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Connecti ns Volume 1 • April 2016

Healthy Minds Healthy Bodies Focus on Project Active

Nature & Learning The Benefits of Green Time

The Art of Belonging

Positive Relationships Matter

Leading Edge


Campus Highlights


Past Connections


Staff News

Nature and Learning – Is There a Link? Updates to the Outdoor Education Program Year 12 Expeditions have been etched into Hillbrook lore since the first intrepid Seniors entered Lamington National Park back in 1991. This student-led, rich task successfully wrapped up 5 years of Outdoor Education. Judging by the stories and reflections of students on their return and of our graduates at reunions, this formed a powerful learning event and significant achievement of many.

A note from the Principal Deep learning has never been about a narrow focus on learning in the classroom. It’s more a balance between the physical, spiritual, intellectual and social aspects of our lives. This edition of Connections focuses on healthy minds, healthy bodies, the connection between these and the benefits to all of us. We explore this mind-body connection through articles on the benefits of exercise, outdoor education, social connection and the impact of a healthy diet on growth and learning. We also highlight our reimagined Project Active program, designed to provide opportunities for physical, social and intellectual pursuits, as well as connecting our students with communities in Australia and around the world. - Geoff Newton, Principal.

Pomegranate. Cover art by current Year 12 student Eleanor Rogers. Still life pastel drawing produced in Year 10 Art.

Andrew Devenish Outdoor Education Coordinator The idea that learning for school students equates to engagement in the classroom is often taken for granted. The school curriculum abounds with content and process to cover. Maximising time engaged inside seems like common sense and there is little doubt that this approach will continue in schools as high-stakes testing prevails in Queensland. Many schools actively minimise excursions and time students spend away from their desk, so it is hard not to notice that a lot of the photos Hillbrook publishes have students away from their desks and in the great outdoors. What is the rationale for students exploring Kedron Brook to collect water samples, camping at Mt Barney to learn about resource management, or having time out on an isolated coastal headland to gaze out to sea and think? Why encourage students to spend time in and interact with natural places? Can nature enhance learning? Ecological Intelligence Psychologist and author Daniel Goleman, in his book Eco Literate, eloquently builds on his ground breaking and bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence. He suggests ecological intelligence as an equal to social and emotional intelligence and an essential part of our ‘universal intelligence’. According to Goleman, many of the environmental challenges humanity now faces could be better met if the next generation of leaders develop two core dispositions. The first is affective empathy, or the development of compassion towards all forms of life. The second is cognitive empathy, or systems thinking, to understand how nature supports life. As in any relationship, things are easier if you spend time with each other. It seems apparent that for humans to build better relationships with nature, spending time with nature is a great first step. 2

Place-based Education With the Kedron Brook running along Hillbrook’s boundary, what better place to make the study of catchments real? Place-based education differs from environmental education as ‘history, folk culture, social problems, economics, and aesthetics of the community and its environment are all on the agenda’ (Sobel 2004). Whilst it is problematic to limit measurement of what good education is solely to test scores, it is interesting to note the impressive positive changes in students’ academic results at US schools that have adopted pedagogy responsive to place, or ‘using the river as a text book.’ Being Outside - Just Good for Your Mind Humans are hard wired to spend time in nature. The power of nature to reduce stress levels is well documented with recent research turning to questions of how much nature and how often? John Medina’s manual on how to help your brain thrive lists exercise as particularly useful and stress as an impediment to learning. It is therefore not surprising that recent research has found the positive effects of exercise can be further enhanced if that exercise is undertaken within green spaces. While there is much for us to learn about the brain, the science of learning and the benefits of human and nature interaction, social commentator Hugh McKay leaves this aside and positions our desire to connect with nature as fundamental. He warns that failure to connect with nature can lead to an unhealthy overcompensation of another desire – to control. ‘As goals, power and money are much easier to grasp than the notion that planting a garden, or walking along a beach, or gazing at the stars, might actually save your sanity.’ Sobel, D. (2004). Place-based education: connecting classrooms and communities. Orion MA USA.


There has been a great deal of thought as we introduce some changes to the Senior Outdoor Education program in 2016. These changes, which will be fully realised by 2017, have been stimulated by the addition of Year 7s at Hillbrook. The inclusion of a new year level has prompted us to review the flow of Outdoor Education throughout the school. In 2016, Year 11 Students will complete a self-directed student expedition, as Year 12 students traditionally have. By the time the Year 7 cohort enters Year 11, this expedition will occur at the culmination of 5 years of Outdoor Education. As these students move through to Year 12 they will be involved in planning and undertaking a program of low impact, nature based recreation, similar to the traditional Year 11 program. This modification will allow students (who are soon to be 6 months older than they are currently) to interact with nature in a way that is age appropriate and best suits them. The other significant change, to be introduced in 2017, is a multi-modal journey based program for Year 9 students.

Project Active Steps Up a Gear Mike Gillard

Co-curricular activities are integral to a student’s broader physical, social and emotional growth. Hillbrook’s co-curricular program, Project Active, provides the opportunity for our community to develop the skills, dispositions and social capacities to promote wellbeing, belonging and positive relationships. In 2016, Project Active offers a range of healthy, purposeful, communitylinked activities that engage and include Hillbrook’s diverse range of students, staff and extended families. The program incorporates individual, team, competitive and recreational activities that not only promote physical activity, but also offer opportunities for students and parents to connect with others. The range of activities offered is extensive; from aerobics to surfing, barista training to orienteering and robotics to AFL training. A full and current list is available on the school website. Across the lifespan, recreation and sport are essential elements of healthy, active lifestyles. Project Active seeks to strengthen a student’s pathway for lifelong participation in healthy pursuits and to provide meaningful, enriching experiences for their present stage of development. Project Active is not simply about duplicating the important and popular experiences already provided in the wider community, sports. Rather it offers key activities to strengthen participation in and pathways to sporting and other active community programs. It also enhances the vital support role that parents play in promoting further involvement of their

Activate Your Brain We all know there is a relationship between healthy minds and healthy bodies. Scientific exploration into the mind-body connection has come a long way in the last decade. There has been substantive research into the link between gut microbes, the immune system and neurons and this has provided greater insight into Autism, Auto-Immune and Parkinson’s disease. Everyone can benefit from understanding more about the mindbody connection. Recent studies have shown that exercise (along with reduced stress, good diet and a sense of connectedness) may lengthen our telomeres and increase our lifespan. Telomeres are the little protective caps that sit at the end our DNA and protect our genetic data as cells divide. Each time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter. By switching to healthier lifestyle habits we can actually increase our telomere length, reducing our risk of chronic diseases and increasing our lifespan. Not all exercise is equal! Researchers have also found that different forms of exercise bring specific mental improvement:

son or daughter in healthy, community driven activities outside of school. Whether parents are coaching their son/daughter’s team or running the chook raffle, parental input at the grassroots club level is essential for the viability of sporting organisations. Hillbrook intentionally does not offer regular weekend inter school sport and encourages family participation in community sport and all the benefits this has to offer. All Project Active activities are run by Hillbrook staff and parents or instructors from local community organisations. One of our planned activities is the gymnastics program, run by Robert, a Level 2 Coach from Mitchelton Gymnastics. This program runs over 6 weeks, at Hillbrook, from 7am to 8am on Monday mornings. After completing the course, students (with the involvement of their parents) have the opportunity to continue at the local club. Sport, recreation and community minded activities all play an equal role in balanced student growth and development. As such, in 2017, Project Active will grow another limb. An international humanitarian aid project is currently under development in which students, parents and teachers will be offered the opportunity to experience, first hand, the satisfaction of providing basic needs to people in a developing country. It is anticipated that a team of approximately 20 will visit Cambodia, where in conjunction with a local foreman, they will build from scratch a dwelling for a deserving local family. By providing students with a range of involvement motivators, we aim to sustain their lifelong involvement in, not only physical activity, but also positive community action.

Lifting weights assists complex thinking, multi-tasking and reasoning Yoga Integrates thoughts and emotions and reduces fear and anxiety Surfing helps to improve working memory

Dance boosts creativity High Intensity Intervals & Interval Sprints assists appetite regulation, cravings and addiction Aerobic Exercise improves memory Sports Drills improves attention and visual-spatial processing



There’s a Place For Me Here A growing body of research highlights a strong link between a sense of belonging and connectedness in adolescents and their psychological well-being. Our brains are hard wired to protect us. Since the beginning of time our survival has been reliant on cooperation, on being accepted into a like-minded tribe or community. One of our most basic and primitive human instincts is to continually scan for acceptance and rejection. Every point of connection within our community adds to our overall sense of belonging and well-being. In fact, research has found that general belongingness may be one of the strongest independent predictors of adolescent depressive symptoms. How do we apply this knowledge to daily life at Hillbrook and in supporting adolescent learning and development? We make observations. Our teachers look for opportunities to support belongingness within the classroom and look for signs of disconnection in students. We value communication, fun and engagement. Teachers are transparent about the importance of belonging for everyone. Through initiatives such as ‘Talk to a Friend Thursday’, we encourage students to find out more about each other and to strengthen and build connections. Hillbrook’s Outdoor Education program also provides different learning environments for students to interact, participate, support and be supported. QUT’s Elizabeth Parr recently completed an Honours thesis on School Connectedness, General Belongingness and Depressive Symptoms in an Adolescent Community Sample. Elizabeth, along with Prof. Ian Shocket and Hillbrook’s School Counsellor, Catie Dunlop, will be sharing insight from this research at the upcoming Education Advisory Committee (EAC) Parent Evening on 24 May 2016. We encourage Hillbrook parents, with students enrolled or currently attending, to watch the website calendar for this event, RSVP and come along to find out more.

Hillbrook Tuckshop Embraces Whole Food Approach A number of recent Australian studies have shown that young adults are not eating the recommended daily amount of breads and cereals (at least five serves every day) and vegetables (at least four serves every day) for their age. It has been found that fruit consumption goes down in the adolescent years and saturated fat and sugar consumption is higher for adolescents than any other age group. These findings have made our Tuckshop team even more committed

to the delivery of healthy whole foods, using fresh, minimally-processed ingredients. The Hillbrook Tuckshop has welcomed new staff in 2016, including a new Tuckshop Co-Convenor and trained Chef, Muriel Winch and a Casual Tuckshop Assistant, Kim Garthwaite. Kim is a former Hillbrook parent and clinical nutritionist. Along with assisting in food preparation, Kim has been providing the team with nutrition advice to formulate new menu items.

Parents Outdoor Program The Parents Outdoor Program (POP) is now in its 13th year and continues to grow. POP is an outdoor education program designed specifically for parents of students at Hillbrook to sample the outdoor experiences we offer. The program supports Hillbrook’s belief in a balanced and community based approach to education. Here’s what parents have to say about the program: ‘What a great opportunity to meet some of the parents and see what fun our kids are having in the outdoor education sessions. Imagine taking a few minutes to sit back in your canoe on a quiet creek with your eyes closed, listening to the sounds

Many new items, including gluten free options, have been trialled by students and staff in first term before a healthier and delicious new menu is introduced later in the year. So far, in Term 1 the Tuckshop has trialled (all gluten free): nut free pesto pasta, brown rice quinoa salad, chicken and pesto pizza clouds, bliss balls, cranberry and quinoa salad, blueberry and lemon muffins and raspberry muffins. The highlight of the week has been Frittata Friday!

of nature, birds chirping, trickling of the creek running downstream and to enjoy the benefits of a healthy body and mind.’ (Michael Hartwig) ‘I participated in a weekend of sea kayaking to Bribie Island in 2014. It was a great weekend across many dimensions - meeting like-minded people, seeing a fantastic part of our beautiful (and very close) waterways, and getting a real appreciation of what our sons and daughters are experiencing through this program.’ (Mark Hairsine) ‘The Hillbrook POP is a really good chance to take time out from being a working parent and to engage with nature.’ (Judith Meiklejohn) Come along and experience our program for yourself. More information about the POP can be found on our website. - Simon Roberts (POP Coordinator)



The Leading Edge

Chairperson Awards

Global Integrity Summit The 2015 Global Integrity Summit, held in October at Griffith University South Bank, provided our students, Lulu O’Brien, Eleanor Rogers, Mel Bridge, Georgia Walker, Kate Graham and Claudia Homan, along with Geography Coordinator, Jottie Nagle, an excellent opportunity to consider some of our greatest global challenges. On the first day of the summit the issues of human rights, human security and new sustainable development goals were all highlighted. A highlight for the group was speaking to

We recently honoured the Semester 2, 2015 Chairperson of School Board Award recipients at a school ceremony. Our guest for the morning was Rob Seljak, the Chair of the Hillbrook School Board, who spoke on values-based leadership. Congratulations to all our award recipients.

Professor Gillian Trigg, during the lunch break, about her role as the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission. Additionally, in her speech, Dr Attiya Waris, (a Senior Advisor to the Tax Justice Network) emphasised how important it is to never underestimate the role of young people in moving forward with global leadership. This group of students are working together in 2016 to revise the role of Green Justice in our Hillbrook community. – Jottie Nagle

The Innovation Cell is Launched This new co-curricular initiative provides an opportunity for students to extend their thinking. Every Thursday afternoon sees the Library in a hive of activity as students, across all year levels, work collaboratively to solve a series of everyday problems. One element of the program, robotics, teaches students how to use inputs from a robot’s sensors and to use their own continually developing coding skills to achieve set task-based outcomes. The Innovation Cell provides students with the ‘future skills’ necessary to solve increasingly more complex real world problems and to make a difference in the lives of others.

It’s a White Wash Congratulations to all the teams that took part in this year’s swimming carnival and to the winning team - White!

Video Game Thinking Science Day Retrospective

On 24 July last year, Thinking Science Australia held a Professional Learning Day at Hillbrook, attended by teachers from Hillbrook and from other Brisbane schools. The session was conducted by Tim Smith who has worked with Thinking Science in Britain and also here in Brisbane. During the session, the group analysed and developed lesson plans around the 5 pillars of Thinking Science: Concrete Preparation, Cognitive Conflict, (Social) Construction, Meta-cognition and Bridging. The Thinking Science Program supports the cognitive acceleration of students not only in Science, but also in Mathematics and English. The program started at Hillbrook in Year 7 in 2015 and in 2016 both Year 7 and Year 8 students have Thinking Science lessons once a fortnight. – Ginnese Johnstone

From the early days of 1980s arcades, filled with pinball machines and Space Invaders cabinets, to the current generation of powerful home consoles and PCs, video games have come a long way. In 2011 and 2015, Hillbrook Modern History and Global Studies Teacher, Patrick Standfast, along with history staff and 40+ Hillbrook students traveled to Europe. In East Berlin, they visited a small videogame museum called the Computerspielemuseum. The students were enthralled and Patrick was inspired to set up a similar exhibit at Hillbrook. During three weeks of Term 1 2016, a Gaming Retrospective was held at Hillbrook; an interactive exhibition of videogame history from the late 1970s until the early 2000s. The exhibit included 17 playable consoles and one arcade machine, from Patrick’s collection. – Patrick Standfast 8


The Leading Edge

New Website and Newsletter

Our new school website was launched on 12 February 2016. In addition to a fresh look and feel, we hope you find the site easier to view across different platforms (iPads, phones, PCs). The Hillbrook Newsletter has also been updated and diverts directly to a card style ‘snapshot’ of the week’s stories on our website, rather than a PDF, making it easier to read and view photo galleries when out and about. The new website events calendar also allows families to download individual events, from the whole school calendar, directly to their calendar (iPhone or GoogleCal) at the click of a button. Parents can still download calendars, in their entirety, from Parent Lounge.

News From the Past every year and critically acclaimed bands coming from all over the word to play the event, it’s perhaps the most exciting and challenging project I have been involved with so far. If I had any advice it would be to dream big and work hard. Find good people to collaborate with and learn from everyone along the way.’

Welcoming In The New School Year

Date Claimers & Important Dates!


‘It took me a while to realise what I really wanted to do. Or more accurately - it took me a while to believe it was possible. That said, the twists and turns along the way are all formative and if I had my time over I wouldn’t change that path. Starting with a degree in Social Work, Majoring in Community Development from UQ, I worked in homelessness support and refugee settlement and did work experience projects in Thailand and Kenya in the first few years out of Hillbrook. At the same time I worked in bars and music venues in Brisbane. As well as learning about the music industry I wrote and recorded a solo album which I released in 2008. The record was well received and I toured nationally as an independent artist. In 2011 I had the opportunity to start working as a booking agent for a local venue called Black Bear Lodge (co-owned by fellow Hillbrook Graduate Jeremy Virag). In that role I began to realise that working in the music industry was what I loved most. While booking that venue I started a band called HOLY HOLY. Upon releasing a few singles, we were picked up by Sony Entertainment Worldwide as well as taking on a great manager and agents in Australia, the UK, Europe and the US. We’ve now released our debut album, toured Europe twice and played shows all over the country. In 2013 I started a music festival with my old friend Dan Rooke. A festival Called PANAMA is now heading into its fourth year. With sell-outs

1000km trek from Picton to Queenstown in New Zealand. Unfortunately, 400km into his journey, Lachlan had to stop due to a knee injury. He is due to have his knee operated on and looks forward to completing the total 3000km Te Araroa Trail, from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the south, after his recovery. You can view his trek story at

(Timothy Carroll graduated from Hillbrook in 2001. He now lives in north-east Tasmania with his wife and child. In addition to the projects mentioned, he programs for Museum of Old and New Art: Festival Of Music and Art aka MONA’s DARK MOFO).

The school has acquired the artwork (pictured above) by current Griffith animation student and 2015 Hillbrook graduate, Tessa Favel. It celebrates all the key characters of the 2014 The Beauty and the Beast musical. There is also a ‘Where’s Wally?’ secret appearance. The artwork is on display in the foyer before it takes pertinent place within the school.

Lachlan Smeed (2011 Hillbrook graduate) recently embarked on a 11

Samantha De Waard (nee Davison) attended Hillbrook between 1998 and 2002. After Hillbrook she completed her Bachelor of Science and then trained further in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Samantha is now a parttime Senior Medical Sonographer living in Brisbane and a devoted mum to her two baby girls.

Kaitlin Hartley graduated from Hillbrook in 2013. She is currently in her 3rd year at the Australian Catholic University studying a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary) and loving it. In between study and socialising, Kaitlin works for Ozcare, assisting the disadvantaged and elderly. In 2015, Kaitlin traveled around Thailand, Singapore and South Africa with her partner.

News From the Staff Room Congratulations to Sally Thatcher, who announced the safe (and very quick) arrival of Noah Patrick Thatcher, born on 12 February, at 6lb 7oz. Everyone is happy and well, including two doting siblings!

Congratulations to Emily Smart who welcomed Stuart Patrick Smart on Friday 15 January at 8am.

Welcome to Muriel Winch, our new Tuckshop Co-Convenor.

We have welcomed a number of new staff to Hillbrook this year. From left to right: Rita Freer (Contract Mathematics Teacher) has been teaching for over 20 years in both the private and state systems. Most recently she was teaching at Runcorn State High School and prior to that was at Brisbane School of Distance Education for many years. Rowena Long (Term 1 Contract Chemistry and Junior Science Teacher) joined the Hillbrook community to teach Chemistry and Junior Science while Kari Francis was on long-service leave. Her background is as a scientist and a Weed Seed Physiologist. She has come to teaching with a love of all things science and learning. Kristy Boyle (Permanent Teacher Aide/ Admin Support Officer) previously

worked for 13 years at a local primary school. She is Brissie born and bred, happily married with two adult children. She and her family love the beach and the occasional sneaky trip to Melbourne. Kathy Towler (Contract Mathematics Teacher) has worked full-time in many schools in a variety of Mathematics Curriculum positions. She has been working yearly contracts and taking time off to travel for the past 3 years. Melinda Kanowski (Permanent Health and Physical Education Teacher) studied Human Movement Studies and Education at QUT (Majoring in HPE and Biology) and is passionate about helping others to enjoy being physically active. She comes to us from St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School.

The Addams Family school musical was a huge success. The show ran to sell-out crowds for four performances, from Wednesday 9 March to Saturday 12 March. Well done to all the cast, crew, parents, teachers and staff on a tremendous effort and fabulous result.

Hillbrook Anglican School 45 Hurdcotte Street Enoggera QLD 4051 PO Box 469 Everton Park QLD 4053 T: +61 7 3354 3422 F: +61 7 3354 1057 E: W:

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Connections Magazine - April 2016  
Connections Magazine - April 2016