We have made it to the end of what has been a term like no other. I must sincerely thank our entire school community for the way we have pulled together to navigate this challenging period. Challenge often creates opportunity too, and we have worked hard as a college over the past month to not only reestablish onsite learning and routines, but to capture the positives and learning from the experience.
While we have often been at the forefront of digital learning, we have opened up a world of new possibilities that our students have benefited from. We look forward to continuing to leverage ICT to support learning within and beyond our classrooms. Our students have appreciated the opportunity to have gained greater insight into the teaching and learning design through our Weekly Learning Plans; we will explore ways to build on the feedback students have provided.
I am incredibly proud that our literacy and numeracy intervention programs were able to continue so strongly through the remote learning period. A huge thank you to Julie Reeves, Sarah Lyne and Belinda Ludlow for their work in this space. They have been working with a cohort of 38 students, and we have seen an average growth of six “Fountas & Pinnell” levels in reading across the student group this term – quite a phenomenal effort for one term, let alone amidst a Covid environment. This has no doubt been supported by our college-wide Independent Reading program, and I thank Emma Arthur, Elyse Rowlings and all of our classroom teachers involved in this work. Finally, thank you to our parents who are supporting this work at home. I know, in early childhood, the importance of reading is emphasised strongly, and many parents would have read to their child at a young age. The importance of home support for reading, however, is just as important for secondary school students. It might not look like a parent reading a bedtime story, but encouraging your child to read independently and discussing their reading with them is an incredibly powerful strategy to support their development at this age.
Thank you to our current school community for any and all work you may have done in sharing the good work of our school. We have seen a strong increase in enrolment interest over the past month, not only from our local feeder primary schools, but pockets of interest from slightly further afield. We are in the process of having a new, modern website built for our college, but in the interim, we have collated our enrolment information in one central place for anyone seeking further information: www.lowanna.vic.edu.au/enrol.
Part of the work in building our college is strengthening our careers and pathways programs. We are very fortunate to have Kirsty Mitchell leading this area, with a wealth of new ideas and supports for our students. A key piece of work in the last 12 months has been the building of a partnership with Federation University. The logistics are still being developed, but I can share that we are excited to be able to offer our Year 11 students the opportunity to undertake a university enhancement subject next year, as part of their Year 12 VCE. Federation University have been fantastic to work with, and we are looking forward to offering an extensive suite of first-year university subjects for students to chose from. There are, of course, academic requirements to be able to access such an opportunity, but there are also significant VCE and pathways benefits for students who do so. We will share more information about this new and exciting opportunity as it evolves.
Next term we will embark on some incredibly important work relating to the future of our college. In term one we undertook our formal, four-yearly school review. We now have great insight into the strengths of our college, and areas we need to build and develop. Over the course of Term 3 we will work together with staff and students to develop our 2021-2024 strategic plan, and I look forward to sharing updates with you along the way.
Thank you again for your tremendous support this year. Have a great winter break, and I look forward to connecting with you all in Term 3.