The Tartan Newsletter Ed2

Signing of MOU 20th Anniversary
Principal’s Welcome
  • Service Learning: Cultivating Purpose and Mental Well-Being
  • Cultivating Purpose
  • The Link Between Purpose and Mental Well-Being
  • Back to Bali
 
Early Learning News

Outdoor Play

 
Primary School News

The NAPLAN Debate

 
Middle School News

Airbrushing

 

Senior School News

Supporting your child as they prepare for formal assessments

Service Learning: Cultivating Purpose and Mental Well-Being

I write this piece for the Newsletter as I sit amidst Sanur, Bali’s vibrant hustle and bustle during the first week of the April school holidays. The atmosphere is alive with the energy of scooters whizzing by, some laden with passengers and cargo beyond what seems reasonable. It is a scene that occasionally distracts me, yet it’s in these moments of distraction that I find myself soaking in the rich tapestry of life here – the sights, the sounds, the smells, and let’s not forget the 80% humidity that seems to wrap around everything like a warm embrace. While it may seem idyllic, my presence in Bali isn’t solely for leisure; however, the more laid-back pace of life here does afford me some much-needed relaxation.

 

 

Instead, I find myself here to accompany 13 of our students, along with Mr Brendon Cook and Mrs Carleen Edwards and the School’s Chair of Council, Mr David Hill, on the School’s annual Bali Service-Learning Trip. This year’s trip holds special significance as it marks the 20th anniversary of our School’s partnership with the Raj Yamuna School in Bali. This significant milestone will be celebrated with a ceremony at the Raj Yamuna School. During this event, I will have the privilege of delivering a speech, albeit in somewhat broken Indonesian and presenting a plaque along with other gifts of appreciation. It is a moment I hold dear, as it symbolises the enduring bond between our schools and the shared commitment to positively impacting the community.

 

Following the Raj Yamuna ceremony, we will again come together for a special farewell dinner at the Harapan Christian School in Bali. Here, I will have the opportunity for a second attempt to express my gratitude and reflect on our collective experiences, this time aiming for a more fluent delivery in Indonesian, to convey our deep appreciation for the warm hospitality and meaningful connections forged during our time in Bali, this year and for many years to come.

 

It is remarkable to reflect on the enduring relationships our School has cultivated over the past two decades, not only with the Raj Yamuna School (20 years) and Harapan Christian School (25 years in 2025) but also, and possibly more importantly, with the two Panti-Asuhans (Orphanages), located in Melaya, in the north-west corner of Bali, approximately 5 hours from where I sit in Sanur. These partnerships represent more than just charitable endeavours; they embody the spirit of service, empathy, and global citizenship that we strive to instil in our students. Through these connections, our students learn firsthand the value of compassion, collaboration, and making a positive impact on the world around them.

 

Gathered over dinner last night, I had the privilege of talking with our students about their recent four-day stint at the Panti-Asuhan. As they recounted their experiences, it became apparent that their time spent there was nothing short of transformative.

 

Immersed in an environment where resources were scarce and basic amenities like running water were a luxury, our students found themselves facing challenges they had never encountered before. They slept in dormitories with broken doors and smashed windows, vulnerable to the relentless onslaught of mosquitoes. Yet, despite these hardships, their spirits remained resilient, and their commitment to service was unwavering.

 

Throughout their stay, our students fully immersed themselves in every aspect of life at the Panti-Asuhans. From completing chores such as cooking dinner, sweeping dormitories, serving meals and making beds, they embraced each task with humility and dedication. They tended to everyday chores and lived as if they were one with the community they served.

 

In doing so, they not only gained a deeper understanding of the daily struggles faced by those less fortunate but also developed a profound appreciation for the resilience and strength of the human spirit. These experiences served as powerful reminders of the importance of empathy, compassion, and the value of service to others.

 

Cultivating Purpose

Mr Dale Kelly is the School’s Service-Learning Coordinator. Through the School’s Catalyst 23 Programme, he has worked with many staff and students to investigate and implement the many service-learning opportunities at John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School. At the heart of service-learning lies the concept of purpose. When students engage in meaningful service activities, they connect with something larger than themselves. Whether it’s making meals for the tenants of Anglicare’s Y-Shac, participating in environmental clean-up initiatives, working with the students in local Primary schools in Esperance on the annual Soccer and Netball Tours, donating to the School’s Pop Up Op Shop sale for Anglicare or the whole-school Anglicare Christmas Appeal, participating in the Anglicare sleep out, or travelling to Bali to spend two weeks with our partner schools and the children in the Panti-Asuhans, each act of service provides students with a sense of purpose and fulfilment. This sense of purpose is a powerful stimulant for better mental health.

 

The Link Between Purpose and Mental Well-Being

Research has consistently shown that individuals with a sense of purpose are happier, more resilient, and better equipped to navigate challenges. By engaging in service-learning, students not only discover their passions and interests but also develop a deeper understanding of their role in the world. This clarity of purpose acts as a buffer against stress, anxiety and depression, promoting overall mental well-being.

 

Recently, Mrs Samantha Mostyn was appointed as Australia’s next Governor General. In response to her announcement, she articulated a profound sentiment: “Millions of Australians know this to be true, that being of service is what often provides a person with their greatest happiness and sense of purpose.” It is this very essence of purpose and happiness that we endeavour to instil in our students, recognising the ripple effect it has on our local, national, and global communities, enriching them with positivity and a broader sense of the good in this world.

 

Back to Bali

It has been five years since my last visit to Bali, a trip filled with celebration and recognition of the enduring partnerships JSRACS has cultivated over the years. On that occasion, we commemorated our 15-year and 20-year associations with our partner schools. Returning to Bali after such a significant period allows for reflection, especially on the stark contrast between our material wealth and the simple yet profound contentment exuded by the Balinese people.

 

Despite having far less in terms of material possessions, there is an undeniable sense of happiness and contentment that permeates the Balinese way of life. It is a humbling reminder of the richness found in simplicity and the importance of cherishing life’s intangible blessings.

 

As we continue to support and serve the Balinese community through our partnerships with the Raj Yamuna School and Harapan Christian School and the two Panti-Asuhans, it is worth considering the reciprocal nature of such endeavours. While we aim to make a positive impact on their lives, we, too, have much to gain from the wisdom and values they hold dear. Perhaps in our efforts to serve others, we will find ourselves enriched by the invaluable lessons in gratitude, resilience, and the pursuit of true happiness and purpose.

Every Blessing

 

Jason Bartell

Principal

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Jason Bartell

JSRACS Principal

Early Learning News

Outdoor Play

As I sit to write this article, Term 1 has ended with Easter celebrations visible across the campus through the creation of some fabulous Resurrection Gardens and the generosity of our families to support our ongoing efforts to sponsor two students through World Vision. While the chatter of students playing is not as loud as during a school day, I’m always heartened to hear and see the play that children create on a daily basis. Our Out of School Care educators have spent weeks planning and creating a programme that intentionally balances the need for rest and relaxation, outdoor play and learning experiences through incursions and excursions. The students also got a sneak peek at the work undertaken by our fantastic maintenance team who have installed two new additions to the Early Learning Centre outdoor area designed to enhance the gross motor strength and resilience of our youngest students.

 

In our modern, tech-driven world, it’s easy for children to spend hours indoors, glued to screens and disconnected from the natural world. However, as parents and educators, we recognise the immense value of outdoor play in our children’s lives. Beyond just providing a breath of fresh air, playing outdoors allows children to decompress, recharge, and connect with their surroundings. The outdoor environment stimulates children’s senses and sparks their imagination.

Benefits of Outdoor Play - Young boy playing on a climbing frame
Benefits of Outdoor Play - two happy children playing outside

The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) is an Australian national framework that guides early childhood educators in providing quality education and care for children from birth to five years of age. The EYLF emphasises the importance of outdoor play as a valuable and integral part of early childhood education. Here’s what the EYLF says about outdoor play:

  • Outdoor play is seen as fundamental aspect of children’s learning experiences, providing opportunities for them to belong to a community, be active participants in their environment, and become confident and involved learners.

 

  • Outdoor play is recognised as a key vehicle for children to learn and develop across all areas of the curriculum. The EYLF acknowledges that children learn best through play-based experiences, and the outdoor environment offers rich opportunities for exploration, experimentation, and discovery.

 

The EYLF highlights the importance of children connecting with nature and the natural environment. Outdoor play allows for children to engage with elements of nature, including plants, water, and the weather, fostering a sense of wonder, curiosity and respect for the world around them.

 

Outdoor play promotes physical activity and supports children’s health and wellbeing. The benefits of outdoor play include developing gross motor skills, coordination, strength, fitness and getting some much-needed vitamin D. Exposure to sunlight and vitamin D is crucial to eye development in children and not getting enough time playing outside may be a factor in students developing myopia (nearsightedness) and requiring corrective glasses.

 

At JSR, our educators are encouraged to create opportunities that allow for appropriate levels of risk-taking and challenge, supporting students to assess and manage risks, develop resilience, and build confidence in their abilities.

 

I’m excited to see the growth in our students this year as they tackle new or unfamiliar challenges and look forward to expanding the outdoor opportunities available for all students as the year progresses.

 

If you’d like some ideas about how to incorporate unstructured outdoor play into your family routine, Nature Play WA has some great resources for parents and families to help get your children outside.

 

Click here for more information – https://www.natureplaywa.org.au/downloadable-resources-families/

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Georgia Gratteri

Associate Principal Early Learning
(Pk - Year 1)

Primary School News

The NAPLAN Debate

NAPLAN testing has finished for another year!

 

The National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) test serves as an evaluation tool administered annually to students in years 3, 5, 7, and 9. NAPLAN testing aims to assess essential literacy and numeracy skills that will give teachers, schools, policymakers and parents insight into student performance. The test identifies areas of strengths and areas where support may be required, thereby allowing for targeted intervention and curriculum adjustment and development.

 

NAPLAN commenced in 2008 as the Western Australian Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (WALNA) and was a paper test model. It aimed to assess students’ literacy and numeracy skills in Western Australia. In 2018, Western Australia transitioned to the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) assessment, and since 2022, the assessment has become an online assessment (with the exception of Year 3 Writing). Testing areas have been maintained to include Writing, Reading, Conventions of Language (spelling, grammar and punctuation), and Numeracy.

 

From 1999, Australian ministers collaborated across the States and Territories to formulate the Adelaide Declaration, national educational objectives for the 21st century, which was the foundation upon which NAPLAN evolved and was created. The Adelaide Declaration and the evolution of NAPLAN testing aimed to enhance the quality of Australian education for all students.

 

The NAPLAN tests are point-in-time tests of critical subject areas that can be compared to the same data collected at the same time Australia wide. In conjunction with school based assessments and data, NAPLAN data can provide information on the effects of different education programs and policies and the places where additional resources can make the most significant impact.

NAPLAN does not, and is not intended to replace the much more in-depth and frequent formative and summative assessment of student learning undertaken by teachers in schools on a day to day and across each year basis; it is also not designed to provide judgement on how “good” a student, teacher or school might be.

The Pros and Cons of NAPLAN, 8 Apr 2017 — Dr Bronwyn Hinz

‘However, some schools and families add their own high stakes to it and overemphasise or misunderstand it.” Dr Hinz continues by saying that over-inflating NAPLAN’s importance has the potential to lead to over preparation at the expense of deeper learning of key subject matter and a rich, broad and engaging curriculum. Dr Hinz goes on to say, that while standardised testing has existed in Australia for some time, NAPLAN is the first test where the results of schools in different states could be easily compared and were also available to parents and the public.’

 

 

https://www.educationmattersmag.com.au/the-pros-and-cons-of-naplan/

NAPLAN testing has always been controversial, right from inception and still today, with those who see the benefits a national assessment plan can offer and others who disagree. As with any testing schedule or regime, there will always be supporters and detractors, and there will always be pros and cons. Below is an outline of some of the perceived pros and cons of NAPLAN testing:

Pros of NAPLAN Testing:

 Assessment and Feedback

  • NAPLAN helps individual students discover their strengths and weaknesses in terms of numeracy and literacy.
  • It provides valuable feedback to parents and teachers, allowing them to address specific areas for improvement.

Benchmarking

  • NAPLAN results allow schools to compare their performance with other schools.
  • It identifies schools that might need to make changes or be eligible for additional resources to address poor results.

Standardization

  • NAPLAN ensures a consistent assessment across the country, allowing for fair comparisons.
  • It helps maintain a national standard for literacy and numeracy skills.
Cons of NAPLAN Testing:

Stress and Anxiety

  • The testing process can be seen to be stressful for students, teachers, and parents.

Teaching to the Test

  • Educators may feel pressured to tailor teaching to the content covered by NAPLAN.
  • This focus on test preparation could limit a broader, more holistic education.

Limited Validity and Reliability

  • NAPLAN tests lack validity as a comprehensive measure of literacy and numeracy; comparing students across the country may lack reliability due to varying contexts and student backgrounds.

While NAPLAN can provide valuable insights, it’s essential to consider its limitations and balance its benefits with any potential downsides.

At JSRACS, we recognise the pros and cons associated with the National testing system. As NAPLAN is a compulsory testing regime, we look towards the positives and gains we can access through the implementation of testing and the final data provided. We take the valuable information and feedback that NAPLAN testing can offer and use this to improve practice and outcomes for our students, individually, as a cohort or at a school level. NAPLAN testing gives us valuable information regarding individual areas of strength or weakness for each student; however, it is most valuable where it identifies areas of strength in our teaching and learning programme or identifies an area where improvement or support may be required; it provides information that may identify specific areas or question types where our classes or cohorts may not be performing to expected standards and allows us to adjust and revise our teaching and learning programmes accordingly. It provides a marker against which we can assess our students and set expectations that conform to national expected achievement standards for literacy and numeracy; it also gives us a consistent measure every two years for individual students and cohorts so we can measure improvement and gains. NAPLAN data, not the testing process itself, is what we, as a school, find most useful.

At JSRACS, we are aware of the cons associated with NAPLAN testing and endeavour to minimise them where possible. Students are taught and reminded that this is a task they undertake at school, much like any other learning experience. No additional stress or expectation is placed on students. Students are given opportunities to engage with practice sessions in the weeks before NAPLAN testing so they can become familiar with the sort of questions they can expect to see and practice writing styles, all in an endeavour to make the testing schedule less stressful and more familiar to students. Similarly, teachers undertake training and are provided support in administering every test, including practice testing sessions, to ensure they are familiar with the process and feel comfortable delivering and supervising NAPLAN testing. While the opportunity is provided to practice the testing conditions so that students become familiar with testing structures, at JSR, we do not teach to this test. We do not believe there is a need to teach to the test, as NAPLAN is structured to support what students should be, and are learning in their classrooms every day. Good teaching is at the core of what we do at JSR, and we believe this will lay sufficient foundations for our students to prepare and succeed in NAPLAN testing.

While NAPLAN assesses core literacy and numeracy skills in students at each key stage of their learning, we know that it does not capture other essential skills, such as creativity, problem solving and critical thinking. However, at JSR, these skills form part of our Learning Competencies, addressed through our teaching and learning programmes and reported on every semester. We value and accept that the development of literacy and numeracy skills is not the only measure of how well a student is achieving and that life skills or the Learning Competencies are vital to develop as successful 21st Century Learners. Currently, NAPLAN can only indicate attainment of literacy and numeracy skills, but as a school, we make sure we address these vital life-skills in our day-to-day teaching and learning programmes, and in our assessment and reporting on student achievement.

NAPLAN is a vital tool in assessing literacy and numeracy skills among Australian students. Understanding its purpose, accessing results, and preparing effectively is essential to maximise its benefits. NAPLAN’s role in informing educational teaching and learning and fostering continuous improvement is the basis upon which this system was developed. Therefore, making it a significant tool in the educational landscape of Australia

Overall, NAPLAN plays a crucial role in monitoring and improving educational standards across Australia. While some may dislike this testing model, currently, it is the only nationally consistent assessment tool we have. For this reason alone, it is a beneficial tool in ensuring consistent standards are set across our nation and are being met by our schools.

If you would like to read more about NAPLAN, you may find the following articles of interest.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/may/15/naplan-tests-are-vital-here-are-five-reasons-why

NAPLAN Testing Advantages and Disadvantages | Superprof

Good NAPLAN results don’t come from ‘prepping’ for the test | The Educator K/12 (theeducatoronline.com)

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Paula Martin

Associate Principal Primary School
(Years 2-6)

Middle School News

Airbrushing
How does your child see themselves?

 

How do you see yourself?

 

How do you see your family?

 

Big questions, but very important ones.

 

I recall a time when commentators and some of the media were calling out glossy magazines for presenting beauty in a one-dimensional and superficial way. They bemoaned the dangers of airbrushing and ‘photo-shopping’ the appearance and shapes of models because they were creating an idealistic, unattainable concept of beauty. It seemed for a brief moment, the world was coming to its senses and recognising the damage they were creating amongst young people.

 

But then, somewhere in our fascination with emerging technology, the momentum not only stopped, it transferred to the hands of greater global social media giants and to us, the masses, plagued by our own egocentricity and perceived inadequacies. The net result is that we no longer need to concern ourselves over what may be on the cover or within a Vogue magazine, but with the images children, adolescents and adults are bombarded with daily, images created by us, the public.

I bet that the last time you looked at your social media or glanced at the content your child consumes, you would have seen the carefully curated images and poses. Were social media posts to be believed, it would appear that almost everybody is well-groomed, and blessed with the flawless beauty afforded by filters. Even more distressing is that in our desire to be liked by our peers, and the even greater masses of vague acquaintances called ‘friends’ on social media, we are perhaps losing touch with some basic and important realities of life. The risk is that we compare ourselves, our families, our work and indeed our lives to a false reality.

 

The truth is that we are all flawed, and most of us are boringly normal. Our looks are not perfect; our families are not perfect, and our kids are not perfect. A healthy self-image cannot be found in comparing ourselves to others, especially through the lens of social media of the masks other portray.

 

A good starting point is the environment of unconditional love that is created within the home, the assurance that children are cared for, accepted, and supported. Below are some other ideas to consider:

  • Self-Awareness: Encourage adolescents to reflect on their strengths and achievements, and recognise their unique qualities and talents.

 

  • Positive Affirmations: Practice daily affirmations that promote self-acceptance and positive self-talk.

 

  • Goal Setting: Help them set realistic and achievable goals, and celebrate the small victories along the way.

 

  • Healthy Lifestyle: Promote a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep, which can improve mood and energy levels.

 

  • Mindfulness and Relaxation: Teach techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to manage stress and foster a calm mind.

 

  • Supportive Relationships: Encourage building a network of friends and mentors who provide positive reinforcement and support.

 

  • Skill Development: Engage in activities and hobbies that develop skills and increase confidence.

 

  • Community Involvement: Participate in community service or group activities that can provide a sense of purpose and belonging.

 

The way we view ourselves is built up over a lifetime of experiences and personal factors. Regular honest and encouraging discussions and ensuring that what our children are exposed to is managed, discussed and challenged appropriately can all assist in helping them build their positive identity.

 

As always, be assured that the School partners with you and works to educate, support and build the capacity of your children, through our solid pastoral care programs like The Rite Journey and the implementation of the PERMAH model.

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Justin Krause

Associate Principal Middle School
(Years 7-10)

Senior School News

Preparing Well and Managing Stress
and Anxiety for Formal Assessments in Senior School

Assessments form an integral part of education and for each topic taught in the different subject areas, teachers use various types of assessment to monitor student progress and achievement. A ‘final’ determination of a student’s level of achievement is based on summative assessments such as topic tests and examinations.  Students will have completed some summative tests in Term One and will have more during Term Two, however, as we approach the end of the Semester One learning cycle, Year 10, 11 and 12 students will also be completing their Semester One examinations.

 

Examinations cover a broader range of material and therefore require a dedicated approach to ensure all of the required content is studied to the required depth and breadth.  Studying the night before an examination will not result in the student achieving results that truly reflect their capability.

 

Being well prepared for examinations will not only ensure that students achieve results that accurately reflect their capability, but the confidence that is built during the practice and preparation is also the best way to reduce any associated anxiety.  Research shows that arriving at an examination knowing that you have learnt the content to the best of your ability reduces anxiety levels.

 

In addition to examinations in Semester One, some students will also have OLNA tests to sit, and Year 12 General and Foundation students will have some Externally Set Tasks to complete.

 

To assist parents with supporting students through a busy term of formal assessments, the Senior School Directors have shared the following useful information. 

  • Drew Hall, Director of Teaching and Learning, has provided information and tips on the importance of being well-prepared for assessments and examinations.
  • Kerry Cohen, Director of Pastoral Care, has provided guidance on helping your child manage stress and anxiety.

 

Please read the articles at the links below.

Being well prepared for Senior School assessments 

Helping your child manage stress and anxiety

 

Parents and guardians can also access additional information from the School Curriculum and Standards Authority at https://scsa.wa.edu.au/parents/how-can-i-help-my-year-12

 

Other additional websites with study tips you might like to investigate include:

Curtin University – Top Study Tips and Advice

https://www.curtin.edu.au/news/advice/study-smarter-not-harder/

 

ECU – Top tips on preparing for exams and final assessments https://intranet.ecu.edu.au/student/news/overview/2023/05/top-tips-on-preparing-for-exams-and-final-assessments

 

UWA – 7 exam tips to help you succeed

https://www.uwa.edu.au/seek-wisdom/seekers-space/study/study-tips/2023/09/7-exam-tips-to-help-you-succeed

Christina Wallis

Associate Principal Senior School
(Years 10-12)

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