"Love is always patient and kind, it is never jealous; Love is never boastful or conceited. Love is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes."
1 Corinthians 13:4
From The Principal
It has been wonderful having students return to the campus this week. On Monday morning there was great excitement as the students returned and had the opportunity to catch up with their friends. While the students and staff have displayed incredible adaptability, generosity and resilience throughout the remote learning period, there is no substitute to face to face learning and I know that teachers, students and families alike are just delighted we are back learning at school. A huge thank you to all our families for your patience and support throughout the home learning period.
The 2021 National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) results have been released to schools and I am delighted to write that EAC's results are nothing short of excellent. As part of the NAPLAN program, students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 undertake tests in Reading, Writing, Spelling, Grammar and Numeracy. In all five domains across each of the four year groups, our students were above national average. The entire Emmanuel Anglican College community can be extremely proud of this outstanding outcome. Parents will receive the individual student report in the next few days.
Within the detail, there are many wonderful individual and group achievements. Across the four year groups, the students demonstrated strong growth in their skills in the two years since their last attempt at NAPLAN.
The College will now set about reviewing the performance of all students and identifying ways to respond to the key messages contained within its detail for teaching and learning. While the data is significant, detailed and allows comparison to national trends, it is worth remembering that this is one of many assessment tasks that students will undertake this year and that it is providing a snapshot of student learning at a specific point in time. Recently, we have received results from NAPLAN, REACH and ICAS testing as well as the numerous internal assessment tasks that students undertake. In isolation, each of these results tell a small part of the story of each student. Their greatest worth, however, is found in gathering all this information together to help create a profile of each learner that can shape what teachers do in providing meaningful experiences for students in their class. Given the high quality of all our results in external testing, I wish to congratulate all our students for their ongoing commitment to their own learning, as well as the great efforts of our teaching staff.
During the home learning period, work continued or commenced on a number of significant refurbishment and construction projects. Our multi purpose centre, the Lindsay Walker Centre, is now complete and we are simply awaiting fire safety certification and an occupancy certificate to allow us to take possession of the building. The additional car parking is available for use and will certainly help with the easing of congestion during drop off and pick up times. As part of the MPC project, significant work is being done to raise the level of the oval and eliminate the drainage problems that have impacted the site for many years. This work will see the creation of a second playing field and allow us to hold our athletics carnival onsite. The improved drainage will ensure we can use the ovals all year round.
Work is well underway on the Discovery Centre extension with concrete foundations and footings being poured this week and work to commence on the floor and frame shortly. The project will be completed by the end of the year and ready for Year 2, 2022 to occupy when school returns next year.
There is also some internal work happening in the Library and in L Block to provide a number of teaching, wellbeing and office spaces. These projects will be complete by the time students return from the holidays for Term 4.
I hope all our community has a restful and relaxing holiday break and finds an opportunity to enjoy some of the freedoms that come with eased restrictions. Students from Kindergarten to Year 12 return to school on Tuesday 5 October 2021.
Mr Robert Tobias
Off the Deputy's Desk
Greetings to the EAC Community
Still surrounded by packing boxes, my wife Susan and I are glad to be here in Ballina and are looking forward to getting better acquainted with everyone at Emmanuel Anglican College. Both coming from regional communities we know that it is adversity that best brings communities together. We have been through numerous cyclones in North Queensland, bushfires near Canberra, earthquakes in Rome and now COVID.
As author Steve Maraboli stated, "Life doesn't get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient".
One way of explaining the concept of resilience is to imagine a plane encountering turbulence mid-flight. The turbulence, or poor weather, represents adversity. Different planes will respond to poor weather conditions in different ways, in the same way different children respond to the same adversity in different ways.
The ability of the plane to get through the poor weather and reach its destination depends on:
- The pilot (the child).
- The co-pilot (the child's family, friends, teachers and health professionals).
- The type of plane (the child's individual characteristics such as age and temperament).
- The equipment available to the pilot, co-pilot and ground crew.
- The severity and duration of the poor weather.
We can all help children become more resilient and the good news is, you don't have to do it alone. You can ask other adults such as teachers, carers and grandparents to help. Building children's resilience is everyone's business, and it's never too early or too late to get started.
Susan and I look forward to meeting you all and savouring everything that this beautiful region of New South Wales offers.
Mr Francis McGuigan
NCIS Athletics Merit Team Selections
We would like to recognise our students who have been selected to represent the College in Athletics. Unfortunately given the current COVID restrictions, the NCIS athletics competition is not likely to be held this year. We are still very proud of all these young athletes who have been selected and are pleased to publish these "Merit Teams" to recognise their achievements. Click here to view the teams.
Mr Graham Walker
Sport and Coaching Administrator
EAC Futsal Program
There are still places available for the planned EAC Futsal Program next term. It will be the first extra-curricular program to be run in the Lindsay Walker Centre. Sessions for Years 1-4 are fully booked and there are limited places left for Years 5-12, which can be booked via the Parent Lounge.
During remote learning the Leadership selection process continued. All students showed their skill and resilience in recording their speeches which were then provided to all students in Years 10 and 11 to watch. It was wonderful to see the inspiration of students and their presentation methods. The results of the House Captains will be released to students in the coming days.
Year 7 & 10 Mental Health First Aid
Prior to remote learning, Year 10 students participated in their first of three sessions of the Teen Mental Health First Aid course. During remote learning they had the opportunity to complete this course and will receive certificates soon. The Year 7 cohort also had this opportunity and will complete the course this week. This program which has been sponsored by the local community and delivered by Prevent Consultants and the Healthy Minds Club focusses on proactive mental health identification and prevention measures to promote good mental health among young people of school age.
At the end of the program students know how to access every level of support from mental health professionals to self advocacy.
Mrs Amanda Middleton
Director of Secondary
Tik Tok the Cultural Phenomenon
Recently ABC Four Corners did an investigation called "Tik Tok: Data Mining", discrimination and dangerous content on the world's most popular app. This documentary looked at the app which has been downloaded over 3 billion times with over one quarter of the world's population using it. It is seen as the app of choice with most people starting off posting dance videos but it also is very addictive with most people using the app for over 1.5 hours a day.
Tracey Burns from Unstoppable Girls who recently worked with the Year 10 girls at the College, posted the below summary on her Facebook page with some takeaways for parents of teens.
Tik Tok was created to inspire creativity and joy and when COVID hit last year this platform exploded to become a cultural phenomenon with 680 million monthly users!! There was a recent investigation into the platform which exposed a very dark and dangerous side. Some of the findings were:
Algorithm - Tik Tok has an incredibly sophisticated algorithm that from the minute you open the app will analyse your face, body shape, age, gender, and instantly determine the content you might like.
Highly Personalised Feed - you are then served content in your feed based on this initial analysis and the following interactions you have. You may start off liking a fitness trainer and the next thing you can be served an endless stream of diet and eating disorder content. The more you like or engage with particular content, the more content of a similar genre will be fed to you in a never ending stream.
Shadow Banning - Tik Tok also actively hides and suppresses content (known as shadow banning) that doesn't fit their shiny persona - so content with political views, anti-racism, people with disabilities, the LGBTQI are hidden. The platform has already been called out for only favouring white, skinny, beautiful people and actively demoting content from those with wrinkles, or are deemed ugly or fat etc.
Safety - a high percentage of Tik Tok users are under 14 and haven't given consent for the platform to collect their photos, videos, facial analysis, location data which it could then data farm to other organisations/countries.
There are serious concerns, that Tik Tok's fun and beautiful version of reality is distorting the way we see the world.
Teens are not forming their identities in natural ways but instead are forming them in response to what a technology platform prescribes to be normal.
Vulnerable teens are particularly at risk - teens who struggle with self-esteem, anxiety and poor body image. And even those that don't can quickly fall prey to content that skews their perception of what's normal and healthy.
Take body image and eating disorders, there's a hugely popular trend around "what I eat in a day" with teens obsessing about how many calories they're consuming, how much they weigh, and how much weight they have lost. This can quickly spiral out of control and become an obsession for teens that leads to eating disorders which is the biggest killer in terms of mental health issues. Self harming, bullying, diet culture are all normalised on this platform and its really damaging our teens' view of the world.
So, what can we do as parents?
I know, a lot of us would just love to ban social media from our teens' lives, but it's not realistic and it's not the answer. Teens will always find a way and whilst you might be able to control what happens in your home, you can't control what they're consuming when they're not at home.
Have the conversation with your teen - explain how the platform works, talk to them about the risks, and share the impact it has on mental wellbeing.
Help them to critically evaluate the messages they're seeing, ask them how it makes them feel, does it make them question themselves, feel like they're not good enough?
Sit down with your teen to view their personal feed - what content are they being served? This will give you an idea of what they're engaging in and any potential risk factors.
We need our teens to understand what's really happening when they're engaging on these platforms and the risks to their mental well-being.
If your child is struggling due to the use of social media there are a number of places to get help including Headspace and medical professionals.
Information from Tracey Burns: Unstoppable Girls
What an odd title to start the last newsletter for the term, but we're getting used to things being a little odd of late. It was such welcome news that the lockdown was lifted for our last week at school. Yes, it is only for a week but how wonderful it has been to witness the students reconnect with their friends, teachers and their learning this week.
The students have responded well this week to being back on site and have been very compliant eating and playing in their designated year level areas, walking themselves into the school grounds, drinking from their drink bottles rather than the bubblers and practising good hand hygiene.
The past five weeks have tested us all though I can only say how proud I was of the students' efforts toward their studies throughout lockdown. I read a poem during lockdown on social media written by American mother of two Jaime Ragsdale that struck a chord with me both as a parent and as an educator. You may have seen it and hopefully it helped during those days that just seemed a little tougher than the last. I loved the sense of hope it provided, the focus on simple pleasures, the benefits of a slower pace and how we can all develop greater empathy and value of the efforts of others.
What if instead of being behind these kids are ahead?
What if, instead of falling behind, our kids are advanced?
What if they have more empathy, they enjoy family connection, they can be more creative and entertain themselves, they love to read and express themselves in writing?
What if they enjoy the simple things, like their own backyards and balconies, sitting near a window in the quiet?
What if they notice the birds and the dates and different flowers emerge and the calming renewal of a gentle rain shower?
What if our kids are the ones to learn to cook, organise their space, do their laundry and help keep a well run home?
What if they learn to stretch a dollar and live with less?
What if they learn to plan shopping trips and make meals at home?
What if they learn the difference between want and need?
What if they learn the value of eating together as a family and finding the good in sharing the small delights of every day?
What if they are the ones who place great value on our teachers and educational professionals, librarians, public servants and the previously invisible essential workers like truck drivers, grocers, cashiers, healthcare workers...just to name a few who are taking care of us right now while we are sheltered in place?
What if among these children a great leader emerges who had the benefit of a slower pace and simpler life to truly learn what really matters in life?
What if they are ahead?
Auther - Jaime Ragsdale
Book Character Day
It will be so wonderful to welcome the students to school on Friday dressed as their favourite Book Character. We know that whilst some families have had their costumes ready for many weeks, others will be looking through the wardrobe this week to come up with something novel. Please just do what you can to enjoy this special day. Choosing a child from a book that is of similar age and dress style may be a good option at this stage! On the day we will not be holding the traditional whole school parade but we will still be able to celebrate the love of reading in the classrooms throughout the day.
The EAC Joan Pickup Library has recently acquired the Wheelers ePlatform which contains over 4000 eBooks and audio books. Students can access the resources relevant to their year using their EAC user name and password. Parents of Primary students may access the platform on their child's behalf. Go to the ePlatform website or download the ePlatform app. Please contact your child's teacher to find out your child's EAC email and password. I know this was of great use to many students and their families throughout lockdown. You might like to download an audiobook for your next family road trip.
The Book Fair planned for earlier this term will now take place over two weeks in Term 4 from the 15th to the 29th of November. The Year 5 Library Monitors and Ms Jordan will be running the Scholastic Book Fair in the Library and students can buy books and other items with cash or take home their Wish List to discuss with parents and pay online.
The Book Fair will be open from 8.15am until 3.00pm each day from the 15th to the 29th of November. Classes are timetabled to visit the fair throughout the week to browse and purchase.
Mr Wayne Cross
Director of Primary
Early Learning Centre News
This week we excitedly welcomed back all of our ELC friends. We have all missed our friends and over the last few weeks it has been way too quiet at the ELC.
During the 'stay at home' period, the friends that attended the ELC enjoyed the opportunity to explore the College. This involved lots of picnics, shape scavenger hunts and bike rides.
Early Learning Centre Coordinator
Please note there will be no canteen this week.
For Term 4, canteen orders only, there will be no counter service.
A new menu for Term 4 will be available via School Stream and published to the website shortly.
Christine Hall - Canteen Supervisor