High School on a Human Scale
The transition from primary to high school is a smooth one for Korowal students. If they have been students in our primary school, they will already have friendships with older students. They will already know most of the high school teachers. Students often begin at Korowal in Year 7 after attending other primary schools and they also settle easily due to the scale of our School.
In the 21st century, schools need to equip students with the academic, social and emotional skills to thrive in a demanding and unknown future. More than ever before, young people will need to be independent, adaptable, critical and creative in their thinking. At Korowal we aim to give our students the time and care necessary to develop themselves and their abilities so that they are prepared for an exciting and complex world. By emphasising the social relationships at the core of education, Korowal aims to bring these different needs together, giving students a confident sense of themselves and strengthening their ability to work with and learn from others.
Korowal follows the 7-12 syllabuses developed by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). The curriculum includes the Key Learning Areas (KLAs) of English, Mathematics, Science, Human Society and its Environment (HSIE), Languages, Technologies, Creative and Performing Arts, and Personal Development/Health/Physical Education (PDHPE). Whilst delivering the mandatory requirements of the NESA curriculum, teaching and learning programs at Korowal are designed to be sensitive to the needs of individual children and enhance their cognitive ability, critical thinking, and creativity within an interdisciplinary perspective. Differentiation of the curriculum to meet the individual needs of all students is a distinct feature of learning at Korowal.
At Korowal we believe that all students are capable of producing quality work. We encourage students to take pride in their work and in the sense of personal achievement that arises from it. To this end, we ensure that the School provides quality materials for all academic and creative work and play. Our contextualised curriculum maximises students’ intrinsic interest in learning and supports them to develop personal educational goals.
Stages of Learning
The NSW Secondary Curriculum is organised in three stages of learning:
- Stage 4 - Year 7 & 8
- Stage 5 - Year 9 & 10
- Stage 6 - Year 11 & 12
Stage 4 - Year 7 & 8
In Year 7 & 8, students study the mandatory subjects of English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, PDHPE and Technology. They also have the opportunity to study elective subjects including Drama, Visual Arts, Music, Japanese, Information Technology Multimedia, Commerce and Work Education.
Stage 5 - Year 9 & 10
In Year 9 & 10, many of the classes are integrated. English, Mathematics and Elective classes (Drama, Art, Music, Languages (Japanese) and Information Technology Multimedia (ITM), consist of students from across the Stage. Students have a say as to whether the wish to attempt advanced or intermediate English and advanced or intermediate Mathematics. Science, History, Geography, and PDHPE consist of separate Year 9 & 10 classes.
One afternoon each week is devoted to co-curricular activities. These can vary from term to term and include such activities as debating, cooking, community radio, the Shakespeare Festival, school newspaper, bush regeneration, design and construction.
Our Outdoor Education Program takes students through a graded range of survival and wilderness experiences from Year 7 – 10. These experiences provide for personal challenges, group bonding and environmental awareness. Students also take part in regular PE and sports classes during which we aim to expose them to a wide range of physical activities, from soccer to belly dancing.
Each high school class has a male and a female class teacher who meet with the class for Morning Meeting and teach one or two specialist subjects to that class. These teachers generally stay with the same class from Year 7 to 10, providing trust and continuity. This is complemented by the input from several other specialist teachers.
The quality of relationships with the class teacher and within the class makes Morning Meeting the ideal forum for implementing the personal development program. Korowal’s program addresses the expansion of the students’ horizons from the secure family environment to their place in the world at large.
In Year 7 the focus is on the individual and clearly relates to the issues children have as they establish themselves in the new context of high school. Friendships, personal health, goal setting and organisation are some of the themes in Year 7. In Year 8 the focus extends to the class group with an emphasis on co-operation, leadership, conflict resolution and group projects. In Year 9 students are asked to consider themselves as responsible members of the school community and become involved in the organization of fundraising, sporting, or cultural events. In Year 10 the wider community is included with Work Experience, Community Service and wider moral issues. In addition, we run special age-appropriate workshops in areas such as alcohol, drugs, relationships and sexuality.
The challenges offered by our Outdoor Education Program reflect those identified in the PD course. Year Coordinators accompany the class on the annual Outdoor Ed camp which always provides many opportunities for personal development.
Mindfulness, Thinking and Philosophy
One hour each week is dedicated to this program with the aim of expanding and improving students’ creative, critical and analytic processes and more coherent and effective engagement in all learning areas. The program integrates specific tools and practices including neuroscience, mindfulness, thinking skills and philosophical inquiry. Benefits of this course include stronger social and emotional intelligence, the cultivation of an inquiring outlook and a tendency to be intellectually proactive. All teachers are trained in teaching Philosophy in Education
‘The Hub’ is a space in the Library which is staffed by our Well-being and Learning Support Coordinators, and other high school teachers. Access to these staff enables students to transition into the school day if they experience the challenge of commencing lessons each morning. Students can also receive learning support in the form of modified work, additional scaffolding of activities, or extension work where appropriate. Assistance with time management and the development of organizational skills is highly sought after by students.
Communication with Parents/Carers
Year group meetings are held at the beginning of the school year, and as necessary, throughout the year. Year Coordinators send newsletters as needed, and more general information is communicated through the weekly 'Window with a View' School Newsletter and Skoolbag app.
A formal report on students’ progress is mailed home twice each year at the end of each semester. This is followed up by parent-teacher interviews. Should any issues arise at other times, teachers will contact parents/carers, and parents/carers are invited to contact the school if there are matters of concern.