Welcome back to Korowal for 2018! We have been so fortunate to have a Summer free of major fires, and I wish to thank our Rural and Town Fire Brigades and National Parks workers for keeping us safe to date. Their efforts on the recent lightning strikes was remarkable!
We ended the year with Hugh Mackay discussing the importance of community in creating our sense of belonging. This theme continued to resound throughout the holiday period.
In two significant recent events, the bonds between our School and the greater Mountains community have been strengthened, and we hope to retain these throughout 2018, but under happier circumstances. With the pace and the distractions of a year, we often forget to prioritise our community connections.
Over the Summer break we were present at David Gliddon’s funeral, where students from 20 years ago and their families united to farewell this vital young man. Like he, many now have young families of their own. The teachers and community of Korowal were thanked as being a key influence in David’s life, in forming the foundations of his love for the outdoors and forging strong and lingering friendships.
Then within 3 weeks we heard the devastating news of Lachlan Foote’s sudden death. The funeral and tribute to his life were held at Korowal, where memories came alive for the class of friends and their families as they lingered, trying to make sense of this loss. Nigel and Dawn are well connected and Lachlan’s death touched everyone who knew him. We were supported by ex-students, ex-staff, current staff, current families and Lachlan’s workmates, to prepare the school to accommodate this momentous event in our beautiful School.
As Hugh Mackay reminded us, it is our relationship to others that gives us an understanding of the self. We are communal beings. The way others see us, and the feedback we receive from others, forms us. Our sense of belonging is fostered by the knowledge that we are individually valued as a member of a community, yet also unique.
So, what would we change if we wanted to place community at the heart of our being as a school?
This is what we are reflecting on as we start our 2018 School year. For our students, belonging to the Korowal School community places them in a nurturing educational environment. Citizenship needs to be placed as an equal priority alongside play, effort perseverance, academic endeavour and achievement. Forging links within and outside of our School will enhance all of our lives.
For our parents, we have a rich and varied community, and we welcome your input. We will he holding a ‘Cuppa Under the Tree’ weekly, a welcome back to 2018- BBQ, Class meetings, and Volunteer Wish List as we commence the term. We are also keen to activate a parent/ student mentoring program for our high school students in 2018. We will welcome parents to assist us to establish a parent forum, as we prioritise your voice in the School.
This week we have welcomed students back to class. It has been wonderful, with happy and eager people in our care willing to participate in playing and learning. We have commenced!
Much work has been undertaken over the holidays to further support the students and provide an ever-improving environment for learning and socialising. A family of builders gave us their Summer, working around the clock to construct walkways, verandahs and awnings; excavate for the new demountable classroom, clear rubble and more. Tree loppers have removed dying trees and limbs; rooms and doors have been painted; benches built in the new Pathways common room; cupboard doors fitted and new carpet laid in the new G2 classroom for high school and primary Japanese classes; the old hall has become the drama space making way for more indoor sporting options in the hall; a sports shed has been constructed, many primary classrooms have been rearranged and projectors have been connected: the gardens and grounds have been maintained and improved... the list goes on and on. You need to walk it to absorb the changes.
Through it all, the delightful aspect, which was commented on by so many people, was the joy at being at the School, meeting the people and working in the environment. The good will was palpable and the generosity from workers and volunteers was astounding. People loved being together and doing their part to make Korowal even more beautiful and functional than it was. It is all done with love for our children, for now and the future. We are all so fortunate to have people who care deeply, surrounding us. Thank you all.
We launch into 2018 with three fine new members of our teaching and executive staff. Working with them during our set up and staff development days has been a treat.
In Primary we welcome two new teachers, Clare and Elise.
Clare Laws comes to us most recently from Blue Mountains Grammar School. She is looking forward to having her Year 1 class enormously, with a balance of story, singing, play and structured lessons. She is an absolute fan of Science!
Elise Alt is known to many and comfortable with us. A recent graduate, she did some prac. teaching at Korowal, then relief teaching and work with Year 6 for much of Term 4 last year. In a competitive field, Elise secured the position as teacher on Years 5 and 6. Elise has boundless energy and passion for teaching. She is thrilled to be at Korowal.
In role of Deputy Principal and High School Coordinator we welcome Alistair Symons to our School. Alistair comes to us with experience as a Deputy Principal and Acting Principal, and teacher of History, English and Studies of Religion. He has also worked in the tertiary sector as Director of Learning at Notre Dame University. Alistair sees this appointment as an exciting opportunity to join a genuinely independent school with a focus on human-centred and holistic education. He is committed to working in a school which empowers students to develop their talents and flourish in an environment where they are valued for their individuality.
There will be much email traffic over the next week as we confirm class meetings, a b-b-q, and send the information booklet and calendars for Term 1. Please remember to ensure your children are dressed for a variety of physical activities both indoors and outdoors, with sun protection and safe footwear, covered midriffs and respectable shorts. We want them to be comfortable to engage in all activities.
Bye for now,