From the Head of Primary: End of Term 3 Newsletter

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the students and their families for their wonderful support throughout Term 3.  As you can see, it has been such a rich and rewarding experience for our students in so many ways, made possible through the support of the School by our families. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the dedicated team of staff in the Primary School who all work so tirelessly to enhance the educational experience for your children.

Science Week was a highlight for staff and students. Mr Zavone (Director of STEAM) planned an array of activities that ranged from a live stream with Street Science to using microscopes, exploding watermelons, Oobleck races and a demonstration from our very own Iona Fusion robot! Ms Kiehn, Sustainability and Environmental Centre (SEC) Teacher, worked with the Primary Sustainability students to help reestablish our Vegie Patch after its move to a new plot near the Burch Sustainability and Environment Centre. In Science, Year 3 and 4 students studied the plight of the threatened shorebirds that visit our region and Year 2 visited the Lost Plot and delved into the world of mushrooms. The Year 5 Service Learning Program is in its second year and was again helping our students to understand a scientific concept through the lens of energy poverty and global citizenry.

Performing Arts programs have gone from strength to strength this term. Our first Grandparents and VIP Day for two years was the culmination of the work of students and staff to bring together a concert that was brimming with talent and joy. As well as the year group presentations from Performing Arts Hours, students were able to showcase talents from our co-curricular programs such as Primary Choir, Sunshine Voices, Lost in Dots Concert Band and the Primary Strings Ensemble. Bravo to Mrs Isabella Mistry (Director of Performing Arts) and the entire team of Performing Arts Hour staff. A particular shout out to Mrs Annalie McRae who has joined the team this year from Kinross Wolaroi (Orange) and the always talented Mrs Amy Corrigan. Our contractors, Mrs Jenny Searle and Ms Victoria Stanmore, are well in their element of the choral program that has been relaunched in 2022. Dance success at the Sydney Eisteddfod was the culmination of the hard work of students and their teachers, Mrs Elisa Pringle and Mrs Neroli Cousins. Thank you to all our Dance staff and RAD ballet staff who work with our students. Look out for changes to co-curricular times in Term 4 as the groups prepare for events in 2023.

Mr Chris Tejcek (Indigenous Liaison Officer) led our NAIDOC celebrations to highlight this year’s theme of Get Up Stand Up Show Up! Our guest speaker Corey Tutt OAM, a proud Gamilaraay man, author and scientist, founder of Deadly Science and the 2020 NSW Young Australian of the Year was also further supported by our McCabe House Fundraiser with donations to Deadly Science. Thank you to our Student Leadership Committee who ran a variety of science-themed activities in the playground at Long Break. As part of our School’s 2022 NAIDOC celebrations, all of our Indigenous students from Kindergarten to Year 12 participated in our first ‘Get to Know Our Mob Day’. The students spent the day together and participated in a range of activities ranging from ‘get to know you activities’, boomerang painting and a hugely successful weaving workshop with Aunty Trish McInherny. SCAS was incredibly fortunate to have renowned singer-songwriter/rockstar Scott Darlow visit to talk with our students. Yorta Yorta descendant Scott is a passionate Indigenous activist and World Vision spokesperson, regularly speaking in schools, businesses and churches across Australia about his Indigenous culture, Australian history, racial tolerance, harmony and important social matters.

We had fantastic enrichment programs happening with amazing success for our Stage 3 debaters at the HRIS Gala Day held at St Columba. This successful day was attended by schools as far west as Calrossy (Tamworth) and south to Central Coast Sports College and Hunter Valley Grammar School. Mr Rikmanis led our Chess teams to victory at the local school Chess competition and well done to our Year 5 and 6 students who were part of Tournament of Minds this year. Our Literature team were awarded second place at the Mid North Coast Regional Heats and received Honours Award certificates. Thank you to Mrs Rachel McCann and Ms Samantha Ryder who worked with our students for this event.

Stage 1 Athletics carnival was a fantastic day. Thank you to Mrs Laura Maclean, Mr Ben Offereins and Mrs Angela Van Zeeland for planning a fun day that celebrated sportsmanship and a return of parent spectators to the event. Our older students have been having phenomenal success at PSSA, HRIS and CIS levels of competition. SCAS placed third overall in the Division 1 Athletics Championship and Year 2 student, Molly Currie, was crowned the 8 Years age champion. Special congratulations to our HRIS Primary Netball teams and their coaches Mrs Oram and Mrs Hamblin. Mr Brett Stephens and Mrs Sarah Jones have taken girls and boys football to new heights, with successful results from HRIS Gala days this term.

In staffing news, it is with sadness that I announce that Mrs Ann-Kathrin Kiehn will be retiring at the conclusion of this term. Commencing in October 2005, Anni has been instrumental in the work of St Columba in so many ways. This has included working in classrooms as a language teacher to a class teacher to our energetic and passionate Sustainability and Environmental Teacher. Anni is very much thanked for her hard work and dedication to St Columba and we wish her and Pete all the best for their future Kombi journeys together!! 

I hope all families have a wonderful break and look forward to the exciting plans that are evolving for Term 4. Sneak peek; The Dream on Royal St Musical, Year 3 Ninja Warrior Day, Year 5 Camp, Band Soiree and Leadership Day, Learn to Swim, Year 1 and Year 2 seeing Edward the Emu, Year 2 Camp, Year 1 Late Night, Step Up Day, Spell-a-thon, SCAS Art Show… invitations for the following special events will be sent early in Term 4.

  • 25 November – Year 6 Graduation Ceremony
  • 29 November – Year 6 Activity Day
  • 30 November – St Columba Carols in the amphitheatre
  • 1 December – Kindergarten Graduation and Play
  • 1 December – Stage 1 Celebration of Learning (Years 1 and 2)
  • 2 December – Primary Awards (Years 3 to 6) and Celebration of Learning (Years 3 to 6)

2023 Planning 

  • 27 January – Day 1 Kindergarten 
  • 30 January – Day 1 Years 1 to Year 6
  • 6 March to 8 March – Year 3 and Year 4 Camp Week 
  • 7 March to 10 March – Year 5 Camp Week 
  • 1 May to 5 May – Year 6 Camp Week 

During the term we hosted student-led conferences for Stage 3 students. Our students did a remarkable job sharing with families their reflections on how they have developed as a learner across the deep learning competencies during Semester 1. Each student had spent time creating their own digital portfolio which provided evidence of their strengths and challenges, as well as inspiration for their Semester 2 goals. These collaborative conferences not only provided a chance to celebrate student achievements, but also an opportunity to ensure our students feel supported both at school and home in achieving their chosen goals.

Our 2022 NAPLAN results have been released and we can certainly celebrate some wonderful growth in many areas. Writing had been the focus across the school and this was certainly evident in our improved results. In Year 3, 84.7% of students placed in the top two bands, with 75% being  above state average while in Year 5, 40% of students placed in the top two bands, with 62.5% of students above the state average. Other stand out results were in reading, where 72% of Year 3 students were awarded above state average and 65.5% of students placed above state average. Year 3 Spelling results were also impressive with 70% of the grade performing above state average and also Year 3 numeracy where 80% of students performed above state average. Scores across all areas averaged above the state.

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