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Adventurous Minds in 2021 – Learning at Woodleigh School

Dear Woodleigh Families, It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to the 2021 School year. In particular, I extend a warm welcome to the families who are new to Woodleigh this year. It has been a fantastic start to the year at all three campuses, with many smiling faces arriving each morning. It has also been an excellent start for staff, who have been working hard to prepare for students to return.

Walking with Students to Maximise Their Learning

Woodleigh's focus for 2021 is firmly set on learning and ensuring that all of our students enjoy genuine and authentic learning experiences in everything we do. We are a school for Adventurous Minds, and this year we want to be very clear about what that means and how that is visible in all of our experiences. As teachers, our first goal is to know our students well. Knowing students supports us to provide a safe and inclusive environment where all students can flourish. It also allows us to pitch the level of challenge for each student at a point where they can experience struggle and be supported by teachers to overcome difficulty and ultimately experience success. Woodleigh's founding Principal, Michael Norman, famously stated that, "We ought never do for young people what they, with a struggle, could be expected to be doing for themselves." This statement resonates clearly with our community; however, it does need further explanation. 

The statement speaks of challenge to create growth, independence and ultimately, resilience. However, the statement is not about leaving students to work it out themselves. It is about walking with students, supporting, coaching and encouraging them to confront challenge and overcome difficulty. Through this process, we experience deep and immersive learning, and we grow as individuals and members of a community.

2021, is about embedding this concept into everything we do. It is about being clear about who we are, celebrating our successes as we succeed, and creating an environment where we can all flourish. Our planning this year is about the 'how'. How do we achieve this? How is this visible? How do we know we are doing what we say we do? 

From a teaching and learning perspective, this begins with a clear understanding of what we teach, who we teach and how we teach. 

The learning process to underpin these ideals is firmly entrenched within the International Baccalaureate programme, particularly the PYP (Primary Years Program) and the MYP (Middle Years Program). Woodleigh is a candidate school for both the MYP and the PYP, and we hope to further embed these frameworks in 2021 and move through the candidacy stage. This requires an enormous amount of collaborative planning for our teachers and for us to be living the IB's ideals.

Assessment Update

I am also excited to be announcing some exciting changes to our assessment processes at Senior Campus. Historically, our School has provided written reports to parents at the end of each Semester. These reports contain a summary of assessment tasks completed and a written synopsis regarding each student's progress in their subjects. Whilst this is usually comprehensive and provides an outline of achievement and progress, it is often perceived as being too late for students and parents to act upon. We want to improve this situation by moving to a more progressive form of reporting known as Continuous Assessment or Continuous Reporting.

The term 'Continuous Assessment and Reporting' refers to the process of formally providing feedback to students and parents, via SEQTA, at agreed times throughout the Semester. This feedback would be related to agreed Assessment Tasks as predetermined by Learning Areas and submitted for approval. 

Continuous Reporting and Assessment is an opportunity to provide timely and effective feedback to students to influence their learning and create opportunities for growth and improvement. Formal feedback regarding Assessment Tasks would be made available to parents throughout the year, replacing the traditional comment provided at each semester's end. 

Parents would be able to view due dates and feedback as Reportable Assessment Tasks are completed. Parents will also receive a formal printed report for each subject containing a course description and a summary of grades or assessment achieved. This will complement the information they receive via SEQTA throughout each Semester. Further information regarding our Senior Campus assessment practices and how to use SEQTA will be available later this term. 

Best wishes for a great Term 1,

DAVID BAKER
Principal

A Message from Our Chair

I want to welcome you all back to School and thank you for your support in 2020. We are looking forward to a productive year. 

The Board is always keen to hear from people who are interested in being involved at Board level. From time to time, board vacancies occur, and it is helpful if we already have an understanding of those who have shown interest. We are particularly interested in exploring the areas of sustainability, social entrepreneurship, marketing and IT.

If you are interested in discussing this further, please forward your CV to chair@woodleigh.vic.edu.au 

Further information on the Board and governance is available on the Woodleigh website.

VANESSA GABRIEL
Woodleigh School Board Chair