From the Principal - Mark Geraets
As you read this, Victorian’s have come out of Covid lockdown and life has returned to some sort of normal. I would like to thank our Victoria-based families for the resolute and positive way you reacted to the sudden change and the support offered to your children as we moved into a hybrid education framework for the duration of the snap lockdown.
I would also like to thank our teachers for their effort over the weekend and three days, and their flexibility and commitment to student support as they adapted classroom lessons to accommodate online learning.
We have weathered everything Covid has sent our way with strong resilience and while it is great to see the restrictions ease, we are all aware that COVID is here for a while yet and we must be prepared for changes on a daily basis. Most importantly we need to keep safe, healthy and aware.
Masterclass in Sydney
I attended a Child Protection Masterclass in Sydney earlier this week and am pleased to say it reinforced to me that Scots is in a great position, with a robust reporting framework and stringent due process guidelines in place.
Run by the AIS, Police and legal input, the Masterclass provided School Leaders with updates on the legalities around reportable conduct and highlighted areas that required extra vigilance.
It’s imperative that we keep abreast of any changes to legislation but from my perspective, the most reassuring aspect of the Masterclass was that our procedures are child-centered, correct, robust and legally compliant.
Our Strategic Plan is almost ready to be launched! I have outlined some of the draft concepts during various Year Group parent information sessions, but I’m looking forward to launching the completed document soon.
The plan is with the Board for final approval and I hope I can reveal it in its entirety to our whole community next week.
The Strategic Plan was drawn from parent, student and staff surveys and input and based on data from academic results, financial systems and school performance. It is very specific; very focussed and it’s beauty is in its simplicity. We have drilled down on how we want Scots to look in four years’ time and how we expect to achieve it. There are four key values and four key goals that will underpin everything we do.
4 values: Respect, Curiosity, Determination, Connection
4 Goals: Academic excellence, Community, Innovation, Growth
Teachers, students and parents will be clear on how they fit into the Scots community and what they need to do to ensure we reach our common goal.
Caught Doing Good
You will have now heard about our Respect Triangle that provides a framework for the way we act and interact at Scots. As part of this, I am implementing a Caught Doing Good recognition at assembly where teachers will nominate a student/s that they have observed doing something above expectation in one of the three areas of our Respect Triangle: self – others – environment. One student will be selected each month.
The recipient of this accolade will be featured in our photo spot at reception and receive a voucher. Our thanks to MONUMENTAL Ice-cream, Harris Farm Markets and to Regent Cinema for the donation of vouchers.
Harris Farm traffic
The opening of Harris Farm across the way from our Junior School has prompted an increase in traffic and parking congestion, particularly around pick up time. I would urge you all to be mindful of this and allow a little extra time when visiting the school.
Patience and a little extra planning will ensure all our students can be collected promptly and safely.
Murals in the Library
I love celebrating the excellent work our students do in class - like these wonderfully colourful art murals in our library.
Congratulations to our artists: Madeline Steer, Year 10, for her work Hands; Lylah Ellao, Year 10, for Kaleidoscope of Colour; Tia Frazer, Year 12, for the work Ferris Wheel, and Jericho Ellao, Year 8, for Abstract Seascape.
If you get a chance to have a look in the library, I highly recommend it.
Parent Teacher Student conversations
Over the next few weeks, many of you will have the opportunity to meet your child’s teacher in our specific Parent-Teacher-Student conversation evenings or at Year Group parent meetings.
While our teachers are always available with some notice, to discuss your child’s progress, these conversation sessions allow parents a designated time to learn more about what is happening in the classroom and how your child is coping. I encourage you to take the opportunity to make a booking or attend the meetings as they open up.
Junior School parents will already have received information and booked their time slot for the three-way conversations next Monday and Tuesday. If you have missed the communication, please call the Junior School.
Year 11 parents have their session scheduled for Monday, 1 March, and parents of students in Years 7-10 should look out for booking details for the sessions which will be run at the start of Term 2, on Monday, 19 April.
I can’t believe that I’m already talking about activities for the end of term, but our Senior School camps in the last week of Term 1 are only five weeks away.
Year 8 will head to Cape Otway, Year 9 will go to the Grampians, Year 10 will enjoy scuba diving and bushwalking near Merimbula, Year 11 has a camp near the beach at Anglesea and Year 12 will visit universities as part of its urban experience visit to Melbourne.
Camps are an excellent way for students to move outside their comfort zone in a controlled environment and to forge friendships beyond their usual school groups. Costs for school camps are already included in your fees so there are no additional expenses for parents to incur for these rewarding experiences.
Reading Time in the Senior School is progressing well. You may remember we shared with you our plan to introduce a 25-minute reading session for all students after lunch three times a week.
With the rise and rise of all things online, our philosophy behind Reading Time was to re-introduce our students to the simple pleasure of reading a book and giving them the time to do it uninterrupted. So far, I can report that teachers and students are enjoying the quiet solitude and are reading a great variety of literature.
Scholarships and regional visits
Our senior leadership team has been on the road over the past couple of weeks to visit our regional communities for scholarship information sessions. We went to Griffith and Leeton last week, Deniliquin this week and head to Tocumwal next week.
In addition to prospective families, I had the pleasure of meeting some of our current families in Griffith and Leeton last week and thank them warmly for spreading the word among their friends. It’s always nice to visit families in their hometowns and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the country.
If you know of anyone who would benefit from our information session in Tocumwal next Wednesday, please encourage them to register through our website.
Following strong interest in our Albury information session, we have decided to run an online Zoom session for families who couldn’t attend on the night. This session will be on Thursday, 25 February 2021 at 7.30pm.
Scholarships are open to current and prospective students for Years 7-11. Applications close on Wednesday 3 March.
Important Upcoming events
Senior School Swimming Carnival - Thursday 25 February 2021
Duke of Edinburgh Expedition - Friday 26 February 2021
Clean Up Australia Day - Sunday 7 March 2021
International women’s day breakfast - Monday 8 March 2021