From the Principal: 24 May 2021
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From the Principal: 24 May 2021

There were mighty cheers in the Artemis Team Zone on Friday 14 May when we announced the winners of the House Cups for Merton Hall Cross Country and Athletics. Mungo House won the Cross Country and Mungo Captains led their Mungo Grammarians in a resounding House chant. Not to be outdone by the captains who raised the roof of Artemis with the Hensley song celebrating Hensley for winning the 2021 House Athletics. Bravo Grammarians!

I just love visiting Morris Hall Assembly each Friday and sharing the stories of our young Grammarians. Our Morris Hall girls love to sing and their delight in the repertoire of songs chosen for them is infectious. We know that singing together builds connections, trust and a sense of community and I know that they are looking forward to performing for our community in their upcoming Junior Production of Cinderella. They are busily preparing and I encourage you to gather family and friends and support their efforts on Thursday 17 June.

OG 2008, Ms Paris Thomson, founder of SIRAP (Paris spelt backwards) Motion Lab inspired us all at the 2021 June Fowell Dinner at the Pavilion, Victoria Arts Centre on Thursday 13 May. It was probably the most inspiring careers speech I have ever listened to. Why? Because Ms Thomson modelled that even someone who is not entirely sure of what they want to be ‘when they grow up’ can arrive at that destination of passion, service, and happiness through work by turning up, being receptive to invitations, finding strong mentors and working hard. Ms Thomson spoke to our Year 12 Grammarians about how the harder she worked, the luckier she became. Believing in self, gathering a good network, and having a strong work ethic opens doors. Her work philosophy ‘is to distill ideas into moving images that have a substantial, meaningful impact on the world and its audience.’ You will already know of Ms Thomson’s work as her beautiful videos on our website of Meet the Future featuring Shyla, Julia, and Daisy.

We are soon to release a fourth Meet the Future vignette featuring boarder, Sophie. Heartfelt gratitude to the Community Office, the Year 12 Parent representatives, Ms Sylvia Ma, Ms Emma Faulks and the June Fowell Committee, Ms Caroline Blackshaw, Ms Tracey Halsall and Ms Sammy Brown for their stellar organisation of this special annual event.

In continuing the notion of celebrating our alumni, a heartfelt congratulations to Sarah Gigante (OG 2018) who has been appointed to represent Australia in road cycling events at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Sarah has been pursuing her cycling dreams since graduating as our 2018 Dux and was recently awarded the Amy Gillet Foundation Scholarship for 2019. This scholarship supports the professional cycling pursuits of young female cyclists in Australia, acknowledging the gap in financial support for female cyclists and seeks to empower capable, driven and inspiring young Australian women to pursue their dreams and participate in elite cycling. We look forward to tuning in to Sarah at the Tokyo Olympics who is notably competing in both the road race and the time trial. Bravo!

The Dark Arts Festival on 20 May was a great success and I particularly enjoyed the diversity of visual, music and performing arts. It was a cold Melbourne evening, however that did not deter our community supporting our Grammarians in their pursuit of making their art come alive. Thank you to our participant Grammarians, our Art Captains for leading a successful art experience for all.

The 2021 NAPLAN has been completed by all Year 3, 5,7 and 9 students and I am impressed with the focus our Grammarians gave it. In 2020, NAPLAN was one of the annual testing regimes that did not go ahead, and I am pleased that this year it was uninterrupted and seamlessly delivered. There is much contention around national tests such as NAPLAN, however, I feel that any data we can gather of our student’s progress assists us greatly. We use this and other carefully collected data to understand the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) of our students and teach accordingly. If learners are being taught either below or above their ZPD (either too easy or too hard) it becomes problematic for them to form knowledge and skills. At MGGS we always use evidence-based practice using both qualitative and quantitative data to identify points of need and make interventions in the learning of all students.

The upcoming General Achievement Test (GAT) on Wednesday 9 June for all VCE students studying a Unit 3/4 is also an important assessment. The GAT is an essential part of the VCE assessment process. It tests written communication, mathematics, science and technology, humanities, the arts and social sciences. GAT results are used to check that final VCE assessments and school-based assessments have been accurately and fairly assessed. The GAT proved extremely important in 2020 with COVID interruptions to ensure that all students had insurance to support algorithms to determine final grades. The GAT is used because its results are a good predictor of final assessment for VCE studies. If a student has done well in the GAT, they are likely to do well in other assessments. We wish our Senior years students well in this exam.

I am pleased to announce that as part of our 2020-2025 Strategic Review we are changing our Pathways Planning Program to a new whole platform and initiative titled The Learning Enhancement and Support Program. We have recruited a highly skilled and knowledgeable educator and practitioner, Mr David Simpson to lead this program as Director of Learning Enhancement and Support. Mr Simpson will commence in mid Term 3 and work with our current experienced Pathways Planning Learning Strategies teachers and Executive Director of Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Innovation to prepare our new program which will be ready to be implemented for the commencement of 2022. This means that there will be more support for students with individual needs and a greater focus on professional learning or differentiation in the classroom for all learners.

We are very proud of our innovative digital learning approach at MGGS. If you are not moving forward in the digital learning space, then you are going backwards! With this in mind we are also welcoming a new member to our Digital Learning Team with the recruitment of highly experienced Mr Craig Nicholls to lead the whole school digital learning approach as Director of Digital learning. Mr Nichols will work with all teachers, our Digital Learning Team and Executive Director of Digital Learning, Research and Innovation, Ms Lauren Sayer to enrich, extend and refine all digital learning from ELC through to Year 12.

Our Annual Giving Appeal is now open, and I encourage you to consider giving the gift of an education. In 2021 with the generous support of our community we hope to grow our capacity to offer even more opportunities through scholarship. Our scholarship program provides opportunities for students from diverse background who would not normally have the chance to receive an education of the calibre received at Melbourne Girls Grammar due to either financial hardship or family circumstances. Our scholarship students bring a unique diversity to our School enriching the lives of all. Your generosity has the potential to change lives, so please join me this year in contributing to a very precious gift. The gift of a fine education. The link to our 2021 Annual Giving Appeal can be found here.

We all know the strength that comes from making friends and sharing experiences and memories. Your daughter makes these connections and bonds daily as part of the ritual of the school day. We want to encourage all members of the parents’ community to do the same, to bring our much-loved dad’s and father-figures more centrally into our community by giving you the opportunity to help form our thinking. Our PA President, Tammy Read, together with the Marketing and Community Office have been working with Gil Polglase to get this off the ground. We’d value your thoughts.

2020 proved the tightness of our community and our unwavering support of each other. As Principal, in 2021 it fills me with happiness to see our Grammarians and their families enjoying the special and unique moments of an uninterrupted academic year. Let us all keep safe and COVID free. Take care.

Yours in learning,
Dr Toni E Meath

Author

Dr Toni E. Meath, Principal