Reflecting on the Month of August

August is often considered the transitional month in our seasonal calendar. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is the time of the year people begin to wind-down from their summer travels and vacations and prepare for Autumn — back to school, fall festivals, harvest time, etc. In our Hemisphere, we are experiencing the harshness of winter and look forward to the Spring. In our school calendar, the year takes on special seriousness for Year 12 as they prepare for their HSC and also for Year 11 as they transition into Year 12 during Term 4. The Church in her holy wisdom has provided a cycle of events in its liturgical year which allow the faithful to celebrate the major feasts in the life of Christ and Mary. Most notably, during August, we celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration (August 6) and the feast of the Assumption (August 15).

The other main feasts of this month are St. Alphonsus Ligouri (August 1), St. John Mary Vianney (August 4), Dedication of St. Mary Major (August 5), Transfiguration of the Lord (August 6), St. Sixtus II and Companions and St. Cajetan (August 7), St. Dominic (August 8), St. Lawrence (August 10), St. Clare (August 11), Jane Frances de Chantal (August 12), Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus (August 13), St. Maximilian Kolbe (August 14), St. John Eudes (August 19), St. Bernard (August 20), St. Pius X (August 21), the Queenship of Mary (August 22), St. Bartholomew (August 24), St. Louis of France (August 25), St. Monica (August 27), St. Augustine (August 28) and the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist (August 29).

The feasts of St. Teresa Benedicta (August 9), St. Stephen of Hungary (August 16) and St. Rose of Lima (August 23) fall on a Sunday so they are superseded by the Sunday Liturgy.

A Time to Persevere

As if to re-ignite us, the Church offers us in the plethora of August feasts vivid examples of the virtue of perseverance: six martyrs — two who are named in Canon I of the Mass and two who were martyred during World War II; seven founders of religious congregations, as well as three popes and two kings; the apostle, St. Bartholomew; the great Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine and St. Monica, his mother; the humble patron saint of parish priests, St. John Vianney, and the patron of deacons, St. Lawrence, who joked with his executioners while being roasted alive.

It is never too late to begin — as the life of the reformed sinner, St. Augustine teaches us — nor too difficult to begin again, as demonstrated by the conversion of the martyr, St. Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein). We present-day members of the Mystical Body are certain of the reward to which we are called, for Christ’s Transfigured body (August 6) is a preview of that glory. Moreover, in the Assumption of his Mother (August 15), Our Lord has demonstrated his fidelity to his promise. Her privilege is “the highest fruit of the Redemption” and “our consoling assurance of the coming of our final hope — the glorification which is Christ’s” .

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the most perfect example of Christian perseverance, but she is also our advocate in heaven where she is crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth (August 22). Mary is the “Mother of Perpetual Help”, the patroness of the Congregation founded by St. Alphonsus Ligouri (August 1). “No one who has fled to her protection is left unaided” is the claim of the Memorarae of St. Bernard (August 20). Heretics have returned to the faith by the prayers of her Rosary, first preached by St. Dominic (August 8) in the twelfth Century, and hearts have been converted by the graces received while wearing her Miraculous Medal, promoted by St. Maximillian Kolbe (August 14) and adopted as the “badge” for the Pious Union he founded. Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope!

Students who need to work on their perseverance are urged to include the following prayer in their daily reflections:

Hail, Holy Queen

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope!

To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.

To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears!

Turn, then, O most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this,

our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray.



O God, whose only-begotten Son, by His life, death and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, grant, we beseech Thee, that meditating on these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain, and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.




National Assessment Program- Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) 2017

In the next fortnight, NAPLAN reports will be sent home to parents of Year 7 and Year 9 who undertook the National Testing program in May this year.  At Bethany College, we firmly believe that solid literacy and numeracy skills form the basis of a sound education. The College has performed solidly in aspects of literacy and numeracy. We are proud of our students’ achievements and it is a tribute to the skills of our students and the dedication of our teaching staff and in the case of Year 7, to the teaching staff of the primary schools from which we draw. These results build upon the strong academic tradition at Bethany College and give us rich data on which to plan our teaching programs and target appropriate education plans.

We will continue to work on building the confidence and outcomes of our girls in Numeracy, an area that girls across the state generally underperform in comparison to males of their age group. Further, we continue to target Reading, the domain necessary to read and understand the many texts that the girls need to process across each Key Learning Area and Writing. Our Year 9 cohort will need further work and support in Reading and Numeracy. We will be working with all the students who have yet to reach the new HSC Minimum Standards (Band 8 in Reading, Writing and Numeracy). We are delighted that 75% of our Year 9 students have met the HSC standards whilst in Year 9! The 25% of students who need to work on all or some of the domains have three years whilst at school, with support, to reach these standards. We will contact these parents once we map out our local strategy. The following table shows a comparison of our school’s results compared with the State in the top and bottom two bands.


NAPLAN results 2017 % students in the top 2 bands % students in the bottom 2 bands
    Bethany State Bethany State
Year 7 Reading 31 31 7 16
  Writing 24 21 13 30
  Spelling 49 21 5 15
  Grammar & Punctuation 34 30 6 18
  Numeracy 33 35 4 14
Year 9 Reading 30 24 8 21
  Writing 38 18 7 35
  Spelling 38 31 4 19
  Grammar & Punctuation 33 25 10 24
  Numeracy 35 30 5 16


We are especially proud of the Student Growth Rates in Year 9 Reading and Numeracy (Writing was unavailable) which measure students’ growth from May 2015. The figures and very encouraging for us and inspire us to keep on track with our learning initiatives in those areas. Year 10 (2018) will continue to find itself targeted to assist in improving their Reading, Writing and Numeracy.

Year 9 Expected Growth Reading


Percentage of students


Less than expected growth


Greater than or equal to expected growth



Year 9 Expected Growth Numeracy


Percentage of students


Less than expected growth


Greater than or equal to expected growth




Year 7 Expected Growth Reading


Percentage of students


Less than expected growth


Greater than or equal to expected growth



Year 7 Expected Growth Numeracy


Percentage of students


Less than expected growth


Greater than or equal to expected growth



Year 9 NAPLAN results and the HSC minimum standard








Message from NESA

HSC minimum standard required to receive the HSC from 2020 Literacy and numeracy skills are the foundation for success in life after school. This is why eligibility for the HSC is changing. From 2020, students will need to show they have the basic literacy and numeracy skills needed to complete everyday tasks.

Your child will have many chances from Year 9 to Year 12, and even after the HSC to show they meet the HSC minimum standard 

Some students will meet the requirement early through their Year 9 NAPLAN results in reading, writing and numeracy. However, most students will show they meet the standard by passing short, online reading, writing and numeracy tests in Years 10, 11 or 12. You can watch a short video that explains Year 9 NAPLAN results and the new online HSC minimum standard tests at www.educationstandards.nsw.edu.au


Year 9 NAPLAN reports available in mid-August

Your child’s Year 9 NAPLAN report will indicate which online HSC minimum standard test/s (if any) they will need to pass to be eligible for the HSC certificate. Remember your child has three more years of learning before the HSC and can take the HSC minimum standard online tests in Years 10, 11 or 12. Year 9 NAPLAN is a good chance to check they are on track or get support to meet the minimum standard by Year 12. If your child has achieved a Band 8 or above in reading, writing or numeracy, the NAPLAN report will indicate that they have “Met the HSC minimum standard early” in the respective area/s.

Your child can sit the online HSC minimum standard tests when they are ready

There are three separate 45 minute online tests: reading, writing and numeracy. Students don’t have to pass all three tests at once and can attempt each test up to twice a year. The reading and numeracy tests each contain a maximum of 45 multiple choice questions. The writing test will require students to respond to a question about a prompt or stimulus. You can try some sample reading and numeracy questions at https://hscliteracynumeracy.nesa.nsw.edu.au/ . For more information visit www.educationstandards.nsw.edu.au


Art and Design Showcase

On Wednesday 16 August, we were treated a wonderful exhibition of student work in Visual Arts and the Key Learning Area of Technology and Applied Studies (TAS). HSC Major works in Visual Arts and Textiles and Design were on display for all to see before being shipped off to the examiners. The students’ work was of a high standard and I thank Mr McLean (Visual Arts) and Mrs Rowland (TAS) for leading these successful faculties in creating such innovative and creative work.

Parents were able to view Visual Arts and TAS major works in Years 9-10 Visual Arts, Textiles Technology, Food Technology, Information Software Technology, Design and Technology and also works of students in Years 7 and 8 Visual Arts and Technology Mandatory. One of the highlights of the evening was the fashion parade of garments made by our students from Year 7-11, opened by our Year 7 students modelling their pyjama creations. It was a fun night with the students having the enjoyment of their parents’ presence during the parade. Learning is fun and we certainly were witness to that last Wednesday night!




Australian Catholic Bishops Conference – Plebiscite on marriage information

Please find a media release included in this newsletter from Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, Chair of the Australian Catholic Bishops Commission for Education, responding to the same-sex marriage debate.  For more information on the Marriage Plebiscite vote please visit the ACBC website.



Our mantra:

“Girls can do anything.
Bethany girls can do everything!*
(*except divide by zero)”
Vicki Lavorato