Principal's Report

5 February 2015

NBD 4536 b

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We’re underway!

Thank you to all who’ve made our start to the year such a positive one. It’s seems our 'staggered start' was seen as a positive way to approach the beginning of the year for a number of areas of the school, providing opportunity to settle our new students (including new boarders) in with a sense of calm, and our teachers and year 12 students the opportunity to begin classes without the usual harried distractions. Certainly, Friday was a lovely day for our community, and you could palpably feel the collective sense of ‘let’s get going’ around the school.

How’s your growth mindset?

As we begin a new school year and wonder about the possibilities and opportunities that will come our way over the coming months, a key focus that staff and students will be attending to this year is our ‘growth mindset’. Growth mindset is an approach to understanding our brains and their capabilities that has been promoted by Stanford University Professor, Carol Dweck. Dweck notes that the more that we understand our brain's capabilities, and see our intelligence, talents and relationships as always open to improvement, we can tap into a significant potential for growth. As a staff, we will be using Dweck’s Mindset book as the foundation of our professional learning this year, and our students will soon be undertaking workshops and sessions to explain and reinforce the practice.  I highly commend Dweck’s book to you – it is very readable, and not merely focussed on education, having chapters on our worklife, relationships, sporting endeavours and our approach to everyday challenges. For a brief video introduction, check out Dweck’s TED talk The Power of Believing that you can Achieve here. In coming newsletters, I’ll share some more aspects of this significant development in what we know about self-improvement.

Use of PAM

Just a reminder that PAM is your ‘one-stop-shop’ for all the news about your son or daughter and also the place where you can find out what’s happening around the school each day. As the year progresses, more and more information will be appearing on PAM, so make sure you’re checking back in regularly.

Some invitations

Our Opening College Mass will take place next Friday morning, February 13 at 9am in the Gonzales Centre. All parents, guardians and friends of the College are welcome to come along and celebrate all that is good in our community, give thanks for the many blessings we have, and ask God’s special care for us all for the coming year. During the liturgy, we will be inducting our leaders for the year, and commending our top VCE and VCAL students on their excellent results in 2014. It will be a beautiful celebration and we look forward to seeing you there.

Don’t forget that the Gala Night tickets are selling fast, and we’d love to see our families and any past students come along to celebrate the past achievements of our students.The focus of the evening is the Hall of Fame where a number of our alumni will be recognised for their significant contribution to our world, be it through medicine, law, entertainment, politics or simply inspirational work in their local community. Additionally, the VFL/AFL Team of the Century will be announced, and it promises to be a most entertaining evening.

Uniform and grooming expectations

Please ensure that you and your child are familiar with the uniform and grooming expectations at Assumption.  We acknowledge that the hard work you do at home in ensuring that your son or daughter is sent off in their correct uniform, looking well groomed and clean, is sometimes more challenging than it ought to be!  Nonetheless, our uniform expectations ensure that all students experience a sense of equality and dignity, without needing to compete or compare themselves to others, and whilst experiencing some of the necessary social norms they will encounter in the workplace. The use of make-up can often be a source of ongoing frustration for parents of teens. Our expectation that students look fresh-faced, with no obvious make-up, ensures that we reinforce the message that all young women are beautiful, and do not need the enhancement of cosmetics to present themselves to the world in a confident manner. We look forward to your support in this matter.

Just Love: Hearts without Borders

This year, the theme that is common to our Marist sister schools is ‘Just Love: hearts without borders’.  The theme calls us to be particularly attuned to the Gospel call to ‘love our neighbour as yourself’, and to truly recognise our responsibility to be people who make the world more peaceful, joyful, just and kind.  This responsibility extends beyond those whom we already love, to all those who need our love, both near and afar.  We are called to open our hearts to those most in need, and to align our actions to the belief that God calls each of us to demonstrate love a little more courageously each day. In this Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 1:29-39), Jesus heals people in their homes and in the streets. He shows by his example that his heart had no borders. The expectation, as always in the Gospels, is that we will ‘go and do likewise’.

Peace and blessings,

Kate Fogarty