As in previous years, students in Years 7-9 took part in Solve it; a Newman College project-based learning (PBL) initiative where students collaborate across year groups in small teams to solve real world problems (this is a project-based learning task that students complete outside of their normal classroom routine). The students were presented with a real-life problem and had to work as a group to put forward a solution. This process involved defining it, discussing it, creating a solution, tweaking the solution and finally pitching it to their peers & staff.
Problems for the 2019 groups included topics such as wellbeing challenges for FIFO workers, better ways to assess students other than exams, the College relocating our Marian Campus to the Churchlands site and ways the College can make better use of its space.
On the final day of Term, a shark tank style pitch off took place which was the culmination where guest judges from MACA Mining and Student Edge were impressed with the level of critical and creative thinking displayed by our students. Congratulations to the winning team ‘Staymine’, who designed an algorithmic approach for creating mine-site work rosters that prioritised opportunities for families to connect with loved-ones working away from home.
Changes to Mobile Phones Policy
In early November, the WA Education Minister, Sue Ellery announced that a ban on mobile phones will be implemented for all State Schools from 2020 onwards. Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) Executive Director, Dr Debra Sayce, has reaffirmed that CEWA Principals and leadership teams are responsible for setting policy on mobile phones at their schools, in consultation with their communities.
At Newman College, we are constantly monitoring the use of the technology at the school and how we can best support, educate and protect our students. As of 2020, students will not be allowed to have their mobile devices on them during the school day. Students may choose to leave their devices at home or place them in their bag/locker throughout the school day.
Throughout Semester Two, the College has been investing in the resourcing, training and delivery of the Macqlit program. This initiative involves one-to-one and small group sessions with students from Years 7 and 8, with the aim of improving reading fluency and comprehension. To highlight growth, the students involved in the program are regularly monitored with reading assessments. Although this approach is resource-intensive, it has made a marked difference in the reading fluency of students involved. Over the last two months, participants have demonstrated an average growth of 32% in their reading fluency, measured in the amounts of correct words per minute read aloud. These are very pleasing results, reflecting a significant amount of work from the students participating in the program, and both the staff and parents supporting its implementation. Throughout 2020, the MacqLit program will continue to run, supporting low-progress readers and students with literacy difficulties. As reading ability is crucial to future success for all students in both school and life, the MacqLit program is just one example highlighting the College’s commitment to improving the literacy outcomes for all students.
In their study of Geography in Term 1 this year, Year 7 Humanities students investigated the features that make a place livable. They discovered that some areas of the world are not as fortunate as we are in Australia, but that there is something that we can do to help; becoming part of the SolarBuddy project to provide renewable energy-powered lights for communities in need.
This year’s lights were delivered to Papua New Guinea, one of the most remote places on the planet, with the steep slopes of its majestic mountains making access to its people difficult. Here a diverse population lives in isolated pockets and speaks over 850 different languages. 400 lights, some of them made by Newman College students, were distributed by helicopter along the Kokoda Track to children attending Alola, Isurava and Hoi Elementary Schools. The children are able to use these solar lights rather than the expensive batteries or dangerous kerosene lamps that they had to use before.
SolarBuddy lights were also used to assist those who had to flee to care centers as a result of the volcanic eruption in Manam Island, Madang. The lights helped to inspire students to return to class. We are very proud of Year 7 2019’s role in helping to illuminate the future of those children living in energy poverty. The impact of their donation is clear in the beaming smiles of the children who received their gift.
Year 10 Camp
The Year 10 students had a wonderful first week back of Term 4 by completing a week of camping during their Adventure Camp. The aim of the program was to heighten awareness and respect for self and others as well as promote increased self-esteem and foster independence whilst increasing group cohesion. Click here to read more and see more photos from the camp.
Your Move Conference
At the beginning of November, three of the Newman Nature team attended a conference about sustainability and transport. The conference “Your Move” was facilitated by Millennium Kids and hosted by the City of Stirling. The students were lucky enough to work with local primary schools to discuss and create solutions to reduce the environmental impact of transportation to and from school.
Did you know that transportation accounted for 14% of our carbon footprint? Unfortunately, in Australia this figure is increasing at a rate of 2.5% per year. What can we do to help minimise our carbon footprint?
The two-day conference was informative, interesting and has helped the team to come up with many new ideas that they plan to implement throughout the College in 2020.
Year 9 Girls Workshops
This Term, the College held a series of four workshops for Year 9 girls which focused on leadership, resilience and relationships.
The aim of these workshops was to develop strong female voices for the future. Some of the topics were;
- Managing mistrust and dealing with conflict resolution
- Social media and personal branding
- When to say NO and how to do it effectively. “No is a complete sentence”
- Being confident with who I am.
Music Showcases Highlights
Both the Sunset Vibes vocal showcase and Year 7 Music Collective were held in the Marist Auditorium this term. The Sunset Vibes concert featured vocal students from Years 8-11 who performed solos and duets drawn from a range of contemporary styles with a relaxed, summertime mood. The Year 7 Music Collective entertained the audience with solos and small group performances by students from the Special Instrumental Program, as well as the SIP singers accompanied by the Years 6 and 7 choir, the ‘Jazz Crackers’ Jazz Combo and Concert Winds.