Curriculum

YEAR 7 PASTORAL CARE PROGRAM

Within the Junior School every student is allocated a Pastoral Care Teacher. One period per week is allocated for students to meet with their Pastoral Care Teachers to work on various elements within the ‘My Friends Youth’ program. The Pastoral Care Program is instrumental in building positive relationships, developing resilient young people with a strong sense of belonging and connectedness and ensuring the total wellbeing of each individual.

As students have significant contact time with their Pastoral Care teachers, teachers are able to collect appropriate academic data and background information. Pastoral Care teachers get to know and understand each student in their class, enabling them to implement strategies and a differentiated curriculum to best suit the needs of each individual. This secure environment fosters positive social, emotional and academic outcomes. 

Pastoral Care teachers are more aware of any special needs that their students may have. Pastoral Care Teachers are therefore able to provide effective support to ensure the safety and wellbeing of each student. The Pastoral Care Program is most effective when teachers and parents act in strong partnerships. Parents are regularly contacted to inform them of their son/daughter’s progress. Also, parents are continuously encouraged to contact their son/daughter’s Pastoral Care Teacher should they have any queries or concerns. 

My Friends Youth

The Year 7 Curriculum is supported by the ‘My friends Youth’ program, which aims to optimise the social, emotional and academic outcomes of each student by building skills for life. Each of the letters of the word FRIENDS stands for a life skill:
F = Feelings (managing feelings and showing empathy)
R = Remember to relax
I = Inner helpful thoughts
E = Explore solutions and step plan
N = Now reward yourself after you have tried your best
D = Do it every day (develop coping skills to face challenges)
S = Stay strong inside
Further to this, the program promotes the values of Caring, Doing Your Best, Honesty, Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Understanding, Tolerance, and Inclusion. This is linked with the school ethos of PRICE (Pride, Respect, Integrity, Commitment and Enthusiasm) and a strong feeling of self-belief the College aims to assist students in their personal development throughout secondary schooling to become model citizens within the College and the community.

Year 7 English

English is strongly focussed on developing the essential skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. Throughout Year 7 and 8 students will be expected to complete a variety of activities within each domain, which will include writing in a range of styles as well as reading, analysing and discussing various texts.

In Year 7 students will read the novel ‘Dougy’ by James Maloney and work through their language tool kit to build grammar skills. Students are further assigned to the Library Reading Room for one period per week, where, with the support and commitment of the highly experienced Library staff students are encouraged to partake in wider reading. Students are expected to develop more extensive reading habits as they progress through secondary schooling, equipping them with strong literacy skills. 

The Literacy Program has enabled English teachers, with the support of the Literacy staff, to provide each Year 7 student with the opportunity to be assessed using Reading, Writing and Spelling On-Demand testing.  Teachers will work individually with students using the student’s ‘Individual Student Profile’ document to identify areas of improvement and set specific Literacy goals to enable students to follow a natural progression on the AusVELS standards. Student goals are consistently monitored and continuously reviewed throughout each semester.

Within the College’s Strategic Plan, writing is a very strong focus. Students will be expected to write in a range of styles to build a Writing Folio. Students are encouraged to incorporate Information Technology to word process these Writing Folios. All teachers, across all areas are dedicated to following a consistent writing process.

Within the community it will be expected that students can demonstrate effective communication skills. Students are therefore provided with opportunities to develop these speaking skills through a variety of formal and informal oral tasks. These include debating, book reports, speech presentations and oral comprehension activities. 

As the only compulsory VCE Year 12 subject, it is essential that each student throughout their secondary education develop very strong language skills. 

Year 7 Mathematics

The Mathematics course initially reinforces and builds upon the four basic operational skills - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division - taught in primary school. All students are required to have a scientific calculator for use throughout the year.
 
Every attempt is made, where possible, to link mathematical concepts to real world applications. Students are encouraged to present work clearly and logically through skills and practice exercises in class. They also complete a number of problem solving tasks and then reflect on the methods used for solution. These are generally undertaken in a designated numeracy class and often involve group work.

Students will also undertake On-Demand Testing in the various numeracy dimensions, enabling teachers to identify their skill levels and work extensively to assist students to improve on their AusVELS progression scores. During the allotted period per week students too will partake in higher order thinking Mathematical ideas, broadening their thinking of how Mathematics applies to everyday situations.  
 
In Year 7 concepts of Algebra are first introduced, involving index laws, equation solving and graphs. Introductions to plane geometry, area and volume measurement and methods of representing statistical data also form an important part of the course.
 
Students work from College produced workbooks for each topic studied, and they are also expected to keep their own workbook in an organised format. The online Mangahigh computer program is used by students in all classes to, reinforce coursework and to differentiate their learning. Students receive a password and have access to this program at home via the internet.
 
Students will be required to complete one Key Learning task per term. This will relate to the analysis and interpretations of specific numeracy pieces.

As a means to further extend Mathematics students, the College annually participates in the Australian Westpac Mathematics Competition. All students are welcome to sit this test and compete against students from across Australia.
 

Year 7 Science

In Year 7 students are introduced to studying how the world around them works. The subject of Science explores the operation of the world around the student, studying events as small as chemical reactions and as large as the movement of the solar system and the creation of stars. Science education is designed to develop students’ abilities to ask questions and find answers about the world around them.

The course begins with an investigation of Safety in Science, which provides students with the skills to identify hazards in Science, as well as training students in safe and responsible practice in the Science laboratory. Each student then studies the Sun and Planets, examining phenomena such as our neighbours in the Solar System, the seasons, tides, and day length changes.

Term 2 sees the students studying the physical world, through units on Forces, Energy and Structural Design, culminating in a bridge building competition. Term 3 sees the students studying chemical phenomena, including changes of state, filtration, and properties of matter. Term 4 includes the study of biology, including classification, cells and body systems. These studies are supported by a variety of excursions, including a visit to Healesville Sanctuary. We also use a variety of negotiated projects that tie together scientific exploration and technology.

Year 7 Humanities

Humanities involves the study of people and their place in the world. It includes the areas traditionally covered by History, Geography, Politics, Commerce, Work Education and Environmental Studies. The Year 7 and 8 course is a two year program designed to prepare students for greater specialization in their subject choices as they move through the middle school into senior years.
 
Humanities provides a framework for the development of students’ knowledge and understanding of Australian society, societies in other countries and times, local and global environments and peoples' interaction with the environments. Year 7 introduces students to Australia's development and identity, past, present and future while Year 8 broadens this perspective to include Australia's position in the Asia- Pacific region.
 
Students are expected to work at a high level, developing and producing projects, research assignments and comprehensive workbooks.  Computer technologies and other multimedia resources are commonly used in Humanities classrooms at all year levels. Student engagement is broadened with a series of integrated projects and topics at Year 7 and Year 8. 

Humanities is an effective method of conducting the examination of the origins and development of ideas, principles, values and assess civilization and social arrangements. It provides students with the opportunity to understand through:
reading, listening, observing, interpreting pictures, graphs, charts and maps.
understanding chronology of time.
working with primary and secondary evidence.

Year 7 Health and Physical Education

Year 7 Health and Physical Education will run for three periods per week. Students will be required to change into their PE uniform to enable them to participate in a wide variety of sporting activities, such as basketball, athletics, soccer, volleyball, softball, cricket, netball, hockey etc. Students will undertake a range of fitness tests including the Beep Test, sit ups, sit and reach, standing broad jump, push ups, 50m sprint, cricket throw, vertical jump and full school run. These tests determine a student’s fitness level and will be retested in the second semester to observe any fitness improvement.

Class activities are designed to develop hand-eye coordination, balance and general movement, fitness and a basic knowledge of game strategies and rules.

Students will also be required to complete one theory assignment per semester and partake in theory classes every second week, focussing on health issues and personal development. For the theory component, students require the Jump Start Year 7-8 textbook to complete the course work.

Year 7 Languages Other Than English

In Year 7 and 8 each student is required to study German.

The course aims to provide students with an introduction to Germany and its surrounding countries through learning about the language and culture. Students will complete a range of writing, speaking and listening activities based on a variety of language themes. Themes studied include greetings and introductions, hobbies, animals, colours, numbers, seasons and family. Special attention is given to students speaking German in a range of contexts.

Cultural themes include a study of German and German speaking countries’ geography, flag, coat of arms, special celebrations and unique features.

To support students with the theory component, they will work from the ‘Genau’ textbook, which contains useful vocabulary, comprehension articles and colourful illustrations.

Students are expected to maintain an accurate record of the semester’s work in an exercise book and complete all set activities in a student workbook, or on worksheets. Students will regularly be involved in role play activities, dialogue creations and class presentations. Regular testing also forms part of the student’s assessment.

Year 7 and 8 Art & Technology Program

The Art & Technology program runs over two years providing students with the opportunity to experience a wide range of subjects in these areas. Students will work intensively for four periods per week in Visual Arts for one semester in Year 7 and again for a semester in Year 8. In the other semester each year, they will study the different technology subjects.
Areas of study:
Visual Arts encompasses all aspects of the arts, including Ceramics, Printmaking, Visual Communication and Design, Painting, Drawing and 3D form.   Students learn ways of experiencing, developing, representing and understanding ideas, emotions, values and cultural beliefs through the visual arts.
In Technology students will work intensively in Wood, Textiles or Food. They will develop their skills in designing, planning, making and evaluating products. The course will focus on the development of practical skills, techniques and confidence in use of a range of tools and machinery.

Junior Music

One class at Year 7 is a specialist Music class in which each student has received a scholarship for the year covering Instrumental tuition and instrument hire. These students have one of the music teachers as their Pastoral Care teacher and they are working to become the school band.
For everyone else, Music in Year 7 and 8 is of a semester's duration, and in that time students will be introduced to all areas of the subject. They are made aware of the links that music has with other subjects such as graphics, Mathematics, Languages and the Arts. More specifically they will explore the practical side of the subject by playing the drum kit, the keyboard and the guitar, learning basic coordination skills as well as mastering different songs and rhythmic patterns.
  
Overall, the subject is to be seen as a starting point for many students to explore music as either a leisure activity or an avenue for further study and, ultimately, a career. Some students have the opportunity to apply for and become accepted into our Instrumental Music Program to further develop their instrumental skills and join the school band.

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC 

Instrumental Music tuition is available and takes place during class time. The charges are approximately $100 per term (subject to change) for percussion and guitar tuition, subject to the availability of private teachers. Students involved in learning a musical instrument are expected to participate in the concert band practice. Families can hire brass and woodwind instruments at a cost of approximately $25 per term (subject to change) although it is desirable for students to obtain their own instruments.
Library Resource Centre

The Information Resource Centre is an integral component of the College’s learning centre. The friendly, experienced librarians encourage all students to make full use of the Library Reading Room, computers and extensive audio visual materials provided.  Teacher-librarians and library assistants are always keen to provide assistance with Internet electronic databases, books and videos or other resources needed for research.  We aim to promote a passion for reading in all areas including recreational reading.

Year 7 students will be allocated to one period per week in the Library, where they will have full use of the refurbished Library Reading Room. The librarians will also run a Basic Library Orientation program during the first four weeks of the first term, followed by a ‘Book of the Year’ review program in Term 2 and ‘Effective Research Skills’ program in Term 3. 

ASSESSMENT

Teachers use a variety of techniques for assessing student achievement and progress. These include class tests, folios, projects, homework, assessment tasks, assignments, essays, oral presentations and examinations. All results are recorded and used to determine whether the student has satisfactorily completed each subject. 
Students in Year 7-10 are to complete Key Learning Activities that are set by every teacher each Term. Parents are able to view the work their children have set via the COMPASS program. All Students from Years 7-10, who have outstanding KLA’s due, are required to attend Redemption sessions every Monday from 2.30pm to 4pm & Wednesday afternoons from 3pm – 4.30pm in C7 to complete their work with the assistance of teachers. 

HOMEWORK

Regular meaningful homework is an important aspect of the learning process and contributes to the development of good work ethic and sound study habits. With appropriate time management, homework should not adversely affect the participation of students in other activities outside the College.
Your child should not inform you that “I don’t have homework”, as there will be tasks, such as:
Class work revision,
Read of a book, 
Completion of work that is due at a later date
Preparation for class the next day (see homework tasks listed below).

An organized home study routine will ensure your child has every opportunity to achieve success throughout secondary schooling. As the demands increase students should have the ability to adapt quite easily, should they have a sound work ethic and study routine.  

Expected Homework tasks include:
Completion of class work, skills practice and Assessment Tasks,
Diagnostic, remediation, enrichment and consolidation exercises;
Reading, study and research;
Collection of resources and constructing models;
Correction, improvement and organisation of earlier work,
Preparation for oral performance presentations;
Revision and preparation for tests and examinations
Mangahigh (Numeracy) activities

Homework is assigned in each subject on a regular basis. A reasonable expectation of the total time that should generally be spent on homework on each of the five nights is:
Years 7/8     :  one to one and a half hours
Year   9        : one and a half to two hours
Year   10      : two to two and a half hours
Year   11      : two and a half to three hours
Year   12      : three to three and a half hours

If parents feel that their child is spending excessive or too little time on homework, contact should be made with their Pastoral Care Teacher. Parents should encourage such activities as reading, viewing current affairs television programs and revision when set homework is light.

On occasions when legitimate reasons prevent students from completing homework, a written explanation from parents is required. In junior levels in particular, parents should regularly check the student diary to see the homework set. If students are not using their diary contact should be made with the Pastoral Care teacher.

REPORTS 

Students receive academic reports via the program COMPASS regularly throughout the year. At the end of each Semester reports are generated. Parents are encouraged to read carefully through reports and attend Parent/Teacher interviews, which are conducted in Term 1 and Term 3. 

Should you, as parents be concerned about your child’s academic progress it is essential that you contact the College immediately to discuss and work through your concerns with the Pastoral Care teacher or sub-school leadership team. By working together, we can ensure successful outcomes for students and implement effective strategies to support the education of the student.

PROMOTION TO NEXT YEAR LEVEL

It should never be assumed that promotion to a next year level is automatic. When determining which students may need to repeat a year level, overall performances, attendance and achievement of satisfactory levels of work will be considered.

All students should have access to a challenging, purposeful and educational experience at an appropriate level. Where students are at risk of not meeting one or more of the criteria, the College will notify parents, and all reasonable attempts will be made to provide the student with the opportunity to address the areas of concern.