News & Views

14 March 2019
Issue Four
Quick Dates
From the Desk of the Principal
Deputy Principal - Student Development
Deputy Principal Staff Development
Assistant Principal - Student Learning, Data Analysis & Logistics
Learning and Achieving in Clare School's Academic Culture
IWD Breakfast
Home Stay Families Required
La Cucina
Community Notices
Mount Alvernia College
07 3357 6000
82 Cremorne Road
Kedron, Qld, 4031

Quick Dates

Week 7/8, Term 1

Friday 15 March

Year 11 Geography excursion


Saturday 16 March

CaSSSA Tennis


Tuesday 19 March

3.00pm  St Margaret's Cross Country Meet

6.30pm  P&FSN AGM (Delamore Room)


Wednesday 20 March

Green Heart School Future BNE Challenge

CaSSSA AFL, Indoor Cricket, Touch, & Volleyball

3.15-6.00pm   World Challenge team meeting (Professional Learning Centre)


Thursday 21 March

Writers' Festival - Year 9 extension activity (Somerset College)


From the Desk of the Principal

Dear Parents and Carers, Staff and Students, and Friends of Mount Alvernia College


At our College Leadership Team this week, we had a presentation from Ms Gibbons, who led the Leadership Team through the work she has been doing with her staff and students to develop the requisite skills our students will need to negotiate QCE and ATAR 2020, which is just next year!!!  I hope that you find the time to view the video and take a moment to reflect on its message.


As we move into the revised Senior Secondary and Tertiary Entrance Education process, it is essential that both staff, students, and parents are aware that processes and programmes will be different, and we are ensuring that we are ready for these changes, and are prepared to embrace this change and learn how best to negotiate if for the good of our young women.


Today Ms Butterworth and I travelled to Chandler for the Catholic Secondary Schools Swimming Carnival.  One thing that always impresses me about our students is their enthusiasm and their school spirit.  The swimmers have trained hard and I know we will hear more about the results; however, Mt A is a winner when it comes to school spirit, whether the girls are in the pool or on the sideline cheering.  It was a treat to be there and out of the office where I find myself quite often.


Next Tuesday evening, the Annual General Meeting of our Parents and Friends Support Network will be held.  I am grateful to the small group of hardworking parents and friends, who are regular attendees at these gatherings and contribute to our community in a variety of ways.  Please consider joining the meeting to find out how you can become more engaged in your daughter’s educational community. Parents are sometimes reluctant to be involved in secondary school as their daughter is growing up. Please know that you are most welcome and, as a College Leadership Team, we value your opinion and your presence at these meetings.  We stress the importance of relationships as the key to success and this extends to our parents as well.  Details of the meeting will be in this edition. 


Next term I am taking some Long Service Leave.  While on leave, Ms Butterworth will be acting as Principal, Ms Barlow will act as Deputy Principal Student Development, and Ms Campbell will act as Pastoral Guardian.  I am really fortunate to have such talent in the leadership of the College, and I know that Mt A will be in capable hands.  I am doing some travel and some study as well as managing some family concerns and, hopefully, catching up on rest and reading.  We have had a wonderful start to 2019 especially in encouraging all at the College to Raise the Bar and do better than our best in everything we do.

Take care

Kerrie Tuite

[email protected]



Deputy Principal - Student Development

National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence

This Friday, 15 March, is the National Day that focuses on all schools and communities across Australia standing up against bullying and violence.  It is somewhat interesting to note that this day has also been chosen to request students to march in support of action against climate change.


While I am not opposed to standing up for your beliefs around the future of our planet, I think it a shame that it will occurs on the day designated  to strategise and raise awareness around an issue that can have a major effect on the mental health and wellbeing of all.  

In the past year, Mount Alvernia has added to its strategies to address bullying by developing a student- run Anti Bullying Taskforce.  This taskforce has grown in the past month to beyond 50 members who have one goal in mind – to encourage all to Say No to Bullying.  


This Friday, instead of leaving the College or going on strike for climate change,  the girls will be holding their own march through the college grounds with placards and strong messages in tow.  Their hope is that, by marching in solidarity, others will join the call and raise the bar on the preparedness of all students to stand up to bullying and be the inclusive community we know we can be.  Students are permitted to wear orange accessories on this day in support of the Say No to Bullying campaign.  These accessories include hair bands, ribbons, and jewellery.



Community United

It can often be said that times of difficulty can bring communities together.  This has been true for the Mount Alvernia community.  With the loss of a much loved staff member, Ms Jen Letizia, and the passing of a parent for a number of our students, it has been wonderful to witness the support that has been provided to the families who have and will continue to suffer grief and loss.  On behalf of these families, thank you for your generous support; whether it has been in providing meals, transportation, or companionship, I know that it has been very much appreciated and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. 


If you are considering providing a meal to one of the families in need at this time, you are more than welcome to do so.  All that is needed is for you to advise heating instructions and ingredients.  The meal (preferably frozen) can be brought to Main Reception from where it will be delivered to the family.  Let us remember to keep all in our community who are suffering the loss of a loved one in our thoughts and prayers.

Annette Butterworth


Lord Mayor's Youth Advisory Council

This year I was privileged to be chosen to represent Mt A on the Lord Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, or LMYAC for short.   This council is made up of one Year 10 student from each of the participating schools in Brisbane.  Its focus is to develop an understanding of what the youth of Brisbane would like to see in the city. 


This year’s primary topic is a more inclusive Brisbane.  This looks at how to make sure that there are activities and facilities available for people of all ages, catering for disabilities, accessibility, and lack of transport, to name a few.  We had an induction day where we were introduced to some of our peers, whereafter we formed groups of up to twelve people - our project group.  Each group’s aim is to come up with a project associated with the primary topic, which we will present to the Brisbane City Council at the end of the year.


This opportunity allows me to gain skills in leadership, organising, and presentation of ideas, and also gives me a chance to meet people from around Brisbane.  I am grateful that I was selected to represent my college.


Gabby Reis

Deputy Principal Staff Development

What Makes a High-Performing School?

The common misconception when judging and comparing the performance of schools is to base this on academic results alone.  On a surface level, it may appear easier to examine academic results as a high-performance indicator as they are quantifiable.  However, there are many layers that inform an academic result when comparing the collective academic performance of schools.  This can often be clouded through what is promoted in the public sphere as it can be informed by inaccurate perception. This is not to suggest academic performance is not a vital part of the educational picture.  Academics form our core business, but as one dimension in what comprises a holistic approach to education, and one aspect that may inform a school’s high performance.


So, if academics are one aspect of high performance, what are the other indicators a school is high performance?  Unfortunately, it is not as easy as searching for a quantifiable result.  High performance is found in the rich experiences, relationships, and practices that encompass the day-to-day life of an educational institution.  It is these elements of high performance that are not so easily measurable that are, at its essence, the heart of a school and what gives a school its unique character.


Mount Alvernia College embraces its unique character through knowing its vision and purpose in enabling our young women to flourish and succeed.  Our academic faculty and support staff understand that, as a Franciscan institution grounded in Christ, we place relationship at our core.  We work to provide a safe educational environment where all within our community are provisioned with the opportunity to learn, connect, and ultimately thrive - an environment where students and staff work in collaboration to develop their curiosity, a passion for learning, and the ability to think.  It is through deliberate pedagogical practices and experiences that our young women reach their potential and excel.


How do we know we have been successful in our pursuits?  In my opinion, you need to look no further than our Mount Alvernian graduates.  They are strong, confident, independent, young women who embark on their desired pathways and make a positive contribution to society.  This to me is evidence a school is meeting its targets and is high performance.


As a college we acknowledge the importance for us to continually reflect on our practice and look to what we can strengthen.  You will have seen this evidenced in our concerted effort to raise the bar in academic performance this year.  In partnership with the community, we will do so within the framework of what we know already makes us a high-performance school.  With relationship central to our practices we will continue to work with each individual student to ensure she achieves, reaches her potential and thrives - continually ensuring we remain high-performance driven.


Daniel Crump


Welcome to the Newest Members of our Maintenance Team

Our Maintenance Team is a crucial element in the smooth operation of the College's day-to-day operations.  At the end of last year, we welcomed Ray, Damian, and Callum, who are profiled below:

Ray Weiland

Ray comes to us from ten years working as a theatre orderly in a number of Brisbane hospitals.  Prior to this, he enjoyed a 28-year Army career, during which he attained qualifications in the areas of Business Management and Transport & Logistics.  Ray is relishing life at Mt A, and doesn't miss shiftwork!  Away from work, Ray enjoys both rugby league and AFL, as a keen supporter of the Melbourne Storm and North Melbourne.

Damian McHugh

Damian's background is as a mechanic for Jetstar and Caterpillar, before working for five years on the gas line in various locations around Central Queensland.  Moving to Brisbane from Gladstone when his wife was transferred for work, Damian has settled into Mt A and is enjoying school life and the extra time to spend with his young sons (one and nearly three years old).  He also enjoys tinkering with engines when he has the chance.

Callum Burbery

Callum was born in New Zealand and moved to Australia as a child.  He travelled after school, before moving into environmental bush regeneration, based in Brisbane but working on mine sites in northern and western Queensland.  Callum likes the environment at Mt A, and appreciates the opportunity to see the results of his labours in the garden (something that wasn't possible when he moved in and out of locations).  A cat lover (after growing up around them), he has room for only one at home at the moment.

Assistant Principal - Student Learning, Data Analysis & Logistics

Study Groups at Mt A

This week, I want to draw your attention to the opportunity we are providing for our girls to create and participate in regular study groups.


At present, Study Groups are running:

  • Year 11 and 12s on Tuesdays from 3.15–5.15pm,
  • our Year 9s and 10s on Thursdays from 3.15-5.15pm. 
  • Year 8 Study groups begin this week (this will be a more targeted and slower roll-out).

Many girls - particularly from Years 11, 10, and 9 - have already taken up the challenge and created their groups.   They have already begun to experience the benefits of being in such a group, and are developing excellent skills and knowledge through their discussions, sharing, peer reviewing, brainstorming, and focused time together.  I have had contact from several girls and parents about the timing of these sessions and, as such, I will propose a more flexible model as we move forward.  I have already offered, to some girls, the opportunity to come on either of these afternoons – depending on suitability.  This means, however, that the girls must form their own groups and have three or more girls interested in attending, then come along with goals and purpose on either Tuesday or Thursday, whichever is most suitable.  I will include this information in notices, as well as discussing it next week on assembly. 


With our focus on Raising the Bar, one of my goals is to encourage more of our young women to engage with each other and focus on their studies through a variety of methods.  We recognise that our girls are highly capable and, when they openly discuss the subjects that they undertake and acknowledge their strengths in these, they can develop greater confidence in themselves.  This undoubtedly leads to greater success. 


I know that you will support this opportunity and encourage your daughter to 'have a go'.   We will be there to guide her through the process.


I include a list of benefits of Study Groups reinforced by a wide range of readings and research:


1.  Support:  When students work together in groups toward common goals of learning they can provide encouragement to each other to keep motivated toward the goals.  It can be a positive and enjoyable experience.


2. Commitment:  As each member of a study group commits to participate fully in the group, students tend to stay up to date with class assignments and this helps to be well prepared for quizzes and tests without cramming, as well completing assignments in a timely manner. Being part of a study group helps to avoid procrastination.


3. Discussions and Communication:  Study groups can help our girls to develop as a student, person, and, ultimately, professional.  Study groups encourage members to think creatively and build strong communication skills which also help in refining understanding of the material.  It has been proven that those who participate in study groups feel more confident and comfortable about reaching their academic goals.  Overall, study groups are excellent practice in preparation for the work world.


4. 'Two Heads are Better than One.'

  • Students tend to learn faster working within a group versus working alone.
  • Since everyone has individual talents and unique insights, group members can learn from each other.  Group members can also teach confusing concepts they understand to other group members.
  • Working in groups makes it possible to focus on more concepts since multiple people can review more material than just one.
  • One or more group members are likely to understand something you do not. They may bring up ideas you never considered.

5. Learn New Study Habits/Skills:  There are always ways to enhance your studying methods/ techniques in your study skills.  Being part of a study group provides the opportunity to observe a wide variety of study methods and incorporate them into your regimen.  Note-taking and organisation skills are two major study components that continue to be improved through study groups.


6. Compare Class Notes:  You can compare your class notes with those of the other group members to clarify important concepts and fill in any gaps.


7. Teaching Concepts to the Other Group Members - Teaching/explaining information and concepts to the other group members will help you reinforce your mastery of the information and concepts.


8. Interaction, Enjoyable Learning:  Studying with a group is a great way to liven up your study sessions.  It can be very monotonous and draining to spend long hours alone somewhere.  Joining a study group and studying in a group environment makes learning much more fulfilling and enjoyable.


9. Different Perspectives:  Each group member has different qualities/ideas to offer to the study group. Studying by yourself will always get you one perspective; yet, in groups, you may receive various viewpoints which can assist in helping you reach your own conclusions.  Listening and asking questions will provide more food for thought while developing your critical skills.


10. Other Benefits

  • You may be reluctant to ask a question in class.  You will find it easier to do so in a small study group and eventually in the classroom.
  • Listening and discussing add a strong auditory dimension to your learning experience.
  • Being in a study group with motivated classmates is often helpful to reduce test anxiety.

We ask the girls to do the following when attending Study Group Sessions:

  • Create clear objectives and goals
    Prior to each session, group members should discuss what they hope to achieve, so the session is productive and stays on track.
  • Be prepared
    Group study can be very ineffective if individual members come unprepared for sessions.  Each member of the study group could review notes, complete select questions from the textbook, identify specific subjects to study, have drafts ready, bring scaffolds, have equipment necessary, etc.
  • Ensure participation
    Every member of a study group should actively participate.  A great way for each member to contribute is to assign specific topics and have each member instruct the group.  Teaching is a great way for individuals to retain information.
  • Stay focused
    Before each session, someone can be assigned to facilitate it (but this doesn’t have to be the case).  The person charged with leading a session helps to ensure it is productive, it stays on track, and all necessary material is covered.



Debra Evans



Educationcorner, (2019). Using Study Groups., Retrieved from

Yavapai College, (2018)., 10+ Benefits of Study Groups, Retrieved from




Learning and Achieving in Clare School's Academic Culture

Learning and Achieving in Clare School's Academic Culture

Girls in Clare School find themselves in a unique place in their academic and holistic education journey. Being in the midst of the middle years, they face challenges unique to this time of their lives.  They have to navigate and negotiate their way through fundamental physiological adolescent change, as well as social and emotional trials, all the while maintaining a busy and challenging school schedule.  In Year 9 they are transitioning from the relative security and comfort of core teachers and, in Year 10, girls are beginning to think beyond school and thus contemplating their ultimate transition into the Senior years.  It is obvious to those who are either parenting or educating girls in Clare School that, in these crucial years of change, we must remain consistent in our dealings, and insistent on sustaining high standards for our girls to assist them in achieving their academic best.


As the Teaching and Learning Guardian, I work closely with Pastoral Guardians, Teena Christofis (Year 10) and Therese Dooley (Year 9), to maintain and perpetuate a strong learning culture within Clare School.  We are wholeheartedly committed to ensuring our girls are striving to attain their potential, so that we can send them off to their Senior years feeling confident, capable, and able to manage and thrive when faced with academic challenge and risk.  We know we already have intelligent girls, but we often find that girls themselves have a lack of self-belief, fear of failure, or dislike at being publicly recognised as academically strong.  With our college focus on Raising the Bar, we are even more cognisant than usual of working to support the girls in strengthening their sense of themselves as keen, enthusiastic, and hard-working students who do not shy away from challenges in the classroom.  By developing strong working relationships with their teachers, our girls can and will navigate challenges successfully.  There are numerous research findings which support the need for positive teacher-student relationships, and the essentiality of student engagement with their learning, in raising student academic outcomes (Allen, Pianta, Gregory, Mikami and Lun, 2011; Chase, Hilliard, Geldhof, Warren and Lerner, 2014).  Mount Alvernia College is well known for its excellent pastoral care of students and relational interactions, but we believe our girls must be equally challenged to identify themselves as academically-focused and strong, not just socially and in terms of outreach activities.


It has been really pleasing in recent weeks to see Years 9 and 10 girls attending the new Clare School Study Groups on Thursdays after school, which are focused on improving academic success for attendees.  Those in attendance work collaboratively to share ideas, improve their understanding and to raise their potential achievement on up-coming assignments and tests.  These girls demonstrate commitment and depth of the character in the excellent way they discuss ideas, generate new ones, and negotiate between themselves best ways forward.  It has been really enjoyable to observe the girls in academic action, and rewarding to see their huge smiles as they sign out at 4.45pm, knowing they’ve achieved something positive for their studies.  I am hoping these study groups will grow and grow over time and the girls will see the connections between effort, engagement, self-belief, and academic success.  I envision this spreading across Clare School and girls confidently celebrating scholarly achievements of themselves and their peers in a strong, continuing, and thriving culture of learning at Mount Alvernia College.


Sacha Carney

Teaching and Learning Guardian for Clare School





Allen, P., Pianta, R., Gregory, A., Mikami, A.Y. and Lun, J. (2011). An interaction-based

 approach to enhancing secondary school instruction and student achievement.

Science, New Series, 333(6045), 1034-1037. Retrieved from

Chase, P.A., Hilliard, L.J., Geldof, G.J., Warren, D.J.A. and Lerner, R.M. (2014). Academic

achievement in the high school years: the changing role of school engagement.

 Youth Adolescence, 43, 884-896. DOI:10.1007/s10964-013-0085-4


IWD Breakfast



The International Women's Day Literary Breakfast, held on Friday 8 March, was a lovely celebration of girls' education and literacy.  The Mount Alvernia iCentre was alive with music, books for sale, a great spread of food, and an entertaining Q&A with author Fleur Ferris. 


A huge thank you is extended to all the community members who purchased tickets, braved an early start, and made the time to join students and staff on this special occasion.


Another fortnight, another Careers update! 

Read Careers News here.

Melissa Loveday

Program Leader - Careers



2019 Next Step Survey

The Queensland Government is conducting its annual statewide survey of all students who completed Year 12 in 2018.  The Next Step survey is a brief, confidential survey that gains a comprehensive picture of the employment, study, and life choices made by Queensland school completers in the year after they finish Year 12.


Between March and June, all our students who completed Year 12 last year can expect to receive instructions to complete a web-based survey or a telephone call from the Queensland Government Statistician’s Office.  Please encourage your daughter to take part.  If her contact details have changed, please assist the interviewer with the updated details or forward the survey to her new address so she can participate.


Thank you for your support of the Next Step survey in 2019.


Further information on Next Step is available online at or on toll free telephone 1800 068 587.

Home Stay Families Required




La Cucina


Friday 15 March

Angela Bodman, Kellie Jilani

Monday 18 March

Christina Knight, Cathy Conaghan, Rachel Browne

Tuesday 19 March

Melinda Day

Wednesday 20 March

Gianna DiVirgilio

Thursday 21 March

Liz Feltrin, Jo Galvin


Open from 7.15-9.30am & 10.30am-3.00pm (3.15pm Wednesday).   Staff, parents, and friends are very welcome to drop in for coffee—$3.50; $3 in own cup.


Please direct any enquiries to Kim at College Reception, ph 3357 6000.

Holiday Cooking Classes with Chef Luisa


Community Notices

Heart Foundation Walking


News & Views