Principal’s Blog – 20 February 2020

Dear Parents, Students and Staff

It appears the students have returned to school quite settled and ready for all that a new school year promises to be. We are monitoring the effect that the horrendous summer had on many families and at this stage, the emotional load has been well managed by individuals. We have support mechanisms in place, including the counsellors if needed, so we encourage the students to speak up if they are experiencing difficulties. Hopefully, the beautiful rain will put the fires out and we can return to the great air quality we normally enjoy.

Traffic Congestion

I mentioned previously the traffic congestion that occurs in the SFX precinct before and after school. There is the potential for gridlock in Barnard Circuit so please be patient. We will prioritise buses and their access to the bus bay. Police may begin to patrol the area so a reminder that the bus bay is not a pick-up zone and people without Disability Passes should not be using the specially allocated parking zones, even on SFX grounds.

Every student will demonstrate growth in their learning

One of our goals for 2020 is: “Every student will demonstrate growth in their learning”. Obviously, the classroom teacher has a significant role in that aim, however students are also expected to help themselves in meeting this goal. To gauge how effective the learning environment is generally, students will be chosen at random to provide feedback on these 5 questions:

  • What are you learning about in this lesson?
  • How are you doing?
  • How do you know?
  • How can you improve?
  • Where do you go for help?

Teachers at SFX are very committed to providing the best possible learning environment for students. They spend a great deal of time discussing strategies and activities that enable the students to learn effectively. Teaching is both a science and an art. We can learn what the best strategies are and those that have the most impact, but the art is knowing when and how to use them. In getting feedback from the students (student voice), we will continue to fine-tune the pedagogy that will be impactful. Of course, learning will be enhanced if the student-teacher relationship is welcoming, trusting and appropriately challenging, and SFX has a very impressive record in the pastoral care arena.

I thank the staff for the time and effort in preparing for the new school year. Many of them have also been affected by the summer events, including some getting hail damage to their cars whilst at school preparing for the new school year. Their commitment and dedication to the SFX community is noteworthy. In a period where there is a notable lack of teachers available, we need to acknowledge the vocation they undertake in a time when they appear to be undervalued by society generally. The lack of students applying for teaching degrees has fallen significantly and causal teachers are quite scarce in the ACT. Encouraging your child to be a teacher, especially a High School teacher, would be welcomed!

Best wishes

Paul Carroll

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