From the Principal
Greetings and I trust that you all have had a refreshing break. We have now commenced semester two and I am excited about the possibilities of this term. When I looked over the school calendar I was amazed at how many events have already been planned. Here is an overview.
Events coming up this term
- Week 2:Parent/Teacher interviews will be held Tuesday 24/7 and Wednesday 25/7. See notice below on how to login and book your time slot.
- Week 2: Saturday 28th - school is responsible for soccer canteen at North Rd soccer grounds. More volunteers still needed.
- Week 4: Swimming classes for Years 5-6
- Week 4: Monday 6th August - Y10 & 11 Careers Roadshow at school.
- Week 4: Tuesday 7th August - 6.30pm Year 10 Subject selection information night
- Week 4: Regional Chess tournament on Friday 10th August at Kendenup.
- Week 5: Primary school assembly at 2.30pm.
- Week 5: Open Night on Thursday 23/8 at 5.30pm to see student displays and performances. This is an opportunity to bring friends and others who might be wanting to know more about our school
- Week 5: 23/8 - Music Viva performance for Primary students.
- Weeks 6 and 7: PP-6 swimming classes
- Weeks 7-8: Swimming classes for PP-4
- Week 7: Thursday 30th August - High school Perth Inter school Athletics event
- Week 9: Book Week activities
- Week 9: Wednesday 12/9 - Primary school assembly at 2.30pm
- Week 9: Friday 14/9 - Book Week parade at 9am.
- Week 10: Sunday 16/9 at 2.00pm. Year 7-8 depart for Perth and Canberra trip for a week.
- Year 12 Mock Exams in the 2nd week of Holidays
Sport update for term 3
Week 7 (30th August) is the High school Perth Inter school Athletics event, and training sessions are being organised for some afternoons at school. Details to follow.
We are also forming our very first Year 6-12 hard court volleyball team to play in the local Albany Volleyball Association competition. There has been lots of interest already which is fantastic! We should know by Friday this week which 9 students will make up our team. All families who would like to submit their enquiry need to do so asap.
The good news is that plans are currently being prepared for three new classrooms for next year as well as another toilet block. We will soon have the final quotes in and so please pray for our school as we prepare to submit our paperwork for council approval.
Our PE teacher Tim Burns will now be acting more fully as our school chaplain till the end of this year. Tim is also the Youth Pastor at the Albany Church of Christ and is involved in further ministry study and so we are delighted to be able to have Tim as our chaplain.With Tim expanding his role as chaplain, we have employed Caleb Castlehow to be our PE teacher and to work with Mrs Bronwyn Pitman. This new arrangement for staffing opens up even more possibilities for our school which is most exciting.
The last two weeks gave me an opportunity to visit Tasmania. I visited two of our new ACC schools in Hobart and Launceston as well as visiting Poatina which was where I did an educational research study in 2014. It was great to renew friendships. By the way, I was quickly reminded what ‘cold’ really is. The days started at 0 degrees and by 10.00am had inched up to 6 degrees. People seemed to disappear from the shops and cafes etc by 3pm. On the other hand, we had a great time in their snow and thoroughly loved our time there. I also read a number of books whilst away and one of them was The Smartest kids in the World and how they got that way by Amanda Ripley.
This book looks at the reasons why some countries are doing much better than others in education. What makes this book different is that it traces the story of three US students who spend a year in three of the top ranked countries of the world for education. I.e. Finland, South Korea and Poland. The book therefore, is more than just analysing data but looks at the lives of students in each of these countries and by interviews and surveys seeks to discover what is the secret for their success. It is a compelling story of students lives mixed with reflective observations which we all can learn from.
One of the key findings of this book is the importance of character and the need to develop a culture of rigour. In one study of U.S eighth graders, the best predictor of academic performances was not the children’s IQ scores – but their self discipline…. Skill sets made up of motivation, empathy, self-control, and persistence…these core habits are sometimes summed up by the old fashioned word character.
Below are extracts from the book as the author attempted to answer the question, What is it that makes students work harder?
In 2002, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania had an idea. They thought that they might be able to measure students’ persistence and motivation by looking not at their answers to international tests, but at how thoroughly students answered the surveys included with those tests. (these surveys had no right or wrong answers). The researchers wanted to track students’ diligence in filling out the forms…The researchers encountered several surprises very quickly. First, students around the world were amazingly compliant. The vast majority dutifully filled out most answers, even though the survey had no impact on their lives. The lowest response from any country was 90%...
Between countries, though, the differences in diligence mattered – a lot. In fact, the difference turned out to be the single best predictor of how countries performed on the actual substantive portion of the test. The simple measure – the thoroughness with which students answered the survey – was more predictive of countries’ scores than socio-economic status, availability of technology, class size or any other factor that had been studied. … In the United States, participants answered 96% of the survey questions on average, which seemed very respectable. Yet the U.S. still ranked 33rd in conscientiousness. (i.e. their students gave a sloppy effort). Korea ranked fourth…Finland 6th. …maybe some kids learned to finish what they started in school: to persist even when something held no particular gratification. The opposite was also true. Some kids had not learned to persist, and persistence was not valued as much in their school or in their societies at large...
Conscientiousness on a survey might seem like a trifling matter. In life, however, it is a big deal. Conscientiousness – tendency to be responsible, hardworking, and organised –mattered at every point in the human life cycle. It even predicted how long people lived- with more accuracy than intelligence or background.
What is needed: a culture of rigour. Having a non-rigour culture causes no problems though…it is easier… only later, after high school, would they discover that they’d been tricked. The real world did not always give second and third chances, the real world didn’t give credit for just showing up. When things were hard, your maths teacher didn’t materialise and give you the answer.
As you might have guessed, I really did enjoy this book and I was very encouraged by what I read because this reflects much of the vision of our school. Character development is at the heart of our school...that is, what a student does when no one else is watching. Values of respect, kindness, persistence etc are not just concepts to be learned but are issues of the heart. Helping students understand this is not always easy and so that is another reason why schools and parents must work together.
This year you might have noticed the increased emphasis on explicit and direct instruction in our primary school. I have been most impressed by the enthusiasm and learning in these classes which I have observed from my class visits. We have also developed a number of expectations for students in years 7-9 so that the culture of rigour can be more readily understood and embraced. These have included more explicit organisation requirements and consequences for work not being done on time. This is also part of the reason why we will be having exams in all the core subjects at the end of semester two. On the other hand, we are keen to maintain our inspiration of learning and for students to be free to explore in their learning journey. Our Year 9s will be undertaking a project of their choice called the Principal’s Exhibition and our Year 6s will be completing ten challenges. Both these projects will work towards their end of year graduation certificate and are an opportunity for our students to extend and enrich their learning.
Nevertheless, developing a culture which encourages character growth is still a challenge in any school. In many ways, developing character traits of respect, persistence, kindness which are reflected in work habits of thoroughness, striving for excellence etc are often at odds with many of our general community attitudes. If the “she’ll be right” attitude or other minimalist approaches to work become habit forming we can miss much of life’s bigger possibilities. That is because life is not delivered on a spoon and so effort and hard work are necessary. The heart of our teachers in our school is for students to discover a love of learning which will lead to a desire to embrace lifelong learning and a culture of rigour. What I see in many other schools is a belief that ‘learning hurts’ and so must be avoided if at all possible.
I am so thankful that God does not take a minimalist approach to us in how he deals with us. The bible constantly reminds us that his love endures forever and that he is faithful. See these wonderfulverses below.
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:16-21 New International Version (NIV)
R. Malcolm Bromhead
What an excellent event we had on the last day of term two. We had about 60 students attend and besides getting to meet old friends and make new ones it was great for our teachers to connect with their students.
Parent Schoology Group
We are currently preparing a Parent Group in Schoology. This will be a much needed portal for parents and guardians to be in daily contact with the school and have a way to connect with our ACC families in their own area.
2019 Subject Choices
Parents of Year 10 students will be sent a letter and survey explaining and requesting Year 11 subject choices for next year. We also looking at the possibility of running a few ATAR subjects next year and so your feedback will be most important for those types of decision.