As Term 1 comes to a close, it is appropriate that we reflect on our journey this year: new Principal, new staff and new students are all part of each other’s existence. I suspect we all look forward to the slight slowing of pace that an end of term brings.
Our achievements have been outstanding. The release of the updated MySchool website recognized St Margaret and Berwick Grammar’s excellent NAPLAN results. The Year 7 NAPLAN results for St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar put us as the TOP school in Reading, Grammar and the second top school for Writing, Numeracy and Spelling against ‘like schools’ in Victoria. For 36 out of 40 measures, we were above or significantly above similar schools. Regarding Year 9 NAPLAN results, St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar was the TOP school in Writing, Reading and Grammar and Punctuation and the second top school for Spelling and third top school for Numeracy against ‘like schools’ in Victoria.
As I have come to know the community, I have been particularly impressed with the diversity and richness of our community. Involvement in evenings such as the St Patrick’s Day concert and the ‘Meet the Principal’ evenings have reflected a thoughtful, high achieving and deeply reflective community that also celebrates the importance of leading a rich life. As we revisit our School Values, Vision and Mission, I find myself exploring the writings of great thinkers. The (amateur) philosopher in me recalls Aristotle’s approaches to Knowledge: episteme, techné and phronesis. Foreign words to some perhaps, but very clever ones. Many of us would know incarnations of these words as epistemology (the study of the existence and development of (true) knowledge) – the ‘know what’; technical ‘know how’; and phronesis as ‘practical wisdom’ respectively i.e the ethical deliberation of values in relation to actions. For about a millisecond I thought this was an excellent word to include in our possibly revised school values but a term that is not commonly well understood is ultimately meaningless. While we may not use these exact words, I am confident our deliberations will reflect understanding of knowledge that is ‘true’, recognition of the importance of certain skills and a strong ethical angle to the decisions we make as a community.
The community may be interested to hear there have been many deep and heartfelt discussions about the importance of values that result in behavior framed in an ethical way. The determination of the Values, Vision and Mission that will guide us for the next 7 years in a way that honours the past while preparing us for the future is no mean feat. It has been most heartening to witness the passion and dedication evident in all deliberations and I thank all who have been involved. It is a journey of heart and mind.
Ms Annette Rome