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Vision for Learning

Mount St Joseph is a growth mindset school. As a school that fosters a growth mindset amongst our community, we develop resilient students who are responsible and accountable for their learning. Our students cherish and value challenge in their learning and in their engagement in social, cultural and sporting life. These qualities are fostered in a student-centered learning environment which is rich in feedback and challenge and which makes student growth visible to all.

Curriculum

At MSJ, all students are challenged to work according to their full ability and the school is able to offer a wide range of curriculum choices ranging from ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank) level HSC courses, right through to VET courses supported by the National Training Framework. The school aims to offer each student the ideal subjects to match her interests and abilities.

Mount St Joseph Milperra challenges young women to realise their full academic potential. We focus on providing opportunities for our students is to be the best they can be. MSJ offers a broad curriculum aimed at meeting each student’s learning needs. Our rigorous, challenging and extensive curriculum includes both academic and vocational streams.

The College’s wide ranging curriculum ensures that each student has the opportunity to make appropriate subject choices, helping her set realistic, achievable and challenging goals. The College gives students the opportunity to experience success in their studies, provide the basis for success in their lives beyond school, and instil in each student a lifelong love of learning.

Click here to view a detailed breakdown of the Curriculum per year and subject.

Diverse Learning Needs

Mount St Joseph has a rich history of academic achievement across the range of subject areas. Our girls are supported by a committed and caring staff who constantly seek out opportunities to extend students’ abilities and challenge them to excellence. To support all girls to develop to their full potential, a variety of learning services exist.

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One of these is the Judith Rawson Learning Centre (affectionately known as Joe’s Place) which provides learning support, counselling services, pastoral support and careers advice in an environment which engages families and empowers students to take charge of their learning.

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Gifted and talented students are afforded a variety of opportunities at MSJ. Our gifted students are clustered in classes so that they may benefit from the challenge posed by like­-minded peers. The strengths, interests and goals of each gifted student are acknowledged and our teaching staff maintain a high level of ongoing professional development to ensure differentiated classroom activities allow all students to work to their personal potential. In addition, enrichment opportunities are offered throughout the year to further extend students’ skills outside of the classroom. These include, but are not limited to, debating and public speaking; computer coding workshops; inter-school mathematics, science and engineering challenges; musical and drama productions; art competitions; and creative writing workshops and competitions.

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The Father Landers Library is the learning centre of the school. An open and welcoming environment, it provides a wide range of resources, services and technologies. Students are guided to become information literate as they take their place in an ever­-changing world, empowered by the ability to critically assess the information that they encounter every day. The library is a hive of activity every lunch time, and is also open before and after school for quiet study. It is host to Homework Support, when teachers and resources are available as an additional support to student learning.

E-learning & BYOD

eLearning is a key component in all Mount St Joseph classrooms and our vision is that technologies are integrated appropriately to support authentic, higher order and collaborative learning.

Every girl at MSJ has their own personal learning device so that their learning can be blended between physical and digital spaces. We are a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) learning environment, which means that all girls choose and take responsibility for their own device.  Families are advised to consult the MSJ device requirements prior to purchasing a device for use at school.

Advice on selecting a device & FAQs

Student familiarity with the device and/or operating system.

Families are strongly encouraged to choose a device which their daughter is already able to use. While the school will provide a website directing students to learning tools appropriate to their device, instruction on how to use device-specific tools will be limited. It is not possible for all teachers to be able to troubleshoot the use of programs on all devices. Therefore, students will be able to work most efficiently when using a device which they can already navigate and manage. Over time, students will be required to learn how to select programs and apps as appropriate to each learning task. If purchasing a new device, we recommend that the student has plenty of time familiarising themselves with its operation and tools prior to using it at school.

Longevity and future planning

It is highly unlikely that any device used in Year 7 will still be able to cope with the demands of new software in six years’ time, let alone survive the physical realities of six years of high school. Therefore it is important that families plan for replacement of BYOD devices during each student’s high school years, and purchase accordingly. It is usual for laptops to effectively execute learning tasks for about three years, and for tablets to cope with school demands for about two years. As girls move through their high school years, their interests in different subjects will evolve and this may have some influence on device choice. Some girls may find a tablet sufficient for Years 11 and 12, for example, if they are mainly using it for note-taking and research. Others may choose to use their device for creating movies, models and designs and will therefore be better served by a laptop. MSJ are currently asking all Year 9 and 10 students to use laptops as this will best fit the demands of their range of subjects.

Size and weight

One of the advantages of a BYOD program is that families can choose devices which suit the physical needs of students. Weight is often a concern for families of smaller girls. On the other hand, many students and families prefer larger screens and keyboards for ease of use. Please bear in mind that, while families are welcome to choose the wheeled school-bag option, students are still required to carry devices around the school during the day in their protective cases.

Warranty and repairs

As the school is unable to take responsibility for any repairs of student-owned devices, families will need to ensure that they maintain warranties for each device. Most devices come with a one-year warranty, and it is recommended that you ask about a 3 year extended on-site warranty when purchasing your device. See the BYOD Warranty Information document for further details. Warranties do not cover accidental damage (such as wear and tear, cracked screens, damage from dropping, etc.) so it is important that you consider how robust your chosen device is and purchase a suitably protective case. We recommend that you consider insuring the device against such damage, loss or theft. Some laptop insurance providers include CoverTec and iBroker. Things to look out for when buying laptop insurance are outlined here.

Mode of purchase

Many families may find themselves purchasing multiple devices if they have more than one child at school. While buying devices up-front often works out more cost-effectively and allows you to take advantage of sale prices, there are other options which allow you to pay for devices over time. For example, many retailers allow you to pay monthly interest-free repayments. Flexi-rent through retailers such as Harvey Norman and Mac1 often covers damage, loss or theft (at a cost) and a loan or replacement device. Apple also offers a selection of certified refurbished computers at a reduced price, with 1-year warranty. Families who find themselves unable to afford any of these options are encouraged to make an appointment with the Business Manager so that an alternative arrangement can be made.

Why BYOD and not a 1:1 laptop program?

BYOD is a philosophical shift away from a school-mandated approach of delivering devices to providing high-quality learning environments and experiences that are more tailored to individual students’ needs. As a result of the federal government’s Digital Education Revolution (DER) funding now being finished, the school does not wish to burden parents with an additional cost for a mandated device. During extensive consultation with students and parents, we found that many families already own suitable devices and the majority of parents wanted to be able to choose their child’s technology. The ‘Bring your own device’ approach enables families to utilise an existing device from home or purchase one which best suits the child’s needs and preferences, in and outside of school. Today’s technological world integrates many mobile devices and girls’ learning environments need to reflect that.

What sort of technology is suitable?

We believe that students should use the device with which they are most comfortable and with which learning will be most effective. Recognising the importance of choice, and in response to feedback from families, we are not recommending specific brands and models of ICT devices.

The device must be a laptop computer and cannot have an android operating system.

What about smart phones?

Smart phones have limitations which do not make them suitable as the main learning device at school. It is recognised that many students do have smart phones and at times some teachers may allow students to use their phones to supplement their personal learning devices and access app and camera features. However, it is not necessary that students own a smart phone. It is also essential that all students understand that smart phones are only to be used as arranged with a teacher. At all other times the device must remain off and stored securely in the student’s locker. Bringing a phone, or any electronic equipment, to school is entirely at the risk of the student.

What if the device is broken at school?

As with other equipment, individual students retain responsibility for their own property at school. Students must ensure that devices are carried in protective cases, and the devices must be locked in lockers when not in use. Parents are advised to make their own arrangements regarding insurance and cover for accidental damage. The school will not take responsibility for accidental damage to student property, nor do our insurance policies cover it.

How can I protect my daughter’s device against theft?

It would be sensible to ensure that your child’s property is named through engraving or other indelible marking (please clarify that this does not void the warranty before getting your device engraved). Different devices also have different options for locating them when they’re missing. For example, any iOS device (i.e. iPad) has a built-in service called “Find my iPhone/iPad/iPod” that can help locate the device on a map if it is enabled before the device is lost. Likewise, software is available for laptops that can enable them to be located when missing.

Won’t this make my daughter’s schoolbag heavier?

We are conscious of the issue of bag weight, particularly for our younger students. We are attempting to keep the weight down by offering electronic textbooks where possible. However, it would be wise to consider weight and size when choosing a device with your daughter. We do recommend that the weight of the device is less than 2kg. There are many devices available at 1-1.5kg. The school has also investigated a school bag that has wheels like most carry-on luggage for flights. This is an optional official school bag which families might like to choose for their daughter; it is available for purchase from the front office.

Will the students’ use of the internet be monitored at school?

All student usage of the school’s network and internet connection is filtered. Their complete web history is also logged and able to be tracked. Parents need to be aware that if they provide their child with a device with direct 3G/4G access, the school is unable to filter, log and monitor usage and safety.

Will students be able to charge their device during the day?

Students are unable to charge their device at school. Power cords/chargers are a work health and safety hazard and they add extra weight to school bags. In addition, there are not sufficient power outlets to allow all students to charge their devices. Battery life is a key in choosing your device. Students must cultivate the habit of charging their device overnight.

Won’t this lead to an increase of cyber-bullying and inappropriate behaviour?

Our young people need to learn how to conduct themselves in online interactions and behaviour. With or without a BYOD environment, teenagers are constantly engaging with each other through technology. Having a technology program at school which echoes their home and social environments means that we can assist in their education about how to be smart, safe and responsible in their use of technology.

How is technology used in classes?

Some of the learning activities which students will engage in using their devices include:

  • Accessing PDF versions of textbooks and other documents
  • Using dedicated software to complete subject tasks
  • Using the internet to complete research or to complete online learning activities.
  • Investigating patterns and issues using subject-specific software and simulations
  • Creating audio, video or presentations to represent ideas
  • Creating creative digital works
  • Using Google Apps for Education to create and edit documents
  • Downloading documents such as homework sheets, revision sheets and past exams from virtual learning spaces provided by teachers
  • Collaborating with other students using a range of online tools and educational spaces
  • Using email to enhance communication between teachers & students
Are we getting rid of pen and paper?

No. Apart from anything else, the HSC credential still requires students to handwrite and the students will need to maintain and develop this skill with their final examinations in mind. Handwriting is still a component of the English syllabus. In addition, there are some forms of learning and recording information that are better suited to pen and paper. We anticipate that there will be a place for both handwriting and ICT in schools in the foreseeable future.

What about storage of work?

All students in Sydney Catholic Schools have a Google Apps for Education account, which makes it very easy for them to create and store work of a variety of different types in the cloud. This means that their data will be available on any internet capable device with an approved browser (preferably Google Chrome). As part of the BYOD initiative, students are encouraged to increasingly manage their work in the cloud, as an alternative or in addition to files kept on their device and on external data storage. For pieces of work that are high priority or very large, such as video or extended music files, students will need to use a combination of storage on their device, external USB based storage and the cloud. All students will need to back up their own work, and parents are asked to support their daughter in this practice.

How will the school support equity for all students?

We recognise that some families have greater access to technology than others. MSJ believes that its role should be to support those families in genuine need of assistance in terms of device acquisition and maintenance. We are committed to providing a learning environment that allows equal access to contemporary learning experiences for all students. Families who need financial assistance are encouraged to meet with the Business Manager to arrange a device that will be leased from and managed by the school. Please do so prior to the commencement of Term 1 so that we can arrange the device to be ready for your daughter’s first day at MSJ.

How can parents effectively supervise the use of the device?

While it is the teachers’ responsibility to monitor the girls’ use of the internet and their devices at school, you of course will need to supervise their use of technology at home. We recommend that you set up clear expectations such as

  • Bedrooms as a no-technology zone: phones and devices can be restricted to public spaces in your home where their use can be monitored
  • A technology curfew each evening. Maintain control of internet access in your home.
  • Parental access to social media accounts

It is possible on many devices to set up parental controls. Please be aware that we have found that this can be somewhat limiting at school, given that students sometimes need to download and install programs for school and this can require parental permissions. If you are using parental controls, please try to make sure it is still possible for your daughter to download and install programs which support her learning

Device Purchase

We recognise that, just like uniforms, supplies and extracurricular activities, a laptop for student use represents a significant investment for families. For this reason, students are expected to keep their device in their locker during recess at lunch. We have a pool of loan laptops for short-term use when students’ own devices are in repairs. Families experiencing financial hardship can apply to lease a device through the school as part of our laptop assistance program.

Student Showcase

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Year 10 Visual Arts

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Year 9 Geography

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Year 10 Visual Arts

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Year 12 Hospitality

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Year 7 Visual Arts

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Year 10 Visual Arts

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Year 11 Business Studies

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Year 10 English

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Year 7 Visual Arts

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Year 9 Science

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Year 9 Design and Technology

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Year 9 Design and Technology

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Year 11 Food Technology

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Bryanna T

Year 9 Multimedia and Graphics

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Year 9 English

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Year 9 English

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Year 8 Religion

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Year 11 Chemistry

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Year 9 Multimedia and Graphics

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Year 12 Visual Arts

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Year 10 PDHPE Class

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9 Science

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Trinity D

Year 8 Food Technology

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Year 10 Religion

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Year 10 Geography

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Year 8 English

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Year 9 PASS

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Year 10 Visual Arts

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Year 10 History

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Year 9 History

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Year 12 Ext 2 Maths

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Year 12 Visual Arts

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Year 10 Design and Technology

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Year 10 Design and Technology

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Year 10 Design and Technology

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Year 10 Design and Technology

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Learning to Surf

Year 9 PASS

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Year 10 Photography

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Year 9 English

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Year 8 English

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Jacquelyn F., Madison B. & Olivia C.

Year 9 Geography

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Year 12 Visual Arts

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Bella F

Year 12 Visual Arts

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Christine H

Year 12 Visual Arts

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Sarah M

Year 10 Visual Arts

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Year 10 Visual Arts

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Year 10 Visual Arts

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Year 9 Visual Arts

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Martina P

Year 9 Visual Arts

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Louise F

Year 9 Visual Arts

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Melanie C and Whitney X

Year 10 Geography

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Melanie C and Whitney X

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Robyn D

Year 10 Visual Arts

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Sonia T

Year 12 Ext 2 Maths

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Gianina P

Year 9 Visual Arts

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Megan N & Jelena X

Year 9 5.3 Maths

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