There has never been a time when there has been so much disruption, upheaval and dislocation in our lives. The impact of this pandemic on the social, economic and cultural fabric of our community has been alarming and unsettling. For our College the response from our students, families and staff has been marked by perseverance, patience and determination. These qualities have been underpinned by the collective aspiration to be in this together, which is definitive of our Marist family spirit.
I have witnessed so much goodwill and support across all facets of our College. Each day, our members of staff have been incredible in their efforts to develop a remote learning plan; to deliver high quality learning and teaching for each of the students in our care. The role of the teacher remains the critical element in ensuring successful learning by students. Clarity of communication and regular, specific feedback to students in offsite learning arrangements is essential.
Our goal is clear: To maintain and grow the engagement, progress and achievement of every student.
Our students, in their active response and feedback, have been both constructive and affirming.
This crisis has been enormously difficult for our Year 12 students. Their final year is one of legacy and the traditional rite of passage that, to this point, has been compromised. They have however remained committed and actively engaged in their learning. Moreover, they as a cohort have come together and demonstrated maturity beyond their years.
Vice Principal, Lisa Fogliani, and I spoke to College Captain, Anastasia Berti last week and her feedback to her teachers, individually and in the collective from her peers, was one of admiration and affection. She misses being at school and the relationships that come with being here…with her teachers and her friends.
For our families we recognise the enormous shift in paradigm to accommodate learning from home. Your collaboration and mutual support have imbued our staff with a confidence and determination to provide the very best in quality Catholic education. It is challenging and we are all learning the best mode of delivery specific to age, campus and year group.
We have received significant feedback from students and families, notwithstanding some of the challenges remote learning has presented to us. It is these learnings that have been critical in our professional learning days this week and so I thank everyone for their input.
One could consider that our sense of self is being challenged more than ever in light of the social isolation which is being enforced upon us at this time. We are used to being able to reach out to others more easily than what we can now and people are realising the importance that community has on our own wellbeing.
At Newman College, we exist to support the Catholic Church’s evangelising mission to make Jesus known and loved and to ensure quality education in the Marist tradition.
It also draws us to the heart of Catholic education, which is Jesus centred and student focused. This imperative has never been so important than it is today. As we draw towards Easter, I ask all families to ponder on the Christian story and the message of hope and new beginnings.
Over this holiday period I hope all families are able to re-set and draw from the experience of being together as one family. We will learn, discover and come to appreciate the power that love and hope can bring.