From the Head of the Preparatory Schooldeveloper
It has been a very positive start to Term 3. At our Day 1 Chapel, I shared with the students that the teachers had spent two days talking about them, so it was energising to have them back to start actioning our discussions. Schools are empty places without students in them and professional talk is ‘cheap’ without following through and making a difference in the lives of the young people we work with. That is to say, the teachers are excited to have the boys back and are looking forward to a great term of growth.
Whilst NAIDOC Week is generally celebrated in the first week of July, we took the opportunity on the first day of term to acknowledge the significant contribution that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have made and continue to make in our country’s culture and identity. As part of this, our School Leaders shared an Acknowledgement of Country that they composed earlier in the year.
‘We gratefully thank the Wongal people who are the traditional custodians of this land for letting us learn, explore, discover and create on their very historical and purposeful land. We promise to commemorate the histories and stories of this land. And we would also like to pay respect to the elders both past and present. We promise to cherish and consider the health and needs of this land for present and future years.’
From Trinity Grammar School Preparatory School
Equality and Equity – Plan A, B and C
One of the major focuses during our Professional Learning days was considering the way that we support students in meeting expectations – both learning and behavioural. One of the interesting discussions in education in recent years has centred around the difference between ‘equality’ and ‘equity’ and the impact this should have on the way students are supported in their learning. In a nutshell, ‘equality’ is each student receiving the same, whereas ‘equity’ is each student receiving what they need to support their individual growth. We know that all learners are different. Accordingly, we apply principles of differentiation in the classroom to make appropriate adjustments to support students in the learning.
This term we want to further explore the outworking of the concepts of equity and equality with the students, particularly in relation to the way different students are able to meet our behavioural expectations. To illustrate the ideas of equality and equity I invited two students (one from Year 6 and the other from Kindergarten) to join me at the front of the assembly. I asked them both to take hold of a 10kg weight. Not surprisingly, the older student had no issue holding the weight, whereas the younger student admirably held it aloft for a brief moment before needing additional support. I suggested to the students that this was an example of ‘equality’, where expectations are the same for all, however, the illustration also highlighted that there are times when the reality of some expectations can be unfair. I then replaced the 10kg weight with a 4kg and a 6kg weight for the younger student. Holding one weight in each hand remained a challenge, however, it was clearly far more achievable. I suggested to the students that this was an example of ‘equity’ where students are asked to achieve a particular expectation, but the support provided to different students may differ according to need.
To further illustrate this point to the students and to introduce an initiative we are planning to undertake this term, I suggested to students that there were three ‘plans’ that we adopt at different times with regard to behavioural expectations at school.
All three plans are based on the premise that students will do the right thing, and will meet expectations, ‘if they can’ rather than ‘if they want to’. This has been my experience. Generally students want to meet expectations as it confirms them a sense of belonging. Students who are not meeting expectations are experiencing a lack of development with a particular skill, most commonly a social skill or the ability to self-regulate their emotions.
‘Plan A’ is the plan that we are most familiar with. It is a plan based around ‘equality’ and assumes that expectations are reasonable and achievable for all students. An example of this is the wearing of the School uniform or having respect for teachers. At Trinity we have a range of ‘Plan A’ behavioural expectations and students failing to meet these are provided with opportunities to reflect on their choices or actions.
‘Plan B’ is an approach that we are planning to explore and begin to implement this term in the spirit of ‘equity’ when it becomes clear that an individual is struggling to meet a particular expectation due to a lack of skills in that area. This will involve a discussion with the student so they are a collaborative partner in the proposed solution and in the development of any lagging skills.
‘Plan C’ is an approach that we use in a limited but discretionary manner to remove certain expectations for individual students for a time to allow them to focus their attention elsewhere. In my illustration with the students I gave the example of someone breaking their arm and therefore not being able to hold the weight. Whilst this is a somewhat trivial example, it does highlight the reality that at different times we all struggle to meet particular expectations because we lack the cognitive load or physical capacity for a period of time. The goal is always to work with the individual to build the deficiency back up so as to re-establish the expectation.
The second of our Professional Learning days focused on the use of MAP Growth data to inform responsive and differentiated learning and teaching. We have been using MAP Growth assessments for several years now. This data and teachers’ assessment literacy are integral in ensuring that our learning environment is defined by equity as each student is supported to achieve individual growth on a daily, weekly, and annual basis.
Nude Food House Picnic
One of the School’s focuses in recent years has been the establishment of environmentally sustainable practices to ensure we are doing our bit to look after the health of our environment. This focus has been initiated from several angles, but not least the strong and ongoing voice of the students who are keen to respond to their learning in the Sharing the Planet units of inquiry. To support this, we have installed bins that support the students (and teachers) to sort their waste; general waste, co-mingled recycling and food waste. At the end of last term I took the somewhat extreme action of tipping out some bins to make the students aware of how effectively our waste management was and the impact of choosing the wrong bin.
To further promote our environmentally sustainable practices, we are planning on having a Nude Food House Picnic next Thursday. Each House will gather for Morning Tea and will place all of their non-recyclable waste in the middle, with the winning House being the one with the least waste.
Nude Food is a practice that promotes healthy food that is packaged in reusable (recyclable) containers rather than packaging that ends up as general waste such as clingwrap or wrappers. We encourage students to use this practice on a daily basis not just next Thursday. Together we can make a difference!
Learning more about our students – Allwell Testing
As previously mentioned above, the collection of learning data on our students is a critical exercise that supports the effective planning of teaching and learning experiences. On Tuesday 26th July, students in Years 2 and 4 will be participating in a series of short Allwell tests conducted by Academic Assessment Services. These tests provide a diagnostic measure in Reading, Writing and Numeracy. Boys are not required to undertake any preparation for these tests.
Ongoing school-based assessment remains our principal way of reporting student achievement. However, the additional information gained through these assessments and other more regular assessments such as MAP Growth, contributes to our broad academic profile of each boy, enhancing our ability to map their learning growth, and ensuring we continue to meet their learning needs. Results will be provided to parents when they are available. Teachers will be reviewing the results and will be pleased to discuss them with parents as appropriate.
Tomorrow, we hope to resume the Winter Sport season. Unfortunately the weather has not been conducive to training this week, but we are hopeful that the students will have the chance to get back on the field with the team mates tomorrow morning.
We have only three weeks of the season remaining before moving into the Athletics season. As we resume the season it is worth reflecting on the important role that Sport plays in their development in mind, body and spirit. The overarching aims of our Sport programme are far bigger than winning; they are about the development of skills, teamwork, sportsmanship and character. I encouraged the boys to make sure their first action following a game, whether they have won or lost, was to congratulate the other team and the referee with a handshake and words of encouragement. I completely appreciate the joy and satisfaction that comes from winning; I too, am a sportsman. However, this feeling is fleeting. What is far more satisfying is looking back at a player’s growth and development over a season, the comradery that is built in a team and the maturity that is evident as boys learn lessons of resilience, hard work, discipline and respect. I hope this is true of all Prep students as they reflect on their participation in this season. These messages are consistently affirmed with the students.
Track and Field House Championships
Next Wednesday we will be holding our annual Track and Field Championships at SOPAC. We are looking forward to a great day of competition, fun and House spirit.
As Term 3 begins I am pleased to endorse a couple of significant Community events that are quickly approaching. Next Friday evening, 29th July, the Strathfield Auxiliary is hosting a Prep Trivia Night. I encourage parents to join in on what promises to be a fun evening and a chance to further develop relationships throughout the Prep School.
The second event is the upcoming Trinity Ball. It has been a few years since the last whole School Ball and this promises to be a great event that draws together parents and supporters from across the wider Trinity community. The details are as follows:
When: Saturday 20th August – Doltone House, Jones Bay Wharf, 6:30pm
Ticket sales close Monday August 1st. Learn more about the evening and purchase your tickets here.
Kiss and Ride
It seems timely to remind parents of the importance of working together to ensure the Kiss and Ride area is as safe as possible for our boys. I understand the challenge associated with efficiently picking up and dropping off the boys but urge parents to follow the local road rules and make wise decisions to ensure the safety of our boys. Please also be aware that the Police patrol the area from time to time. I encourage families to refer to the Prep Traffic Management Plan for a reminder of our practices.
North Coast Tour
Congratulations to the Combined Rugby and Football teams who completed another successful North Coast Tour at the end of last term. This tour is quite an experience for the boys as they are involved in several matches across the week and sleeping in shared accommodation at the schools. The boys took part in several fun and enjoyable activities in each town and were fine representatives of the School. Particular thanks go to Mr Bremner and Mr Mako, along with Mr Robinson and Mr Niulala from the Junior School, who accompanied and coached the boys on tour.
Newington Bus Service
The School is embarking on a trial of a new bus route beginning from Newington before making its way to the Summer Hill campus. The term-long trial is planning to begin next Monday, 25th July. Further details can be obtained by contacting the School Office. The current map of the route can be found at this link.
Term 3 promises to be an exciting and rewarding term for all members of the School community. I look forward to interacting with you at various upcoming events.
Coming up in Week 2:
|APPROVED Incursions | Excursions | Events|
|Mon 25 July||12.30 – 2.00pm||Brainstorm Productions | Sticks & Stones|
|Mon 25 July||PK Hatch and Grow Programme commences|
|Tue 26 July||8.30am – 12.30pm||Years 2&4 Allwell Testing (Diagnostic Testing)|
|Tue 26 July||1.30 – 2.00pm||Year 6 Fundraiser – Cookie Sale $5|
|Wed 27 July||All Day Event||Years 3-6 Track and Field House Championships [Compulsory Event]|
|Thu 28 July||9.30am-11.40am
|Thu 28 July||1.30 – 2.00pm||Nude Food Day (House Picnics)|
Chris Wyatt | Head of the Preparatory School
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1