Principal’s Blog

Recently I heard about the notion of an ‘awe’ walk. I was particularly interested due to the connection of awe with our College theme of Wonder. The notion of the ‘awe walk’ is to literally or figuratively notice moments or events that have occurred in the day to day life of our College that prompt wonder and awe. In the Brigidine tradition, wonder celebrates all that is good with joy and gratitude. 

When I posed this question to some of our staff today and these were some of the things that they shared: 

Watching the Year 7 Wellbeing Classes intently challenge each other in the Gaga Pit building a great sense of community and connection 

Seeing the Year 10 students step out of their comfort zones to present subject information sessions to the Year 9s to support them in their subject selection process which provided valuable insights and helpful advice. 

Noticing the work many senior students are putting in to ensure folios are ready for assessment 

Enjoying the infectious energy of a Year 8 Maths class that just love Maths 

Feeling humbled by the efforts of staff going above and beyond in supporting students  

Receiving the positive feedback and hearing about the success of our students engaging in work placements 

It is often easy to see what’s not right rather than noticing the good around us. This exercise was certainly a positive way to end our week before the long weekend.  

A reminder that we have a Student Free Day on Tuesday as teaching staff undertake professional practice time. 

Over the past twelve months, we have been reviewing and reconsidering how best to structure the Leadership Team of the College. This team has the key responsibility for collaborating with the Principal in providing: 

  • faith leadership 
  • co-creation of the vision and future directions of the College 
  • animation of the College’s vision and values  
  • mutual accountability for collective outcomes, improvement and high performance 
  • strategic advice and support  
  • effective change management for innovation and improvement 
  • empowerment and capacity building of teams and individuals 

Following an extensive and considered process, informed by the Kildare Education Ministries document ‘Principles and Vision for Leadership in Kildare Ministries Schools’ and our recent School Review and development of our School Improvement Plan we have discerned a model for our Leadership Team that will include the Principal, Business Manager and three Assistant Principals who will work interdependently in the following portfolios: Student Learning and Wellbeing, Community and Culture and Performance and Impact. This model will come into effect from the start of the 2022 school year. Our current Assistant Principals, who were at the end of their current tenure have undertaken an appraisal process and reapplied for the new positions. We have appointed Jo Ryan as Assistant Principal: Student Learning and Wellbeing and Dean Williams to Assistant Principal: Community and Culture. Richard Jones, as we mentioned in our last newsletter, will be finishing his time with us at the end of this year. The remaining position Assistant Principal: Performance and Impact will be advertised in the coming weeks. We are grateful for the wonderful service and leadership of our current Assistant Principals and look forward to the contributions they will continue to bring to the College albeit in slightly different roles from 2022. We will continue to communicate the changes this model may bring for families as we get closer to the end of the year. I believe that this model is strategic and very focused on what will best meet the needs of the College over the next three to five years. 

Clonard has always been served well by dedicated staff and leaders and this week we learned that Kath Fogarty, a past teacher and leader had passed away. Kath had only been featured in our ‘Throwback Thursday’ photo last week, where we shared a picture of her teaching dancing in Tressider Hall. Many of the former students during Kath’s time at Clonard, talk fondly about the legacy that Kath left upon this place very much a reflection of Brigidine values. Kath once said that ‘Clonard wasn’t like work at all for me. It was more of a hobby because I enjoyed it so much’. Kath retired from Clonard in 1995 after 25 years of service. We extend our deepest sympathies to her extended family. 

In keeping with the Leadership theme of this blog, our School Improvement Plan developed from our 2020 school review is now available on our College website. We have chosen to create a dynamic presentation of the document with the goal of being able to link evidence of the plan in action as we move through the term of the plan. Our community will notice we have referenced our goals and actions to the School Improvement Framework by which we are evaluated in every school review process. The plan can be found on the College website at School Improvement Plan – Clonard College Geelong 

Our Annual Report to the School Community for 2020 is also now available on our website here. Hard copies are also available in the College Reception and Library. 

As we enjoy our family time this weekend, let us take a moment to remember that Saturday 12 June is the International Day to end Child Labour. Almost one in ten of all children worldwide are in child labour. They are working to harvest the cocoa for the chocolate we eat, to mine the minerals that go into our electronic devices and jewellery and to pick the cotton that goes into our garments. A timely reminder for us to consider the choices we are making and the blessings that we experience that mean our children are in education and not slave labour.   

Wishing you every blessing for this long wintery weekend – stay safe,