From the Principal's Desk......
“It takes a whole village to educate a child” - African Proverb
Children love to be praised. It is one of the joys of living and working with them to see them display pride and happiness when they do something well and we, whether parent or educator, observe their achievements. Most importantly, children love to please those they care about the most - their Mums and Dads! As parents, this can be difficult to remember at times, particularly after our children have done something mischievous or wayward; or we’ve had a busy, demanding and tiring day; or we are just not feeling that well. The task of being a parent is to say the least - quite a challenge! There is no instruction kit available, user manual, or teachers’ guide to follow that comes with the privilege of being a parent. However, what is available is the support and experience of those we love and trust, our parents, grandparents, friends and neighbours who, through their life experiences, may be able to assist us with the challenges we face each and every day.
OLA can also play a helping hand in the development of our children. Our role, as Catholic educators and leaders, is to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout our community, while preparing our children to live full and productive lives as members of society. Barry Dwyer, a leading education writer, presenter, consultant and regional director within the Catholic sector, writes in his book The Catholic School – A Guide for Parents, that a Catholic School is not a shop where education is sold to the customer. Rather, it is:
- A family-like place where each child is helped to grow towards maturity.
- A meeting place for people who share particular beliefs, values and hopes for their children.
- A community where both children and adults care for each other, and in particular, for those most in need.
- A religious place where everyone can experience a living faith.
- Most importantly, primary schools are part of the life and structure of the parish community.
This is very much what we are striving to create at OLA.
Commencing a new principalship, in a new school, is always difficult and long hours for the first few months. Talking and listening to people about the school, reviewing the school’s processes, taking the time to meet the children and working with classroom teachers can be draining, but very rewarding at the same time. This is now week two and I am still learning!
Over the last couple of months, I have reflected upon what I wanted to bring to OLA, what I wanted to see at OLA, what others could bring to OLA and how we were going to implement the changes. With new leadership comes changes! OLA is a great school and the previous principals, mainly David Barass, should be complimented for the wonderful work completed and achieved over many years. Having stated this, and as a new leader at the school, I hope to build upon the wonderful work and make OLA a great school – A School of Choice and Excellence.
At the beginning of the year, I met with the staff at OLA and outlined my vision and expectations. I presented and we discussed what I/we wanted to see and experience at OLA. From our discussions, the key element that came out was transformation – transforming OLA into a school that was safe, happy and conducive to learning. With time we will unpack each domain and explore the best way forward to transforming OLA. Changes to be implemented will be communicated to all community members – communication and clarity are the key to a school that is being transformed.
As I continue to take the pulse at OLA, I am proud to say that the staff, and I am hoping the community, are on the OLA bus and will be assisting me, as educators and leaders, in working through each domain and implementing change that will build on what has already been established at OLA. At times I will be driving the bus, on other occasions it will be someone else – we’re all leaders. Transforming OLA into a school of excellence and what this looks like will be shared with time - I will keep you all well informed.