One of the greatest joys of being a Principal is working alongside amazing students and being immersed in an environment where the exuberance of youth underpins every day. Over the last few weeks it has been my absolute privilege to read the applications, and interview shortlisted potential candidates for the 2020 School Captain and Vice-Captains. This is a humbling experience as all applications highlighted the extent of the contribution these students have already made to our school and their courage to put their hand up for these significant roles in their final academic year. This year we had an overwhelming number of students who applied for these positions. The shortlisting process was difficult, and I empathise with those who missed out on the chance to interview. I would like to express my personal gratitude to all of the applicants for putting themselves forward for these important roles cognisant of the time and energy required to lead the School well.
On 12 August, on behalf of MGGS, I attended the Wesley College 2019 Samuel Alexander Lecture, with the impressive guest speaker for this event being Professor A.C. Grayling. It was a wonderful oration with thoughtful provocations around the development and relevance of democracy and the current global political landscape. Reflecting on his words and the discussions that ensued, gave me a heightened sense of sensitivity around the value we hold of the election of our Student Executive Council (SEC), their importance at MGGS, and indeed student voice. If democracy is a ‘rule by the people’ then the role that our SEC play needs to be authentic and meaningful. This is a space close to my heart and an area that in previous roles I have devoted great attention to and I look forward to the unfolding of the SEC elections by this democratic process. If only every member of our community could hear the passionate speeches delivered by the candidates for the 2020 Captaincy from the MGGS lectern placed in my office purposefully for these interviews – the words of our Grammarians made ‘my heart sing’.
I am delighted to announce that our School Captain for 2020 is Helena and our School Vice-Captains are Sophie and Scarlett. As a community we congratulate them and wish them well in their leadership, contribution and legacy. I look forward to working closely with this triumvirate and am confident that they will be fine leaders of our community. The selection process for the remaining SEC positions are currently in process and I look forward to sharing these with you in the upcoming Messenger.
I thoroughly enjoyed attending the Melbourne Grammar 2019 Production of One Man, Two Guvners on 14 August. What fun! It is always a treat to witness live theatre and this play was extremely engaging with compelling acting by a marvellous cast. The fast paced delivery and level of hilarity was uplifting. I particularly enjoyed the performances by our Grammarians, Amelia, Isabella and Georgia and am pleased that we have a relationship with MGS that allows for these opportunities between our schools.
Our recent Centre for Educational Enterprise (CEE) biennial conference held on 15 and 16 August was a fabulous platform for connecting educational leaders and entrepreneurs. The Conference was titled ‘Learning for Tomorrow. The Digital Imperative’. CEE was launched by Melbourne Girls Grammar in 2014 as a global educational community hub, dedicated to innovation and leadership in educational practices. CEE is an important part of our commitment as a community to the future of learning, collaboration, networking and collective intelligence.
The theme chosen for this conference is a recognition of the digitisation of the world we live in today and an opportunity to consider what the future may hold for us and our students. The conference presented the challenges of how we educate both for the future and in the future. The conference narrative challenged our notion of what education should and could look like and delegates were encouraged to think outside the current paradigm; to imagine and create an educational experience that is relevant, engaging and future focussed. The Conference speaker line up was definitely a highlight for me with an inspiring collection of thought leaders, educators and entrepreneurs. When we as an organisation have an enquiring mindset and engage in thinking bigger, then everyone benefits.
Melbourne Girls Grammar is an active learning environment, building upon very exciting developments in education for the future. We work closely with all stakeholders in our quest and pursuit for quality education at this exciting time in history. The CEE conference is an opportunity for our staff to learn and explore new ideas and actions together. By doing this they can reimagine the future possibilities for our emerging global citizens – our Grammarians. Or, as Senge would suggest, the organisation will learn because the individual has learnt. As Principal, I believe learning together as a school is important.
“Why together? Because the greatest asset a school has is its collective intelligence. Leaders have to figure out how to harness this intelligence, to grow it, and to use it to help achieve the school’s purposes. Too often intelligence is divided among individuals diluting its effectiveness. Schools get smarter when individual intelligences are aggregated.” (Sergiovanni, 2005, 177)
The last few weeks in Melbourne has been exceptionally cold and we could definitely feel the earth’s axis tilting from the sun and the three cold fronts from the South coming through in quick succession. This has led to many frosty mornings and our community clambering for the warmest spaces throughout the school. In winter, it is a lovely thing to be in a warm classroom with one’s peers immersed in learning! As a teacher, these were always my favourite days – in the scholarly cocoon of a warm classroom with inclement weather outside. On my daily walk through the School I am pleased with how our Grammarians respect, use and care for our wonderful facilities and how they are getting on with their job of being curious and engaged scholars.