It is hard to believe that we have already reached the final week of Term One. Term One has been another very successful term at John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School. I have been pleased with the way that the staff and students have embraced the promotion of our school theme for 2019 which is ‘striving for personal excellence in order to serve others’. The staff have modelled and reinforced the school theme by striving for personal excellence and in doing so, serving the community of JSRACS in all aspects of the school’s life. Through the coordination and implementation of whole school events, carnivals, excursions, camps as well as the daily focus on the learning opportunities offered in your children’s classes, our staff have demonstrated excellence. I would like to thank members of staff for the commitment and excellence that they have demonstrated throughout this term in the support, education and care of your children.
While there have been many events and opportunities offered to the students, I would like to focus my attention on two recent events, in this issue of The Connect.
The School celebrated Harmony Day on Thursday, 21 March with Primary students performing Assembly items focusing on Harmony as well the School’s array of traditional food stalls set up in Carnley Court by our Secondary students. This annual event is an important occasion as it highlights the celebration of Australia’s multiculturalism and the peace in which our country’s multiculturalism is manifested throughout our society.
While Harmony Day is an opportunity to celebrate the uniqueness of each member of our school community, it is important to acknowledge that we must persist in teaching children the values of acceptance and tolerance, particularly in a world that does not espouse these values as it should.
The recent terrorist attack in Christchurch was an example of the importance for parents, schools and the world community to work together to highlight and nurture the development of harmony and understanding within our children.
My hope is that, along with you as parents, we may encourage your children to learn about themselves, the world and the people they engage with. To become ‘interesting people’ as detailed in the below text – “To the Pupil”, by Robertson Davies (Davies, Robertson (1942) Shakespeare for Young Players)
To the Pupil
Are you an interesting person? Perhaps you have never thought about the matter before; perhaps you find the question amusing. Think of it now: do your friends, the people with whom you go to school, and your grown-up friends find you interesting? Even more important, do you find yourself interesting?
If you will think about it for a little while, you will see what an important question this is. We do not want to be dull, either to ourselves or to other people. We want to be interesting; we want to be liked.
Think of the most interesting people you know. What impresses you most about them? Is it not that they know something which you do not know, and that they have an experience of life which is greater than yours? Is it not that their ideas and the way in which they express them seem to you to be particularly original and apt? Do you wish that you could talk as they do?
If this is so, it may be a surprise to you to learn that you are now in school for this very purpose. Of course, much of what you learn will be of practical use to you when you are grown up, but it is not merely to learn useful things, that you come to school. No, the chief reason for going to school is that you may become an interesting person. In order to achieve this purpose, you must do most of the work yourself; your teacher can help you, but no one can really make you into anything other than what you are except yourself.
To be interesting you must know a great deal about life and about people. You must be able to see what people are like, not as they appear on the outside, or as they behave in public, but as they are in their minds, and as they behave when they are alone. People form the most entertaining study you will meet with anywhere, and you should begin to learn about them when you are in school.
Of course, your opportunities to meet people are limited, if you feel that you must meet them face to face. But there is another way, and doubtless, some of you have discovered it already. It is the way of books, the way of reading. That way, you can meet all kinds of people and know all about them, for you must become accustomed, as soon as you can, to meeting many different sorts of men and women, some of whom you will not wish to make your friends, but others whose nobility and humour will be among your most cherished memories. Learn all you can about people, and never laugh at or despise anyone because you do not understand him. That is a lazy and cowardly way to live.
It is planned that the inclusion of the Director positions will enable a more succinct and focused delivery of both curriculum and pastoral support throughout 2019 and into the future. I am looking forward to working alongside all members of the Executive Team in the support of the many initiatives and programmes that staff implement and plan for students that attend our School.
MULTICULTURAL STUDENT FORUM
In response to a request that I received from a number of our students, I am meeting with a selection of students to discuss, develop and plan a response to the further development and understanding of multiculturalism in our School. While we are a very multicultural school, it is important that we find ways to celebrate, learn and develop our understanding of other cultures.
This forum will be conducted on Wednesday, 10 April and will lead to further developments in this important area. I would like to acknowledge Year 12 student, Hope Matabishi, for her proactive response in requesting this meeting and in the work that she has already completed in the further development of our School community and its understanding and acceptance of its multiculturalism.
SENIOR SCHOOL MUSICAL
The recent Senior School Musical, Legally Blonde, was recently performed over four nights at The Matthew Hughes Performing Arts Theatre. This production was overseen by the School’s Dance and Drama Department and was an opportunity for our community to come together and celebrate the many talents and gifts of our staff and students.
Many parents, School Council members and staff informed me that the quality of this Musical was of the highest that they have seen produced at JSRACS and I have to agree. The standard of performance, by cast and crew, was exceptional and should be applauded.
While the hard work of the six-month lead in should not be ignored, the opportunities that the School’s teachers provide for our students through their experience while attending JSRACS, include, but are not limited to; the Primary School Musical, the Middle School Musical, the many ensembles available through the Music Programme as well as the quality Dance Programme and Choreography Night, including the voice lessons and opportunities provided through the School’s Chorister Programme. All these come together in this one week of performance for our senior students!
It is truly a testament to the School’s holistic and wide-ranging educational opportunities and programmes that should be celebrated. My sincere thanks to all involved; for a performance of the highest quality, one that was full of fun and energy.
SCHOOL COMMUNITY SURVEY
The School has implemented a whole of community survey that is being initiated and overseen by the School of Education at Edith Cowan University. Thank you to those 153 parents, 74 staff and 743 students who have completed the survey, as at the close of business on Tuesday, 9 April. The survey will be open until the beginning of May and I encourage all members of our community to have a say in participating and completing it.
The School of Education at Edith Cowan University will review, analyse and collate the information acquired through the community survey responses and will report their findings to the School Council and School Community by the end of Term 3, 2019.
The data collected from the survey will also form the foundational information required to generate the next iteration of the School’s Strategic Plan. The School has decided to undertake a consultative approach to the development of the 2020 – 2025 Strategic Plan, and as such has engaged with Dr Liz Pattison OAM; a strategic consultant who will work with staff, students, parents and the School Council in the development of the School’s Strategic Plan.
I encourage all members of our community to have their say and influence the future direction and development of our School.
Finally, I would like to wish all our families a safe holiday. I look forward to each family’s safe return to our School in Term 2 and to sharing with you and your children, another productive and rewarding term.
As we head into Holy Week and the celebration of Easter, my wish for you and your family is that you will take the time to pause and remember the true meaning of Easter, being the ultimate sacrifice made for all, through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.