On Saturday 12 October the School Council held its annual strategy planning day. Critical friend, Professor Erica McWilliam facilitated the day and the focus was on what’s next for MGGS. On this day, the MGGS Executive presented the penultimate draft of the MGGS Strategic Plan 2020-2025 to the Council and committee members. The MGGS Strategic Plan 2020-2025 is comprised of four major elements, Culture, Learning, Environment and Community, set in concentric rings. When we overlay the School Values of Compassion, Courage, Self-Discipline and Integrity on top of these rings as a quadrant we get a layering of purpose and focus. The day allowed for discussion, clarification and questioning, and the plan is now being polished further before we introduce it in a more fulsome manner.
This process was repeated with the whole staff on Monday 14 October, then further discussed at other meetings throughout the school. This plan positions the School on the continuing path of innovation, a strengthening of the programs in place and it focuses on culture as the lever for exceptional practice. With the learner at the centre of our plan, the visioning is one of support and growth. It places a spotlight on the importance of the quality of learning and teaching in every classroom at every developmental stage so that our Grammarians are engaged in a contemporary curriculum and pedagogical framework. This plan acknowledges that we need to continue to invest in the environment as the third teacher and finally that our community is connected, interconnected and wraps around everything we do.
Dr Steve Bagi, organisational psychologist and teaming expert, will work with the staff from the beginning of 2020 to begin the implementation of the MGGS Strategic Plan 2020-2025. Dr Bagi is a consulting psychologist who specialises in strengths-based leadership and team development in schools and corporate teams throughout Australia. Dr Bagi is also an adjunct lecturer at Bond University where he is currently teaching ‘Leadership and Team Dynamics’.
As a school we value our teachers and their fine contribution to the establishment of a great foundation of learning. To this end we celebrated World Teachers’ Day at the commencement of Term 4 with a lovely morning tea to recognise our staff. Teachers make a difference daily to our Grammarians, and on this day, we remembered the famous Shulman quote (1986) as part of our, ‘those who can, do [and] those who understand, teach.’ I would like to acknowledge the fine contribution every staff member has made to the School. Each member of staff has a genuine regard for their profession and a collective passion to make learning at MGGS exciting, innovative and rigorous.
It was a great joy to attend the Celebration of Sport Dinner at The Lincoln, Toorak on 15 October. Our guest speaker, Australian cricketer and media personality Melanie Jones inspired us all with her stories of growing up and entering the world of competitive sport. Thank you to our wonderful Heads of Programs and Coaches for providing a strong season of participation and competition across many sports.
Our valedictory season has been marked by significant events as a rite of passage for our Year 12 Grammarians. The Valedictory Assembly held at the Melbourne Recital Centre on Monday 21 October was a fitting acknowledgment and farewell. At this special assembly we celebrated the hard work, achievements and contribution to the life of the School by our Year 12 students and welcomed them as young Old Grammarians. It was an opportunity to thank Year 12 for their role modelling for our younger students and for the joy they have instilled in our school and thank you to our parents and families for trusting us with the care of your daughters.
Additionally, the Valedictory Dinner in the evening was a happy event with the School acknowledging the cohort and celebrating with parents, guardians and families at Aerial, South Wharf. On this evening our Year 12 students received their Year 12 reference, a chosen book and a keepsake reflecting their motto for the year ‘the limit does not exist’.
As a new Principal, I have gained insights into the educational landscape of MGGS on multiple levels. Melbourne Girls Grammar is a school proudly steeped in history that confidently prepares graduates for the future; but it is also a safe home base for our students. My memories of Year 12 in 2019 will remain vivid – how could I ever forget the special moments of pride I have felt of this cohort? Together they have shared moments of joy, exhilaration and optimism, as well as pain and struggle. Year 12 stand connected through the web of experience and strong relationships with each other, their teachers and alumnae. I wish to thank the outgoing School Captain, Lexi, and Vice-Captains Sophie and Beatrix, the 2019 Student Executive Council and the entire cohort for their fine contribution and legacy to the School. We wish them well as they head in to the VCE examination period and I know that they are well prepared.
The commissioning for our new Chaplain, The Reverend Kirsty Ross was a historical moment for the School held in the Chapel of St Luke on 23 October. Thank you to The Reverend Tracey Lauersen and Bishop Genieve Blackwell for leading the event and also to Lynn Broadway for her meticulous organisation. The symbols of the School were presented to The Reverend Ross and we celebrated together in the Chapel of St Luke.
We welcomed our new 2020 Year 7 students and their families on 24 October for their first orientation to the school. I was pleased to see our Wildfell Grammarians mixing and mingling with an open and inviting spirit. Many new friendships were made on the day and we look forward to these flourishing over the next six years.
Thank you to all families for their generosity of payment towards our 2019 Annual Giving Appeal and to our 2019 Building Fund. The Annual Giving Campaign is almost at our target with 87% of our goal of $200,000 raised. With the MGGS Strategic Plan 2020-2025 commencing next year it would be wonderful if we could reach our target by the year’s end.
I look forward to seeing you all at Speech Night on 27 November at Melbourne Town Hall. This is the next exciting whole school celebration we look forward to as we acknowledge and support our Grammarians in their achievements. Please ensure you remember to book tickets. More information about Speech Night will be communicated to the community soon.