- Funding Levels
- Athlete's Foot
- Book Fair
- Colour Run
- Next Assembly
- Message from Mrs Kim Butler
As with any large data set it is important not to lose track of what Lyn Sharrat describes as ‘the faces behind the data’ who are the individuals and what do we know about them? An example of this from our own school is one student who scored lower than we had expected from other assessments. When looking at their results in detail they had only completed 13 questions of the 30 odd questions, of the 13 they had 12 correct, they froze during the test and didn’t answer the rest. At another school a student skipped two pages by mistake turning two pages together. Sometimes it’s not academic ability but test taking skills…
Returning to our high achievers I’ve been looking at the work of Malcolm Gladwell and his book Outliers, looking at the story of success and what makes some people successful over others. One of the fascinating elements to this story is the critical factor opportunity plays once academic (or sporting, or musical) ability reaches a certain point. Gladwell isn’t saying skill isn’t important, but rather that beyond a certain level opportunity and practice become more important. Gladwell provides a number of examples of this but two stand out strongly for me. One is looking at Bill Gates and Microsoft, yes he is a highly intelligent person, but alongside this he also had the opportunity in 1968 to attend one of the few, if not only schools in the country that had access to a computer terminal (this was a period when computing was done on punch cards and room size mainframes costing $1million plus). In addition to this he also had a parent of the school that ran a computing company and allowed students additional time on the computers to help with their coding, this led to a summer job and ultimately to the forming of Microsoft. Yes he had skill, but he also had time, experience and opportunities that others didn’t.
Another story he talks about is the Canadian Junior Hockey League. From the age of 8 players are identified and, based on their skill put into different pathways, elite training programs. The thing is age cut offs start from the 1st of January. This means a player born in January is competing against a player born in December - almost 1 year older, at the age of 8 this is a significant difference in size, strength and skill. These early year birthdate students who make the elite teams then receive additional, higher quality training, this results in accumulated advantage for these players and over time they genuinely are better players. These results are reflected in European soccer leagues and numerous other sporting codes where birthdate cut offs give advantage to accessing early elite programs. In professional leagues for these sports the number of players born January to March significantly outweighs the later half of the year.
What does all that mean for schooling? Time, time and opportunity. We need to ensure we are providing our students with the time to master learning, to practice skills and that all students are being provided with opportunities to work at level or above. The key advantage so many of Gladwell’s examples have is time to master their particular field and access to training. What sets a master pianist apart from a skilled one is normally around 2-3000 additional hrs of deliberate practice, and from an average 6-8000 hrs. Whilst we’re not looking to produce masters in primary school - normally around 10,000 hrs, we are looking to provide the foundations for excellence in our students. One of the other significant factors is parental support for their children, not sheltering them from any failure or harm but supporting them through setting high expectations and standards. Providing them with opportunities, and that thankless job of running them around to countless training sessions and matches.
With recent changes to funding models in Victoria the National Schools Resourcing Board has completed a review of the previous Socio-economic status method for school funding. What this means for us is a change to direct income measures to ‘assess school communities’ capacity to contribute towards the recurrent costs of schooling’. What it really means is that our student residential address now plays a significant part in our funding, compared to the current model which relied largely on parents self reported job levels (Group A-D). To support this change we are required to upload student residential information to the government. I have included an information collection notice below which includes further information about what is being collected and why.
Please be mindful of those around you when parking before and after school. This also applies to parents and toddlers waiting to collect siblings. Please also be mindful that we have been notified that police will be having an increased presence around schools, particularly looking for illegal reversing.
Athlete’s foot are running their school support program again this year. If you choose to purchase shoes through Athlete’s foot and reference the school they donate $5 for every pair purchased. Whilst we don’t promote any company over another if you are purchasing shoes from them it is worth mentioning. This year we raised nearly $400 through the program. This money goes towards supporting our Sports program and P&F fundraising as well as providing a scholarship prize to two graduating students who have excelled in their representation of sportsmanship at St Columba’s.
Our Book Fair will be held in the School Hall on Thursday 15th November.
The times are:
8.00 - 8.40 am
1.00 - 1.40 pm
3.00 - 4.00 pm
Children have been given WISH LISTS and will have the opportunity to browse books prior to the fair. Once again we thank families for their support of our book fair, our book fair last year was very successful and enabled the school to purchase many wonderful resources.
Parents and families are welcome to attend and perhaps get a head start on their Christmas Shopping!
The Parents and Friends are running a Colour Run Sunday 2nd December. Last year this event was well supported and all attending left with multi-coloured smiles. Please refer to the Parents and Friends tab on this week’s newsletter for further details.
LG1 will host our next assembly this Friday 2nd November at 2.40pm in the school hall.
All are welcome to attend.
Message From Kim Butler
Bondia – Good morning from Timor!
I have been living in Timor-Leste for nearly 4 months now. I am loving my time here and have been made to feel very welcome by the local people. My time has been spent volunteering at Klibur Domin (KD) in Tibar; a village 17 km west of the capital, Dili. In Tetum, Klibur Domin literally means ‘sharing with love’, and that is certainly what happens here.
Klibur Domin’s mission is to ‘relieve suffering without discrimination’ and they do that by providing free treatment, accommodation, good nutrition and support to patients with tuberculosis, various disabilities, mental illness and those on dialysis.
Staff from Klibur Domin also travel out into the rural towns and villages providing Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) for people with disability and actively searching for people with tuberculosis (TB). Recently, Klibur Domin opened a dental clinic, with dentists coming from Australia to work with and mentor the local dental nurses. These local nurses treat people in the dental clinic and also travel out into the community providing education and free dental treatment to all who need it, especially children in schools. Half of the money raised by St Columba’s earlier this year, is being used by KD to support the work of the dental clinic.
I am spending most of my time here assisting the Managing Director, Joaquim, with a number of different projects. One of our main projects at the moment is a proposal for the development of a 36 bed mental health facility attached to KD that will provide safe accommodation, treatment and support to the most vulnerable; particularly women and children. The number of people suffering with mental health problems in Timor-Leste is very high and there is currently only one small facility focussing on mental health for the entire population of 1.25 million.
One of the highlights of my time here has been to travel out with the TB Team to the rural district of Bobanaro, in the high mountains of western Timor-Leste looking for people with tuberculosis. We travelled for over 7 hours, on roads that were sometimes not more than a ‘goat track’ to reach small, very remote villages. Going from door to door, we visited each of the homes, educating people about the signs and symptoms of tuberculosis and actively searching for people with TB. If a tuberculosis suspect is identified, they are left with small cups to collect two early morning sputum samples. After collection, the samples are tested through microscopy and sent to Klibur Domin for testing using the GeneXpert Machine; a machine that detects TB rapidly and with a very high accuracy rate. Some of those found with TB can be treated within their local community, while others are transported back to Klibur Domin to undergo up to 8 months of intensive treatment onsite. The good news is, that nearly all those who complete treatment are cured of TB. Considering that Timor-Leste has the second highest TB burden in the world and that 3 people die of TB in Timor-Leste every day, the work of the Klibur Domin TB Team is absolutely vital in the fight to eradicate tuberculosis.
Another highlight has been to accompany the CBR team to a number of local primary schools where we have talked with the students about different types of disability and how important it is to include children with disability into their schools. Educating teachers and students is vital to break down the stigma associated with disability here in Timor. During these visits I have been able to distribute uniforms to each of the children and a few basketballs for each of the schools. They are very gratefully received.
Occasionally on the weekend, I am able to drive a number of the patients with disability and TB to the beach for a swim or paddle. For many of those who come from the high mountains, it is their first visit to the beach and there is great joy and excitement to be had.
I leave Timor-Leste in mid December, returning back to Ballarat in time for Christmas. I am really looking forward to catching up with everyone on my return to St Columba’s in the new year.