The St Michael’s learning journey
We strive for excellence in all learning areas, providing students with clear expectations and skilled instruction, while inspiring their curiosity, motivation and self-confidence. St Michael’s students have ample opportunities to apply their learning. Regular detailed feedback encourages them to continue challenging themselves.
From the early years, a St Michael’s education provides choice, breadth and depth. From Kindergarten, our learning is inquiry-driven, with a commitment to the Reggio Emilia Educational Project. Our educators observe, listen and research alongside the children, encouraging them to wonder and pose questions with many opportunities for critical, analytical, creative and reflective thinking.
Students in Prep to Year 6 research and evaluate their learning within the context of a rich transdisciplinary learning framework. Our diverse curriculum includes English, Mathematics, Wellbeing, Information Communication and Learning Technologies, Spirituality (Anam Cara Learning), Music, Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Physical Education and Sport, Languages (Chinese, Japanese and French), Literature and Research Skills, and Outdoor Education. In addition, we offer a range of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) programs in Kindergarten to Year 6, including Digital Technologies and Literacies, and basic programming concepts.
The range of choices broadens further in Years 7 and 8, with a selection of English, Mathematics, Science, Technology, Humanities, Visual Arts and Design, Performing Arts, Health and Physical Education, Anam Cara Learning, and Languages. In Year 7, students have the option of taking French (beginning or continuing), Italian (beginning), Japanese (beginning or continuing) or Chinese (continuing). The School’s interactive Languages program is directed towards the central goal of effective language learning, while supporting students’ path to fluency.
Electives are introduced in Year 8 and expand in Year 10, where students select a major proportion of their academic program. Year 10 subject choices increase significantly during this crucial year.
The St Michael’s VCE program features a comprehensive range of more than 40 subjects, including all major Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Psychology) and the full complement of Humanities (Accounting, Business Management, Economics, Geography, History, Legal Studies and Global Politics).
At St Michael’s we aim to offer a Signature Program at each Year level to make each year distinctive and engaging.
Signature Programs draw on evidence-based experiential learning processes relating to the connection of learning, experience, and reflection. Such an approach recognises the student as an active participant in learning as they engage with their peers, community, and the environment.
St Michael’s Signature Programs draw on these principles, making deep connections between classroom-based learning and rich experiences beyond the walls of the school, with these programs enhanced by partnerships with community groups and organisations. Learning also focuses on developing student capacity to be future-ready and contributing citizens, in areas such as sustainability, leadership, and wellbeing.
Assessment and Feedback
At St Michael’s, we use Dr Lyn Sharratt’s Assessment Waterfall Chart to ensure our learners are assessment literate and supported to take ownership of their learning. With explicit learning intentions and a coconstructed success criteria, our students are aware of where, when and how their learning is being assessed, both formatively and summatively. Our teachers provide timely, descriptive feedback, and there are opportunities for peer and self-assessment. Accurate, timely and constructive feedback enables students to know how they are doing, and how to improve on what they do.
Where possible, we aim to provide a real-world application for learning and relevant audiences for our students’ work. Feedback is timely, ongoing and delivered in a variety of modes. We hold high expectations for our students, and couple that with appropriate levels of support in the classroom and holistically.
Paramount to monitoring overall student progress at St Michael’s involves the support of a Tutor (7-12) or Classroom Teacher (K-6) and the parent, in enabling students to grow in independence and autonomy, as they chart their individual learning journey. Students set goals for their academic learning, their wellbeing and their Co-Curricular interests via conferencing and coaching. Teachers work alongside students to support their self-assessment and use the student dashboard to have growth conversations.
In Prep to Year 6, we commence the year with Parent Teacher Learning Conversations early in Term 1. At the conclusion of Semester 1, parents, teachers and students meet to discuss aspects of learning and assessment using a portfolio, which is developed across the semester, as a basis for discussion. This year we transitioned to digital portfolios, using the online platform, Seesaw, which will make learning visible throughout the semester. Parents of Kindergarten students also meet with teachers to discuss their child’s progress. At the end of each semester, a Summary Statement of Results will be sent home, with overall levels of achievement and a pastoral comment, which provides an overview of the ‘whole child’ and their performance.
Teachers from Years 7 to Year 12, place a series of assessed tasks online. These are referred to as ‘Reportable Tasks’, and are a selection of the work completed within each subject area. At the end of the semester, there is provision for an overall end-of-semester grade and for the teacher to comment on the semester, identifying any development opportunities. Parents will be able to see the criteria that have been used to assess their child’s performance on a task and the teacher’s assessment of those criteria, including marks, letter grades and a teacher comment, should it be warranted.
An electronic End of Semester Report is uploaded to each student’s profile at the end of Terms 2 and 4. This report consists of an overview of the student’s participation in various aspects of school life, as well as a summary of the student’s academic results and contribution in the Co-Curricular program.
Our students are at the heart of a learning ecosystem designed to cultivate strong foundations in key areas of learning, creative and flexible problem-solving, independent thinking, effective collaboration, and collective wellbeing. In a respectful, coeducational environment, St Michael’s students demonstrate daily the power of constructive, confident, forthright people working in synergy to solve the challenges of today and tomorrow.
The St Michael’s Grammar School Framework for Teaching, Learning and Caring (TLC) is anchored by the School’s core values and our commitment to professional and personal accountability. Dignity, Respect, Care and Compassion are at the heart of the St Michael’s community, and shape daily interactions between all members. At St Michael’s, wellbeing and deep learning are seen as inextricably linked. Informed by the research of Professor Michael Fullan, they are the ‘double helix’ of thriving.
Throughout their journey, students at St Michael’s are supported and empowered to chart a course to thrive by developing the learning dispositions, competencies and networks of relationships that will equip them to make a positive difference in their own lives and to the lives of others. The TLC Framework encodes the principles and practices designed to promote learning experiences that provide opportunities for students to use their head, heart and hands, and develop as:
- creative and flexible problem-solvers
- independent, ethical thinkers
- leaders in their fields of endeavour
- collaborative, efficacious and contributing citizens.