The Power of Community Communication
There is an exercise that looks at peoples’ understanding of the word ‘picnic’. Participants are asked to write down 10 words that come to mind when they hear the word ‘picnic’. Usually deep discussion ensues regarding whether a ‘rug’ is the same as a ‘blanket’, do ‘wine’ and ‘champagne’ essentially mean the same thing?, is a ‘bee’ the same as an ‘insect’ and so on. The point of the exercise is the tendency for each one of us to ascribe a meaning to a situation or word and assume that the meaning conveyed is exactly as intended. Reality shows otherwise. Usually someone thinks of the ‘Picnic’ chocolate bar in the group so confusion reigns. Minor differences are disputed and the majority of people become frustrated. What we say, or think we say, may not be what other people hear.
The leadership of the School, including Council and the Principal are committed to sharing key messages openly and effectively. As we enact the new strategic plan, effective communication will underpin the success of the initiatives. This means that stakeholders must have a forum through which ideas can be explored, clarified and refined.
As the community may remember, the reviewed values of the school are CURIOSITY: to know and learn through exercising, COURAGE: To do the right thing, CHARACTER: to be one’s best self and RESPECT: to live wisely & compassionately with others & the planet. One element of Respect in the Strategic Plan is defined further as ‘to foster an embracing, connected community that honours its past and present so that communication is maximised and that our community grows in trust and openness’.
To this end, the Council started the Community Communication Committee (CCC) in 2017. The purpose of this committee is to clarify, discuss and hear the latest information from the School Council and various groups within the wider St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar community and report it back to the stakeholders they represent. The CCC is focussed on a transparent and consultative approach, and all stakeholders have the opportunity to provide meaningful input into decisions that significantly affect them.
On this committee, representatives from different areas in the School reflect, augment and feedback on activities and opportunities proposed by Council to maximize outcomes for the students and the School. The group is a committee of the Council and is led by a Junior School parent, Dr Aisling Griffin. Representation of groups at the School include the principal, staff representation, a number of Council members and members of a wide variety of school groups including HPV, FOPA, Equestrian, Parents and Friends. Alumni/ae, and the Foundation.
General community members are welcome to provide topics for discussion to the CCC for consideration or, should they wish, contribute to the Committee directly.
Please contact the Principal’s Assistant, Ms Robyn Gilbertson, on firstname.lastname@example.org if you require further information.
This is an example of another initiative so that we may Strive to be the best self, now and in the future, for the betterment of all humanity and the planet. We are all much more likely to enjoy that picnic if we all eat from the same spread and share our wine.
Dr Aisling Griffin, Parent and Ms Annette Rome, Principal