News » Principal's Message - March 2018Last updated 2:38 PM on 9 March 2018
Welcome Students and Families
Welcome back all students and families who were a part of the J J Cahill Memorial High School community in 2017 and welcome all student and familes who joined our school's community this year.
Exciting Year Ahead
I am excited and greatly looking forward to the year ahead. As a new principal last year, I spent a lot of time in 2017 getting to know and understand the community. I worked closely with staff to look at learning and wellbeing data to get a sense of the needs of the community. I led staff in engaging with current educational research to understand what things we can do as teachers and as a school that will have the biggest impact upon student learning, wellbeing and engagement. I also established a Media and Communication team to look closely at how our school is perceived by the community. The team did this through surveys, interviews and focus groups that they ran with students, staff and local primary schools.
From all of this work the school developed a strategic plan to help us achieve the growth and change highlighted by the investigations conducted in 2017. As a school, we have established a number of key teams that will focus upon the following things over the next three years.
Improving student learning and outcomes
Continuing to improve the quality of teaching and learning and its impact upon student outcomes. We know that it is important for students to know what they are learning and why it is important. Students also need to know what they have to do in order to be successful and where they are in terms of their own learning.
Literacy and Numeracy
Improving growth in Literacy and Numeracy is essential if students are to succeed. We will implement a number of strategies towards improving student literacy and numeracy. As part of this strategy we have already developed an intensive literacy and numeracy program which runs in period one every day in Year 7. The Literacy and Numeracy Teams will investigate other approaches and work with staff to implement these strategies across the school.
We are working to create a school environment that both supports and challenges all students. Our goal is for students to develop resilience, build connection and engage with their community. We have established the Wellbeing team to look closely at ways we can improve student wellbeing. The team will review current school wellbeing programs and explore other programs to better support students to engage confidently with the school and broader community.
Working in partnership with parents
As a school, we believe that we can achieve the best outcomes for students if we work in partnership with parents and the community. We have been working on improving how the school communicates with families. We have purchased new software to support us in improving the quality and timeliness of information we provide to parents. As part of this software will be launching a new parent portal so that parents can more easily view information related to their children. We will run some information sessions during school time and in the evening to help parents understand how to access and utilise this information.
Early this year we will invite parents to come to the school to participate in a forum where we can discuss both of our needs and the needs of the students and devise together a way of working that will benefit your children and see them aspire to excellence, embrace opportunity and develop into adults that actively participate to their community. We will advertise this in the near future through email and SMS and letters home.
Teaching values, behaviours and expectations to students
Finally, I want to revisit our Positive Behaviour for Learning, (PB4L) framework. I have written about this in a number of newsletters last year.
As a school, we believe that it is important to teach students the skills, knowledge, understandings and expectations not only when it comes to academic learning but also behaviour.
As a school community, we have developed values and described the behaviours that we would expect to see if we were showing those values. I have attached the behaviours described for the classroom in the poster below.
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Teachers will deliver short lessons to teach each value and behaviour.
The first lesson falls under the value ‘Responsibility'. The behaviour that we will teach is "I use equipment safely and respectfully".
The lesson involves defining what we mean by safely and respectfully. The teacher will work with the students to describe what the behaviour would look like in a number of learning spaces.
For example, what might we be doing if we were behaving in a safe and responsible way in a computer room? The teacher will also lead discussion on what we might be doing if we were not behaving in a safe and responsible manner in a computer room.
This approach to teaching behaviour stems from an understanding that most students want to do the right thing and that we need to, as teachers, provide every opportunity for students to make good decisions.
Mr Ralph David