Written by our Xavier College, Deputy Principal Middle School, Janet Coomber
The Year 7 students have been warmly welcomed by our College Community and have settled into the life of a Xavier student well. We have all enjoyed the added vibrancy and high levels of energy they have brought to our College.
A vital part of ensuring that all new students settle well is engaging with the Oratory system. Our Oratory system is supported by the House structure and means that students are immersed in a “family” situation. This is a vertically grouped class that can have the same teacher for the whole time they are at Xavier. Doing this means that we all operate in a space where we know each other well, and are able to establish strong relationships that are supportive and respectful with not only the students, but their families as well.
Upon first commencement at Xavier College, our new students and their families meet their Oratory teacher prior to the school year starting, forming one of the links in our transition process. This is an important element as it provides everyone the opportunity for everyone to familiarise themselves with each other, and the student can begin their first day already knowing their teacher.
The transition process is multi-faceted and begins the year prior to the commencement of the school year. Students come in for a day of transition when the current students have finished their school year. The transition day utilises the new Student Leaders for the next year, thus helping break down any fears about older students. The day also has a fun element where “An Amazing Race” is conducted and students get the chance to explore the College.
Year 7 and 8 students also have a staggered start to the year, so the only other year level on site initially is our Year 12’s. From there, a Year 12 buddy is assigned in Oratory, and they become a central figure of support throughout the year. This first day is spent revisiting the College grounds and classrooms, practicing lockers, going through IT systems, borrowing in the Hub etc – all with the support of House Directors and Student Leaders.
In the second week of the term, we hold a “Welcome to House” ceremony where each new student is presented with a House badge. The Oratory teacher introduces the student and presents them to the Student Leader and Principal.
We conduct several SPOT meetings in the first term (Student; Parent; Oratory Teacher) to ensure communication lines are open, relationships are built and that we are tracking well.
Year 7 students attend a camp in Week 5 at Victor Harbor, allowing new friendships to be formed in a different environment.
Since beginning school, Year 7 students have participated in all subject areas, as well as classes that offer experiences in all electives such as Visual Art, Drama, Indonesian and Music. Students also participated in Targeted Literacy and Numeracy classes that have a skill focus, as well as core subjects in Maths, English, RE, PE and Science.
Overall, we have been exceptionally proud of the Year 7 students and the wider College community.