Reports and Conversations: A Reflection on Progress
As most of our families are by now aware, Term 1 reports will be released to parents at 4pm on Thursday 1 April. At the same time, bookings for our first set of Parent/Student/Teacher Conferences (to be held in the first week of Term 2) will open. It seems, then, an appropriate time to reflect on the place of the reports in our students' learning.
No school report can capture every aspect of a student's experience at school. As a result, every school has to make a decision about what counts as the "most important" information they can convey about each student's progress to date. At Nossal, our reports are consciously designed to focus on the extent to which each student is developing AS A LEARNER, over and above the amount of content they may have absorbed in each of their subjects. The reports are, for this reason, cumulative: each term, the information from the previous term remains visible. Learning is, after all, a process.
The reports are designed to start conversations between students and teachers, students and parents, and parents and teachers. They include information not just on Knowledge and Skills (the more traditional measures of "achievement), but on the skills which allow good learners to IMPROVE their knowledge and skills: Reflection, Participation and Study Habits. When reading our reports, and especially when considering a student's progress across the year, it's useful to think of the more qualitative measures (Reflection etc) as UNDERPINNING the outcomes in those areas which are easier to measure with numbers (e.g. Knowledge). Nossal's teachers spend considerable time gathering and reflecting on evidence of these dimensions of learning, so that they can make an accurate on-balance judgement about the progress of each student in each of these areas. This evidence is very often tied to their observations of each student's learning behaviours, rather than their results in any particular test or assignment.
Finally, our reports avoid the use of broad comments that do little more than confirm the fact that each teacher knows their students. This is of course vital to good teaching and learning, but at Nossal it is assumed. Instead, our students receive a small number of targetted comments which provide advice on WHAT TO DO NEXT. In Term 1, because the classroom program is affected by a relatively large number of non-academic learning opportunities, the amount of advice we give is sometimes quite limited. Typically, though, we would not include more than 3 comments for each student in each subject.
It's unreasonable to imagine that every student will be able to make multiple changes in every subject. Instead, we encourage students to consider their reports as a whole and look for repeating patterns in the advice they have been given. If multiple teachers are advising that they include greater detail in their responses, for example, then that is a single change which they might make across multiple subjects and which will have a positive effect on their learning. We will be providing our students with some reflection time in their Nossal Time classes to think about this and to make some personal goals for Term 2. We hope that this will make the conversations which take place both at home and during the Parent/Student/Teacher Conferences next term more positive and fruitful.
Parents seeking further information may wish to look at the second half of the "Learning at Nossal" presentation which was made to our new students and parents earlier this term:
(Time stamp: 32:11)
Our first set of Parent/Student/Teacher Conferences will be held in the first week of Term 2. They will include a mixture of online and on-campus appointments, so that families have an opportunity to select a mode of interaction that best suits them.
On Thursday 22 April all interviews will be online. Interview times will be available between 2:00pm and 8:30pm.
On Friday 23 April it will be possible to choose between online and in person meetings at Nossal HS. Parents will be able to indicate their preference by making use of the Interpreter drop down menu on the booking dialogue box. Interview times will be available between 9:00am and 3:00pm.
Bookings need to be finalised by 2:00pm on Wednesday 21 April.
Instructions about how to attend a conference online will be distributed in the first week of Term 2 via Compass, but the basic method will be to have teachers start meetings with students inside MSTeams and to invite students and parents to sit beside each other in front of the laptop for a shared conversation with the teacher.
If I could describe Casey Tech in 1 word, that word would be ‘enriching’. As a new Year 10 coming into Nossal, I wished to experience what it truly felt like to be a Nossalonian. Apart from camp in February, this was my first major excursion here (other than camp, of course) where I could really let my creative and technology skills shine, and to hopefully make some new friends. During these three short yet long days, we learnt about sustainable housing materials, 3D printing, Virtual Reality, programming Hummingbird circuit boards, Computer-aided design (CAD) using the Fusion 360 application, biohacking, and we also had the privilege of coming up with our own solutions to world problems. Us 104 Phoenix and Griffin kids split into 4 groups with quite uneven numbers: Biomimicry, sustainable, rehabilitation and virtual, in which we had to then split into smaller teams of 4 to 7 kids to come up with our own presented solution.
Many of you will ask, what did my team and I create at Casey Tech? We designed and created the very best underground, sustainable house using both Minecraft and some cardboard. First and foremost, we had to create a design plan, by drawing out diagrams and word clouds on a layer of butcher’s paper. After we decided on an outline of our house, our team went straight on to the design part. I was assigned with constructing a 3D digital model of our house using Minecraft, while others in my group either helped build a physical cross-section model of the house using cardboard, or designing the advertising, introduction, and marketing for our ‘product’. In the end, we were all utterly proud of what we have achieved in only three days.
Casey Tech has indeed taught me how to cooperate in a group to achieve a common goal, how to use modern, high-tech equipment and computers, and crucial time-management in such a short amount of time, which are all essential skills that would be a must-have in future employment. With all the fancy and newest equipment and technology that were all decked out for everyone to use and create something, I’m sure that anyone who hasn’t been to Casey Tech School yet will be blown out of the water by all the learning opportunities.
Casey Tech is a shared learning facility that provides you with the necessary skills needed for the 21st century. The Enterprise program offered several subcategories for you to choose such as biomimicry, rehabilitation through automation, creating a sustainable future for Casey and VR-Biometrics. Since I was interested in biology, I decided to pick biomimicry. Biomimicry is defined to be 'the practice of being inspired by nature to create a technological advantage, create new designs or processes.' During our time at Casey Tech, as a group of 6, we had to identify several safety problems in the workforce or when participating in sports. The first day was largely dedicated to the masterclasses, the primary aim of them being is to develop specific skill sets of group members. For instance, I attended project management and crafts masterclasses. These two masterclasses helped me ameliorate my planning, communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills. Such skills are integral components of an individual's future workplace.
On Day 2/3, we were allowed to work on our problems and come up with solutions. Our group chose the issue of 'how can biomimicry minimize the risk of injury for formula 1 drivers?' In order to solve this problem, we decided to take inspiration from nature, which was ultimately the aim of the activity. The woodpecker was an intriguing organism as it is able to withstand 1200 g of decelerations when it drums on a tree up to 22 times a second. In comparison, humans can only withstand 80-100 g. Through further reading, we discovered that the woodpecker consisted of four parts that absorbed mechanical shock; hard, elastic beak, spongy bone in the skull, the way the skull, and the cerebrospinal fluid interact to suppress vibration and a springy tongue-supporting structure. Despite there being effective preventive measures in keeping the driver safe, accidents do happen. As a result, our group decided to install a shock absorber that would mitigate the shock impact, thus keeping the driver safe from fatal crashes. This idea was drawn from Nick Fry, the chief executive of Formula 1, who commented that this type of technology could be rather monumental in keeping drivers safe from a decelerating accident situation. In addition to this, we started to explore exoskeleton suits that are highly heat resistant and can outperform the current suits which are made of Nomex, a synthetic material produced by Du Pont. We started developing Kevlar suits that are made of stronger materials. Also, we had a go at making a more aerodynamic car.
Overall, it was a really fun experience. The teachers are supportive and caring. They provided us with the freedom to independently work and brainstorm solutions to our problems.
Casey Tech was a fun experience! The team of staff there were very friendly and helped us build valuable skills for the future. There were Masterclasses which ranged from Robotics to Bioplastics. The entire process was quite enjoyable. We had to work collaboratively in a team, in a foreign environment, on current issues with new equipment.
Our group was based in Biomimicry and we decided to create hard helmets for electrical engineers using sustainable components. We created a prototype using bioplastic, abalone shells, silicon and modelled it into the honeycomb lattice structure (very durable) using the 3D printers which were available at Casey Tech. We named our brand: SFW Nossal.
We worked in an adult environment, where the students were given free reign over the environment and equipment. Overall we learnt some valuable skills on group work, time management, practical project management and pitching/presenting our ideas and projects.
New PSW Retail Store
Location & Video Link
PSW are excited to be moving to their new retail store on Springvale Road in late April.
Please see below a video link we have created to assist you in understanding how we will be servicing your School Community, it is very different from what we have previously been providing in a traditional “hang sell” environment. We currently have PSW Stores in Croydon, Hampton Park and Cheltenham all now using this model, with great success.
As always, we at PSW want to create a great experience for your School community, and this Store will have a dedicated Click & Collect entry point for those busy parents on the “go”.
Keep up to date with Nossal
Are you following our social media channels?
While we post notifications on Compass, send home emails and/or text messages when important events and information need to be shared with our families and community, and keep you informed about what has happened with our fortnightly newsletter, Nossal also has a number of social media pages which we use for reminders and also to share exciting news.
If you don't already follow us though one of these, please consider joining or liking our pages and get all the reminders and news we share on social media!
Follow us at:
Did you know?
Did you know our newsletter can now be translated into a number of different languages? This is a relatively new feature of the software program we use and can be turned on or off using the language selector in the lower left corner of each page.