While there is fog around Tivendale Road on these late autumn mornings, there is also clarity of other kinds. Firstly, we are delighted to hear that Dr Steven Middleton has been appointed as the new Head of Berwick Grammar School, and will look forward to welcoming him when he starts his journey here in Term 3. He is coming to us from The King’s School in Sydney, where he has been Director of Leadership Studies, but as a Victorian, is no stranger to educational life in this State. He will also be greeted by our fine green oval, now resplendent with its cover of rye grass, and which will be oversown with that more robust variety, couch grass, in readiness for our patient boys to use in second semester. Plenty of new things to celebrate!
Secondly, the boys have been working hard this term to master knowledge and skills in various disciplines, and the boys in Year 9 History, under Mr David Diston’s guidance have created some really interesting podcasts relating to the effects of colonization on the Indigenous people of Australia. There are links to these podcasts authored by Kai Duncan (9), Zac Van Den Berghe (9) and Peter Tolan (9) on this page – I hope you enjoy listening to them, and the conjunction of a Humanities discipline that is making use of 21stC technology. Boys at BGS are already in the space where some tertiary Humanities Faculties are talking about going – Digital Humanities.
Zac Van Den Berghe
When the Year 8s return from their Camp at Walhalla, I am looking forward to responding to an invitation to share with some of them the Visual Thinking Strategies pedagogy I had the good fortune to develop with seven colleagues in Boston last year, and which we used in the National Gallery of Victoria during the recent Arts Festival in Melbourne (4-8 April) run by Independent Schools Victoria (ISV). This practice uses works of art to develop critical and creative thinking in a collaborative setting and privileges the use of evidence and the development of literacy – something that all disciplines employ in an educational setting. In the spirit of continuous learning, we all need to be challenged by what we do not know and cannot do – wherever we are on the learning spectrum. Staff at BGS continue to challenge themselves and each other in ways that inform their own practice, as Mr Diston has done, and as all committed teachers do – remaining open to other ways of doing things for the better learning of the students in our care.
Others are reporting elsewhere on the many marvelous accomplishments of our boys, and the wonderful opportunities given them by the staff (and their parents!), but I’d like to acknowledge here the unremitting enthusiasm and commitment of the staff, whether directing the School Play (Ms Loren Giorgetta), organizing the Mothers’ Day Assembly and Morning Tea (Ms Kate Jackson), inviting stimulating speakers to address the boys (Ms Lauren Cook and Mr Darragh Howard), overseeing the Year 11/12 Formal (Mr Mark Dunstan and Ms Sharyn Uteda), organizing Parent-Teacher and Information sessions (Mrs Helen McDonald), running House Cross Country (Miss Zoe Clark and Mr Nick Bruton), organizing Work Experience (Mr Tony Sheahan), setting off on the Year 9 Alpine adventure (Mr Andrew Lardner) or just making sure that everything is running as smoothly as possible on campus (Mr Scott Chittenden), and all the unnamed staff just as busily engaged in supporting the learning and the care of the boys as those named here. Lucky Dr Middleton!
Dr Deane Blackler,
Interim Head of Berwick Grammar School