I was honoured to give the first TED-style talk to kick off Day 2 of the EduTECH Conference in Sydney on 9 June for Educational Leaders. My focus was the extraordinary work our teachers have undertaken to design and implement blended learning at MGGS. Six years ago, eVI was a simple Learning Management System and four years ago we took the step to go BYOT. Today, those two elements are part of a complex digital ecosystem at MGGS that enables teachers and students to access, organise and archive content in various mediums, to communicate more effectively in exchange of submitted work for ongoing feedback, to personalise goals, timelines, and preferred ways of working independently and collaboratively.
There were two elements of my talk that seemed to resonate very strongly with the audience. My statement that the future is already in our schools was intended to re-define local and global calls for schools to “respond to the future” as an “imperative for now”. Pointing out that my 2030 graduates are my 3 year old ELC girls illuminated the need to bring our focus near, rather than continuing to look to some horizon that mysteriously eludes educators in their planning and purpose. I am very proud of the determination and willingness to adapt that characterises our teachers’ work, enabling MGGS to craft environments in which contemporary learning can flourish. The second statement took up this point: I commended our staff to the audience and emphasised that without a high quality teacher workforce no degree of digital innovation will shift the broader state of education in Australia.
The future has also (almost) arrived at MGGS in Artemis! The “sneak peek” tours were so enjoyable. The girls were so excited with many comments such as “I could live in here”, “I can’t believe it”, and “awesome”. Almost 400 parents and girls visited on the Artemis Open Afternoon and I heard similar expressions of delight at what has been achieved in this tremendous project. We continue to work on finalising details within the building, ready for our girls to “move in” early Term 3. I cannot wait to see Artemis come to life!
As the semester comes to a close we continue to acknowledge some stellar student achievements.
Congratulations to Erin G. (Year 11) who has been selected to represent Australia at the 2017 World Para-Athletic Junior Championships in Nottwil, Switzerland in August. Erin is one of 12 athletes chosen as part of this pathway program that is targeting the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. What an awesome personal achievement!
The final event of the Cross Country term was the State Cross Country Championships held at Bundoora last Saturday. 14 girls took the opportunity to compete against the best runners in the State and our girls certainly stood tall, running well in all divisions. The stand out performance was that of our U/16 team, comprised of Charlotte H. (Year 9), Allegra T. (Year 9), Rachel C. (Year 10) and Olivia T. (Year 9) who were the School’s first Silver medallists in the event. Other notable performances came from our Cross Country Captain Tayla D. (Year 12) who finished 8th in the U/20 event, Sacha B. (Year 10) who finished 11th in the U/17 event and Charlotte H. who finished 12th in the U/16 event. Tayla, Sacha and Charlotte may now be selected to compete for Victoria in the Australian Cross Country Championships in Wollongong in late August. Congratulations to all girls who competed.
Earlier in the season we were the first school to have ever beaten MLC in the GSV AFL competition, and now we are the first team, other than MLC, to have won the Premiership in the past 7 years! The girls have certainly given their all on the field, and absorbed much physical contest of the ball as they marched to this inaugural MGGS victory. Congratulations girls for a mighty season.
I recently received the joyous news that Ms Leigh Pitt, Director of Middle Years, is welcoming her first child in July. Leigh will begin her family leave at the conclusion of Semester 1, 2017 and will return to us at the beginning of Semester 2, 2018. During this time, Ms Roshan Lee, Assistant Director of Middle Years, will step into the role of Acting Director of Middle Years, and Miss Billie Staples will take on the role of Acting Assistant Director of Middle Years, remaining as Home Room Teacher for her Year 6 students. I am grateful for Leigh’s outstanding leadership as Director of Middle Years.
With Ms Laura Daley commencing maternity leave at the end of Term 3, I am pleased to advise that Ms Emily Bishop will take up the role of Acting Director of Boarding for Term 4, 2017 and Term 1, 2018. Emily is highly regarded in the Community as a warm and approachable staff member, who makes positive connections and understands the development of adolescent girls in their many contexts. To ensure a smooth and effective transition, Emily will work alongside Laura in the Boarding House from the start of Term 3.
Finally, I wish you a safe and happy term break with your girls. They and the staff have worked hard, weathered illness and other challenges, enjoyed their community activities, and contributed to the dynamic experience we call “school”: they need this rest and I look forward to welcoming them back for what I know will be a terrific Semester 2.