Middle School News - August 2019

Middle School News - August 2019

Middle School News – August 2019

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The Year 9 dance classes with TSS remain one of the highlights of the girls’ final year in the Middle School.  The girls and boys complete a series of lessons and learn a range of “partner dances” including the Cha Cha, progressive Jive and even the Rumba. A big transformation takes place from the initial lesson where much time is spent looking at feet and trying to work out which direction is left, to the final night where couples gracefully twirl and glide around the room. Over the past few weeks it has been pleasing to see the girls’ confidence and sense of accomplishment grow. While they are taught different dance steps, the opportunities to learn go way beyond that.  The classes have also provided the social setting in which many friendships have been formed, helping to build connections between the two schools. Rites of passage events such as the father and daughter dance enable us to celebrate the girls’ progress and remind us of the journey we are on together. We look forward to seeing parents at the final night this week, where the girls will showcase what they have learnt.

Focus weeks are an integral part of the Middle School culture as they provide an avenue for leadership through important learning experiences for the girls. Each Year 9 class is given the opportunity to develop a student-directed project based on the theme for the term. Students need to work as a team, and quickly come to realize that their ability to collaborate and relate to others is a crucial ingredient for success. The girls have ownership of the project from the proposal stage right through to the final sharing of project outcomes and reflections. Last week students from 9B organised a number of activities to the theme of ‘superHERo’. The girls are to be congratulated on the manner in which they engaged the rest of the Middle School in these activities. The following comments from Charlotte Roper encapsulate the week:

Last week the 9B Focus Week supported the Act for Kids charity, as we wanted to make a positive impact on our community. Act for Kids is a charity that treats and prevents child abuse and neglect. The week was a great success as we were able to raise $300 for the charity. On Monday we showcased our baking skills and sold a variety of sweets, slices and cupcakes. On Tuesday, we had a Just Dance activity in the BPR and on Wednesday the Middle School students formed teams to play Jenga, UNO and Twister during the lunch break. Thursday was all about writing positive messages to our superHERoes, as acknowledging those who make a positive impact on our lives is a sign of gratitude and appreciation. This activity was a great success as we had many girls who not only wanted to write messages to their friends but also to their teachers. On Friday, we held our Funky Socks day. The Middle School girls wore crazy socks to Stand Out and showed their support of our charity. All week, we had representatives walking around the School letting girls guess how many lollies were in the 9B jar. There were a few close guesses but there could only be one winner and it was Abbie Pratt. Thank you all immensely for your enthusiasm and involvement in our Focus Week activities. We have not only raised money for our charity but we displayed our bonds and healthy relationships to one another.  We are blessed to be working together making a positive impact in our community. We are all superHERoes!

Involvement in debating teaches students the skills of researching, organising, and presenting information in a compelling fashion. Debating helps them to see the power of using rational, reasoned arguments to explain their standpoint. Debating also helps students to build confidence in expressing their ideas and speaking in front of an audience as well as teamwork. This week our Year 8 and Year 9 teams will compete in the Grand Finals in the Gold Coast Debating competition. Congratulations to the girls and their coaches on their hard work and commitment. We wish them well.

As both parents and educators, we have high expectations for our students. However, we need to remember that we are working with young people who have ups and downs, good days and bad days, and struggles both at home and with peers. As teachers and parents we need to acknowledge that they will make mistakes. Often these moments provide powerful learning opportunities for them to gain insights and grow from the experience. When a student makes a mistake, either in a classroom or as a result of poor behaviour, they are asked to reflect on the behaviour as a way to examine and develop their understanding of the situation, consider other perspectives and think about alternate ways of handling the problem in the future. It is important to remember that this process of growth takes time, patience, perseverance, compassion and a willingness to work together to make better choices.

It is essential for parents to remember that they are the most important teachers in their daughter’s life. Making choices is difficult, for adults and students alike. It pays to have those honest conversations with your daughter, to talk her through the decision-making process and to give her clear values to illuminate those decisions; this will help each of you to understand the others’ viewpoints. Parents need not only talk, but also to listen. These conversations will also improve your communication and in turn, your relationship with your daughter.

The School enjoys significant periods of holiday time. In order to maximise learning, we are reluctant to approve leave beyond this normal vacation period. One of the major factors many researchers identify as an indicator to academic success is “the amount of time a student spends in class on task”. It is one of the reasons that we require that classes begin and finish on time and that students are punctual, that distractions in the classroom are minimal and that students do not miss class time unnecessarily. Please bear this in mind when organising family activities. It is highly likely that if your daughter misses class, this will impact on the continuity of her learning. This will be magnified as we head closer to final assessments and exams. If your daughter requires a leave of absence from the academic program for extenuating circumstances, this request should be made in advance to the Head of Middle School. Parents of Boarders should also notify the Boarding House. Please note that it is your daughter’s responsibility to communicate with her teachers regarding work that will be missed and any assessment that may be due.

Susan Sanburg
Head of Middle School

Love, Compassion, Forgiveness, Hope, Grace