May 11, 2022

Literacy Update

Jamie Towsey

Dear Families, Students and Community Members,

 

Welcome back to a new term at Mordialloc College! I hope that you were all able to have a restful Easter break after a busy start to the year. For many members of our community, Term 1 saw a readjustment back to the demands and routines of onsite learning – unsurprising, given that it was our longest period onsite since 2019. However, it has been fantastic to see our students reconnecting with their peers, their teachers and their learning goals.

 

Term 2 is another full term, kicking off this week with our NAPLAN testing for students in Year 7 and Year 9. Given that NAPLAN was unable to run in 2020, for these students it has been four years since they were last able to participate in this testing. There will be four tests across the next two weeks: Reading, Writing, Language Conventions and Numeracy. These tests allow us to gain valuable insight into where our students are with their Literacy and Numeracy skills, compared to the rest of Australia. This is particularly important after the past two years of disrupted learning and will provide us with meaningful data to better support our students moving forward. It is also important to reinforce with students that these tests are just a snapshot of one moment in time and we also look at a range of other data, as well as their teachers’ formative observations and assessments in classes, to gain an overall picture of their skills and knowledge.

NAPLAN Testing

Our key Literacy focus across the school in 2022 is Writing, with the introduction of a whole-school approach centred around the 6+1 Traits of Writing. Understandably, many students are out of practice with their writing, so time for meaningful writing is consistently prioritised across year levels and learning areas. Staff and students are building a shared set of language and skills regarding their writing which is applicable at all skill levels, in classes and beyond, to develop and strengthen their ability to express themselves and demonstrate their knowledge. Reinforcing the mantra of ‘little and often’ with both Writing and Reading skills makes the task less overwhelming, but allows students to practice and gain confidence in their own abilities.

 

Additionally, we continue to offer a range of Intervention programs to provide extra support to our students at a range of levels. The Tutor Learning Initiative funding was extended by the government this year to help address the disruption from COVID over the past two years. This has allowed us to employ two new Literacy tutors who are currently working with our Year 9 and 10 students, alongside classroom teachers. This program targets a range of students, supporting and extending students across the ability spectrum. We also have the continuation of our MYLNS program, which this year extends to Year 9 on top of the existing programs at Years 8 and 10. Our MYLNS Literacy specialists are working with these targeted students, to build their Literacy skills and allow them greater access to the curriculum, and therefore greater success in their learning. Similarly, our dedicated Year 9 Literacy elective at Year 9 works alongside our mainstream curriculum to reinforce key skills, setting students up for entry into the Senior School next year. Our Intervention team continues to work with our new Year 7 students to adapt to the Literacy requirements of secondary school. In particular, the Macquarie University accredited Maqlit program has seen great success in addressing low literacy concerns for those students needing intensive intervention. Alongside this, our new Speech Pathologist has also been catering to the individual needs of a range of students. These programs are helping to reintegrate our students into school, as well as providing them with general, life-long Literacy skills.

Overall, students have had a positive start to this year and have been making clear progress in their Literacy goals. We look forward to our students experiencing continued success throughout the year.

 

Jamie Towsey

Director of Literacy