From the Principal - Mark Geraets
Iconic musicals are synonymous with Scots. The calibre of student performances, the level of direction and production, the quality of musicians in the band pit, the way the Scots community comes together to support each production, the sound and lighting expertise, even the level of detail that goes into the set creation is exemplary.
We want to maintain that level of excellence so we have formed a production committee to map a pathway for productions going forward.
It’s the perfect time to set some new strategic goals. Our new Head of Performing Arts, Stewart Lucy, will start at the school in Term 4 but is eager to learn all he can from our Acting Head of PAs, Ms Helena Kernaghan and outgoing head, Liz Heitmeyer, during Term 3. Already he is engaging with the team via zoom and will drive this committee into the future.
Stewart joins us from Trinity Grammar School in Melbourne where he has been Producer and Director of the school’s dramatic productions, a teacher of Drama and Film & Media and Head of House.
The committee will be representative of all areas of the school which contribute to our productions.
Stephanie Bruce, our acting chaplain and wellbeing coordinator, will be invaluable for her input regarding student and staff wellbeing, specifically the many additional hours of their time demanded by each production. Our student and staff wellbeing is very important and I believe we may be reaching a point where the frequency and commitment required by our productions is having an impact on the mental health of all involved.
This Committee will analyse what we do now and make recommendations about how it should be managed in the future so that we don’t sacrifice quality, involvement and wellbeing. During the process, the committee will call for parental and student input through online surveys so that everyone has an opportunity to have their say.
The value of productions in our school is far more than about unearthing acting or musical talent. Productions help build time management skills, resilience, empathy and commitment. But they shouldn’t come at an academic, health or wellbeing cost, nor at the cost of staging a high calibre production.
Others involved on the committee will be Dave Smith, in his role of Sports co-curricular head, Jane Holland, who is passionate about Scots tradition and history, Matthew Boundy, who will be the conduit to the Junior School sentiment, our dramatic and music department staff members - Helena Kernaghan, Catriona Byles and Chris Torok - along with Mel Davies, Asher Baker, Maddy McLean, Kate Spargo and Belinda Costa.
I’m looking forward to welcoming Trish Thomas into the Scots community as our new Leader of Inclusive Education (Learning Enhancement). Trish starts on Monday week.
Trish is a passionate educator, striving to meet the needs of all learners and is an advocate for students with learning needs and special abilities. She has a lifetime of experience in enhancing student learning outcomes through classroom support, testing and screening, writing individual learning plans, running small group intervention programs and supporting teachers to differentiate the curriculum. I’m excited about the new dynamic Trish will bring to the field of inclusive learning and am confident Trish will be a wonderful addition to our staff.
After six years as Scots Chaplain, the Uniting Church has called Rev Beth Bear to a new placement as the minister of St David’s Uniting Church in Albury. Scots has a historic relationship with St David’s; past boarders will remember walking down on a Sunday morning to participate in services, and in more recent times our students have volunteered with the church’s community outreach programs, singing with the choir in worship services, and serving tea and scones at the annual fair. Even with loose connections, many Scots families see St David’s as ‘their church’. St David’s recently conducted a review of their congregational mission and part of their ongoing strategy was to reinvigorate this historic relationship with Scots. Beth will be minister of the congregation from January 2022, and in this way will continue working with many Scots families.
Beth has been a valuable member of our staff and has provided wonderful support for staff and students alike in her role with the Wellbeing Team. We will really miss her, even though we will have a stronger than ever relationship with the local parish. Beth is currently on maternity leave but we will have a chance to farewell her later in the year.