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28 November 2019 A fond farewell after 25 years of support At the end of this year, the St James the Apostle School community will say farewell to someone who has become an important pillar of our school family. After 25 years of service to the community, Regina McGinn has announced her retirement from full-time work and her role as Learning Diversity Leader. Although the role has changed name over the years, along with changes in the educational landscape, the focus has always remained - giving every child the support they need to fully flourish in their time at our school. Generations of families have relied on Regina to access the services needed to help their children with additional needs, while many teachers and learning support staff have picked Regina's brain about how best to help their students achieve their best. [gallery columns="2" size="medium" link="none" ids="1958,1959,1961,1960"] I have known Regina for 20 years. Dedication, compassion, integrity and kindness are the qualities that spring to mind when I think of her. Her diligence in her work with staff, children and especially the number of families, to whom she has given so much of her time and energy, has been exemplary and she will leave an enormous legacy at St James. She has been the instigator behind so many initiatives or at least helped introduce them to her work. And they have always been for one purpose - to improve the lives of children and families for whom she cares. I remember when she decided to become an Australian citizen, declaring her love and allegiance for her not so new country, while her German heritage was and will be, never forgotten. The difficulty of living on the opposite side of the world from her parents has been a constant concern for Regina. Yet, because of her supportive husband, Paul, and due to her loyalty to the St James community, time was granted for her to care for them. Regina goes about her work quietly and does not look for accolades. She is willing to ask for help and always grateful when it is given. When she goes from St James she will be sorely missed. Joe Regina's warmth, confidence and humour, in a space that can be at times difficult and confronting, helped to make the process of identifying particular student needs and communicating them with families and professionals a compassionate experience. While she farewells the school in her current role, we will still be seeing Regina around the school as she works with students in regular art therapy sessions. Many readers will remember having a connection with Regina when you were students at St James, and your parents eagerly came in to talk to her about ways to further improve your learning. I certainly remember how dedicated and passionate she was about making learning easier and accessible for everyone all those years ago when I first arrived. Times have changed. We’ve gone from SWPs, to ILPs to PLPs; we’ve gone from Arch lever, to Blue folders to Purple files. Regina may have shifted rooms a few times to accommodate building programs, or to get away from some awful smells emanating mysteriously from somewhere; she has alternatively shivered and sweltered in her room over the years, for the comfort of other teachers and parents; she has even suffered through a series of title changes, but she has never wavered from her devotion to the welfare of students. Mind you, I don’t think in all this time anyone of us has ever pronounced her name correctly! (Hard ‘g’ not soft ‘g’ Typical Germanic exception to normal rules!) Three generations will miss Regina and her immense experience, and we teachers, past and present, express our gratitude for her wholehearted support of children at St James. Brenda It was my pleasure working with Regina. The staff, children and parents all loved to work with her and coming to visit her in her office. She always had a positive attitude and always smiled. She will be sadly missed by everyone at SJA from the staff to students. Maria Scala, past deputy principal Thanks for everything Regina and best of luck in this new journey! Read More
26 November 2019 Here, there, everywhere: Term 4 learning experiences Learning doesn't just happen in learning spaces at school! A number of our students have been engaging in learning in a variety of places, thanks to the excursions and incursions planned as part of inquiry learning in Term 4. Year 1 at CERES This term, our learners went on an excursion to CERES Sustainability Hub. The day included participation in a waste program that focussed on the "Rethink, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle" philosophy, which was a focus for our inquiry learning last term. This involved looking at the environmental impacts of our current practices and enlightened us on how to overcome them. The learners engaged in a River Walk where they learned about the conservation of trees and wildlife, how to sort through a variety of rubbish types and made their own recycled paper. Changes in Matter for Year 1 Earlier this term, Year 1s were immersed in learning about Chemical Science by Incursions R Us. This incursion gave our learners an opportunity to observe changes in matter and discuss why these changes took place. During our sessions, we created slime, inflated a balloon, created firework patterns in milk, and some brave learners took part in a water pressure experiment. Year 4 at Scienceworks and the Planetarium Year 4s are learning about day and night and the earth's tilt on its axis. What better place to go stargazing into space than the Planetarium! As we reclined in the best seats in the house (they also tilted, all the way backwards) we experienced a show which explored how the four seasons are caused by the tilt of the Earth's axis combined with its orbit around the Sun. We learned how the seasons and length of day vary across the Earth, from the poles to the equator. A special feature of the experience was the amazing night sky, which in the dim darkness was lit up by planets, moons and stars floating by and meteors flashing past. We located many of the constellations visible in our Southern Hemisphere and identified some of the indigenous animals and symbols outlined by connecting the stars. It was awesome. We were left wondering; Will we be able to book a flight to outer space or to our favourite planet in our lifetime? [gallery link="none" size="medium" ids="1955,1956,1957"] Year 5 at Melbourne Zoo and Melbourne Museum The Year 5 learning community visited the Melbourne Zoo. We learnt about an animal's environment and behaviour through the power of observation. This learning can help us to understand how we might help wildlife and fight extinction. Later in November, the Year 5s went to IMAX and the Melbourne Museum. At IMAX, we watched Turtle Odyssey in 3D. We learnt about species conservation, habitat destruction, life cycles and marine biology. The movie taught us about how turtles and other animals need our help to stop pollution and help save the population. At the Museum, we learnt about the earth's rocks and saw some dinosaur bones and fossils. Read More
25 November 2019 What came first? The package or the egg? Throughout this year, learners in Year 3 have been developing their understanding of how science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) can be used to solve problems. This term, learners looked at what it meant to be sustainable and economically friendly. They researched materials and types of packaging, and then used this knowledge to solve a packaging issue. Year 3s had a look at how big the packaging industry is and then discussed how much waste must come from packaging. They looked at unnecessary packaging, like how some apples can come in a plastic tray and plastic wrapping! The learners spoke about different materials that would be suitable and then how they could be used to pack an egg, representing something fragile, into a package to be delivered safely. A delivery person will not always treat our packages with care. They engaged in a simulation of dropping the package during a delivery (maybe off a truck!) with an egg inside to test their final creation. [video width="480" height="856" mp4="" preload="auto"][/video] Learners had quite a time researching, developing, building and testing their solutions to the packaging problem. We had to protect the egg using sustainable packaging. We made a cardboard box and put leaves, grass, the egg, newspaper, sticks, feathers and paper waste. Our box was named 'The Egg Protector 6000'! When we finished it, Becky dropped it from a ladder and our egg didn't break! It was a success! (Charlotte) I created a package out of cardboard, masking tape, leaves, grass, paper, paper cups and the egg. I did this because we were to create a package that is sustainable and protective. I succeeded and the egg did not even have a crack in it. (Teagan) Read More
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