Dear Parents, Friends, Staff and Students of Caroline Chisholm College,
Last Friday (March 16) was the National Day of Action Against Bullying. Schools around Australia spoke with one voice about the harm done by bullying behaviour. At our assembly on Friday I asked if there was bullying at Caroline Chisholm College. The answer from the students was ‘Yes’. It is not widespread, and most students do not experience bullying at all. Sadly, our school must keep working to teach students about respectful relationships and the importance of promoting our own and each other’s dignity. I know how hard our teachers work to respond to reports of poor behaviour between students, much of which is very difficult to observe, gather evidence about and address effectively. Parents can help by ensuring their own daughter never acts in a way that is intended to harm another person. The best way of doing this is by being a good example of how to have respectful relationships ourselves. It is also useful to talk with our daughters about their own resilience and wellbeing. This might mean having them think about the choices they make in responding to someone else’s unkind behaviour, not retaliating and deciding when it is time to get help. We will take every report of a concern very seriously. As I told the entire school on Friday, we will never accept bullying at Caroline Chisholm College.
Over the past few weeks I have been sharing our ‘5 Transformations’ agenda which is already shaping the work of the college and the learning experience of our students. Last newsletter I wrote about the transformation to learning and teaching (pedagogy), perhaps our most important transformation. As part of my explanation, I shared the ‘Learning Journey’ framework that we are using in the junior years to give the students the language with which to talk about their learning, especially the stage of the journey where they don’t yet have the answers and aren’t yet sure of the direction they need to take. We call this stage ‘The Climb’, and it is vital for our students to go through as they come to take ownership of their learning.
This week we look at the transformation to teacher professional learning. When we visit a doctor, a dentist or a lawyer we trust that they have access to the latest, evidence-based training and development. The same applies to the teaching profession. Ongoing professional learning for teachers is essential to the other four transformations. The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) acknowledges that the teacher’s role is critical in assuring quality learning for students. Teachers at Caroline Chisholm College are driven to continuously reflect on and improve their practice, and to engage in this work as part of a team. As a college, we use peer coaching as a tool to support each other to achieve our own professional learning goals. This is based on the framework provided by Growth Coaching International – one of our partners.
On April 30, the first day of next term, our pupil free professional learning day will be focused on coaching students for learning and wellbeing. Teachers will use these tools to move students towards their own learning and wellness goals, one step at a time.
Throughout the year, in groups of three, teachers set SMART goals about their own practice in improving students’ learning, and refine these goals with their peer coaches. They then gather and share feedback and evidence to make judgements about ‘where to next?’ in their own learning. This often involves visiting each other’s classrooms, peer teaching and observation. This cycle is aligned with the AISTL Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. The coaching model ensures this work happens collaboratively and that our team can value and celebrate the strengths and expertise of the college staff.
What students will notice is that teachers will be working closely together to design the best learning experiences to meet the needs of each learner, and that feedback shapes what happens next for the teachers as well as the students.
Congratulations to Mrs Melanie McKee and her husband Mark on the birth of their daughter (their third!), Eloise Alicia, born 7 March. We wish the growing McKee family every blessing at this special time. Congratulations also to Georgia Wood (Year 12) who was named by Emma Husar as the Young Women of the Year at the International Women’s Day event for the electorate of Lindsay. Georgia was recognised for her work as Kenny House Captain, especially the project to assemble 100 welcome packs for women arriving at The Haven Women’s Refuge for victims of family violence. Chloe Bowen (Year 12) was also at the event, working as an intern for Emma Husar’s office. Her report is in this week’s newsletter.
Last Friday night we witnessed Bailey Hayward (Year 7) and Courtney Hamilton
(Year 8) compete in the grand final of the CSDA debating competition. Both students spoke with confidence and authority and were magnificent ambassadors of the college.
Finally, I wish to notify the community that I will be taking leave for the whole of Term 2 of this year. It is my plan to use this time to substantially progress my PhD studies. I am grateful to Mr Greg King who will be Acting Principal in my absence. Other changes necessary as a result of this shift will be announced in due course.
As we approach the most profound season in the church’s year, I pray that the joy and mystery of Christ’s resurrection will continue to inspire all in this community to be hope and new life for each other. Happy Easter.
Draw Us Forth
Draw us forth, God of all creation.
Draw us forward and away from limited certainty
into the immense world of your love.
Give us the capacity to even for a moment
taste the richness of the feast you give us.
Give us the peace to live with uncertainty,
Help us to experience the resurrection anew
with open wonder and an increasing ability
to see you in the people of Easter.
Mr Greg Elliott