iServi News | 7 February 2020 | Term 1, Week 1
A very warm welcome back to the start of another exciting year at the College. We especially welcome those families joining us for the first time this year. As always, we are looking forward to working alongside you this year to continue to provide genuine and rich personalised learning and growth opportunities for all of our students.
In my opening letter to families (available here), I outlined our core strategic initiatives for the year and we are very excited at the plans we have in place. Our philosophy is to always put the child at the very centre and to strive to development the best possible learning environment for them. We look forward to updating you on the progress of our many planned initiatives as they come to fruition over the course of the year.
As a school with the Servite value of hospitality at is core, we encourage our families to be fully immersed in the life of our school. We are strong believers that we work in partnership with parents/guardians in the development of their sons and daughters.
It was terrific to see the school full of students this week. It was especially exciting to welcome a full cohort of Year 7 students to the College, along with a number of other new students across the year levels.
We stagger the start of the year to allow for the effective transition of those students new to the school. We were very pleased to see the students quickly become comfortable with the daily routine and the school environs. Our Year 7 students were very well supported by our wonderful Year 11 Buddies who ensured that the needs of the students were met in a positive and inclusive way. This connection between our Year 7 students and their Buddies is often a long lasting one and includes many formal and informal activities across the year. It is an excellent programme which supports our new students to feel welcomed and at home in our community right from the outset.
Day 1 also saw the arrival of our Year 11 and 12 students. Commencing them at this time allowed us to set the scene for the very important senior years ahead. Of course, it was great to welcome all students back on Tuesday to celebrate the start of another year full of promise and opportunity.
I would like to acknowledge the efforts of our Parents and Friends (P&F) for their support with the Pop-up Coffee Bar for all new families on Monday this week. This initiative provided new families to connect with one another and to chat with members of the P&F and the College Leadership team. This event was followed on Wednesday afternoon by the Meet the Teachers afternoon. The afternoon was very well attended by parents who enjoyed the opportunity to touch base with the teachers of their sons and daughters.
These two Parent Connect events make up a suite of activities planned across the year to allow improved communication, socialisation and learning opportunities for parents and guardians. We strongly encourage all families to take full advantage of the opportunities available as research suggest a strong alignment between parent engagement and student growth and academic achievement. This includes of course the ongoing monitoring of student progress via our online administration system SEQTA. We look forward to providing you with further information about these Parent Connect opportunities over the course of the year.
The start of a new school year provides the ideal opportunity for students to reflect on past performance with a view of setting achievable growth goals. These goals need to be measurable and realistic. Setting goals and designing a strategy to achieving them with the support of teachers is an important ingredient to future success. Developing a plan of action and sticking to it is therefore a very important part of the process.
Goals of course need to be more than just academically focused. We know the importance of mindfulness, resilience and self-regulation on academic development, so these attributes should also be considered. Students are encouraged to explore how they develop further as whole persons through focusing on goals related to their spirituality and overall school involvement. They should also strive to consistently adopt positive behaviours that promote inclusivity, collaboration and which support the values of the College.
We have long promoted the benefits of a growth mindset on student development. Goal setting prompts this type of thinking and allows students to adopt the belief that they can achieve what they set out to do through a positive attitude, dedication and support from those around them.
We are very proud of our College uniform and what it has represented for many decades. Indeed, the Servants of Mary connection extends back to the 1200s in Florence Italy. We therefore have high expectation on how our uniform is worn by students. The start of the year is the ideal time for families and students to make sure that there are properly groomed and attired for the year ahead.
As you would be aware, last year we were thrilled to launch our new Priory and HPE uniform. The feedback on the design and wearability of the uniform has been overwhelmingly positive, as has the number of students adopting the new uniform across the years thus far.
We are grateful to the support of our parents in the roll out process of the new uniforms. The is the second year of a two-year process with us endeavoring us to have all students across the College having adopted the uniform by the commencement of next year.
Work continues on the latest stage of our Master Plan. We are very excited to see the different spaces gradually starting to take shape. As has been previously mentioned, the expected completion date is around the end of Semester 1.
While the works impact movement around the campus, our students, parents and staff have demonstrated the wonderful community spirit present at the College where we work together and support one another. We know of course that this short-term disruption is a small price to pay for the excellent facilities we are introducing to the campus to enhance student learning.
I am very grateful to have been afforded the opportunity to take some Long Service Leave in Term 4 last year. I am also very thankful to Mrs Franca Coutts for fulfilling the role of Acting Principal in my absence and to our staff and the broader community for their support and well wishes. I am very excited to be back for another wonderful year at Servite.
Mr Jeff Allen