Message from the Principal

August 25, 2017 0 comments

Good afternoon everyone,

Welcome back to Term 3 and a particularly warm welcome to all our new staff and students. We have now passed the halfway mark of the term and the new semester has started with a great sense of purpose and energy. The start of the new semester helps every student reflect on their learning to date and to reset their goals to achieve even more highly over the remainder of the year.

Council of International Schools Accreditation:
Week 2 of the term was a very busy week for our school community. A panel of assessors from the Council of International Schools spent 4 days at our schools assessing our performance against 96 individual assessment criteria. These criteria have been identified as the global standard for educational excellence and school operation and leadership. It is the intention of staff to ensure that your child is a member of a school of excellence and that they receive access to the highest quality educational experience.

The CIS Accreditation process occurs over 3 stages and takes up to 5 years to achieve. This visit was stage 2 of the process and we should receive the results of the assessment in the next few weeks. Depending on the outcome of this assessment, we are preparing for our final assessment to occur early in 2019.

Redevelopment Program:
At long last, I am pleased to report that the builders are now onsite. Mossop Constructions have won the tender to project manage our $11m school redevelopment and work has now began. At this stage, we anticipate all work being completed by June, 2018. This project will have a profound impact on future learning at our school and your children will be the beneficiaries. Stay tuned for regular updates and photos on our school website.

Google Classrooms:
I continue to bring your attention to our important and exciting Google Classrooms initiative. Indeed, your children may be coming home and speaking about how their learning is changing through access to this amazing digital learning environment. By the start of 2018, all learning for students will occur through a direct connection with Google Classrooms and our current Learner Management System, called DayMap. Your child must have access to a suitable laptop for every school day. Without their own device, their learning and ability to thrive as a global digital citizen will be significantly disadvantaged.

Our school is investing heavily into a laptop rental program for students. A touchscreen Chromebook will be the standard device offered by the school next year and supplies of this device will begin arriving later this term. Annual rental fees for this device for students will be around $150 per year ($3 per week). The device will be fully maintained by the school, replaced with a new device every 3 years and payments through Centerpay can be made. If your child has a current DELL laptop, these can be returned and replaced with a new device. Further correspondence to all parents will be sent our later this term.

2018 Enrolments:
At this stage, we have 223 current Year 7 students who have elected to enrol in Year 8 at Playford International College in 2018. This enrolment number represents a fantastic vote of confidence in our school by the local community. As we continue to grow and approach more than 1100 students, we continue to change the way students learn. As we change the way we teach, your children become more confident, capable and successful learners. Currently, we are within 20 students of our Year 8 enrolment capacity. If you know of others that haven’t submitted an enrolment request/application for next year, please encourage them to do as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Enrolment caps at our school have not been in place for more than 30 years.

 2018 Curriculum and Timetable:
Speaking about continuous improvement in student learning at PIC, there is more exciting news on the way for parents and students. Later this term, all students will be involved in subject selection for next year. In what will be a big change for students, they will have the ability to personalise their learning to a far greater extent by choosing an Individual Study Pathway (ISP) from the beginning of Year 8. Building on the success of our Academy and Electives program, students will have greater opportunities to learn in vertical learning groups (as opposed to Year Levels) based on need and ability. In the years to come, Year Levels will disappear totally and it will be possible for students to be enrolled in traditional SACE subjects at a much younger age, depending on ability.

A typical school week for students and staff next year will give them the opportunity to have greater flexibility and choice over what their schedule for each week looks like. There will also be far greater opportunity to undertake learning opportunities outside of the traditional classroom and subject approach to schooling.  Students will also have the opportunity to work more often with teachers in one to one or small group settings and the traditional concept of recess and lunch breaks and the school bell will potentially disappear. In its place will be the opportunity for staff and students to have far greater control over how they manage their teaching and learning.

Master classes, expanded co-curricular opportunities, access to mentor and support staff, wellbeing programs and personalised, online digital learning will be offered for students as part of their typical learning week. How your children learn and how the traditional and typical model of schooling looks, is about to change significantly at PIC.

Our school is very highly regarded within education circles for educational transformation, curriculum redesign and teaching innovation and creativity. We are now a member of the International Centre for Educational Enterprise and we are a new partner member of a coalition of interstate schools that are committed to transformative educational change. We are already helping all students achieve significant lift in personal educational outcomes and our next raft of educational reforms will dramatically change how students learn for the better. Further information will be released closer to our 2018 subject selection process.

Quote of the Week:
“Don’t walk in front of me… I may not follow
Don’t walk behind me… I may not lead
Walk beside me… just be my friend”
– Albert Camus –

Rob Knight

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