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Educational Landscape Changes

I have often commented that change in life is inevitable and rather than wasting energy about the things we cannot change we should always focus on the things that we can influence. Yesterday’s media release by the Queensland Government certainly fell into the realms of a somewhat unexpected change to the State educational landscape.

Following advice from the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA), the Education Minister, Kate Jones, yesterday announced that the new Queensland ATAR system will be deferred for 12 months in order to ensure full preparation is in place for its introduction. For some students this news will be received with a welcome sigh of relief.

Today I heard year 9 students talk about being relieved that they will not be the first students through in the new system that will introduce external examinations for the first time to Queensland students. As is the case with so many things in life, your glass can either be half full or half empty. Here at ATC we have received this news with mixed emotions. The truth is that our year 9 students will be our only cohort that will journey through senior school under the current ‘OP’ framework. This will obviously present some challenges to us, but our focus as of yesterday afternoon following this announcement will be on what we need to do to adjust our planning to accommodate this change. Like all schools our preparation for the new ATAR system was challenging in that it was a new system. The good news however is that we, like all schools, will have a further 12 months to prepare for this exciting change.

For our year 9 students we have looked at a number of tasks that we will now need to address in preparation for Year 11, 2018. Currently we are reviewing the SET plans we conducted with students and parents to see if further discussion is required in light of any implications with the change. As always we will diligently tackle this latest news and frame a path forward. As a community, and in particular our teaching staff, we have demonstrated an ethic that is not afraid of hard work and this new ‘challenge’ will be no different.

Jazz by the River
Last Saturday was a wonderful community evening for the College when we gathered and celebrated our now annual Jazz by the River festival. As a celebration of student cultural achievements, the evening was a great success; as a community gathering the evening reached even higher heights. There was certainly a buzz and an excitement that was very tangible and almost every parent I spoke to commented on the great feeling that was generated. After the event I received a number of emails congratulating the College on the evening and I would like to share with you one of the emails I received that I felt really captured the essence of the evening.

“I felt compelled to write a quick note to you to pass on my congratulations to all involved in producing the Jazz by the River on Saturday night. I think it goes down as the best ATC / NJC event I have experienced. I was blown away by the quality of the performances across the board and feel privileged to be part of a school that can produce that quality of talent. Additionally, every other aspect was just wonderful, from the setting, to the food and the artwork on show. More than anything, though, was the wonderful sense of community flowing through the occasion. It was a thrill to be a part of it and I feel so blessed to be part of this wonderful community.”

Events such as these don’t happen by chance and an enormous amount of work goes on behind the scenes. I would like to sincerely thank the parent support group and the countless volunteers that stepped forward to help make the evening the success it was. All good teams need an organiser and I would like to thank and congratulate Natalie Scalia for all her hard work to bring this event together. Natalie’s vision and attention to detail was very evident, and words alone cannot express our thanks for the countless hours she put into the evening.

Once again the night was a showcase of the rich musical and artistic talent of our students and I would like to congratulate all our music and art staff for their hard work to develop such as strong love of music in the various bands and artistic talent. In particular I would congratulate Jonathon Bolt for his energetic leadership in our Instrumental Music program.

Whilst I am always proud of what we accomplish at the College, Saturday evening would have to rank right up towards the top of the list of great community events. I truly feel blessed to be a part of such a warm community.

I would ask our community to please keep Flynn Neilsen (Year 4) and his family in your thoughts and prayers as they grieve the recent passing of Flynn’s maternal grandfather. We hope that the passage of time will ease the pain of his passing and that they can celebrate the gift that his life brought to them all. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and may perpetual light shine upon. May he rest in peace. Amen.

Community Mass
I would like to extend a warm invitation to everyone to join us for our Term 4 Community Mass this Saturday evening. Whilst we have numerous occasions to gather as a community to celebrate our sporting or cultural endeavours, our Community Masses provide us with the opportunity to gather as a prayerful and a faith community. The mass will commence at 5.30pm in our College Chapel.

With best wishes,
Michael Senior

Skateboards on display at Jazz by the River.