Dear world leaders,
Your people, the world’s young people and future generations are calling on you to act with vision and purpose.
A new vision for education in the 21st century is taking shape.
Above all, quality education must support the development of the individual learner throughout his or her life.
It must help people learn how to learn, with a focus on problem-solving and collaboration.
It must provide the foundations for learning, from reading, writing and mathematics to scientific, digital, social and emotional skills.
It must also develop students’ capacity to adapt to the rapidly changing world of work.
It must be accessible to all from the earliest stages and throughout their lives.
And it must help us learn to live and work together, and to understand ourselves and our responsibilities to each other and to our planet.
At a time of rampant misinformation, climate denial and attacks on human rights, we need education systems that distinguish fact from conspiracy, instill respect for science, and celebrate humanity in all its diversity. António Guterres, 19 September 2022
These remarks by the UN Secretary General at the Transforming Education Summit this year framed the two days of the New Metrics for Success Conference hosted by the University of Melbourne last week. The two days saw the coming together of the 36 partner schools from around Australia to celebrate the work we have undertaken thus far and to hear from educational thinkers from Australia and internationally who are seeking to build an education system that responds to this plea. And whilst the steps are small and steady in some places, others are taking radical leaps. There is momentum and growing call for change.
Rachael Congues, on behalf of Clonard presented our work to the conference. This work which has been focused on trialling new learning design and assessment with our Year 7s has been an intentional and strategic process to position us in creating a new narrative for learning commencing with our new Year 7 cohort starting in 2023. We shared these ideas with the incoming parents at our recent Information Evening and welcomed the positive feedback. Working with the University we have assisted in the development of metrics for complex competencies with agency and character being our focus. The full suite of metrics are now gaining interest from various tertiary sectors with conversations being framed about the notion of matching competencies and future pathways as a complement to the traditional ATAR system. We are deeply privileged to be undertaking this work and are excited to have signed on for another two years of the partnership.
Next Monday we start our early commencement program which gives all students Years 7-11 an opportunity to have a head start and a glimpse into their learning program for 2023. There is an enormous amount of planning and organisation that takes place in readiness for this program and I thank Jo Ryan and her team for their leadership in this space. We will be commencing our new timetable with the 18 minute Wellbeing sessions at the start of each day and then our six by 47 minutes periods with the shorter breaks in between. This change was communicated to families earlier this year. We know changes can be challenging for some of our students and we see this as a time to practice the skills and behaviours of resilience that are outlined in our Positive Behaviour for Learning matrix. Resilience was the expectation that was added due to family feedback when we were developing this matrix. 2022 year levels will hold final assemblies on Tuesday 7 December followed by our end of year celebrations on Wednesday 8 December. We thank the families who have responded to our invitation to join us for our final mass for the year and look forward to seeing you.
This week we held our annual Celebration of Achievement. For our awardees this year has been the opportunity to shine in their achievements and endeavours in various areas of academic, sporting, musical, faith and community life. The students we recognized are role models for us all and offer inspiration for what is possible. We trust that the reward of knowing that they achieved something, conquered a goal, developed their resilience or served others and their community is something they will treasure. Over these final weeks of the year, we encourage all our students to reflect on where they have grown and what they have achieved.
This Sunday we begin the new Church year with the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is a time of hopeful waiting. I always think of the irony that this season of the Church comes at what is always the most frantic time. The more I think about it the more it reflects how Jesus came to turn everything that was known, upside down and challenged us to a new way of living. As humans we can be slow learners and so as the first Sunday of Advent arrives each year it is yet another chance to stop and consider if I am really making time for God in my life at this moment. That is at the heart of the Advent message – preparing, waiting in hope. Fr Richard Rohr says that this waiting is not just for the Christ Child, rather we are ‘welcoming the universal Christ, the cosmic Christ, the Christ that is forever being born in the human soul and into history’. To be open to this extraordinary mystery we need to make time and space and in today’s world that is the challenge and gift of Advent.
Christ of the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our waiting time.
Help us seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day,
Help heavy hearts seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
Give us the courage to listen to your voice.
Give us the freedom to open our hearts to the graces and mystery you bring.
To you we say, ‘Maranatha – Come Lord Jesus!’