From the Principal: 11 May 2020

From the Principal: 11 May 2020

I hope that Mother’s Day was celebrated yesterday in your own unique family way. Family traditions are created and carried on with special days such as these and these small rituals become precious markers in our life. Whether it be handmade cards, breakfast in bed, or unwrapping presents whilst still in pyjamas, I know that as mothers, our most defining wish is for our children to be happy, healthy and know that they are loved.

Our class of 2020 motto is ‘2020 Vision’ and I do not think they could have picked a more apt one. For with clarity and purpose they are showing great resilience and forward thinking in their study. Recently, each received a bespoke Year 12 Journal to record their reflections of this moment in history and I hope they use it well.

School Colours day on Wednesday 6 May was fun. This was the day when we would have been loud and proud at the Athletics Stadium cheering for our Houses at our Annual Athletics Day. It was heartening to see our students and staff don their House colour with pride and participate in our own homes. As Principal, I must always maintain a neutral position, so for those of us in the School who must hold this stance, rainbows were the rigour. I donned my 70’s rainbow Rip Curl Ski Jacket and participated in my many Zoom Meetings looking rather peculiar, but very happy to be amongst it.

Regrettably, we have needed to make the difficult decision of postponing the Senior Years Production of “Chicago – High School Edition” until early next year. It has been shaping up to be a fine production and I have high praise for the cast, crew and teachers who have dedicated so much time to this. Rehearsals will recommence in Term 4, with performances on 4, 5 and 6 March 2021. Casting will remain unchanged, unless a student is no longer able to participate, and our current Year 12 students are invited to perform as YOG’s (Young Old Grammarians).

Congratulations to our recipients of the 2019 VCE Premier Prizes. Unfortunately the special event at the Convention Centre to mark this achievement has been postponed due to current restrictions. We are very proud of the following Grammarians for their exemplar accomplishment: Ashley Wang for Biology; Lexi Kelsall for Drama; and Chrissy Vakkas for Classical Studies.  The Premier’s VCE Award is an acknowledgement of these outstanding results and although the ceremony has been postponed until later this year, I am looking forward to witnessing our Young Old Grammarians accepting this significant award.

Indigo has recently had her scholarly essay ‘What do Prime Ministers’ Speeches Tell Us About Historical Attitudes to Immigration?’ published in the HTAV Journal Agora. Indigo’s piece sat beside giants of Australia History including Marcia Langton, Frank Bongiorno and Michelle Arrow. It is a fantastic read and so if you have time please do so. Bravo Indigo!

Congratulations also to Year 10 student, Ahelee who has been published in Connect – the magazine supporting student participation that is edited by Roger Holdsworth. Ahelee is also working with the DET and VCAA on the curriculum redesign of Civics and Citizenship education. I look forward to seeing the results of her contribution. Bravo Ahelee!

Our teachers are currently working conscientiously in personalising the delivery of our remote learning program. Additionally, they are in the process of synthesising formative and summative assessment data to write the Semester 1 Reports, which will be provided on the last day of Term 2. For our Wildfell, St Hilda’s and Senior Grammarians, in normal circumstances our parent/teacher/student interviews would form an important part of the feedback loop for assessment and reporting, however, in the remote learning environment this comes with challenges and therefore we will delay our return to this format until Semester 2. If you are concerned and require an opportunity for feedback on your daughter’s progress in her learning, please contact the appropriate Executive Director of Sub School, Ms Kellie Morgan, Ms Sally Hill or Mr Luke Francis, who will arrange for you to meet with individual teachers via an email or phone conversation.

We recently received a significant bequest from the estate of Patricia Reid (Ferrier, 1949). It is with deep gratitude that I thank the family. This money will be used to support scholarships and bursaries, Patricia having been the recipient of a Minor Council Scholarship for entry into Year 9.  Our Annual Giving Campaign will continue this year with all money raised going to the provisioning of Scholarship.  I understand that this year there are significant financial challenges, however, I encourage those who can to donate even if it is a small amount. It is the collective that is most important at this time and the money raised will assist in supporting others including those within our community through the gift of education.

Finally, in this Messenger I have tried to not include the dreaded word COVID, however, it is important to give you an update of the School’s position in this area.  We know that Victoria has worked impressively to flatten the COVID-19 curve and successfully contain the virus so far, however, this should not lead to complacency. At MGGS, our priority is the safety and wellbeing of our students, staff, and the wider community. This is also an essential part of discharging our duties under the Work Health Safety Act (2011), which requires all schools to undertake and implement a risk-­assessment and management process in relation to the risks arising out of COVID-19 ­according to each school’s circumstances. Our Emergency Response Team which is comprised of the full Executive Leadership Team representing all areas of the School meet daily to implement our risk assessment strategies and to discuss the unfolding situation we are faced with. We are working to ensure our campuses are safe for everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the more vulnerable members of our school community. We are listening to the experts, consulting with our community, and following the advice from government regarding the operation of our school. As you are aware the advice is changing rapidly, sometimes daily and we continue to review and will act accordingly.

Over the last month we have been modelling a variety of scenarios for a return to school so that when it is safe to do so we will have everything in place to act with agility. Today, our Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced that as a state we would take the first steps to opening up from lockdown to recovery – “safely, cautiously and appropriately”. I was pleased to hear that as part of this he spoke about staging the return to schooling. Each state of Australia is responding differently in the education space in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we will make our decisions with our Grammarians in the centre and focused on how best to support them.

I encourage all Grammarians to step outside and enjoy this beautiful Autumnal weather. Melbourne is at its best at this time of year! Take care.

Author

Dr Toni E. Meath, Principal