Dear Parents, Friends, Staff and Students of Caroline Chisholm College,
Our students are in the middle of a very busy time of learning and assessment at the moment. It is great to go from class to class and see students deeply engaged in their work and their efforts to master new knowledge and skills. For students in Years 7 - 9, our assessment program is ongoing and does not feature exams. This means that your daughter’s learning is being constantly observed and evaluated by her teacher. While this can sometimes look like receiving a mark on a quiz or a grade on a piece of writing, it can take many other forms as well. For example, in my Year 10 class today, while students were working in small groups, I interviewed students in pairs and asked them to explain their understanding to me. By asking questions of the girls I was able to assess which areas of their learning were really strong and where they needed more detailed knowledge. I could then, in real time, point them in the direction of their next learning. The students themselves could easily answer the question “Are you confident in all aspects of this topics? If not, what do you think you need to do next?”. Our teachers know that this sort of assessment and feedback can be even more valuable than taking a pile of marking home for two weeks and returning it long after the learning has happened. This is quite different from when I went to school and everything came down to the mark a teacher gave me. Our program of ongoing assessment is designed to ensure that students can take ownership of their learning and become self-reliant, so that they can take the necessary steps to manage their learning. This supports the three areas of student learning that we call the Personal Profile on our reports: managing learning, taking opportunities to extend learning and relating to others to enhance learning. These are our goals for the students.
Last Friday night the community enjoyed the Caroline Chisholm Dance Showcase. This will be the last time the Showcase is held at St Dominic's College, because we will have moved into our new performance centre next year. The students presented pieces representing their work from across the year in a range of styles, both solo and ensemble, and the standard of their performances reflected the fact that, as a college, we were very successful in eisteddfods and competitions throughout the year. In fact, Caroline Chisholm was named the winning school of the Parramatta Diocesan Secondary Schools Dance Competition for the year. Congratulations to the girls and to Mrs Brooke Hughes for her tireless work with each ensemble and her many evenings and weekends dedicated to our dance program. I would also like to thank St Dominic's for the generosity in providing this venue for our Dance Showcase over many years.
If you have driven past the college in the last few weeks you would have noticed a great deal of progress on our building project. The school is now surrounded by building sites on three sides of the Covered Outdoor Learning Area: the new building, the new canteen and the refurbished art rooms are all well underway and on track for completion in January ready for the new school year. In the meantime, life is a bit cramped and uncomfortable on the college grounds. I want to thank the students and the staff for the patient way they have gone about learning and teaching in less than ideal conditions. I promise it will be worth it when we move into these beautiful spaces, and students, ex-students and parents will have the opportunity to tour the facilities in the new year.
Our bishop has asked us to pray for all the Australians affected by the drought. The harsh climate has caused untold damage to businesses, individuals and families. Please join with us in prayer that communities will receive both the support and the rain that they need.
In wisdom and love
you created our earth to sustain us and give us life.
We turn to your now in faith, hope and love, asking you to look with favour on our drought-stricken land, on our starving animals, on our failing crops.
Strengthen, sustain and give new heart to our farmers and to all who are affected by drought; be with those who support them.
In your loving providence, send abundant rain and restore our parched earth.
Father on all compassion, hear our prayer through Jesus Christ your Son, in whom the promise of new life: Renew your faithful people; Renew the face of the earth.
Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Mary, Help of Christians - Pray for us.
St Mary of the Cross MacKillop - Pray for us.
Mr Greg Elliott Principal