We enter the season of Spring, a time of renewal and hope. It is a great time to give thanks to God for all we have and the joy of each day. Our Grounds staff, Terry McMillan and Pat Rogers do an amazing job at keeping our grounds looking spectacular in every season but in Spring this work comes to fruition. We are very blessed at O’Connor to have such wonderful outdoor spaces to help with our learning, whether that be our academic learning, our faith learning or simply taking time out in quiet reflection to help our wellbeing .
At O’Connor we celebrated National Health and PE Day this week. Numerous studies have shown the link between a healthy lifestyle and strong positive wellbeing. A recent book by Kohl, Cook and Cook (2013) ‘Educating the Student Body’ discussed the evidence supporting the link between health and learning in teenagers. The idea that healthy students learn better is supported and well accepted, and many studies have confirmed that health benefits are associated with physical activity, including cardiovascular and muscular fitness, bone health, psychosocial outcomes, and cognitive and brain health.
This highlights the need for students (and everyone!) to participate in some physical activity every week (DAY!) to help their wellbeing and learning outcomes. Our Year 12 students ran activities every lunchtime this week to encourage students to get active. As part of our Pastoral Academic Care Program one of the elements of wellbeing is ‘Exercise and Health’. In the student diary there are some great ideas to build this element. Exercise enables us to
Experience positive emotions from endorphins
Reduce tension and anxiety
Improve sleeping patterns
This doesn’t mean we all need to run a marathon but it does mean that we should take the time to move more. This is especially important for our Year 11 and 12s as they prepare and complete their final exams. Turn off your devices and go for a walk.
We also celebrated Literacy and Numeracy Week. Literacy and numeracy underpin our learning and building students capacity in these areas is essential. As part of our Pastoral Academic Care Program, literacy activities are the focus every Wednesday. This might include silent reading, journalling or word games. This week there were many different activities that both staff and students entered into including word games and number puzzles.
Our Year 12 have just completed their trial exams and are entering an important time in terms of consolidation of their learning. Vicki Channon (Year 12 Leader), Kerry Steller (Presiding Officer, NSW Education Standards Authority) and I met with all Year 12 on Monday after their trial to discuss a number of important points in relation to the HSC and where to next with their learning. The Year 12s set learning goals for the next three weeks and these are hanging in the staffroom for teachers to know each student and their particular focus for the next part of the learning. We all have a responsibility for all students and their learning and we will work collaboratively to support students in achieving their goals.
In staffing news, Mrs Alicia Pringle, Leader of Pedagogy, has been offered a job at the University of New England as Learning Designer. Alicia’s capacity to drive our learning focus and work with teachers and students alike has been outstanding. Alicia’s work at O’Connor over the past 8 years has benefitted many students and staff. As a Senior English teacher she has mentored students to achieving great learning growth and as a Pastoral Academic Care teacher she has built and sustained positive relationships with students and parents. We wish Alicia the very best in her new position and look forward to working with her in this new capacity.
Thankyou to everyone who has completed the surveys about our College. These provide valuable feedback to us about how we are going and what we need to do next. We will look at the survey responses to help with our Annual Improvement Plan for 2018.
What will you learn today?