Deputy Principal - Teaching & Learning

Welcome back and happy new year to all students and their families, especially our Year 7s and students from other year levels who are beginning their journey at Salesian College this year. We also extend this welcome to our new members of staff who have joined us because of their passion for learning and commitment to the wellbeing of young people. It is an exciting time to be joining the College community and we look forward to learning from and with you over the course of the year.

For those in Years 8 to 12, the first week back at school should be a familiar experience, with students having had a chance to meet their teachers and engage with their new courses during the Step Up program at the end of last year. I hope you have had a restful and enjoyable holiday and that you are ready to return to your studies with the energy and enthusiasm that is essential to success.

I am excited to be taking on the role of Deputy Principal – Learning and Teaching, for Semester One this year while Jodie Fitzgerald is on maternity leave. There are a number of important developments in the area of learning and teaching that will affect students and their families over the course of the year. These include:

Introduction of Schoolbox
From the start of Term One, the College will be rolling out the use of Schoolbox as our online learning management system. Schoolbox will be the primary source for accessing class resources, information about school events, monitoring student progress and communication between teachers and parents. We are very excited by the extra functionality that Schoolbox provides, and while new systems always take time to get used to we believe that Schoolbox will be a very user-friendly and engaging platform for students, parents and teachers alike.

Progressive roll-out of Schoolbox
Teachers gained access to Schoolbox at the end of 2016 and have been working to build course materials in it ready for use in 2017. Students will have access to course pages and individual class pages from the beginning of Term One, and will be provided with a series of online guides to help familiarise themselves with the system. Parents and guardians will have access to Schoolbox from the start of Term Two. This progressive roll out will allow us to better target support to users over this timeframe.

A parent information evening will be held in Term One to demonstrate the features of Schoolbox and how they can be utilised. In the meantime, I strongly recommend that parents and guardians explore Schoolbox with their children once student login details are available.

What will parents /guardians be able to access in Schoolbox?
Schoolbox will be the primary source of communication between the College and families. Parents will be able to access information on assessment results, due work, attendance and behavioural / wellbeing issues for each of their children at the College. Information about upcoming events will also be available.

Changes to student reports
As a result of the increased flexibility that Schoolbox provides around assessment and feedback, the College is implementing a new reporting procedure for 2017. Continuous reporting, where feedback on assessments is released online as soon as it is available, is embedded in Schoolbox and will replace the traditional end of semester report. The features of the new reporting system are as follows:

  • For students in Years 7 – 10, rubrics for assessment tasks will be marked online and available for students and parents to access. The rubrics have been designed to provide rich information about the skills a student has demonstrated, and what the next steps for learning are, and will generate a percentage score for that task. These rubrics will be accompanied by a brief comment about how the student has performed overall. There will be one such task with associated feedback completed in each term.
  • The percentage grades for any further assessment tasks, including exam results, will also be accessible via Schoolbox but feedback will be provided offline per previous practice.
  • Paper-based mid-semester reports with will continue to be provided as in previous years.
  • A paper-based end of semester report, indicating student progress towards Victorian Curriculum achievement standards, will be provided. It will not contain comments or individual assessment task results as these will already be available through Schoolbox.

This new system will provide more timely and relevant information to students and parents, which we believe will have a positive impact on student learning. We will continue to review the system throughout 2017 and will be seeking feedback from students and families later in the year to help in this process.

SMS notifications for assessment tasks below 50%
SMS notifications are currently sent to parents and guardians when a student receives less than 50% in an assessment task. This will continue for Term One before being replaced by communication via Schoolbox. With the Schoolbox app (yes, there is an app, stay tuned for further details!), these and other notifications will continue to be easily accessible using mobile as well as other devices.

Subject changes
Subject changes for Semester One have now been finalised. To run effectively we must have a deadline when class lists are finalised, and that has now passed. We allow subject changes to be made again at the end of Semester 1. This will be communicated via the student bulletin towards the end of Term 2.

 

Daniel Buttacavoli
Deputy Principal- Learning and Teaching