From the Principal

It’s hard to believe that this is the last newsletter for the Term. The ten weeks have flown past once again, but I suppose it’s true that time does fly when you are having fun. It has been a hectic ten weeks but also a very productive time. The business continues right up until the end, with the College undergoing a full school review which I will pick up on later in this article. I have been kept busy with Principal’s conferences, visits to Cambodia and my own review whilst the boys have completed assessment tasks, undertaken a myriad of SACs, participated in the winter ACC competitions as well as all the other day to day tasks they are asked or expected to undertake. Staff, meanwhile, have prepared the boys for their tasks, corrected their work, provided valuable advice and guidance, written exams, corrected those exams, written reports, and gone on camps and excursions. It’s no wonder there are a few people looking forward to a break. Once again we can look back with pride in the knowledge we have been able to achieve a great deal in this time. Having said that, I am sure all in the community will agree that it is always nice to reach the end of a fruitful and very busy term.

The term has been filled with wonderful activities and events mentioned in previous newsletters. We have gathered in prayer for a College Mass celebrating Mary Help of Christians, as well as our Mother’s Day Mass. The College competed on a variety of sports fields, making a number of finals and winning a couple of Premierships. Congratulations to all the boys who represented the school, especially those involved in finals. Special congratulations to the Year 9 Football Team and all of the Badminton teams on winning their respective Premierships. We have also been active in the area of Social Justice, with all boys endeavouring to make a difference through Social Justice activities. The Music team (accompanied by our Year 7 music classes) performed exceptionally well at the Autumn Concert, entertaining the audience on the night. Amongst all of these activities and events, we have also been able to accomplish some exciting teaching and learning.

Last Thursday evening, we witnessed around 200 beautifully attired young men and women celebrate the Year 12 Formal at Merrimu Receptions. The formal provided our boys an opportunity to celebrate their final year of secondary education in a social setting and to take a break from the rigors of Year 12 for a short time. The maturity and class these young people displayed was a credit to themselves, first and foremost, to their parents secondly, and finally to Salesian College and all the schools represented by the girls.

The boys were very enthusiastic, positive, and in a happy frame of mind from the outset, hell bent on sharing a great night together. The boys and their partners danced all night. They shared good humor in the way they danced and chatted, but also in the awards that were presented on the night. They interacted with their teachers, showing the care and respect they had for them, with a willingness to include them in their celebrations. It is a night that I hope they reflect on fondly in years to come, as I know I will. This annual event is a great evening, following on from previous years. The Year 12 Formal lived up to the standards and traditions of years past, setting the tone for future groups to live up to. Congratulations to all in attendance, and a special thanks to Mr Kim Beurs and his team of helpers for their work with the boys in organizing the evening and bringing such a great night to fruition.

As I mentioned, the school is undergoing a full review over the next two weeks. These reviews can be a little stressful, however, they are a very important tool in evaluating the progress we have made, and an important way of staying on track and establishing what improvements we need to make. As part of the formal review process, we are required to undertake self-assessments, or self-evaluations, to help us gauge how we view our own performance.

Writing a self-evaluation can be a difficult task. Despite knowing ourselves and the work we do better than anyone, schools can struggle to summarize it in a way that comes off as honest, without being conceited or undervaluing all that we do.

As I thought about how the school is travelling, I came up with four things I must consider:

Firstly: Be proud. The most important aspect of self-evaluation is to highlight our accomplishments. We need to reflect on all the things we do well and the great work of all the individuals in the community, as there are many things of which we can be proud. When describing those accomplishments, we should be sure to emphasize the impact each of those achievements has on the learning outcomes of our boys, as that is our reason for doing what we do.

Secondly, be honest. Honesty is a critical aspect of writing a self-review. It’s more than likely that the community knows how well we are doing our job, so trying to highlight a project or task that was just OK, rather than great, won’t have much impact. Being honest also means pointing out some areas that could be improved.

Thirdly: Improvement. Undertaking a review is about seeking opportunities to improve. It’s about doing an analysis of everything we do, highlighting our achievements, but equally importantly, identifying areas for improvement.

The fourth component: Track Accomplishments. The collection of data provides evidence of our achievements, rather than relying on anecdotal evidence which is not always reliable. Having actual data to show what we’ve done throughout the year is crucial. Schools will have the general sense that they’ve done a good job, and maybe even an excellent job, but without the data and examples to back it up, it doesn’t tend to count for much.

I write this reflection not only to inform the community of what is taking place here at the College, but rather to highlight the importance of reflecting on all that we do in life, in the hope that we can identify areas we can improve our lives. I encourage all in the community to follow the simple advice I have highlighted to reflect on their own practices, with a view to being better tomorrow than we were today.

God Bless.

Mr Robert Brennan