Student leadership in the Middle School at the College is based on a philosophy of active citizenship and modelling democratic processes.
During Term One of the academic year, students in all three year groups are given an opportunity to self-nominate and be elected to a Middle School Student Representative Council. Four Year 9 Leaders go through a more rigorous process of selection which includes a nomination speech and voting by staff as well as students. These processes enable all students to reflect on the qualities of leadership and service and to experience an election first hand. Successful nominees are given clear responsibilities and are held accountable for their participation throughout the year.
The current SRC structure has evolved to empower the student body with a forum to discuss and address issues and concerns. The girls are encouraged to be problem-solvers, taking action rather than just talking. The Council is also used by College staff to consult with students on matters directly affecting them in areas such as timetabling, uniform, homework policy, diary design etc.
In addition to the formal structure, there are many other opportunities in both classroom and co-curricular activities for a broad range of students to develop their personal leadership qualities and serve others.
Year 7 is a year of change. At Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College, we offer a strong Pastoral program, which allows the girls to have a smooth transition into Secondary school.
Each year our students come from over 55 different feeder primary schools. This brings diversity and breath to our Year 7 student body. Our students come from primary schools where the majority of the girls in the class will be attending Monte. Or, we have a large portion of students attending, where they will be the only one from their primary school. With this is mind, our Year 7 Program is designed to allow the students to make connections and friendships in a variety of different activities and structures.
There are seven Tutor groups in Year 7, each with two Tutor teachers. The students will spend the majority of their academic class with this group. The Tutor groups are formed by separating the students from the same primary school, where possible. This allows all students the opportunity to make new friends, whilst maintaining old connections.
The Year 7 Pastoral Program offers the students the opportunity to bond with their peers through planned activities. The Year 7 Camp is a key example of this. It is held early in the year to allow the students the occasion to meet many new friends. The Pastoral Program continues to follow the theme of Transition, with such activities as Introduction to the Monte Community, Time Management, Effective Study Skills, Developing New Friendships and Building Resilience through challenging experiences in a safe and nurturing environment.
The Year 7 students will also be involved in a number of other activities such as:
- Grandparents’ Day
- House Plays
- Wrap with Love – combined with Year 11 for continued peer building activities
- Reporting Day – setting goals and effective study habits
- School Dances
- End of Year Awards Ceremony and Mass
Our dedicated Year 7 Tutor teachers create a caring environment with a highly effective communication network, addressing the needs of the individual and classroom dynamic throughout their transition year.
The transition from the Year 7 Homeroom Groups into Year 8 Tutor Groups provides opportunities for the development of new friendships and House spirit and allows students to develop a pastoral relationship with their peers and tutor.
The theme of the Year 8 Pastoral Program is Creating Connections and aims to meet the developmental needs of the students. Some of these needs include: the seeking of greater independence, participation in community life, development of new friendships, developing connectedness to their peers, school and family, developing individual resilience and the development of social skills.
This concept of Creating Connections encompasses the many layers of the individual, yet also extends to include the needs of the College and wider community. The Pastoral Program for Year 8 focuses on including a continued emphasis on Cyber Awareness and Community Connection.
Throughout Year 8, students engage in many activities that help live out the Mercy Values. It is necessary for our students to not only be aware of the Mercy Values of Catherine McAuley, the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, but to fulfill these values in their daily life.
The following activities complement the Year 8 Pastoral Care Program:
Creating Connections at Camp
One of the highlights of Year 8 is the two night Pastoral Camp at Collaroy. This experience has been designed to enhance the Year 8 Pastoral Program theme: ‘Creating Connections’ particularly within their new tutor groups. The girls are provided with many opportunities that will challenge them. They will have the chance to work collaboratively with their peers, and be called on to use their initiative and to refine/develop new skills in a variety of areas. This experience also assists in developing greater confidence in their own personal abilities with the approach ‘challenge by choice’. Some of the activities that the girls are involved in include learning to surf, ropes course, giant swing, flying fox, bush and dune regeneration at Long Reef. Additionally, there will be time set aside for personal reflection.
Creating Community Connections
The Service component of the Pastoral Program in Year 8 is fundamental to the holistic development of young women as well as being an integral part of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. Creating Community Connections, calls on students to demonstrate their commitment to Mercy, Justice and Human Dignity at Monte and beyond. Students are encouraged to be involved in a number of community and service initiatives to develop and establish an ongoing commitment and contribution to the local community. Year 8 are challenged to look into authentic connections where relationships are able to be extended throughout the coming years at the College.
Creating College Connections
Environmental Sustainability Projects
Year 8 students are responsible for emptying recycling bins in staff room areas. Some students have volunteered to be involved with the staff in projects that are focused around sustainability.
Mercy Action Group (MAG)
Each tutor group has at least one Mercy Action Group member who is responsible for keeping their tutor group informed in relation to social justice issues. Sr. Carmel leads this group with the help of Monte Staff. The students meet once a fortnight to discuss relevant issues, but more importantly are called to act based on the Mercy values.
Year 8 Reflection Day
Reflection Day programs at Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College are an integral part of our mission of holistic, Catholic education. For Year 8, the day focuses on nurturing a sense of a balanced wellbeing for students and aims to be relevant and engaging to the student’s stage of life. Through participation in a variety of collaborative creative activities, both individually and collaboratively, the focus is on enriching personal qualities as well as group dynamics.
The program’s emphasis provides opportunities for reflection, prayer, and developing skills and strategies around the Year 8 theme of Creating Connections that can be taken with the students after the program and transferred into their daily life. The day is based on the following objectives:
- To build resilience and promote creative problem solving
- To create a collaborative installation, developing something from nothing
- To wonder what makes a successful community
- To work as a team
- To make connections and further develop positive working relationships
- To encourage empathy and consideration of others
Other Activities that Year 8 students are involved in are:
- House Plays (Colour House performances)
- 2013 Global Citizenship Tour to Chiang Mai, Thailand
- School dances
- Mother’s Day Liturgy and morning tea
- Charitable fundraising events such as Project Compassion
- 'The Fit and Fun Day'
- End of Year Mass and Awards Ceremony
The aim of the Year 9 Pastoral Program is to offer students a range of activities to assist in their holistic development and enhance wellbeing.
An important component of the Year 9 Pastoral Program is Community and Service. The Community and Service activities provide an excellent opportunity for students to put into practice their Mercy Values whilst exploring and developing an understanding of voluntary work. Throughout the year, students engage in a wide range of activities. The students themselves organise these both within and outside the College. The College also facilitates visits to local nursing homes such as James Milson Retirement Village and Georgian House. This offers the experience of serving others by spending time with the elderly. These activities allow the students to recognise that by giving, they receive so much in return. Their written reflections bear testament to the positive results of their personal experiences.
Through utilising pastoral workshops and guest speakers, the students create connections with each other, they learn how to build resilience and are informed about ways to minimise risk-taking behaviours. The visiting local Police Youth Liaison Officer further educates the girls about the importance of staying safe online and appropriate use of technology, one of the main focuses in Year 9.
The Year 9 Pastoral Team take a personal interest in the progress and welfare of each individual within their Tutor Group. Tutors see the girls each morning in homeroom as well as regular pastoral periods, and for the most part, have been with them since the start of Year 8. By the end of Year 9, the girls are ready to take on the challenge of Senior School, as optimistic, healthy young women.
Year 9 has many important events and activities. These occasions ensure that the students have the opportunity to experience a balance in school life both socially and mentally.
Some of these events include:
- Election of the Student Representative Council and Middle School Leaders
- The Father/Daughter Liturgy and morning tea
- HSIE camp in Canberra
- Ongoing Community and Service activities
- Fortnightly Pastoral Care sessions – Guest Speakers and Performances that target specific needs of Year 9 students, such as building resilience and time management
- School Swimming and Athletics Carnivals
- Year 9 Exams in Term 4
- Year 9 Parent Teacher Interviews
- Year 9 Reflection Day, aimed at enhancing student wellbeing
- Mandatory parent/student information evening that covers topics such as ‘Building Healthy Relationships with Teenage Girls’
- Middle School Dances with neighbouring boys schools
- Middle School Mass and Awards Ceremony