety knowledge

Written by SMC Administrator. Posted in News, Timeline

While they may not yet have their driver’s licence, our Year 10 cohort has already gained some valuable knowledge and skills that will hopefully help them stay safe on the road.

The students recently attended a RYDA (Rotary Youth Driver Awareness) Road Safety excursion hosted by Rotary Tasmania and Tasmania Police.

The day consisted of practical workshops and scenarios focused around educating young people on the importance of road safety, decision making, and how to remove hazards and distractions when driving a vehicle.

NAPLAN Online – trial of the new assessment platform

Written by SMC Administrator. Posted in News, Timeline

You may have heard that NAPLAN Online is being introduced across Australia over three years from 2018. Tasmanian schools will be administering NAPLAN online from 2019.

NAPLAN Online will provide better assessment, more precise results and faster turnaround of information.

Our school will trial the new assessment platform (the computer system the test will be taken on) and assess our readiness to participate in NAPLAN Online from 2019. This trial is called the School Readiness Test (SRT). The SRT is not a test of student achievement and results will not form part of a student’s overall assessment.

Participating in this trial is important as it will help us ensure we have adequate internet connectivity, and whether students have access to a sufficient number of devices for NAPLAN testing. During the trial, our school will have the opportunity to practice managing the classroom logistics for an online assessment and the new test administration processes.

Feedback from schools participating in the trial will inform transition to the online assessment as well as provide valuable feedback to shape the final development of the NAPLAN Online platform.

The SRT has not been constructed to assess curriculum knowledge, but rather to provide students an opportunity to experience the types of questions that will be included in the new online assessment.

During September 11-19, 2018, selected students in Years 2,4,6 and 8 will participate in the trial of the assessment platform, by undertaking one or two online tests that include examples of the new NAPLAN Online questions. Each test will take approximately 45 minutes to complete.

Participation in this trial is a key step to ensuring a successful NAPLAN Online experience.

If you have further questions, please contact Michelle Baker at the College.

STEM professionals welcomed into the classroom for National Science Week

Written by SMC Administrator. Posted in News, Timeline

Students at St Mary’s College joined more than 350 schools across Australia in welcoming science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals into their classroom recently as they kicked-off National Science Week celebrations. 

Facilitated by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, the STEM in Schools event aims to make STEM careers more visible and relatable by inviting STEM professionals into the classroom to share their work and their stories with students. 

STEM professionals from across CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Defence Science and Technology group took part in the initiative, with St Mary’s College welcoming Dr Annie Foppert from the CSIRO into the classroom.

Dr Foppert, whose research primarily focuses on the dynamics of large-scale ocean currents, said she enjoyed speaking with the students about her work.

“It’s always exciting to engage with young students and future scientists,” Dr Foppert said.

“I know from my own experience that meeting real people in professions that may not even be on your radar, especially at a young age, seems to somehow make it more tangible and enables you to imagine yourself in that field.

“It’s as if realizing that ‘if she can do it, I can too’.”

St Mary’s College Science coordinator, Heather Omant, said with the demand for STEM-related expertise in the workforce increasing, it’s never been more important to ensure young people engage with STEM subjects in Australia and that STEM professionals unite to engage students.

“Projects like this acknowledge the significant impact that relationships with role models and mentors, especially female, have on girls’ perceptions of their abilities to excel in science-based careers,” Mrs Omant said.

Senator for Tasmania, Senator Jonathon Duniam, also joined students in the activities, reinforcing the national importance of STEM for Australia’s future.

“Tasmania is very fortunate to offer many exciting STEM related career pathways through a number of world-class institutions, including with the CSIRO, the Australian Antarctic Division, the University of Tasmania, the Institute for Martine and Antarctic Studies and the Australian Maritime College,” Senator Duniam said.

“[On this day], and every day I encourage our future generation to continue to engage actively in STEM-related subjects.”

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