The end of first semester. Half way through the year; more if you’re in Year 12.
As the term ends we can reflect on what we have both collectively, and individually, achieved. Our school, and therefore our students, have achieved so much throughout the term and throughout the semester. Since the last newsletter we have completed semester one, reports have been finalised, House Chorals has taken place, VCE students have undertaken the GAT, the Year 10 students sat the EduTest (again!), LOTE Week has added colour to our lives and we held the Winter Music Concert! And while they are not yet our students, the prospective 2020 Year 9 students sat the entrance examination; and we are very proud of the fact that we have significantly more first preference applicants than previously. Suzanne Cory High School is increasingly becoming a school of choice.
Schools are not static; successful schools are always reflecting and improving. Change is a constant. Writing in the 19th Century, the English clergyman, William Pollard, wrote: “Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.” The reality is that if we do not embrace change and prepare for the future then we will have change foisted upon us. We will always reflect on what we do and consider what changes need to be made to ensure that we provide the best possible educational experience for our students. The staff of SCHS are, invariably, both innovative and open to change.
The opportunity to change often comes from changing circumstances of which we have little control. One example is the change to student counselling services at SCHS. Our two main counsellors left the school to pursue other opportunities and as a result we have been able to progress changes that may have taken us considerably longer to achieve. The importance of providing quality counselling services cannot be overstated. In the past month we have consolidated the plan for the future which has enabled us to provide more experienced and better qualified counsellors for our students. Starting next term, Ms Boon Chin Oh, an educational psychologist, will join us and work with two consultants who have been working with us for most of this term: Ms. Bec Cavanagh and Mr. Pat Cavanagh. And MS Lina Paye will continue to work with the students as well. We are in the process of improving our counselling systems and believe that we will be able to provide more effective services for our students.
One of the exciting additions to the counselling services has been the therapy dogs. One of the great advances in mental health services has been the introduction of therapy and assistance dogs. The effectiveness of these trained animals cannot be overstated. I have witnessed the positive effect that they have had on the students, and staff, in the short time that they have been with us. We have had students learning how to pat a dog and students who just want to spend time with the dogs to relax and de-stress. We will continue to explore the ways in which these therapy dogs can support our students. And I must also emphasise that no student will be required to engage with the therapy dogs.
One of the issues the school constantly faces is the lack of alternative spaces; the problem with an open plan school! We are investigating the plausibility of a Wellness Centre to further the effectiveness of the delivery of counselling and wellbeing services to our students.
In previous newsletters over the years, I have discussed changes to curriculum. We have started the process of investigating and applying for candidacy to be able to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. Often referred to as just the ‘IB’, the diploma program is the senior years (Year 11 & 12) level. The IB aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right. The IB offers high-quality programmes of international education that share a powerful vision. Informed by the values described in the learner profile, an IB education:
- Focuses on learners - the IB’s student-centred programmes promote healthy relationships, ethical responsibility and personal challenge.
- Develops effective approaches to teaching and learning - IB programmes help students to develop the attitudes and skills they need for both academic and personal success.
- Works within global contexts - IB programmes increase understanding of languages and cultures, and explore globally significant ideas and issues.
- Explores significant content - IB programmes offer a curriculum that is broad and balanced, conceptual and connected.
This, and additional, information is available at www.ibo.org. These are all aims that fit within the philosophy of the school.
The accreditation process takes some two years and requires extensive commitment from the school in terms of resources. The School Council has agreed that we should expend time and money on the process to be able to offer the IB Diploma Program starting in 2022. While this means that it won’t affect the curriculum offerings for our current students, we will be seeking feedback from both current students and their parents about the school offering the IB in the future. Given that the Year 9 students in 2020 are the first cohort who would have access to the IB here at SCHS, they will also be surveyed once they have been enrolled in the school.
The IB will an option, not a replacement for the VCE. Offering the IB provides a differentiated approach to accessing tertiary education. The IB is internationally recognised and also generates an ATAR. We will continue to keep the school community informed, and engaged, in the process. There will be links made available through posts on Compass for students and parents to respond.
I hope you all have a relaxing an enjoyable term break. It is important that our students, from all year levels, balance their time away from school. This is an opportunity to recharge the batteries, so to speak, catch up on work and consolidate what has already been learnt, while also preparing for the term ahead.
Phone: (03) 8734 2800
Email: [email protected]
School Website: www.suzannecoryhs.vic.edu.au