St Agnes Catholic High School

August Newsletter - Term 3, Week 3 2020

From the Principal

Welcome back to Term 3!

As we begin a new semester, I have challenged each of our 7-10 students to review their learning goals and focus on at least one area that they seek to improve. In this covid environment, it is more important than ever that you talk with your child about their learning, which as parents you have played a significant role during the remote learning period. This term is particularly critical for our Yr 10 -12 students - Yr10 begin the process of subject selection, Yr 11 complete their Preliminary year and for our HSC students, in addition to the Trial HSC exams which begin August 17, HSC major works and performances take place in the coming weeks. Please keep our Year 12 students in your prayers through this time. Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop’s Feast Day is August 8 

We celebrate the vision of Australia’s first Saint and of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, being realised. Mary MacKillop’s influence in Australia is beyond measure.

Mary and the Sisters were committed to serving the poor – to going to where the need was and living amongst those in need.

Mary faced fierce opposition throughout her life. In the face of trial, Mary was a model of forgiveness, insisting no ill be spoken of those who wronged her, while also remaining resolute in her convictions. Mary was remarkable as a strong female leader in 19th century Australia. Education in Australia is stronger thanks to her dedication and determination.

In 1867, her co-founder, Fr Julian Tenison Woods wrote that the Sisters were to: “Do all the good they can and never see an evil without trying how they may remedy it..." , this commitment is something that captures our living religion today. 

Mary MacKillop Prayer 

Ever generous God,

You inspired Saint Mary MacKillop

To live her life faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ

and constant in bringing hope and encouragement

to those who were disheartened, lonely or needy.

With confidence in your generous providence

and through the intercession of Saint Mary MacKillop

We ask that you grant our request……………….

We ask that our faith and hope be fired afresh by the Holy Spirit

so that we too, like Mary MacKillop, may live with courage, trust and openness.

Ever generous God, hear our prayer.

                                                    We ask this through Jesus Christ. Amen.


7 AugustFeast of St Mary of the Cross McKillop Liturgy
14 August

2020 HSC Dance Exam

Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary Mass

17 - 31 August Trial HSC Exams
18 AugustYear 7 & 10 Vaccinations
18 - 21 AugustScience Week
28 AugustYear 11 Society & Culture India Day
4 SeptemberFathers Day Liturgy
9 - 18 SeptemberYear 11 Exams
22 September

Year 12 Formal lessons conclude

Mass & Presentation

23 September

Year 12 Semester 2 Reports Distributed

25 SeptemberTerm 3 Concludes

From the Assistant Principal

My child has been involved in an online safety incident — what can I do?

As a parent or carer, you know your child better than anyone and have the best opportunity to guide them to have positive online experiences. If your child has been involved in an online incident (as a target, instigator or bystander), it is important that you work together with the school to provide your child with the support they need. It can be distressing to learn that your child is being cyberbullied, has been exposed to inappropriate content or is using technology inappropriately but it is important to focus on their wellbeing. It’s best to not engage with the incident online — instead, stay calm, positive and focused on finding solutions. 

When an online safety incident occurs, school staff will help you work through an incident response procedure, which is underpinned by our policies and guidelines in addition to eSafety advice. If you have an issue with the school, make sure that you raise it through the appropriate complaint procedures. 

1. Focus on wellbeing

Check in regularly with your child and your child’s Learning Mentor. Regardless of whether your child was the target, instigator or bystander in the incident, it is likely that they will require emotional support. If your child has used technology inappropriately, support them to take responsibility for their actions and give them ideas to resolve the issue. If you feel your child is in immediate danger or at risk of harm, call Triple Zero (000) and stay with them until they are safe. Seek professional help if your child is distressed or shows changes in behaviour or moods, remembering that organisations such as Kids’ Helpline and Beyond Blue can help. Maintain contact with the school so we can work together to support your child. 

2. Communicate with the school. 

Make a list of questions that you want to discuss with us and use this to guide conversation. Check if your child has questions as well, or if they have any ideas on how to resolve the issue or repair the harm. Throughout the process it is important that communications are calm and positive, focussing on addressing the issues and supporting your child. You might like to ask us to watch out for concerning behaviours. Keep in regular contact with us, making set times to meet with your child's Learning Mentor, school counsellor and, if needed, the Head of Wellbeing or Assistant Principal.

3. Access support. 

We can provide support in a number of ways, (Pastoral Care, Counselling, our Family/School Liaison Officer or if you wish, access to a Police Liaison Officer). Draw on your own support network too, and make sure to seek help for yourself if you need it. The eSafety website also includes a list of counselling and support services that can help anyone involved in an online safety incident. This list can be filtered by audience (including parents), the type of support required or issue.

4. Upskill.

eSafety has a range of information for Parents and Carers including skills and advice to help you talk to your child about online safety issues including cyberbullying, online pornography, sending nudes and online gaming.

Mr Ken Wolffe

Assistant Principal

From the Head of Mission

Feast of our Australian Saint - St Mary of the Cross MacKillop (8 Aug)

St Mary of the Cross MacKillop is not only a significant person to the Church but also the makeup of our education system today as she promoted the dignity of every human person and their right to an education during a time that did not embrace this truth. Her life can be celebrated in many facets, but I’d like to highlight her as a friend of the battlers as we endure the challenges of our changed reality in this pandemic. I’ve included a reflection below:

Mary’s personal experience of a troubled family life equipped her well with the capacity to understand the day to day struggles of ordinary people to make sense of life, to find employment so that families would be cared for and so that they could live with dignity. In her efforts to be with and support the poor families and individuals with whom she came in contact, Mary showed a deep understanding and love that also helped her to keep going with many of the difficulties and battles she experienced in her own life. 

Mary’s love for children grew out of her experience of loving and caring for her brothers and sister, whom she loved dearly. Her concern was to let them know they were valued and loved and could make good choices in their lives. In her work of educating children, Mary showed in practical ways that children were essential members of society. She also taught compassion and a way of being of service to the poor, out of great love and respect for those in any need. 

Please join the St Agnes community and me in praying for the spirit of our St Mary of the Cross MacKillop to inflame in us more understanding, more trust, more compassion to those in our circles who need to see love through our simple acts of kindness.

The Agnes Mission (Trial of the Draft RE Curriculum) Update

A very exciting journey is underway for our Year 9 students in Mrs Othman’s and Mr Sadsad’s RE classes as they embark on the trial for the Draft RE Curriculum. This term the classes explore the question “Why is care for our common home a moral imperative?” and have engaged in inquiry based learning and contemplative exercises that will enable them to find an answer to this question using their own experiences to challenge their current worldview. Our students may have already discovered the different approach their teachers are taking to harness deeper knowledge about the learning as the thinking process is facilitated with careful consideration of every person’s faith formation.

Since the beginning of the year, our RE teachers have also begun their formation in the Draft RE Curriculum, as we deepen our understanding of the 3H Paradigm, that is the Head, Heart and Hands. At St Agnes, we have named this as the St Agnes Way of Being and Becoming and use this diagram to illustrate our mission as forming minds and hearts to know, love and serve God through the example of Jesus. The RE teachers are very excited to walk on this faith journey with our students as we re-envision the purpose of RE. In Week 8, all St Agnes teachers will formally join us on this learning journey.

St Agnes FAM Update

This year we have launched the re-envisioned name to capture the mission of St Agnes Catholic mission now known as St Agnes FAM, that stands for Faith is Alive in Me. The St Agnes FAM is categorised into five areas we have identified as our mission focus. As the name suggests, we all belong to God’s family and so our St Agnes pillars guide us to remember that we belong to one another and the dignity of every person in our St Agnes community is above all the most important.

Yarn In

With the success of our Squares for Squares project and donation of beautifully made blankets to the Wash House Women’s Refuge in Mt Druitt last term, we have extended this opportunity to create a group that meets twice a week to learn and teach each other how to knit or crochet. 

The purpose of our Yarn In group is to create a safe and supportive space for our students to come together, learn new skills, meet other students through knitting squares with the purpose of creating more blankets for our local community. This is also a pathway to support the activism campaign of the Blacktown City Council in bringing awareness to domestic violence in the installation of knitted squares around the trees in the Blacktown precinct. 

We have received an overwhelming response from teachers and students who have willingly and enthusiastically joined in to create a safe and calming space to connect and work towards a shared mission. I’d like to say a very big thank you to all staff and students who have generously given their recess and lunch break to be a part of this wonderful group. I look forward to seeing even more students involved and the squares in the near future.

Young Christian Students - Information Session

Last Thursday, the YCS leaders Joleanne Magallanes, Jon Timbol, Melos Kebede, Amarra Bumactao and Heleana Soriano held a YCS Information Session to invite students to join St Agnes YCS. We had 30 new members join this student-led social justice group that aims to create a safe yet active space for students to discuss issues important to them by using the See, Judge, Act model known as the Review of Life. Over the next few weeks, the YCS group will be meeting every Thursday lunch time and in ELP to identify their first Review of Life and this is an invitation to all students to join in and be a voice for change.

Pace e bene,

Mrs Mary Reyes

From the Head of Learning

Welcome to Term 3! It has certainly begun in earnest, and our students are making the most of the learning opportunities presented to them.

Our Inaugural Yr 12 group recently participated in Study Sessions during the July vacation period. Opportunities were provided for them to work on their Major Projects and to reinforce key learnings from the previous term. This was in the form of workshops, presentations and mock-essay style questions under timed conditions. This experience was rather valuable, and for the students who used the time appropriately, they will benefit from this in the lead-up to the Trial HSC. 

On that note, these examinations will take place from Monday 17 August until Monday 31 August. These examinations, apart from being the final in-school assessment, will allow the students to experience what the actual HSC will feel like in October and November. The timetable was issued to ALL students and their parents at the start of this term. All examinations will take place in the San Damiano Centre. Each Year 12 student will be able to achieve their personal best IF they have prepared and sought help from their teachers.

The Year 11 students are well into their final term of work before commencing their HSC in Term 4. From Wednesday 9 September until Friday 18 September, all students will sit the Final Examinations in order to qualify for their Record of School Achievement. The students are strongly encouraged to make the most of their time in class, complete the set work and see their teacher if they have any questions.

Our Year 10 students have completed their first attempt of the HSC Minimum Standards; a NESA mandated test so they can move into Stage 6 study. These tests focus on Reading, Writing and Numeracy. Further opportunities will be provided for the students later this term, and next should they require it. The students have also decided upon their subjects for Year 11 and 12 in recent weeks. At this point in time, students and parents are given the opportunity to meet with a Leader of Learning in order to discuss their selected pathway. The aim of this will be to ensure that each student selects subjects suitable for them and their personal goals.

In the next few weeks, the students in Years 8 and 9 will be given the opportunity to consider the electives they would like to study in 2021. A Handbook will be distributed, and the students will be presented with the subjects we offer on top of the Mandatory Courses in Stage 5. The students are encouraged to now think about what courses they might like to select next year and be prepared to ask clarifying questions when information is presented to them. 

Our Year 7 cohort has settled in well to life at high school, and despite the challenges that 2020 has presented, they come to school each day eager to learn. This semester they are now experiencing a different side to Technology Mandatory and also, the students have swapped from Music to Visual Art or vice versa.

Study Skills Tip for July

Multi-tasking? Myth or reality? It all depends on who you talk to…

 Ask any student and they will tell you they can multitask with ease. Do homework, watch TV, listen to music and check their phone all at the same time, no problem. Ask the academic researchers though and a different story emerges.

 Dr Larry Rosen, Professor of Psychology at California State University, explains that what is actually occurring in this ‘multi-tasking’ is ‘task switching’. Instead of doing two things at once, students are actually switching their focus from one task to another and back again, in a parallel fashion, at high speed, resulting in them staying on task for an average of only 65% of the time period and for a maximum of only 3-5 minutes at a time. Constant task-switching results in it taking much longer to complete the individual tasks not just due to the interruptions, but also because there are delays as the brain switches between tasks and refocuses.  This brief bottleneck in the prefrontal cortex delays the start of the next task and the more intense the distraction, the longer it will take the brain to react.

 A study conducted by Dr Rosen’s team sent varying numbers of text messages to students in a lecture then tested the students on the content of the lecture. The results were surprising, it was not the number of interruptions that negatively impacted results, it was the time taken by the students to react to the interruptions. Students who responded immediately performed worst on the tests. Those who considered when to check the message and respond (ie in a part of a lecture they deemed less relevant) performed significantly better.

 What we can learn from this is that students need to become more aware of their ‘task-switching’ and make conscious decisions as to when they choose to shift their focus – instead of being enslaved by their technology and at its constant beck and call. We need to teach students that this constant mental task shifting (even thinking about the technology has the same effect as actually checking the technology) takes oxygen and brain activity away from what they are learning. We need to convince our students that it is ok and even necessary to wait, that they don’t have to respond immediately and do have the ability to delay their check-in with the cyber world. It is all about learning that we can control our selective attention and choose to ignore distractions.

We need to train the brain to stop thinking constantly about technology. However, resistance for too long can create anxiety and a fear of missing out, creating ‘continuous partial attention’ in students as oxygen is diverted to activate and maintain thoughts about social media at the expense of classroom material.

Dr Rosen’s team has determined the best approach for students who find it difficult to pull back from their technology devices is to set an alarm on their phone for short regular ‘tech breaks’. They may start with 15 minutes and gradually increase this amount over time to around 30 minutes. The phone will be face down on their desk on silent mode or off, and when the alarm rings they let themselves check messages and status updates for a minute or two, then set the alarm again. Dr Rosen’s studies found that knowing they can check in 15 minutes creates less anxiety, whereas depriving them of the phone completely did not stop them thinking or obsessing about possible e-communications which took away from their ability to focus fully on their homework. It all comes back to teaching the concept of focus.

 Finally, Dr Rosen argues that we cannot simply remove technology and other distractions; they are too intricately woven into students' daily lives. Instead, students should learn metacognitive skills to help them understand when and how to switch their attention between multiple tasks or technologies.

 Visit the Dealing with Distractions unit at to learn more about managing your distractions.

 Our school’s access details are:

 Username: stagnes

Password: 24success

Mr. G. Kemmis

Head of Learning

Around the Classrooms

Visual Arts

Year 12 Visual Arts students have been busy progressing on their Body of Works. As part of the HSC assessment for Visual Arts. This practice demonstrates their understanding of artmaking. Students have developed ideas and concepts around a theme of their choosing.

They have autonomy over the interpretation of their chosen subject and use of expressive forms.  It has been an adventurous journey to be involved in their progress as they evolve their practice in both concepts and through the use of applicable materials and techniques. There is still time to refine and harness their practice.

The CAPA faculty is positive and proud of the learning curve that has taken place through their artistic practice and the resilience many have shown in these unpredictable times.

 Watch this space as our very first cohort in Stage 6 Visual Arts continue to refine their practice in their Body Of Works.

 Yours Creatively

Ms A Reemst

CAPA Leader of Learning

Staedtler Art Competition 2020

Towards the end of Term 2, Year 7 and Year 8 Visual Art students were invited to enter the Staedtler Secondary School Art Competition 2020. The competition required students to create a piece of artwork using Staedtler products and offered various cash prizes for the winners. 

Three students from St Agnes entered the competition creating some wonderful works of art, in Year 7 Ruby O'Keefe and in Year 8, Bronte Norris and Emma Zielinski. 

You can vote for these works through the following links:

Ruby O'Keefe:

Bronte Norris:

Emma Zielinski:

We are proud of the work and effort of these young artists and please support them by voting!

Mr Zucco



UNSW Sydney opened its early conditional offer round to Years 11 and 12 students as part of the UNSW Gateway Admissions Pathway and Program, providing a new pathway to university for students from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds and who attend targeted Gateway schools in NSW. The Winter program launched during the school break in July for Year 12 students and will be followed by the Spring program in September for Year 11 students.

As of Term 2 2020 St Agnes Catholic High School became one of the selected UNSW GATEWAY schools which means that students will be offered the following opportunities:
• Participate in intensive HSC revision and exam preparation workshops • Discover faculty and degree choices available at university 
• Take part in academic study and uni preparation workshops
• Connect with Ambassadors and find out their tips and tricks for surviving the HSC and staying on track 
• Access study hub and HSC subject revision delivered by InspirED 
• Receive 1:1 assistance in applying UNSW Gateway, our early conditional offer pathway. 

ATAR Information

Students,Please take note of the following deadlines.

It is important to note that students can create their UAC applications without paying the $70. You can select the option of BPay and then go on to add preferences and begin applications. Once they pay the money, then preferences will be officially sent to the Universities by UAC.

ATAR Information


ATARs this year will be released at 1pm on Friday 18 December – the same day as HSC results. You can login to the UAC website from 9am. 

This is so students will have all the information they need on the day to make their future study decisions and have more time to finalise their preferences for December Round 2 (read 'Offer rounds for Year 12 students' below).


UAC is once again operating its ATAR Enquiry Centre for students who have queries about the calculation of their ATAR.


A REMINDER that students need to download and print their ATAR Advice Notices when ATARs are released in December. They only have free access until February; after that, they will be charged $55 for a digital or printed copy.

UAC Information


All 2020 NSW HSC and ACT Year 12 applicants had their UAC PIN emailed to them in April this year. For students who have not yet applied through UAC, we'll be sending a PIN reminder email on Monday 21 September. 


The most important offer rounds for Year 12 students are:

·       Round 1 – Saturday 19 December 2020

·       Round 2 – Sunday 3 January 2021

Not all courses will be offered in December Round 2, and applicants should check UAC’s website for details of excluded courses before they finalise their course preferences.

Students whose results are not available in time for December Round 2 can be assured that they will not be disadvantaged – universities will still have places available to make offers to all courses in January.

If you are applying through UAC please note the deadline for the $69 payment is fast approaching - 30 Sept. After this date the same service will cost you $200!!

ACARA Collection Student Background Data Notice:

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) collects data from schools to determine the Index of Community Socio-educational Advantage (ICSEA). CEDP is currently working to provide relevant details to the Catholic Education Commission of NSW.  Data collected is de-identified of personal information.

Parents and caregivers must advise their school if they don’t want their child's data included in this report by 28 August 2020

Copies of Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) Standard Collection Notice and Privacy Policy can be obtained from the school office.

Tell Them From Me Survey

In the coming weeks we will be inviting students, teachers and parents to provide feedback on their experience of our school using an online survey. The surveys are an important part of our whole school evaluation and planning process.

 We would like to invite you to complete the Tell Them From Me (TTFM) Partners in Learning survey. As we value the role of parents and carers within our school community we would greatly appreciate your feedback. The information you provide will be used to maintain our commitment to working together in partnership to further improve student learning and wellbeing at St Agnes

 The survey is anonymous and will take approximately 20 minutes to complete. You are able to access the parent survey on your computer or mobile device by using the URL below:

Uniform Policy

A student’s sense of belonging and identity is aided by wearing a school uniform. Pride in the school is often demonstrated by the manner in which a student wears the school uniform.

Correct school uniform is to be worn travelling to and from the school, while at the school and at any formal occasion designated by the Principal. The school uniform should at all times be clean and neat.

All St Agnes uniform articles other than shoes socks and tights must be purchased from School Uniform Shop.

Girls UniformBoys Uniform
School skirt  (below the knee length; mid calf)

School grey trousers

St Agnes school blouseSt Agnes short sleeved shirt, tucked in

Opaque black tights

 (Navy turn over socks are optional in Terms 1 & 4)

Standard dark socks

Standard polished black lace up school shoes 

(no elevated heels)

Standard polished black lace up school shoes
School blazer (Term 2 & 3 plus formal occasions)School blazer (Term 2 & 3 plus formal occasions)
School jumper (optional) Only permitted under school blazer to and from schoolSchool jumper (optional) Only permitted under school blazer to and from school
Plain black scarf (optional, in Terms 2 & 3 only) Plain black scarf (optional, in Terms 2 & 3 only)
Plain black gloves  (optional, in Terms 2 & 3 only)Plain black gloves  (optional, in Terms 2 & 3 only)
St Agnes school tie

School black belt

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