As the school year rushes to an end, it is important to reflect on what we have achieved in 2020.
In previous messages I have listed some of the physical facilities that we have added to the school and commented on some of the activities that students have been involved in but today I want to talk about learning – the real learning that has happened this year and acknowledge the Carmel College Learning Community.
In the last week I have had numerous occasions to think about what we have achieved as I have been signing Year 13 Testimonials and writing references for tertiary scholarships. The testimonials give a summary of students’ participation and leadership in school activities, service and sport as well as commenting on their academic successes. These amazing young women are our collective achievement. Many have had a few “stumbles” along the way but they leave Carmel as “confident and capable Mercy women” ready for the next stage in their lives.
Schools are places of learning and as I said at Assembly last week, “learning at Carmel is diverse – more than textbooks in a classroom or powerpoints on the screen.” Learning is all encompassing.
Real learning comes from things such as; the Readers Cup challenge, speech competitions, market days, eco fashion parades, visits to art galleries, music performances, Mathex, Epro8, Katti, sports events, the Blake Foundation visit, Mates and Dates sessions, the Faith Cafe, retreats and camps. Through participating in these activities students learn to negotiate deadlines, manage their time, work collaboratively, think critically, be creative, relate to others, become accountable, develop their organisational skills and communicate their ideas. These things do not just happen. They take a huge amount of planning by teachers and coaches.
They also take courage and commitment from students, parents and teachers.
Courage to try new things – to have a go and to get involved.
Commitment to helping our learners thrive and succeed through well prepared lessons, great classroom practice, positive learning relationships, supportive parenting and a “can do” attitude. These attributes were seen frequently during our two lockdowns.
Real learning is also more than a grade on an exam paper. Undoubtedly, grades are important in opening doors to tertiary learning and future employment, but sometimes it seems that we have become so focused on the assessment of learning, that we have forgotten about the excitement of learning. As a school we have begun work on extending the joy and excitement about learning through a Year 7-10 Curriculum Review that focuses on two central themes – Wellbeing and Inclusivity. You will be hearing more about this through 2021.
Meanwhile, as we start planning for whatever 2021 may bring (and hopefully it is better than 2020)
Stay positive – positive about our amazing school community
Stay supportive of each other – together we can achieve more
Stay focused on learning in all its many forms
Stay the journey through to December 4 – the last day of school for Year 7-10 this year.
Girls pictured above are helping prepare for Christmas at de Paul House.