- Parent involvement in student 'homework'
- Parenting information
- Looking Ahead
- Carremonkey Changes (IMPORTANT INFORMATION)
- 2019 Information night
- Long Service Leave
- Winter Uniform
- Walker Learning Approach Study Tour
- Measuring Parent Engagement Trial
- Catholic Education Feedback Survey
Parent involvement in student ‘homework’
You may have read the recent article in the Age or heard some of the news reports about the ‘crisis’ in Australia with parents spending less time on average helping their children academically than the global average. Australian parents - on average, spend 4.4 hrs per week compared to the global average of 6.7hrs. What these reports sometimes fail to mention is that top performing countries like Japan average only 2.6hrs or Finland at 3.1 hrs. Whilst countries like Turkey who rank well below the OECD average in outcomes spend in excess of 8 hrs. The time spent is not the important factor here, it is how the time is spent and on what.
When we worked to develop our home learning policy two years ago we spent over 6 months looking at what the current research was telling us about student homework in primary schools. The results clearly showed that the traditional form of homework had little to no impact on student learning outcomes, and often resulted in poorer family relationships. If a student could already do the work, they didn’t need to do more of it, and if they couldn’t then they needed teacher support in the classroom. What did make a difference to students was working on tasks that allowed them to apply their learning; such as working with money when shopping to reinforce counting or decimals knowledge. Or estimating total costs of a shop, writing letters or putting together a shopping list. One thing that did show consistently in the research was the importance of regular reading, particularly to another person or having discussions about what was read, and so this remains a large part of our home learning policy. The other big argument put forward for homework was around learning time management, students who were naturally motivated to set aside time for work, continue to do this into high school and beyond. For those of us with children who may need a lot more direction and instruction to set aside time to complete homework, they rarely carried these enforced behaviours with them once the controls are removed. Again being busy in their lives and having clear expectations taught more about time management than having to complete ‘homework’.
Simon Birmingham is calling on parents to do more to halt the decline in Australian academic performances on these tests. There is always going to be more parents can do in supporting their children, however, homework isn’t a big impact item in primary school years. Expectations around the importance of schooling is critical, providing a safe caring home environment is crucial, being involved in your child’s life, letting them play and be involved in sport and team situations; these are some of the many things that make long term differences for students and how they develop.
Of course all this changes in secondary school, the research there does support the value of homework, developmentally we are talking about very different stages of students lives.
Michael Grose has a new article looking at ways to help your child(and yourself) develop a balanced lifestyle around technology use. Not surprisingly it is often our modelling that shapes so much of their behaviour. How often do you feel anxious when you leave the house, or even the room without your phone/device?
Resilience Project App
The Resilience Project, who we are working with later in this year have released a new app focused on gratitude, empathy and mindfulness. It does have a cost attached so consider it’s benefits for yourself. The app works like the resilience project diaries asking you to reflect on your day, identify some things you are thankful for and what you are looking forward to, as well as providing a guided meditation option. More information can be found at https://theresilienceproject.com.au/the-resilience-project-app/
We are rapidly approaching the end of a very busy term, with Parent Teacher Interviews taking place this week and our Athletic’s Carnival next Monday. Thank you to all the parents who have contributed to the School and Parish this term, your time and support makes so many things possible for us. A reminder to visit lost property before the term break, there is a slowly growing collection of lunch boxes and uniforms in there.
Caremonkey Changes (IMPORTANT INFORMATION)
By Tuesday next week all families should receive information on the Parent Access Module(PAM) login for SIMON our reporting and student profile system. SIMON will be replacing caremonkey next term as our excursion permission tool. For those of you with students in secondary school you are already likely familiar with this system. Moving forward, parents will be able to access reports, attendance, book P/T interviews, notify absences and update medical information through PAM. This does mean you will have to complete your child’s medical profile again in the new system, we apologise for this however it was not ready in time for the start of the year and there is no transfer system between the two packages. Information on how to connect and update information will come with the login and be available on our website.
2019 Information Night
We had over 50 parents in attendance at our 2019 Foundation information session last week and it is great to see such a continuing support for what we do here at St Columba’s. Along with another 20+ at our day tour on Tuesday morning. We carry a strong reputation in the community and this is a great reflection on our staff and families of the tremendous efforts they put in. The feedback from visiting families was one of amazement at how a school can feel so inviting and friendly, whilst it was clear we still had a dedicated focus on academic achievement at the same time. Lots of ‘I wish school was like this when I attended’. It was also great to see so many families in attendance with a history of St Columba’s.
Long Service Leave
We have a number of staff taking long service leave this year. Michelle McMahon will be away the last week of term 1 replaced by Maree Cooper. Wayne Lynch will be away the first week of term 2 and is replaced by Rebecca Perks. Anne Petrie is on leave the first two weeks of term two and is replaced by Ellen Gleeson.
Term 2 sees our transition to winter uniform, in the interests of common sense and our ever changing weather patterns, for the first three weeks of the term students may wear either their summer or winter uniform weather dependent.
Walker Learning Approach Study Tour
St Columba’s has been asked to host a regional WLA study tour next term, this is a great reflection on our journey so far from visiting others schools to now hosting. Prior to the visit teachers will be working closely with our WLA mentor Karen, if you see her around the school be sure to say hello.
Measuring Parent Engagement Trial
St Columba’s is taking part in a trial and we need you to be involved!
The Measuring Parent Engagement trial will help us understand how families and schools can best work together to support learning outcomes for our children.
We are looking for parents to take part in a quick online survey (around 10 mins) so that we can develop a measurement tool for schools to use to gauge the level of parent engagement in their school
The survey will be open 5-29 March 2018. http://survey.qa/FAZf1j
This survey provides some really useful anonymous information for us as a school to help identify areas we can further improve in our links with parents and connecting them to the learning taking place. So far we have less than 10% of families responded
Catholic Education Feedback Survey
St Columba’s values the feedback of our students, families and community.
As part of our ongoing goal to deliver an outstanding education experience, we encourage you to respond to our Catholic Education Feedback Survey via:
We would appreciate responses before Thursday 22nd March 2018. Should you have any questions, please contact Shaun Mohr - firstname.lastname@example.org
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