So far, Term 2 has been perhaps the busiest term on campus we have seen at TKS since the onset of COVID in 2020. With all of our traditional events, plus some exciting new additions, in full swing! From our Autumn Concert to our Senior Play, Pygmalion last weekend, the TKS Auditorium has been alive with light and sound.
This term also saw the return of our Parent Engagement sessions; the face-to-face sessions this year held in the newly-built Junior School meeting room, which proved to be a wonderful, welcoming space. These sessions provided a magnificent opportunity for our families to hear from the TKS Leadership Team and our TKS Staff on the array of programs, updates, and opportunities ongoing at TKS.
This term, in these sessions we showcased many of the recent updates to programs in Junior School and the Senior School. I was personally delighted to use this occasion to explore some of the ideas we are contemplating for the updated TKS Masterplan. Following our student forums earlier in the term, it was a perfect opportunity to hear directly from our families, their thoughts on aspects of the campus and areas for further development. As we continue to work through the advancement of the TKS Masterplan, there will be several occasions to have your voice heard, and I would encourage you to join some of the planned forums in Semester 2.
The significance of these sessions cannot be underestimated as these insights, along with ongoing review and feedback allowed us to specifically target aspects of our programs to bring updates and additions to the TKS experience for 2023. I will highlight a few of interest, which were discussed in the sessions.
Student Academic and Wellbeing Programs
2023 saw the launch of the Junior School Dedicated Specialists Program. Although our Junior School students had always experienced a strong program from our TKS Specialist Staff, we had recognised the need for a team of educators entirely dedicated to the programs in ELC to Year 6. Specialist Staff in Languages, Art, Music and Sport joined the team at the start of the year, and we are excited to announce that in Semester 2, they will be joined by a Specialist in STEM.
In Senior School, an Age and Stage framework was established for our students in 7 to 12; this saw the addition of significant roles such as Head of Students, Head of Academics, Head of VCE and Academic Coaches, to name just a few. The framework, designed to respond more effectively to the needs of our students, has a program of dedicated Mentors supporting the program at each age and stage.
In 2023, we initiated a pilot program of pre-school fitness. Launching in Term 1, each day a team of professional coaches provide a choice of strength and conditioning classes or basketball coaching. The sessions run from 7.15am and have been exceptionally well attended, in particular by our Year 7 students! The pilot was so successful that we continued the program through into Term 2. Despite the dark and cold mornings, when many of us would prefer to hide under the covers, our students have continued to flock to the sessions ready to work out. The program will continue for the remainder of 2023, and we hope to add further options.
In 2022, Mr Isaac Rule and Mr Simon Cowell embarked upon a Teaching Fellowship, supported by the The Knox School Falcon Philanthropy Group. Their focus was community engagement, in a post-covid world. The results of their findings were presented in late 2022 to the FPG and TKS School Board. Whilst we acknowledge we are not quite living in a post-covid era, we have begun to implement many of their recommendations. Within the many forums that they held, our families told us that they had really enjoyed the window into the learning that the Home Campus Learning had provided and that in a return to campus, they would like to see more opportunities to be involved in the classroom learning and sharing the student learning outcomes. In 2023, we have added several events to our calendar, which allow opportunities for our parents and carers to join their children in the learning; for our students to showcase, not only their learning outcomes, but also learning processes too. This is an aspect we are committed to developing and will continue to provide more opportunities as the year progresses. Look out for the information, which will be published on the Class Pages in The Nest.
I think it is fair to say that Semester 1 has been very full, a whirlwind of activity; however, it has also been very rewarding. As our opportunities for connecting and communicating have opened up, we have been grateful for the feedback our community has provided and have been energised by the strength of our community as we come together over the course of the events.
As we head towards the Semester Break with thoughts of rest, and perhaps some travel in mind, I look forward to the Semester ahead, as I know that Semester 2 has even more in store for us here at TKS.
Ms Nikki Kirkup
Principal and Chief Executive