Dean of Studies Semester 1 2020 Report

John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

Nothing could be truer for our first semester of Secondary learning at AISHK. As the COVID-19 situation evolved at relentless speed, with each day bringing new uncertainty and gloom, we were continually forced to “make other plans” and adapt our delivery of online learning to meet the challenges faced by our students. And yet through all these changed plans and pivots, life happened, and learning continued, with students achieving some outstanding outcomes in all subjects. Most pleasing was the resilience, composure and good humour shown by our students in the most difficult of circumstances – character strengths that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.

Over the past weeks, you have read articles in Dhanara by our Heads of Key Learning Areas on particular successes within their departments. Like how in Economics and Commerce, for example, our students were able to apply the real world dynamics of COVID-19 to their study of global markets. Or in Science, how important practical work was able to be simulated on online platforms. In reviewing this semester’s reports for all year levels, it is clear to me that the vast majority of students have engaged positively with their learning and produced work reflective of their personal best. This is no small achievement given the significant upheaval the world has experienced these past months.

Looking forward to next semester, we all hope that the global situation continues to improve and that our campus returns to the vibrant hub of face-to-face learning and collaboration we all know and love.

For our senior students, their attention will be fixed squarely on the Year 11 and 12 exams, which take place in the second half of Term 3. For Year 12 especially, these will provide an invaluable opportunity for students to hone their exam skills and technique ahead of final HSC and IB exams commencing in October. There are also final due dates for subjects featuring practical components, like Drama, Music, Art and Design and Technology.

Our Year 10 students reach an important milestone with the process for choosing senior courses concluding at our Subject Decision Interviews, scheduled for 23 July 2020. We will be sending out the official subject selection form with confirmed subject offerings to families during the holidays. As ever, our students are very lucky to have two world class senior pathways in the HSC and IB to choose from.

With so much time spent on screens this semester, it is crucial that we all take time these holidays to rest, recharge and read – as in old-fashioned books, made of paper! While the past semester has proven the many rich possibilities of online learning, I think we all look forward now to some valuable “offline” time with family and friends. All the best for the summer break and see you in Term 3.

Peter Phillips | Dean of Studies, Secondary