Student Support - ACG Senior College
At the heart of our philosophy is academic achievement. However, in order for students to flourish academically, we see pastoral care as the base on which to build fine achievement.
Students who are safe, happy and cared for tend to develop a healthy self-esteem and this flows into their study. This does not happen without structure and commitment. The College has a well-defined pastoral care system as seen below:
We aim to teach students to be responsible. We set up the structure and the student must access this. Each student is assigned their own tutor who is usually one of their teachers. Meeting individually with this tutor ensures the student has appropriate advice and guidance. This happens once a week or fortnightly so that a relationship is built between the two.
Students can also see their other subject teachers for assistance with their studies. This takes place in the teacher's office and can be for remedial help or extra challenges. Twenty minutes spent here is very worthwhile and students are encouraged to seek this individual tuition.
In the lunch breaks and after school, different groups and sports are offered. Students should consider committing to some of these activities as it helps them to meet others, develop inter-personal skills as well as exercise leadership where appropriate.
The tutor is a personal mentor to the student. Meetings will involve the whole group weekly but at other times the tutor meets with the student individually to offer advice and guidance. At the start of the year, these meetings happen weekly but as the student becomes more confident with the College and their independence, the meetings usually become fortnightly. The tutor is also the person who keeps in touch with parents and is the first point of contact with the home.
All students in the College are assigned a tutor teacher at the commencement of the year. Ideally, the tutor is one of their classroom teachers and sees them both in class and out of class. All staff, including the Principal and Senior Management team have a tutor group. It is not like the regular form class that many secondary students have experienced.
Prior to commencing the academic year, all new students are invited to an Induction morning. Year 11 students attend an overnight induction camp to enable them to get to know each other before the school year commences. This time is organised by the Dean of each year level and supported by current senior student leaders. In this allocated time, new students receive a tour of the building, meet all other students and are given help and assistance to make easy their transition to ACG Senior College. In the afternoon, the student and their parents/caregivers meet with the tutor teacher.
At the interview, tutor teachers take the time to get to know the student and find out any important background information. This information relates to such things as how a student gets to school, learning difficulties, goals for the future and other relevant information. The tutor teacher outlines clearly the school rules and the opportunities available to students in the College. The student will have received their timetable and the tutor teacher will check this to ensure that it is correct. Information is given about purchasing a locker, text books and ID cards. Parents have the opportunity to ask questions about any aspect of the College.
At this interview, the tutor teacher will gather information that enables them to contact parents on a regular basis. Likewise, the tutor teacher will book a time to meet with the student one on one on a regular basis.
All new students have a tutor interview prior to the academic year starting. Returning students have a tutor interview in Week 3 or 4.
Our Deans do not deal with discipline but rather are involved in student welfare. They induct students who are new to the College and ensure everyone becomes familiar with the building, their timetables, the services on offer as well as getting to know others. It does not take long for friends to be made but the Dean is keen to see that everyone settles in well.
Throughout the year, the Deans meet with students individually. They monitor the academic progress of each student, assist with course selection and provide a listening ear if anyone needs help with an issue. Also, the Deans co-ordinate the Focus Groups that operate as a student body discussing current issues and ideas and, periodically, they hold Level Assemblies so that guest speakers can address everyone on issues like keeping safe. The Year 13 Dean organizes the Leavers' dinner for the graduates.
All Year 11 students are timetabled for Physical Education and modules. The modules involve being taught study skills, organisational systems as well as drugs, alcohol and sexuality lessons.
Unashamedly the College acknowledges the success of students. The top performing Year 11 and Year 12 students are selected for the two Scholars Groups. Each of these groups has a room to work in privately. They also undergo an enrichment programme of lectures, seminars and visits.
We do not waste time each day holding a form period to take the roll. Instead, in order to maximize teaching time, students report directly to their subject classes where the roll is taken electronically. Our Attendance Officers monitor the roll returns and contact parents if anyone is missing and we have not heard from their family.
Because we are teaching students who are preparing for their tertiary education, our University Placement Advisor serves a vital role in advising and supporting decision-making. Mr Mills, located in the Library, liaises with all New Zealand universities as well as many overseas and brings them to the College to meet our students. Individual guidance is offered to students, identifying the best courses on offer and Mr Mills informs students of the Scholarships on offer as well as assists them to complete their applications.
The classroom teacher delivers the curriculum but also monitors the students to ensure they are coping with the course. Our classrooms are safe learning places. We operate a non-harassment policy where students feel safe to answer questions and discuss issues. Critical thinking underpins our practices so that students learn to be independent.
As our periods are eighty minutes, teachers vary their lesson content to ensure the different learning styles of students are met. Students can also enjoy individual tuition with the teacher in their office should they require it for remedial or extension work.
Discipline lies with the Deputy Principal and he says he has to devote very little time to this as our students want to be here and are well behaved.
In a college of our size, the Principal is readily available to the students and her door is usually open for them to visit. Many students like to ask her advice and she is active in supporting groups, even serving on the Ball Committee. It is important to her that students know they can seek her help or advice at any time.
The Student Diary has the information required by all students at ACG Senior College. Students are expected to have read it through and understand the rules. This provides students at Senior College with all the additional information they might need or are required to have. This diary is on Blackboard and available to students and parents.
The IB Co-ordinator is in charge of the IB Diploma Programme and the Pre-B Programme. Any matter relating to the IB should be referred to the IB Co-ordinator, Mr Buino Vink. ([email protected])