I’d like to take this opportunity to give an update on the Year Group and give you an overview of our vision for the Year 11 this year as well as many of the initiatives that are happening. At our Year 9 – Welcome evening I commented that I believed this cohort was a very special group of young people. Since then, I’ve had this suspicion confirmed by my ongoing interactions with these learners as we have navigated the last two and a bit years.
One of the ways this outstanding group of young people is celebrated is through the Year Level Blog that was earlier mentioned. I’d like to quickly expand on that now as it is a significant spot to visit for communication regarding our year group, The blog, now imaginatively titled, the Year 11 Blog, has grown since it was launched two years ago. After placing in a national education blog competition, it has gone on to gather
- 65,000+ hits, and still climbing
- 220+ posts
- 110+ subscribers
- 50+ interactions
If you are not already, I would encourage you to click subscribe (top right) on the blog and get updates regularly. I aim to have two posts going up a week covering everything from the Year Group’s admin, any event concerning the students, updates from their classrooms, and anything else that celebrates the success of the cohort. We are getting more and more students creating their own content for the blog, and it’s great to see their voices getting a wide audience. I would encourage everyone, old and new users, to interact with the blog. That means liking and commenting on posts – generating discussion, and sharing it with a wider audience including other family members and friends. This is a key way of communicating what is going on with the year group and I appreciate your support with this initiative.
By now all students in Year 11 will have created a goal for the year. This will have been further fleshed out in the Progress Conference meetings last Monday, but will be a an ongoing process that will continue throughout the year that involves tracking of the goal and support towards achieving it.
In addition to these individual goals, I want to share with you now what goals the guidance team have put together for the Year Group. The progress and development of strategies for these goals are going be kept transparent throughout the year. We have two goals as a Year Group. These may not affect the students directly, because they will all be working towards being the best they can be, but I feel they are worth sharing.
The best pass rate that Newlands College has recorded for Level One is 82%, and our highest percentage of students passings with endorsements is 59%. Our goal is to set the new Newlands College record for these stats. We believe in this cohort and from looking at their Year 10 performance, we believe they are capable of this.
- Firstly, all students who have been identified as at risk of not achieving NCEA Level One on the basis of their Y10 results are meeting with myself and their Form Teachers to work out an action plan for the year. We are working through that list now and are hoping to provide support that will help the learner achieve success this year. We are using the mantra: every credit counts. The achievement data is constantly being updated so I will continue to arrange these meetings as the year progresses.
- Secondly, Mentoring groups are in action. Two new mentoring groups have been formed this year for potential high achieving boys. Boys achievement has become a focus this year at the college. These groups have been formed based on the their Year 10 achievement levels. Directly targeting these boys and empowering them to achieve at high levels is the goal of these groups. Other mentoring is going on around the school for high achievers. I am meeting regularly with some other groups, our Gifted and Talented Dean, Dr Harvey Molloy is also supporting several students with their goals and interest areas, and our SENCO Dean Ms Debbie Shakesheave-Thomas is supporting a number of moderate needs students.
- Thirdly, we will focus on Monitoring well-being – our Guidance Counsellor Tanya Montgomery will be talking to the students at an upcoming Dean’s Assembly concerning this. The shift to a formal qualification can be tough and having strategies for dealing with this is important. Furthermore, all members of our guidance team can be approached at any time as communication is key to dealing with any issue that arises.
- Fourthly, attendance and engagement are paramount ingredients to success. To show how important attendance is, look at these statistics for last year. While attending regularly is only part of the story – attending 96% of the time does n0t mean one will gain Excellence – it is a fundamental basic that is easy to get right. While attending is one thing, being engaged with learning is another, and our new engagement reports will help us to track this and act early on concerns we have with students who get 1s or 2s. While we will be following up with students on matters of attendance and engagement, the conversations you have at home on these matters will be enormously valuable for the Year 11s striving to achieve their goals.
- Fifthly, we will be actively following up on students that do not submit or miss assessments. I have made it clear to students that one of the choices they do not have is whether or not to submit assessments. Historically, students that do not pass NCEA often end up looking back at their year and regretting missed assignments because they think at the time it won’t matter. The message today is: they do and every credit counts.
- And lastly, we will continue to periodically celebrate success – we have various ways of doing this as a year group from morning teas, assemblies, contacting home through the pastoral record on the parent portal and of course getting a spot on the blog.
In Dean’s Assemblies I have often shown the cohort the face of success. This face it is a face of pure accomplishment. I believe this faces captures brilliantly the moment of success. I’d like to now update this face of success to something more topical.
If there’s one thing last night taught us – let it be, even if the country thinks it was a mistake to select you in the first place, you can still go out there and prove all the doubters wrong. Sometimes all you need is an opportunity. Year 11 and NCEA Level One is that opportunity, and I cannot wait to celebrate all the faces of success this year.