The end of semester is a good time to reflect on what has been a wonderful first half of the year and I am pleased that our learning program across both campuses has given students a wide range of opportunities for learning and personal growth.
While students do spend the majority of their time learning in the classroom as teachers deliver the WA curriculum, so much of the Helena experience is outside the classroom as students engage in clubs, sports, service activities and the arts. If you think that your child is not engaging enough with some of these activities and you would like them to, I encourage you to have a conversation with their classroom teacher or Head of Year about how they can become more involved.
Reporting in Senior School
In 2023, one of our key initiatives has been to ensure that we are following through on our commitment to provide a greater level of transparency for students (and parents) about each student's academic progress following our discontinuation with the International Baccalaureate this year. One way we have done this at the Senior School is to ensure that results and feedback from teachers on all summative assessments are posted online through SEQTA for parents to access throughout the term, and ahead of the Semester Report. If you have not had the opportunity to access this information yet, I encourage you to do so. Our teachers have worked hard to develop rubrics for each assessment with the aim of providing students, and parents, with specific information about what the student is doing well and areas where they can improve. Hopefully this information will generate good conversations at home about your child’s progress this year.
Given this increased level of feedback for students, a change parents will notice from previous years is that this year there will not be a teacher comment on the end of semester report card. The report is divided into four sections:
- A course description outlining what topics have been covered during the semester
- Feedback about the student’s learning behaviours, such as their ability to submit work on time and to use class time effectively
- The student’s learning achievement when measured against the expected learning outcomes for each class, and
- An overall letter grade for the subject.
With all of this information, along with individual feedback on each assessment task available online, we believe that we are providing a greater level of transparency about student learning than we have done previously. I would be interested to hear any feedback from parents once they have read through their child’s report.
Junior School Literacy
In the Junior School, a key initiative for this year has been to consider our approach to teaching literacy. Changes have been made to the WA curriculum regarding the role of phonics in the teaching of reading and our Junior School teachers have been reviewing their practices and implementing any necessary changes when seeking to meet the needs of each student.
A reminder also that we are hosting an additional round of Year 11 and 12 Parent-Teacher conferences on Monday 24 July. Details are available in the newsletter and in the What’s On weekly emails to parents.
Thank you all once again for your continued support of the College throughout this semester. For those who are able to, I wish you a restful break as we all reboot for the second half of the year.
Peter Coombs | Principal