Reasons behind a separate Campus
For many years those involved in the education of students in middle years and in particular Year 9, have recognised that it’s a difficult year for teachers and students and that traditional modes of learning and teaching don’t. A great deal of research in Australia, US, UK and Canada supported this understanding and supported a separate campus for Year 9’s
Having our own campus allows us to run our own Year 9 programs successfully engaging Year 9 Students and meeting their learning needs.
The journey of the Year 9 students can occur in separate setting where the group can really come together. Based on research and discussion with other schools, we are confident that the boys’ transition back to Senior School will be enhanced by the increased confidence and awareness gained from their sense of belonging to the year level and of the gifts they bring to the group.
The notion of living and learning in the community is central to our philosophy at St Joseph’s College. Hence having staff dedicated to the Year 9 Campus is paramount as it will enable the building of strong relationships between staff and students. The emphasis on strong relationships will promote greater openness to learning, a strong sense of connection and self confidence.
The curriculum is designed, constructed and delivered by the core team based at Westcourt with a focus on differentiated, dynamic and authentic learning. The team incorporates technology and uses traditional classrooms as well as open learning spaces, with creative use of furniture to allow for flexibility and mobility whilst insuring that academic rigor remains at the highest standard. Both explicit teaching and enquiry-based teaching is used to assist our students to become life-long, global, engaged learners.
Leadership skills are explicitly taught with numerous opportunities to develop these skills in practical ways, primarily in service to others.
Students are encouraged to make critical decisions when given the opportunity. This could be in relation to subject choices or choices given within the curriculum, for example Learning Communities, Physical Activity For Healthy Lifestyles (PAHL), assessment tasks in core subjects and electives, The Rite Journey, camps and other extra-curricular activities.
The Aims of Westcourt
The Year 9 program aims to develop students who:
* Are independent, self-aware learners who set goals, reflect and evaluate their own progress.
* Are confident to take risks with, and responsibility for their own learning.
* Pose critical questions about their world and can use traditional online and community resources to develop responses.
* Work co-operatively to complete a variety of tasks with teams of peers.
* Are socially aware, ethical and caring global citizens.
* Are connected to fellow students, staff and The College and see themselves as members of a learning community.
Ten individual general purpose classrooms that can be converted to five double size learning spaces
Two dedicated science classrooms and a science preparation room
A dedicated woodwork classroom and machine room
A large general purpose learning area that includes library facilities
Food Technology classroom, two Arts/Media classrooms, two music tutorial rooms
Gym, two outdoor basketball courts, access to ovals at the rear of the campus
Outdoor passive recreation area
The new Westcourt Chapel is currently under construction and will be available to the students in 2016.
Involvement with St Joseph’s College Edmund Rice Campus
Year 9 students will be part of all major functions held at the Edmund RIce campus. Full school assemblies, Athletics Day, Edmund Rice Day and Swimming Carnival are examples of events that Year 9 will attend at the Edmund Rice campus or outside facilities.
Westcourt Campus and Edmund Rice Education
Our College is proud to be part of the Edmund Rice Tradition. Edmund was born in an area known as Westcourt in Ireland. A deliberate attempt will be made to familiarise the Year 9 students with Edmund’s story which includes his Irish heritage.
We draw on the Edmund Rice Education Australia charter, aspiring to be faithful to the four touchstones – Liberating Education, Gospel Spirituality, Inclusive Community and Justice and Solidarity.