From the Pen of the Principal
Farewell to Julie Westbrook
This week we said farewell to one of the legends of Xavier Catholic College. Business Manager and Foundation Staff member, Julie Westbrook, enters retirement after 18 years at the College. Julie has taken Xavier Catholic College from a 'dustbowl' to the campus we have today. She has been an outstanding steward of our financial resources and worked hard to establish a strong Workplace Health and Safety culture. Her legacy will be forever part of our story.
I have only known Julie for four years, but quickly came to appreciate her professionalism and friendship. She is also the only person who has 'suspended' me for a day and sent me home to think about my actions (it's a long story).
But, beyond the professionalism, Julie has shown such a strong spirit of compassion. While she a reputation as a 'straight shooter', I have seen the other side. Behind the scenes I have witnessed the empathy and compassion she has shown to staff and to families, especially when they have fallen on hard times.
I have also seen the way she is forward thinking and not afraid of change that would improve the school. But she has also been the 'keeper of the flame', reminding us all of the dreams and aspirations that the original staff envisaged for this school. One of her final and very creative tasks was to capture this important part of our story in a brilliant display that appears in the Front Reception. It tells the story of how the 'Xavier Dream' was developed at a Retreat of the Foundation Staff on Bribie Island and the driftwood found of the beach that was bound together into a cross that now forms part of this beautiful display. If you haven't seen it yet, it is very much worth a look.
So, it is an end of an era and, on your behalf, I extend our heartfelt thanks to Julie for her efforts of these many years and wish her well as she enters retirement. May the blessings of God be with her always.
This Friday evening 16th October we will host the Senior Formal at The Oaks on the Esplanade. The event is one of the highlights of the year for the students involved and is intended to be a very enjoyable occasion. I believe this is one of a number of significant opportunities for the social education of our students as they enjoy an evening of dressing and behaving in a dignified manner in a beautiful setting. After all the COVID-19 troubles we have had this year, it is terrific that we were able to proceed with this wonderful occasion.
The Senior Formal is a Xavier Catholic College function and it has the support and sponsorship of the College. As such, there can be no consideration that behaviour or standards other than those endorsed by the College can be accepted. Students must understand that in attending, they automatically commit themselves to the behaviour and standards required by the College. In specifying these standards I am conscious that I represent the expectations of the overall parent and College Community. The College reserves the right to refuse entry to any student whose behaviour or standards do not meet that of the College.
As with all College events, being under the influence of alcohol or other substances is totally unacceptable and will incur the same penalties as are actioned at the school. I urge parents to be most particular about this matter.
The College does not support or condone 'after parties'. However, mindful that these sometimes take place, I urge you to ensure that 'after parties' do not assume such importance so as to detract from the Formal itself.
I strongly encourage parents to talk to their sons and daughters about this matter and should they wish to participate in these 'after parties' then I urge parents to ensure that they are not involved with any unsupervised gatherings. Should your son or daughter wish to attend any such event that you consider to be acceptable, then I encourage and in fact, would expect you to make personal contact with the 'host parents' to ensure that you are comfortable with the supervision and expectations that are being set.
Given an understanding of these expectations, I would hope that every student enjoys the evening, as much work and effort has been expended to ensure that everything is in readiness for a great night.
Peace and Blessings
From the Head of School – Primary: Mr Russell Davey
Welcome back to all families as we move into the final term of the year. I hope you enjoyed some family time over the break and had the opportunity to spend some time with your loved ones following a busy term. We are progressively seeing a reduction in restrictions in relation to school activities and therefore at this stage we have plans for a number of events to go ahead in Term 4. My thanks to all parents for their continued support and for respecting my request to remain out of the pods wherever possible. As a staff we look forward to the term ahead and opportunity to continue to provide your children with exciting and engaging learning experiences. Please do not hesitate to contact the College should you have any questions or concerns regarding your child's learning.
School swimming has commenced for 2020 with students In Prep – Year 4 attending weekly lessons at Elders and our Year 5 and Year 6 students travelling to the Aquatic centre each week. These lessons are a wonderful opportunity for students to build on their swim safety skills and form an integral part of our extracurricular program at Xavier. My thanks to Mrs Hatchett for organising these sessions and to our class teachers for their efforts towards making this a positive experience all students. We also look forward to our swimming carnivals in the coming weeks.
Prep Information Evening / Orientation
We welcome our 2021 Prep cohort to the College on Friday 27th November for the Prep Orientation morning. Leading up to this important step towards the first year of schooling all current and prospective parents are invited to attend a Prep Information evening on Tuesday 10th November. I look forward to meeting our new students at the College and encourage all parents/carers both current and prospective to attend both events.
Congratulations to the many teams that have been participating in the BCE Minecraft competition across Year 4, 5 and 6. We have had some very positive results with one team receiving first prize for Best Build for their Underwater Temple World. They will now take part in some fun and games on the Winners Day later in October. My thanks to Mrs Bryant, Mrs Bucton and Miss Young for facilitating these groups and for leading the way in the implementation of learning technologies within the classrooms.
A reminder to all parents that P-6 assemblies have resumed. We love to see parents at Assembly and I would encourage parents to attend at 9.05 am each Wednesday. Teachers will communicate with parents when class showcases are occurring. (Parents are required to sign in on entry and will be seated according to our COVID Safe Event procedures.)
A survey will be sent to all parents asking for feedback regarding the inclusion/removal of report comments on Semester reports. Our most recent reports were distributed without comments with a view to running longer parent teacher interviews each Semester. I would like feedback from parents before determining if we will remove comments moving forward or retain the model previously employed. I would encourage all parents/carers to complete this short survey.
The College is in the process of moving to coloured bins to separate bins for green waste, paper and general waste. At this stage, the Green bins have been distributed and we are working towards having our Yellow and Reds bins up and running by the end of the term. This is an exciting development for the College, and we look to 2021 and the full implementation of this program.
Primary Swimming Carnivals
The Prep to Year 3 Swimming Carnival will be held at Elders Swim Centre on Thursday the 26th November.
Xavier Primary Swimming Carnival will be held on the 30th October at the Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre. This Carnival is for all students in year 4, 5 and 6. Advanced swimmers in Year 3, born 2011 and advanced swimmers in Year 7, born 2008 will be asked to nominate if they wish to attend the carnival.
From this carnival, the XCC Swim team will be selected. The HBD Swimming Carnival will be held on Friday the 20th November at the Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre.
Primary School - Excellence at XCC Award recipients
These awards are for students who have demonstrated one or more of the following SAIL Expectations.
We are Safe
We Act Responsibly
We Interact Respectfully
We Love to Learn
Award recipients Term 3, Week 8
From the Head of School – Secondary: Ms Tameika Grist
As we welcome families and staff heading to our final Term, we are already lining up quite a busy schedule and look forward to seeing students engaging and participating fully in their learning and extracurricular opportunities in the coming weeks.
Students are entering into their final stretch of work for the year, and as we set our eyes on the end, we are all mindful of helping them remain focused and giving their best effort at setting high standards and becoming more confident learners in all areas of the curriculum.
This time of year, can for many reasons, become stressful with extra commitments and expectations. As always, if there are concerns or issues regarding student focus and learning please communicate early with your children's teachers to help facilitate a successful finish for all.
Our Senior Students are already feeling the end of year study pressure, with our Year 11s currently sitting end of Unit exams. Our Year 12s time in classes is quickly coming to an end and as of mid-next week will be completing their study at home in preparation for the first QCE external exam experience for students in this State.
If you have any connections with any Year 12 students, you will also no doubt be aware that they will be celebrating with their Formal Dinner this Friday evening. We will be live streaming their arrivals via our Facebook page from 5.30 pm, if you are interested in sharing a glimpse of this prestigious occasion.
Term 4 Exam Study Tips for Super-Students
Start now – before the exam
1. Organise your notes
Check your exam topics and organise your notes for each subject. For English, you can write a short summary of each text you've studied with key quotes or scenes. Make a list of any areas, definitions or formulas you aren't so sure about in Maths or Science, and figure out any questions you have now, so you have enough time to revise and remember them.
2. Redo past exams Redoing questions from past exams is good revision, but it also helps you to identify areas you might find challenging. Find out what you need help with and get your questions answered now. Pretend you're sitting the real exam and set a timer to see if you can do it in that time. This will help with your time management, make you feel more familiar with the time restriction – and more confident - in the real exam.
3. Practice, practice, practice Do you have all the key aspects of your English texts memorised? Try to tackle a specific problem and write a practice essay about it. Get used to bringing your thoughts onto paper (or a screen) by writing it all down. It'll make it easier to structure your ideas in the exam.
4. Plan your study time You might have lots going on in your timetable, so make sure you plan out a few hours in a row to study, and don't miss these times. Otherwise you might struggle to find enough regular study time later on.
5. Ask for help Don't be afraid to ask for help. Whether it's your teacher, your friends, your parents, or one of Studiosity's Subject Specialists. Nothing is more frustrating than missing a question in the exam, because you didn't feel comfortable asking about it when it came up during the term or your study time.
6. Try a study group Some students love to study with friends, others just get more confused. Try it out to see if it works for you. Maybe you could have weekly maths meetings to discuss each other's issues and learn tricks on how to solve them.
7. Don't study all night Make sure you get breaks and enough rest in the lead-up to the exam. You won't remember everything you've learnt if you're feeling exhausted.
8. Stay off social media Turn off your wifi on your phone during your dedicated study time. It's tempting to quickly check your social feed, but that will break your concentration. 30 minutes of studying will be so much more productive without these distractions.On the day of the exam 9. Read all the questions properly
Breathe. Take your time to read every question carefully, so that you don't miss a point. Make sure you check every page before you start, so you know how many questions there are that you must have answered in the end.
After the exam 10. You did it! Now: relax and reset
Give yourself a break, go for a walk or read a book that's unrelated to your studies to reset your brain for the next exam. Once you're rested, go back into your textbooks – or online - to get ready for the next one.
In exam season, our after-hours help is even more needed
Is your child busy studying for exams? Especially in the senior years, Term 4 can be 'crunch time'. That's why we provide free access to Studiosity, on-demand help from live Subject Specialists, after-hours.
Students can revise with a Specialist on any concept they're getting stuck on during study. They can connect in a click and chat back and forth until they feel confident for their exam.
They can also get really helpful, expert feedback on a draft essay or written assignment, in less than 24 hours.
Remind your child to log in to Studiosity tonight, and any time they're feeling stuck or just need a pre-exam confidence boost.
Find our school at studiosity.com/access
(or find the link in the school's LMS)
From the Junior School Guidance Counsellor
eSafety and supporting your child to manage their online presence
Events of recent weeks have highlighted both the viral nature of the internet and the potential for dissemination of harmful or distressing content online. Though lesser scale, I am having conversations with parents on a weekly basis (sometimes more frequently!) about the negative implications of screen time, internet usage, social media and gaming for their children, irrespective of their child's age. I had re-written this term's newsletter entries in advance in the hope of cheekily limiting my workload across term, but these recent circumstances and conversations have prompted me to reconsider as we see out Term 3, with a view to address some of these factors.
Recent events have reinforced how accessible distressing content on the web can be, and how in spite of efforts to limit exposure, the actions of some individuals will continue to present risk of our children viewing the very things we are trying to shield them from. If you become aware that your child has viewed harmful or distressing content we recommend following the wise advice of the eSafety Commissioner by reporting the content immediately through the social media platform where your child has viewed it (ie. Instagram, TikTok, Facebook), then to eSafety at www.esafety.gov.au/report/illegal-harmful-content.
Children may feel scared, embarrassed or confused about what they have viewed, so it is extremely important that discussions are open, supportive and non-punitive. They may think that adults are unable to help them, or worry about devices being removed from them, so it is imperative that important conversations such as online safety occur without behavioural consequences being imposed. It is also important to be aware that young people can respond differently to distressing content or events, so validating their emotional experience is necessary. Some will feel inclined to seek out immediate support from their caregiver, teacher, or support network, while others will feel reluctant to do so. As parents, we can encourage our children to talk about their experiences by providing a safe and non-judgemental space where they are able to talk about their feelings openly.
Tips to help limit young people's exposure to harmful content online:
Engage in your child's online activities - ask them about which apps, sites, and games they're using, be aware of what the platforms are, and ensure that they are age-appropriate and with protective privacy settings installed.
Use parental controls on devices to help limit what your child is exposed to.
Help your child to report or block upsetting content they see on social media or apps.
Let your child know they can come to you about anything they see or do online.
As a brief additional discussion point, more and more commonly children are coming to school distressed after negative interactions on social media with their peers. It is a tricky line between supporting the socialisation of our children by permitting them access to social media, and permitting the use of an online space which perpetuates the social rumblings we support children to resolve every day within the school setting.
As adults we are aware communication is commonly misinterpreted when sent through the online space, as it lacks the key non-verbal information and other subtle intricacies that conversation offers to support our understanding of the message being communicated, and its intent. Thus, our kids – as we do are prone to filter online communication through the lens of our own perceptions, commonly resulting in increased sensitivity, over-reactivity or a willingness to communicate things in a manner far removed from how we would feel comfortable to do in the flesh.
It is so important that children receive consistent and ongoing parental scaffolding and support to navigate their friendships in the online domain, and to resolve the issues which occur in response to their online presence. If you are supportive of your children accessing social media, please make sure platforms are age appropriate, speak openly in a dynamic fashion about their use of apps or media platforms, and make yourself available to support them as they navigate their way through communications with peers.
Tanya Gripske, Guidance Counsellor
Last week Xavier had 5 teams competing at the QLD All Schools Touch Football competition. 13 Girls, 15 Boys and 15 Girls teams competed from Wednesday to Friday and Open Boys and Girls teams competed on Friday and Saturday. All teams played strongly against some of the best touch football schools in the state and all Xavier teams came away with strong wins, draws and close losses in their pool games. The standout team was once again the 13 Girls team who won all but one of their pool games and successfully qualified for the finals – an outstanding achievement. Due to clashes with local club sport finals fixtures, the girls were unable to compete in the finals on the Saturday – an unfortunate by-product of this COVID-19 impacted year. The eventual winners, Cavendish Road SHS were the only team to beat our Xavier 13 Girls in 2020. Congratulations to the 13 Girls coach, Miss Hatchett and all teams that competed so strongly throughout the competition. A significant thank you to all parents who supported their child throughout the 2020 school touch season and lastly, but not least, thank you to all coaches for your time, energy and expertise in coaching our teams this year: Helen Hatchett, Michael Tyrrell, Skye Houliston, Paul Barker, Simone Collins and Nathan Milne. A touch break-up lunch will be held this week to announce Player's Player.
Year 7-12 District Athletics
Students who have been selected to compete at this event on Thursday 22nd October will receive information this week. Payment and consent for this event will be via the Qkr app.