There is a saying that not all heroes wear capes.

Today on World Teacher’s Day we acknowledge and celebrate our teachers. At Clonard our teachers do so much more than deliver and assess curriculum. They mentor, guide, care, inspire and support our students. With a focus on educating the ‘whole person’ we must also care for the whole person. As Catholic teachers it is our imperative to give witness to our faith tradition and provide a space for dialogue where our students can come to their own beliefs and relationship with God. There is a proverb that says ’one does not teach what one knows, but what one is’.

Pope Francis said in an address to educators in 2022, ‘We transmit to others what we are inside. It is not enough to fill one’s head with ideas, that is not educating; to educate is to transmit life. To be a teacher is to live a mission’. This is what I see when I think of our teachers and broader staff.

The staff received a surprise this morning at recess when our Aspire Leaders for 2024, Antonella and Makayla, presented a heartfelt message to our teachers. They were happy for me to share it with you:

Honestly, when writing this, we didn’t even know where to start. How do we begin to thank you all for your support, sacrificed time, endless dedication inside and outside the classroom? Today we are here to celebrate something truly special. I know we cannot say this enough, but thank you so much for all your commitment, hard work, and sacrifice that you all put in to ensure that our learning experience here at Clonard is one that will allow us to flourish and grow as individuals. Although no actions could even compare to how grateful we are for all of you, we have put together a small video to say thank you for everything you have done, ensuring that we make it through each day with a smile. We aren’t able to thank you all individually, but we do appreciate you all very much.

Thanks Makalya and Antonella!

We should be thankful to our teachers every day for this sacred work they are undertaking. I know that when I get a Pulse notification from a student expressing gratitude it makes my day. Perhaps this weekend you or your young person might email a teacher and say thank you for something they have done that has made a positive difference in their life.

This connection between teachers and students has been really evident over the past week as our Year 12 students have committed to their studies and exams. We have been overwhelmed with the numbers of students who are accessing their teachers at school and studying together in our Brigidine Centre. There has been a great positive energy and camaraderie amongst the students. We congratulate them on this effort and look forward to this being sustained for the exam period.

This last fortnight has captured the cycle of a school life with our Year 12 Graduation and the welcoming of our new Year 7 families. As Principal, I felt a deep sense of pride as we celebrated the graduation of our Class of 2023. They walked tall, they walked as one. Our Co Captains speech made me feel humble in their presence. And as they all departed after singing our College song, it was the small moments of a hug or high five and the sheer expression of joy that touched me the most. I shared this with our incoming new families last night at our Year 7 Information Evening. We welcomed 40 current families and 128 new families. I spoke about their presence as being the beginning of the next generation of Clonard students. With Kildare Theatre full to overflowing there was a great sense of energy, excitement and anticipation for all that is to come. We were thrilled so many families were able to be in attendance. The next session for our incoming Year 7s in next Friday where they will undertake some assessments to support us in preparing for their learning needs in 2024.

It is hard to believe that it is almost four years since our last full school review. This week I received notification that our next review will take place in May 2024. Next Tuesday our staff will begin working through the School Improvement Framework (SIF) rubrics evaluating our progress since 2020. There will be a number of different working groups and opportunities for input of staff and parents. We will be sending an Operoo invitation for parents to join us and provide insights into some of the indicators of the SIF. Please keep an eye on your inboxes. This review has both a compliance and an improvement focus and will be the springboard into the development of our next strategic plan. Given our last process was conducted in the middle of the COVID pandemic we are looking forward to engaging more fully with our community during the next 6-9 months as we undertake this important process of discernment and direction setting.

Finally, a reminder to our community to please ensure that the bus parking area is kept free for our College buses to access. Sometimes at the end of the day when we are returning from excursions our staff find it very difficult to access this area if cars are parked waiting to collect students. This zone is clearly marked and is separate to the 5 minute pick up drop off zone. We would appreciate your co-operation with this request.