22 Nov 2019

Message From The Principal and Vice Principals, 22 Nov 2019

Stephen Loggie, Principal

How wonderful it was to see the students return to normal classes this week. We have had a productive week but perhaps even more importantly we have reconnected the relationships that make our school so special.

My colleagues and I have spent recent days reviewing student progress, reexamining assessment schedules and discussing approaches for bridging the learning gaps created by the suspension of classes.

In this newsletter I have asked Gayle Marshall our Vice Principal, for Teaching and Learning and Matt Rappel our Vice Principal, Senior Phase to provide further details of this work. Their reports address specifically parent perceptions of the online learning provided and how we are working with students to get them back on track.

Gayle Marshall, Vice Principal for Teaching and Learning

In the event of any future disturbance to the normal scheduling of classes, we have been doing some contingency planning.

Thank you to all of you that completed the survey on how our students were responding to the online classrooms during the suspension of regular classes. Of the 160+ parents who completed the feedback survey on our Google classrooms, the main findings are:-

  • 92% of respondents indicated that their child is usually or always receiving work appropriate to their needs
  • 90% of respondents indicated their child is able to usually or always understand and complete work set
  • 83% of respondents indicated their child usually or always completes work during the time set
  • 80% of respondents indicated that their child is usually or always engaged and motivated by the work
  • 59% of respondents indicated that their child is usually or always receiving feedback from their teachers
  • 77% of respondents indicated that they usually or always understood how to give their child support
  • 76% of respondents indicated that their child is usually or always maintaining social connections
  • 86% of respondents indicated that their child is usually or always engaging in activities that enhance wellbeing

We are very pleased with the way the students responded to working remotely, but would like to improve on the figures stated above. Therefore, the curriculum leaders have worked together to create a more interactive approach to the online platform that will go into effect if we are forced into a further protracted period of school closure.

Matt Rappel, Vice Principal Senior Phase

The survey is helping us to make the system more effective in the future.  Teachers now have the opportunity to work with their students to examine what worked well and what could be improved.  The curriculum leaders are in the process of reviewing our home learning practice to ensure it is able to adapt to possible prolonged periods of need.  We are also looking at what happens when students return to school after an enforced absence.  Our senior students for instance have very busy schedules and forcing them to have make up lessons as well as the home learning is likely to cause unnecessary stress and be counter productive.  The key is to find ways to work smartly and not just add more volume.

The Year 13 students have been extremely busy with internal assessments, extended essays, BTEC coursework, CAS reflections and university applications.  Many deadlines have already been successfully met including the Extended Essay this week.  The IB Diploma students have all produced a 4,000 word research based essay.  As well as counting for their IB Diploma, this really prepares them to be able to write academic papers when they are at university.  I would like to congratulate every single student on their dedication to this work.

Next week we see the Student Council elect new leaders for the seven sub committees.  It is time for the Year 12 students to take on the responsibilities of leadership in the Island School community.  Keep an eye out to see who will be the new leaders of the following committees:  The Arts, Community Outreach, Student Union, Sports, Student Learning, The Environment and Student Media.