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Newman News Term 1 Week 6 – From the Principal

15 Mar 2019

“If a school adopts a culture of innovation, then deeper learning is a possibility, plain and simple” [NMC Horizon Report 2017 K-12 edition]

The challenge to equip our students to live in this chaotic and rapidly changing world is the optimum ambition for any school that prioritises an improvement agenda. Leading and managing this vision needs to be developed in a way that builds staff capacity and confidence; engages student agency; and invites parent, industry and community input. Put simply, it needs be authentic where the foundation of literacy and numeracy underpins the critical thinking, innovations and creativity that we seek of our learning environment. The movement of schools is towards project-based learning, challenge-based learning, and competency-based learning; all of these pedagogical trends are in service of creating richer and more hands-on, real-world experiences for students. As schools prioritize active learning over rote learning, students are being viewed in a new light. At our College we have undertaken a major restructure of our learning framework through the development of our Vision for Learning, Shine through Discovery – Let your light shine (Matthew 5:16). Our pedagogical framework (Challenge, Collaborate, Create and Celebrate) now informs and guides teaching practice across the College.

The following is a summary of what has emerged as a result of the development, actioning and now the sustaining of our Vision for Learning:

  • A strategic approach to staff professional learning
  • Focus on growing innovative cultures for school change
  • Engaging student voice in their learning
  • Parent collaboration and engagement
  • Systematic delivery of curriculum
  • New contemporary learning spaces reflective of pedagogical pillars
  • Sustaining commitment and energy of whole school community
  • Ongoing leadership and management of #shinethroughdiscovery
  • Captivating creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship

To optimise future schooling for our students, our College will continue to seek to be proactively and consistently scanning a wide variety of horizons, searching for enablers and alerts to barriers. In developing a contemporary learning experience for our students, we are committed to providing staff with professional learning that will equip them with the relevant skills required. An example of this is the partnership we have formed with Republic Polytechnic in Singapore to provide a learning immersion experience where participants will be introduced to the concept of scaffolding, inquiry path, closure and an overview of holistic assessment in Problem Based Learning (PBL) that will support students’ learning. Later in the year, selected students will also have the opportunity to go to Singapore for a learning immersion.

Perhaps the greatest challenge for schools, moreover society, is the adoption of technology as the dominate paradigm for engagement. We oscillate between varying arguments, being on-screen time for our students and their exposure to the ills that come with the use of technology. Our reality though is that we must prepare our teachers, students, parents/guardians and our community for the future and, ultimately, the imperative of technology in our civic, social and human domains of engagement.

To this end, NMC Horizon Report 2017 K-12 edition outlines the following challenges facing schools: Download NMC Horizon Report 2017 K-12 Edition

  • Improving Digital Literacy. To use technology productively and enable intuitive adaptation to new contexts and co-creation of content with others, students must acquire a deep understanding of the digital environment. Schools are charged with developing students’ digital citizenship, ensuring mastery of responsible and appropriate technology use, including online etiquette and digital rights and responsibilities in blended and online learning settings.
  • Rethinking the Roles of Teachers. Teachers are increasingly expected to be adept at a variety of technology-based and other approaches for content delivery, learner support, and assessment. In the technology-enabled classroom, educators are moving beyond dispensing information and assessing students’ knowledge, which are tasks that can be increasingly outsourced to machines.
  • Teaching Computational Thinking. Teaching computational thinking, synonymous with complex thinking, is still in its ascendancy as definitions continue to evolve and as curricula are built, and it is requiring the development of new forms of pre-service and inservice teacher training to be adequately taught in schools. To succeed in the 21st century, it is essential for young people to learn how to be computational thinkers, defined by the International Society for Technology in Education as the ability for students to “develop and employ strategies for understanding and solving problems in ways that leverage the power of technological methods to develop and test solutions.”
  • The Achievement Gap. The achievement gap refers to an observed disparity in academic performance among student groups, especially as defined by socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, or gender. This challenge also encompasses geographic inequities in student achievement as well as disparate access to educational opportunities inside and outside school.
  • Sustaining Innovation through Leadership Changes. Multiple resources, including funding, time, and personnel, are required to effectively implement the innovative teaching and learning pedagogies highlighted throughout this report. Disruption to any one of these resources leaves organizations scrambling to fill the missing pieces. The process of preparing for the unknown is not always well defined, nor is it currently the norm in K–12 schools.

Our ambition as a College is one that cultivates excellence and recognises achievement. We believe that Shine through Discovery – Let your light shine (Matthew 5:16) has permeated all aspects of our learning environment and given license to our students and staff to be innovative, creative and entrepreneurial. We look forward to what is yet possible and yet to be realised for students and staff. This imperative is best summed up in the words of our Founder, St Marcellin Champagnat – “May their lives be an echo of what you have taught them”.

College Production

We are delighted to be staging Masquerade at Newman College in 2019. Masquerade is a play (with music) written by WA playwright Kate Mulvany. It is a beautiful and whimsical play based on the children’s picture book of the same name, by Kit Williams. In the book Jack Hare embarks on a wild and wonderful journey as he searches for the amulet that symbolises enduring love. Jack’s struggle parallels with the journey of a young boy Joe. Joe who is undergoing cancer treatment, is comforted by the pages of the book, and Jack’s journey. As the celestial and human worlds begin to collide the themes of family love, hope and dreams are explored.

At the heart of this magical musical adventure are the themes of family, courage, morality, dreams and love. The production promises to be a theatrical experience for all members of the family.

Performing Arts at Newman College is a significant learning area and its continued growth is ensured under the leadership of Leader of learning Arts, Mrs Maree Grayden. Our College’s Vision for Learning, Shine through Discovery- Let you light shine (Matthew 5:16) inspires our faith and learning community to Challenge, Collaborate, Create and Celebrate who we are and what we seek to achieve. We are a College that values excellence in the growth and development of our students. This production exemplifies our commitment to the creativity, commitment and hard work of our students and staff.

I applaud the staff for their vision in bringing this incredible story to the stage.