Santa Sophia Catholic College Newsletter

September Newsletter - Term 4, Week 5

Welcome Address by Mark De Vries

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Staff Visit to the USA

During the September school holidays, eight Santa Sophia teachers travelled to the United States to visit schools in San Diego and San Fransisco. We visited schools to learn more about assessment capable learners and project based learning. The trip was a wonderful learning experience and also affirmed that the pedagogy and initiatives at Santa Sophia are world-class!

Ms Magistrado:

'The USA immersion trip to different highschools was excellent as it allowed us to see similarities and differences in our pedagogy as well as affirmed us in what we are already implementing in our school context (e.g. rigorous PBL and assessment capable learners).

It was great to see students taking ownership of their learning by co-constructing project ideas, driving questions, learning intentions, success criteria and rubrics with the teachers, allowing students to learn these skills under the teacher's guidance as well as apply these skills independently. This experience has given us the courage to try new things as well as the comfort of knowing that there are educators on the other side of the world experiencing similar joys and challenges that teaching brings.'

Mr Knight:

'The opportunity to visit and learn from PBL schools gave me many valuable ideas and processes that I will be able to apply and incorporate into our Mathematics classes at Santa Sophia.

I witnessed many students flourishing in environments where they could learn in rotational workshops and masterclasses of only a small group of students. I saw students who were very familiar and aware of their responsibilities when given set roles in a PBL project. I saw the value of students self-assessing and reflecting on exemplars of student work. I saw the strength of a visible learning environment where students were highly familiar with established whole-school approaches to problem-solving and other numeracy strategies and i really valued the professional conversations and discussions that I was afforded with educational leaders from the United States.'

Ms Musgrave

Our staff trip to explore a variety of schools in America was exceptionally fruitful and affirming. As a team, we were able to work alongside talented professionals to reflect on the best teaching and learning practices that we want to establish here at Santa Sophia.

We have returned with a confirmed sense of the importance of making successful learning visible to the students so they understand the ‘why’ of learning rather than just what they are learning.

This visible learning looks like co-constructing learning scaffolds with students to ensure they are meaningful, accessible and provide clarity.

As a school we want to provide opportunities for collaboration, choice, creativity, and risk taking in our learning projects. "If you teach a person how to learn, they can learn about anything!"

The learnings from our trip also highlighted ways we can celebrate learning growth rather than just learning proficiency.

Upon our return, I am continually filled with the vision and hope of how we are continuing to build a Christ-centered environment that is engaging, enabling, empowering and authentic at all stages of learning. I can confidently say that the learnings and personal connections made with American professionals will be long lasting here at Santa Sophia.

Mathematics Drop-in Session

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The Mathematics teachers at Santa Sophia Catholic College offer a one hour after school session for any students that need extra support with Mathematics.

Mr Knight and Mr Castellino make themselves available every Tuesday from 2:30-3:30pm to run these sessions. If you want to make the most of this opportunity, please contact the school to give permission for your son/daughter to attend.

Kindergarten News Term 4

Welcome back to another exciting and engaging term of learning! Kindergarten kicked off the term learning how to be persuasive! To the joy of the kindergarten students, Miss Musgrave brought a new book into school, 'Definitely Do Not Open This Book'! However there was a problem … the book was tied up and Miss Musgrave would not open the book until she was persuaded by Kindergarten!

So the students got to work through their daily reading and writing activities to explore persuasive language used by authors. It was incredible to see the skills of the students develop as they learnt to share their detailed opinions and use a variety of persuasive devices. Over the course of the project the tension and excitement continued to build until the day when Kindergarten presented their letters to Miss Musgrave!

As their letters were read aloud, the strings were slowly cut away from the book until the students couldn't contain their excitement anymore. They rushed towards Miss Musgrave, took off the string and opened the book! It was one of the most captivating shared reading experiences to date. 

This term, we began our Mathematical learning with our volume and capacity unit. In this unit of Mathematics students have had to be detectives; filling containers to different quantities, comparing the amount containers can hold, making smart guesses, recording complex thinking, challenging their Math partner’s thinking and most importantly, ensuring they are always being accurate and quick Mathematicians. Many of us discovered that we need to fill containers to the top to show how much the container can hold but making it pile over will not give us an accurate capacity. 

The students have continued to extend their knowledge of whole numbers by exploring the place value and quantity of two and three digit numbers. They have worked with concrete materials, such as counters, buttons and paddle pop sticks to represent numbers and explain their thinking. This term we will also be investigating the concepts of mass, money and time through a variety of open ended activities. We look forward to the students sharing their learning with you!

During Investigations, the students are currently learning how to use the properties of materials to solve problems. As part of our entry event to this new Investigations unit, the children explored the properties of toys with the Supreme Incursions team. Together we explored movements and materials as we got our hands on some weird and wonderful toys. Students worked in groups to investigate the different scientific aspects of toys from the past and present. This was a fantastic opportunity to kick-start our learning and provide students with the stimulus to develop and ask questions. Together we will begin brainstorming how we are going to solve the problems of fairytale characters using our knowledge of materials. Stay tuned to see their imagination come to life!

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All Saints' Day and Grandparents Day

On Friday 1st November 2019 we celebrated All Saints' Day Mass and Grandparents Day. This was a spectacular day for our community where both Kindergarten and Stage 4 joined together to celebrate the Saints in Heaven along with sharing the celebrations with their Grandparents.

Kindergarten dressed up as their favourite Saint for the day and it was a real joy to see their costumes and their musical performance of "Sound of the Saints". 

After the All Saints' Day Mass the Grandparents were invited to have their photo taken with their grandchild and enjoy an afternoon tea.

Thank you to everyone who joined in the celebrations. It was wonderful to see such high participation and a room full of grandparents and grandchildren sharing the All Saints' Day celebration together.

Orientation Days

Recently we held orientation days for our Year 7 and Kindergarten 2020 students. 

During the Year 7 orientation day our current stage 4 students were actively involved in running icebreaker games, giving the new students a tour and answering their questions. We were very proud of their role during this day.

During the first of three orientation days for Kindergarten the new Kindergarten students were able to explore and enjoy the learning space and participate in some activities to get to know each other and their teachers.

Parent Education Network Meeting: Wednesday 20th November

All parents are encouraged to attend our last Parent Education Network meeting for 2019!

This is your chance to hear from the Principal Mark De Vries regarding any school news as well as participate in a forum where you can ask your questions or discuss school-related issues.


Wednesday 20th November

7:30pm - 8:30pm

Hambledon Rd, Schofields

One Million Rosaries

On Friday 18th October Santa Sophia Catholic College took part in the worldwide campaign 'One Million Rosaries' for world peace and unity run by Aid to the Church in Need:

Kindergarten had circle "beads" placed in the shape of a Rosary outside which they walked along as they prayed. They were encouraged to think of someone to pray for also during this prayer time.

Stage 4 joined together to pray the Rosary together. They were able to follow the images and prayers on the screen as well as listen to reflections led by students. 

All students were very reverent during this prayer time and were pleased to take part in this worldwide prayerful initiative. 

Student News - Danijela Prasnicki

We are all proud of Danijela, who took part in a 58km charity bike ride to raise funds, awareness and perhaps a cure for people living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). 

Danijelas' mum shares: "When I first mentioned the ride, Dani committed without a second thought.  I then went on to explain we lost our Maternal Grandmother to this disease. This made the ride more meaningful and personal"

Danijela states: it was fun and challenging from the beginning to the end.  Every hill that you made it up, was a success, and every hill you got to ride down was the best.  It was great to see so many people riding together for a good cause. Great day'.

When her mother asked her if she would do it again next year, she replied "One hundred percent!" 

Danijela committed to raising a personal goal of $250, by the time of her ride it was well over $500.  The total team effort raised over $2000.

Student News: Prime Ministers' Letter to Vito

Well done to our Stage 4 student Vito for writing to the Prime Minister of Australia regarding his concerns regarding climate change. Vito received a response which we have published below. This is a great example of how it is important to make your voice heard (no matter your age) on key issues whether they relate to our world environment, to the protection of human life or other issues of concern. 

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Five Forgotten mental health habits to promote in young people

by Michael Grose from Parenting Ideas

Young adolescents are at increased risk of experiencing mental health problems including anxiety and depression. Now is the time to make good mental health habits a priority for your young person. And while there’s been a great deal written about mental health habits recently, here are five habits worth developing that often go under the radar.

1. Maintain at least two friendships groups

Navigating social groups can be hard work for children at this stage. It helps to have a set of friends outside school to act as a buffer if friendship difficulties arise at school. Encourage your young person to maintain different friendship groups rather than opt for just one or two special friends.

2. Provide a space of their own

Young people of this age need a space of their own at home – somewhere that they can reflect on and process events. We all need this, but the need seems greater during this stage.

3. Talk about their troubles

A problem shared is a problem halved. Talking about what’s worrying you is a great way to remove the burden of worry and reduce anxiety. Gently encourage your child to be open with you, or to at least share their concerns with a trusted friend.

4. Develop interests that energise rather than drain

Encourage your young person to have a hobby or activity that energises them, refreshes them and takes them away from the stresses of everyday life. These types of activities include sport, art, music and collecting. They are generally physically healthy or creative activities that enable a young person to relax and get away from their normal routines. Having opportunities to relax and get away from the stress of everyday life is essential.

5. Make mealtimes regular

There’s a strong correlation between good mental health in young people and families that have a minimum of five shared mealtimes each week. As their life becomes busier and increasingly taken up with peers, school and outside interests, a regular meal with the family provides young people with the opportunity to catch up with their parents and siblings. Shared meals also provide parents with the chance to assess their young person’s mental health in an unobtrusive way.

This article has been taken from Parenting Ideas. We have invested in a Parenting Ideas membership for our school which provides access to articles we will be sharing with our parents and also provides parents FREE access to webinars on various topics. 

Free Webinar: "Strenghtening kids' self-esteem in a digital world."

Click HERE

Use discount code: DIGITAL to access this webinar from Parenting Ideas for FREE (normally $37) as part of our Parenting Ideas membership -  **this webinar is only available until 30 November 2019**. 

In this webinar you’ll learn:

  • How young people use social media to socialise
  • The effects of social media on self-esteem & wellbeing
  • How young people can avoid the pitfalls of social media
  • Nurturing self-esteem and digital resilience – learning to thrive online

Sports Report

By Mr Faccin

Sports Coordinator

This term in sport is relatively quiet as much of the representative competitions and teams take a break during the term.

With that said looking back at sport in 2019 more than 90% of students participated in our school carnivals or represented the school at a PDSSSC Gala Day or carnival.

We sent students to Swimming, Cross Country, Athletics, Football (Soccer), Futsal, Oz Tag, Dance, Basketball and Netball.

With many of our carnivals and gala days already booked in for 2020 we are hoping to include PDSSSC Touch Football, Tennis and provide individuals to Rugby League as well as hoping to send students to individual trials for NSW CCC teams selections.

This year we achieved our first game wins with both Futsal teams winning several games. Hopefully next year we can get one step closer and have a team qualify for a Grand Final. 

I would like to remind students and parents that this term especially can be rather hot.

Students need to ensure that they bring a drink bottle, sunscreen, roll-on deodorant and their college hat to all PDHPE Practical and Sport sessions.  Aerosol sprays are not permitted as these can cause breathing difficulties for others at the College and are not to be used outside or in the bathrooms. 

Last Day of Term & Christmas Mass: Wednesday December 18th


Dates for your Diary

Wednesday 20th November 

- Kindy 2020 Orientation, 9am - 11am

- Sakae Junior High School Visit

154 students + 12 teachers (BBQ lunch): students to do a one day project

- Parent Education Network meeting, 7:30pm

Thursday 21st November

- Kindy Road And Pedestrian Safety incursion, 9.30am -10.30am

Monday 9th December

- Semester 2 Reports due to be sent out to parents

Wednesday 18th December 

- Last Day of Term 4: Christmas Mass and End of Term Soiree