Red Bend Catholic College principal Br Michael Flanagan says the implementation of a number of programs this year should see his school succeed academically once again.
His school achieved great results in last year’s HSC, with 12 students picking up 22 band sixes (a mark of above 90) across 14 separate courses, while 52 students collected 150 band fives (a mark between 80 and 90) in 27 courses.
While Br Michael said the programs he would implement this year aimed at maintaining high results, he stressed the most important aspect was each student getting the best out of themselves. “Our normal goal is to offer an environment here where kids can learn, to be challenged to learn more, and each is encouraged to do their best,” he said.
“They don’t have to get extraordinary results, but they have to get results that are good for them. That’s what we want.” Programs in use at Red Bend this year include teacher educator, blocking students in ability groups, FastforWord, and the parent French course.
The blocking students in ability groups system brings students of similar ability into one class, which Br Michael said
would create extra but smaller classes for his school. He believes the blocking students in ability groups system will bring the best out of students who are excelling and those who are developing.
“We believe if we can put kids of similar ability together they’ll learn better and people can focus their education of strategies more at one group of kids rather than trying to find a middle all the time when you’ve got a big range of kids,” he said. “It’s particularly important for those who are really bright, but for those who really struggle it’s also important.”
“They can move up and down classes as well. They’re not stuck where they are forever.” The FastforWord program, based on neurological science, is computer based, and targets particular areas in students that need intense development. For the first time a teacher educator has been appointed at Red Bend College, a move Br Michael said will improve teacher performance, and as a consequence, student performance.
It’s a continual professional development if you like,” he said.