Today marks the last day of the term for our young men. I am sure that they are very much looking forward to a break from their normal school routines. It is also good for them to have such a break to refresh and come back recharged for another term. During next week, the teaching staff will complete their marking and moderation and complete the reports for the students in their classes. During the rest of this week the teaching staff will undertake several professional development activities, write new and updated subject units, participate in subject meetings and analyse...
Today marks the last day of the term for our young men. I am sure that they are very much looking forward to a break from their normal school routines. It is also good for them to have such a break to refresh and come back recharged for another term. During next week, the teaching staff will complete their marking and moderation and complete the reports for the students in their classes. During the rest of this week the teaching staff will undertake several professional development activities, write new and updated subject units, participate in subject meetings and analyse their subject data. I would like to particularly mention this last point. The reporting process at the end of each term, semester or year is not simply a point in time report for students and their parents. It is also a report for teachers as well. It is important for us to take time after each reporting period to review what the reporting information is telling us as practitioners.
Our current data collation systems and accessibility to staff allow us to have a greater overall view of individual and cohort information than we have had in the past. Improving our own data literacy allows us, as teachers and leaders, to use the information that we gather to inform our own practices and decisions that we make within the area of teaching and learning at St Patrick’s. The teaching staff have been working diligently to keep abreast of the current educational trends within this space and the improvement of data literacy has been a priority for us over the past two years. It is our aim to continue to be a highly effective school and data will be used to inform our practices not drive our community.
I would encourage each parent to consider a similar practice with your son(s) when their reports become available on-line. It is my strong belief that our young men are very much interested in their reports and like to know how they have gone and how they can improve. I also believe that they respond well to setting targets and trying to achieve the targets that they have set. However, the most significant part of target setting is the discussion with the young men around how realistic their targets might be and what actions (and changes in behaviour) may need to take place to achieve the targets.
As significant adults and parents or caregivers, it is our role to “coach” them through this process. Firstly, each of the young men in Years 7-12 would have set target results for each of their subjects. This was done at the beginning of the year in their tutor group. If they cannot remember what their targets were, the process is immediately flawed. Students were expected to write these into their diaries. The targets that were set were for the first semester. These target results were also passed on to each classroom teacher so they will have this information if your son does not. I would suggest that this would be a good point of initial discussion with the subject teacher at the Parent/Teacher Interviews. Your son will also be given time early next semester to meet with his group tutor to discuss his report and review his targets and set new ones for the remainder of this year. I would strongly suggest that you ask him to show you these targets as soon as they are decided. That way you can continue to ask him what he is doing in class and study to reach the target. I would also recommend you spending some time with your son assisting him to list a series of actions that will assist him to reach the target. These can be written down and consistently reviewed to keep him on track to meet his target.
The final significant part of reviewing your son’s report with him will be for him to identify where things went well or did not go so well. And to write down some questions to ask his teachers at the Parent/Teacher Interviews that will assist him to work on improvement for the next semester. This can sometimes be a difficult conversation as some young men tend to blame a myriad of other reasons rather than their own actions for their results. However, I am also aware that there may well be family or teacher issues that need to be considered. It is important that each young man takes personal responsibility for his results. This is a most important consideration for our younger students because deflecting blame for results can become a habit that it very difficult to break into the future. It is also important that the conversation regarding results is kept at a positive level and not judgmental or blame focussed. In developing a growth mindset, our young men need to understand that they may not have got there yet, but plans can be put into place to help them to achieve their targets.
The important part of these conversations is for your son to be able to “put his finger” on exactly what did not work and to rely on you and others to offer him the skills to try other ways to deal with the circumstance. It is important for us, as adults, to remember that most young men have a very narrow view and limited “tool kit” to deal with many of these situations. Like the teaching staff, they can reflect upon their results, acknowledge where there are areas for improvement and develop a plan to improve and set targets to show that these improvements have occurred. We will work hard with the young men here in following this process, but I would suggest that it will be an even more powerful learning experience if families followed this process as well.
Last Saturday we celebrated Back to Shorncliffe Day which also coincided with the final round of the AIC fixtures for Chess, Rugby and Football. I would like to thank the many families who attended on Saturday and assisted in making it a very successful day. We asked our students to be great hosts for the Padua community and they were outstanding. I was very proud of their standards off the field and respect on the field. I am also very much aware that days like this cannot be successful without so much volunteer assistance. Thank you to the many parents who assisted with the stalls and canteen throughout the day. I hope that the Year 12 parents and students found it to be a fitting farewell for them in their last fixture at Curlew Park. Special mention also to our senior teams with the Chessmen winning the overall school’s aggregate for the first time in St Patrick’s history and the senior A and B teams winning premierships. In Rugby, our First XV Rugby and First XI Football teams both finished second in their respective competitions after having only lost one game each throughout the season. Once again, we also had record numbers of students participating in the sports. It is my greatest hope that each young man enjoyed his season and will return next year and be available to be selected in our teams.
Mr Kevin Van der Weide and Mr Heath McIntosh will return from their leave at the beginning of next term. I would like to particularly thank Mr Gary Curran and Mr Tom Christie for their assistance and efforts over the term and semester. It has very much been appreciated and I wish both men the very best in their future endeavours. Mr Van der Weide will return as the Gifted and Talented Coordinator for the remainder of the year. Mrs Anne-Maree Bliss will also take long service leave during the entirety of the third term. Mr Simon Price (Student Athlete Development Coordinator) will unfortunately be finishing at the end of the term as he has accepted a position in China as a part of their national volleyball program.
I will forward a letter to parents later next week outlining any further information that you may need to know regarding the beginning of next term. I hope that you have a chance to enjoy some time with your young man (men) over the holiday break and I look forward to working with you again next term.
Live Jesus in our Hearts!