Middle School Report – November 17, 2016

November 16, 2016

Last week saw the largest undertaking engaged by the College as we successful transported, housed, feed and offered a myriad of outdoor experiences for the entire Year 9 Cohort for three days in the magnificent surroundings of Hall’s Gap and the Grampians. This is the only camp experience in which the whole year level is all present at the one time and in the same place. Here the boys were able to participate in a number of challenging experiences including hiking, rock climbing, abseiling and conservation work. These experiences encouraged all of our boys to develop an appreciation and respect for the natural environment, increased their understanding of team work and resilience and ultimately continued to develop their leadership skills. Here is what some of our boys had to say as they reflected on their camp experience:

Did you find the camp challenging?:

  • – Yes, I felt the hike was challenging, being in the major Mitchell, my legs and feet got very sore, but I pushed through and completed it along side my mates.

  • – Yes, as the activities pushed you out of your comfort zone.

  • – I mainly found the camp challenging through the hike, which was a mental and physical challenge.

  • – Yes, because I did some activities that I had not done before like rock-climbing and abseiling.

  • – I found it challenging but very rewarding as I had a big fear of heights but conquered and did abseiling and all rock climbing

    Overall, how would you assess the camp in terms of


  • – Offering many types of hikes

  • – Rock climbing and abseiling was pretty exhilarating

  • – Things never done before, liked the hike, was challenging. Delicious food as well

  • – Fun to just be outdoors with our- mates and teachers

  • – Great fitness opportunity through the different hike options

  • – Great opportunity to show leadership and independence

  • – Pushing through when the hikes got tough and our feet got sore, but the sense of achievement at the end made it worth it

On behalf of all of the Year 9 boys I must thank the following staff for their invaluable contribution: Ashleigh Giampaolo, Stuart Harridge, Nathan Geaghan, Brenton Powell, Chris Giampaolo, Claire Condon, Sam Cue, John Sullivan, Emmanuel Desfosses, Kerry’s Parkinson, Steph Parsons, Janelle Spierings, Shane Hayes, Daniel Wiley, James Elford, Jacki Twaits, Caroline Proscino, Fr James Kerr, Andrew Agardy, Eric Hayes, Jamie Bobrowski, Michael Weadon and Gerard Sullivan. Simply, without the dedication and extra level of commitment from these staff our camp cannot take place.

As part of St Patrick’s ongoing commitment to develop and deliver classroom programs which integrate contemporary teaching and learning pedagogy to meet the diverse learning needs of our students, the College has initiated a detailed review of the Middle School Program in preparation for 2018. One of the key contributors to this review is the voice of the boys themselves. When asked to reflect on their understanding and/or experiences of Year 9 to consider the ways in which we can further enhance the Middle School Program our boys provided the following range of responses:

  • A lot of fun subjects

  • Trying harder, more of a routine being developed

  • Liked the hands on subjects

  • Camps have been great, we have bonded as a group and also developed relationships with our teachers

  • Appreciate being able to choose own subjects

  • Learning-some boys struggle, others find it boring, sometimes we are not challenged enough

  • Really a test of our maturity

  • Have been surprised-was told it was a bludge but it is not

  • Attitude to learning can be poor, but there are many of us who really want to learn

  • Great lessons are fun-interactive, not just note taking

A Parent and Staff focus group will also be established by Wendy Graham in the coming weeks prior to Christmas. I will also be leading a range of other school visits to see what is being offered there within their Year 9 Curriculum. So once again watch this space as the review continues to develop.

Mr Crowley has begun to explore the concept of Great Man which is part of our College vision of -Raising fine boys to the status of great men.- After speaking with a group of our current Year 9 boys Mr Crowley received the following responses to this question How do we as a school help develop these values?-

  • Teachers -“ should be setting an example.- – They should be role models and leading the way.-

  • Assemblies:

    • Year level assemblies -“ helpful as relevant to that year -“ more buy in plus smaller so more focus.

    • Mental health assembly was excellent as it shows that the students can speak out.-

    • Occasionally, some teachers focus on negativity -“ what the students have done wrong, rather than what they can be doing to fix it-

    • Reduce the hierarchy -“ we are all equal -“ better hearing something from a friend/year level/other student bodies.- This would help with the culture if students lead it.- – –

    • Assemblies have lost their importance as they are too often.- They prefer the ones with a focus e.g. mental health week and strong student presence

    • The videos are good.-

    • Like variation -“ it’s beneficial listening to different people deliver the assemblies e.g. the senior leaders -“ you strive to be someone like them and can relate to at least one of them -“ academically or sporty.- – You can be there too one day and be respected for that.

    • Can relate more to your peers e.g. when Michael (Year 9) spoke at assembly as he is one of them.- Knowing someone who is talking engages to you more.- – –

    • Would like to see someone from each year level talking at each assembly -“ someone who is known so that you respect them.- Only have them though if they have a purpose, not just to fill in a blank.-

    • Year level assemblies are more engaging as they are more relevant.-

Finally, please note the End Of Year Examination Timetable as we begin to get into our final weeks of Year 9 in 2016. The Year 9 Examination period starts on Thursday December 1 until Wednesday December 7 which will be the final day in Year 9 for your son. This day will conclude with our Middle School Awards and Year 9 Graduation Ceremony starting at 2.10pm in the Pavilion.

To view the Year 9- Exam Timetable please click on this link

As always, I hope that all of our boys achieve the success they are busily working towards throughout this last term in the Middle School.

Michael Busscher

Director of Middle School