This Week's Message from the Secondary Division

A Message from Chris McCorkell | Dean of Studies, Secondary

In last week's edition of Dhanara, Mr Howard West made reference to the workshop undertaken by secondary staff on Monday 20 April on child protection practices and responsibilities. The workshop was led by Mrs Christine Waugh, one of the AISHK school counsellors.

For all employees at AISHK, the welfare and best interests of AISHK students is paramount. This is in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which all world signatories, including Australia and China, must abide with when legislating practices in relation to children.

The key aims of the workshop were:

  • to ensure a proactive, whole school and co-coordinated response to student protection
  • to consolidate knowledge of the issues regarding potential harm to students
  • to clarify the boundaries of appropriate professional relationships and physical contact with students
  • to consolidate the guidelines for reporting harm at AISHK

As would be expected for such an important issue, much discussion was had during the workshop. The outcome of the workshop is that the teachers have a greater understanding of their responsibilities in terms of how they should support an AISHK student who is at risk of harm or has been harmed in the past.

Also, on the first two days of the new term, the secondary English teachers participated in professional development conducted by Ann Small. This was Ann's second visit to AISHK. Previously, she helped implement the Junior English (Stages 4 and 5) components of the Australian Curriculum. On this occasion, Ann focused on the senior (Stage 6) courses. Ann is a highly credentialed consultant. She is a writer for the Australian Curriculum, has a very close relationship with the English Teachers' Association of NSW, has been a senior examiner for the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES), teaches at various Sydney universities and has a wealth of classroom teaching experience.

On the first day, Ann explored the framework and possibilities of the language, literature and culture strands of the new senior curriculum. A unit of work was constructed with application for both senior and junior classes. Ann provided a toolkit of useful pedagogical skills as well as a set of resources that would engage students of different interests and abilities. The second day was dedicated to working with teachers of the various HSC courses: Extension 1, Advanced and Standard. The main thrust of this day was assessment. In particular, Ann helped structure examination papers and gave advice based on her personal experience of both constructing and marking papers for the Board of Studies.

We are privileged to maintain an ongoing professional relationship with Ann.

Chris McCorkell
Dean of Studies, Secondary

This Week's Message from the Secondary Division

A Message from Howard West | Assistant Principal Secondary

Welcome back to the new term and I hope all had a refreshing and invigorating holiday. The Easter break provided a considerable amount of shared family time, which I hope enabled valuable communication and activities.

From this term, I will be writing fortnightly in Dhanara about aspects of Secondary student welfare and administration, while the Secondary Dean of Students, Mr Chris McCorkell, will write in alternate weeks on topics more related to curriculum.

The staff enjoyed a productive professional development day on Monday, where there was a focus on Pastoral Care. Secondary staff had a morning workshop about our child protection practices and responsibilities, with a focus on our best practice gleaned from Australia and implemented in our Hong Kong jurisdiction.

Secondary teachers further focused on the work and scope of our Pastoral Care programming, which is designed to manage the well-being, progress and development of each student. In Secondary, there are 24 homeroom tutors who manage student groups, aided and supported by six year advisors, who coordinate activities and Pastoral Care curriculum in each year level.

The six year advisors, in particular, have responsibilities to manage student welfare, behaviour, attendance, academic profile and growth, and communicate with parents about these areas. If necessary, they coordinate school resources which support the student, in order to maximise their growth. The design and implementation of the pastoral care curriculum is in their hands along with the homeroom tutors, and is delivered in fortnightly lessons in homeroom classes.

The homeroom tutors write comprehensively on the twice yearly school reports, where they focus on student growth and achievement, particularly in the social, emotional and affective (values, motivation, attitudes) domains.

Topic areas that are typically dealt with in the Secondary Pastoral Care programme are: study skills, goal setting and planning (including careers planning), peer relationships and conflict resolution, cyber/ITC issues and management including responsible digital citizenship, resilience coaching, mental health and well-being.

Depth and detail will vary according to the year level and the needs of the student groups. Additionally, the study skills support for self-learning is well-managed via the Study Skills Workbook found on the Secondary Library OLP page where students can access the site via the web link and password.

Our school mission and values statements underpin our approach to pastoral care and provide a common language and sense of focus for what we do. We believe that our AISHK students, through active participation, will achieve their personal best to become skilled, healthy, influential and responsible international citizens. In doing so, they will practice behaviours that are reflected in our school values star. They are: Excellence ??; Respect ??; Honesty ??; Diligence ??; Trust ??; Collaboration ??; Responsibility ??; Integrity ??; Equity ??; Creativity ??.

As we start the term, I warmly greet our students who are new to the school this week, and I anticipate that their transition to our AISHK family will be a smooth and welcoming one.

The busy week which lies ahead includes the completion of our rained-out athletics carnival this Thursday afternoon, and the engagement of the ACAMIS soccer tournament from Thursday to Saturday. Parents are warmly invited to these events.

Howard West
Assistant Principal, Secondary