From the Principal – 17 December 2018

From the Principal – 17 December 2018

Dear St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar Community,

It is the end of a very busy year that has involved much work on behalf of Council, students, staff and the broader community. I am pleased to say that we are finishing the year in a strengthened position in terms of programs, structures, finances, and enrolments.

 St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar is a school that educates children so that they can strive to be their best selves, now and in the future, for the betterment of all humanity and the planet.

We action this through the values of: COURAGE to do the right thing, CURIOSITY to know and learn, CHARACTER to be one’s true self and RESPECT to live wisely and compassionately with others and the planet.

When I reflect on 2018, I would like to frame it in terms of People, Programs, Partnerships, Places and Profile.

People and Programs
We are so proud of our students, and while further information will become available, we are particularly proud of our 2018 VCE students. The Dux of St Margaret’s was Jayarupi Pahala Vithana with an ATAR of 99.35 and the Dux of Berwick Grammar was Pamod Suriyage with an ATAR of 99.
22% students at St Margaret’s scored an ATAR above 95 with 54% of St Margaret’s girls scoring above 80. The Berwick Grammar results were the best ever with 50% scoring above 80. Two perfect scores of 50 were received in Computing Informatics and History-Revolutions at St Margaret’s. The St Margaret’s Median ATAR was 84.35 and the Berwick Grammar Median ATAR was 80.4.

While we finish this year saying goodbye to some dearly loved and respected members of our community including Ms Reed, Mrs Williams, Mrs Cochrane, Mrs Hambly, Mrs Jones and Mrs Barrett, we will start 2019 with some outstanding appointments.

I would like to acknowledge all staff and note that we have in our education community one of the first Cyber Security Teachers in Victoria, Ms Fortington who will also be the Director of Curriculum and Innovation from 2019. We are fortunate to have a Director of Staff Learning and Research, Ms Linda Shardlow, who, with the Director of Curriculum and Innovation, manages the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). In 2018 alone, CELT has developed a revised Professional Learning Framework, a Regular Teacher Journal (CELTIC), established research programs with Monash University, The University of Melbourne, Harvard University as well as managed the Unicorn Series which explored ‘What makes a Good Teacher?’ and ‘Happy to Learn, Learning to be Happy: Wellbeing and Learning’.

I am delighted to announce that the Semester One Unicorn Series on April 2, 2019 will be ‘Flourishing or Floundering:  the challenges and opportunities for young people in the on-line world’ and ‘Growing Good Men-equipping boys with the emotional literacy to thrive in the 21st century’ (Term 4). We have secured Robyn Treyvaud for the April 2 event. Robyn is a world renowned expert in digital citizenship and will be working with us on programs for students and parents to assist all to manage the on-line demands and opportunities for our young people. See http://www.cybersafekids.com.au/ for more information about Robyn.

The community will be aware that we have a strengthened wellbeing and academic growth system in our senior schools and that we will welcome Ms Louise Sayar as the new Head of Junior School and Mr Marten Visser as the new Director of Music. See https://www.martenvisser.com/ for more details on Marten.

We will continue to work in cross campus (Junior, Senior Girls and Senior Boys) teams to develop further the Certificate of Global Responsibility, Staff action research projects, the Reconciliation Action Plan, STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Maths) and entrepreneurship programs that will incorporate initiatives such as drone licences and Recreational Pilots Certificates for our older students, commencing in 2019. Berwick Grammar will continue the Growing Good Men Project that we believe is influencing all we do at Berwick Grammar.

Our Junior School, on the basis of the outstanding PYP Evaluation in 2018, will go from strength to strength I know.

Senior School parents will start to see the results of a revised One School curriculum that will allow boys and girls to excel in a framework that promotes opportunity, academic excellence and individualised learning in an environment that supports the symbolic, social and emotional benefits of a single gender environment.

Partnerships
2018 has seen a plethora of partnerships develop. Besides those already mentioned with Monash University, The University of Melbourne and Harvard University, we also have strengthened relationships with the Centre for Innovation, Research, Creativity and Leadership in Education (CIRCLE), The Day of STEM, Life Journey, Optus, The Australian Signals Directorship (ASD), SINET61 (Security Innovation Network) , Deakin University (Cyber), the Glob Youth Ambassador Program, Geelong Grammar School Partnership and the French Embassy through the launch of a national St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar/French Embassy Scholarship.

Places|
2018 has witnessed the renovation of our dearly beloved Cottage which will become a spiritual and physical home to honour our past and celebrate previous and current achievements. This project was generously supported by the Old Girls and, in particular, Mrs Susan Mackie. Likewise the provision of the Berwick Grammar Gymnasium, kindly supported with extreme generosity by members of our community, will provide a state of the art venue for the Berwick Grammar Community and beyond and will complement the Maker Space and robotics programs at Berwick Grammar, in turn kindly funded by the Parents and Friends’ Association. New Indigenous Gardens are being established at Junior School and Berwick Grammar and the Federal Government funded Armistice Award Garden that honours the lives lost by young men associated with the original Berwick Grammar, founded in 1882, should see completion in 2019.

Profile
St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar have continued to develop their profile through the hosting of community events – the Game Changer and Changemaker STEM Festival in August 2018, The Unicorn Series launched in 2018, Principal’s Morning Teas (including in languages other than English) and a number of parent fora. Regular appearances on social media, Casey Radio and invitations for staff to speak at National and International conferences in 2018 included International Boys’ School Coalition (IBSC), Bastow Institute, AHISA, International Baccalaureate, SINET, Deakin Cyber to name a few on topics including Boys’ education, global citizenship, Leadership and Cyber lives. An ‘Educator’ Award in October cemented our profile as a school to watch.

The Students had a highly successful 2018 in terms of sports and the boys won their first AFL Pennant and the girls their first GSV Athletics win.

Enrolments are stabilising and our international marketing strategy established in 2018, is proving to be successful. We are supported by a strong and talented team of educators who put the young people we serve at the heart of everything we do. We are a good school becoming a great school.

On behalf of Dr Middleton, the Vice Principal, Ms Croucamp, the Chief Financial Officer and the other wonderful leaders and staff in the school I wish you a happy and productive festive period.

Please note that school starts for students on Wednesday 30 January 2019.

Kind regards

Ms Annette Rome
Principal

© St Margaret's School 2019

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