Planning for Tomorrow’s Year 3 and 4 Students
I am delighted to announce that the Gippsland Grammar Board of Directors has approved the School to proceed to the next stage of our Capital Development Plan and begin planning for the construction of a state of the art learning centre for our Year 3 and 4 students at St Anne’s. Over the last few months we have been working closely with architectural firm Smith and Tracey, to agree on a design that provides flexible collaborative spaces that really enhance our learning environment for these students. The proposed new building will further develop our case as one of the best Foundation to Year 12 schools in Australia and really contribute to the value of a Gippsland Grammar education.
With an estimated price tag of over 1.4 million we will now look to focus our fundraising efforts hoping to cover a significant proportion of the development costs. In 2017 you will notice an additional line on your fee notices, 100% of this optional donation will go towards this centre. We understand that not everybody will be able to afford this additional expense, but for those who can, we really appreciate your help. This donation is entirely tax deductable. If you have any questions about the proposed development or would like to further discuss donating to this project, please feel free to give our Business Manager Chris Beckman a call on (03) 5143 6388.
We were fortunate to hear from Abbie Minter at our Valedictory Dinner on Friday night. Abbie is a Gippsland Grammar graduate from the class of 2008 and a former School Vice-Captain. Abbie spoke of her journey post school and shared some of the high-lights and low-lights that this journey has entailed. I was also fortunate to sit next to Abbie on the night and discuss some of her experiences, particularly with regard to her current role at Ethiopiaid Australia. Abbie spoke to the graduating class regarding some of these experiences and also our need for young people to take on the responsibility of global citizenship. They are the future of our planet and many of the issues that we see currently manifesting in the world will be their responsibility to solve.
What does it mean to truly be a global citizen in a digital age? How many people in our community could genuinely claim to be a global citizen? In a digital age it would be reasonable to suspect that we are more global than ever before in our planet’s history. I know that my news feed brings me up to date information and breaking world news almost instantaneously. Does that make me a global citizen? Ethan Zuckerman from MIT challenges the belief that global and digital citizenship are aligned and in fact suggests that we are as local today as ever. He has used data from search engines and social media to claim that even though we have access to the world, we tend to stay very local with our connectedness (otherwise referred to as homophily). How many of us genuinely transcend cultures with our use of digital media? He also stresses the need for ‘bridgers’ who can translate not only languages but also cultures.
As Abbie spoke to us about the need for our students to become global citizens, I reflected on the need for schools to prepare students for jobs that may not exist yet and careers that are yet to be defined. In a world where global commerce and collaboration rely heavily on bridgers and translators, these would appear to be very genuine and highly sought after skills for the future. In an age when mass migration, fear and hate are becoming mainstream topics within our political and societal circles of influence, global citizens are critical to help us all understand and curate the diverse range of opinions and information flooding the media every day.
How many of us know genuine global citizens within our community or social groups, people who are genuine translators and bridgers. I know that many people who relocate to Australia bring with them an understanding of other cultures and an ability to translate into Australian culture. Within our staff we have many global citizens who have relocated to Australia who are able to understand and move between cultures with relative ease. I have also been fortunate to become friendly with an Australian teacher who has worked and lived in Japan for many years, teaching at HIkarigaoka Girls’ High School. It is fascinating to watch him as he moves culturally and linguistically between Japanese and Australian culture as he interacts with the staff at Gippsland Grammar and Hikarigaoka simultaneously.
I have started our strategic plan with a very wordy and aspirational comment that I feel sums up what our purpose for education is and also our desire to build the capacity within our students to become digital citizens. This outlines a need to be deep thinkers and also reflective thinkers. It also encourages our students to take their place as leaders within our world. I invite you to ponder this statement and reflect on the possibilities of helping our students achieve this aim.
To develop the cognitive, socio-emotional and learning dispositions of our students to enable them to take their place as global citizens and leaders within a digital world.
As I write this newsletter, my mind is firmly occupied with preparation for our Valedictory Dinner, to be held later this evening. This is one of my favourite events at the School and a wonderful opportunity to farewell our Year 12 students in a dignified and appropriate manner. I know that the students look forward to this event all year. It is a time for them to celebrate the end of their secondary education, their time at Gippsland Grammar and more immediately their exams. They have been working very hard for a very long time and many of them simply can’t believe that it is all over.
The night is the final symbolic stage in what has been an incredible journey of learning for the last 13 years. I would like to congratulate all of the graduating Year 12 students who attend tonight and I wish them all an enjoyable evening.
Whilst the night is a night of celebration, it is also a night tinged with sadness as this will be the last time that they will ever come together as a group. Whilst they may attend reunions and other gatherings in future years, unfortunately, they will never come together in the numbers that will be here this evening. For many of them it will also be the last time that they may see some of the teachers who have helped with their journey of learning through Gippsland Grammar.
I would also like to wish our Garnsey students well as they embark on their rollover this Monday. For them a new school year begins, new classes, new teachers and new courses. We also have over 23 new students who will be joining the School during rollover and we look forward to welcoming them to Gippsland Grammar. Our rollover program is quite unique and enables us to have a headstart on the new school year, solve any logistical problems before Christmas and settle our students into their classes. This all allows us to have a seamless beginning to the year in February. I would like to thank all of our families for allowing the School time to finalise our assessments and reports for 2016 and also to plan for the year ahead. The rollover places great strain on the School and we move into the New Year within four days. Without the two student free days, this would not be feasible.
We also have a very unique orientation program for our incoming Year 7 students. This will begin on Tuesday 29 November with parents and students. Whilst the parents spend the morning with us, becoming familiar with the Garnsey Campus and forming relationships with their child’s teachers, the students experience four days of Garnsey life. This is particularly important for new students, as they head off to summer holidays feeling confident about the year ahead and all the changes that brings.
I would like to acknowledge the staff at all three campuses who work tirelessly at this time of the year to ensure that the School has a productive and positive end to 2016.
Earlier this week members of the School’s Executive and our newly appointed Child Protection Officers, completed Child Protection training with the Bravehearts organisation. This training aimed to provide us with the support and understanding to further implement our Child Safety Program, as previously discussed in my newsletter articles.
The program was incredibly useful and helped us to better understand; the Child Safe Standards, prevention strategies, how to drive cultural change, how to identify risk factors and protective factors, how to integrate physical behavioural and emotional indicators, how to empower students to protect themselves and finally, how to respond. It was an enlightening day with many moments of thinking and deeper understanding. In particular, I found the case studies highlighted for me the importance of the Child Protection Officer and that first opportunity to respond.
I would like to congratulate and thank the following staff for completing the training and also announce to you their role as Child Protection Officers.
Bairnsdale- Annie Crow
St Anne’s’- Carol Oram and Lisa Goode
Garnsey- Rupert Stephenson, Liz Bullers and Sam Gladman
Members of the School’s Executive
As mentioned in previous newsletters, I also ask any parents or guardians who currently, or intend to volunteer in the future, to complete the volunteer registration form on the School’s website by following this link.
As many of our parents would be aware, Mr Yeowell has indicated a desire to relocate to Sydney in the near future to be reunited with his wife Renee. To ensure that we can appropriately support Mr Yeowell and ensure a smooth transition for the leadership of St Anne’s, I would like to announce that Mr Jie Van Berkel has accepted my offer to be the Acting Head of St Anne’s, effective upon Mr Yeowell’ s departure from the School. Jie will continue with his current leadership role and begin preparing himself for this transition in 2017.
Please note tonight’s P&F Function at Oneills has been cancelled.
All parents and friends of Gippsland Grammar are considered members of our Parents and Friends Association and along with the current Parents and Friends Committee, we are pleased to announce a new structure for the Parents and Friends Association for 2017. To better enable opportunities for involvement and to ensure the ongoing success of this wonderful support group each campus will have their own Parents and Friends groups that will focus on the needs and activities of their particular campus
With the guidance of the Head of Campus, they will organise campus specific activities designed to bring the community together and if needed raise funds for a campus based project. All funds raised will remain on that campus and each Parents and Friends group will liaise with, and be responsible to, the Head of Campus rather than a School P&F Executive. Each year, two whole school Parents and Friends events will be held; the Welcome drinks at the Chapel of St Anne in February and an end of year function. This year’s end of year celebration is being held next Friday, 11 November, commencing at 7.00pm at Oneills Restaurant, Desailly Street Sale. Bookings for this event can be made by following this link.
A special committee will be formed to organise STAGGFAIR biennially.
The Parents and Friends will retain two representatives on the School Board. Nominations for these positions will be invited as positions become vacant.
If you would like to become more involved with your campus, look for an invitation to participate early in the New Year.