Principal’s Report AGM 2017
Good evening I welcome you to our Annual General Meeting tonight. Thank you for making the time to attend.
2016 in particular has been a year of many changes for our school. It brought many challenges, opportunities for learning and growth, thoughtful decisions and ultimate success!
Most significant of the changes were the retirement of Bobbie Beasley and Jane Coffey as Co-Principals. As we evolve with change, we acknowledge with immense appreciation and gratitude, their many years of dedication. They took on that leadership during very difficult times. It is because of their perseverance and courage; we have inherited such a beautiful and fully functioning Montessori School. A school that is true to its name and ethos.
They have played a big role in raising an amazing group of people, some of whom have returned as parents of our school community. They did also appoint most of the staff present in this room today. Under their direction, and through their mentoring, our school is blessed with a strong and supportive collegial staff and we will continue our goal of being better teachers, colleagues and people, no matter who the Principal may be.
The beautiful buildings, the nature play areas, and our strong professional learning community are a testimony to their hard work.
On behalf of the entire school community I wish to offer my sincerest thanks and appreciation to Jane and Bobbie for their foresight and leadership
With pride, we can take a moment now to reflect back and celebrate the school year of 2016!
A considerable amount of time and effort was donated by a group of dedicated parents in establishing the much needed Out of School Hours Care on the premises. We welcomed the OSHC and the Kingsley Montessori Playgroup to our school community at the beginning of 2016.
Sadly 2016 saw the passing of Terry Duyker-de Vries, Mr and Mrs Duyker’s adopted son, founding student and former teacher of the Montessori School. Terry, a 3 month old aboriginal boy was the reason why Mrs Duyker started the first Montessori School in Western Australia in 1962.
Staffing changes were also experienced in all areas of the school, including the office when Jennie Kempen announced her retirement after 20 years of employment.
But despite changes the fundamental Montessori principles of respect, freedom and consistency for the child remained our primary focus. Self-esteem is connected to the confidence and motivation that children need to achieve their academic goals. Our aim is to preserve these traits in our children as they continue to move through all cycles of development. We have and will continue to provide a safe and supportive environment as well as teaching and learning programs that meet the needs of all our students.
Teachers began 2016 with a whole school curriculum review meeting. All teaching staff met to discuss and assist in implementing the Montessori curriculum as well as discussing methods for maintaining the Montessori environment in all areas of the school.
Surveys were conducted by teachers to improve student learning. This helped to identify how much of the work done by the child is chosen freely and how much is teacher directed. It also identified levels of work, amount of work and the balance between individual and group work.
We reviewed our internal assessment process of the Literacy Net and discussed the trial of the new On-Entry Assessment, for PP, Year 1 and Year 2.. Teachers attended the information session held at AISWA and later the training during the summer holidays in preparation for 2017.
The IB staff members met regularly to continue the discussion on approaches to teaching and learning (ATL). This is a new requirement for the Diploma courses, and involves making explicit, what we already do, in relation to thinking, communication, social, research and self-management skills. There is a clear relationship with the executive functions so well developed in our Montessori environment, and with the Montessori approach in general.
Our school registered to be a part of the Sporting Schools, an Australian Government initiative to help schools increase children’s participation in sport. As part of being a member school, we have been successful in receiving funding to provide coach delivered sporting packages for the primary school.
Last year the school also increased the number of incursions and excursions for the Primary and Secondary areas of the school.
The end of term whole school picnics introduced in 2016 proved to be a perfect bonding exercise for our children. Congratulations to the Upper Primary and IB students who were involved in decision making and planning for the activities, and made every effort to ensure all age groups and parents mingled well!
Another first for 2016 was the launching of our very own CD! A recording of songs that are unique to this school, which date back to the time of Mrs Duyker and Judith Lynn-Robinson. And sung by the children, Jane Coffey’s dream and efforts brought this unique venture to fruition when we were successful in acquiring the Audio Manufacture License. Our special thanks go to Jane Coffey, Heather MacWilliam who conducted the singing sessions and Dave Wheeler who did the recording!
Amongst the great work that our students do, was the excellent performance of the Lower Secondary Play “The Servant of Two Masters”
I would like to share a review received:
The audience was certainly served very well by the Lower Secondary’s interpretation of “The Servant of Two Masters” on Friday night at the Flinders Park Community Hall.
The comedy, written by Carlo Goldoni in 1746 was excellently executed with plenty of laughs for the very appreciative audience. The simple, effective sets and costuming were complimented by spirited performances and these, and a humorous script, made this a great night for all.
In 2016, our enrolment numbers remained steady in the secondary area, and also steadily grew in the Pre-Primary area, and we celebrated the re-opening of the third PP classroom. Staff made huge efforts to relocate the whole school to accommodate changes to the Pre-Primary, Lower Primary, Upper Primary and Secondary classrooms.
Two significant achievements in 2016 were:
1. Recognition of the Montessori National Curriculum as an Alternative Curriculum for English, Health and Physical Education, Humanities and Social Sciences, Mathematics and Science until 31 December 2021.
2. Alternative Reporting Recognition until 31 December 2021
We are very pleased that for 2016, NAPLAN and IB results were very positive and not surprising to the teachers. In NAPLAN all students scored above the national benchmark and the highest score in IB was an ATAR equivalent of 90.95.
2016 certainly was a very successful year, and the price of success is hard work! The hard work of all who make up our beautiful school community.
Our special thanks must go to Neil Sullivan, Jane Coffey and Bobbie Beasley, who volunteered their time last year and many, many years before that to provide us a better understanding of Montessori through their Understanding Montessori Course.
Thank you to all members of Council for volunteering their time every month to serve the school community.
Our sincere gratitude to Ray Coffey, senior Council Member, who selflessly offered his time to rebuild our Apparatus and Art Rooms, and the PP3 room. We greatly appreciate his significant contribution of time and effort. We are truly privileged to be the beneficiary of his generosity and dedication.
We have among us another very committed and dedicated member of the school community. For more than 20 years first as parent and now as grandparent Theo Zavros continues to give very generously her time and effort for the school and the students, Theo Zavros we are truly grateful to you. Thank you!
Our parents, thank you. Thank you for trusting us with your children. Thank you for your invaluable help with the many tasks around the school. Thank you for your support in making our events more enjoyable and successful! Thank you for the joy you bring to the children with your presence!
Thank you for your participation in the many sub-committees and working for our beautiful school.
Our school embraces international diversity and we have families of different nationalities interacting, learning with, and developing lasting friendships. It is just wonderful to see the warmth of the school community towards each other, the school and the children!
Thank you to our children, from whom we learn something every day! Spending an evening with the young adults at the Inaugural Alumni Night last December, was evidence that this environment teaches a child, not only how to pass tests, but to build strong and capable personalities who are able to work with others.
Teaching and parenting is of course, a privileged, sacred trust and the closer we work together, the more fruitful the opportunities for each and every child continue to be in our school.
And last but certainly not least my very special thanks is for the very positive, cooperative, intelligent and hardworking people I have the privilege to work with every day! I am so proud to be a part of that relationship of trust and collaboration that we share as staff of this school! Thank you!