Combined CLT and College Board Strategic Planning Weekend
Last weekend the College Board and College Leadership Team met to discuss and plan our strategic endeavours for 2023. It was an excellent weekend of discussion, Augustinian Formation and identification of key areas for focus and growth at Villanova as we enter this final portion of the year. It is from this gathering that the Leadership Team prioritise matters and give shape and definition to our learning and improvement agenda across the strategic pillars of Identity, Learning and Teaching and Stewardship.
In Term 1 of next year the key drivers of improvement and indicators of performance will be shared with community along with the programs and initiatives that will be in place to achieve these outcomes. I look forward to working with the Leadership Team in this important area of College operations and with excitement at the possibilities of further developing the culture, spirit and performance of Villanova College. I also give gracious thanks to our Board Chair, Mr Peter Finnimore and our directors for giving their time to the College to assist in its successful operation.
World Teachers Day
I do hope that our Villanova community is aware of our underlying teaching practices that are formally termed “Relational Pedagogy.” In simple terms, at Villanova we teach through developing high yield and high-performance relationships. To give greater shape and understanding there are five core principles that our teachers are encouraged to shape inside their classrooms and in their teaching practice and relationship building with students, inside the classroom, on the sports field and in all interactions and opportunities for formation and learning.
These five principles are:
- Express concern
- Challenge growth
- Provide support
- Share power
- Expand possibilities
When these are then paired with our student behaviour support plan principles of Growth, Respect, Effort, Accountability, Teamwork and Service it is easy to see the focal point of our efforts and why we continue to challenge and develop men of character and integrity. Remembering of course that it is an eight-year journey at Villanova and all boys oscillate across varied behaviours and levels of effort and commitment as they progress through the stages of growth toward maturity.
The messages of boys to their teachers that I shared last Friday were littered with evidence that our teachers are working incredibly hard to embed these principles in daily practice, and that the boys are seeing and experiencing it. I commend the work of our teachers and commit to our boys and our families that we will continue to strive to develop our teachers in this important element of the Augustinian educational charism.
Messages from the boys . . .
He has provided honest feedback about progress, as well as made me realise my potential in Science, a subject I have rather struggled with in the past.
She encourages me to do my best and motivates me to reach my potential as she believes that everyone could do better. Also, she provides lots of help in maths especially by working through the first couple of questions of the exercise to make sure everyone fully understands. She won’t stop until she knows everyone understands. This is because she wants everyone to succeed and doesn’t like to see others fail.
Even though I was settled in my academic pathway, Mr X didn’t just accept I was an academic student with high standards, instead he knew how to push me to improvement time after time, inside and out of the classroom. Thanks to his mentoring I made the biggest gains in writing ability and self-awareness which may not have been reflected in my grades but which I certainly felt in my heart.
I thank both my Pastoral Leaders as they helped me through last year when I was struggling not only at school but at home, which was a significant help and definitely changed who I am today. I would not be where I am without the support of these teachers, and other teachers that supported me throughout last year.
Thanks for supporting and assisting me when I am struggling or behind to find a work around and let me know that there are better and adaptable options in place. That people and life can help you find ways to make everything in co-exist and manageable.
Without Mr. X’s uniquely engaging method of teaching, I would have been unable to achieve such high results in my Maths internal assessments and feel as prepared as I do going into the externals. Furthermore, the atmosphere of collaboration that Sir encourages in the classroom has also greatly contributed to my learning, as facing “quirky” questions along the way was less of a challenge and more of an opportunity for growth.
Miss provides authenticity by working with the students and demanding from herself what she demands from us, which allows us to feel less alone.
College NAPLAN Performance
While it has taken some time to have final results released it was pleasing to view our College NAPLAN results and begin the process of analysis around learning growth targets and the identification of areas for teaching focus and student development in areas of Literacy and Numeracy. We have bucked the national trend in the area of Year 9 writing with strong results which bode well for this cohort’s progression into Senior schooling next year. It is certainly envisaged that since the test, taken in April, with a Middle School focus on writing and text structure there has been continued improvement in this area. Our Year 5’s who were new to the College, have performed well, and above national minimum standards, but we are able to identify that Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation are areas for us to continue focussed effort on and our Science of Reading Project will definitely assist with this across the next few years. In all year levels numeracy performance was strong and this is most definitely an area where we want to continue explicit improvement strategies to place all of our boys in a confident place as they move ever closer to Senior schooling.
As a final word, NAPLAN is a high-quality standardised test to be used as a point in time diagnostic, informing teaching practice and topic focus. It should not be used as a way to define your individual child or their perceived intellect or ability. As a College we triangulate data from other standardised tests, and their in-school student assessment, both formative and summative, to inform our teaching and how we structure units and instruction. It is irresponsible to do otherwise.
Mr Paul Begg, Principal
In keeping with the spirit of Reconciliation, Villanova College acknowledges the Yuggera and Turrbal peoples, as the Traditional Custodians of this land on which we stand. We pay our respects to Elders, past, present and emerging. This has always been, and always will be, a place of teaching and learning connected to country, culture and community.