Important Messages from our Assistant Principals: Rigour, Assessment, Attendance, Uniform

We are now more than halfway through Term 1! It has been exciting and rewarding to observe our students approaching their learning with diligence and enthusiasm. A core focus at the College is rigour. The dictionary defines rigour as “the quality of being detailed, careful and complete”. NESA embeds an understanding of rigour in the course completion requirement, “ a student applies themselves with diligence and sustained effort to all learning experiences”. Educationalist Barbara Blackburn defines rigour as: “creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels, each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels, and each student demonstrates learning at high levels” (Blackburn, 2013). As a College we are working to improve our culture of rigour through the quality of the learning and teaching in order that each of our students has the opportunity to achieve their personal and academic goals.

In our last article we wrote about assessment. Most students have completed or are in the process of completing their first formal assessments for the year. Assessment is an important tool for both students and teachers. For students it provides them with the opportunity to demonstrate, on a daily basis, what they know and can do; for teachers it is valuable feedback on the impact we are having on student learning. Assessment is more than the formal tasks that are completed for each subject each term. Every moment in a lesson is a part of assessment. Student participation, and their verbal and written responses to questions and collaboration with each other provide an opportunity for teachers to assess what their students know and can do. A student’s report grade is a reflection of all these moments of assessment. Gone are the days, for Year 7 - 10 students, when the grade reported was just a conversion of the numerical result they achieved on the formal tasks. Even the Year 10 & 11 RoSA grade, which is required by NESA, is a holistic reflection of student achievement. Therefore, it is necessary that each student is working with rigour all the time.

Attendance is a continual focus at the College. As you know, everyday counts and that absences can accumulate quickly. There is no substitute for being in the classroom. Yes, work can be accessed electronically or via a textbook; but these do not replicate the multitude of classroom experiences that enhance understanding and skills - teacher explanation and clarification; student questions and contributions; board notes and additional resources; and the many non-verbal cues that form part of our daily interactions. If your child has had more than 3 days consecutive unexplained absence or has accrued 10 or more full or partial day absences their homeroom teacher will be in touch to discuss ways we can support you and them to be at school and learning.

Since our last article further important College events have occurred:

  • Open Evening. It was lovely to meet so many future StJPII students and their families. Thank you to our fabulous student helpers without whom our evening would not be as successful.

  • International Women’s Day “Press for Progress. Our Year 10 & 11 female leaders attended an event at Riverstone Neighbourhood Centre. They had the pleasure of listening to a number of influential and inspiring women, and sharing morning tea and lunch with women in their local community ranging from babies to grandmothers. As always, our students represented the College admirably.

  • Year 12 Mid-course Examinations are currently underway and will conclude Holy Thursday. Year 12 only have approximately 20 weeks until graduation!

Finally, a reminder about the importance of wearing the correct uniform and wearing it with pride. Please note that the sports jacket is not to be worn with the school summer or winter uniform; the red woollen jumper must be worn in cooler weather, and the blazer is worn with the winter uniform. One of the speakers at the International Women’s Day event was a refugee from Afghanistan who spoke about the right to attend school and the privilege of wearing a uniform; a right and a privilege she did not have in Afghanistan; a right and a privilege that the many children of the majority world do not have. Maybe this is something our students and children could remember when they are complaining about having to wear our uniform. This is also a timely reminder to check that the winter uniform is ready for Term 2. We will be transitioning to this uniform in Week 1 with all students expected to be in full winter uniform by Monday Week 2.

We thank you for your ongoing support of your child’s learning and the College. We wish all of you a holy and blessed Easter; may the blessings of the risen Christ be yours.