Illalong News

  • 20th April, 2017

From the Principal's Desk

Term 1 concluded rather suddenly with the impact of Cyclone Debbie at our doors. There was a need to close the school given the Premier’s announcement, and I thank all families for their understanding and speedy response. Although the College did not suffer any damage, the same cannot be said for a number of our families and indeed many parts of our State. It is a strong reminder about the power of Mother Nature and our reliance on so many services. For those who have been affected, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

The last few weeks have brought even greater instability to numerous regions in our world. Regardless of where we stand on the politics, it is always people who suffer. For the many families who come from these regions, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your loved ones back home.

Despite these significant matters, I do hope you had a lovely holiday period and that, as parents, you managed to ‘down tools’ long enough to rest and enjoy time together as a family. I also would like to take this opportunity to welcome you back to Term 2 at the College. 

Term 2 brings APS sport, debating, musical rehearsals and the da Vinci Decathlon to name but a few events. These are truly wonderful opportunities for our students, and I encourage all students to get involved and find their passion. 

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce a new member of the College team to you. Recently we advertised for a Director of Community Relations and Development and were blessed to have such a high performing and capable range of applicants. I am therefore very pleased to announce that Ms Nikki Ward has been appointed to this new role.

Nikki has held Director positions at some of Australia’s largest and most recognised media organisations, including The Nine Network and Southern Cross Austereo's Hit and Triple M Networks. Nikki brings with her over 17 years’ professional extensive experience across the Communications industry, including media, television, brand marketing, public relations, partnerships, events and community engagement.  Nikki has been a guest speaker at a number of National conferences, events and youth leadership seminars.

These experiences will bring much benefit to our College community, as Nikki works with students, parents, staff, the P&F, our university partners and the many groups associated with our College and wider community. This will create wonderful new opportunities and, in turn, strengthen our community relationships.

I hope and ask that you please welcome Nikki to our College and that you will welcome her involvement in strengthening community ties and relationships.

Each term, I survey a number of families to hear of their experiences with us and to obtain their impression of our pedagogy, our systems, our processes and our culture. This survey is anonymous and entails over 40 questions, and I would like to thank the many parents who have taken the time to complete this survey and provide such constructive feedback.

I am very pleased to note the overall rating of satisfaction with the College as being 88.4%. Like all organisations, we do our best to listen to each individual and to improve, but then we have the difficult task of considering the feedback provided against potentially a broader range of interests, issues and finances.  It was also terrific to obtain valuable feedback on our newsletters, communication and ways in which we could better inform parents of the many opportunities available to students, course curriculum materials, and the range of social issues that concerned parents. 

Finally I would like to note my appreciation for the work that our staff do. I am sure that if we looked at many work places in society, some people in them would feel they are not always appreciated, that they are overworked, and that work pressures seem to keep increasing year after year. The way in which people respond in such environments is to do only the bare necessity.

Our staff truly do go above and beyond. They offer many opportunities to our students, prepare meaningful and engaging lessons, and spend much time discussing and considering how to best motivate and assist our students to achieve. I know that many parents recognise this and I thank you for doing so.

The role of the teacher is indeed a demanding job; and, no, I am not merely defending our staff. How many people do you know who would prefer to be a teacher compared to their current occupation? The reality is very few. If this is indeed true, it should mean that, as a society, we need to support our teachers, recognise and try to understand the role they undertake, understand that they are doing their best to support every child in a complex and demanding environment, and doing their best to motivate, encourage and support them.

I believe we have a truly exceptional staff at our College and I would like to request that, as parents , you find the time to let our teachers know that you care and appreciate them. A brief email, to thank them for the job they do, would mean the world to them, and would be a truly special means of connecting. 

In our busy lives, we sometimes forget to find the time to say ‘thank you.’ In saying this, I would like to thank you as parents for trusting in us to educate your child, for allowing us to be a part of your family’s life, and for sharing your child’s life with us. This is a special trust and one we truly appreciate. No one is perfect, no organisation is without room for improvement, but I believe that we strive for excellence, that we care for your children and for you as our families, and that we commit ourselves to doing our very best each and every day. 

I wish you all a wonderful Term 2 and hope that you and your family will be blessed with good health.

Brian Grimes




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