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Celebrating Personal Best

Chris Ivey / Academic

Can I begin by thanking everyone for what was a sensational College Fair last week.

04 November 2021

From our Principal Chris Ivey: Celebrating Personal Best

Can I begin by thanking everyone for what was a sensational College Fair last week.  The energy and sense of community that we enjoyed was wonderful and while there are many people to thank, I do want to mention our Head of Marketing and Community Development, Jaclyn Oudejans and her team for overseeing the event.  Amongst other things, community is what sets our College apart and it is important that we continue to find these moments to come together.  Our events team have been working hard this year to really increase the number and breadth of these community opportunities.  As I have said on quite a few occasions, it is when parents get to know other parents, as well as get to know our staff that parents are able to feel comfortable to have those conversations that we sometimes need to have as we partner together in educating and raising our children.

As we enter the time where we begin to celebrate the year that has passed, parents will be aware that as a College we continue to try and strike the balance between acknowledging success and not simply rewarding students for the sake of it.  As we have refined this process St Andrew’s has reduced the number of academic awards, ensuring it truly recognises those have achieved at the top of their areas. However, I wanted to bring an interesting insight to the attention of our parents.

One of our key areas of focus over the past few years has been around using data to help inform our practice. Ms Sue Bambling, as our Director of Student Learning does an awesome job in this space as we aim to find ways to better support our students. Parents may be aware that we monitor the social, emotional and academic progress of our students from Prep to Year 12. One aspect of this is monitoring student academic learning using NAPLAN and Academic Assessment Services (AAS – previously Allwell) test results from Years 2 to 10. This year, we have commenced identifying and celebrating students who have achieved remarkable learning growth across the areas of Reading, Grammar and Punctuation, Writing, Spelling and Numeracy over the two-year period from 2019 to 2021.

These students are almost always not our top achieving students in terms of their results; in fact, more importantly, these are the students in each year level who have achieved the highest academic learning growth from 2019 to 2021.  In other words, they’ve made the most improvement.  In terms of learning outcomes, this is something we want to celebrate and acknowledge, and we have done so with each individual student. We have sent a letter of congratulations and a certificate to acknowledge this high academic improvement. This new academic improvement certificate is an additional way we recognise and celebrate learning achievements of students at the College.  I felt parents would appreciate knowing that our focus continues to be on growth in learning which is often individual and put in context it is definitely something to celebrate. 

St Andrew’s talks about each student aiming for their own ‘personal best’ and it’s one of our value statements.  Whether we are referring to a student who achieved an ATAR of 99.5 or a student who has made significant improvements in their results, the most important part is that they have achieved their personal best and this is what we love to celebrate.  It’s a great conversation to have with your own children, about how they have set goals earlier in the year and whether or not they felt they achieved those goals.  Did they work toward and achieve their personal best?

Best wishes

Chris

Author Profile

Chris Ivey

In his own words, Chris “enables things to happen” at St Andrew’s. As Principal of the College, he leads the development and progression of St Andrew’s by enabling staff and students to achieve their personal best. Chris is a Reverend and has been the Principal of St Andrew’s for more that 15 years. He also represents and advocates for Independent schools across Australia as the National Chair of AHISA (Association of Heads of Independent Schools, Australia).

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