We really take student voice seriously and it is excellent that so many students are willing to help the school and recognise that we would take their wisdom seriously. We know that our school has the capability to be the lead school in the Tuggeranong Valley and we know we can outperform any school in the ACT. Students have to be a part of that process of improvement and all evidence supports that they are up to the challenge.
We have regular whole school meetings where we address issues that students raise through our "Suggestion Box" and allow open question time.
We also regularly conduct student surveys and forums on a variety of issues.
A new school uniform
Late last year, at our final whole school student meeting there was considerable interest expressed by our students in reviewing our school uniform. Since then we have surveyed students asking them to respond to two key aspects:
Do we keep our colours or change them?
What styles do you want?
Feedback from the surveys revealed the following:
Students definitely want to keep our colours but change the proportions – more white and red and less black.
Have a wide range of choices. Front running styles included:
For girls: a button up cotton blouse with the school logo embroidered on the pocket and a box pleated read, black and white tartan skirt
For boys: black tailored trousers, red or white polo shirt with contrasting side panels.
Our students have spoken strongly about changing our uniform, but we want to hear from our whole school community. Our P&C Association have organised a parent and carer forum on Wednesday 26 August at 6.30pm here in our Performing Arts Centre to give our families the opportunity to share ideas and have input into this important aspect of our life at Calwell.
Teaching and Learning
In the last week of term 2, 129 students volunteered their time to complete a report card for the school. The information they shared is being closely examined by the staff and is having a major impact on the way we set our improvement agenda.
Students were asked to think about the classes they enjoyed and the classes they enjoyed less during the first semester of 2015. We didn't ask them to identify the classes but to think about the teaching and learning that takes place in those classes. We wanted to make sure that the focus was on improving the school.
Almost all of the students took the survey very seriously and that is a great sign that they know that their opinions matter and that they share the responsibility for improving our school. As a result (and to respect their participation), the highlights of the survey were shared with the students at our August 4 assembly. The survey revealed that:
Unsurprisingly, classes that students enjoyed were ones where the teacher took the time to get to know them as individuals and found out about how they learn best. These were also the classes where they learnt the most.
Students, across the board, want to be in classes that challenge them and where the work is not too easy. Equally, they don't want the work to be out of reach either.
Feedback on classwork and assignments is really valued by students and is the key indicator of whether or not they consider themselves to be learning and how successful they'll be.
Student's valued teachers that took the time to structure assignments that provided students with choice around topics, the method and the way they presented their learning.