Week 7 Term 3
Friday 27 August 2021
In this issue:
- Watch the latest BGS STEAM Precinct timelapse
- BGS Boarding on Tour resumes
- Duke of Edinburgh Award success
- Support the BGS Music raffle
- Deputy Headmaster Teaching and Learning | Steve Uscinski
- STEAM Precinct Timelapse - Construction Progress August 2021
Progress not perfection
The following is an edited version of this week’s Assembly address by Deputy Headmaster Teaching and Learning Steve Uscinski.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus tells us that the only constant in life is change.
U.S. founding father and polymath Benjamin Franklin said that life’s only certainties are death and taxes.
I would suggest there’s another constant and another certainty in life: assessment.
I know assessment has a particular context and application for our students: you think of exams, assignments, performances, checkpoints, Internal Assessments (IA) and External Assessments (EA). You scan the assessment calendar to see what’s due next.
For Year 12 students, assessment takes on a greater sense of importance and urgency, especially as you look towards your mocks and external examination timetable for October and November.
The perspective I want to offer is that assessment is certainly with us throughout our lives. It does not finish with school or university; it just takes different forms.
The truth is that we are always being assessed: on our performance at work, on our health, on our income, on our relationships. In turn, we are constantly assessing: the products we buy, the restaurants we eat at, the movies we view and the ‘likes’ that we share.
Reflect for a moment on how our cocurricular and leisure pursuits are assessed, whether they be the sports we play or the cultural events in which we perform. In sports particularly, the assessment outcome is simple: it’s the score, the result, the win-loss ratio. This can often feel brutal and unfair when we think about the hours and the effort we have committed to an event that hasn’t worked out as we would have liked.
However, I offer a broader perspective to you: knowing that assessment is a constant and certainty allows us to accept it on our own terms. It can strengthen us as we embrace its reality, learn to live with it and look beyond it.
At the most fundamental level, assessment is simply an opportunity to show what we know and what we can do.
What we know and what we can do is never perfect or ever complete.
Therefore, I encourage you to focus on making progress in whatever pursuit you are engaged in. Focusing and reflecting on your progress reinforces the belief that you have the ability to change, grow and adapt. You will find that this belief in yourself and your progress motivates you and sustains you during challenging times.
So right now, in your studies, keep making progress.
Don’t chase the mirage of perfection. Do continue to make the small incremental daily steps of progress that will make a meaningful difference in what you know and what you can do.
Focusing on progress encourages a mindset of learning rather than failure. Whenever we make a mistake or don’t achieve the result we want, a progress perspective allows us to take the opportunity to learn from what went wrong and how to improve. A term that is sometimes used to describe this improvement-oriented approach is “failing forward”. That is, we can use a disappointing outcome, a loss, a failure, as an opportunity to improve, move forward and make progress.
The events of recent weeks have challenged us as a school community, not least because of the uncertainty around when quarantine might end and when we could return to campus. We know from the weekly surveys during lockdown that the biggest concern for students was assessment.
That is why we insisted our students’ priority be to continue making progress in their learning. Working online is different; it may be a little slower, and your routines might vary, but you can continue to make progress every day.
As a school, we should be proud of how well we adapted. The Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu writes in The Art of War that “those who are victorious plan effectively and change decisively” when circumstances require.
We have had to adjust the dates very quickly for some assessments this term. In a few cases, subjects have changed the format or mode of submission.
I particularly commend our Year 12s on their adaptability and steadiness in dealing with the changing circumstances and timelines for the completion of IA3. It’s clear that our Year 12s understand that assessment is about taking the opportunity to show what they know and what they can do, even when the circumstances around them are changing so dramatically.
The key to seeing this year through and delivering your best is to keep making progress, irrespective of events over which we have no control, especially when we don’t get the result we wanted.
Remember, progress, not perfection, is the goal.
Brisbane Grammar School has a long and proud tradition of offering scholarships and bursaries to boys who have demonstrated they have the potential to derive great benefit from a Brisbane Grammar School education.
Academic Scholarships (Trustees’ Scholarships) are awarded on the basis of demonstrated academic excellence to boys commencing Year 7 or Year 10 in 2023, based on their performance in the annual ACER Scholarship Exam, an interview with the Headmaster, and a willingness to contribute to the wider school community.
The ACER Scholarship Examination will be held at the School on Saturday 26 February 2022. Registration is only available online here until midnight AEDST Monday 7 February 2022. The cost of registration is $140.
Director of Enrolments
- Deputy Headmaster and Head of Senior School | David Carroll
- Student Wellbeing
- Academic Updates | Preparation for External Assessment
COVID protocols from Monday 30 August
Following review of the Queensland Health advice released today, procedures for students will remain the same from Monday 30 August until Friday 10 September.
There will be some changes to our practices, including:
- Visitors and Old Boy Tutors will be allowed on campus, following normal entry protocols (including using the Queensland COVID Check In QR code app);
- Middle School sign-out procedures will return to normal, with parents able to sign students out from Middle School Reception. Parents visiting Middle School Reception will be required to wear masks;
- BGS Swimming Club and BGS Gymnastics Club activities will resume; and
- The Grammar Shop will reopen with appropriate restrictions in place.
Thank you to everyone for your efforts in keeping our community safe over the past few weeks.
Teens and vaping
Last term, I wrote of how many Brisbane schools have reported an increase in e-cigarette use (vaping) by students from Years 7 to 12. This SchoolTV report on vaping is an excellent resource that explains how e-cigarettes work and the dangers associated with their use.
While the level of School-identified issues is not high at BGS, your son may still be exposed to vaping outside of school. The sale of nicotine liquids used in e-cigarettes is illegal in Queensland, but they are still readily available.
From 1 October, new laws come into effect that will further discourage young people from taking up vaping. Consumers will need a prescription from their GP to purchase nicotine e-cigarettes, pods and liquid nicotine from overseas websites. A prescription is already required to purchase these products from an Australian pharmacy.
I share this information with you because users of nicotine vaping products are encouraged to make an appointment with their GP to discuss their smoking cessation options.
I strongly encourage you to monitor this issue and discuss it with your son, given the health impacts.
Stay home if unwell
Students, teachers and staff seem to have settled back into our COVID Safe protocols following our quarantine period. Thank you for helping your son comply with the mask mandate. We ask that you continue to be scrupulous about keeping your son home from school if he shows any signs of illness. This includes mild cold or flu symptoms.
Director of Boarding
I am amazed at how quickly we have adapted to the new normal of mandatory mask-wearing, social distancing and one-way travel across the campus. What could have been a significant challenge turned out to be no more than a hiccup. I commend boys for adapting without breaking their stride.
This week, the Cocurricular program resumed with boys on the Basketball courts, running laps at Northgate for Track and Field, on the ovals training for Rugby, and of course, at either end of the chessboard. The resume has provided boys with a welcome sense of purpose outside the classroom while exercising and building friendships.
As we return to business as usual, we are equally looking forward to recommencing our BGS on Tour community engagement events. Our Gold Coast visit in July was a wonderful event with many past, present and future families attending. Responses for our Sunshine Coast event were positive, although it was cancelled due to the quarantine period.
Undeterred, we will host events in Darwin and Cairns next week on Tuesday 31 August and Wednesday 1 September. During the following week, we will attend Longreach (Monday 6 September), Westech Field Days in Barcaldine (Tuesday 7 to Wednesday 8 September), and Clermont (Thursday 9 September). We welcome our current boarding families to join these events and ask that you extend that invitation to any prospective families as we seek to develop and celebrate the BGS community. Click here to register.
The term will end with a Virtual Boarding Night on Facebook on Tuesday 14 September (7.00pm to 7.30pm AEST). The evening will feature a Live Q&A panel discussion between Boarding staff, parents and students. Please register here to join the event.
Director of Student Wellbeing Programs
Wear It Purple Day | Gender Respect Committee
This week, the Gender Respect Committee has been raising awareness for inclusivity through Wear It Purple Day, which is today (Friday 27 August). The day aims to foster supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive environments for LGBTQIA+ young people.
The following requisites to create an inclusive environment were devised by the Gender Respect Committee and posted via the Daily Bulletin as prompts for Tutor Groups to discuss:
- Inclusivity: No matter who you are, where you come from, and why you are here, in a world that is unfortunately not all-inclusive, it can get lonely out there. Our community of staff and students will together become stronger if we include today’s rainbow youth and make them feel comfortable about themselves, no matter the situation. Will you tolerate any kind of hate speech towards the LGBTQIA+ community?
- Educate: It is important that we understand our rainbow youth and educating ourselves to better the relationship with our friends. What will you do to better educate yourselves about the rainbow community?
- Support: Wear it Purple was established to show young people across the globe that there was hope, that there were people who supported and accepted them, and that they have the right to be proud of who they are. How can you support someone in need?
- Understanding: It is important to understand why we have things like Wear It Purple Day and Pride. Having open celebrations of LGBTQIA+ creates inclusivity and support for all sexualities and genders. What are some other reasons why discussing and celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community is important?
Read the below speech prepared by BGS student leaders to raise awareness for the day.
In 1897 The Scientific-Humanitarian Committee was formed in Berlin. It was the first LGBT rights organization in history.
In 1919, The film Different from the Others was released. It was the first pro-gay film in the world.
In 1961, Jose Sarria became the first openly gay person to run for public office in the US.
Only this year, in 2021, Carl Nassib, defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, became the first openly gay active player in the NFL.
Throughout history, the LGBTQIA+ community has consistently broken stereotypes and succeeded in the face of discrimination. Today, we have the opportunity to celebrate this incredible community and the role they play in our wider BGS community through Wear It Purple Day.
So, what is Wear it Purple Day? At its core, it’s about creating a supportive and inclusive environment for LGBTQIA+ people to express themselves and be who they are without any fear of judgement or vilification. This year is the 10th year of Wear it Purple Day, and the theme is “start the conversation, keep it going.” Openly engaging in dialogue about how we can be respectful in the language we use and actions we take is vital for raising awareness and providing meaningful opportunities for LGBTQIA+ youth to contribute to the inclusivity of their communities. The theme highlights our need for the sustained celebration of LGBTQIA+ people and our duty to continuously learn about the issues they face to better understand what we can do to help.
You might be wondering what this looks like in practice and what actions the School is taking to show our support for Wear it Purple Day. You may have noticed your teachers using purple whiteboard markers or even a few in some stylish purple clothing. However, the most important way you can celebrate Wear it Purple Day is by being an ally, which simply means acknowledging and supporting!
Helping LGBTQIA+ people to understand that there is a wealth of allies in the community can mean more than you know. This is as simple as recognising and respecting a friend’s pronouns or calling out your mates for hurtful language or mindsets. It is also important that you take the time to understand the gravity of your words. Just as what you say and do can have an incredibly positive impact on others, it can also be detrimental.
Many LGBTQIA+ young people have to grow up surrounded by homophobia or transphobia. And every time you make such a comment or allow your friends to, you tell someone that who they are is less than. This manifests in many different ways, one being the use of the word ‘gay’ as an insult.
While you may not think your words are that serious and while you may not mean to be overtly homophobic, over time, this means gay kids must grow up and come to terms with themselves in a world where who they are is synonymous with all that is bad. It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure no one lives with this internalised hate. It is everyone’s responsibility to encourage a culture of acceptance. It is everyone’s responsibility to Wear It Purple.
Director of Learning Programs
With all Internal Assessments (IA) now complete, Year 12 teachers and students are starting to prepare for next term’s External Assessments (EA). Deputy Headmaster Teaching and Learning Steve Uscinski wrote to Year 12 parents last week outlining the process for practice exams, known as mocks, and the External Assessments.
External exams will now commence on Friday 22 October, starting with the Economics and Music exams.
Mock exams begin next week and provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate their understanding of subject matter (content knowledge), syllabus objectives (cognitive processes) and procedural knowledge (how to answer a question). Year 12 teachers will mark these exams using the guides provided by the QCAA. These marking guides are important to provide students with targeted feedback.
Term 4 will start with two weeks of standard class time, followed by one week of supervised study (quarantine) in which students can spend time identifying and practising areas for improvement.
The QCAA has provided sound advice to assist students in their preparation for these exams. They stress that "students’ independence as learners is as equally tested as their subject-specific knowledge and skills". This is why we encourage our students to be flexible and agile in their thinking.
The QCAA also notes that "assessment items will assume students know what they must demonstrate and will not be scaffolded" in the exams. This is why students have worked to build an understanding of the cognitive processes and the procedural knowledge required to demonstrate their learning. A key skill is the ability to recognise the thinking process the question is demanding and executing that process without scaffolding.
Cognitive processes can be used to tailor student revision. For example, in the cognition area of retrieval and comprehension, students may be asked to identify features or explain terms. They can revise by constructing glossary lists of key terms, linear notes to identify key content features, concept maps to explain relationships and cause and effect, or flow-charts to show processes and connections.
In the cognition area of analysis, students may be asked to make comparisons. Tables or Venn diagrams could be used for this.
In the final cognition area of knowledge utilisation students can practice making judgments to evaluate situations, practise drawing ideas together when they synthesise information, and practise arguing a case when they justify. Understanding the cognition and the words that cue that process helps students focus their understanding of subject matter.
We wish all Year 12 students and their teachers well in these final weeks of preparation for the External Assessments.
BGS Music raffle
The BGS Music raffle is back in 2021 to overcome COVID impacted fundraising activities. Prizes include Queensland Cricketer Club memberships, hampers, Brisbane Lions tickets and more. Funds raised allow the BGS Music Support Group to commission new works, and purchase new instruments and other staging and performance equipment. Please support the BGS Music raffle here.
Head of Music
Last Friday, the first Invitational Track and Field carnival was held at QSAC. Well done to all boys who attended. Results are available on Tableau via the results link in the Track and Field section of MyGrammar.
Today, boys will attend their second meet and we encourage all squad members to attend. Next week’s event, hosted by Churchie, will be held on Friday again from 4.30pm to 8.00pm. We use these meets as motivation to improve individual bests and as a rehearsal for the GPS championships. All squad members should attend and compete in two to three of their most relevant events.
Note, the GPS Track and Field Championships for juniors and seniors has been brought forward to Tuesday 12 October. Timings on the day remain the same.
A reminder that the bus departs from the School at approximately 3.15pm, and boys will change at QSAC. Boys are asked to bring their ID cards to sign in. Boys may go home with their parents or via the BGS bus, which will arrive at the School at around 8.30pm. If boys depart QSAC with their parents, they must see Mr Tim Holzgrefe or Mr Kristopher Hallis to sign out.
All students are expected to abide by the School’s Code of Expectations and Behaviour policy.
Students are required to bring their tracksuit, correct Track and Field uniform, a change of clothes (it can get wet and cold), a plastic bag for dirty clothes, and food and drinks. A canteen is available, but food is expensive.
Visit the Track and Field page of MyGrammar for information.
Track and Field Director
The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award is an internationally recognised award that encourages participants to explore their individual interests. It has been a long-standing part of the Cocurricular and Outdoor Education programs at BGS, having supported hundreds of young men through the Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.
Pepperina Hill is the heart of our Outdoor Education and where our metropolitan-dwelling teens often develop a passion for these pursuits. It seems the fitting place to commemorate the recipients of the Gold Award. I am very proud to announce that the School will establish a Duke of Edinburgh International Gold Award Honour Board to be displayed in the dining hall of our beautiful Pepperina Hill facility.
Despite the difficulties posed by COVID restrictions, two Year 12 boys have overcome the challenges to achieve their Gold Award. William Ruddell and Cade Barrientos are the first to be added to the honour board in 2021, following the names of boys dating back to the 1970s.
The Gold Award is the ultimate achievement of the International Award and recognises a minimum 18-month commitment to personal challenge and growth in areas of Skill, Service, Physical, Adventurous Journey and a Residential Project.
Both Cade and William recently completed their qualifying adventurous journey, a four-day hike through the Scenic Rim.
When asked about his time in the DoE Award, Cade said:
“The Gold DoE Award was definitely a cocurricular highlight for me. I got the opportunity to volunteer, improve lifelong skills and meet new people on pretty challenging overnight trips. I highly recommend this program to anyone that wants to try new things that usually they wouldn't even think about doing. I won't forget this experience and I want to give a big thanks to all the Outdoor Ed staff for putting up with us on the journeys and Miss K for organising pretty much everything so it all ran smoothly.”
William started his Duke of Ed journey in Year 9 and over the following four years he achieved his Bronze and Silver Awards before commencing the Gold Award in Year 12. When asked to reflect on his DoE journey, Will writes:
“Recently Lachlan Clayton, Cade Barrientos, Sam Elliot and I completed a four-day hike through the Scenic Rim. I was left with a bittersweet feeling of having finally accomplished my Gold Award but knowing there were experiences I would now miss. My Duke of Edinburgh journey started back in Year 9 after I heard about it from family. It has truly been one of, if not the best, cocurricular experience at school. I have met numerous amazing people and made some great friendships along the way. My time in the program has led me to get involved in different activities at school ranging from cricket to band to the community service I do each week at the Tuckshop. There are also plenty of chances to meet other awardees from around the country. At the start of this year I completed my residential project with eight other awardees from across Australia. The experiences and friendships from this trip have also stuck with me.
"If you are looking to get involved at school, love the outdoors and helping people, then I highly recommend you consider Duke of Ed."
Boys can start their DOE journey from 13 years and nine months old and often begin the Bronze award in Year 9. Semester 1 had a record number of boys receiving Bronze and Silver awards. Congratulations to Bronze Awardees James Fearon, Issac Bassingthwaighte, Alex Thakur, Henry Nelson and Patrick Strotton; and Silver awardees Tom Jackson, Ned Boorer and Ed Sole.
If you would like more information about the Award, or if you would like to register your participation, please email your expression of interest to Kimberley.Kovacevic@brisbanegrammar.com
Duke of Edinburgh Award Coordinator
Middle School ISCF Camps
The annual Middle School Inter-School Christian Fellowship (ISCF) camps will run during the first week of the September school holidays, subject to COVID restrictions.
Three options are available:
- Residential camp (Moogerah) – Years 7 and 8 – Monday 20 to Wednesday 22 September
- Residential camp (Moogerah) – Years 7 and 8 – Wednesday 22 to Friday 24 September
- Day camp (Spring Hill with excursion) – Years 5, 6 and 7 – Wednesday 22 to Friday 24 September
Camps will run in accordance with BGS COVID precautions. Multiple camps will assist us in implementing these effectively. Should a change in circumstances prevent the camps from running, registrations will be fully refunded.
The camps are open to all students, regardless of whether or not they have previously been involved with ISCF. More information about ISCF, camp forms, and registration links can be found via the ISCF tile on the Cocurricular MyGrammar page here.
Forms are due by Friday 10 September, although please return them as soon as possible.
For further details about the camps or the Middle School ISCF program, please contact Ian.Grice@brisbanegrammar.com (+61 7 3834 5372).
Middle School ISCF Coordinator
- P&F Auxiliary | Connect - Care - Contribute
- Volunteer Roster
- Music Support Group
- Rugby – Normanby Blues
- BGSOBA Business Breakfasts
- Year 12 Senior Formal – Parent Function
- Year 9 Father and Son Breakfast
- Upcoming Events
- BGS150 History Book
- 2021 Calendar
The P&F Auxiliary is a subcommittee of the P&F Association that facilitates fundraising and fosters parent fellowship and the sense of strong community at Brisbane Grammar School. All profits are returned to the School to enhance the experience for students and families.
The Tuckshop and Grammar Shop are currently operating cash-free, so please plan accordingly. Safety guidelines regarding social distancing and hand sanitising will continue in both locations.
Open weekdays before school, during breaks and at lunchtime.
The Tuckshop provides a selection of hot food, fresh salads, wraps, rolls and drinks. Please recharge your BGS Card here.
Open weekdays from 7.30am to 11.00am.
Grammar Shop staff appreciate parents arranging payment for their sons prior to their arrival. The simplest way for students to pay is by using their BGS Card, which can be topped up online (MyGrammar > BGS Card).
The Grammar Shop can no longer hold separate credit for planned purchases, nor can it hold credit card details for later purchases. The BGS Card is a great alternative. While we can accept phone orders or order forms for specific items, if you're unsure of the size required, please add funds to your student's BGS Card instead.
Father's day gift ideas
Father's Day is coming! The Grammar Shop has some great gift ideas for all of those deserving dads. He may like a golf umbrella, beer stein, coffee mug, cufflinks, barbeque apron or perhaps even one of our new Luigi Bormioli veronese glass tumblers for his favourite drink.
Families who are waiting for returned embroidery should check here (MyGrammar > P&F Auxiliary > Embroidered Item Pick Up List) to confirm whether their items are awaiting collection in the Grammar Shop.
Please call the Grammar Shop on 07 3834 5347 to discuss your needs.
Tuckshop +61 7 3834 5229
Grammar Shop +61 7 3834 5347
Roster Secretary Lana Szumowski - email@example.com
Grammar Shop hours
Weekdays 7.30am – 11.00am
Weekdays 7.00am – 2.00pm
Due to social distancing, we can only have three volunteers for breakfast and six volunteers for morning tea and lunch.
We hope everyone is staying healthy and managing the COVID Safe protocols. While we have to wait a bit longer for music ensembles and lessons to restart face to face (we hope to return to something closer to normal in Week 8), I thought I would take the opportunity to remind everyone that our online Music Support Group raffle is still on. It closes early next month, so if you haven’t had a chance to support the raffle, please click here and have a look at our great prizes. Any support is much appreciated. Stay safe and healthy.
Music Support Group President
It’s on again! I am sure you are looking forward to the next three scheduled rugby Saturdays as much as we are.
Thanks to all those working behind the scenes who ensured the season was not lost, and the boys remain fit to play.
To the boys who have shown such resilience by training on despite the uncertainty: the next three Saturdays belong to you. Seize them!
President, Normanby Blues
+61 (0) 411 476 472
Don't miss the next two BGSOBA Business Breakfasts following the first event being sold out!
The BGS community is invited to join the below upcoming BGSOBA Business Breakfasts at The Grove Rooftop, 480 Queen Street Brisbane. Community members are encouraged to invite their peers and business associates from beyond the BGS community for this networking opportunity. Join the below events to hear from reputable speakers in the field:
- Entrepreneurship in the Digital Economy | Wednesday 15 September, 7.00am to 8.30am. Panellists include Brett Clark '85 (ePharmacy) and Steve Baxter (entrepreneur, investor, and ‘Shark’ on Shark Tank Australia).
- The Business of Sport | Thursday 11 November, 7.00am to 8.30am. Panellists announced shortly.
Light Dark Blue: 150 Years of Learning and Leadership at Brisbane Grammar School is available for purchase. The beautiful 500-page hardcover book updates the BGS story with previously untold anecdotes, rare photographs and illustrations. With a limited print run, it is sure to become a sought after collector’s item. Standard edition and limited editions are available.
Click here to view all BGS150 merchandise – limited stocks remain.