Every one of our students is fearfully and wonderfully made by God, each with their own personalities, skills and interests. What a blessing that our students can come to school and be lovingly taught by Christian teachers in a meaningful partnership with their parents. The relationships that are forged hopefully create a school community where children feel that they belong and are emotionally safe, allowing them to learn and achieve academically.
Creating an environment like this doesn't just happen naturally or by chance. Despite the many wonderful skills and attributes God gives us, we aren't perfect. There are times when we don't see things clearly, we make mistakes, we sin. Therefore we need to put time and effort into building a loving, caring community.
One simple initiative the school takes each year in this regard is our parent engagement evenings. I encourage our parents to come along to these evenings so they can get to know teachers and each other.
At the parent engagement evenings I choose a different theme each year that will be a particular focus which teachers, parents and students can hopefully work together to try and achieve. This year's theme is successful learning: how can data help?
Our teachers show a lot of excellent intuitive judgement on how best to help children learn. They are also very perceptive in tapping into the emotional, social and spiritual needs of their students. However, sometimes intuition and perception alone isn't enough. In some circumstances it can be like playing blindfold darts. You know that the dartboard is just over 2 meters in front of you at roughly your head height; however, it would be helpful if you could see the bull's-eye circle.
There are a lot of statistics generated about student performance, particularly in the HSC. Schools have a responsibility to interpret and use at least some of this data for the benefit of their students. Student academic data isn't just about crunching numbers. Written notes about how students learn is often invaluable in helping students to perform better academically.
I trust that our parents will find the engagement evenings a helpful way to connect with the school community and also keep you informed about the practical initiatives we are taking to help our students to learn.
Mr Brett Hartley
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