From the Principal
It has certainly been an unprecedented start to the school year and of course, we cannot begin without first acknowledging the global health crisis which has affected so many people worldwide.
Over the past six months and as we move forward, the health and wellbeing of our students, staff and the wider community has and will continue to be our highest priority.
In March, we launched the St John’s Academic Contingency Plan as a new way of schooling. It took the approach of a developmentally appropriate form of learning for all our students including a combination of physical resources, online tools and home-based challenges to support and enhance learning experiences. The aim was to ensure that students were engaged cognitively, physically and socially each week. This was our commitment to continuity of our quality educational programs for our domestic and international students.
It is a testament to the dedication of all our staff, in partnership with our students and parents, that resulted in our delivery of a successful and dynamic remote online teaching and learning program. Our staff and students are more agile, flexible, and creative as they adapt to a new way of doing things. Home group tutors and Heads of House worked hard to ensure that all students felt they were part of St John’s whilst off-campus. Video recording and streaming of key events such as Chapel services and assemblies helped keep the St John’s spirit alive, as did the Couch Choir recording of the College song.
Talking to our teachers, I have been struck by the sense of gratitude within our community. So many of them have shared with me over these past few weeks comments from students and parents as to how grateful they have been for the efforts of their teachers during online learning. I think many of us are emerging from this unusual time with a heightened sense of gratitude and how blessed we are.
An integral part of a St John’s education is instilling within each child a sense of the wellbeing that flows from a life lived in service to others. Most of us in Australia would agree that our country is about as fortunate as they come. Implicit in our relative affluence is a freedom that leads to opportunities for fulfilment, and implicit in that freedom is a sense of responsibility.
St John’s will always seek to action reciprocal service experiences which provide our students with powerful opportunities for intellectual and spiritual growth, fostering an enriched sense of social responsibility. It is the nature of the St John’s Way that we may never be able to measure the totality of the difference we make. However, we can rest assured that by participating in and belonging to our community our students are making a difference in your future and the future of our world.
A positive from this pandemic is that many of our conversations have become less rushed and more meaningful. Spaces have emerged in days and nights that didn’t seem to exist previously. I believe such an opportunity for self-reflection and conversation advances us spiritually and emotionally, facilitating a beautiful connectedness within families and reconnecting us with our College family as the restrictions ease. What I have learned and will continue to pursue is that the best outcomes are achieved when family, friends and College collaborate and are connected to achieve the best outcome we can for all.
I express my thanks to all members of the College community for their ongoing support and for maintaining a calm approach in light of these extraordinary times.
Mrs Maria McIvor