Posted on November 10, 2020 / Middle School
Although limited in the extra-curricular activities that students are able to do at the moment, it has been fantastic to see the enthusiasm and excitement that our students are displaying for simply being back at school with their friends. The energy around the school; whether it be on the basketball courts, the football ovals, the downball area, or even just those relaxing in the beautiful Year 9 Courtyard, is a lovely thing to be back in and amongst. Something that we have all definitely missed this year.
We are fast approaching the end of the academic year and consequently there has been a gradual increase in the amount of work that is due for the girls and boys. Our pastoral and academic staff have continued to scaffold the set work and provide learning support and guidance for those who need it in order to stay on top of things. To help provide students with extra support for their learning, we are running academic assistance sessions that are open to all students over two lunchtimes a week. This is an opportunity for students to come along for help with any piece of work they have, or just use the time and space to work on some of their homework under the guidance of different staff.
A number of our regular end of year activities are having to be either altered this year due to restrictions, or in some cases even being postponed until next year. Our Year 9 Summer Expeditions remains a possibility still with the recent easing of restrictions. We are currently planning on being able to run the programs in full as they are all now Victorian based; however, we will allow ourselves until Friday 13 November to confirm whether or not any further lifting of restrictions allows us to go. It is an experience that our students absolutely love and hence the real desire from the school to be able to provide this opportunity, given they missed their Winter Camp this year.
Our Transition Program is where all of our students across the Secondary School step up into their classes and timetable for the coming year. Our Year 7s and 8s move up into Years 8 & 9 respectively, whilst our Year 9s move up into the Senior College to begin their classes around their Summer Expeditions. It is an important opportunity for them to develop a feel for their new expectations whilst also beginning to develop working relationships with their new teachers for 2021. This program begins on Friday 27 November and runs through to the end of the school year on Tuesday 8 December.
Leadership development and opportunities are something we continue to provide for our students and recently a group of our Year 9 girls were involved in the Year 5 Leadership Day in the Junior School. Our girls hosted Microsoft Teams meetings with small groups of Year 5 girls to discuss what leadership means to them, qualities of a good leader, and opportunities they have taken up throughout their journey. It was really great to see the connection this opportunity provided for the two groups of girls.
Cricket training has continued for the Year 7 & 8 boys looking to be part of the team that is scheduled to play a 20/20 match against Mount Scopus in Term 1 of 2021. With over 20 boys attending training it has been great to see the enthusiasm and determination that has been on display, along with the impressive skill level that has been demonstrated. It will be a challenging task to narrow this squad down to 13 at the beginning of the year, but promises to ensure we have a strong team to take on Mount Scopus.
One thing the restrictions in 2020 have highlighted for everyone is the importance of maintaining exercise and fitness in or daily/weekly routines. For our students this is also extremely important and with the recent easing of restrictions the opportunity to be using our school gym is again available for our Year 9 (and above) students on two mornings a week. This opportunity enables them to be guided through a fitness program developed for them by a qualified fitness instructor, focussing on core strength, muscular strength, stretching and fitness.
One of the many activities to be restricted this year has been cross-country running. To counter this, EISM are offering a virtual cross-country competition where students have until the 25 November to run their best 3km time and submit this as their actual run time. This needs to be collected using an app such as Runkeeper, Strava or Garmin and then submitted and verified by our Head of Sport Mr Viney. It has been great to see many students out already endeavouring to build up to their best times for the 3 kilometres.
Among many of the things interrupted this year due to COVID-19, the Tintern Trips & Tours program has come to an abrupt halt. It is also challenging for us to have any certainty over the trips and tours that we did have scheduled for both our Middle School and Senior College in 2021 and beyond. With this in mind we have already made significant alterations to the program to be able to provide alternative trips that are within our country or Pacific Region and still provide students with an enriching and potentially life changing experience. For our Middle School students, we are hoping to offer an Indigenous Immersion experience in September 2021 with more information on this to be announced in Term 1 next year.