In recent weeks we have experienced the joy of students and staff returning to the College and what a delight it has been. It has been pleasing to see students returning so eagerly to maximise their learning and opportunities over the remaining weeks of Term 4. We have been further delighted to see the appointment of students to Student Leadership roles in 2022; in these fine young women we will clearly be very well served next year. As a community we have also entered a period of prayer and practical support for our Year 12 students as they embark on their VCE Examinations. They too have returned from a short block of study very eager to sit these exams. Despite the challenges of their two years in VCE, they have shown great commitment to bringing effort and intellect to these final weeks in pursuit of academic success. We are very proud of their approach and very appreciative of the support of teachers and parents at this time.
In the last fortnight, students in junior year levels have engaged with a range of learning and cocurricular opportunities. Nine students in Year Nine took part in a three day World Youth Forum recently. At this forum, participants listened to past student Ruby Bourke who has worked as an OECD activist. We appreciate Michael Petrie’s leadership in providing this opportunity for students to stretch their thinking and learn about matters of challenge and change. No doubt these students enjoyed engaging with students from around the world.
We have also had the pleasure of celebrating the joy of music and applauding students for their commitment to music over a difficult period. All instrumental staff and students who performed in the online Cabaret Night and Rising Stars concert are to be commended, with particular thanks to Daniel Sheehan and Kerryn McGillen for leading these events. No doubt live performances will be eagerly anticipated in 2022! Please follow this link to enjoy the Junior Choir’s performance which is testament to the creativity and commitment of staff and students.
We mark the Solemnity of All Saints (All Hallows) on the first day of November; the evening before this day is known as Halloween.
Before commercialism hijacked this beautiful commemoration, many cultures remembered their dead around this time of year. One special aspect of Christian service is to pray for the dead; it is also an important part of our Dominican spiritual tradition, honouring those who have gone before us.
As a Catholic Earthcare school, we are following with interest the lead up to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26). Siena Alumna Sister Patricia (Trish) Madigan OP has brought to our attention the collective voice and statement of Australian religious leaders standing up in strong support for the possibility of countries committing to action on the urgent climate crisis:
In the Christian scriptures we read that Jesus says of the birds of the air that “not one of them is forgotten before God” (Luke 12: 6).
"There is not an animal on the earth, nor a flying creature flying with two wings, but they are nations like you. We have neglected nothing in the book. Then unto their Lord they will be gathered." (Qur’an 6:38).
In the Torah we are commanded to serve and preserve the earth (Genesis 2:15), and our sages emphasise this teaching: “Be careful not to ruin and destroy My world, for if you ruin it, there will be no one else to fix it.” - Kohelet Rabbah 7:13
It is time for the nations of the world to act together. These meetings will be critical for humanity’s collective future.
Read all of the ANDCMJ statement here.
The VCAA Examinations have commenced, and our thoughts and prayers are with our students and their families over this period. Staff have been very busy preparing the venues in accordance with the COVID guidelines. We also thank our VCE teaching staff for their amazing work and their commitment to keeping our students engaged and motivated throughout online learning. Teachers, students and parents alike have all had to dig deep, and we wish our students the very best.
Our Years 9, 10 and 11 students write exams towards the end of this term. We have been so impressed by our students' continued engagement and dedication to their learning and wish them the very best as they prepare for their examinations.
Melbourne Cup is here, and we wish everyone a long weekend enjoying the company of family and friends. Monday, 1 November is a non-teaching day. May we all take this time to take a breath and re-energise for the remainder of Term 4. VCAA exams will continue on Monday.
We will be holding the annual Night of Excellence via Webinar, on Wednesday, 8 December at 7.00pm. Invitations and a link to the Webinar will be emailed towards the end of November. Award recipients and their parents will receive a personal invitation.
It has been wonderful this week to come to work and see the students' smiling faces. Welcome back everyone!
Welcoming students from all year levels back to onsite learning has been an extremely exciting and positive experience. Belonging and connection are critical to general wellbeing for all students and are even more important as they return to school after learning remotely since the first week of August. At Siena we are able to provide predictable, safe, connected learning environments for students as we know how important this is to helping everyone feel settled. In many ways, it has been like the start of a new year where school rituals are re-established. Teachers have done this through reminding students of class norms and expectations and through creating new seating plans.
As part of students’ transition back to school, they completed a survey asking what they were most looking forward to about being back at school, rated their feelings about this from 1 – 5 and then ranked some concerns. This data has been overwhelmingly positive with most students indicating that they were very pleased to be back. Heads of House will follow up and continue to support those students for whom being back has been more challenging.
Due to the pandemic, the world we now live in is a very different place. The hyperconnected nature of our current environment means that we are constantly being reminded of the challenges we face via numerous media and social media channels. Our connectivity to the digital world exposes us to a barrage of messages that can leave us feeling overwhelmed. As a result, many children and their parents are reporting higher levels of stress and anxiety.
Unfortunately, our brains have not evolved fast enough to adapt to this digital landscape. The combination of constant access to information and having little control over the situations presented can be stressful and overwhelming. It is therefore important for parents and guardians to check in with their children and be aware of what information they may have been exposed to. It may not necessarily be the information itself that is harmful, but more their inability to process and make sense of it. Providing children with the skills and strategies to cope will enable them to flourish and thrive, socially, emotionally and academically.
This School TV Special Report suggests a number of strategies to help manage any feelings of overwhelm that you or your child may be experiencing. We hope you take a moment to reflect on the information offered, and as always, we welcome your feedback.
“It’s a magnificent thing to be alive in a moment
that matters as much as this one.”
Katharine K. Wilkinson.
It was inspiring to listen to a podcast interview with Climate Scientist Katharine Hayhoe as she explained her work to uncover the reality of climate change and her desire to embrace the importance of this moment, this time. Despite Hayhoe knowing better than most that the climate crisis is real, her message was one of hope. Hayhoe reminds us that if we enact our responsibility to be stewards of the earth, it empowers us to be influential change makers in the world and for the world - and that indeed is a magnificent thing.
To read the transcript or listen to the interview with Katharine Hayhoe click here.
The Eco Warriors continued to meet weekly throughout lockdown to share our individual learnings with the group, to make plans for our return to school and beyond as we look to collaborate with Catholic Earthcare and Whitefriars College to host a Youth Summit in 2022. Our meetings are indeed hope-filled gatherings of passionate and deeply committed individuals who are dedicated to ensuring that Sustainability is a way of living at Siena College. We know that small changes, when combined, have the potential to make a big and long lasting impact.
As students make their return to school in Term 4, the Eco Warriors are making plans to recognise National Recycling Week which begins 8 November. Our aim is to improve our community’s knowledge about recycling, create better recycling habits and more conscious consumption. Throughout National Recycling Week, we will be running a Book Exchange and a Clothes Swap, amongst other activities, to encourage the community to consider the ongoing potential life cycle of items after they are no longer needed or wanted by the original owner. More information about these events will be made available to students in the lead up to National Recycling Week.
An ongoing Siena tradition in Term 4 is the collection of donations for St Mary’s House of Welcome. House Groups will once again be asked to donate both pantry staples and festive food items for members of the St Mary’s House of Welcome Community. This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to consider the needs of other families in Melbourne at this time. Further information about the collection will be made available to students in House Groups.
Over the second half of Term 4, students will complete a final assessment of their approach to their learning in class in 2021, reflecting on their approach to learning over Term 4. Students will use the Siena College Classroom Learning Indicators to reflect upon their learning completing their Classroom Learning Indicators for each subject studied this semester via Siena Central.
Teachers will give students time during their lessons in Weeks 5 and 6 to complete their reflection for each subject. Students may begin completing their reflections from these dates:
Parents will receive an email as each reflection is completed. All feedback can be accessed via Grades on Siena Central.
If there are any issues accessing Siena Central, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions regarding the reporting process, please contact Jemimah Walsh, email@example.com.
In the latest edition of Siena Career News you will find information on the prestigious Hansen Scholarship (of particular interest to current Year 11 students), some new mathematics requirements for entry into ANU (2023), a “Parents Panel” at RMIT where questions about the transition to university can be answered and a summary of the Advanced Diploma of Building Design at Box Hill Institute - a great pathway into a Bachelor of Architecture.
Careers in Forensic Science are always popular and in this week’s Siena Career News you will find information on the various roles available in this area.
Defence Force Recruiting are holding a series of virtual Career Information Sessions for those who are interested in joining the Army, Navy or Airforce either as an officer or via a trade.