What a glorious day for a swimming carnival!

We are so proud of the way in which our House Captains have worked collaboratively to generate house spirit and excitement in preparation for today. Thanks also to our staff, led by Sue Bath who ensures the day is both a lot of fun and an opportunity for our students to participate at all levels. Great to see members of our community come along and join us as well- thank you!

Our Student Leaders are also preparing to host our first Student led assembly next week as an opportunity to bring the voice of the students to the broader student body. They are working with Ms Semjonov to design and deliver this event. It is an opportunity for them to share their understanding of our College theme of Courage, celebrate student achievements and share information about upcoming student events. Again, we have noticed the way in which our student leaders are collaborating within year levels and across portfolios. Their work with Yellow Arrow this week has supported them in developing skills to support their leadership.

On Wednesday we commenced the liturgical season of Lent with the ancient tradition of marking of ashes on our foreheads.

Julianne McCullagh writes:

Lent is a gift that the Church in her wisdom celebrates every year. It is a gift of time, a gift of contemplation, and a gift of quiet so that we may listen to the Word, who whispers to us to come back to the God who created us. It encourages us to turn away from the noise and over-indulged appetites so that we may understand the hunger that can be filled—with the grace of God—only by prayer, fasting, and giving to the poor.

Finding God in Ash Wednesday | Loyola Press

I loved the notion of Lent being a gift and opportunity to pare back so we can rediscover that which truly brings life. Our classes have received the Project Compassion boxes where we work towards giving some of what we have to those who do not enjoy the privileges that we have. Perhaps there is an opportunity as a family to consider how your daughter might be able to contribute to this cause. Our Shrove Tuesday kicked us off with raising $500 towards Project Compassion.

On our website you will now find our Annual Action Plan for 2023 as we work towards our 2024 School Improvement Plan aspirations . At the end of last year our Extended Leadership Team worked with Simon Breakspear to understand agile leadership and simplifying improvement strategies. The College has identified 6 key improvement strategies for our students underpinned by four further strategies that support whole school improvement.

Our student focused strategies include improvement in:

  • skills and engagement in dialogue with our faith tradition
  • experience of the sacred in prayer in ritual
  • knowledge and practise of the expectations and skills of positive behaviour
  • sense of belonging and connection
  • learning dispositions and agency for growth and success
  • subject discipline literacy

Across the year through our newsletter we will put the spotlight on the actions we are implementing to address these goals.

Next week our RE teachers are engaging in a day with Dr Rina Madden to learn more about the Pedagogy of Encounter and how to support students to develop their dialogue skills. The Pedagogy of Encounter is a learning design that follows through a series of questions when considering a topic or unit of study in RE:

  • How do I encounter this?
  • How do others encounter this?
  • How is this encountered in the Catholic faith?
  • How am I called into commitment and action?
  • How am I called into deeper relationship with others, the world and God?

We look forward to hearing from our RE team as they learn to enhance the experience of our students through this program of professional learning.

Since our last newsletter many of you may have been reading some of the media reports around the New Metrics for Success partnership with the University of Melbourne. Our work with this partnership enters its third year in 2023. We have commenced the practical implementation of what we have been learning through this partnership with our Year 7 program and a focus on learner agency across all year levels. Core to the work with the parentship is a call to re-examine how we understand success by ensuring learning, assessment and reporting captures both academic knowledge and the transferable competencies of each student.

Our collaboration with the University of Melbourne New Metrics Partnership has engaged us in working with educators both nationally and internationally to explore in detail how this might work in practice.

This year we are working towards providing the beginnings of a learner profile for our Year 7 students that will travel with them throughout their time at Clonard, such as the system being developed through the New Metrics partnership. This profile will provide all students, families, future employers, universities, and other training providers with a more nuanced and holistic picture of the young person, their strengths and capabilities.

The evidence is clear that competencies are what our young people need to thrive in the world that is becoming increasingly complex.

This year we aim to have a focus on bringing this conversation to our families and students more broadly. Stay tuned for further invites and opportunities. We have already had great engagement from our Year 7 families and we look forward to this continuing as we learn together.

As we look towards the beginning of March it is exciting to announce that alumni Bri Apma Hayes will be joining us at our International Women’s Day breakfast on Wednesday 8 March. Bri has generously offered to come along and share her journey and experiences. It will be wonderful to have a young voice at the table to both challenge and inspire us. Tickets are still available see the article in todays’ newsletter for further information.

Thank you to the families who have joined us at College events in the past fortnight. We are truly grateful for your support and engagements.

Finally we share our prayer for Courage that has been composed by staff member Gab Tolan in collaboration with our Liturgy and identity Leaders:

Loving God,

You know every decision we need to make, and every challenge we will encounter.

Help us arise to face them with courage.

We take comfort in the knowledge that you are with us

To guide our actions

To ignite within us our commitment

To give us the grace that allows compassion to be at the heart of all we do, when we walk in solidarity with those who need our help.

May we find inspiration in the care shown by St Brigid, Bishop Daniel Delany and Nano Nagle.

May we too, never lose the courage to:

bring the Good News of Your love to all we encounter

to stand up for those you do not have a voice

to treat all we meet with dignity

We ask this prayer in your name. Amen