When I made the decision to return to a school setting following a period working for the Catholic Education Office in Sandhurst, I can remember writing in a Principalship application that I longed to return the rhythm and human pulse of daily life in a school. It has been almost 9 weeks since we have seen our College, our learning spaces full of staff and students. It is the longest time in our College’s history that we have experienced without staff and students, even longer than the summer holidays. Next week we begin to welcome back our community. I know there are mixed feelings about coming back and it requires all of us to adapt yet again to another way of being, just when we were finding our way with remote learning. We reassure our community that we are following all the advice that it is safe for us to return and that we have a dedicated team implementing and monitoring systems and operations to keep us this way.
I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the tireless efforts of our staff over this time to provide quality learning continuity and a commitment to the wellbeing and safety of our students. The connecting, check-ins, follow up and team effort to ensure none of our students become invisible during this time has been outstanding. I am truly grateful.
One of our core values is ‘Wonder – celebrating all that is good with joy and gratitude’. There are many blessings that this time has brought amid the challenges. Over the coming weeks we are looking to provide students, staff, and families the opportunity to provide feedback and discuss what are some of the things that have worked really well to help us take the good from this experience and consider how we might include this in our practice moving forward. Our plans include a second survey, some round table conversations with students facilitated by our student leaders and virtual ‘cuppa and conversation’ with our families. Stay tuned for further details.
Recently, our Student Leaders were asked to engage in the production of a video that brought all the Student Leaders across the Secondary Catholic Schools in the Western Region of Melbourne together, with the purpose of:
· Supporting an opportunity for our students to lead
· Acknowledging the leadership skills of our students
· Raising the voice of students in the Western Region through words and action
· Supporting our students to be leaders of faith and hope.
Drawing on the theme, “We’re better together”, our Student Leaders have proudly represented us. We congratulate them for continuing to lead our school, while reaching out to our broader Western Region Catholic Community during this difficult time. We all rely on leaders we can trust to be present, calm, empathetic and ready to offer thoughtful commentary about how we are working together to overcome the challenges that we face. Please enjoy the first of three videos, and reflect on the messages of hope and gratitude shared by our Student Leaders.
Next week we are holding virtual subject expos where senior students and staff will be available to students and their families through virtual Teams meetings. This will be the first time we have broadened our use of the technology that has supported learning continuity into a space for our families to access. This will be a great opportunity for our younger students to begin to consider future subject choices form the safety and comfort of their homes, and for our families to gain an
insight into the potential use of Teams for upcoming meetings whilst we are restricted in our face to face contacts. Communication regarding these events has been communicated to families. Links to the live events will be emailed on Monday by noon. It will go to both parents and students. Parents and students will be able to join the relevant event and post their questions in the Q & A sections for teachers and senior students to answer. I recommend this to you and encourage as many as possible to access this opportunity.
Choosing pathways is an exciting time for our young people. This week in our social media platforms we have celebrated the diverse range of careers of Clonard alumni. We are so grateful for the willingness and generosity of these past students in sharing their journey. These stories have been inspiring and humbling. It is extraordinary to see where the graduates of our College are making a difference in all corners of the globe. What strikes me as a common thread, apart from their love of their Clonard days, is a purposefulness in the paths they have chosen. Careers and lives that are actively and intentionally making a difference in our world for the better. A reflection of an education in the Brigidine tradition. If you haven’t yet had a chance to take a look at these stories, I highly recommend them. Career Profiles
And finally, this week I commend to you the 2019 Annual Report to the School Community. This report is part of our annual compliance requirements. It captures our achievements against our annual action plan goals for 2019. This report can be found on our College website under News & Events – Publications.