Welcome to the 2020 school year! The beginning of the year is always filled with excitement as our community returns and it has been lovely to welcome and meet all our students and their families. I would like to extend a particularly warm welcome to the newest members of our School and those families who are joining our community for the first time.
I thank everyone who was able to attend our welcome barbeque. This was a wonderful opportunity to gather as a community, to spend time building our connections and relationships and to hear more about how we can best support your daughters to learn and grow. We value these interactions as central to our success in providing a quality learning environment.
Over the last few days, I have very much enjoyed chatting with the girls. They have been so warm and friendly, making me feel very much at home. I am really looking forward to my interactions with them in the playground, to visiting them in their classes, spending time in the boarding house, watching them represent the school in sport and seeing their creative, artistic and academic endeavours. I am very excited to be part of the Rockhampton Girls Grammar School community!
On Wednesday we held our first assembly, and, as is tradition, we honoured those students who showed strong academic performance in 2019.
Our assembly provided us with an opportunity to recognise high achievement but also served as a reminder that academic success is not easily attained and we have to be tenacious in our pursuit of learning.
This is the challenge of learning. There are no easy paths and sometimes it can feel like an endless uphill battle. Rather than giving up, we need to see this as a good thing. Researchers have known for some time that our neural connections form and deepen most when we make mistakes doing difficult tasks rather than repeatedly having success with easy ones. Sometimes it can be tempting to take an easier path, but it is through our learning struggles that capability and intelligence can be grown.
At Girls Grammar, our aim is to work in partnership with our families to cultivate an environment where girls can be their best. Our curriculum is underpinned by the skills, dispositions and attitudes necessary for academic success, not just during the school years, but also throughout life.
In Prep - Year 3, the early phase of schooling, we provide the foundations for future learning, including literacy, numeracy, social and emotional competence, health and physical wellbeing, and active learning processes. Activities are designed to foster curiosity as the girls learn through their interactions with others, experimentation, scaffolding, explicit teaching, practice and play.
In Years 4 - 6, the girls continue to build essential knowledge and skills and increasingly use their literacy skills to access learning in other areas. Activities are designed to develop broader, deeper numeracy skills and rich learning that provides opportunities for students to become increasingly independent across all subject areas, including Humanities and Social Sciences, Science, The Arts, Languages, Health and Physical Education and Technologies.
In Years 7 - 9, the middle phase of learning, we aim for our girls to establish a broad base of skills and knowledge, to become successful learners, critical thinkers and confident and creative individuals. We want to build a foundation on which the girls can grow to be intellectually curious students who are willing to persist and persevere, important skills for life.
Success in Years 7 to 9 provides students with the strong foundation they need for Years 10 – 12, where the focus on academic achievement changes as subjects become more specialised and increasingly complex. At this point in school, acquiring a broad set of skills is critical to students’ success in further education and life (QCAA 2017) and therefore students need strong learning dispositions, resilience, self-advocacy, critical and creative thinking, and active engagement in learning.
I am looking forward to working with the teachers, our students and all our families, to ensure that a Girls Grammar learning environment supports and challenges every girl to be the best she can be.
Local and regional visits
It is very important to me to spend time with our girls, but equally important that I immerse myself in the community and get to know our families, current, past and future. Over the year, I am seeking opportunities to interact with our families, Old Girls and friends of the school. Whether you live in Rockhampton or further afield, I would like to extend an opportunity to contact me if you would like to have a conversation or would like to host a get together for families in your area. Please also come and have a chat at co-curricular events or school functions. I would value meeting with as many of our families as possible over the coming year.
Our boarder long weekend is scheduled for the end of Week 4, Saturday 22 February through to Monday 24 February. The Head of Boarding, Stacey McCarthy, and I will be accompanying the girls to Emerald and from there Ms McCarthy and I will visit some of the neighbouring areas. We are excited about visiting our girls’ home communities and building a better understanding of their towns and regions. Further information about this trip will be communicated shortly.
Later this term we would like to visit the Gladstone region and in June we will be attending the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association State Conference in Roma and will visit a number of communities along the way.
A strong start to the year
Over the last few weeks, the Girls Grammar staff have been working hard in readiness for the girls’ return. We are well prepared and looking forward to working with every individual to help her attain successful outcomes.
I would like to encourage all parents to contact their daughter’s Care Teacher (Secondary) or classroom teacher (Primary) with any concerns or questions. Please also do not hesitate to provide us with any information which may assist us to facilitate a strong start to the year for your daughter or that may allow us to better meet her goals.
We wish all our students a rewarding year ahead and we look forward to sharing in their learning, experiences and opportunities.