O'Connor Newsletter

11 August 2017
Issue Twelve
Principal's Report
Assistant Principal's Report
College News
College Events
Information for Parents
O'Connor Catholic College
02 6772 1666
39 Kirkwood St
Armidale, NSW, 2350

Principal's Report

Dear Parents

Recently, Ellen Newberry, Eli Simpson, Damian Roff, Alicia Pringle, Simon Fleming and myself attended the second session of the Catholic Schools Office, Diocese of Armidale, Collaborative Learning Initiative presented by Dr Lyn Sharratt (University of Toronto) and Dr Kate O’Brien (Sydney Catholic Schools).

The title of the presentation was ‘Everyone’s a Leader’ with a focus on Assessment Literacy and Learning Walks and Talks.

At O’Connor’s Professional Learning day on 17th July, learning walks and talks were introduced to all staff. Learning walks and talks are a systematic, non-evaluative approach to know what is happening in classrooms.

To know what is happening and why it is happening is our core business as educators. Walks and talks are growth promoting and collaborative. They focus student thinking and give insights into what students are learning. On a learning walk, students are asked the following questions:

`What are you learning?

How are you going?
How do you know?
How can you improve?
Where do you go for help?

(Sharratt & Fullan 2012, Sharratt & Haild 2015)


I have been doing learning walks since I began at O’Connor and it has been pleasing to see the increased focus of students on their learning. We are now encouraging all teachers to participate in learning walks. These questions can also be used by parents to ask questions about the learning that is happening at school. The answers are a great starting point for reflection for everyone about the learning process.


Our focus on learning at O’Connor is not just for the students but for staff and parents as well. Henry Ford said:  ‘Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.’  


Lyn Sharratt also has questions for teachers to use as part of their own reflections.

What am I teaching?

Why am I teaching it?

How will I teach it?

How will I know when all students have learned it?

What’s next?


Our focus is on learning growth for all. Great results should be celebrated and we are as excited for someone who grows from a D to a C as well as the student who is dux of the year. This is especially pertinent to Year 7 and 9 students with NAPLAN results due shortly. It is also important for Year 12 to reflect on their learning prior to their trial examinations.



NAPLAN results are due to be released and I wrote to Year 9 parents in regards to this last week. I have included parts of the letter here for all parents information. Once again the media is sensationalising the NAPLAN results in regards to the minimum standards for HSC. Headlines such as 'NAPLAN 2017: Year 9 results improve, but 68 per cent will still have to re-sit an exam' - Sydney Morning Herald 2.8.17 do nothing to encourage learning and are in fact false.


Earlier in the year, I gave a presentation to Year 9 Parents about the link between NAPLAN and HSC. I would like to draw your attention to the following points:

  • There are minimum standards for literacy and numeracy needed to attain a HSC;

  • Three areas where minimum standards apply:  Reading, Writing and Numeracy;

  • From 2018, online tests will be available (at least twice a year) in Year 10, 11 and 12, as well as up to 5 years after sitting the HSC;

  • Year 9 NAPLAN 2017 is an early opportunity to meet the standard by achieving Band 8 or greater in NAPLAN;

  • NO student will be ineligible to sit for the HSC on the basis of their Year 9 NAPLAN results.


A better headline would read: 'NAPLAN 2017: Year 9 results improve, and 32% of students reach the benchmark for HSC 3 years early!'  At O’Connor, we will analyse the NAPLAN results thoroughly and plan for students to meet these benchmarks prior to the HSC. The results are released to schools and parents on 15th August. Any parents with any concerns should contact the College.





Keep learning everyone!

Regina Menz

Assistant Principal's Report



The school readiness test for on line NAPLAN for 2018 will be held during week 8 of term and will involve all students from Years 7 and 9. The school readiness test is a ‘practice run’ and provides an opportunity for schools to become familiar with the NAPLAN Online assessment platform and to identify any technical or administrative issues they may have.


The school readiness test:

  • Is not an assessment of student ability and it will not be marked.
  • Has been designed to allow schools and students to freely navigate through the online test environment and to explore the format and presentation of questions.
  • Allows schools to develop and put into practice their classroom procedures, which will provide an indication of any changes that need to be made before NAPLAN moves online.
  • Involves all NSW schools who have passed the technical readiness survey.

Once the school readiness testing period is complete, schools can discuss their experiences and provide feedback so NESA can determine a suitable time for the transition to NAPLAN Online.


Why have a school readiness test?

The school readiness test aims to:

  • Assess the resources and ICT capacity of schools including bandwidth, wireless connectivity and suitable devices.
  • See if schools are prepared for NAPLAN Online and to determine if any changes need to be made in order for a successful transition.
  • Allow students and teachers to familiarise themselves with the online system and to experience the new test delivery method.
  • Let NESA support schools and offer advice as they trial and interact with the new online assessment platform.


What the school readiness test covers

The school readiness test activity comprises two tests:

  • An omnibus test comprising numeracy, reading and conventions of language questions.
  • a separate writing test.

Each test takes approximately one hour to complete (40 minutes of testing time) and will also include a short student survey. Student responses will not be marked. 


HSC Student Newsletter

2017 HSC students were emailed a newsletter last week with information, advice and links to resources on practical and performance exams, as well as advice about applying to university. Schools are asked to alert their students to the email. Students who didn't receive it should log into their Students Online account via My Details and check their contact details are correct. 

Five Period Day 2018

After a lengthy consultation period and research the college leadership team together with staff has decided to trial a 5 period day in 2018 rather than our current model which has a 6 period day. Our reasons come from an educational perspective and are outlined below;

  • Reduces the movement and time lost between periods
  • Reduces the need to have double periods when effective teaching time is sometimes lost
  • Only one period after the 2nd break time or what has been traditionally lunch
  • Extend the time for recess and shorten the time for the lunch break
  • Important components of pedagogy can be addressed including learning intentions, success criteria, and an opportunity for assessment 'for and as' learning to be built into each teaching period as well as self-reflection practice. Additionally time can be spent with students monitoring and evaluating their own learning
  • Incorporate more ‘practice by doing’ and the immediate use of learning within lessons
  • Reduce behavioural incidents between periods and after lunch break

We are still in discussion about the proposed times for the day and when we have reached a decision we will provide that information to students and parents.

Trial HSC Examinations

Year 12 HSC Trial examinations will commence on Monday 21st August and will run for 2 weeks during which time students need only attend school for their exams. All students have been provided with the rules for exams and a Timetable. This can also be found on the schools web site.

College Track Pants

The college now has in stock the O’Connor Track pants for school. We ask that all students in Years 7 to 10 have the correct pants which can be purchased from the schools clothing shop. Please contact the school if you have any concerns over this matter.

Stage 5 Information Night

Stage 5 Electives and RoSA (record of student achievement) 

This Year the Leadership team has decided to conduct an information evening for students and parents of Year 8 who will be entering into Stage 5 next year. At this evening an information booklet will be made available which will include elective subject preferences for 2018. The information evening will be held at 6:00pm in the examination centre  Monday August 21st.


Simon Fleming

Assistant Principal/

Curriculum  Coordinator

Dates to Remember

Week 5- A

  • 14 August- National Science Week, HSC  Major Textile Projects (MTP) Due
  • 15 August- CCC Netball Penrith, Assumption (Fatima Statue) All School Mass @ 9.15, 10 Talk to Students.
  • 16 August- Twilight Staff Meeting
  • 17 August- STEP Day
  • 18 August- Pastoral Period

Week 6- B

  • 21 August HSC Trials Commence (2 weeks), Stage 5 Information Night 6pm.
  • 22 August- Dio Directors Visit, AG Quip
  • 23 August- da Vinci Decathlon yr 7/8 TAS, yr 10 MASS
  • 24 August- Yr 11 Young Drivers Tamworth, 12 DT Major Design Projects (MDP's) Locked up
  • 25 August- da Vinci Decathlon yr 9/10 TAS, Trish Starr's Mary McKillop










Mary MacKillop

August 8 Feast day of St Mary of the Cross (Mary MacKillop) Australia’s first and only saint. She started schools of poor country children. She was the founder of a teaching order of sisters, the Josephites. She was a mystic, a visionary, a missionary and faithful to God.


The Josephites write "Our world is fractured and in need of understanding, reconciliation and healing. In 1878 Mary wrote “love each other, help and comfort each other.” Her love and compassion excluded no one, but she did have a special place in her heart for the disadvantaged, marginalised or isolated. We are called to have this same love and compassion, to reach out to those in need. Who might the marginalised be for me today? Thus, inspired and challenged by Mary, her spirituality, life and work, people connect with Mary MacKillop Chapel to pray in gratitude, others in petition while others simply seek comfort, peace and tranquillity"






Provident God, with grateful hearts we remember the power for goodness that Mary MacKillop is in our world. On this her feast day may we be touched anew with her spirit of prophetic charity and generous participation in mission. We ask this in the name of Christ, the Sacred Heart, and of the Spirit of Mission. Amen.

The Feast of Assumption

Tuesday is the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady. "when according to our faith, the Holy Mother, "having completed her course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory". Although defined as an article of faith by Pope Pius XII just over half a century ago, the Assumption of Our Lady into heaven has been accepted from back to the earliest of Christian times. The Assumption signals the end of Mary's earthly life and marks her return to heaven to be reunited with Jesus. While the bodies of both Jesus and Mary are now in heaven, there is a difference between the Assumption and the Resurrection. Where Jesus arose from the tomb and ascended into heaven by his own power, Mary's body was taken up to heaven by the power of her Son.

For this reason we use different words to describe each event. One is the Ascension of Christ and the other, the Assumption of Mary" (Arch Diocese of Sydney). It is a holy day of obligation and there will be a whole school Mass at 9.15am.


National Vocations Week

National Vocations Awareness Week is an opportunity for us to give thanks to God for the presence and ministry of consecrated life in our church and our lives. Pause and spend a moment of prayer in thanks for the priests and religious who have contributed to our community. Father Francis apart from his role as college chaplain is the vocations director for Armidale Diocese. He will be visiting RE classes this week talking about vocations.



Damian Roff


College News

CCC Soccer Report 

It was a cold and dark Armidale morning as 26 keen young soccer players gathered at the bus bay to travel down the long and winding road to Coffs Harbour, to do battle there with students from Trinity College Lismore (juniors) and MacKillop College Port Macquarie (senior team). Led by their not so young coaches (Mr May and Mr Lush) the young warriors spent the long hours of the drive in not-so-silent contemplation of the trials and tribulations to come. 

For many of the boys it was the first time for them to play on the hallowed turf of the Coffs Harbour stadium. For others in the senior team it was a return to the venue of their first foray into the hurly burly of CCC interdiocescan soccer some four years previously, a memory still fresh in their impressionable minds. 

Both teams were missing key playmakers - some to illness, some to injury, some because they simply weren't at school anymore. Nonetheless they strapped on shinguards, slipped into strips and buffed their boots before emerging out of the darkness of change room number 1 and out onto the springy green turf of the stadium. 

Unfortunately neither team was able to view the other play - both teams played alongside each other and at the same time. In the juniors, the result was never going to be a foregone conclusion. Trinity scored first, before an equaliser hammered into the back of the net by Jake McCann, the midfield mauler. That was the result for much of what was a see-sawing battle, with desperate Trinity forays into the O'Connor back line being countered by equally desperate counter offences by the O'Connor juniors. Sadly, however, the depth of the Trinity team and superior fitness saw them begin to dominate play, with two late goals sealing the result in the Lismore boys favour, 3-1. 

The senior boys game was very much one of desperate defence, skilful slide tackles and courageous keeping from the young goalkeeper, Aiden Wicks. MacKillop were very much the dominant team for the majority of the game, but the 2-0 half time scoreline in favour of the coastal boys was testament to the grim determination of the O'Connor players to make their opponents work for every goal. 

in the second half the heat and lack of reserves began to tell on the O'Connor team. For the first ten minutes the game hung in the balance before MacKillop scored a third, telling goal. At the 15 minute mark in the second half MacKillop made a mass substitution of five fresh players into the game. The exhausted O'Connor team were unable to match this injection of vim and vigour, with Lewis Baber barely able to walk from the pain of a strained groin muscle, Isaac Selvey struggling with nausea and Jaydenn Waldron gamely taking on players twice his height and three times his mass. MacKillop then went on the proverbial turkey shoot, their fresh legs more than a match for the weary warriors of the O'Connor senior team. Wicks hurled himself from side to side as his backline slowly gave way before the inexorable assault of the MacKillop forwards, defending his heart out, but sadly to no avail as the ball found the back of the net again and again. Four quick goals in 15 minutes placed the game well and truly out of the reach of the Armidale lads, who to their credit were still trying to attack even as the referee blew quietus on the game. 

Both teams have no reason to rue missed opportunities. They were well and truly punching above their weight - MacKillop College has a student population three times that of O'Connor, whilst Trinity has over twice the population. In both games players had every cause to throw in the towel early, but continued to battle on even though the game was lost... much like the band of the Titanic. The referees in both games spoke favourably of the positive mindset and clean play of the teams. 

Many thanks to the players for giving it all they had. They were fantastic ambassadors for the College and definitely gave their opponents reason to take them seriously. 
Mr May - Coach



CCC Basketball

A fantastic day and some great results at CCC Basketball in Tamworth for our junior and senior girls and boys teams. Many thanks to Miss Sampson, Mr Roff and past student Scott McGann for coaching the teams. Congratulation to our 4 teams that competed in the CCC Basketball Tournament in Tamworth. The 7/8 boys, 9/10 girls and 9/10 boys had wins over St Mary's Gunnedah and Holy Trinity Inverell and were very competitive narrowly losing to McCarthy Tamworth. The 7/8 girls only had 5 players for the day and fought hard every game including a fine win over St Mary's Gunnedah.

Mr Roff - Coach


Horse Sports

Will Wood (yr 9) has recently achieved the following in horse sports: 

NSW championships - 12th overall in show riding (all ages), overall champion in the 13 years and under 15 age groups; selected in the National team for show jumping and formal gymkhana.


Congratulations to our newest CCPL Laura Hooper (yr 11) who was Dux of the 2/17 CJNCO course held at RAAF Base Wagga. All your hard work and dedication to cadets paid off!


Art Work 

Congratulations to Zoe Minehan (yr 9) whose art work has been selected as a finalist in UNE Let's Hang it Art Exhibition.

Water Polo

Tahlia Stuart (yr 11) is currently competing in the Hawaiian International Waterpolo tournament in Honolulu for the Australian Barbarian 16's team. They beat the New Zealand North Harbour team to make it into the semi finals . The Barbarian's water polo team played off for the bronze medal position and defeated Honolulu 8-7 in a tough game! 


College Events

Year 7 Stitches 

Social justice in action. Year 7RE3 stitching bags ready to fill with goodies for Vinnies. Well done team.


Senior Showcase

A wonderful evening of entertainment was provided at the 2017 O'Connor Catholic College Senior Showcase, which was was held at NECOM on Thursday 3 August. This was an opportunity for our Year 11 and 12 dance, music, drama, visual arts and textiles students to showcase their creative and performing arts talents to the wider community.


A huge variety of performances and creations were presented both live on stage, as well as in film on the screen. Intermingled throughout the showcase were snippets of film highlighting the HSC visual art major works of Allison Gaddes, Nathan Streicher, Rianna Feenstra and Jono Moore, which have been ably facilitated by Mrs Jenny Frazier.


The Year 12 musicians have been mentored throughout their studies by Miss Melita Roache. Tom Frazier, Cassidie Smith, Sophie Wicks and Rianna Feenstra performed a variety of fabulous items selected from their HSC repertoires. Tom plays double bass, Cassisdie is a vocalist, Sophie plays flute and Rianna is a pianist.


HSC dancer Eliza Clark produce a stunning dance on film as part of her major work for the course, whilst Asia Kleindeinst performed Hypoglycaemia”, a dance choreographed by Eliza. Asia attends PLC but studies dance at O’Connor under the tutelage of Mrs Melissa Killen.


Year 11 students Nick Troon, Fitz Hadley, Grace Toakley, Maddie King, Sophie Warner and Sam Frazier, from the O'Connor drama club, performed the highly entertaining play "Strange Street", and Year 11 dancers Micah Scholes-Robertson and Phoebe Biddle choreographed and performed “The Shrew”, based on the Shakespearian play "Taming of the Shrew".


Preliminary Music 1 and Music 2 students Ella Thomas, Liam Skinner, Grace Toakley, Chris Ramazani, Nick Troon and Sam Frazier arranged and performed a lovely piece for their A Capella group titled “No Diggity”.


The evening concluded with the much anticipated Year 12 Textiles Fashion Parade. Mrs Vicki Channon facilitated the incredible creations from Georgia Cullen, Grace Murray, Tess Brown and Lauren Czinner. A number of senior students assisted with the modelling and displaying of the creations in the parade...thanks to Harry Lye, Drew Thomas, Sarah Edmonds, Phoebe Biddle and Alex King.


The CAPA Leader of Learning Mrs Jenny Roff was justifiably proud of the amazing creative and performing arts talents of the O'Connor students which were displayed at the 2017 Senior Showcase.



OCCC 2018 Musical?

It's coming...the 2018 OCCC 'High School The Musical'
This was announced at assembly FRIDAY, and here's a promo to get you REALLY excited .


Blood Donating

Congratulations to our first group of Year 11 students who gave blood - James Wood, James Durham and Laura Hooper. We have had over 40 students volunteer to give blood over the next semester. 

An amazing way to give back to our community!


Cybersafety & Communication in the 21st Century

This week in PAC time we have been looking at the responsible use of technology and the impact it has on our relationships. This also includes a focus on the inappropriate use of technology in the classroom and the playground. 

The PAC Diary Focus this week dovetails perfectly with this. The focus is ‘Presence & Purpose’. At the student briefing on Monday morning, the following was presented by the Yr 11 LYL (La Sallian Youth Leaders).


“Our generation was born into a digital world and communicating electronically is what comes natural to us. The 21st century has seen the advent of more and more mediums of communication, which have reduced our opportunities for purposeful face-to-face conversations with real people in real time. There is no doubt that communication via mobiles, texting, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Kik and Instagram will continue.
 But what we need to ask ourselves is; 
Are we as a society lacking the presence and purpose to enjoy the positive emotions of human interaction in person? 
Are we hiding behind the invisible impersonal wall of electronic communication? 
How is communicating digitally affecting relationships? 
Nearly everything that we will achieve in life will be through people, with people and by people. Healthy relationships are the cornerstones to a well functioning society and we need to develop our skills to communicate effectively such as using and reading positive body language messages; recognising inference, bias and emphasis in conversations; developing relationships through face-to-face conversations; learning to listen with their eyes, their ears and their hearts; valuing and considering other peoples’ opinions and points of view because they matter and being present and mindful in each and every moment.”
I also presented a short presentation to Year 7 Parents about the challenges of managing devices both at school and at home. Most internet providers will provide a range of different parental controls that can filter the internet at home. These can be set at high, medium or low settings depending on the age of children at home and they can also be tailored to specific needs. Telstra for example will even allow parents to customise parental controls during homework time. More information for Telstra customers can be found at https://www.telstra.com.au/support/category/broadband/security/how-to-use-parental-controls-and-homework-time.


Attached is a poster from the Office of the e-safety Commissioner outlining the 7 ways parents can manage web connected devices at home. More information on any issues relating to cybersafety can usually be found the e-safety.gov.au site.




Jon Hawthorne

Pastoral Academic Care Coordinator

Variety Scholarships

Variety provides scholarships to children (aged between 6 to 18 years) with an existing talent living with disabilities, chronic illness, geographic isolation and/or financial hardship, to achieve their full potential and to follow their dreams. Scholarships are awarded in areas of Education, Sports and the Arts.

Scholarships can be used for fees, training, competition entry, equipment, uniforms, travel (air fares, bus fares, train fares) and accommodation to attend competitions.


Please check eligibility and criteria which includes a household income limit, submissions close 27 August 2017.


Margot Zaska 
Sport Development Group 
6B Figtree Drive, Sydney Olympic Park NSW 2127 | Locked Bag 1422, Silverwater 2128
 [email protected]  
sport.nsw.gov.au www.facebook.com/OOSNSW 


Information supplied by Ms Clydsdale

OCCC Sports Coordinator




Information for Parents

Canteen News

Qkr Update:

Qkr will be up and running as of tomorrow morning, Monday July 31. Yippie!

Qkr is a simple way to order and pay for Kinfolk Student Café orders in advance. All it takes is a few simply taps on your smartphone, and voilà lunch is sorted.

Simply, download the Qkr app from the App Store or Google Play and create an account. Parents and carers can place orders for multiple students, up to two weeks in advance and settle the balance in one simple online payment.

Powered by Masterpass, Qkr accounts are protected by multiple layers of security so it’s guarded from fraudulent use, and there when you need it. For information on how Qkr works visit :



Uniform Shop Hours

Monday 8am - 12pm

Wednesday 12pm- 4pm

Friday  10am- 2pm

Workshops for Parents


Lost Property

Please ensure all school clothes, books and personal property are clearly labelled with the student’s name. Many items are not returned to their rightful owners because they are not labelled correctly or clearly.

School Shoes


Cancer Awareness



Wearing the correct uniform demonstrates pride in oneself and the college. I ask that parents support this by ensuring students wear the correct uniform to school each day.

In this term, students are expected to wear the winter uniform. All students are expected to wear O’Connor's College blazers to and from school. 

Correct sport uniform must also be worn when it is required for PE and only worn to school on days nominated for this. College track pants are available at the Uniform Shop. Track pants with other logo's are unacceptable.


Thank you for your support.

Simon Fleming- Assistant Principal

Variety Scholarships

Variety provides scholarships to children (aged between 6 to 18 years) with an existing talent living with disabilities, chronic illness, geographic isolation and/or financial hardship, to achieve their full potential and to follow their dreams. Scholarships are awarded in areas of Education, Sports and the Arts.

Scholarship can be used for fees, training, competition entry, equipment, uniforms, travel (air fares, bus fares, train fares) and accommodation to attend competitions.

Please check eligibility and criteria which includes a household income limit, submissions close 27 August 2017.


 [email protected]  
sport.nsw.gov.au www.facebook.com/OOSNSW 



Mobile Phones


Change Details

Please advise the office about any change of details from last year, such as change in family situation, address, workplace, email addresses, phone numbers – mobile and landline for home and work.

Armidale Youth Awards


ADIG yr 12 Award




If you are interested in a profession in Accounting and or Business, a team from Robert & Morrow will be presenting a question & answer session at O'Connor.

Come along and explore another career opportunity!

Where: Library

When: 1pm Thursday 17/8/17

Bring your lunch

Position Vacant

Brennan and Smith, the optometrists in The Mall, are looking for a confident, welcoming person from Year 11 to work Saturday mornings. Duties would include manning reception and customer service. Training will be provided.

If you feel you can fulfil these duties and are looking for Saturday work, quickly drop your resume and cover letter into Brennan and Smith.

Good Luck

UAC Guide

The UAC Guide outlines general information, application procedures and closing dates for semester 1 courses offered by UAC's participating institutions. Details of courses starting in semester 2 will be published on their website as they become available. The UAC Guides for 2017/18 are now available in the library. 




Mrs Lemon

Careers Adviser

Good Luck



O'Connor Newsletter
PAC Newsletter 26th July (1) (1).docx
school_newsletter_info_July2017 (2).pdf
OESC-7-ways-to-manage-devices (1).pdf
kinfolk_menu_OConnor Term 3.pdf
Armidale Regional Youth Awards Information Package 2017.pdf
youth awards poster.jpg
ADIG Yr 12 award.pdf
ADIG Yr 12 award.jpg
ADIG Yr 12 award.jpg
Mobile Phone Poster.pdf
Cancer Support.pdf
Armidale FRC Aug to Dec 2017.pdf
Keep Calm They're Just Kids Armidale August 2017.jpg
Armidale FRC Aug to Dec 2017.pdf
Love Isn't All You Need Armidale August 2017.jpg
Practical Parenting Armidale September 2017.jpg
Practical Parenting Armidale September 2017.jpg
Armidale FRC Aug to Dec 2017.pdf
Toolkit for Dads Armidale September 2017.jpg
Toolkit for Dads Armidale September 2017.jpg
UAC 2017:18.pdf