Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta’s newest school, Santa Sophia Catholic College hit the ground running on January 30, welcoming 25 Year 7 students for the first time.
First Term has been packed with learning and setting up a new digital platform for parents to see how their children are progressing.
Principal Mark De Vries said one of his visions was to provide parents with more transparency when it comes to reporting on students’ progress.
“Parents had talked to me about the school reporting process and what they would like and I have taken that on board and come up with our own digital student portfolios,’’ he said.
“These digital portfolios are set up by the students and cover each of their subjects.
“Parents have access and can log in at anytime to see how their child is progressing on their projects.
“It shows how much time the student has spent on the project, the mini tasks assigned and at the completion, the project reflection and presentation.’’
The school recently launched the portfolios, as a ‘formative reporting’ tool.
To prepare students for their secondary schooling, Term 1 began with a two week `transition to high school’ orientation program.
“During the first two weeks students received many visitors including a local Police Liaison Officer who educated them on the best use for social media; Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta Executive Director Greg Whitby along with Father Warren Edwards for our opening school Mass and local Member for Riverstone Kevin Conolly MP also visited the school a few weeks later,’’ Mr De Vries said.
After these first two weeks, students were put into their timetabled classes and the following week parents were invited for an Information Night.
Students also went on their first school camp in Narrabeen during Term 1.
“This was a really big event for us as the students and staff came away feeling like a community and you could see the change in how students interacted with each other,’’ Mr De Vries said.
Next on the calendar was the school’s combined swimming carnival with St John Paul II Catholic College, Schofields.
By Week 8, the school was showcased at its first Open Day. More than 400 people attended the Open Day information sessions.
“We had quite a lot of people come to have a look around and the students did a great job of conducting the tours,’’ Mr De Vries said.
The school held its first ANZAC ceremony featuring a visit from a member of the RAAF. The first ‘Lone Pine’ tree was also planted at the College’s Box Hill site, which will now become a yearly tradition.
“I look back at First Term and I am very happy we have created some great Catholic traditions and culture which hopefully be part of the school for a long time,’’ Mr De Vries said.
“I am especially proud of our Inquiry based learning culture, our inaugural family barbecue and ANZAC ceremony.’’