The Importance of Community
At Girls Grammar, our unique sense of community which is regularly commented on by visitors and new families to our school, adds a great degree of strength to our school culture. Not only is the importance of community reflected in the many events, special assemblies and whole school activities held throughout the year but is valued in such high esteem to be included within Girls Grammar’s Strategic Goals. The degree of ‘community’ and ‘culture’ is difficult to measure quantitatively and instead could be described as a ‘feeling’, ‘vibe’ or ‘atmosphere’ experienced by staff, students, parents, families and visitors to our school.
Annual events such as our Girls Grammar Race Day and Long Lunch remind us how important a strong sense of community is and provides us with the chance to connect with people internal and external to our school, establishing relationships and strengthening those that exist already.
A recent article I read summarised the value of community and connection within school communities, providing six key benefits of a connected school community:
Connect people within the school community When students, parents and teachers as well as the broader school members feel connected, there is a greater sense of belonging, school pride and motivation to teach and learn.
Promote shared learning goals and collaboration Sharing learning goals and collaborating opportunities enhances accountability across the whole school community.
Increase learning opportunities for students By enhancing the collaborative digital learning environment at the school, students will be able to gain more opportunities to access and interact with learning materials, collaborate and receive feedback.
Support personalised student learning journeys No student learns the same way or at the same pace. With a connected learning network, it will become possible to increase engagement and create personalised learning journeys for each and every student.
Create an inclusive learning community A learning environment where all members are connected means the diverse knowledge and skills of all community members will be valued and even those who may not be readily present will also be included in a collaborative setting.
Encourage shared responsibility All school community members have a role to play in learning, solving problems and contributing to the learning goals of pupils. By being connected, there is shared responsibility and an overall increase in the learning opportunities for Prep – Year12 students.
The sense of school pride during events such as our recent Long Lunch helped raise much needed funds for our Upper Paterson refurbishment and I thank every single guest for their attendance and for contributing to this very worthy cause to revitalise our much loved 130 year old Paterson House.
I would also like to thank our hard working Race Day Committee for their ongoing commitment to our school in what was the 20th anniversary of the Girls Grammar Race Day. Your extremely generous donation will also assist in the restoration of Upper Paterson, to provide additional learning spaces, meeting rooms and boarding supervisor residences in Upper Luck.
I have been extremely humbled and proud throughout these two very special events this year, especially when seeing the value and joy the girls get out of interacting with members of our school community. Providing the girls with opportunities such as these improves their confidence, engagement and provides a range of educational benefits. It enhances our students’ social skills and knowledge and prepares them for future employment and self-growth. It helps them to believe in themselves while also providing connections that may last a lifetime.
I look forward to sharing in our end of term events before welcoming families back in October for a Term 4 full of whole school community events. Wishing you all a very happy and safe two-week school holiday break and I look forward to welcoming boarders back on Tuesday 4 October and the rest of the school for our Ponytail Chop Assembly on Wednesday 5 October.