From the Interim Principal - February 2020

From the Interim Principal - February 2020

From the Interim Principal – February 2020

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Growth and Feedback our 2020 Focus

It is a great pleasure to welcome St Hilda’s families back to a new school year. The summer break has been marred for many as they have continued to deal with long term drought conditions, fires, floods, and the impact on the economy which has been exacerbated by these conditions. In the last two weeks, we have experienced the evolving situation with the novel coronavirus; this has had an impact on many as they have returned from overseas travel. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been faced with the challenges life can often present, sometimes in the most unexpected ways.

There is, however, always much to be appreciative of, and hope is an inner strength we can all draw upon. I would like to extend our sincere appreciation to all who have been supporting our St Hilda’s community in various forums. I am extremely proud of our students who have initiated fund raising over the summer to support others in need, worked in family businesses and on stations, and those who are supporting their friends who are currently unable to be at School, with emails and facetime conversations. These actions will assist the students impacted to confidently join their classes and extra-curricular activities in the coming weeks.

Our 2019 Senior cohort excelled in the final QCS test with 70.8% of eligible students awarded an A or a B. This performance was the highest achievement of a St Hilda’s Senior cohort. The correlation between the upward trend of students’ achievement with external testing and longevity of enrolment in the School can be drawn from the data, indicating more than half of the OP 1 – 5 students attended St Hilda’s for the 13 years of their schooling. Our teaching staff from Pre-Prep to Year 12 are justifiably proud of their commitment to designing and implementing learning and teaching initiatives which support all learners.

In 2020, the key directions of our strategic plan will focus student growth and nurturing a culture of feedback. Mr Tim Crowe, Assistant Head of Learning and Teaching, adds to his portfolio this year, management of data and student performance. Along with other members of the Learning and Teaching team he will be supporting Middle and Senior School students to monitor their goals and performance. In the Junior School, Mrs Nina Lee is responsible for student growth.

To facilitate this culture, each member of our community is encouraged to consider the question: What does effective feedback look like? For teaching staff this is dependent on opportunities to understand the effectiveness of their teaching, and to select and adapt strategies to meet students’ needs. For students, there are three important questions they need to address – Where am I going?, How am I going? and Where to next? Each of these questions is directed at students monitoring their own learning, increasing their autonomy, and becoming self-regulated learners. These are the skills which will assist the girls to be successful learners both now and in the future.

Parents often ask what they can do to assist their daughters to become owners of their own learning: encourage her to communicate with her teachers every lesson. Feedback on the learning process can only lead to better selection of effective learning strategies if students actively participate in self-assessment of their learning needs. Wherever possible, accept our invitations to Parent Evenings and Parent Teacher Interviews. Communicating in advance any queries you have can often assist speakers to ensure your questions are addressed.

Head of Learning and Teaching, Mr David Goodburn, will remind parents in his upcoming communication, on how to access continuous reporting. Access to your daughter’s assessment progress throughout the term should enable you to open important conversations at home. On a day-to-day level, should a need arise for you to liaise on academic matters, please contact the classroom teacher. If there is a pastoral issue you need to discuss, contact your daughter’s Form Teacher in Junior School or the Head of Year in Middle/Senior School. These interactions are welcomed as they allow us to develop a supportive relationship between home and school.

We are looking forward to sharing with families another year full of opportunity for all girls to identify their passions, work in community, and grow!

Wendy Lauman
Interim Principal 

Love, Compassion, Forgiveness, Hope, Grace