Posted on: Friday 5 March 2021
Posted in: Videos and Conversations
2021 – 2025 Strategic Plan directions
It may have felt with the adjustments we were all making during 2020, that it would be difficult to sustain planning for the future – but I am pleased to report that even during this ‘unprecedented time’, as a School we have continued to look forward as well as engage with the now.
I am grateful to Richard Larsen, Religious Education teacher, for recommending to me the works of Eckhart Tolle. You may be familiar with Tolle’s writing which examines our conscious experience of the present and living in the moment in all its complexity. My reflection on where we currently are as a community with our Strategic Plan is, to quote from the Plan, ‘St Hilda’s is embracing a future of opportunity’.
Taking forward our Master Plan
At the end of February, tenders closed for the construction of our proposed new three-story Junior School classroom block to replace classrooms currently housed in the Fittock and Bourne buildings. The multi-story building will provide the girls with four individual classrooms and flexible learning spaces on each floor, as well as additional green play space and an amphitheater. With the completion of this project, the current Year 6 building will become the hub for the School’s Engineering and STEM curriculum.
Reviewing programs enriching student’s experience beyond the classroom
Across the School, staff and students have reviewed our co-curricular programs identifying areas where there is increased interest in developing personal and social capability, critical thinking, interdependence, leadership, and skills. To this end, the Junior School Clubs program and the Middle/Senior School Co-Curricular program have extended offerings in 2021. Junior School promotes Club programs through the co-curricular online information letter and online link to the registration form at the start of each semester. The Middle/Senior School Co-Curricular Handbook was released in February and a copy is available for your perusal below.
A review of the aims and objectives of our camp program for Years 3 – 9 has enabled us to identify the replication of practical experiences currently available with three to four-day Outdoor Education. It has been a long-held view that there is great value in students working in unfamiliar settings in small groups and as a cohort. As girls mature into adolescence, there is also great value in providing regular opportunities for a year group to work together as a cohort to develop positive relationships. In girls’ schools, this serves to enhance interdependence and academic identity.
Our Years 7–9 students will have scheduled days each term this year, rather than a short, concentrated program in Term 1. The Enrichment days are designed to be stage-specific, connect with the four platforms of our Strategic Plan, and introduce opportunities for shared programmed activities with our brother school TSS. Our Year 10 Enrichment Program will have a ‘Beyond the School Gates’ career focus as well as days to examine social and emotional development, and leadership. A number of developmental tasks need to be undertaken during these years of adolescence as our young people meet the demands of increasingly mature roles and responsibilities. Under the guidance of Ms Sheri Upasiri – Head of Students, Research and Engagement, Heads of Schools and Heads of Year, the purpose of this program is to assist students to recognise how they will achieve these milestones.
We launched the St Hilda’s Duke of Edinburgh Bronze program on Tuesday evening this week and it was pleasing to see the number of students in Years 9 and 10 who are interested in working towards the achievement of this award. The program enables the girls to use a range of endeavours they are already participating in with their co-curricular and service commitments; however, I believe one of the most outstanding features of this program is the potential for ‘each individual student to look at themselves, their interests, abilities, and ambition, to then set themselves challenges in the four different sections’. For this age group, there is real potential for the Adventurous Journey to provide a transformative experience.
Opportunities to Engage
We welcomed 97 students to our community last Friday for Scholarship testing and our Boarder Experience Day. It was delightful to see the buzz of energy as girls readied themselves for the challenge of the testing. It was also delightful to meet so many new families and to hear their appreciation of our beautiful environment.
March will provide a number of opportunities for us to meet as a community. Our Middle Senior School Father Daughter Breakfast and Tropical Trivia Night take place this week and will be followed by the St Hilda’s Foundation Race Day, on 20 March. If you are looking to support our School events and meet with friends, you will locate date claimers for our 2021 Community Events on our website.
I commend to you the weekly newsletters published by our Heads of School – the communication in this correspondence will keep you informed with relevant curriculum and cohort news. I am also continuing to invite your feedback to inform future plans, via a short survey, which you will receive before the end of term.