As we begin a new year, I have once again had the privilege and opportunity to speak to many boys and parents during the first week of school.
Conversations in the classroom, Academic Study Centre, in the yard and at the bus stop with students have been about how happy the boys were with their teachers and the learning experiences that were afforded to them. There is a wonderful sense that students across all year levels have enjoyed returning back to school and have begun working hard to improve themselves and their peers’, skills, knowledge and understanding.
An exciting moment each year is meeting students in their class/es and building the relationships that will allow for positive learning throughout the course. I am fortunate to have met a wonderful group of young men in my Year 10 VCE Unit 1 Religion and Society class. The boys were polite, grateful and demonstrated an interest in the subject content through thoughtful and measured responses.
Earlier in the week I had the opportunity to join our Year 12 students in a new College initiative, the Year 12 Formation Program. An important component of the program is six faith enrichment sessions beginning with a session at Middle Park facilitated by the Ministry Team. Each session supports students to engage with ideas surrounding their own identity, their relationship with God and how this is experienced in relationships within our community and beyond. The program also provides support and guidance for students to achieve excellence in their academic studies. These valuable sessions included information about academic results, careers and pathways and listening to old collegians to learn about their experiences.
The Academic Study Centre and Maths Help sessions are starting to be filled with Senior students relishing the support beyond the classroom. I observed students working together in groups to solve problems, discussing issues and planning pieces of work. Other students choose to seek feedback from teachers. Some preferred to quietly study.
It is also reassuring that there is such a strong parent-school-student partnership at Whitefriars. This week it was wonderful to present to a large number of Year 11 and 12 parents on consecutive evenings with Mr Murphy, Mr Clifford, Mr Notting and Mrs Gasparini, about their son’s holistic learning as they embark upon important school years.
Our 2020 Year 12 students were very successful in their studies considering the challenges associated with COVID-19 and Home Learning. The cohort achieved one of the school’s best results in the past 8 years – a median study score of 31 with 5.9% of students achieving a study score over 40. The destination choices highlight that our boys have varied pathways, undertaking opportunities to learn or serve others in a variety of fields, with the majority of boys entering into university at Swinburne, Deakin, Melbourne, Monash or La Trobe Universities. All VCE students achieved their VCE certificate and the 9 VCAL students each entered into an apprenticeship or have entered into further study.
Congratulations to our 2020 College Dux, Adrian De Saram who achieved 99.20. Runner up Dux, Joseph Chim achieving 99.15 with Lachlan Barr also achieving 99.00. Congratulations to Joshua Hannan who achieved a perfect 50 for VCE Music Investigation. These students join 24 students who achieved an ATAR over 90, highlighting that our boys can produce exceptional results by implementing key strategies and hard work to improve their learning.
College staff have analysed the results of each subject, the Year 11 and 12 cohort and individual results. This is allowing us as teaching staff to improve our practice and subsequently improve the learning and academic results of our current students. The upcoming Professional Learning Afternoon provides time for staff to effectively plan and implement high impact teaching strategies.
As a College we are challenging each student to achieve personal excellence. As such, we have high expectations of your son achieving very good results. Our intention is to communicate to you if your son is not performing at or above his expected level of achievement and put in place interventions both in the classroom and after school in the academic study centre.
I wish your son all the best with his learning in 2021.
Mr Mark Ashmore
Deputy Principal – Teaching & Learning