Dear Parents, Friends, Staff and Students of Caroline Chisholm College,
7300. That’s the number of hours our students contributed to community service, charity and leadership this year - and about the same as every year that the college has been keeping records. This represents hours and hours of young people going out of their way to make a difference in the community. Of course, these young people could be doing any manner of things in their free time. However, they are making a deliberate decision to dedicate their time and that talent to causes such as the St Vincent Paul Society, teaching scripture at the local primary school, raising funds and awareness for a range of local organisations and many other meaningful activities. So, when people automatically assume that adolescents are selfish and lazy I tell them 7300 hours.
Last week I had the pleasure of presenting awards to students in Year 11 who had achieved excellents in their learning in the preliminary HSC course. This was an opportunity for us as a college to say loud and clear what we value. I made the point in my remarks on that day that success and excellence are only ever the product of effort and commitment. It is important for all students to realise that anything worthwhile can only be achieved through the age old recipe of having a plan and doing the hard work. Students were recognised for being placed first in the course or in the top 10% of the course. Students were also recognised for achieving Principal’s Awards and Gold Awards. These awards in particular are a celebration of those students whose teachers acknowledge that in every lesson every day they develop the habits of being good learners and demonstrate commitment to their studies and to this learning community. Congratulations to all of those award winners and I am looking forward to presenting similar awards at the presentation ceremonies for students in Years 7 to 10.
We are well into planning the learning agenda for Caroline Chisholm College for next year. Already, 2017 is promising to be a year of wonderful growth and development for the college. Our Pastoral Care Team and our Leaders of Learning are working hard on a new framework to guide us in supporting the well-being and growth of students. The main theme of these developments will be teaching students to identify their strengths as learners and using those strengths to maximise their learning. In order to support this, we have introduced a new lesson into the timetable which is dedicated to well-being, growth and becoming an effective learner. Your daughter's homeroom teacher will play an important role in delivering a program based on the principles of positive psychology. We believe that it is part of our role to teach students the skills to manage their own well-being by focusing on their strengths. Early next year we will invite you to a parent forum at which we will present the positive psychology model and discuss our new pastoral care framework with you.
In line with the principles of positive psychology, we will be improving our assessment program so that it shifts the focus away from performance to a more meaningful focus on the growth of each student. By being clear about what students need to do in order to improve, our assessment will become a continuous cycle of feedback that guides the student on her improvement journey. Rather than placing a great deal of emphasis on a few major assessment tasks through the year, the new assessment program will help students to realise that every step of their learning journey is important, not just the product that they produce at the end. We will teach them to act on feedback and to plan for their own growth. In this way, we hope to address some of the concerns that parents have raised with us about their daughters' perfectionism. Over time, the learning culture of our students will become a much healthier journey towards individual success.
As we approach the Christmas season, and our Church enters the season of waiting, preparing and reflecting, let us call to mind those people for whom Christmas is not a happy, family time, due to illness, loss or poverty. Mr Carozza and our students will be delivering hampers to over 50 families in need over the coming weeks. This is just another example of the commitment to service at Caroline Chisholm College.
The birth of our Lord Jesus Christ draws us to kneel,
to wonder at heaven dwelling on earth:
He came to live among the poor and marginalised,
to live as one of us, your creation.
We glorify you, Lord, our souls rejoice in you.
You are our God and Saviour.
You fill hungry people with good things,
and send the rich away empty.
Remind us to be merciful.
Break our hearts, Lord
so that we share your compassion.
Move through us, your church, Lord,
to serve people living in poverty
and those who are downtrodden.
Lord, teach us to pray
for those in greatest need;
and strengthen us by your Spirit
to reach out, together, across the world.
To be the hands and feet of Jesus on earth.
Mr Greg Elliott