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Aspects News & Views from SMGS

Friday 9th February 2018

From the Principal Growth Mindset With students now well into their learning routine, it is timely to raise again the concept of a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset. This concept is so critical to all types of learning in life, and applies to all of us, not just ‘students’. Today I presented this concept to our Senior School students at Assembly, which they should already be familiar with, and therefore served more of a timely reminder upon return to school. (continues on next page)


From the Head of Curriculum

From the Head of Junior School

From the Head of Senior School

From the Head of Student Programs and Development

From the Head of Boarding

What’s On


From the Principal (cont.) As one example of this presentation, I suggested that students should not strive for perfection, rather for excellence. It is now well known that aiming for perfection stifles creativity and calculated risk-taking in learning, and inhibits a growth mindset. When we aspire for perfection, we have a fixed mental image of what that perfection may look like, whereas striving for excellence leaves open the possibility for continual growth; thus, the latter is much preferred. Critically, the notion of perfectionism rejects the value of making mistakes, while excellence embraces making mistakes as learning opportunities. The graphic below pinpoints some of the types of thinking in which we engage (and is best read across each corresponding statement, rather than reading down each list) and provides some indication of whether we mostly position our thinking as growth or fixed mindset.

As parents, and educators, we have probably all said to a child ‘you’re so smart’ at one time or another. This is far from ideal, because it very much promotes a fixed mindset, because we value their ‘intelligence’ as a fixed trait, rather than the effort applied, or strategies used. Naturally, it is more complex than I am articulating. However, at a surface level, by suggesting a child is smart we adversely influence their risk-taking in their learning because they don’t want to get something wrong and threaten the perception of being seen by others as ‘smart’ (which is the trait we told them we valued). I realise I have mentioned this before, and I strongly encourage all parents to read Carol Dweck’s work, and others who write prolifically on this fascinating topic. There is still so much for us to learn as educators and as parents about the way we interact with our students and children as learners. If one or more of your children is in Years 7 to 12, ask them about this concept and initiate a discussion with them – it would be interesting to hear their thoughts. As a brief sidenote, I was delighted with all our Year 7 to 12 students at our Assembly today, run by senior students, who clearly demonstrated empathy for others, support for peers, and encouragement to everyone to get involved in a range of school activities. Congratulations to all involved, as it reflects a healthy student culture and models to all students the important values we espouse as a school community. Have a wonderful weekend.

Andrew Bell Principal


From the Head of Curriculum Welcome, parents and students, to a new academic year at SMGS.

students for education, so it would seem that moderation is the key.

When I was an 11-year-old boy, I went to my local record store to buy the new single by Dave Stewart of Eurythmics – a cover of the Motown hit ‘What Becomes of the Broken Hearted’, featuring Colin Blunstone on vocals. The record store owner happily passed it over, and I remember thinking how great it was to get a full cover single, rather than the usual piece of paper with a hole in the middle (people of a certain age will know exactly what I am referring to). “$2.49 please”, said the owner. “What? Isn’t it $1.99 like all the other ones?”, I exclaimed. It wasn’t, and my excitement turned to misery, as I went home and begged Mum to give me an extra 49c so I could buy it. After some deals were made – it was never easy to get money from my parents – I was back, armed with the $2.49 I needed to complete the purchase.

It would be logical to assume that academic success is more likely if students have a high psychological wellbeing. Adler (2017) reported that studies examining this link have had varying results, but it is certainly an area that is receiving more attention in literature. Recently, Cadime et al (2016) published some very interesting results that explored the link between wellbeing and academic achievement. Higher levels of engagement were associated with higher levels of wellbeing, with vigour being associated with higher academic achievement. Thus, being engaged in studies and adopting a determined manner may lead to increases in both wellbeing and academic achievement. I would encourage students to utilise their teachers, tutors and peers to try to develop this mindset.

Of course, that is a rather simplistic summary of my teenage anxieties, but I use it to contrast the hardships that today’s teenagers must face. If I were an 11-year-old now, I might be most concerned about having a smartphone. According to a recent study, unlike the wonderful synthpop sounds of that single that still make me happy today, happiness from a smartphone is not guaranteed. A recent study by Twenge, Martin and Campbell (2018) examined a large number of US teenagers who have been surveyed regarding psychological wellbeing since the early 90s. Around 2012, the amount of students reporting they are generally happy plummeted, and the authors, though careful to state causation, suggest that it is the smartphone that is part of the issue. It is not the smartphone per se, rather the amount of screentime that students have each day. There are some very happy teenagers out there, but they use their devices, and are using social media, texting and gaming, for less time each day. Smartphones are extremely useful devices for

Next Monday 12th February, our annual Stage 6 Information Evening will take place. This is an important evening for parents and Stage 6 students, as the intricacies of the ATAR are discussed as students begin to crystallise their post-school plans. We are planning to film the event so it will accessible if you are unable to physically attend the evening. Dr Darryl Nelson Head of Curriculum

Adler A. (2017) Well-Being and Academic Achievement: Towards a New Evidence-Based Educational Paradigm. In: White M., Slemp G., Murray A. (eds) Future Directions in Well-Being. Springer, Cham Cadime I, Pinto A, Lima S, Rego S, Pereira J, Ribeiro I (2016) Well-being and academic achievement in secondary school pupils: The unique effects of burnout and engagement, Journal of Adolescence 53: 169-179 Twenge J, Martin G and Campbell K (2018) Decreases in Psychological Well-Being Among American Adolescents After 2012 and Links to Screen Time During the Rise of Smartphone Technology. Emotion January 2018.


From the Head of Junior School Welcome to our first full edition of Aspects for the year. As always, it is lovely to see everyone back and to welcome all our new families into our community. The lead-up to a new year is an exciting time as teachers finalise preparations for their class and no doubt students start to feel ready to come back, despite what they might say otherwise! I would like to welcome our new families and trust that the first two weeks of school have allowed both students and parents to feel that they have joined a caring and nurturing community. I know that the smiles on the faces of all of our new students indicates that they are certainly feeling relaxed and safe in their new school. Learning is underway in each class and currently, as staff, we are working on establishing routines within each class. You will have all received a welcome letter from your child’s class teacher outlining some important points about the year ahead specific to that class. I would like to further extend the invitation offered by each classroom teacher to make contact with the school as often as is needed for any matter. Of course, we too will initiate that contact when needed. As part of our yearly planning we are currently having our students undertake some diagnostic work that helps us develop approaches to teaching and learning that are tailored to each individual student’s needs. We look forward to sharing our approach to teaching Literacy and Numeracy with you all on our Literacy and Numeracy evening on Monday 19 February. Last week we held our first K-6 swim program session. In the past, this program has only been run for K-4. As is best practice, we reviewed our program and felt that Years 5-6 would benefit from being connected to this program too. As a team we developed a program that is tailored entirely around our Personal Development, Health and Physical Education curriculum. The result is, our entire Junior School are now in the pool at the same time under the expert tuition of the Thredbo Swim Academy. I can’t sing the praises highly enough of Laura and her team as I, along with the entire Junior School staff, witnessed a highly professional outfit take charge of our students’ learning needs in the pool. Each group was assigned an instructor on entry to the Thredbo Leisure Centre. Students were in the pool and under instruction within ten minutes of arriving. Adjustments to groupings were done seamlessly and I am confident to say that all our students enjoyed their time in the pool. We are all looking forward to our return to the pool for the next four weeks.

With our swimming carnival coming up next week on Thursday 15 February, we are confident that we have had an opportunity to assess each student’s capabilities in the pool. Clearly, water safety is the basis of any enjoyable water experience. We hope that as many of you as possible can join us as a school community next Thursday, in what is, in my estimation, one of the best days of the school year! A note to students and families of Under 10 to Under 12 swimmers: The 100 IM will be held next Tuesday lunchtime to allow the program to run to schedule on Thursday. Any student wanting to swim this event should bring their swimmers to school on that day and they will head to Jindabyne Pool with Mr Bland and Mr Philpott to swim.

Next week our K-2 students have an exciting event planned. They will meet their Year 12 buddies the day before the swimming carnival to take part in some fun activities. This event is intentionally planned for this day as it allows our youngest students an opportunity to form a relationship with their Year 12 buddy in readiness for the carnival the day after. This relationship is fostered well beyond our swimming carnival and it is not uncommon for our Year 12 students to visit the classroom of their buddy frequently throughout the year. We are proud of these connections as they are genuine and heart-felt. Our final event for next week is our Junior School Camp-Out, being held on Friday 16 February. We hope to see as many amilies as possible up at Thredbo Diggings as we come together in an informal setting. For our new families, this is a terrific way to extend the relationships that your children are forming and of course for parents to meet other parents too. From past experience, it might be worth a visit to the Diggings through the day if you can afford the time to secure your spot. As it is a public space, we can never be sure of what the crowds are doing! If the weather is looking like it’s not on our side we will communicate on the day if we need to cancel the event. In closing, I am looking forward to working with you all through the year. Thank you for allowing us to have the privilege of educating your sons and daughters in our wonderful little Junior School. Scott Frize Head of Junior School


From the Head of Senior School Welcome back to all our students and their families to the Senior School. As the Head of the Senior School, I have been very impressed at the way in which our young men and women have returned to school ready for 2018. They are organised, excited and motivated to learn, and this was most evident at our first assembly where there was a buzz about the new year. A special welcome to the new families at Snowy Mountains Grammar School. I will be writing in each Aspects on a variety of Senior School issues, and will ask the Deans of Students to contribute regularly as well. Student input will also appear on a regular basis, with reports across all areas, including the SRC. The main focus will be on wellbeing and learning across the Senior School and we will be looking to include some relevant data through student surveys and focus groups during the year. Today I am sitting at the University of Wollongong involved with Year 12 on their Discovery Day experience. I always enjoy spending the time with the HSC group, learning about their goals and aspirations for their future. What has impressed me so far with this group is their sense of fun, enthusiasm and I ntelligence. This intelligence covers all aspects: social, emotional and IQ. They care about each other, and encourage and challenge each other to be the best person they can be.

Over the past week, we have been reviewing in tutor groups the Senior School expectations document, which is published to assist new and old students understand day-to-day expectations at SMGS. This has been an opportunity to discuss what our values are surrounding dress and we have had some lively debates about some of the more subjective decisions surrounding “conservative” and fair and equitable rules. I would like to thank most of our students for their appearance, and encourage others to address the minor issues like hair, make-up and jewellery. Please remember schools establish rules for promoting good student behaviour, disciplining bad behaviour and ensuring a safe environment. Like other institutions in society, schools adopt a legal framework to establish policies and procedures fostering communication and co-operation among students and staff. School rules outline rights and responsibilities for teachers and students, including attendance expectations and processes governing absences. These include statements relating to appearance and uniform. Whilst we might not all agree with the expectations, having them applied consistently and fairly is the key element to their success. I would like to mention that all of the conversations I have had with students and parents around these issues has been welcomed and I am always happy to work with families to assist them in understanding why it is a vital element of who we are as a school. So - if we could please look at complying with the following uniform issues:  Plain grey socks (boys) - not branded  Belts (boys)      

At the University Discovery Day, we have been challenged to “Find our Why”. What a huge statement, and one I have enjoyed discussing and reflecting on. What is my purpose? The reason I teach? Why Snowy Mountains Grammar School? What is our purpose? The answers are sometimes easy to articulate, other times more difficult. They are certainly questions that I intend to reflect on over the next few weeks and use as inspiration for goal-setting in 2018.

Clean-shaven (boys) SMGS school bags – to and from school No jewellery - with the exception of one set of PLAIN studs or sleepers (girls) No visible make-up (girls) Dress length to the knee (girls) Black leather lace-up school shoes - not sports/ skate style.

Have a wonderful week ahead. Kelli Wilson


From the Head of Student Programs & Development Thank you to staff, students and parents for welcoming my family and me into the SMGS community. These first few weeks have been extremely busy and rewarding as I have discovered more about the breadth of experiences available to students at SMGS. Wednesday Sport Sport has kicked off this week with a great selection of activities for students in Years 5 to 12. These have included mountain biking, equestrian, yoga, fitness, trampolining, sailing, squash and dancing. Hopefully all students have enjoyed this opportunity to be out of the classroom and active. Swimming Carnival This is to be held at Berridale Pool on Thursday 15 February for all students K – 12. Uniform and What to Bring Students should come in their sports shorts, sandshoes and house shirts. House shirts may be purchased from the uniform shop and should be worn to all carnivals. Students should also bring swimmers, goggles, hat, towel, sunscreen, lunch and a water bottle. Swimming caps MUST be worn in the pool and SMGS will provide house caps for all swimmers. We do recommend students bring their own. Please also pack warm clothing in case of cold weather. Transport For all transport information, please refer to the swimming carnival note that was sent out via CareMonkey. Parents Parents are very welcome to join us for all or part of the day. If you would like to offer some assistance, please indicate via CareMonkey. All help is much appreciated. Events Students should all have signed up for their chosen events. Thank you to the house captains for their assistance with this task. Please note these events are all under race conditions. No aids or flotation devices are allowed. We will run non-championship events during the day for students who are less confident swimmers. Ages are taken at 31 December, 2018. Swimmers must swim in their correct age groups.

8 and 9 Years events include: 25m freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. 10 Years and Up events include: 100m freestyle and IM, 50m freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. Long-distance swimming events are held at Jindabyne Pool on alternative dates. Approximately fifty students have already participated in the 200m freestyle race. Well done to all those competitors. For students who are interested, the 200m IM is being held next Tuesday 13 February during lunch time. We look forward to a fantastic Swimming Carnival. Good luck to all competitors. Other Upcoming Events There are a number of events for which students will need to register their interest: Mountain Bike Interschools CIS Triathlon TreX Cross Triathlon Students can register directly with me or on the sign-up sheet on my office door. Year Group Camps Year 7 Camp Years 8, 9 and 10 Camps

19-22 March 26-29 March

Please keep an eye out for further information. Thredbo deal I wanted to let everyone know about a deal Thredbo have on at the moment. Enter and you can win 3 days’ worth of beginner lessons, lift passes, My Money, and Accommodation. Good luck!

Martin Philpott


From the Head of Boarding The new year has commenced with a full house, where we have welcomed thirteen new boarders. It has been a pleasure to watch our existing boarders welcome, support and guide these new students as they navigate the busy boarding schedule. We have also observed some wonderful friendships developing along the way.

house pet with several photos and messages sent to the Head of Boarding … thankfully they returned without any pets. We also enjoyed some activities on the lake, with swimming and fun on the blow-up unicorn and even a spot of fishing, where our new boarder Spedding hooked himself a trout.

Our new staff, Kerrie and Amelia, have been introduced into our busy boarding life with a warm welcome, both from boarders and the broader community. This week, as well as getting boarders back into the routine, setting up our rooms and supporting the new boarders, we have enjoyed some fun activities along the way. Each afternoon, boarders spend thirty minutes sharing some outdoor activities. We have played cricket on the beach as well as the oval, where our Head of Boarding received “player of the week” with her epic catch. Frisbee, soccer, basketball and general fun in the sun was the theme as we enjoyed the pleasant evening weather. Siobhan starred in our six-a-side soccer team game on Monday night by scoring a goal with a “header“ - very impressive!

There are many boarders enjoying activities in the broader community. This week we have supported boarders get to gym classes, Navy Cadets, Nippers, soccer, footy, yoga, swim lessons, singing lessons and netball. We devoured cakes cooked by boarders to celebrate Sarah Ryan’s birthday, and enjoyed our favourite “schnitty dinner” in the dining room.

Our weekend outing was a trip to Cooma on Saturday, where some boarders chose to do a tour of the Cooma Gaol. A very insightful and interesting tour took place, guided by one of the prisoners. There was also a visit to the local art gallery to see the latest sculpture and art exhibition, while others visited Vinnies to find some bargain clothing. Some boarders visited the pet shop and spent time trying to negotiate a boarding

With the start of school, homework is now being given out, so prep time in boarding on week-day evenings has commenced. Boarders have been productive as they settle into the new school year and focus on getting through their homework. All in all, a very busy and enjoyable week in boarding. Julie Wright Head of Boarding


What’s On Date



Week 3 Mon 12 February

Stage 6 Information Evening, 6.00-7.30pm

Tue 13th February

Swimming long-distance events, Jindabyne Pool 1.00-2.00pm

Musical rehearsal 3.45-5.45pm /

K-2/Yr 12 Buddy program /

Thurs 15th February

SMGS Swimming Carnival, Berridale Pool, 9.00am-3.15pm

Friday 16th February

Aviation Day

K-6 Swim Program, Thredbo

Junior School Campout

Junior School Campout

Sun 18 – Mon 19 February

HSC & Prelim. Music ‘Encore’ excursion, Sydney

Mon 19 February

Junior School Literacy & Numeracy info evening, 6.00-7.30p.

Musical rehearsal, 3.45-5.45pm /

Saturday 17th February

Week 4

Tues 20 February

Thurs 22 February

Fri 23 February

Fri 23 – Sun 25 February

Sat 24 February

Sat 24 – Sun 25 February

School Photos

K-6 Swim program, Thredbo /

Royal Canberra Show

ACER Scholarship examination

TreX Cross Triathlon

These events are correct at the time of distribution. For the most up-to-date information on events:

Aspects SCHOOL DRIVE SUBSIDY Transport for NSW provides subsidies for the cost of transporting students to the nearest school bus stop, for both day and boarding families (NSW-resident only) when living a certain distance from the nearest bus stop. The scheme is called the School Drive Subsidy (SDS) and, for information and applications, please go to

Boarding Families (NSW-resident only)

Day Families



Rate of subsidy

Distance (km) x $0.66 (2017 rate) x no. of trips

Rate of subsidy

Eligible distance from school

No cap on distance

Eligible distance from school bus stops

Number of siblings

Paid per family trip, not per sibling

(i.e. Cooma Coaches & other local daily transport operator bus stops)

Number of siblings

Distance (km) x $0.66 (2017 rate) x no. of trips Yrs K-6: 1.6km straight line distance or 2.3km walking distance Yrs 7-12: 2.0km straight line distance or 2.9km walking distance

Paid per family trip, not per sibling

For those families still on the old Private Vehicle Conveyance (PVC) subsidy, Transport for NSW will continue to pay this subsidy up to and including Year 12, unless you change address, at which time you will need to apply for the SDS instead. If you have any queries, please contact Caroline Richards in the school office on 6457 1022 or email



Jindy Snowboard Cross athlete, Adam Lambert, will be making his debut at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games. Come along to the Jindabyne Bowling Club on the

JINDABYNE RUGBY UNION CLUB If you missed the registration afternoon this week, you can still contact the club via

day of the Olympic Snowboard Cross Men's event, Thursday 15th February between 3pm and 6pm. .

Cheer Adam on, along with his fellow Australian Team

$150 registration fee

mates and watch the event on the big screen. Channel 7 will also be there doing live feeds during the event.

Hi athletes, mums and dads! Hope you all had a great break and are now ready to run, jump and throw again in term 1!

Training commenced on Tuesday 6 February at the Sport and Rec track.

Please bring your water bottle and be ready to train by 5pm. See you all there!

Aspects 2018 Term 1 Week 1  

News and views from SMGS.

Aspects 2018 Term 1 Week 1  

News and views from SMGS.