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Principal's Newsletter, Week 2, Term 1, 2016

posted Feb 12, 2016, 12:59 PM by Ms. Connors   [ updated Feb 12, 2016, 1:02 PM ]

Congratulations to Daniel Ho (12) who was awarded the prestigious Australian Science Summer Olympiad Scholarship. The funds are provided by the Public Education Foundation. 2016 scholarships are now open and more information can be found at http://www.publiceducationfoundation.org.au/.

 

Congratulations also to Susanna Li (12) who was earned selection and performed in the NSW Public Schools State Drama Ensemble.

 

Year 7 have been participating in our new gifted initiative; our Creative and Critical Thinking Skills Program. Our professional learning across the whole staff over the last year has been based on ensuring all staff have completed the Mini Certificate of Gifted Education and as part of this process, evidence was presented on the importance of the “start” to Year 7.  We as a school community want our students to

·         Be creative

·         Struggle

·         Think laterally

·         Be challenged

·         Think critically

·         Have confidence

·         Find their own voice

·         Collaborate

·         Try new things

·         Be good listeners

·         Problem Solve

·         Speak with confidence

·         Be resilient

·         Live the school values of ASPIRE – Acceptance, Service, Participation, Integrity, Respect and Endeavour.

We are committed to the development of the whole child and in so doing have developed this new program. Last week we began with a day of mysteries designed by our Year 11 students. Students in groups were required to collaborate, search the school for clues, be resourceful and solve their problem. Students were then given time to prepare and present a 5 minute performance to explain their mystery. It was a huge success and amazing to observe the creativity and talent of Year 7. A testament to the need for this program were comments of envy by older children who asked “why didn’t we get to do this?” My answer – each year we strive to improve our education of the gifted child, so each year we try new things. This project is being led and driven by Ms Annetta St Louis and her team – Ms Natalie Novotni, Ms Ashlee Englefield, Ms Joyce Ng and Ms Jenny Bowen.

Some of the fun and challenge of Mystery Friday is seen in the collage below:

Monday introduced the concept of healthy eating, exercise, sleep and mindfulness. Students learnt through games and activities the importance of balance. As part of the homework activity for this day, students were asked to plan a series of meals for their families and asked to make their own lunch for Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Year 7 participated in “Find Your Voice” Day where expert coaches led students through a series of impromptu and prepared speeches and learnt the art of debating. Students must understand the importance of “their” voice and develop their skills in being heard. Year 7 learned the importance of participating in lessons, speaking up, listening to others and sharing thoughts. We were privileged to employ six fabulous coaches to engage and inspire our students, including ex-students Brendan Ma (2015), Thanya Sritharan (2013) and our sensational debating coach Himmi Cheruvu. To the right is a sample of one Year 7 student’s advice for debating.

On Wednesday we introduced the concept of passion. Students were given a choice of activities of which they could try three. Our aim was that students try something new and different. Options included Sewing a Sock Animal, Creative Cooking, Life Drawing, Hip Hop Dancing, Making Slime and other science fun and Being Dramatic in the Drama Workshop.

Yesterday began a three day conceptual exploration of Australia and its position in the world. The big idea or concept we are asking Year 7 to delve into is “social responsibility”. Students will be given a core question and then asked to create / adjust their own extension questions to look deeply into their specific area. Conceptual programming such as these three days is being used widely across the school as we endeavour to ensure our programs are differentiated for the highly and exceptionally gifted student.

Pictured below are Mrs Whiteman and Ms Ng leading the “Great Australian Bake Off”, Mrs Pooviah creating Slimy Science and Mrs Bowen teaching the fine art of sewing.

 Next week is a very important week for our Prefects and the traditions and culture of the school. The Prefects will organise their Valentines’ Day dance on Wednesday at 6pm. Dances are very special at Ruse and allow all year groups to mix together. It is important that Year 7 students and students new to Ruse attend to experience this event. I will include a letter from the Prefects as part of this newsletter. Parents must personally collect students from the back of the hall. The dance will begin at 6pm and finish by 9.00pm. We ask all parents to collect their children at 9.15pm or before. On Friday 12th we will also celebrate a fabulous Valentines’ Day Assembly.

Unfortunately we were forced to evacuate on Monday afternoon. This was handled professionally and calmly. Staff and students were cooperative and patient and thankfully we were returned to class relatively quickly. Parents were sent text messages at the end of the evacuation.

The Community of James Ruse (P&C) meets on Tuesday night next week at 6.30pm in the Lecture Theatre at school. Our guest speakers will be two of our high achieving Year 12 students of 2015 – Alice Cao and Jessica Bulluss and will provide a wonderful insight into the HSC year and provide tips for parents. We will also be electing representatives to our committees – Curriculum, Technology, Farm, Finance and Infrastructure. Two Year 7 parents will also be elected to the Executive of our CoJR.

Coming up in the next 2 weeks:

Week 3A                      Year 7 Critical and Creative Thinking Program

Tuesday 9th February               Australian Mathematical Olympiad (Invitational)

                                                Year 10 Study Skills

                                                6.30pm Community of James Ruse Meeting in Lecture Theatre

Wednesday 10th February         Australian Mathematical Olympiad (Invitational)

                                                6.00pm – 9pm Valentines’ Day Dance

Thursday 11th February            Year 10-12 Drama Excursion – ONSTAGE

Friday 12th February                Period 6 Valentines’ Day Assembly

 

Week 4A                      Year 7 Critical and Creative Thinking Program

Monday 15th February              Quad Schools

Tuesday 16th February              Duke of Edinburgh Year 10 and 11 Training

Thursday 18th February            Swimming Carnival

                                                Mothers Club Meeting 9.45am

Friday 19th February                High Achiever’s 2015 Assembly

Have a wonderful week

Megan Connors


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