Koonung students thrive through engagement and support

Keeping students connected and engaged is the key plank to Koonung Secondary College's approach to remote and flexible learning.

It is particularly important for students receiving specialist funding or support such as PSD (Program for Students with Disabilities), MYLNS (Middle Years Literacy and Numeracy Support) and EAL (English as an Additional Language).

Assistant principal Mary Eade said a new timetable allowed teachers to provide daily individual support to PSD students.

'Some students with much higher needs were found to have struggled with the number of subjects and tasks in the first remote period, so were assigned extra literacy and numeracy support instead of some other subjects,' Mary said.

'Our MYLNS students continued to have their extra literacy and numeracy needs catered for with the delivery of regular small-class remote lessons with their respective Improvement Teacher.'

Mary said the Year 10 MYLNS literacy students continued to make significant gains, as measured by testing before and after semester one.

'EAL students comprise the majority of our MYLNS students, so they had, essentially, a double allotment of English and literacy in their timetable,' she said.

Mary said resources from the Department's MYLNS professional learning module 'Content and Curriculum' had been particularly effective in the remote space, with its heavy focus on oral and visual literacy tasks.

Wellbeing at the forefront

Schoolwide, she said, it was important for the school to first ensure that learning tasks were rigorous 'but students were not overwhelmed with work requirements'.

'Teachers followed the weekly timetable and all classes were provided with explicit published lesson plans,' Mary said.

'They touched base with each class each day to check in, provide clarification and guidance.'

Teachers didn't keep students online for extended periods but were available for support.

'There was also an increased use of online 'breakout rooms' to allow students to collaborate and, importantly, connect socially with each other,' Mary said.

Students and parents were phoned regularly to check on the students' wellbeing and all Year 12 class members were contacted each week.

'The student leadership team has also continued to provide a lot of extra-curricula activities including 'iso cooking', music, art, sport, Fancy Friday dress-up days, writing competitions and quizzes,' Mary said.

Digital content was designed by student leaders for students, and includes wellbeing resources, performances, videos and activities.

Teachers and school leaders can access advice on how small group learning can be used in remote settings as a targeted student support strategy on the Learning from Home webpage.