‘Love is all we know of God. It is all the proof we need of God. It is the sight of God in our own lives. Love something then, love anything and everything in order to release the best of yourself. No doubt about it; it is love that makes us human.’
This quote from Joan Chittester speaks to me about the heart of what we celebrate on Sunday with Mother’s Day. Mothering is a sacred act. It is a selfless act that gives life, nurtures, guides, sustains, mends and protects others. We all know the special women in our lives who have ‘mothered us’ in the broadest sense of the word from our own mothers and grandmothers to aunts, ‘fairy godmothers’, mentors and wisdom women. Whilst we may not have the opportunity to be together this year, it is nevertheless a time for richer reflection on why the separation will be felt so strongly, a time to be grateful for the gifts and blessings these women have brought into our lives. We pray that all mums and mother figures will feel the love in new and ‘virtual ways’ this year as a way of saying thank you for the love they give so freely and unconditionally.

Week 4 of remote schooling has concluded. Our Independent Study Day on Wednesday was a welcome chance to pause, catch up and take some time away from the screen. From next week we have moved to reduce scheduled face to face classes by one period per subject per cycle to support a sustainable approach to remote learning. We continue to applaud both our students and staff for their resilience, persistence and openness to adapt to this new way of learning. Thank you to families who continue to support us in these endeavours.

Whilst our teachers and students and other staff are offsite our maintenance team and some of our non-teaching staff are making the most of the opportunity to work on improvement projects to update and beautify our grounds and buildings. New gardens have been planted, the green wall in the Brigidine Centre has had a makeover, new signage installed, chairs and tables scrubbed and polished and various painting works undertaken. Many of our specialist areas have had significant clean outs and sort outs. I know many will appreciate this work upon our return to school. Our grounds have always been something we have treasured at Clonard and we thank the staff who take such care and pride in ensuring we always present our best. More on what has been happening around the College can be found here

In the background, we also have a team of staff working towards preparing for three reviews that are being undertaken this year. Our VRQA review will ensure the College meets all the statutory and regulatory requirements to maintain its registration as a College. I would particularly like to commend the work of Ross Leishman our College Finance and Compliance Officer who is leading this work and developing robust systems of compliance and assurance as part of the process. The second component is a review against the seven Child Safe Standards. Clonard College actively promotes the building and embedding of a child safe culture. This review will be an opportunity to acknowledge the work that has been undertaken in this area and provide feedback on possible areas for further development.

The final component of the review process is a self-review against the Catholic Education Melbourne School Improvement Framework (SIF). This review requires the College to reflect on and evaluate our practice in 5 spheres of school life. This is scored on a developmental rubric which the external reviewers validate as part of their process and engagement with the College. The outcome of the review will be a final report to the College that will form the key intentions of our next 4-5 year School Improvement Plan. The SIF review process is new to the College and one that we look forward to embracing as an opportunity for affirmation and growth.The reviewers will be in the College August 26, Sept 14/15 and October 8. This work is being lead ably by our College leaders across various portfolios.

Wishing you every blessing for a peaceful weekend,
Luci