From the Director of Learning and Inclusion

Dear St Mary’s College Community,

During our Induction Days at the beginning of the term, students from Reception to Year 11 connected into what it means to be a great learner. They did this through the launch of our very own learning dispositions!

A lot has happened in the background since I last wrote about our Visible Learning Program. We completed rounds of consultation with our students, parent community and staff about the most important attributes of a good learner. It was interesting to see that across all the groups of people we spoke to, there were so many shared ideas of what is helpful to grow and become confident learners.

Would you have believed that our youngest learners in the Junior School, through to our Middle School and Senior School students, share similar ideas to you in terms of how to be a successful learner? It just goes to show that in some things, age is no barrier.

  • To be curious
  • To be resilient
  • To be reflective
  • To be creative
  • To embrace challenge

With the support of their Care Group Teachers, students discussed learning dispositions as a way of being. They worked through how to know themselves as learners who can approach new things, who can set themselves learning goals, and who know what to do when they are in the “learning pit” and facing the inevitable challenges or set-back which come with all new learning and growth. Our students had fun transforming our five learning dispositions into colourful visual displays. Walking around the school, it is great to see how different year levels have made these ways of thinking their own.

It will become usual classroom practice for students and teachers to lean on these learning dispositions. We want our students to be assessment-capable learners who know where they are in their learning journey, what they need to reach their next learning goal, and how they are going to get there. Who knows, perhaps ‘being curious’, or ‘how to embrace challenge’ will be part of your dinner table or car ride conversations.

Kind regards,

Tracey Thursby

International Women's Day

Wednesday 8 March marks International Women’s Day, something we have always held close to our hearts at St Mary’s College.

This year we will be celebrating with various activities to celebrate the social, cultural and political achievements of women, and the advances in gender equality around the world.

The week will begin with students decorating a ‘St Mary’s girl’ which will decorate the school. Our hallways will be decorated with displays of empowering women in our society as researched by our students to help inspire others.

Wednesday morning we will be hosting a very special ‘International Women’s Day Come and Try Playgroup’ for current and new families to attend. For more information, please click here.

At lunchtime, students will be able to purchase gingerbread women for $3, and can enjoy their lunch on picnic rugs with live music performed by our Small Jazz, Combined Vocal Jazz and Concert Choir groups. Students will also be handing out purple ribbons to all students and staff in support of this day.

We look forward to honouring all the important women in our lives, and we thank our Youth Ministers and Year 12 student leaders for their contributions.

Merit Ceremony

At our recent merit ceremony, we celebrated the outstanding academic achievement of the class of 2022. We also shared a set of awards for current senior years students. The awards are bestowed as a legacy of people significant to the story of St Mary’s College, and capture the spirit of excellence in learning, we seek to nurture in all our students. 

Each recipient is contributing to a vibrant learning culture at St Mary’s. The overview below captures a phrase about each award recipient. 

Chelsea Ireland Environmental Call to Action Award  
Georgena uses initiative to enact change in the world around her. She knows when to lead from the front with voice and passion, while also knowing when to lead by action. 

Bishop Sweeny History Award   
Juliet is determined to embrace challenge, clearly demonstrating her love for all things history, especially people, events and ideas that are generally left out of the textbooks. 

John Green Biology Award  
Zenja has a passion for Biology and a natural curiosity about nature, the environment and how humans interact with the world. She is one of the hardest workers in the cohort. 

Molly McInerney Merrigan Maths Award  
Emily has been highly dedicated to her studies of mathematics, has been courageous and determined when faced with mathematical challenges, and has contributed to a positive focus on mathematics in the classroom. 

Promise of Leadership Susan Sullivan Award 
Amelie is a reflective learner who will always acknowledge her limits, gaps in knowledge, or challenges. She is not afraid of constructive criticism and even leans into it as a positive method of growth. 

Sister Mary Matthew English Award 
Isabella is a student who thinks outside the square, questions critically, enjoys reading and writing, and possesses a healthy dose of creativity. 

Technology Award  
Claudia’s work is of a high standard, impacting others as a catalyst for change. Her passion and commitment has been an inspiration to others. 

The Vocational Education Award
Michaela has immersed herself fully in the world of Vocational Learning, clearly connecting her study with her passion for working with animals.

Australian Institute of Physics "Future Physicist” Award
Taylor is attentive to detail. With solutions presented logically, she can often apply her knowledge to a range of scenarios and is supportive of all other students. 

More images can be found here and here.

Meet the Wellbeing Team

At St Mary’s College, our Wellbeing team is made up of qualified social workers with extensive experience in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people, and their families.   Our team of social workers provide a range of support for our students acknowledging that our social, emotional, and psychological wellbeing impacts our learning. Support can include brief intervention assisting skill development, individual counselling, group work, and crisis intervention, to name a few.  

Social work is a client-centred, strengths-based approach supporting individuals to build resilience and self-determination - key elements of St Mary’s WRAP program. Social work practice is a complex and multifaceted profession steeped in seeking social justice, empowering individuals, and adhering to a strict code of ethics ensuring integrity, professionalism and professional boundaries.  

Our WRAP program at St Mary’s supports our students to contribute to a more just and compassionate world, a strong correlation with social work practice. Our social workers use research and incorporate evidence-based interventions which is a valuable contribution to the wellbeing of our students, particularly through our WRAP program. 

Social workers understand the interconnectedness of individuals, families, communities and society, and work to address the underlying systemic factors that contribute to social problems. Our approach at St Mary’s College is that wellbeing is everybody’s business and our team of social workers work closely and collaboratively with the adults present in our students’ lives to enhance their wellbeing and learning.  

As part of our strong wrap around support at St Mary’s, our social workers work in partnership with teachers, students and their families, and a range of external service providers to ensure the needs of students are met. This supports our belief, and that of research, that students who have positive wellbeing are able to engage more effectively and successfully in learning.  

The professional discipline of social work brings a unique and valuable lens to education at St Mary’s, supporting the College to empower students to feel seen, be heard and experience a sense of belonging in their lives and the world around them.  

Jo Cains, Director of Wellbeing and Inclusion, and Michelle Brown, Chrysi Santelices and Madeleine Samson, Social Workers

Introducing our 2023 STEM Coordinator

Hello St Mary’s community, my name is Evie and I am the STEM Coordinator for 2023.

I believe that the basis of being an impactful and motivating leader is setting a positive example for others. Leadership means making a change that reflects ideas and opinions within the community. I was inspired to apply for leadership as I wanted to extend my passion for STEM by sharing this joy with others. Another motivation was my research project that investigated what improvements schools could make to increase female entry into science degrees. One of these factors was having female role models in STEM, as younger students could picture themselves in this area of study.

Being a STEM Coordinator has given me a platform to innovate and organise activities that encourage student engagement in related subjects. Furthermore, my vision from STEM at St Mary’s College includes collaboration between year levels, expression of creativity, and practical learning. Collaborating these visions aims to increase student participation and exposure to science, maths, technology, and engineering endeavours.

A highlight of STEM at St Mary’s was attending the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) Women’s Breakfast at UniSA earlier this term. Our chemistry class was able to connect with women who are pioneers in their respective fields of science which was very rewarding for us. Attending this event has just amplified my excitement for the future of science at St Mary’s, and I look forward to the year ahead.