DR RACHEL HORTON
Last week at assembly, students were encouraged to start the school year as they meant to go on and after the first week back, the majority of our students appear to be taking that advice and running with it. At TAS, we champion effort and endeavour and we know that every child has their own, unique talents.
If you are talking to your child about their goals and expectations for the year ahead, it is important that their goals contain some controllable elements and also, that they are not scared to fail. I read a poem written by a runner I follow a little while ago and while it clearly relates to the sport, it is also relevant to all of our endeavours. In the spirit of short story month at TAS, I will share it here.
Winners Finish Last by Sally McRae
Winners finish last.
They know the taste of victory;
They know the ache of defeat.
Winners finish last.
They’re not afraid to fail.
They know it’s an invaluable part of their journey;
They know sometimes a triumph comes after a loss.
And when the majority is too paralysed to try,
A winner steps up to the Start line.
Winners finish last.
That’s why they’re winners.
Because a winner gets back up again and again.
A winner holds their head high even in their failures.
Because you can never be a winner,
Unless you bravely try.
Finally, in this week of Safer Internet Day, I would encourage you all to take a few minutes to look through some of the resources outlined later in this edition of TAS Talks. The challenges young people face on the internet in particular are not the same as those we were confronted with at school, and regardless of how au fait with the online world we consider ourselves to be, it is always worth getting a quick update and some advice from the experts around how we can safeguard our children.
Dr Rachel Horton
MR RAY PEARSON
February 7 is Safer Internet Day with the 2023 theme of Connect, Reflect, Protect.
Connect safely and with purpose – by keeping apps and devices secure and using social media in positive ways.
Reflect before we act – by taking a moment to consider how what we do and say online may affect others.
Protect ourselves and others by taking action – by telling family, friends or colleagues about eSafety and how we can help.
Technology has evolved dramatically in the past two decades and the benefits have been huge. These developments have also exposed us to many risks with real-world impacts, making online safety awareness even more important.
For many of us current trends online, particularly with social media can be difficult to keep up with. Hearing young people talk about it can often feel like they are speaking another language! However, if children are using apps such as Roblox and SnapChat features such as My Eyes Only; it is important we all know what is involved and be comfortable that what they are doing online reflects the behaviour we expect of them in the real world. The ability to communicate online and capture/share media has never been so easy; doing this safely is important. Certainly not easy, but worth the conversation to be able to connect and protect.
Some valuable resources:
For Students: Aged 5-12:
Mr Ray Pearson
|Wednesday 8 February||Year 12 Drama excursion|
|P&F Meeting (7 pm)|
|Thursday 9 February||NCIS Tennis (Grafton)|
|ADFAS Lecture (Hoskins Centre) 6 pm|
|Monday 13 February||Biology Excursion (Year 11)|
|Thursday 16 February||Junior School Swimming Carnival|
|War Cries and MS/SS Swimming Events (5.45 pm)|
|Middle School Parent Information Session (4.45 pm)|
|Japanese Study Tour Parent Information Session (4.45 pm)|
|Friday 17 February||Middle School/Senior School Swimming Carnival|
|Cadet Leaders Course ( Cadets depart at 4 pm)|
|Monday 20 February||Scholarship and Open Day (10.30 am – 2.00pm)|
MR PAUL GADDES
The first P&F meeting of the year is on next Wednesday 8 February from 7pm. We will meet face to face in Upper Maxwell as well as have a Zoom session running for those wishing to attend remotely. For those new to the school, the Maxwell Rooms can be found from the main front doors of Big School, inside and to the left.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 215 517 2798
We always need parent volunteers to assist at P&F events throughout the year. Hopefully with the onset of the new year and renewed energy levels, we will see many familiar and new faces in the 2023 volunteer crew.
Just around the corner we will need volunteers for these events;
If you are able to assist, please contact the P&F Executive with your availability.
We have several Facebook pages providing useful information about upcoming activities as well as a place to stay in touch – we strongly recommend you join the main P&F page as well as your Year Group pages;
If you have anything you would like to raise with the P&F Executive, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Paul Gaddes
MRS GILL DOWNES
One of the great strengths of The Armidale School is the people, and it is timely to remind families who to contact if they have questions or concerns about the academic program.
The year has started well with prep / homework being posted by teaching staff on your child’s subject pages for Canvas (Years 6 – 12). Students need to be proactively going to Canvas each afternoon to read over the tasks and get working on this in a timely fashion to ensure the learning is completed in time for the due date. The posting of prep/homework on Canvas has removed the need for the paper diary as a homework recording tool. Of course, there are still other things that need to be organised and recorded but we have so many great online tools like Google Calendar to help up record assessment dates, training sessions etc and the school will be helping students to get started with Google Calendar in the coming weeks if this is not something they already use.
Finally, a reminder that it is TAS Short Story February.
To get involved, any member of the TAS community (students, staff, and parents) simply need to collect a TAS Reading Card from either the Hub or Reception – I can post them out to you as well – and start reading. The aim is THREE short stories a week for the month of February.
The website https://xpressenglish.com/ is a rich resource for short stories; there are advertisements all over the site but if you can sift through these, the website is really helpful. Of particular interest for many of our students, is the ‘Younger Readers’ tab at the top of the homepage. This takes you to a page with sections of stories for Year 9-10, Year 7-8, Year 5-6 and Year 3-4 which is great.
Give the website a try – there are some real gems there.
Mrs Gill Downes
Director of Teaching and Learning
MR DAVID DRAIN
Meeting the boarders throughout the afternoon and evening of Monday 30 January I felt a sense of anticipation and excitement for the year ahead. I appreciate this can be an emotional day for both parents and boarders, old and new, but am confident that once all the boarders settle into their daily routines, they will embrace the many opportunities available to them here at TAS. I enjoyed talking to several parents at the Boarders Parents Welcome Drinks that evening and immediately felt a sense of collegiality and positivity amongst the boarding community.
I have spent time in all seven boarding houses over the past week and left each house confident that the house staff will do a tremendous job. I am blessed to have such experienced, passionate, and energetic Heads of House and boarding staff to be working with this year.
Senior Boarders Evening prep, from 6.45pm – 8.30pm Monday, Tuesday and Thursday in the new Science Classrooms (9 & 10) or Boarding Houses (11 & 12), has started well. The weekday evening prep routine ensures consistency across the four senior boarding houses and allows boarders the opportunity to engage in supervised group work with boarders from other houses. Middle School boarders have settled into their evening prep routine from 6.00pm – 7.00pm Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday in the Learning Hub. There is a slight change to these evening prep routines on a Wednesday evening when all Boarders attend Boarders’ Chapel. All senior boarders can continue to attend the Learning Hub, for additional academic support, from 7.00pm – 9.00pm Monday to Thursday and the one-hour prep session, in house, of a Sunday evening remains in place for all boarders.
The annual Coast Weekend was another huge success with all boarders enjoying their time away at either Urunga, Sawtell, Coffs Harbour, Sapphire Beach, or Emerald Beach. The Coast Weekend is a great opportunity for staff and boarders, particularly those new to houses, to develop stronger relationships in a fun and relaxed setting. Feedback from both the boarders and staff was the weekend was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
I am looking forward to the Heads of House Weekly House Newsletters being e-mailed to parents and boarders from Friday. These Newsletters will ensure both parents and boarders remain informed of relevant House news and upcoming events. I know the Heads of House are looking forward to these Newsletters becoming an important tool in keeping both their boarders and parents informed of the exciting happenings in their respective houses. Any feedback on these Newsletters, being a new initiative this year, will be well received by both the Heads of House and/or myself.
All new boarders will attend a New Boarders Q&A Session after Boarders Chapel this week. The boarding House and Senior School Leaders will support me during this session answering any questions that our new boarders may have. I am looking forward to welcoming all the new boarders and working alongside the Boarding House and Senior School Leaders more regularly this year.
A reminder that only those Year 12 boarders with approved driving permission forms may have their private vehicle at TAS parked in either the Abbott or Croft Carparks or adjacent to the Tennis Courts. Car keys must always be kept by their Head of House.
Please remember that you are most welcome to contact me or your Head of House at any time should there be any aspect of your child’s boarding experience you would like to discuss. We are all looking forward to a fantastic Term 1 and are very keen to assist you in any way we can.
Mr David Drain
Director of Boarding
MR HUON BARRETT
With Co-Curricular activities back on I remind students and parents to familiarise themselves with the timing of the sports and extra-curricular schedules, see the link below. In the event that a student is unable to attend a session e.g. medical appointment, it is important to communicate with the staff member running the activity your intended absence.
Next week we look forward to the swimming championships. The Junior School Carnival will take place on Thursday 16 February and the MS/SS Championships on Thursday evening and Friday 17 February.
Swimming Event Rules:
Lunch: a BBQ will be provided for all students.
Because of the chlorine in the pool water, competitors are strongly advised to wear goggles.
For more information about the Mark Knowles Hockey coaching clinic at NEGS, please click on the link.
Mr Huon Barrett
Director of Co-curricular
MR LUKE POLSON
Last weekend saw all of our Middle School boarders and a large contingent of day students head to various locations along the Coffs Coast for the annual coast weekend. The purpose of the weekend is to connect and build relationships amongst students and particularly for our boarding students, to foster a sense of community and connection within the boarding house. The weather certainly delivered and allowed for plenty of swimming at the beach and down time with friends by the pool at the various locations. I offer my thanks to the large number of staff who ensured the weekend was an enjoyable and successful one for all.
Yesterday marked Safer Internet Day for 2023. This year’s key message of ‘connect, reflect, protect’ is an important one. Our students are connected far more than ever before and one may wonder how we ever survived without a phone, the Internet, Facebook or even perhaps Tik Tok. I encourage all of our students to reflect on their interactions online, their engagement with various apps and what their responsibilities are in this digital age.
Last year, Tik Tok stole the crown as the most downloaded app globally. The year prior it had been Zoom; not surprising given the world we lived in at the time. In 2021, Australia alone had just under 80% of its population as active social media users, or some 20.5 million people. Our students have countless opportunities to engage with social media. There is no doubt that the sense of connection and interaction that comes from these platforms has its benefits. It has provided the opportunity to engage virtually in a world that is bigger than what is just around us as individuals. This also comes with great responsibility. At times, it can feel as though it is impossible to keep up with the fast pace of our children’s social media usage and also for parents and schools to strike the balance between respecting privacy and independence, but at the same time, protecting their safety and wellbeing. This is as good a cause as any to reflect for a moment on our usage and interactions online.
The ease of creating, posting and sharing content creates opportunities for all of our students to have both positive and negative experiences online. The vast majority of students will use social media safely and experience its benefits, however some will make negative choices using these platforms to put down peers, say things they may not feel comfortable saying to someone’s face and unwittingly or insensitively share embarrassing images of other people without their consent. These instances can really impact friendships, their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of people around them.
This week I have been encouraging students to do a bit of a Privacy Check Up on their accounts and consider these questions: are all of my accounts set to private? Do I know every person on my followers or friend list? If I share this video/image with a person, am I comfortable with that person then sharing it further? The Online Safety section of the eSafety Commissioner Website (https://www.esafety.gov.au/) has some excellent resources and I highly recommend it to you – regardless of the age of your children.
Mr Luke Polson
Head of Middle School
Service as action is a foundational element of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP). It seeks to develop caring members of the community who act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and their environment. As a school that is also a Round Square school – service is very important to us.
TAS offers many opportunities for students to participate in service learning, and students are also encouraged to seek other opportunities outside of school that interests them. One of the opportunities that is provided for our Middle School students is a regular visit to Newling Gardens residents. This initiative was started in 2022, and was highly successful. These visits will continue to run during Friday lunchtimes, starting this week – and I encourage students to take part in this fulfilling experience.
Other service opportunities through school can be viewed by Middle School students using the Service Canvas page, as well as opportunities from Mr Jim Pennington.
Mrs Rachel Piddington
MR SCOTT CHITTENDEN
Thank you to our TAS community for their support in ensuring all students began the year in such a wonderfully settled manner. As I have walked through the school over the last ten days it is clear that our teachers are all well-prepared and students eager to make the most of the opportunities afforded to them.
This week we recognised Safer Internet Day and the importance of safe practices online. Year 5 students received their MacBook that is currently being used in the classroom and have been discussing good practices when using technology. We anticipate these devices will be used outside of school hours before the end of term but are mindful to ensure our students have the skills and understanding necessary to both remain safe online and behave with ‘Internet Etiquette’, or Netiquette as it is colloquially known, at all times. While technology has made a significant difference in how we teach, we always aim to ensure that we only use devices when it is the best way to go about learning a new skill or concept.
Year 3 enjoyed a wonderful excursion to Thagarragh Environmental Education Centre earlier this week, returning to school with amazing tales of the many amazing experiential learning opportunities provided. Holding a large carpet python was one of many experiences that will be further explored in class over the coming weeks.
Students across the Junior School have this week begun their Learn to Swim and Water Safety programs. This is an important precursor to the House Swimming Carnival taking place on Thursday 16 February and allows our staff to ensure that students are competing in appropriate events on this day. Our students appear to have thoroughly enjoyed their opportunity work within the pool and are excited to support their House group next Thursday. All parents and friends are most welcome to attend and support the event. We ask for your support in ensuring that students have all nominated at least one event to compete in. Nominations are this year taking place online at https://forms.gle/79EMD69LLEittWdj6. We ask that these be completed by 4.00pm on Thursday 9 February.
A large number of Year 5 students have been busily crafting their letter of application as the first stage of the process in selecting our 2023 Junior School Student Leaders. All applicants will be making a short presentation to the older students as part of this process, and will also participate in a comparatively well-supported interview process. We expect our student leaders will be inducted in the assembly next Wednesday, 15 February, and we wish all applicants well throughout this process.
Thank you for your ongoing support with ensuring your child(ren) is safely accounted for at the end of the school day each day. Please be sure to record any regular bus travel through the online form available at https://forms.gle/GzVmbmjJkARjTwP16 so we can ensure students board the appropriate bus on any given day. When collecting students from the traffic circle at the end of the day we ask that you both display your child(ren)’s surname on the passenger visor and proceed to the collection point closest to the turning circle exit, adjacent to the small shelter immediately behind a large orange cone, so more vehicles can safely be accommodated in this area. Please remember that Junior School students are expected to await collection with their class group unless catching the bus, attending Out of School Hours Care or participating in after school extra-curricular programs. Should you wish to make alternate logistical arrangements please email your request to email@example.com and these will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Please note, too, that parents are asked not to park in the staff parking space past the boom gate accessed through Gate 2. All spaces are required for staff to use, and we wish to minimise the movement of vehicles in this space often traversed by students during school hours. We do not wish to make the collection process unnecessarily difficult, but rather need to ensure the safety of all students while at school.
It looks like a week of girls’ birthdays this week. Many happy returns to Poppy O’Brien, Pearl Redwood, Anna Trevaskis, Maggie Wood, Sabine Kiehne.
Our Parents and Friends group do a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes, including developing stronger relationships within our community. Each year level has a Parent Liaison who supports this group in a range of ways. Information is predominantly disseminated to the wider parent body through a Facebook group named after the year that they will be graduating Year 12. We encourage all parents to request to join these group(s) as relevant. Please note that groups for our youngest year level will be created in the coming days. These Facebook groups, and emails from the LPs, are the only channels for year group communication approved by the School and the P&F. Thank you for your cooperation.
Mr Scott Chittenden
Head of Junior School
|Wednesday 7 February||Year 4 Assembly – Hoskins Centre (2.45 – 3.30 pm)|
|Monday 13 February||Lunchtime clubs begin – The Hub|
|Wednesday 15 February||Year 5 Assembly – Hoskins Centre (2.45 – 3.30 pm)|
|Thursday 16 February||Junior School Swimming Carnival|
|Wednesday 22 February||Year 1 Assembly – Hoskins Centre ( 2.45 – 3.30 pm)|
|Monday 27 February||Year 5 to Lake Keepit|
|Tuesday 28 February||Year4 to Lake Keepit|
|Wednesday 1 March||Year 3 to Lake Keepit|
|Thursday 2 March||Year 2 to Lake Keepit|
|Friday 3 March||All return from Lake Keepit|
What a great start to our Term 1 Summer sports program. It was wonderful to see many children enjoying their chosen sport on Monday afternoon. Please keep an eye out for emails from your child’s coach in relation to continuing games. Ensure you are ready to pick up at the allocated time for your child’s sport, with your name clearly displayed on the passenger visor. Please email your child’s coach for any concerns or questions.
Children are to wear their swimmers and sports clothes to school on Thursday, ready for our annual Junior School Swimming Carnival. Our Year 5s have been busy organising some House spirit activities in preparation for our carnival.
Kindergarten and Year 1 children will attend for only part of the day, allowing them the opportunity to participate in their 25m race if they are able and enjoy some Novelty events. They will then take part in activities within their respective classrooms. Please ensure your child has plenty of snacks for the day, including recess and lunch. A water bottle is essential. A cake stall organised by the P & F will be available at recess and lunch times. Please send in a small amount of money if your child wishes to buy something from the stall.
The NCIS Swimming Carnival for those children that qualify will be held on Thursday, 23 February at Alstonville. This is a big trip for our Primary children leaving on Wednesday lunchtime and a nights accommodation involved. Only children who qualify with competitive results will be invited to attend.