This past fortnight has been one of focussed professional learning for Bethany College staff. On Monday 27th March, Vicki Lavorato (College Principal) and myself were fortunate enough to attend the Cultures of Thinking workshop hosted by Sydney Catholic Schools at their Central Office. Ron Ritchhart (senior research associate with Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education) led a presentation and group discussions centred around pivotel findings from his worldwide Cultures of Thinking Project. His work around language and thinking routines will be shared with the College Teaching and Learning Team at our next meeting.
On the afternoon of Wednesday 1st March, all Bethany College staff participated in an extended professional learning workshop on interpreting the Common Grade Scale, and ways to encourage ‘stretch’ of both the core curriculum and Scientia/Newman extension. As well as addressing consistent teacher judgement (CTJ) when assessing students through summative assessment, this afternoon assisted staff in their understanding of what is required of the ‘A’ (through the creation of new knowledge and application) as well as the critical and creative thinking that is possible of students in the Scientia/Newman streams working beyond the ‘A’.
Our attention this fortnight has been particularly on that of Gifted Education, with the newly released badging of the Newman Selective programme by Sydney Catholic Schools. Whilst we as a college have been operating as a Newman school for a number of years, we had been using our own branding of Scientia for our Gifted streams. As of 2017, we have now adopted the Newman name for our Gifted Selective classes and will thus be using the Sydney Catholic Schools Newman logo for all Gifted documentation and the name Newman Selective whenever referring to our Bethany College Gifted Education program.
As staff professional learning is part of the Newman Selective focus, Claire Mullen (Gifted Officer: Eastern Region Office) led 13 members of our college staff through the introductory session of the Gifted Education Online1 course as a ‘face to face’ workshop on Monday 6th March. Staff will complete the remainder of this qualification throughout Term 1 and take with them valuable learnings in areas such as how to identify the gifted and provisions that can be made to best meet their needs.
The Newman Selective display held in the library during our Bethany in Action afternoon (Tuesday 7th March) was hugely successful. I was immensely proud of the 16 Newman students from across 7-10 year groups who led a vibrant afternoon of sharing and informative discussion. Those girls were Monique Makisi, Lingge Bai, Claudia Ceballos, Caitlin Hollis, Kate Glavocevic, Leanne Algama, Elie Cook, Grace Steriovski, Natalie Glavocevic, Sally Lutovski and Marly Mackeen, Julia Lo Russo, Zoe Ball, Chystal Ruz, Jenessa Fong, and Georgia Morrison. I’d like to make a special mention of Julia, Zoe and Georgia who really exhibited great maturity in speaking to parents so confidently and the enthusiasm and initiative they demonstrated whilst doing so.
Finally, I look forward to meeting the parents of the Year 7 Newman Selective stream during the forth-coming Year 7 Newman Information Evening scheduled for Monday 20th March. I’m certain you will find the evening informative and valuable for understanding the structure and the key components of the program.
Leader of Pedagogy