Partnership is Paramount
Monday night saw the Senior Class of 2019 celebrated at the Valedictory Dinner. One of the most poignant messages that I took away from this wonderful event was the importance of the College-parent partnership all the way through to Year 12. As a learning community that is passionate about nurturing young people and helping prepare them for service in the world, we recognise that the nurturing process cannot and should not be done in isolation from parents and carers. We know from years of experience that it is only together, and with God’s grace, we can help young people grow into the people they are called to be. We also recognise that when it comes to growing children, we don’t get too many second chances, so it is essential to get it right the first time.
I have often said the most dangerous place for students is the grey area between home and school. This grey area is the space that is created when home and school are not sufficiently connected. The more we can reduce the grey area between home and school, the more effectively we can encourage and support students in their journey through school. The most effective way to reduce this grey area is for parents and staff to be on the same page, for parents and staff to know, and come to trust each other, as together we seek to teach and prepare our young people. It is very powerful when students experience the support and strength of the relationship that has been intentionally built between parents and teachers effectively partnering together.
We have many tools that help us partner together: email, notes, phones, and face to face meetings all help reduce the grey area. The College newsletter, Facebook page, Parent-Teacher Conference, Bayside Family Network, information nights and a myriad of other events provide opportunities for staff and parents to meet and get to know each other better, further strengthening the parent-staff relationship, and reduce the grey area between home and school.
The difficulty in all of this I recognise is time. Time, or the lack of it, is as big an issue for staff as it is parents. There are many things that take up our time and, as such, we often find ourselves dealing with things as they become urgent rather than when they come to our attention (often as smaller issues) initially. When it comes to working with children, not starting to address issues early often means that little issues become big problems, creating unnecessary heartache in the long run.
As we begin to think about starting a new year together, it is important that we begin to get our relationships right and ensure that the grey area between home and school is as small as possible. This is one of the reasons that next week, the Primary students are going to spend time with next year's teachers, and that Year 10 and 11 have been participating in Rollover. Good relationships can make all the difference in the world.
Please take the opportunity to know who your children’s teachers are, meet them and get to know them. Talk with them about your children in the confidence that they too are passionate about your children’s education and want to partner with you in helping them grow and flourish.
It has been a pleasure partnering with you this year and I look forward to partnering with you next year as we continue to work together to help our amazing young people discover what it means to thrive as responsive disciples.