The teachers are all experienced specialists in inquiry teaching and have for many years implemented the Australian Curriculum through units of inquiry which integrate the knowledge and skill expectations at each year level.
Teachers plan backwards from the mandated student outcomes to organize learning activities that will lead students to deeper understandings of big ideas and concepts. A typical inquiry cycle starts with tuning in and then proceeds forwards and back, between finding out, to sorting out, to finally taking action, where hopefully students feel compelled to take some sort of action as a result of their learning. This usually includes helping others, improving the environment, writing to a politician or the principal or working with others in raising money for a charity.
Through positive modelling of life-long learning, respect for others, a generous caring spirit, our staff hope to challenge and inspire students to think for themselves, take risks, act creatively and to ultimately take responsibility for themselves and their world.
We are already well into the 21st century, so we are also focused on important work skills like collaboration, communication, critical thinking, team work, technology and problem solving to ensure our students are forward thinking and optimistic about the future.
Spelling across the school is a strength. Teachers have agreed on a scope and sequence of writing genre and classes practice these throughout the year.
Reading improvement in middle and upper primary is an area we are proud of. Our current focus in literacy is to get reception students reading as soon as they can. Jolly Phonics is the core program at reception. Our goal is to ensure all junior primary students reach set reading targets, and where possible, increase the number who exceed them. Running Records data shows that most students reach our target and can read PM Level 22 books, but our goal is to have most children exceed this by year 2. This effort includes SSO support for individual students.
We also encourage parental support in students reading, and we currently have parents listening to reading in every class.
To improve student learning achievement in numeracy, we have focused on mathematical fluency through the Quicksmart program for targeted students.
In every classroom our priority is to develop mathematical problem solving and intellectual stretch.
Teachers encourage students to be able to explain their mathematical thinking.
The majority of our students exceed the state average by the time they graduate from year 7. Our target for year 7s is all students in band 6 or better, with more students in bands 7, 8 and 9.
This table shows that in 2015, 92% of students reached our target in numeracy with 68% in the upper bands, compared to 24% in upper bands in 2014. In reading, 88% reached the target with 80% in the upper bands, compared to 57% in the upper bands in 2014.
The increased number of students in the upper bands is a very pleasing trend.
Computers and portable devices
Each classroom is equipped with at least three computers, and an interactive whiteboard.
From 2016, Year 6s & 7s have had exclusive daily use of an iPad and for a rental of $100 per year can take it home when required for homework. Every classroom has at least one iPad and more will be gradually allocated to classrooms in the future. The 3 middle primary classes share 30 laptops, the junior primary unit has 15 laptops and the common STEM Space has another 15. This has increased student access and integrated digital technology into all aspects of the curriculum.
A computer room with 30 desk top computers enables whole class participation in teacher directed skills lessons.
Wi-Fi access is available all over the school, and our computers have the capacity to access the Internet, and a Responsible Users Agreement, signed by both students and parents is required before students can access Internet sites through the filtered DECD service.
Swimming and Aquatics
All classes are involved in swimming lessons during term 4 of each year at the SA State Aquatics Centre in Marion for reception-year 6, and Port Noarlunga Aquatics Centre for Year 7s.
While instructors are provided by DECD, travel, entry and equipment use all incur a cost.
Performing Arts and Japanese
Specialist teachers provide Japanese and Performing Arts programs. In odd years we stage a whole school concert to showcase our perfoming arts program.
We have both senior and junior choirs as well as private instrumental music teachers.
Students are required to learn Japanese while at the school. The year 5 students communicate with their iPads regularly with Kokubunji Junior High School in Tokyo using the Edmondo platform.