KORERO FROM FRASER
Welcome to another damp and foggy Waikato week! Despite the winter weather we have had a very positive start to Term 3 with students and teachers excited about the opportunities presented by our new semester.
It is nice to be operating our normal timetable and this has helped with communicating and implementing the high expectations we have for learners in terms of both engagement and learning task completion. We are particularly focussed on putting positive pressure on our Year 9 and 10 students in regard to both the quality and quantity of learning completed and submitted. While we do not have a blanket policy on home learning (homework) there is an expectation that when it is set it should be completed and our Year 9 and 10 modules are covering a lot of content and going deep with their learning so this home learning is important for reinforcing new learning and at times to allow students to revise or complete tasks to the expected standard. It is super helpful if you could discuss and support a home learning routine. If you hear the phrase, ‘I don’t have anything to do’ then maybe there is an agreement that there is 30-45 minutes minimum of reviewing learning from the day or completing their own Ed. Perfect tasks (which don’t have to be set by teachers).
As I mentioned in our last eNews bulletin, our curriculum leaders have spent time with their teams analysing achievement and progress data from the end of semester. These are in depth analysis of all year levels to inform priorities across their learning area and teams of teachers. For the first time in the areas of Mathematics and English we do seem to be seeing the impact of the pandemic on achievement levels. While we still compare favourably to some of the national data we have seen a dip for the first time. It is important to note that the only national data we have to reference is pre-pandemic data. We are optimistic that with longer settled periods of attendance and an absence of rostering we can address this gap quickly. Importantly we don’t expect this to happen by itself. As teams we are unpacking strategies and tools that can assist us. Just one of these, as mentioned above, is raising expectations of quality and quantity of learning being completed.
An interesting aspect of the mathematics data is the cross-referencing of mathematics achievement with achievement in reading and writing. For instance, of all the students who are not achieving at the expected level in mathematics, 61% of these students are below expectations in reading and writing also (68% just in reading and 69% in just writing). While this is only one learning area, it does give a hint as to why our focus on cross-curricular literacy is so important as I shared in our last eNews bulletin.
In our next issue I will continue to share some of the celebrations and challenges that our achievement data has identified across all learning areas. We do have plenty to celebrate and also areas we know we can make significant improvement to achievement and progress. Your help at home is super important so please take the time to read the module information being shared by teachers and spend time talking about the learning happening at school. Revisiting goals from the end of last semester is really helpful as well.