From Mrs Stathatos
The past fortnight has seen us launch into Term 3 with gusto, as students and teachers continue working together in classroom environments and in co-curricular activities to further student learning. The line of sight for our Year 12 students is the end of year examinations and the number of weeks left in the school year before they begin is shrinking! Students are working steadily to complete set work and revise. Equally, all students are engaged in their learning and are focusing on their learning tasks to clarify their knowledge and skills. The importance of being present at school, being active in the learning environment and responding to feedback for improvement is crucial.
The Victorian Government’s improvement agenda is always present in the working lives of staff and teachers have had multiple opportunities to increase their knowledge and skills through the professional learning programs on offer. The Communities of Practice organises teachers into groups who diagnose student learning needs and address them through an improvement model and by identifying professional learning needs to support their expertise. This work is currently happening at the college. Equally there is a primary/secondary school initiative which focuses on a particular method of practice and seeks to understand how it is approached in both settings and what is useful about similar and different approaches. This activity is also engaging staff. Today, five schools in the Maroondah Secondary Schools Partnership participated in a professional learning day at Norwood Secondary College in its fabulous new gymnasium. Norwood Secondary College, Bayswater Secondary College, Heathmont College, Melba College and Ringwood Secondary College staff attended professional learning around Student Voice, Agency and Engagement and learnt so much, not only form the key note speaker and workshop presenters, but also from the panel of students who represented all schools and who gave voice to their experiences of learning while articulating how they would like their voice to be heard for improved engagement. A summary of the program is below:
Student Voice, Building Agency and Engagement - Key note Greg Mitchell
How engaged are students in your school? Student Voice plays an integral role in how we engage students in the ownership of their learning environment and community. This keynote details how we can use Student Voice to get insights into their learning, through to taking active roles in creating positive school culture, resolving conflict, mentoring others and having more academic autonomy.
Strategies for Student Engagement - Greg Mitchell
This highly practical hands on workshop will follow on from Session 1, addressing in detail student voice strategies for engagement in the classroom.
Student Voice within a T&L instructional model - Kerrie Dowsley
This workshop will explore how, at St Albans Secondary College, we have worked alongside students to further develop and embed our instructional model, and to improve and monitor our impact in teaching and learning. We will outline the significant role our Student Learning Action Team has played in driving this improvement.
Student Agency in STEM - Dr Linda McIver
STEM skills are increasingly vital in the real world. In this presentation I will demonstrate a Data Science approach to STEM that uses real datasets and authentic projects to show students that they can do STEM, and that it is a vital tool for understanding, and even changing the world. Data Science can be used right across the curriculum, with examples such as History, Geography, English, Maths, and Science. Whether you play with existing visualisations like those at gapminder, use simple spreadsheet skills, or write your own code, you have the skills to use real datasets in your subject. Using Data Science to teach STEM gives kids the tools to create change.
Student Agency in the classroom - Narelle Wood
This session is a hands-on workshop exploring the different ways to develop student voice and agency within the classroom. It includes strategies for negotiating the curriculum with students, as well as strategies to enhance classroom dialogue with students, focussing on the what, how and why of students’ learning.
Q&A Student Panel – 2 Student Voice members from your school
- What does Student Voice look like in your school now?
- What would you like Student Voice to look like in your school in the future, when it is fully implemented?
The Maroondah Secondary School Partnership professional learning day was successful in its aim to bring awareness to all staff the importance of student voice and to work towards improving it.
From Mr Barut
Welcome back to all our students and families.
I am sure that the mid year break gave everyone an opportunity to recharge and refocus on what needs to be completed for the rest of the year.
This term is very, very busy, notwithstanding the importance of the teaching and learning program, but, indeed, the plethora of activities that our students are involved in.
The ongoing message of everyone working as a partnership to deliver the best possible outcomes for all our students is more important than ever. To build on curriculum sequences, to focus on learning growth and for all to continue the ‘busyness’ of life at our college.
This newsletter is adorned with pictures of our Middle School Academic Award recipient afternoon, where nearly 100 students across Years 9 and 10 were acknowledged for their excellent academic achievements thus far. Their commitment to their studies, their learning behaviours both in and out of class all point to success – congratulations to all of you!
Next week, it will be the Junior School’s turn, as we celebrate our exemplary academic achievers in Years 7 and 8.
On another note, subject selection for 2020 is upon us – students from Year 10 onwards will be focussing on honing their subject selections, as their learning interests are piqued by curriculum offerings.
There will be several information nights coming up, so please keep an eye on Compass, as these nights unfold in the next few weeks.
From Mrs Allison
Despite the cold weather, all students have been keen to catch up with each other and are settling well into study for this semester. This is a very important time of the year for students, especially senior students, to reflect on their semester one performance and to focus on developing strategies for improved effort and attitude to study. Parent teacher interviews will be held on August 28th. This is a great opportunity for parents to meet with teachers and discuss their son/daughter’s progress.
It is very important for everyone to understand that crossing roads, especially busy roads like Great Ryrie St and Bedford Road, require careful monitoring of traffic flow. Students, please use designated crossings or select safe places to cross roads. Parents, could you please reinforce correct roadside procedures, including both drop off or pick up arrangements, to help ensure the ongoing safety for all.
- Spamalot Musical Production Camp
The musical production camp held last week reflected high energy from all students and staff. It was a culmination of long hours of hard work since early this year resulting in great teamwork and collaboration. I extend my gratitude and thank all music, drama, dance and other attending staff, for their keen dedication. I strongly encourage you to purchase tickets to the show before they sell out!
- Talent Quest
On Wednesday lunch time, many students braved the welcoming crowd to showcase their hidden performing arts talents. The event was well organised by the prefects overseen by a staff judging panel. It was very pleasing to observe students ‘having a go’ and being well supported by each other.
Congratulations to Harry Norman (Year 12) for winning his age group, in the recent Cross-country championships. Harry has always represented Ringwood Secondary College in a fine manner and is a credit to himself. Well done Harry!
Within our college School Strategic Plan (SSP) and the Annual Implementation Plan (AIP) achievement goals, including wellbeing goals, are detailed. One emphasis is on positive language and its use, both explicitly and implicitly supported by recent research which reflects that the practice of positive language builds emotional resonance in relationships, increases connectivity and develops self-efficacy.
Maslow’s ’hierarchy of needs’ states that in order for child to self-actualise they need to experience a sense of belonging and esteem. Therefore, building confidence in children is very important, as this is the key for coping with difficult situations and problems in life.
Through the use of positive language, a child’s self-efficacy will develop and improve their ability to build positive relationships. Children can be easily encouraged or dispirited, so the focus on a child’s strengths rather than their weaknesses is highly desirable.
Lea Waters, PhD, in her recently released book ‘The Strength Switch’, encourages parents to ‘flick the strength switch’ to build resilience, self-esteem and optimism in children. Waters, states that a positive approach enhances self-esteem and energy in children and teenagers through discovering their strengths and talents and through using positive emotions as the resource. Bringing out the best in children, through positive language, will also assist each person to become the best version of ourselves.
I have included a checklist from Lea’s website you may find helpful.