Principal Communications, 29 August 2022

Principal Communications, 29 August 2022

Evening with the Principal: Part II


Dear Parents and Carers


Today I want to continue to share with you the material from our conversation at our recent Evening with the Principal; so here is part 2. This is an outline of What Matters Most at Calvary. It is impossible for me to keep this brief, so grab a coffee and settle in for a reminder of why choosing a Calvary Education is a good investment in the future of your child.


Mastery of curriculum content matters.


At Calvary we know that it is important that each student is encouraged to master the curriculum and demonstrate their mastery in a variety of ways that reflect their deep learning and rich understanding. Excellence and high standards in learning mean that students are encouraged to give their best in any given moment.


Calvary students continue to achieve academic outcomes that reflect both the effort they make and their growing learning capacity. We are particularly pleased that in our 2021 NAPLAN results, our students showed improvement in every area tested. This, along with our Year 12 results for 2021, suggests that our learning designers ensured excellent learning continuity during COVID lockdowns and beyond them. No matter what the circumstances, our staff are flexible and adapt to meet student needs.  


For us, growth in learning (learning progress) is the most significant indicator of a successful learner. In MSS, we have devised methods for measuring growth using fine grain metrics and these are reported to parents throughout the year (not just at semester reports.) Our JS staff are highly skilled in assessing where a student is at on a learning progression continuum, and we are working towards adapting the metrics used in MSS to enable us to report learning P-6 to parents in ways that reflect student learning growth as we do in Years 7-12. We have recently received NAPLAN 2022 results and will be analysing these and sharing the outcomes with you too. Every piece of learning data contributes to the way we design learning to meet identified student needs.


Skills development matters more.


Far more important than the grade a student achieves in an assessment, are the skills the student develops along the journey. These skills are transferable to life and should continue to develop throughout our lives. The Calvary Learning Habits Framework has 12 transferable skills that we focus on in Prep to Year 12 describing and assessing them in stage appropriate language and complexity. We have recently developed a way of measuring student growth in the learning habits and look forward to making use of this data as well as sharing it with our students and with you. We know how important skills development is (covering cognitive skills as well as valued character traits) and we know these can be taught and each child can grow in their capacity. More about the learning habits can be found on our website here and I encourage you to familiarise yourself with these and chat with your children not only about what they are learning at school, but also about the skills focus in their classes.


Formation of character and faith matter most.


Our Student Development Team (learning enrichment, counselling and chaplaincy) works very closely with all teaching and learning staff to ensure our students develop good character and have the opportunity to explore and deepen their Christian faith. Formation is one of the ways our Christian world view permeates every encounter with our students and with each other.


Our College Council approved our investment in 2019/2020 in providing more support than many schools provide to our students in the areas of personal growth. In fact, benchmark data still indicates we are ‘overstaffed’ in this area compared with similar schools, and we are proud of the work we are doing, which is helping us respond to the social impact of the pandemic. The forward-looking future focus of our Executive Leadership Team benefits our students every day. We will continue to invest money, time and energy in ‘growing the whole child’ as we partner with you in equipping our children to live well today and develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that will stand them in good stead in their future.


You will probably have heard about our zones of regulation through which we help children identify their moods and feelings and manage them so that social interactions are positive. Earlier this year you may have heard your children describing behaviour as ‘mean on purpose’ or ‘friendship fire’. This language helps us equip children to enjoy better relationships with each other – and we even found the distinction useful in talking about adult interactions too!


 As we move into 2023, we plan to increase the availability of counselling to our students and you will be aware that in recent weeks we have continued our ongoing work in Formation through the Bravehearts, Great Shout and other events that support our daily work with our students in development of responsible behaviours and godly attitudes in the way they value themselves and interact with each other and wider society. Some of this work can take us, our students and their families out of our comfort zones as we are confronted with the very real challenges facing our young people growing up today. We will not shrink from this work and will continue to strive to offer our children the ‘more excellent way’ of living as disciples of Jesus.  


I am deeply encouraged when parents work with us in this very significant area of their children’s growth and this week an email I received from a family once again acknowledged the valuable work done by the College in tackling challenging issues.


I shared with the parents present at Evening with the Principal three examples from the press and social research that show that Calvary staff are well equipped in providing for your children an education shaped to ensure a strong future for each child – what I call “an education worth having”. I am proud and privileged to lead this team of educators and support staff committed to making holistic education - “growing the whole child” possible for every student.


Yours sincerely,