The year was the closest we’ve had to a normal year for some time, but I feel the cumulative effects of lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 have shown through in our students’ understanding of Mathematics.
In 2022, Mrs. Kyla Firman re-joined the Maths Faculty and led the Year 7 team, ensuring strong cohesion in the delivery of our program. We also welcomed Mr. Weber Chan who replaced Mr. Alan Dexter at the start of Term 2. We also welcomed Mrs. Rebecca Casey who is also the House Coordinator of Ningil. We were able to secure Ms. Jess Lacey who was a student teacher with us for part of 2021. Unfortunately, we had to ‘share’ Ms. Lacey with the Science faculty! Mrs. Kate Calley, Mr. Damien Maier, Ms. Emma Bishop, Mrs. Emma Kennedy, Mrs. Robyn De Puit, Mrs. Jackie Males and Mr. Gerard Ryan remained with faculty, although we lost Mrs. Calley in Term 4 and will lose Ms. Bishop in Term 1 next year as they take maternity leave. We certainly wish them the best for that time. We will be excited to welcome Mr. Michael Lewthwaite next year, who has a wealth of experience with the International Baccalaureate and senior mathematics more generally. We are also looking forward to welcoming Ms. Milanda Roxas to the staff. She has particular expertise in working with girls with additional needs.
In writing the Report for 2022, I wish to acknowledge the massive contribution of Mrs. Kathleen Garvie to Mathematics at Merici over the past several years. Her drive and energy, not to mention initiatives such as Maths at Merici Day (for girls in Years 5 and 6), Pi Day activities and the Mindsets program for Year 8 are sorely missed. Our loss is certainly St. John Paul II College’s gain.
The Highly successful Maths at Merici Day for Year 5 and 6 girls could not be held this year due to COVID restrictions but will be back in Term 1 next year. We did, however, involve Year 6 students in problem solving activities during ‘Be a Merici Girl for a Day’ when we were heartened to hear comments like “I didn’t know Maths could be that fun”, given that we were just doing typical activities for our Year 7 students.
We were quite busy on the enrichment front. Firstly, we achieved solid results in the Computational and Algorithmic Thinking Competition, including Distinctions to the David-Hoole sisters (Hannah and Mary), and Jade Wilkinson. In the prestigious Australian Maths Competition, Jazara Nave, Sara Venkat, Ishi Gupta also received Distinctions and Leah Shoebridge achieved the highest award for College, with a High Distinction. Other enrichment activities include the Friday afternoon sessions where we experimented with programming, but the girls have opted to do more problem solving of the sort found in the various Maths competitions. We like to end the sessions with games involving critical thinking and logic. Those Friday afternoon sessions are open to all girls with ability and a passion for Mathematics.
The staff are progressively introducing the Catalyst program which, I might say, has a natural ally in Maths with its focus on direct instruction, while accommodating inquiry-based learning. We believe that the benefits of this program will be reflected in improved NAPLAN results for Year 9 and in improved numeracy outcomes more generally. All Maths staff should have completed the program by the end of 2023.
It is pleasing that the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program is growing in popularity for Year 11 students with seven students currently enrolled and numbers are set to double for 2023.
In closing this report, I would like to highlight our priorities for 2023. In line with the Strategic Priorities for the College, our focus will be on Priority No 2, in which we promote an “educational environment that inspires learning, enabling everyone to achieve individual excellence”. We will do this by ensuring that the Catalyst program is embedded in every classroom and by continuing our good work in ensuring that pedagogy, curriculum and assessment is differentiated according to students’ needs and abilities.
Dr. Ed Mickleburgh