From the Principal: 10 March 2020

From the Principal: 10 March 2020

An equal world is an enabled world’ – this is the theme for International Women’s Day 2020, and it reminds us all of the role we play regardless of gender. When each of us steps up to raise awareness against bias, celebrate women’s achievements and act for equality, then we are empowering a healthier world. March 8 is a global day of celebration for the achievements of women and a call to action for gender parity. At MGGS we have celebrated it fiercely with an array of events at Merton and Morris Hall, as well as participation in the broader community of Melbourne and Victoria with strong representation. Equality is not a women’s issue, it’s a world issue!

As part of the International Women’s Week celebrations, our very own, Year 6 student Saskia was awarded the ‘Pretty Ambitious Award’ by the Pretty Foundation. It was lovely to see our Director of Middle Years, Ms Sally Hill and Saskia demonstrating the ‘An equal world is an enabled world’ symbol at the event. 

In December 2019, The Ministers of Education for each state and territory of Australia came together in Alice Springs (Mparntwe) to endorse a new education declaration for all young Australians. The Alice Springs Education Declaration provides an update and replaces the education guiding principles of the Melbourne Declaration signed by Ministers in 2008. There are two main goals defined in the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration: The first is that our education promotes excellence and equity and the second is that all young Australians become confident, creative individuals, successful lifelong learners and active and informed members of the community. The Declaration recognises that education has the power to transform lives and as the importance of a high-quality education grows, so does the complexity of being an educator.

One of the many true strengths of MGGS is our quality educators, and that we place knowing each student and her family at the heart of our programs. When we know the student well, we can create a safe, respectful and nurturing environment in which each student feels connected to her peers and the School. Social, emotional and physical wellbeing combined with a rigorous and engaging curriculum are essential to learning and we want our graduates to flourish.

Our new Strategic Plan mirrors well with the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration and is written with the 2040 graduates in mind. I ask the question…. What are our graduates learning at MGGS?

They are learning far more than the subjects, and information. They are learning to be themselves in a complex world. They are learning the dispositions that they will carry with them long into their life. They are learning to be optimistic, independent, to be interdependent, to be collaborative, respectful, to value diversity and to be ethical women of action. This is a school with strong values and our young learners are nurtured, networked and connected. We want to see each individual graduate with the deep values of compassion, integrity, courage and self-discipline. And collectively we want their learning to be exceptional.

Our Strategic Plan is based on four elements, with the learner purposefully placed in the centre; the four elements of culture, learning, environment and community provide the necessary ecosystem to grow our learners.

The first element of our plan is culture. And we all know the saying, ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’. Culture is what we do, the daily patterns of what is normal and the expectations we hold for each other. We want our vision, mission and values to be visible in the lived behaviour of the whole community.

The second element is learning. It is our goal that we will achieve excellence through rich, diverse, rigorous and holistic learning experiences and we will be a community of scholars, lifelong learners who enjoy the pleasure of knowledge. Learning is the essence of what we do at MGGS. Effective learning comes from rising to new challenges, bouncing back from adversity, knowing our strengths, understanding who we are, standing tall and proud and having the capacity to recognise strength in others and respect and celebrate difference.  This comes from an openness to try new things, take calculated risks and know our limits. Our academic programs build the knowledge, skills and capabilities at each stage of your daughter’s learning to be creative, collaborate, think critically, be curious and commit. We are one school. Regardless of where your daughter has commenced, you can feel confident that she is on a path to self-discovery and personal growth supported and nurtured by those around her.

Our third element is environment. This element is about ensuring the environment, inside and outside the classroom is highly functional, deploys sustainable practices and is one of beauty. When children are surrounded by good design and beauty, they learn to protect and value it. When they see sustainability practices as normal, they learn to care for our planet. Imagine the School with no cars on  site, adjacent to the Botanical Gardens reflecting the beauty and greenery – a garden school. We have our beautiful Artemis; however, we need a new hall, and performing arts space, a new Ross Hall. Our Grammarians deserve this. We can build this for them, and this is part of our plan.

Finally, the fourth element is community. You have heard me say many times that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and so the final element wrapped around the learner is community. When we foster a cohesive, connected and inclusive community the learner feels it. The learner flourishes and the learner will make an impact of influence and we will all benefit.

Term 1 has been bustling and busy with many events and activities – just as a vibrant school such as ours should be! I encourage you to attend the Morris Hall Art Auction in support of Zoos Victoria Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund and come down to Barwon Heads to cheer on our rowers at the Head of School Girls.

I’m excited to announce that Messenger will be delivered differently in the next edition, with a new look and feel on eVI. eVI is where we direct all students, staff and parents for the most relevant, up to date information, so this is where you’ll find Messenger. We’ll be providing more information about how to access this, and will be eagerly seeking your feedback.

Additionally, as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) reaches a possible global pandemic level, we continue to remind our community of the importance of respiratory and hand hygiene. We are currently assessing our commitment and participation in all international events and will communicate this to our community as soon as decisions are made.

Author

Dr Toni E. Meath, Principal