Respect, Reflect and Connect
The importance of respect, reflection and connection have shaped wellbeing and mentoring conversations across St Catherine’s School in 2021. While we have been very focussed on the need to maintain connection, particularly during lockdown periods, we have also ensured we do not overlook other essential aspects of our Academic and Wellbeing Programs.
The ability to reflect is an imperative ingredient to emotional and academic growth and is practised in both the Wellbeing sessions and the Academic Advisory sessions. The process of reflecting on school involvement and learning in particular has been formalised through the inclusion of the Student Reflection on the Semester Report.
Reflection underpins the Academic Advisory sessions to encourage student ownership of their learning and facilitate student agency. A focus this semester has been mapping the independent learning journey for each student. While the Independent Learning Tutorials are specifically timetabled in Years 10 and 11, the attributes of independent learning are taught across the School.
Academic Advisory sessions provide students with an integral touch point with their tutors to ensure each student’s academic journey is monitored and supported. The House tutors use current and historical academic and learning behaviour data to support students with goal setting and a targeted approach to their organisation and study skills.
Respect remains a key aspect guiding young people’s moral compass and is essential to all interactions, including developing friendships and maintaining respectful relationships. The School values of Integrity and Empathy promote care, kindness, character and responsibility. Rights and Responsibilities also frame the St Catherine’s Student Charter and student agency is fostered in the Use Your VOICE program. VOICES is an acronym for Voice, Ownership, Inclusion, Compassion, Empowerment, Strength; all qualities equipping young women to find their voice and be heard.
These attributes are particularly important given the media spotlight shone on the critical social issues of harassment, sexual abuse and non-consensual behaviours, resulting in the need for systemic change. St Catherine’s School Wellbeing Team and the Health Faculty have combined this year to establish a ‘Consent Strategy’ to ensure our students are empowered and informed in an age-appropriate manner.
The importance of connection, social support and friendship for young people cannot be underestimated and the ongoing bouts of separation from friends can take its toll. The Wellbeing Program has swiftly adapted to ‘lockdown mode’ when students have been remote learning, to ensure level meetings provide a fun, relaxed and interactive opportunity to relate to peers.
Trivia competitions, scavenger hunts, re-creation of an album cover, photo competitions, along with many other group and individual challenges have boosted student spirit and ensured smiles all round, albeit onscreen. House tutors and Heads of Year have conducted ‘wellbeing check-ins’ as a reminder that we are here to support.