Dear Parents and Carers,
Our relentless focus on learning continues at O’Connor, a community founded on faith and focused on learning. Recently a number of staff attended professional learning facilitated by Dr Lyn Sharratt a renowned educator (This is a link to her website http://lynsharratt.com). Sharratt’s work (along with Michael Fullan) have been instrumental in raising the literacy and numeracy standards of students in Canada and indeed in many parts of the world.
Sharratt’s work focusses around the 14 parameters that make a difference to student learning outcomes. The first parameter is one that we have been articulating strongly at O’Connor:
Shared belief and understanding - Every student can learn to a high standard given the right time and the right support.
We like to articulate it as everyone can learn, not at the same time nor in the same way. For us at O’Connor, we are working together to best plan the learning needs of everyone. Our teachers are meeting to discuss learning in their Professional Learning Teams. Our staff meetings have a strong focus on learning for all.
We have prototyped three rooms with agile furniture to see if this might best suit the needs of students to ensure they can collaborate to formulate creative solutions to real world problems. These are just a few of the ways we are working on this shared belief.
Another of Sharratt and Fullan’s parameters focuses on the partnership between parents and the community. Their research (and many others) show that when parents/carers are actively involved in their child’s education, the children do better at school. As parent/carer, how can you help your child achieve the best learning outcomes for them to become confident and informed citizens?
Here are a few ways;
- Ensure they are at school every day on time. Attendance matters, unless they are sick etc they need to be here. A day here or there does make a difference to their learning
- Be actively involved in their children’s learning - talking to them about their learning, encourage them to research, go to homework centre, or encourage them to read (and reading yourself)
- Help them keep a balanced approach to their life. Students need a balance that includes exercise, relaxation, prayer as well as well as schoolwork. This is all part of their learning
- Keep the lines of communication open. Know Pastoral Academic Care Teacher and Year Leader.
Our focus on our faith learning continues with our second Youth and Family Mass on Sunday 26th March at 5.30 in the Cathedral. I look forward to seeing many of you there. Students are continuing their understanding of Lent and the ways we can help other less fortunate than ourselves through Project Compassion fundraisers. Thank you to the House Captains who are organising these events.
School spirit and our sense of belonging to this wonderful Community was alive and thriving at the Autumn Festival. Congratulations to all students who participated in the canter and with the float. A big thank you to Mrs Eli Simpson for organising the Canter and Mrs Vicki Channon and Mr Jon Hawthorne for organising the float. It is wonderful to see so many students and teachers participate in these events.
I wish the Year 12 students all the best in their upcoming Half Yearly exams. These are a chance to consolidate their understanding of the key areas of study they have completed so far in their HSC studies. These exams should be seen as a chance to enhance their learning in their subjects and as much work should be done on analysing the feedback from the teachers after the exams, as is done in the preparation time. It was great to see so many parents/carers supporting their son or daughter at the first of our Senior Success nights held recently.
I ask you again to:
Take the time to talk to your daughter/s/son/s about their learning. Encourage them to participate fully in the opportunities available in our O’Connor community, a community founded on faith and focused on learning.
Mz Regina Menz