For most of this week I am in Ballarat. Whilst the weather has been wet and freezing, the school Renewal Process in which I am involved has been very energizing. One of the great advantages of being a Catholic School in the Edmund Rice Tradition,is that all of our schools stand in solidarity in the Mission of Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) and the Charter for Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice Tradition. The purpose of this Renewal Process exercise is to meet with the College Leadership Team, students, staff, College Board...
For most of this week I am in Ballarat. Whilst the weather has been wet and freezing, the school Renewal Process in which I am involved has been very energizing. One of the great advantages of being a Catholic School in the Edmund Rice Tradition,is that all of our schools stand in solidarity in the Mission of Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) and the Charter for Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice Tradition. The purpose of this Renewal Process exercise is to meet with the College Leadership Team, students, staff, College Board and parent representatives to ascertain the authenticity of the College to the Charter based on the practices within the school. I feel privileged to be a part of this program, and it also allows me the opportunity to look at, and learn from, the practices of other EREA schools. It has been an amazing and most enjoyable experience.
By tomorrow afternoon, all of our young men will have finished their exams and looking forward to a good two week break. I hope that each one of them prepared as well as they could and that the results will be a true indication of their abilities. I also hope that each young man has time during the holidays to relax, refresh and return ready to finish a short but eventful last term. I also hope that some of our parents have the opportunity to spend time with their son during this time. Of all of the valuable things that we can give our young men, our time is the most precious to them.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our College staff. I have often said, and will continue to say, our students are very lucky to attend a school with such a dedicated staff. Without the gift of their time, many of the opportunities offered to our students simply would not be possible. I would particularly like to thank Louise Jones, Ashleigh VanderMass-Sack, Leigh Wissman and Marissa Price for their expertise in teaching our young men over the term. Next term, Di Lourigan, Katie Moro, Susan Harris and Lorraine O’Sullivan will return from leave. Also, a special mention to Ashleigh VanderMass-Sack as she will be getting married in the USA over the holiday period.
By now, all of the families within our community would have received my letter in regard to David Ludlow. David’s news was sudden and his operation needs to be undertaken in a timely manner. There will also be a period of recovery after the surgery and as such we do not expect David to return next term. Whilst he is most distressed about not being with his classes and the Rice House for the last term of the year, I am sure that everyone would agree that his health is a far greater issue for David. I know that I speak on behalf of the entire community when I wish David the very best for the operation and a speedy recovery.
Over my past 18 months at the College, I have often spoke about a need for continuous school improvement and the development of a school improvement plan. I have come to realise that sometimes when this language is used, some may think that what has been done in the past, or what is currently being done, has not been or is not good enough. It certainly has not been my intention to give such a message. Continuous school improvement, to me, is about always looking over and reviewing the way that we do things so that we do not develop any blind-spots. Any organisation should never become that comfortable that they believe that they cannot get any better. Continuous improvement is simply always being mindful of new possibilities and having processes in place to ensure that review does happen. I would particularly like to thank the College staff during this time, for having the patience and courage to be reflective about our practices with an open mind and willingness to give our young men their best opportunities. We are very fortunate to have staff that are open to new ideas and change.
I hope that all of the staff members and students who are involved in immersions, clinics and other school activities over the holidays have a safe and enjoyable time.
I look forward to sharing the last term of 2016 with you.