Centralian Middle School
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56 Milner Road
Alice Springs NT 0870
Subscribe: https://cms.nt.edu.au/subscribe

Email: Centralian.middle@education.nt.gov.au
Phone: 08 8955 2333

13 August 2018

Newsletter Articles

Important Dates

14th August – Australian Ballet Workshop
14th August – NT Music School Play Day in Gym
1.00pm 16th August – Post School Options Forum for Parents of Students with Disabilities
5.30pm 16th August – School Council Meeting
17-25th August – Girls Academy Camp to Adelaide
31st August – Cross Country
5-7th September – Clontarf Year 7/8 Uluru Camp
17th September – School photos

From the Principal

Dear families

Term 3 is well underway and students are engaged in focussed learning.

Many parents came to join us for our Learning Conferences last week to review their young person’s learning and set goals for the remainder of the year. Students, parents and teachers convened to consider the student’s portfolio, learning plan, reports, work samples and assessment pieces. These conversations are very important to keep everyone informed of the learning progress and goals as well as give the student feedback on how they are doing. If you did not manage to attend, I strongly encourage you to get in touch with your young person’s homegroup teacher to set up a meeting so that you can be fully informed about your young person’s learning. Call the school on 8955 2333.

To support this term’s learning, assessment schedules for each year level are attached to this newsletter. Assessment schedules outline the major tasks that students will be undertaking this term and we provide them so that students can plan their time and ensure they do their best. Please contact your student’s teachers if you have any questions about these assessment tasks.

As well as the regular learning programs there have been a wealth of extracurricular activities that our students have benefitted from. Further in this newsletter you will find information on trips to Spain, Japan and Cairns as well as information on events such as the Science and Engineering Challenge, Clontarf activities and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s recent trip to Alice Springs. We also participated in the EcoFAIR and celebrated NAIDOC week which culminated in an assembly with guest speaker Jacinta Nampijinpa Price. Coming up we have an incursion and workshops provided by the Australian Ballet and Alice Can Dance kicks off again this week.

We will shortly be seeking your feedback and input on how we are going as a school through the annual School Survey. The School Survey is a short 10 minute feedback piece which provides us with important information that we use to measure, set and refine our improvement priorities. We seek feedback from students, parents and staff. We will be emailing and texting parents with the link shortly – please take the time to give us the feedback as the information is very valuable to us. Keep an eye on your email and messages for the link!

Finally, I would like to share some research with you on the importance of high attendance. As you know, one of our goals is to increase the proportion of students attending more than 80% (4 days per week) of the time. 80% is considered a minimum threshold for students to attend to have the best chance of succeeding in their learning. If students attend less than this, big gaps typically open up in their learning that mean even when they are at school they may struggle to connect the ideas and concepts that their peers have been learning and developing throughout the week. In the 2016 PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study), students in Australian schools who attended 80% or less achieved on average more than 15% lower than students who attended above 90%. We see this result repeated in school based assessments, with low attending students significantly more likely to achieve Ds and Es. The message is simple: students need as many opportunities as possible to engage in learning activities and should attend more than 80% of the time to have the best chance of succeeding in their learning.

Warm regards,
Paul van Holsteyn

Mr Paul Van Holsteyn

Assessment Schedules

The Assessment Schedules for Term 3 are below. These documents help students and families understand the key assessment tasks that are coming up so that they can plan their time and ensure they do their best.

Please contact your student’s teachers if you have any questions.

Events and Announcements

Alice Springs Language Centre – Trip to Japan

We had a group of Centralian Middle and Senior students travel to Japan at the end of last term. Have a look at some of the highlights below.

Alice Springs Language Centre - Spain Study Tour 2018

During the first 2 weeks of this term, students studying Spanish at Centralian Senior College and Centralian Middle School had the opportunity to participate in an overseas educational study tour to Spain through the Alice Springs Language Centre. The group of 8 students travelled to Madrid, Toledo, Seville and Granada. Students were encouraged to put their language skills to the test for everyday activities such as shopping, ordering meals and navigating the cities of Spain. It was great to see the students actively using their Spanish language skills.

The students started in Madrid where they visited Palacio Real, the official home of the Spanish royal family, as well as various museums and galleries. The students had a day trip to the beautiful World Heritage site of Toledo where they explored the city and visited the famous Toledo Cathedral.

The group then spent 7 days with a host family in Seville where students had the opportunity to experience traditional Spanish life and socialise with their Spanish peers. The students’ language skills were put to the test as most of the host families spoke little English! While in Seville, students attended 3 hours of language lessons each day at Enforex School and also participated in school run activities such as traditional Sevillana dancing classes, a day tour to Santa Cruz neighbourhood and an orientation walk of the city.

The last destination for the students was Granada, a city known for its historical architecture and many cultural attractions. The students visited Alhambra, a historic palace and fortress of the Moorish monarchs of Granada.

Other highlights during the trip were the Flamenco dance performance, the stunning landscapes and the wonderful food!

Overall the trip was a huge success and enormously valuable for language students to practice their language skills and to immerse themselves into the culture of Spain.

Malcolm Turnbull Visits

Two of our student leaders had the privilege of meeting the Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull, in his visit to Alice Springs last week. What an opportunity!

Science and Engineering Challenge

The Science and Engineering Challenge is a nationwide STEM outreach program presented by the University of Newcastle in partnership with communities, Rotary clubs, universities and sponsors.

Our Year 9 students participated in this event at Centralian Senior College recently, and won a number of the categories.

We also had the pleasure of hosting the primary school Science and Engineering Discovery Day vat CMS. Students took part in a multitude of exciting experiments and activities throughout the day. See some photos of the event below.

Post School Options for Young People with Disabilities

A project is currently being conducted to identify post-school work and activity options for young people with disabilities who have high needs. There are three focus group meetings for parents/carers coming up. Please see the flyer for more information.

Relationships Australia – Dipping Your Toes into Mindfulness

Relationships Australia is running a new course called “Dipping Your Toes into Mindfulness” on Wednesday 29th August from 6-9pm. Mindfulness is a practice which encourages us to attend to the present moment without judgement about what we notice.


There has been much commentary in the media recently over NAPLAN Online. Some states and territories successfully used online testing this year, although Northern Territory schools continued with paper based testing.

The Northern Territory will start to implement NAPLAN Online in May 2019. Centralian Middle School, along with all schools in Alice Springs and a significant number of high bandwidth schools elsewhere in the territory, will lead the way with online testing next year. Based on the experience in other states, we expect this to be a seamless transition that will yield a number of benefits for our students and our school. NAPLAN Online will allow better assessment through tailored testing, more precise data on our students, faster turnaround of results and more precise measurement.

More information about NAPLAN Online will be provided next year prior to the testing, but in the interim you can find out more information by contacting the school or going to the link below:


Polly Farmer – Follow the Dream

From the 22 -28 July, Follow the Dream students from both CMS and Centralian Senior College travelled to Cairns. The excursion allowed students to experience cultural, educational, leadership and employment opportunities. You may have been following our escapades on the CMS Facebook page!

Students visited the Daintree rainforest, experiencing a Smoking Ceremony as welcome, experienced local bush foods and medicinal plants, were introduced to some very interesting plants and animals of the rainforest and some amazing adaptations these organisms had evolved. Students went mud crabbing and learned about some of the coastal bush foods in the afternoon, led by a very competent aboriginal guide. They were able to cook and eat their catches that afternoon!

Students visited James Cook University and were able to see the very modern living and study facilities, talk about courses available with university ambassadors and witness some university life. We were particularly impressed with the modern, recently finished living facilities on campus for students.

Our visit to the Rainforest Reef and Research Centre (RRC) introduced students to an inspiring aboriginal role model- Duane Fraser (originally from Tennant Creek!!), who spoke to students about his career journey, his current role as a United Nations ambassador, Member of the Commonwealth Environment Indigenous Advisory Committee and Member of the Great Barrier Reef Advisory Committee. Duane has travelled all over the world with his work and has Kevin Rudd as a mentor!! Students were also introduced to RRRC CEO Sheriden Morris, (originally from Bachelor, N.T.!!) who presented on some of the work being done with communities in Papua New Guinea under Australian sovereignty who have been taught skills in self-sufficiency and sustainability. Sheridan succeeded in grossing students out with stories of her personal experiences with horrible diseases like leprosy. A scientific journalist at the Centre, Boyd Robertson presented an informative talk about the Great Barrier Reef and the threats it faces by humans, pests and climate change. We were introduced to the Crown of Thorns Conservation project which involves young indigenous traditional owners being trained as divers to literally spear Crown of Thorns Starfish in large numbers & eradicate them. We went down to the wharf to view a real, live Crown of Thorns Starfish and speak to the indigenous divers. Channel 9 Cairns just happened to be there at the same time, and several FTD members were interviewed and appeared on the National 9 news in Cairns that night!!!

We travelled to the town of Kuranda on the Skyway- in glass gondolas that provided panoramic views of the tropical landscape, coral sea and rainforest canopy, and also provide the unique perspective of looking straight down from the treetops to the forest floor below. During the journey we were treated to a rainforest adventure with a local indigenous (and very funny!!) ranger who gave us a personalised interpretation of the plants, animals and history of the area. We also visited the Butterfly Sanctuary, and learned how butterflies are reared.

During the excursion, students were able to experience the cultural diversity of the Night Markets, made decisions for and planned meals and befriended their older and younger peers. It wasn’t long before everyone was talking to everyone, shyness had evaporated and great support networks had been created.

Another highlight was a day trip to Green Island on the ferry, where the reef and its’ vast array of marine species was observed from a glass bottom boat. We even saw whales on the trip back!!!

During the excursion, students were able to experience the cultural diversity of the Night Markets, make decisions for and plan meals. The unique living arrangement in apartments allowed older and younger peers to get to know each other. It wasn’t long before everyone was talking to everyone, shyness had evaporated and great support networks had been created. We returned to Alice Springs with a heightened appreciation for the many aspects of aboriginal culture, land conservation, an understanding of another part of Australia, and strengthened aspirations and leadership skills (thanks to the many responsibilities individuals were given, and workshops conducted by our Senior College FTD Co-ordinator John Cooper). We received a greater understanding of some the diverse and rewarding careers possible post school. Our students were at their best, and received many compliments on their conduct at each of the venues.

Now that we’re back at school, students are starting Semester 2 with a strengthened resolve to succeed at school. We visited CAAMA studios in Week 2 for some student interviews, and an article appeared in the Centralian Advocate recently about our trip to Cairns. Students who aspire to a great career after finishing school are encouraged to join the Follow the Dream program and make that happen!!

We will be having a Follow the Dream Morning Tea on Tuesday 14 August in the Follow the Dream (Polly Farmer) room near the library. All Follow the Dream students are invited to a yummy recess!!!

Virginia Morley
Program Co-ordinator

Smoking Ceremony, Daintree forest


Learning about the rainforest on the way to Kuranda

Mud crabbing


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