Our highlight for Week 6 at Korowal has to have been Pyjama Day, Year 12’s first fundraising event for the year. The photos will tell the story!
This week we will give this Window with a View over to publishing the reports presented at our Annual General Meeting on May 21, 2018. The reports are from Greg Lucas, Chair of the KSB, and myself. They AGM reports are always about the previous year, so thee reports reflect on 2017 at Korowal.
Korowal 40th AGM 21 May 2018
Report from the Chair – Greg Lucas B.Comm., MBA (Dist.), CFP.
I would like to acknowledge that we are here tonight on the traditional lands of the Darug and Gundungurra peoples. Korowal acknowledges this and recognises the strength, capacity and resilience of past and present Aboriginal people in this region.
It is my pleasure to deliver the Chair’s report for Korowal School Limited for the year ended 31 December 2017, which is our 40th Annual General Meeting and my sixth report as Chair.
To garnish an understanding of the School’s complete achievements during 2017, it is necessary to read my report in conjunction with our Principal’s report and the full report pack.
Directors in office at the date of this report are Chris Lee (Deputy Chair and Company Secretary), Louise Dungate, Steve Garthwin, Jayne Ansin and Nathan McLellan. Once again, I extend my sincere thanks to each of you for your dedication, commitment and contribution to the governance of Korowal. It is a pleasure to work with each of you.
During the year I have had cause to lean on the legal skills of Nathan McLellan. Notwithstanding the fact that for part of the year, he was on a leave of absence as a director due to his health, he has been incredibly generous with his time, and the contributions that he has made have been invaluable.
Throughout the year our Deputy Chair, Chris Lee, again supported me. Thank you for always holding true to our values and for your calm professionalism.
Our finances continue to be exceptionally well managed by our Bursar, Melanie Williams. This allowed us to keep fee increases in some high school years to the absolute minimum and reduce fees for some primary classes.
Other highlights of our key financial achievements for 2017 are:
- Our finance team continued their sound management of our finances and we met our obligation to reduce our loan principal by $180,000.
- We made payments of interest and fees to ANZ of $137,739.
- We continued our incentive program for parents wishing to pay their fees in advance, and the funds received were helpful in supporting our cash flow.
- Enrolments were held stable during the year.
- Fee discounts and concessions were held at 14% of our total gross fee income reflecting our philosophy to provide support to those in need, whilst also recognising the financial realities we face.
- The ability to meet our obligation to provide teaching staff with a 2.3% pay increase.
- Increasing the administrative support for the School Executive.
- A marginal reduction to our expenditure on staff costs from 79% of total expenditure to 77%.
2017 witnessed a continued increased resourcing for the school. This included:
- Completion of covered walkways for high school students; disabled toilet access; undercover disability access parking and extension of the pathway to the ball court and meadow.
- Providing years 5 & 6 with access to laptops and iPads.
- Providing classrooms with interactive whiteboard projectors.
- Further investment in our Learning Resource Centre including new desktop computers.
- Commencement of replacing classroom furniture.
- Increasing learning support in the high school.
On behalf of the entire board, I would like to extend our thanks to our Architect, Diego Villar for the support that he has continued to provide to the School.
I would also like to single out a few key personnel at the AIS NSW for special thanks: Charles Alexander; Cathy Lovell; David Buley; Sue Cairns; Nick Clarke; Wendy Godden; Cara Langley & Robyn Yates – your support is greatly appreciated and helps us make a difference, thank you.
Our Principal, Barb Fitzgerald, continues to lead the school and shape its future. She does so with remarkable energy, whilst holding our values in all she does. I hope that you take at least a moment to reflect on your achievements and recognise the esteem in which you are held.
The School now has a very strong foundation and over the next few years I look forward to witnessing the further enhancement of teaching and learning within Korowal, which is being led by the Executive, who are charting a very exciting future for the way Korowal kids are educated.
I look forward to continued reinvestment in our grounds, our classrooms and built environment as well as in our teachers and staff to ensure that our kids continue to receive inspiring educational experiences that:
- Develop their minds
- Imparts a love of learning
- Provides opportunities for exercise
- Fosters their compassion and respect for themselves, one another and the community at large
- Provides opportunities to develop and demonstrate leadership
- Fosters intellectual and emotional intelligence enabling them to develop the soft skills required for the 21st century.
Principals Report on 2017, for the AGM of May 2018
In further support of Greg’s acknowledgement of the Darug and Gundungurra people, we pay our respects to elders past and present, and welcome all aboriginal people within our School community.
Last year we celebrated our 40th Year as an independent, secular, coeducational, Human-Centred School. It was lovely to welcome back teachers from our past, including Bob Tucker, Pam Tucker, Catherine Dignam, Lesley Christen, David Wansborough, Graham Archer, Barbara Weisflogg, as well as many parents and students from our past and present. For many alumni it was their first foray to our Hazelbrook site, with comments abound about the similarities in ambience and beauty to our Leura home of 30 years.
As part of our celebrations we enjoyed an ‘Impressions’ conversation at Korowal with Hugh Mackay on the place of community and the importance of belonging. Hugh discussed how, as humans, it is in our DNA to be connected beings. This sentiment was evident as we gathered on our beautiful grounds to share stories of our forty-year history and give thanks to the people who have made Korowal a reality.
While 2017 delivered celebrations, we also experienced tragedies, and the capacity of our community was challenged by these events. Within a two-month period, from November to New Year’s Day, we were rocked by the news that John Shaw, our dear contractor and constructor, David Gliddon, an intrepid adventurer, former student and father of young twins, and Lachlan Foote, a very recent graduate and gentle soul, had passed away after freak accidents in the Mountains. Again, we were humbled by the amplitude of our connections. The drive and generosity of our staff, parents, students and alumni to unite in support of the families and each other is a tribute to the community of generations of Korowallians and the importance of belonging. As we move into 2018 we continue to hold the families and loved ones of our dearly departed in our hearts.
Taking our School further into the global community has been a continuing focus in 2017. We welcomed students and teachers from our sister schools in Japan and China, and our students visited Japan and our Nepalese sister school. We welcomed a delegation of 22 Principals from China. I was honoured to be invited to give a keynote at the Sinofield Educational Forum at the Fairmont, and to also speak at the AIS- Hangzhou Principals Forum. We continue to develop greater global links to provide rich cultural experiences for our students and to share our school and creative ways.
Other highlights of our year include refinement in teaching praxis, with a focus on professional development for staff and improvements to learning facilities and our outdoor spaces. The Learning Resource Centre was refitted to provide standing benches. We repeated a similar fitting in the senior common room so that students have healthy options and may choose to work standing or sitting. With the assistance of a Commonwealth Building Grant, work commenced to provide under cover parking and toileting facilities for all-ability access, as well as covered access pathways. This continues into 2018.
We also had quite a few staff changes. After 25 years at Korowal Joachim Herrmann retired from full time teaching. Joachim was at the forefront of ICT developments in the schools. He extracted us from pen and paper, to our first computers and through all the technological changes that led to our current Bring Your Own Device system. We enjoy seeing him when he returns for the occasional relief teaching day.
Kirsty Bishop also moved from her position as school Counsellor at Korowal and into private practice. Kirsty was one of our first senior students at Korowal, and returned as a staff member after study and practice. For ten years we benefited from her warmth, compassion, insight and intelligence. She has graduated twice!
Amanda Bartels resigned after ten years in Korowal Primary. Students and staff continue to speak fondly of Amanda’s caring and quiet ways. She provided excellent learning experiences for her primary classes and introduced fine project-based learning in her Year 5 and 6 classes.
Then at the end of the year we said farewell to Liz Barclay as High School Coordinator and Deputy Principal. In her short time with us, Liz assisted us to refine many of our systems in the high school, including reporting and assemblies, and was a great advocate for student wellbeing.
We are most grateful for having these fine staff members with us for so long. Their legacies are seen in the students and programs we continue to use. We thank them all and wish them the best in their future endeavours.
It is always a challenge to find the right fit for a small school, but thankfully we have welcomed wonderfully talented and compassionate people onto our staff for 2017-2018.
Jason Carthew is now in the role of IT Cordinator and Multi-Media teacher, amongst other things. Jason comes with distinction, as he engages in NESA staff training, programming, HSC marking and curriculum development, as well as teaching. We have introduced a new subject to HSC- Multi-Media Studies, which is Jason’s passion.
Similarly, we welcomed Sarah Farrell-Whelan as our Wellbeing Officer. Sarah is a Senior Social Worker with a depth of experience in working with child, youth, and family mental health. She is also an ex-student, is currently engaged in Open Dialogue Training with Sydney University, St Vincent’s Hospital and trainers from Finland.
Ian Curtois joined our staff to teach Biology to our senior students in 2018 and the students are in awe of his knowledge and eagerness to share this, and to facilitate their learning.
With great relief we welcomed Jes Somerville to the new part-time role of Personal Assistance to the Principal and have not looked back. She is perfect for the role.
Over the holidays in preparation for 2018 we welcomed Alistair Symons to the role of High School Coordinator, Deputy Principal. Alistair has a background in teaching and school leadership, tertiary teaching, school compliance, and is completing his doctorate. He has settled into this position with ease. We also have with us two engaging new primary teachers, Clare Laws and Elise Alt, who commenced in 2018, so our compliment is complete with a passionate team of educators.
Throughout the year, the Korowal School Council has again been a great support to myself and the executive team. The individual Directors, Greg Lucas, Chris Lee, Jayne Ansin, Steve Garthwin, Louise Dungate and Nathan McLellan, have been invaluable in their governance. As these are voluntary positions we express our appreciation to each on behalf of the staff, parents and alumni. Of particular recognition, Greg has spent many weeks of his time reviewing and refining business as Board Chair, and he does so with clarity and sound ethical considerations. We are fortunate to have his level of commitment and scrutiny. Jayne has also shared time and skills in staff reviews and employment matters.
Our teachers are awesome. As are our administration, finance, marketing and support staff. They are the silken threads that weave us all together. We have benefited from the guidance, laughter and great work of each individual. We are beholding to you all for your passion, goodwill, tenacity, rigour and intelligence. Special thanks are extended to Bec Finch for her contributions to the executive team and leading the primary school, and to Melanie Williams for her sound financial management.
Our students and their families are the reason that Korowal exists. We enjoy conversations, exchange ideas, facilitate learning and appreciate our students personal and academic achievements. Through parents and carers offering their help in a voluntary capacity we have been assisted in furthering great ideas. Our partnerships with external practitioners, such as the AIS, continue to rejuvenate and sustain us.
We faced challenges together, we embraced change and celebrated our achievements. There is much to be proud of as we map the course of our future and reflect on the year that has been 2017.
Thank you everyone.