- FROM THE ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL
- STRATEGIES FOR STUDENTS WHEN FEELING STRESSED.
- MACKILLOP DENIM DAY
- SECONDARY SPORT UPDATE
- PRIMARY SPORT UPDATE
- YEAR 7 MANDATORY TECHNOLOGY - AGRICULTURE
- GROUP CHATS - STAYING SAFE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
- SOCIAL MEDIA CHALLENGES
- 200 YEARS OF CATHOLIC EDUCATION
- JUNIOR RUGBY UNION CLUB
Dear McAuley Families
Mr Moore is away this week, Wednesday to Friday at a Catholic Education Principal’s Conference and Retreat. This is an annual meeting of the 56 principals across our Archdiocese. I have been asked to write to you in his absence.
A large part of the Role of the Assistant Principal is Pastoral Care. That means caring for the social and emotional wellbeing of your sons and daughters. You will know that our programs and procedures had not been evaluated for some time prior to last year.
During Semester Two of 2O20, staff evaluated the student welfare procedures in place at McAuley. Collectively, we were able to develop a new Student Welfare Policy (SWP) that was adopted at the end of the year and we have continued to implement this in 2021. Our Student Welfare Policy aims to focus on the positive behaviour of students, with the ultimate outcome of building and maintaining a positive culture at McAuley. Restorative Practices also play a vital role in dealing with student welfare, helping ensure that we treat all students as individuals and work to solve issues with a positive outcome for all. We want to avoid punishment that is punitive and be reasonable in our actions and re-actions.
Our Student Welfare Policy is a levelled system that recognises student behaviour. These levels start with an expected level of behaviour (Blue Level) and then move to either Red Level (negative behaviour) to Gold Level (positive behaviour). The new Policy is backed by current research. As a team of researchers from Monash University have found, Positive Behaviour Support is “highly effective in preventing and addressing challenging behaviours in the classroom. It reduces stress, clears up much-needed time for teaching, improves overall student behaviours and creates better classroom and school cultures”.
Some aspects of our Student Welfare Policy that reinforce what we are aiming to achieve at McAuley include:
- Setting clear expectations (Blue Level Expected Behaviour).
- Modelling positive behaviour (Classroom Rules, Assemblies, descriptive praise, mental health activities, fruit at PC time, diaries, posters, more playground movement, equipment, counsellor 2 days a week)
- Consistency – levels of growth/reward – Bronze, Silver, Gold and Consequence levels – Yellow, Orange, Red.
- Acknowledge positive efforts - (Merits/Mercy Awards, MJR Awards, Spirit of Mercy Awards, House Days each term, wellbeing week, Friday activities, camps/Pass trip)
- Evaluate our progress.
More information on current research regarding Positive Behaviour Support can be found at the Monash University Website.
We aim to review and refine our policy during this year and welcome input and suggestions from our students and families. By working together and supporting the school we know that positive change will help build our excellent school culture.
Positive Behaviour References. Subban, Dr Pearl, et al. “Five Ways to Use Positive Behaviour Support Strategies in Your Classroom.” Monash Education, 3 Nov. 2020, www.monash.edu/education/teachspace/articles/five-ways-to-use-positive-behaviour-support-strategies-in-your-classroom
It’s been another busy and productive week at McAuley. Please take the time to read our newsletter articles. We make every effort to provide a varied and interesting read - please let us know if you have any ideas for future information you would like covered.
Kind regards to you all.
David Turnbull, Assistant Principal.
The number one killer of procrastination is scheduling really small goals.
Break large, overwhelming tasks into small bite-sized pieces to reduce the build-up of stress and anxiety.
Breaking it up not only paves the way for immediate action, but also, by biting away piece by piece, increases your confidence levels when you see consistent progress.
Whenever you feel stressed and overwhelmed by your workload, think of the watermelon principle. How do you eat a watermelon? One slice and bite at a time. Your bites are your confidence boosters. You’ll no longer need to cram and stress yourself out.
(extract from Get the Monkeys off Your Back)
- Anita Mason, Religious Education Coordinator
Primary Arch Swimming: Five McAuley super fish, Macy White, Ashton Ambrose, Chloe Pearce, Isabella Oliver and Henry Piper were part of the Western Region Swim Team and competed at the Archdiocese Swimming Carnival in Narooma on Monday (1/3/21).
Macy White had a fantastic day finishing as Runner Up in the Senior Girls Age Championship. She was 2nd in 50m Free and Back, 100m Free, and 200m IM and 3rd in the 50 Fly. “I felt I swam really well in all my events and was happy with my times,” Macy reflected, after the carnival. In finishing second in four of her five events, she now qualifies for the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn team to compete at the NSWCPS (MacKillop) Swimming Championships to be held at Sydney Olympic Park later this month. “I really want to thank my parents and my swimming club coach, Max Hargraeves, for all they have done for me”, Macy said.
Chloe Pearce went agonisingly close to also making the Arch team, finishing third in her 50m Breaststroke by just four hundredths of a second. She also finished 4th in the 50m Fly. Ashton Ambrose finished 4th in Fly, 5th in the IM, and 7th in Free and Back. Henry Piper and Isabella Oliver both came in in 8th place in their 50m Freestyle event. All swimmers are keen to keep training and to improve their results next year.
We are proud of all our swimming representatives, it is a huge achievement to swim at the Archdiocese Carnival and a reward for all the time put in to training. The school would also like to thank the parents for making the long trip to Narooma to allow their child to compete.
Basketball: Ryan Beavan and Aidan Turnbull represented the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn in basketball last Friday at the snake pit in Wollongong. Both boys enjoyed the 'big stage' competition and although they were not chosen for further representation they were excited to have had the opportunity to represent at this level. Well done boys.
Cross Country: Our K-6 McAuley Cross Country will take place on Thursday the 18th of March at the Tumut Wetlands. Further information will be given next week. The top 5 place getters at our school event in the 8/9, 10, 11 and 12/13 boys and girls age groups will qualify for the Western Region Cross Country which will be held at Boorowa on the 30th of March.
Gala Days: We have gala days coming up in week 9 for both Netball and Rugby Union for students in years 3 to 6. Details have been sent home. If you require any further information about these days please contact email@example.com
Primary Archdiocese Trials: Students in year 5 and 6 are able to trial to make the Archdiocese team for many team sports (Cricket, Rugby League, Hockey, Netball*, Football, Rugby Union and Touch). All nominations are to be completed online and parents are responsible for transporting their child to these trials. Detail can be found at https://www.sport.cg.catholic.edu.au/nominations
*Netball trials are run as a competition - details will be given to interested students.
Year 7 students enjoyed a practical Agriculture Lesson in perfect Autumn sunshine on Tuesday afternoon.
Ag forms part of the Stage 4 Technology Course which is about finding solutions to meet people’s needs. It involves learning about a wide range of technologies through practical experience in designing, constructing, evaluation, using computers, marketing and managing. Students will learn new skills, make decisions about what to do and how to do it.
During Year 7 and 8 students may complete up to eight 'Design Briefs' in different areas such as Digital Technologies, Agriculture and Food Technologies, Engineered Systems and Materials Technologies. This can involve projects involving: Wood, Agriculture, Food, Textiles, Photo & Digital Media, Computational Thinking and Computer Programming & Coding.
Students will learn how to plan projects step by step and how to solve particular problems. Computer technology will form an important part of these context areas. It's a diverse course, which we hope all students will really enjoy.
Group chats can be an excellent way for several people to participate in an online conversation together. They most commonly happen through Whatsapp, Instagram Messenger, Facebook Messenger, Facebook Messenger for Kids, and Discord. Participants are getting younger and younger.
They can be both helpful and harmful. Notifications ping all hours of the day, stacks of unread messages build up until they are not worth the effort to catch up on, and important information gets lost in the stream which can cause some issues at school.
However, it does not have to be this way. We have not been informed of any issues with kids under 13yrs using Facebook Messenger for kids because we would assume because of the strict parental controls included. However, parents need to remain vigilant. Group chats on other apps can be where drama, nasty behaviours, exclusion, cancel culture, and bullying can thrive.
What we find time and again is that if there is a group chat of fourteen young people, for example, that is potentially fourteen sets of parents that may be checking their child's phone and reading that chat, mainly if those parents have decided to keep an eye on their child's device and interactions while they are younger. There have been countless times schools have told us parents had contacted them because of the nasty, bullying, or inappropriate things happening in the group chats.
Furthermore, there are ways to share online content via screenshots, saving and forwarding to other people. This is when things can spiral and fast.
Drama, exclusion and cyberbullying.
There have also been many times when young people have engaged in nasty behaviour about another person in a group chat, then deliberately invited them into the chat to see those comments. The deliberate nature of this abuse makes it cyberbullying.
Group chats mostly happen outside of school hours. Nevertheless, schools are asked to manage the behaviours of the young people involved in the chat by parents, but more often than not, these chats are happening at very late hours of the night. Parents need to help their kids build some intellectual muscle too by teaching them the life skill of politely exiting a social situation that they feel uncomfortable in, online and off.
This should serve as another reminder of everyone's role to combat negative online experiences especially parents. Removing access to the devices late at night helps avoid interrupted sleep caused by the group chat notifications and beeps. We asked a group of primary school-aged children this week, "who sleeps with their phone beside their bed" most raised their hands. They also said that they check messages in the middle of the night. This is not OK. If they need it for an alarm clock, trot on down to a store and buy one of those ones with the big red numbers that we had before smartphones.
Remove the ability to engage in conversations at night when the emotional part of the brain switches on, the rational part of the brain takes a break, and we are therefore left more emotionally vulnerable.
Helping young people take control
Leaving a group chat without warning can offend the remaining group members and become an awkward situation for this text-obsessed generation.
Teach them the skills to know how to leave a group chat that is not helpful or is harmful in any way, including the actual words to use should they need to leave. Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a significant factor in a tween/teen's life, so you will need to navigate around that as well.
We hear reports of young people trying to "catch up" on the hundreds of messages that they have received overnight first thing in the morning (the record being a Mum reporting there was almost 800 messages her 13yrs old daughter was trying to catch up on). Their brains are bombarded first thing in the morning, sometimes after a night of often broken sleep checking messages in the middle of the night. They are often anxious and exhausted from it. We are told this directly by teens as well as their parents.
Kids have come up with statements such as "sorry guys, this is getting pretty nasty, I am out of here" in our sessions as words they can use when they need to remove themselves. There have also been some hilarious responses that can add some humour when they exit a toxic chat that may also help to defuse a situation. "I don’t have to go but I am pretending that I do," "I am going to practice my ninja skills and sneak away now. "Do you want to see my impersonation of a tree whilst I leave" "I have to go the planet needs me" and do not forget the timeless "my battery is low" excuse.
Getting kids to realise that they can be "guilty by association," even if they are not the ones saying the nasty stuff is also a necessary part of growing up and parenting.
We want to give young people the skills and confidence to put boundaries around their friendships. We do not have to be accessible all the time just because we can be. We want our kids to know their friends will not go away if they are not involved for thirty minutes while they have dinner. Teach them to be in charge and confident in their relationships. Their friends will understand that their refusal to engage at every moment has nothing to do with the state of their relationship. They will understand this is the way they manage their time, their devices, and their priorities.
Tips to teach young people (and yourself):
Keep group chats positive, helpful, and supportive. These are not places where we have a whinge about someone else, share images without the consent of others, reveal secrets, or create drama, gossip, or spread rumours.
Learn how to leave. Often kids are in multiple chats at once. If the chat is getting toxic, bullying is happening or images circulated, or anything that may be deemed illegal, make sure they know to take a screenshot and log out, so they do not find themselves in a "guilty by association" situation if something gets reported. They need to speak up to a trusted adult immediately.
Sometimes they have got no other option but to leave a group chat, the notifications have become too much, the conversation has become increasingly irrelevant, and their phone has become cluttered with too many group chats for them to keep across them all. In most cases, the exit button is easy to find. In the case of group chats on Instagram for example, tap the header banner in a group conversation to see its participants and then tap on Leave Conversation to quit it.
Make sure they know they should not feel compelled to respond straight away or be a part of every single interaction.
Remember that just because there are only six participants in a private chat does not mean that the chat will remain private. There are plenty of ways these chats can become very public.
Avoid using late at night or let people know when they are signing off for the day.
If getting overloaded with alerts, change the way chat notifications appear. Make those pings silent and invisible quickly on both Android and iOS. On Android, open up Settings, go to Apps & notifications, and choose an app to make changes. On iOS, take even more control over the alerts style: From Settings, pick Notifications, then tap on a particular messaging app to see the available options.
It is also useful to silence individual conversations temporarily. It is easy to make sure alerts from certain people come through while limiting the number of pings from everyone in the chat. Most messaging tools and group chat apps allow conversations to be muted for a period, and the option should be easy to find in the app of choice. If not, a simple google search will give instructions.
Presented by - Kirra Pendergast, Founder - Safe on Social Media Pty Ltd
Lockdown brought with it a host of social media challenges that have set the Internet ablaze again. Some good, some bad. During the lockdown, people at home came up with weird stuff to do and, further, nominated friends to participate. But just how dangerous these challenges became is what we are writing about this morning and how to handle them if they circulate in your school community.
Social Media challenges can be fascinating to young people, who may be both impulsive and drawn to behaviour that gets attention – especially when using social media. Young people are naturally more impulsive and likely to act before thinking through all of the ramifications, making Social Media Challenges a big attraction.
Some were fun, like the #binisolationouting challenge. This challenge began in Australia, where people dressed up as their favourite Superheroes, Disney characters, or in black tie outfits to take the bin out.
Some were helpful, Like the Safe Hands challenge Launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the #safehandschallenge on social media called on people to practice hygienic hand washing techniques to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. Celebrities on social media took up the challenge and posted videos of them washing their hands for 20 seconds.
Some are incredibly positive. One of the first significant challenges to go viral was the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
The chilling challenge required pouring a bucket of ice-cold water on your head to raise awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and encourage donations to research. According to the ALS Association, more than $115 million in donations were raised through the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and used for research.
However, there can be a dark side. Social Media Challenges may require the person doing the challenge to film some form of a risky, dangerous act or unhealthy behaviour and posting the video online to consider the challenge completed to gain followers, attention, or going viral.’
The Pass-out Challenge or the Choking Game. While not new, this challenge is dangerous and deadly, and in late January 2021, a 10yr old girl in Italy lost her life while participating in this challenge. The “Choking Game” has made its rounds on the Internet over the years. Participants intentionally cut off their oxygen, intending to cause euphoria, but most of the time lose consciousness.
The Earphones Waist challenge is just the latest in a long line of these challenges that appeared during lockdowns globally. The challenge started with a news account on the Chinese app Weibo, which asked people to see the amount of weight they have gained by counting the number of rounds their earphones can do around their waist. However, as far back as 2015, we had the collarbone challenge that saw young women compete on how many coins they could fit in their concave clavicle. We have also had a resurgence in the A4 challenge, first seen in 2016 — women measuring themselves against pieces of A4 paper to show off how thin their waists were. While social media challenges have become a cornerstone of internet culture, these particular ones highlight an unhealthy preoccupation with being thin and perpetuate unrealistic beauty standards.
Social media often rewards outrageous behaviour, and the more outrageous, the bigger the likes and follows. That environment plays into young people’s underdeveloped ability to think through their actions and possible consequences.
Social media challenges are something we must be across. We need to be aware and start conversations around which challenges they may have heard of in their circle of friends. Ask them (without judgment) what they think are the dangers behind these challenges. Google the challenges online, research them, and make sure you notify the school if you hear them being discussed (or acted out), so they know they are circulating if they are even slightly risky. That way, you and the school will be aware of challenges and mitigate the risks, and the school can immediately notify other parents.
Sometimes kids are more willing to talk about their peers than themselves. Asking questions about school trends, friends, and fads may yield more answers than direct questions about their activities. No matter what, it is essential to keep the lines of communication open and avoid passing judgment. Instead, calmly discuss the dangers in those choices.
Also, consider discussing with the child/teen what actions they can take if they are worried about a friend or peer and whom they feel safe to talk to if they feel pressured to join in on a challenge.
As long as the answer is that they would tell you or another trusted adult, that is a great start.
Presented by - Kirra Pendergast, Founder - Safe on Social Media Pty Ltd.
As Catholic education marks 200 years in Australia, our Canberra - Goulburn Archdiocese celebrated the momentous occasion in Canberra today last week. Our school leaders, accompained by Miss Mason did a wonderful job representing McAuley. Well done Ruby, Franz and Hannah!
“We go forward evangelising and proposing Christ, but at the same time we look lovingly back to the great foundations of our faith – the living scripture and our living tradition,” Archbishop Christopher Prowse said at Mass in St Christopher’s Cathedral to mark the occasion. “A major expression of this is Catholic education.”
The first Catholic school in what is now the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn was started in Yass in 1847 by the Sisters of Mercy.
“We can’t forget that over the last 200 years there were largely religious sisters, brothers and priests in Australia and in the diocese that educated us forward,” he said.
“They established a legacy of education with many of them coming from other parts of the world, largely Ireland, and we acknowledge the work they did.”
Director of Catholic Education Ross Fox said it was important to recognise the work and dedication of so many to build and sustain Catholic education.
“Catholic education has a very important contribution to make to Australian society because of our mission to help every student in our schools achieve their full potential,” he said.
“Already this year I have been talking to a lot of staff at our schools about a phrase ‘I can because of you’ that I heard over the holidays.
“I think that phrase denotes the gift that our teachers are giving our students each and every day and are making a real difference to every student.”