25 May 2018
Thank you to the 234 parents who took part in the Survey. With such a high percentage of submissions we can get a good idea of parent opinion and satisfaction. I am currently reading through all the data gathered and will share the results with you over the next couple of weeks. I am particularly grateful to those who took the time to give constructive feedback on areas for improvement; all suggestions are considered and discussed within the context of vision of the School, the current strategic plan and the obvious budgetary constraints.
I would like to address comments that a couple of parents made with regards to the three week holiday in April this year. You will remember that last year it came to our attention that Toowoomba Grammar were running a 38 week year in 2018 instead of their normal 37 week year. I know that this happens on occasion. At Glennie, we are restricted to 37 weeks due to the current Enterprise Bargaining Agreement. We ran a survey, sent to all parents, to determine when in Term 1 we would have a week of holiday while Grammar was at school. The response was overwhelmingly in favour of ending the term one week earlier, thus the three week April holiday.
Another suggestion from a few parents was that we increase our current subject offering. I know that I am not alone when I say that we would love to offer all subjects available, but the reality is that we do have budgetary constraints. If more subjects were on offer, class sizes would drop and more teachers would have to be appointed. All of this would have a knock-on effect on school fees, the increase of which we would like to keep below 3% annually.
I look forward to sharing the results of the survey in upcoming weeks.
Mrs Kim Cohen
25 May 2018
The Glennie School’s ambitious campaign to transform the lives of Glennie girls has taken another bold step forward with construction of our new indoor Sports Centre starting earlier this month. As you travel along Vacy Street you will see that the construction site is a hive of activity as the building footings and foundation are prepared.
This new centre will house three multipurpose courts and will be used by all Glennie girls across Junior, Middle and Senior Years, for health, fitness and wellbeing activities, along with both competitive and social sports. It will also provide a space for whole School gatherings.
You can find more information about the Sports Centre here. Please take a moment to watch the fantastic new video - it shows you what the new Sports Centre will look like and how easy it is to purchase your supporter's medallion.
or contact Tammy Wilson at The Glennie School Foundation on 4688 8862 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
18 May 2018
Walking around the school during the Empowerment Day activity sessions on Wednesday reminded me yet again of the amazing enthusiasm and leadership of our students. Empowerment day came about because our arrangements for International Women's day had to be cancelled due to poor weather predictions.
The day started with a lunchtime session including music performances, speeches and the opportunity to purchase from the sausage sizzle and sno-cone stalls, manned by parent and past-student volunteers. The PAC lawns were filled with girls enjoying the mild weather and each other’s company.
Immediately after lunch the Student Welfare Committee organised the students into their predetermined groups and off they went to engage in activities that challenged them, pushed them out of their comfort zones, encouraged teamwork and relied on them to reflect on what empowerment means to them. The afternoon ended with the girls coming together on the oval to perform a dance that they had each had a 10 minute opportunity to learn during the day.
The leadership and organisation shown by the Year 12s, particularly Bella Nolte and Kate Reeves (Captain and Vice-captain of the Student Welfare Committee) was outstanding and resulted in a very successful day. To quote a Year 9 student, ‘That was the most awesome day ever!!! I wish we could do that every week!!’
There is great value in having these kinds of activities in a school; the research is clear - students, particularly girls, learn best when they feel connected within their learning environment. According to Pretty and Ward, ‘When many in a community feel positively connected with each other, this can lead to a level of social capital in which trust and reciprocity predominate and there is a greater chance of defining and attaining shared goals’ (2001).
The fortnightly Wednesday afternoon sessions in the MSY are proving to be successful in enhancing our connected community through house meetings, study sessions, guest speakers, chapel and other whole school services. At the same time, there are aspects of the program which are designed to enhance students’ resilience, study skills and leadership skills. These have been included in the school day at the same time as increasing the amount of time students spend in academic classes.
These activities are an important part of our School’s program and I ask parents that you do not use this time to make appointments for your daughters which could occur outside of school hours. If they tell you that they are not doing anything, please check the outline for the term in the School calendar or phone Mrs Blades. There is so much more to education today than sitting in classroom, desk-bound.
Mrs Kim Cohen
11 May 2018
Two items in the news recently are of particular significance to the education sector of Australia; The Gonski Blueprint for Education Reform and the Federal Budget. I have shared two articles from the Independent Schools Queensland Media Centre which give a broad outline of the effects that these have on Independent schools in Queensland.
30 April 2018 ISQ Welcomes Gonski Blueprint for Education Reform
Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) today welcomed the report of the David Gonski-led Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools and its blueprint for future education reform.
ISQ Executive Director David Robertson said the report’s central focus on student outcomes was paramount in achieving continuous improvement to Australian schooling. “In its report, Through Growth to Achievement, (please insert link: https://www.appa.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/20180430-Through-Growth-to-Achievement_Text.pdf the review panel urged the need for a national and bipartisan commitment to address the performance slippage of Australia’s school education system and in this context all governments and sectors of schooling must work collaboratively to have the greatest impact on lifting student outcomes,” Mr Robertson said.
“The report’s 23 recommendations across the key drivers of school improvement provide a comprehensive framework for such a national commitment,” he said.
Mr Robertson said independent schools would welcome the focus on supporting and valuing the teaching profession and empowering and supporting school leaders. “These are key features of the independent sector and can be further built upon to create a world-class education system.”
Mr Robertson said the central agenda of the reforms to prioritise individual student achievement and learning gain suited the way independent schools operated, but would still require a concerted long-term effort across all schooling sectors. He said the recommendation for a comprehensive review of senior secondary schooling would be problematic for Queensland given the changes currently being implemented to the state’s senior assessment and tertiary entrance procedures.
“However, we do need to heed the changing nature of future work skills and the increased retention of students to Year 12 to ensure that senior secondary is meeting the needs of students, employers and the community.”
ISQ welcomed the recommendation to develop an online student learning assessment tool for teachers, but urged some caution that further assessment burdens were not placed on schools already doing well in this area.
“Ensuring schools and teachers have maximum time to concentrate on the learning growth of their students was a strong theme throughout the review,” Mr Robertson said. “We need to be careful that further layers of administration, compliance and accountability are not placed on schools,” he said.
Mr Robertson said ISQ looks forward to engaging with the Australian and Queensland Governments as they consider their policy responses to the review.
8 May 2018 Federal Budget Delivers Good News for Schools
Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) has welcomed the Australian Government’s four- year funding pledge for the National School Chaplaincy Programme in the 2018-19 Federal Budget.
ISQ Executive Director David Robertson said the $247 million four-year continuation of the program would enable many independent schools to maintain this important service for students. “The renewed focus of the program on supporting students and schools to address bullying and cyberbullying is appropriate given the heightened community awareness and focus on
these issues,” Mr Robertson said. “It is expected about 100 Queensland independent schools will benefit from the continuation of the program which has always been well received by school communities.”
Mr Robertson said the Australian Government’s commitment to school education was further confirmed in the 2018-19 Budget with record total support for schools of $18.7 billion. “Under the Australian Government’s Gonski 2.0 funding model, this level of support is expected to increase to $30 billion per annum by 2027,” he said. “Independent schools welcome the certainty provided by the federal funding under the
Gonski 2.0 funding arrangements and its fair and equitable allocation across non-government schools.”
Mr Robertson said ISQ looked forward to working with the Australian and Queensland Governments to shape the new National Education Reform Agreement to be signed later this year. “The agreement, which will be informed by the recently released recommendations from the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools, will be an important framework to guide the future of schooling in Australia,” he said.
“All schools have a responsibility to ensure that the increased funding being provided by the Australian Government results in the best possible student outcomes.”
4 May 2018
What support do children need from teachers and parents to develop the cognitive skills, values, attitudes and attributes needed for lifetime success? Here are some ideas on how you can help your child to become a successful independent learner with a growth mindset.
If children get stuck at something, don’t sort it out.
Ask “How could you do this?” “Have you done anything similar before?” “What did you do then?” This helps them develop their own learning ideas and makes them much less likely to say they can’t do things.
Build big picture thinking.
Ask “What would happen if … it never got dark/the rivers ran dry/ everyone ignored the law?” A key characteristic of students labelled as gifted is their ability to see how learning connects to the wider world.
Ask “How would you weigh a giraffe/rhinoceros/bridge/house/star?” Creativity builds learning capability and is vital for high performance.
Develop critical or logical thinking.
Ask ‘Why do you think … bread goes mouldy if you don’t freeze it/babies cry/ leaves fall when autumn comes?” The ability to deduct, hypothesise, reason and seek evidence is probably the characteristic most associated with academic success.
Help them monitor their own progress.
Ask: “What do you need to be able to do this? How can you check you’re on track? How can you tell whether you are doing it right?” This is the key to maximising thinking skills.
HAVE A GROWTH MINDSET
This is a “can do” approach to learning, even when it’s hard. If a child says they are no good at something, say: “I know you can learn how to do this if you work at it.”
Being open to new ideas is the hallmark of an advanced learner. Start with being open-minded yourself so you model what it’s like to be receptive to ideas that differ from your own.
Children ask lots of questions if you answer them. The desire to know more – curiosity – is at the heart of all learning. The more curious children are, the better they do at school and in life.
It’s the only way to get good at something. Make sure it is regular, deliberate and planned, working towards achievable incremental goals. Practise what you can’t do well.
To keep going when it’s tough is the most important behaviour in high performance. With younger children you can talk about what would happen if no one persevered – the farmer who didn’t bother to harvest his crops, the builder to finish the house, the surgeon to complete the operation. With older ones, encourage a sense of pride in what they do so that they are motivated to persevere.
Acknowledgement: Great Minds and How to Grow Them, by Wendy Berliner & Deborah Eyre.
Mrs Kim Cohen
27 April 2018
Every year Mission Australia does a Youth Survey which provides a snapshot of how young people feel about their lives and broader national issues. Schools are aware of the results of this survey and, at Glennie, we have programs and staff in place to support students to deal with the stressors that they have mentioned. In the Junior Years the Bridge Builders program is currently being rolled out and in the Middle Years students take part in the Mindfit program. In the Senior Years we have guest speakers and aspects of various curricular addressing some of these issues. Ms Blades, Dean of Students, and the Heads of House are currently reviewing the whole school wellbeing program. Please read Ms Blades’ article for more information on student wellbeing. I have shared a summary of the results of the 2017 survey below.
The Mission Australia Youth Survey Report 2017 recently asked young people age 15-19 to rank their top personal concerns during the past year. The results were consistent with previous years, showing that the major concerns for males and females were coping with stress, school/study problems, body image and depression. Participants ranked their concerns regarding twelve issues on a five-point scale from ‘not at all concerned’ through to ‘very concerned’ and ‘extremely concerned’.
Overall, 45.3% of young people indicated that coping with stress was a major concern (i.e. they were ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ concerned); 35.6% named school or study problems as an issue of major concern; 31.1% were very or extremely concerned about body image; and nearly a quarter (23.7%) indicated depression was a major concern. However, these figures hide significant gender differences showing that females were much more concerned about these four issues than males:
- 58.2% of females indicated that coping with stress was a major concern, including those who were very concerned (31.1%) or extremely concerned (27.1%), compared with 26.8% of males (16.7% very concerned and 10.1% extremely concerned).
- 43.8% of females were concerned about school or study problems (25.9% very concerned and 17.9% extremely concerned), compared with 23.8% of males (15.2% very concerned and 8.6% extremely concerned).
- 40.9% of females were worried about body image (23.3% very concerned and 17.6% extremely concerned) compared with 16.8% of males (very concerned 10.9% and 5.9% extremely concerned).
- 27.9% of females held concerns about depression (15.0% very concerned and 12.9% extremely concerned) compared with 16.4% of males (9.2% very concerned and 7.2% extremely concerned).
Mission Australia and the Black Dog Institute’s Youth Mental Health Report: Youth Survey 2012-2016 found that rates were even higher for the 28.6% of females found to have met the criteria for a “probable serious mental illness”. For these females, who comprise over one-quarter of 15-19 year olds, 82.8% were ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ concerned about coping with stress, 65.9% were concerned about school or study problems, 63.9% were concerned about body image, and 61.5% were concerned about depression.
The Youth Mental Health Report revealed that twice as many females as males (28.6% vs. 14.1%) met the criteria for having a probable serious mental illness, with a “much more marked” increase among females from 22.5% in 2012 to 28.6% in 2016. Diagnostic data from the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing shows that females aged 12-17 are more likely to have anxiety or a major depressive disorder than males.
The Youth Mental Health Report authors write that:
This may be associated with increasing family breakdown, school pressures, and western ideals of appearance, all of which have been shown to impact young females more than young males. Additionally, social and hormonal mechanisms have been found to increase vulnerability to depressive symptoms in young females at puberty compared to young males, reversing a trend towards higher rates of depression in boys during pre-pubescence.
Research shows that dissatisfaction with body image peaks during adolescence when young people’s bodies enter puberty and go through changes, and that this body dissatisfaction is associated with greater mental distress. It is currently unknown, however, whether body dissatisfaction causes psychological distress or whether a young person’s psychological distress causes them to be dissatisfied with their body image.
With percentages of females aged 15-19 who are ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ concerned about body image sitting at 40.9% of all females and 63.9% of those with a probable serious mental illness, Mission Australia and the Black Dog Institute suggest that social pressures such as body image need to be tackled to address the large gender disparity in the observed rates of probable serious mental illness. They call for more to be done, particularly by the media, to promote a positive body image for all young people through reducing digital manipulation of images and using a greater diversity of body shapes and sizes.
With young people consistently ranking coping with stress, school/study problems, body image and depression as their top concerns, Mission Australia and the Black Dog Institute have called for a broad approach encompassing young people, parents, schools, health care services and governments to improve the mental health of young people.
Schools are critical to this effort in providing programs and interventions to improve mental health and mental health awareness, including in relation to coping with stress and promoting a positive body image that reflects the diversity of our entire society. Schools are also ideally placed to encourage help-seeking, establish pathways to professional support, and help reduce the stigma of mental illness. With research showing that about half of all lifetime mental disorders emerge by the age of 14, schools which emphasise mental wellbeing and resilience play a key role in creating a supportive environment that helps to scaffold students for life.
- Mission Australia and Black Dog Institute. (2016). Youth Mental Health Report: Youth Survey 2012 -2016. Sydney: Mission Australia.
- Bullot, A., Cave, L., Fildes, J., Hall, S., and Plummer, J. (2017). Mission Australia’s 2017 Youth Survey Report. Sydney: Mission Australia.
Both reports are available to download from the Mission Australia website
Mrs Kim Cohen
20 April 2018
Welcome back to Term 2 and a special welcome to all our new Glennie families and staff - you are now part of a very special community.
We have some new staff joining us this term, one returning teacher, a few who are taking on new acting roles and a name change!
- Sharon Gilbert has decided to spend more time with her three daughters and to focus on her health. I would like to thank Sharon for the huge contribution that she has made to The Glennie School during her time at the School. Her commitment to the Arts faculty and loyalty to the School are greatly appreciated.
- Susan Rollason - Long Service leave Term 2
Returning from Leave
- Peta Vincent - Returning from maternity leave to a teaching position. Peta has decided to remain on leave from her Head of House role until 2019.
Weddings during the holidays
- Ms Emily Scott married Nick Atwell, she will remain Ms Scott
- Ms Leanne Mitchell and Mr Jason Wisley were married, we now have Mr and Mrs Wisley on the staff
- Kathy Lee - Acting Head of Donaldson House
- Sue Watts - Acting Head of Tufnell House
- Jason Wisley - Acting Head of The Arts (Curriculum, 7 to 12)
- Jacob Finlay - Acting Head of Performance (Co-curriculum)
- Rebeca Denny - MSY Maths Teacher contract Term 2
- Libby Bellars - GOSS Manager
- Andrea Bloodworth - Cleaner
- Susan Gesler - Cleaner
- Chloe Sims - Jnr Boarding Resident
- Ashleigh Thompson - Pitstop team
- Ian Rodwell - Facilities Maintenance and Bus Driver
- Deborah Mouzouris - Learning Support Teacher Aide and Indigenous Support Coordinator
Communicating with Glennie Teachers
It is a rare profession indeed, where you have to front up to a room of more than 20 people, no matter your home situation, energy level, worries about your children, finances, marriage, health… Many professions allow room to possibly be in your own space for a time, settle into the day with a cup of coffee while checking emails or perusing financials. Not so teaching. I called it a profession, for this is what it is – as with the law, medical, business and engineering fields, educators are rigorously trained in their craft. They have studied for many years and continue to learn and keep up to date with latest trends and research in education throughout their years of teaching.
Unfortunately, the data tells us that, for many, these years will be few in number. The reality is that teachers, especially early career teachers, are leaving the profession in droves; according to a report on ABC News aired in 2017:
Teachers are leaving the profession in significant numbers — the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics suggest 53 percent of people who hold a teaching degree do not currently work in education.
And research conducted by the Australian Government in 2014 estimates that 20 percent of education graduates do not register as teachers on graduating, meaning many teachers are leaving before they've even started.
Although the figure varies by locality, about 40 to 50 percent of our newest teachers leave within their first five years on the job.
These graduates are leaving for various reasons, but similar themes recur: they feel burnt out, unsupported, frustrated and disillusioned.
This is a sad reality and one which every one of us; parents, senior-staff and policy makers, need to address. We need to support our teachers so that the profession not only continues, but goes from strength to strength.
Parents choose schools for their children based on many factors, one of which is the standard of education provided. At Glennie, we are privileged to have a team of highly skilled passionate professionals providing education in the classrooms and beyond. It is important for the community to support our teachers as they perform this vital role. One way of doing this is to garner an understanding of the pressures that they are often under when facing-up every day with a smile on their faces, compassion for their students, the ability to impart knowledge, the skills to facilitate learning and deep thinking and, of course, still have the energy to entertain anywhere up to 125 students each and every day. At the same time, there are deadlines to be met, yard duties to perform, compliance training and documents to be completed, many hours of professional development annually, emails to respond to and hours and hours of preparation and feedback. They also continually learn from each other and offer advice and mentoring. Remember that while they are doing all of this, and so much more, they are also being judged by the harshest of critics - our girls. And so they should be, ours is a noble calling; one which carries with it a huge responsibility and duty of care.
If at times girls, or their parents, wish to query a teacher's decision, a grade they have received, a method of teaching or a comment that was made, there is a way of doing this. On the rare occasion, teachers have been berated in front of students and advised by parents on how best to execute their profession, or spoken to as if they have no knowledge or integrity. Luckily, at our school, this does not happen regularly, but I’m sad to say, it does happen periodically.
It is no wonder then, that some choose to leave. Naturally, we welcome any opportunity to address concerns – after all, we are human and from time to time, something may slip through the cracks. In the same way, our staff are expected to treat parents, students and other family members with dignity and respect, we, in turn, expect the same dignity in our engagements with parents.
As a mother of three daughters, I fully understand the pain and frustration felt when we believe they have been wronged. I do, however, ask that all parents address the situation in a manner that models a positive relationship. After all, we are all here for the same reason - to get the best outcomes for your daughters. We often talk about creating a partnership between the school and the family and this is definitely one of those times where a partnership is crucial - where the partnership can be strengthened.
When needing to address a matter, please follow the procedures set out below, so that it can be resolved in a timely and positive manner:
- Approach the teacher with your concerns. Verbally is probably better than email as a conversation is most appropriate in these instances.
- If the matter cannot be resolved, the next step is to involve the Head of Department/Assistant Head of Junior Years.
- If no resolution occurs, this is the time to bring in the Dean of Teaching and Learning/Head of Junior Years.
- After this is when the Deputy Principal or I get involved.
Of course, before any of these conversations commence, your daughter should approach the teacher with her concerns - particularly if it has to do with the marking or feedback of a piece of work. Your daughter is the one it affects and she needs to be involved in the solution. All teachers are very approachable and do want what is best for your daughter. After all, that is why they went into the profession – because they love to educate the next generation. They want to teach knowledge, skills, perseverance and witness how confidence and resilience develops. Tests results are only a small measure of a child’s learning. If your daughter would like you to be involved in the conversation at this point, you should be involved, but do ensure that she also attends any meeting as it is her interests that are at the heart of the matter.
Stroud, G. (2017). Why do teachers leave?. [online] ABC News. Available at: http://www.abc.net.au
Mrs Kim Cohen
22 March 2018
I am very happy to let you know that construction of our wonderful new Sports Centre will commence after Easter. As you travel up and down Vacy Street you will be able to see the progress of the build. This new centre will be a great asset to our whole School community and I look forward to sharing updates with you all throughout the year.
As holidays start, many parents will be worrying about the amount of time their children spend in front of screens. Many of us struggle with exactly how much screen time is okay for their children. Is a half-hour TV show okay but a full-length movie bad? How much time on social media should you allow when your children also use their computer for homework? Does Wikipedia count as reading? Is it unhealthy for adolescents to spend days binge watching Netflix series after series? And when does a passion for, say, online gaming become problematic?
The truth is, there is no magic formula. And just as every family differs in what they eat, when they eat and how they eat, a healthy media diet is different for every family. The key is making sure that the things that are important to your family are fairly balanced over the long term. A healthy media diet balances activities (games, social media, TV), time (fifteen minutes? three hours?) and choices (YouTube, Minecraft, The Bachelor) with offline activities (sports, face-to- face conversations, hobbies).
Here are some guidelines for you to look at as you decide what is in the best interests of your family and your individual children:
- Find balance. Instead of counting daily screen-time minutes, aim for a balance throughout the week. Help your children plan a week that includes stuff they have to do and stuff they like to do, such as activities, chores, reading, socialising, family time and TV or gaming. Decide on limits and behaviour using a Family Media Agreement.
- Walk the walk. Put your own devices away while driving, at mealtimes and during conversations. Children learn habits from the adults around them. Model for them the importance of being in the moment with the people who are around you.
- Talk about it. Ask questions about their favourite games, shows and characters. Discuss ideas and issues they read about or learn about online, through a TV show or a game. This is an opportunity for bonding, learning and sharing your values.
- Create tech-free zones. Set rules that fit your family, such as no devices during dinner, no social media during homework or all screens off an hour before bedtime. Some families have a central spot for charging and all devices must remain there after bedtime.
- Check ratings. Choose age-appropriate, high-quality media and technology for your children.
Acknowledgement: Caroline Knorr, Common Sense Media
You should also read the article on Cyber Education, in the News section of this edition of eNews, for more tips on how to lure your children away from their devices.
It is that time of term when we acknowledge staff who are leaving us or going on leave.
Mrs Michelle Tickle leaves us after filling in for Ms Peta Vincent during Term 1. We thank Mrs Tickle for the time she spent here, the girls loved her classes and warm manner, and staff appreciated her collegiality, friendship and professionalism. Mrs Tickle will continue to help us out on a casual basis.
Mrs Susan Rollason will be on Long Service Leave for the whole of Term 2. We wish her all the best as she enjoys a very well deserved break. We welcome Ms Rebecca Denny, a qualified and experienced maths teacher, to cover her teaching load. Mrs Kathy Lee will be Acting Head of Donaldson House in Mrs Rollason’s absence.
While Ms Vincent is returning in her teaching role, she is taking leave from her role as Head of Tufnell House for the remainder of the year. Mrs Sue Watts will be stepping into the role for Terms 2 to 4.
I wish all families a relaxing and enjoyable holiday, and a blessed Easter.
God of all, open our minds, our hearts and our souls to you
as we spend time in relaxation and personal space.
May we return refreshed and filled with a renewed vision for our lives here.
Mrs Kim Cohen
16 March 2018
Last Friday was International Women's Day and today is National Day of Action Against Bullying. I will refer to both of these important days in my article.
International Women's Day
A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to attend a presentation by a remarkable woman, Dr Gillian Hicks. What she spoke of resonated with me and my passion for encouraging a growth mindset within our community.
We regularly speak to students about having a growth mindset; a mindset where we acknowledge that our talents and abilities are not fixed but continually grow as we put in the effort and learn using feedback and ‘failure’ to guide us.
Back to Dr Hicks, survivor of the 2005 London bombings. She was beside the 19-year-old suicide bomber on the tube and lost both her legs in the incident. For a while, it was touch and go as to whether or not she would survive.
Her messages were powerful:
- When she regained consciousness after the bombing, Gillian noticed a tag pinned to her, it merely stated, ‘One unknown estimated female’. Rather than be distraught she found this soothing. She realised that her rescuers had no judgement; that race, religion, wealth and nationality were irrelevant and gender was not much of a factor either. Thus her first message was: Do not judge.
- During the process of rescue and healing and through her work since, she has realised that her (and every) single life has value and she can make a contribution to the world.
- Trust is vital. She had to trust her life to paramedics, surgeons and physios, but ultimately she had to trust herself.
Gillian shared a story of how she managed to find the positive in her situation. When the consultant was measuring the distance from fingertip to fingertip of her outstretched arms in order to calculate her height for her prosthetic legs, she cheekily asked if she could please grow a few inches. He agreed and in three months she grew 8 inches, from a diminutive 5 feet to an impressive 5 feett 8 inches!
She also shared how having a growth mindset helped her to survive. She decided that if she could conceive it and believe it, she could achieve it. She was desperate to be able to drink a glass of water. Throughout the days while she was hooked up to numerous machines busily keeping her alive, nurses would squeeze a few drops of water into the corner of her mouth from a syringe. She set herself the task (her training or practice if you like) to spend an hour every day imagining holding and drinking a glass of water. From the moment of picking up the glass, to feeling it against her lips, to tilting it and feeling the water flow over her tongue, fill her mouth and flow down her throat. She conceived and believed this every day until she could achieve it.
So, how do these messages relate to your lives as students at Glennie?
- Never judge – treat everyone only as human
- Always look for and find the positive in every situation
- Create small achievable goals: conceive them, believe in them and then achieve them through willpower and perseverance
- Trust others: parents, coaches, teachers, friends, but most importantly trust in yourself
Dr Gillian Hicks took three months of agonising hard work to learn to walk again. She likens it to kneeling on a pair of circus stilts, unable to see or feel the ground and having to walk. Her greatest fear was, of course, falling. Her physio would regularly push her over from the side or the back and from these hundreds of falls she learnt that there is always a way to get up. Initially she needed help every time but finally she could do it on her own. What a great life lesson.
The message that I would like you to share with your daughter as she strives to Be Like a Girl is something that Marie Curie said, “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves”.
National Day of Action Against Bullying
On Middle Years Assembly on Thursday, Hanna Hayes addressed the students on a topic that is very close to her heart, Bullying. She spoke passionately and sensitively about the issue. Please see her words below.
I’m here to talk about Bullying, Dolly’s Dream, and the National Day of Action (NDA) against Bullying and Violence because I had a friend who suffered the highest consequences of being tormented. My friend was Dolly Everette, whose story was on the news not long ago. Dolly was a lot like all of us here, a young girl with her own hopes and dreams and talents, and her death has sparked the need for change.
I’m hoping we can embrace that change here at Glennie as well because what Dolly went through was terrible and can be avoided. For those of you who may not know, a foundation was started in the name of Doll, called Dolly’s Dream, and it has been started by her parents, Tick and Kate; and family and friends, who are all devastated at the loss. As a friend of Doll’s, I feel the need to spread her dream in any way that I can, and I thought that there was no better place to start then in my very own school.
Dolly’s dream and the NDA have many goals that they plan to achieve through fundraising and promotion. There is one goal that these foundations have that we, not only as a school, but as peers and friends, could help to reach.
It’s time to stop bullying, an action that occurs way too often with ease, reaping consequences far deeper than we see. It is not okay to bully others, but we know that already. The hard part is the fact that sometimes, we may not even realise that we are hurting someone. This is where we must put a little more thought into what we are saying. The NDA defines bullying as “An ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that causes physical and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power over one or more persons. Bullying can happen in person or online and can be obvious or discrete.” We need to put a stop to it. I’m talking physical, verbal, social and cyber.
This is not just in person though, it’s also online. Home might be someone’s only escape from bullying at school, and if they are then targeted on social media… there is no escape. Young people between the age of 10-15 are the most likely to be involved in online bullying. These mean messages over social media are a cowardly and unnecessary act. So lets act against them.
While these movements are about stopping bullying and being kinder, Dolly’s Dream is also about speaking up. You might have seen the ‘speak now even if your voice shakes,’ hashtag. Dolly wrote these words on a drawing she did, just last year, and it has become a message of her Dream. Speaking up may be scary, but I guarantee there is always someone willing to listen. If you are a victim of any sort of bullying, find someone to talk to. Your parents, friends, siblings, even our own school counsellor. I’m encouraging you to talk, girls because there are numerous people around you who care about you and will help you.
I know this because I stood at the back of a school hall that was filled with so many people that not only the chairs set up in the middle were filled, but both sides and the back wall of the hall was also lined with supporters in blue, for Dolly. I know this because I had to hold my friends while our tears poured out, any one of us who would have given her a hand if only we’d known more. I know this because Dolly could not have known the utterly devastating impact she has had on so many people, any of who would have been ready to help in any way that they could. Girls, this unnecessary pain, for the victims and their friends and family, is what we need to prevent.
The NDA says that young people are reluctant to report bullying because they might feel shame, be worried about others’ reactions or believe that they should be able to handle the situation themselves. Let’s break these assumptions and speak, even if our voice shakes.
Another assumption we must address is that students commonly express a belief that bullying is wrong but may experience concern losing social status themselves through intervening. This statement is addressing bystanders, who are potentially the most powerful people in a bullying scenario. It may take some extreme courage, but I believe that every one of you girls has the strength to tell a bully to stop. Peers are present as onlookers in 87% of bullying interactions; let’s lower that percentage and stand up. Together, we can make a difference to bullying.
So girls, speak up, even if your voice shakes. Be brave. There is always someone who will help you. Be kind. Don’t stand for bullying, don’t let each other get away with putting others down. Tomorrow is the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence. Remember, you have the power to make change. Do it for yourself. And your friends. Do it for Dolly.
Today we said goodbye to our GOSS Manager, Mrs Tracy Keighran. Tracy has been associated with GOSS for many years as a volunteer and has managed our very successful one stop shop for over four years. She will also be fondly remembered for her thousands of amazing dumplings at the Glennie Fair! We thank her for her dedicated service to the School and wish her the very best for the future.
Mrs Kim Cohen
9 March 2018
What a wonderful day Sunday was! Not only did the weather hold, but the sun shone and the skies were clear. The Glennie Fair is one of my favourite days in the calendar; it is a wonderful time when the whole Glennie community can celebrate together in a social and fun-filled way.
I would like to say a huge thank you to the organising committee, in particular; Jason Lipp, Sharon Willmington and Lyndal Brown. Without your organisational and motivational skills, as well as persistence and drive, the day would not have happened. Thank you too every parent, staff member and student who helped to organise and/or work on a stand. To the team of people working behind the scenes in setting up, working on the day and, of course, setting down - I thank you. What an amazing community we belong to.
Yesterday was International Women’s day, a day close to my heart. In line with this I would like to leave you with a quote a love:
Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them. – Unknown
Mrs Kim Cohen
2 March 2018
This week I would like to share with you some research indicating how girls benefit from single-sex environments:
In a learning environment that is free from gender discrimination, girls achieve greater academic success and are more confident.
- Dustmann, Ku and Kwak (2017, p. 28) found that the “the net effect of having single-sex peers for three years is strongly positive for girls”. When classes were converted from 100% female to 50% female, girls’ achievement in languages (Korean and English) fell by 8-15% of a standard deviation (pp. 4, 27). (Also see, Dustmann et al., 2017, Why single-sex schools are more successful.)
- A 2017 study of Year 3, 5 and 7 numeracy and literacy (NAPLAN) data by Dr Katherine Dix of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) found that even when socio-economic status was taken into account, Year 7 girls at single-sex schools were 4.2 terms ahead of co-ed students in reading and 2.8 terms ahead in mathematics (Dix, 2017).
- In 2014, Professor Alison Booth of the Australian National University wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald that “the evidence is gathering that women in single-gender classes benefit, and they benefit significantly”. In fact, just one hour a week of single-sex education benefits girls (Booth, 2014). Booth et al.’s 2013 study found that female students at Essex University who were randomly assigned to all-female classes in their first year were 7% more likely to pass their introductory economics course than girls in co-ed classes. They also scored 8% higher on their final grade and 10% higher in their required second-year courses, despite only attending single-sex classes in their first year (Booth, Cardona-Sosa & Nolen, 2013, p. 3).
- An Australian study has found that girls gain confidence in Information Technology (IT) in single-sex classes. The four-year study, which ran in seven co-ed and three girls-only schools, found that 45% of girls made an unprompted positive comment about their experiences in single-sex IT classes. Feedback from the girls included that girls-only classes were more conducive to learning because boys disrupt classes; they were more willing to ask for help without boys being present; they were more confident and not afraid to try things out; and that in co-ed classes, boys put them down when they were trying to do something or express an idea (Fisher, Lang & Forgasz, 2015).
- In 2015, Andrew Hill of the University of South California found that opposite gender friends have a negative impact on the academic achievement of students at co-ed schools. Students aged 16 and over with higher numbers of opposite gender friends had lower grades across all subjects (p. 148); were less likely to graduate from high school or attend college (p. 173); had more difficulties getting along with their teachers (p. 148); and were more likely to be in a romantic relationship, which “may reduce both the quality and quantity of homework and studying”, as well as being “distracting in the classroom” (p. 171). Hill also found that in students aged under 16, grades in mathematics and science were negatively impacted by the effect of opposite gender friends, and that girls may benefit from single-sex classes in these subjects (p. 168).
- A 2015 study by Eisenkopft et al. identified a “very robust” positive effect on mathematics proficiency for girls randomly assigned to single-sex classes in a Swiss high school (p. 137). The effect was greater for students with high ability in maths and in classes taught by a male teacher, but “the effect also holds for less talented students and for classes taught by a female teacher”. Girls in single-sex classes also “evaluate their mathematics skills more positively and are more likely to attribute their performance in mathematics to their own efforts rather than to exogenous talent or luck” (p. 125).
- Park, Behrman and Choi’s 2012 study of South Korean students — who were randomly assigned to single-sex and co-ed high schools until 2009 — found that “high school female seniors who attend all-girls schools show significantly higher mean scores than their peers who attend coeducational schools” (p. 19). In addition, college attendance data demonstrated that “the four-year college attendance rate for female graduates is 3.1 percentage points higher for all-girls schools than for coeducational schools” (p. 20). The advantage of “all-girls schools over coeducational schools in sending female students to four-year colleges is fairly substantial”, with the study showing that “female students from all-girls schools are less likely to attend two-year junior colleges” (p. 21).
- A 2012 PhD thesis by Dana Diaconu concluded that girls from Hong Kong and New Zealand “seemed to have benefited more from single-sex education than coeducation” (p. 248). Diaconu examined the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) databases for 1995, 1999 and 2003, finding that the advantage of Hong Kong girls from single-sex schools in TIMSS 2003 in science scores “remained statistically significant … even after accounting for differences in student background and school characteristics” (p. 248).
- Suzanne Link’s 2012 study of the 1999 Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) data for South Korean middle schools found “positive effects of single-sex schooling for girls” in mathematics. The effects “are not only highly statistically significant and non-negligible in their magnitude, but also highly relevant since math[s] performance is consistently linked to future earnings” (p. 2).
- Belfi et al.’s review of the literature on class composition by gender and ability in secondary school found that “single-sex classes are advantageous for girls’ school well-being and academic self-concept” (Belfi, Goos, De Fraine & Van Damme, 2011, p. 2).
- Veronica Cabezas found that: “Girls in single-sex schools perform better academically than their counterparts in coeducational schools, after holding constant measures of selection, background, peers and school factors” (Cabezas, 2010, p. 227).
- Katherine Bradley investigated single-sex education and its impact on academic achievement, concluding that “the single-sex environment provides females with the best opportunity for academic achievement” (Bradley, 2009, p. 119).
Mrs Kim Cohen
23 February 2018
On Thursday 15 February, Steve Warren (Head of JY), Jo Matherson (Deputy Principal) and I attended a briefing session at ISQ (Independent Schools QLD) about the Self Improving Schools program. Glennie will be taking part in this program. The program is a means by which we look at what we have currently in place within our school and see how we can best implement/move forward with current projects/programs/initiatives within our strategic plan.
The first step of the program is to undertake a whole school review. Only three schools have been given the opportunity to undertake the review through ISQ; one completing the SIS program, one halfway through and one starting. The reviewers will be spending three days at the school - 6, 7, 8 March - interviewing staff (mainly teachers), students and parents. They may chat to you in the car park at pick-up time. If you do not wish to speak to them, they will understand and leave you be. They will be asking about where you see the school heading, where you would like to see it heading, how you think we are doing in achieving our vision/strategic plan. This is a review to determine how we are progressing as a whole school. Please be totally honest in your conversations with the reviewers so that we can get a good overall view of where we’re currently at.
Once the review is complete the SIS Committee will use the information in discussion with our ISQ consultant, to come up with an action plan to be implemented in 2019. This plan will focus on the results of the review in conjunction with the implementation of our current strategic plan.
Mrs Kim Cohen
23 February 2018
11% of our 2017 Year 12s achieved an OP1 or equivalent and 28% achieved an OP 1 to 5. Without realising it, these students all displayed a growth mindset either all or most of the time. Other examples of students embracing a growth mindset are the girls who take French Immersion, those who persevere with a new instrument, athletes who get up time and time again until they get it right, and every student who uses feedback to improve in their field of study.
A growth mindset is the belief that your basic qualities - talents, aptitudes, interests or temperaments – can change and grow through application and development. The opposite of this is a fixed mindset; the belief that basic qualities are carved in stone, that you only have a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality and a certain moral character and these cannot be changed. According to Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, young people can be taught to ‘feed their own brains’ through understanding that brains and intelligence can be grown. This mindset improves their self-confidence and actually improves their academic performance. This idea is linked to the exciting recent discoveries by Norman Doidge, and other psychiatrists and neurosurgeons, of the ‘brain that changes itself’ or, as it is now called, Neuroplasticity. It is now generally accepted that the brain is plastic and can stretch and grow; a person’s intelligence is no longer believed to be ‘set’. Developments in both these areas of study are exciting and if you wish to learn more please watch this ten minute YouTube clip – it is well worth it.
Dweck states: ‘People’s self-theories about intelligence have a profound effect on their motivation to learn. Students who hold a fixed theory are often concerned with how smart they are and prefer tasks they know they can do well and avoid ones in which they make mistakes. In contrast, people who believe in a growth theory of intelligence want to challenge themselves to increase their abilities – even if they fail at first.’ (www.news.stanford.ed/news). Those who are part of the French Immersion program are excellent examples of students who have practised a growth mindset.
We encourage our students to embrace this mindset and use perceived failure as a stepping stone on their journey to success. It would be wonderful if you, as parents, could continue these conversations with your daughters so that we are all speaking the same language.
If you need a reminder or would like to know more about it, please read the following (you dont need to read the whole book(s)), just the appropriate bits. They’re in the School library.
23 February 2018
You will have noticed that building has not yet started on the Sports Centre, which is disappointing as we had hoped to have it completed by September or, failing that, the end of the year. The good news is that we are definitely going ahead and at this stage it looks like we will be breaking ground in Term 2, with completion forecast for early 2019. You will have received information about the Sports Centre and our medallion campaign in Term 4 last year. Please take a moment to revisit those materials (also available online).
I hope you can Be Active in your support of this important new facility that will benefit every Glennie girl.
Mrs Kim Cohen
16 February 2018
In the busyness, we often don't give ourselves time for quiet reflection. But this is so important if we are to keep up with the pace. I struggle to reflect and need guidance on how to do so. A few weeks ago I was pleased to come across this message allegedly from Pope Francis, but there has been some debate about the true author of this piece. Whether he wrote it or not is irrelevant, what it says is relevant. I thought I would share it with you to read for inspiration and guidance in a moment of quiet reflection.
This life will go by fast.
Don't fight with people, don't criticize your body so much, don't complain so much.
Don't lose sleep over your bills. Look for the person that makes you happy. If you make a mistake, let it go and keep seeking your happiness.
Never stop being a good parent.
Don't worry so much about buying luxuries and comforts for your home, and don't kill yourself trying to leave an inheritance for your family. Those benefits should be earned by each person, so don't dedicate yourself to accumulating money.
Enjoy, travel, enjoy your journeys, see new places, give yourself the pleasures you deserve.
Allow dogs to get closer.
Don't put away the fine glassware. Utilize the new dinnerware; don't save your favourite perfume, use it to go out with yourself; wear out your favourite sports shoes; repeat your favourite clothes.
Why not now? Why not pray now instead of waiting until before you sleep? Why not call now? Why not forgive now? We wait so long for Christmas; for Friday; for Reunions; for another year; for when I have money; for love to come; when everything is perfect, but ...
Everything perfect doesn't exist. Human beings can't accomplish this because it simply was not intended to be completed here. Here is an opportunity to learn.
So take this challenge that is life and do it now...love more, forgive more, embrace more, love more intensely and leave the rest in God's hands.
On Wednesday 21 February at 9:30am, Rev. Sharon Baird will be formally commissioned as The Glennie School Chaplain. The commissioning will occur on the Chapel lawns and parents are welcome to attend.
Mrs Kim Cohen
9 February 2018
On behalf of the Executive Team and the family involved in recent media publicity, I would like to sincerely thank everyone for their kind messages of support. Thank you too to the parents who approached me directly with questions. Please remember that Jodi Blades (Dean of Students), Rev Sharon and I are happy to talk to any parents, always respecting with compassion the privacy of students concerned.
I must say I read some interesting and misleading rumours on social media in the past week, but I am pleased to confirm that to date we have had no staff or students leave the school, no legal team in Sydney and no undue influence on the media's reporting. Please be assured that no member of the current staff, including myself, would ever approach the media about a student. As always our primary concern is for the safety and wellbeing of every student in our care.
It is business as usual here at Glennie where we are continuing to educate children in a safe environment underpinned by our values of compassion, respect, integrity and courage.
Middle and Senior Years Parents Focus Group
I would like to take this opportunity to invite interested parents to send in expressions of interest if you wish to be part of the Middle and Senior Years Parents Focus Group that I meet once a term. The group comprises of eight parents and we currently have two vacancies to be filled for 2018 and 2019. Please contact my assistant, Paula Nicholls, email@example.com, if you are interested.
All the best for a calm, fulfilling and blessed weekend and week ahead.
Loving God, we give thanks for and celebrate the uniqueness of each person in our Glennie School community. Help us to be accepting of all people, creating a loving and caring environment where every person feels safe and empowered to be the best they can be. We pray through Jesus the Christ, Amen.
Mrs Kim Cohen
2 February 2018
On Sunday our Year 12 students gathered to discuss their leadership of the School, do some planning and attend the Year 12 Welcome Chapel service. All the students that I have spoken to say they thoroughly enjoyed the day and took a lot away from it.
In my short address to them I emphasized the School’s values of Compassion, Respect, Integrity and Courage. I spoke about these in the context of accepting, welcoming and looking out for those in our community who struggle to settle in, to fit in. I urged them to be on the lookout for students who may be having a hard time, who may not fit the ‘mold’ that so many of us fall into. The diversity we have at Glennie is one of our strengths, we need to embrace it and celebrate it. Below is an extract from an article written by John Achrazoglou called. He describes how being tolerant is not sufficient, rather as societies and communities become more diverse, we need to ensure that our environments are welcoming and understanding places of safety and compassion.
Diversity needs to go beyond tolerance. Tolerance is a first step. It is much better than conflict. But tolerance is a somewhat negative word, according to David See-Chai Lam, former lieutenant governor of British Columbia. To “tolerate” and to be “tolerated” involves an unequal relationship. Tolerance implies that the tolerator has the power to not tolerate.
German philosopher Herbert Marcuse said under conditions of inequality one cannot preach tolerance to the oppressed. Tolerance poses little challenge to an unjust status quo and silences the oppressed. Going beyond tolerance is a journey of building competencies and dispositions beyond shallow acceptance and celebratory sympathies and sensibilities.
Facilitating this journey means helping students build bridges across unfair biases and attitudes by anchoring the school experience in a genuine respect of other beliefs. Instead of mere tolerance we should now see our goal as creating welcoming environments, understanding and appreciating differences and developing cultural competencies that model compassion and trust. Glimpses of this scenery are in front of us now. A new social standard founded on wired relationships and plugged-in communities is emerging.
(Perspectives: How Diversity Goes Beyond Tolerance, 2010)
I have complete faith that our students are on this journey. I see them looking out for each other, welcoming new students and asking questions to better understand those from different backgrounds. As educators and parents we need to encourage this attitude, help it grow and develop so that this ‘open’ outlook does not diminish in their adult years.
Reference: Perspectives: How Diversity Goes Beyond Tolerance. (2010). [online] Available at: http://diverseeducation.com/article/14369/ [Accessed 1 Feb. 2018].
Mrs Kim Cohen
25 January 2018
Welcome to 2018, the year our girls are encouraged to Be Like a Girl (and the rest of us to Be the Best You). This may mean different things to different people, to some it may refer to being feminine, to others being strong and to others it might point to compassion and kindness. But in this day and age, it certainly should only have positive connotations. To me Be Like a Girl means:
- Be feminine yet strong
- Be compassionate yet firm
- Be nurturing yet challenging
- Be gracious yet competitive
- Be thoughtful yet ambitious
- Be respectful yet respected
- Be helpful yet independent
It means - Be All You Can Be!
I wish all our students, new and returning, a year filled with challenge, reward and contentment. Remembering that every day in every way we all need to live out our values of Respect, Integrity, Compassion and Courage. As we start the new year I urge all members of our community to show respect of, and compassion for others through developing our culture of acceptance and celebration of our diversity. Welcome the newcomers to our community with open arms in the true spirit of Christianity.
At this time of the year I would like to introduce our many new staff members to the Glennie Family:
- Jodi Blades - Dean of Students
- Kylie Dolan - Technologies Teacher
- Michelle Tickle - Term 1 contract for Peta Vincent - English Teacher
- Katie Goschnick - Learning Support Teacher Junior Years
- Abby Varley - HPE Teacher and Sports Coordinator Junior Years
- Vincent Morere - French Immersion Teacher and FI Head of Department
- Carolyn Dennis - Learning Support Coordinator
- Susan Sullivan - Learning Support Teacher
- Rev. Sharon Baird - School Chaplain
- Bree Coleman - Development Officer - Alumni
- Emily Mair - Dance tutor (JYR)
- Leslee Blanco - Dance tutor (JYR)
- Bronnie Stiles - Assistant to the Deputy Principal
- Lisa Markey - Middle and Years Senior Reception and Accounts Receivable Officer
- Garry Shorter - Head Swim Coach contract
- Loretta Callaghan - JY Tuckshop Convenor
- Lauren Torr - Middle and Senior Years Sports Administrator (Glennie Old Girl 2010)
We also welcome back staff who have been away on leave (maternity, sick, Long service or other):
- Jason Wisley
- Pauline Gehrmann
- Shelley Fawell
- Crystal Hede
- Sonya Vickers
There have been a number of changes to roles this year, including a restructure of the Executive Team:
- Jo Matherson - Deputy Principal
- Tonia Gloudemans - Dean of Teaching and Learning
- Jodi Blades - Dean of Students
- Steve Warren - Head of Junior Years
- Russell Baldock - Associate Dean of Staff/HOD Science
- Jason Hockaday - Director of Finance and Facilities
Some staff have changed roles, or picked up positions of added responsibility:
- Tim Causer - HOD Technologies and eLearning Coordinator
- Alison Bedford - Data Analyst and IT Professional Development Coordinator
- John Farmer - MSY Teacher/OP and QCS Coordinator
- Emma Kahn - HOD RE
- Tammy Wilson - Marketing and Community Engagement Manager
- Lisa Cooper - Accounts Payable
- Melissa Galvin - Safety, Risk and Payroll Officer
- Leanne Farrell - Assistant to the Dean of Students
- Paula Nicholls - Assistant to the Principal
- Lesley Walker - Assistant to the Dean of Teaching and Learning/Associate Dean of Staff
- Megan O’Reilly - Academic Administration Officer
- Shaz Willmington - Event Organiser
Given the restructure, it may be a little unclear as to who you should speak to with regards to certain issues. Bear in mind that most problems, concerns, misunderstandings can be sorted out in conversation with the staff member concerned (we actually do really prefer that students themselves approach the teacher as so often the ‘crisis’ can be averted with a quick chat). These teachers should therefore always be the first port of call. However; if you (or your daughter) still feel that the issue has not been resolved please speak to:
- Student wellbeing: Heads of House (MSY) and Assistant Head of Junior Years (JY)
- Academic concerns: Heads of Department (MSY), Junior Years Curriculum Coordinator (JY)
If you still have concerns after having tried to find solutions through the channels mentioned above, then it is time to speak to the Dean of Students (MSY) or Steve Warren (JY) for student wellbeing issues, or Dean of Teaching and Learning (MSY) or Steve Warren (JY) for academic issues.
After these avenues have been exhausted (and it would very rarely get to this point) please make an appointment to meet with either the Deputy Principal or me.
The reason that we work in this manner is because it saves a lot of time and angst if issues can be dealt with quickly and efficiently at the appropriate level. If parents go directly to ‘the top’, the issue may be exacerbated and as Jo Matherson or I have to refer to all the staff mentioned above to find the solution, the process may be more drawn out than it needs to be.
Wishing you all a wonderful 2018, and a very relaxing long weekend.
Mrs Kim Cohen
24 November 2017
Yesterday we celebrated the end of the Year of Possibility and acknowledged student achievement in its very different forms during The Glennie School Junior Years and Middle and Senior Years Speech Days and Prize-giving Celebrations. Below I have shared parts of my presentation for those who could not be there.
Start by doing what is necessary, then do what’s possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible (St Francis of Assisi).
This quote has inspired me (and often kept me going) during this, the year of Possibility. At the start of each term I have reshared this quote with all staff members, hoping that they might be similarly motivated.
I have been delighted to see the community embrace the theme that Wendy Ashley-Cooper and I chose over a year ago. It is hard to embrace change especially when a new person takes over the helm after fifteen years. I thank all of you who have done just that this year. Instead of pining for the old, and focusing on ‘how we’ve always done it’ – you embraced the Year of Possibility and the new Principal, done what is necessary, then what’s possible and finally we are ‘negotiating the impossible’. Be that in the classroom, on the sports fields, in staff rooms, in the kitchen and in the boarding house, Junior Years and Middle and Senior Years. I thank you - but this is only the Beginning!
During Term 2 and 3 as a staff we have been working hard on the creation of the School’s new Strategic Plan. We relied on input from parents and students and have created our living document.
First we determined the four underpinning core values of all that we do here; the values that determine how we live our lives at Glennie and go about our day to day activities.
These values are - Respect , Integrity , Compassion and Courage .
- Integrity: We are truthful and sincere.
- Respect: We respect ourselves and treat others with courtesy, dignity and positive regard.
- Compassion: We treat each other as we wish to be treated ourselves.
- Courage: We continue to strive to improve as individuals and we remain positive and resilient, despite adversity or challenge.
Once these values were determined and agreed upon we decided on the five Pillars of our core business at Glennie and came up with:
- Empowered Girls
- Enriched Learning
- Passionate Staff
- Connected Community
- Sustainable Operations
There is of course more detail under each of these Pillars and this will be available from next week on the school’s website.
I have decided to continue the tradition the Mrs Ashley-Cooper started, where the Principal determines the theme for the year and how to name it. She called the theme, The Year of . . . for example, The Year of Possibility. From the very first time I heard the Glennie tag line – “All She Can Be”, I fell in love with it because of its complexity, and at the same time simplicity. So going forward the annual themes will focus around this tag-line, from now on we will refer to the theme of the year as ‘Being’. In other words Be Courageous, Be Inspiring, Be Active etc.
And our theme for 2018 is Be Like a Girl.
What does it mean to Be Like a Girl? It will mean different things to different people. But in this day and age it certainly should only have positive connotations. To me Be Like a Girl means:
- Be feminine yet strong
- Be compassionate yet firm
- Be nurturing yet challenging
- Be gracious yet competitive
- Be thoughtful yet ambitious
- Be respectful yet respected
- Be helpful yet independent
It means - Be all you can be!
I expect that it means very different things to each of you, but I certainly hope your list does not include - be subservient, be submissive, be content with less than you deserve.
We’ve come a long way in the past few decades, but girls, it is now up to you to take it the next step and empower yourselves to step forward and run, throw, study, lead, achieve like a girl.
Being empowered does not mean be like a man and that is why I like this theme. So often people, men and women, believe that to get ahead, to be successful you need to be like a man. When I say ‘like a man’, that is the conventional idea of men - authoritarian, hard, uncompassionate. We all know that is not what being a man is about - but I will leave that for the Principal’s of Boys’ Schools to delve into.
We need men and women, girls and boys, working together, on an equal playing field in order for society and our culture to move forward positively. There is no ‘better’ gender. There are just different genders.
Emma Watson (Hermione to many of you) said, “Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong”
In my speech at the Year 12 Graduation, I referred to strong women in the bible who epitomise different values. I would like to refer again to two women in particular – Lydia and Phoebe. According to Joan Chittister, both of these women behaved like girls in the true sense of the word – they were strong and independent, trustworthy and did good by others. These characteristics are not the sole preserve of girls – but they certainly have them in truckloads. Lydia opened a whole new way of thinking about the world, she was a business woman who negotiated with those who made clothes for kings. She had influence. Lydia did what she set out to do.
Phoebe was also an independent woman, but certainly not self-centred. To her, friendship to all obligated her to the good of the other but at the same time did not deny the obligation to fullness of self.
So Glennie girls of 2018 and Seniors of 2017 I encourage you to stand up for yourselves and others. Do not shy away from a challenge or opportunity because you believe you cannot do it. Instead of having the mantra I can’t do it (I never want to hear that) rather add an important word to your vocabulary, ‘yet’; rather say, ‘I can’t do it yet’.
This week we sadly farewell a number of staff members from Glennie and wish them well with their future endeavours:
Teachers leaving us at the end of their contracts are:
- Mrs Victoria Macdonald
- Mrs Debbie Leis
- Ms Katelyn Hannah
- Mr Richard Jessop
- Mrs Kristen Sessarago
- Mrs Liza Barnes
- Mr Wally Richards
- Mrs Kelly Dyson
- Ms Stephenie Fox
- Mr Peter Klein
Teachers who have been teaching with us for some years and are heading off to pursue further career options are:
- Mrs Kerryn Chapman is leaving after 11 years providing dedicated learning support to Glennie girls to commence her own business assisting children requiring extra support.
- Miss Lauren Potter is leaving after many years of building the Junior Years sports program. Miss Potter has worked with every Junior Years girl and has had a positive impact on their lives.
- Mrs Sue Fuss has worked at Glennie for over 20 years, teaching in all year levels from Prep to Year 6. All Junior Years girl will miss Mrs Fuss.
- Mrs Shaz Willmington who has been on leave this year has decided to conclude her part-time role in Year 3. We thank her for her support and care over the years.
- Mrs Amber Vendramin has been a passionate supporter of the students in Learning Support during her time here. Her friendly smile and engaging demeanour brightened up the day for many girls.
- Mrs Caroline McLean leaves us to take up a position at Mt Alvernia in Brisbane. The love and dedication that she has brought to her role as English teacher and Head of Middle Years English will be missed by all.
- Mrs Jennifer McPhie is currently on leave and during her time away made the decision not to return to Glennie and has resigned with effect 31 December. Ms McPhie has been at Glennie for four years and during this time has been a passionate teacher of Science.
- After almost 22 years Reverend Kate Powell has said her last goodbye. Miss Powell has had a profound effect on most who have crossed her path during this time. One of her lasting legacies will be the amazing Ribbon day which she initiated.
- Mrs Anthea Rowe has been familiar face in the Glennie Junior Years Tuck Shop for some years now and she has made sure that girls have healthy and well balanced options to choose from. The Junior Years girls will miss her.
Mrs Tracey Patrick has worked at Glennie for almost ten years. She first joined us as Administrative Assistant in the Performing Arts Centre. For the past few years she has been the face of the Middle and Senior Years Office as the Academic Administration guru. She will be missed.
Director of Operations Mr John Devine is taking up a new role in Tasmania as State Manager of AICD. We thank him for his dedicated service to The Glennie School over the past two years.
As a staff we will be saying our farewells formally today to our departing colleagues, but in this forum I would like to express my thanks and wish you all well in your new ventures.
To all our Glennie families, may God bless and keep you until we meet again in a couple of month’s time. Best wishes for a blessed and joyous Christmas.
We thank you Lord, for this year. For the challenges, the successes and the mistakes from which we have learnt.
Be with us as we spend our time with family and friends.
Guide us to be peacemakers, and to always be conscious of you in our lives.
Keep us safe in all that we do; give us good rest and good fun.
Bring us back refreshed and ready for a new term.
Mrs Kim Cohen
17 November 2017
What an amazing week this has been, filled with bittersweet emotions. The Year 12s and their parents have enjoyed a time of shared goodbyes. Thank you so much to all involved in the planning and organisation of this very special week and a heartfelt thank you to the Year 12s for ending in such a gracious manner. You girls have been a joy to have as the leaders of the school. God go with you.
As we are at the end of the year it is important that I inform you of some changes that will come into place next year.
In order to create more tangible links across the whole school and to ensure that we provide the required about of time for every subject in every grade throughout the year we have decided to match up the structure of the day across JY and MSY. We will also be starting each school day at 8.30am, except Monday which will start at 8.45am in the Middle/Senior Years:
- 8:30 – 8:45 Tutor Time (Except Monday)
- 8:45 – 9:25 Lesson 1
- 9:25 – 10:05 Lesson 2
- 10:05 – 10:35 Recess (30 minutes)
- 10:35 – 11:15 Lesson 3
- 11:15 – 11:55 Lesson 4
- 11:55 – 12:35 Lesson 5
- 12:35 – 1:15 Lunch (40 minutes)
- 1:15 – 1:55 Lesson 6
- 1:55 – 2:35 Lesson 7
- 2:35 – 3:15 Lesson 8
The lessons highlighted in bold will be doubles in the MSY.
According to Ben Jensen et.al., teachers’ professional development is a key factor in improved student outcomes. In their journal article, Beyond PD: Teacher Professional Learning in High-Performing Systems they recognise that PD cannot be an add-on to be done in one’s ‘spare time’
For all of these people, professional learning is central to their jobs. It is not an add-on. It is not something done on Friday afternoons or on a few days at the end of the school year. Teacher professional learning is how they all improve student learning; it is how they improve schools, and it is how they are evaluated in their jobs. They work in systems that are organized around improvement strategies explicitly anchored in teacher professional learning. The reasons for this are straightforward. High-performing systems focus on the professional learning practices that the evidence has consistently shown appreciably lifts teacher and student learning. ... ensures that collaborative professional learning is built into the daily lives of teachers and school leaders, which is reinforced by resourcing policies that free up teachers’ time for collaborative professional learning (Jensen, et.al., 2016).
With this in mind, at Glennie we will be incorporating a portion of teachers’ professional development into the teaching day once a fortnight. This will not impact on learning time as it will be when we timetable specialist lessons, House and Junior Chapel services, guest speakers, personal development workshops, House time, study sessions etc. MSY will also be lengthening their school days by 10 minutes a day, 4 days a week, which equate to 80 minutes a fortnight.
Mrs Kim Cohen
10 November 2017
Every year at this time I think not only about the young women in our care who are about to embark on their next exciting adventure, but also about you, as parents, and how you are managing this time of their, and your, lives.
As the mother of three daughters, the youngest of whom graduated from school in 2015, I understand the feeling of panic as the final day of the final year of school arrives. After the dust of the celebrations settled we found ourselves wondering: ‘What now?’ The lines that demarcated rules and boundaries become blurred as the structure, supported by years of schooling, shifted. We all felt somewhat at sea. The comfort and security of the school day routine had been pulled from under our feet and, as a family, we were left to muddle through a whole new set of challenges without guidelines or the clearly defined set of boundaries that school life provided.
I found consolation in the fact we were not alone. Most parents had come down to earth with an anti-climactic bang after all the school-is-out excitement was over and the realisation hit home that our daughters were moving on to the next great adventure — The Rest of Their Lives.
The Year 12s of The Glennie School start this journey in just over a week. It is an exciting and exhilarating time, filled with promise and anticipation; a time of both setting forth and letting go. For many of them it will mean the shedding of an old skin to make way for the new. They will find it necessary to relinquish the idealised versions of themselves and others, of relationships and life after school, in favour of the real version. This process may involve coming to terms with opportunities not taken, situations mishandled and the fact that childhood is definitively over. With all of this there is an inevitable sense of loss; new doors cannot open unless old ones close. Thus, it is important for us to allow our girls a space to negotiate the various and often contradictory range of emotions that accompany leaving.
As your daughters settle into life after school, you as parents may often feel frustrated at their apparent disinterest in taking full advantage of all the opportunities available to them — especially as they may appear to have so much time at their disposal. It helps to remember they are at a different developmental stage to us. They are in the process of finding their own way — and not necessarily taking the path we would have them choose — while seeking to understand their place and role in the world. The ties that bind them to us are often stretched taut during this time of change. The good news is this is the time when they begin to value their parents once more (Carr-Gregg and Shale, 2002) — though this may not be immediately apparent!
While the end of School is exciting, it can also be the source of great anxiety.
Remember, this is a time when many young people may be experiencing a degree of fear. A fear of failure, which may be compounded by the initial lack of recognition of their skills and accomplishments by the university, TAFE or new employers, is not uncommon. With the support of parents and family and the knowledge that it is sometimes safe to fail, they should be well equipped to face what lies ahead. We would be wise to remember the words of Thomas Szasz who said: ‘A child becomes an adult when he realises that he has a right not only to be right but also to be wrong’. During their time at secondary school they may have experienced what they perceived as failure. This may have been in a test, on the sports field, when applying for positions of leadership or even in the awarding of academic prizes. The fact that this occurred in a safe, supportive environment would have taught them some of the skills required in overcoming disillusionment or failure in later life.
There are a number of ways in which we can support our daughters during these years of transition. These include listening, being encouraging, staying calm, accepting of them (but not their bad behaviour), assisting when appropriate, being patient as they adapt to this new period of their lives and respecting their decisions (Edwards and English, 2005). In respecting their decisions we show them that we view them as young adults. At the same time they know if they make the wrong decisions their parents are always there as the safe haven to which they can return. Relationships will mature into ones based on mutual respect and affection and young people may even accept assistance in planning strategies when making decisions or aiming to achieve goals (Carr-Gregg and Shale, 2002).
And there’s you. Allow yourself a sense of sadness as your girl–woman moves into a new space, emotionally and physically. But also allow yourself a sense of joy. For you, as parents, have brought them this far, holding, nurturing, caring and guiding. And by doing so you have given them the ability to be all they can be.
Mrs Kim Cohen
3 November 2017
This is a time of year which is filled with a mix of emotions. Sadness, excitement and fear is experienced as Year 12s and Year 6s prepare to leave the comfort of a place where they have spent the majority of their time for many years in order to move to bigger things. For the Year 6 girls they may be leaving the halls of the Glennie School to embrace a new adventure, or making the big move across the road to experience all the Glennie Middle and Senior Years has to offer. Our Year 12s are preparing for their very last school exams, thinking ahead to the celebrations that follow and dreaming of the world that lies out there beyond the Glennie picket fence.
At the same time the Year 11s are experiencing some trepidation tinged with either joy or maybe some sadness as they learn of their success or otherwise in securing a coveted leadership position. It is important at times like these that students who have not received the position they desired can reach deep and use the resilience they all have within to bounce forward, rather than bounce back.
Our Year 11s have managed themselves with grace throughout the leadership process. They have done themselves, their families and their school proud. I speak of the girls who have realised their goals of being elected into their chosen leadership positions as well as those who were disappointed not to be elected. The students have encouraged, supported and helped each other on a challenging journey; at all times keeping it in perspective. The gracious way in which they have congratulated the chosen leaders or reminisced with those not chosen should be a lesson to us all.
Disappointment is not a bad thing; it is normal and can be worked through, but regret is a sad emotion. Regret can be summed up as ‘would of, should of, could of’. Many of our Year 11s may be feeling some disappointment - that’s okay, this can help them to create strategies to cope with let-downs in later life. It is an opportunity to grow in confidence and resilience. Very few, if any, of our girls will be feeling regret; throughout the process they were honest, they spoke with conviction and showed themselves in a great light. And if a few tears were shed along the way - well that’s just human nature.
I believe that with the calibre of students at our school the Year 12 cohort for 2018 will go from strength to strength, as all students join in leading the School into the future.
Congratulations and good luck to our new leaders:
School Captain: Rachel Hall
School Vice-Captain: Zoe McLoughlin
Committee Leaders 2018
- Academic Captain: Claudia Sullivan
- Academic Vice-Captain: Charlotte Lindemann
- Arts Captain: Georgia Meise
- Arts Vice-Captain: Sophie Little
- Boarding Captain: Paige Corke
- Boarding Vice-Captain: Shannon Rush
- Chapel Captain: Josephine Mahony
- Chapel Vice-Captain: Rachel Turner
- Interact Captain: Stephanie Wentzel
- Interact Vice-Captain: Chene Malan
- Sport Captain: Georgie Daniells
- Sport Vice-Captain: Abigail Schoorl
- SWC Captain: Isabella Nolte
- SWC Vice-Captain: Kate Reeves
- TIP Captain: Piper Salisbury
- TIP Vice-Captain: Alexandra Gurner (Whittaker)
- Donaldson Captain: Renee Clark
- Donaldson Vice-Captain: Amy Eiser
- Hale Captain: Matilda Parry-Okeden
- Hale Vice-Captain: Kodi Koina
- Tufnell Captain: Amelia Moss
- Tufnell Vice-Captain: Lily Ryan
- Webber Captain: Maddie Malone
- Webber Vice-Captain: Ellie Reedy
Mrs Kim Cohen
27 October 2017
I am delighted to announce the appointment of two new key staff members to The Glennie School for 2018:
Ms Jodi Blades will take on the newly created role of Dean of Students and Rev Sharon Baird will take over from Rev Kate Powell as The Glennie School Chaplain (K to 12). Both Sharon and Jodie come with a wealth of experience in Independent Schools in Queensland.
Ms Blades is a passionate educator who currently holds the position of Head of Year at St Ursula’s. She has a deep understanding of the integral part that relationships play in learning and the interrelationship between pastoral care and academic success. She has led and managed students and teachers across multiple educational platforms. Jodi has a deep commitment to girls’ education and has taught in all girls’ day and boarding schools for 16 years. I have no doubt that the experience, professionalism and passion that she will bring to the role of leading the Pastoral Care team at Glennie will add to the culture of the school and enhance the wellbeing of our students.
Rev Baird has worked as a School Chaplain since 2006 across Kindy, Junior and Secondary campuses. She is currently the School Chaplain at Hillbrook School in Brisbane. Rev Baird is committed to fulfilling God’s call on her life as a Priest and an educator, leading school communities and inspiring young people to explore a relationship with God. As a mother of a teenage daughter, Sharon is sensitive to the joys and challenges of raising and educating girls and young women to live fulfilling lives and to be the best they can be. We are excited to welcome Rev Baird to the Glennie community as she encourages and continues to develop the identity of the School as an Anglican faith community through encouraging and nurturing Christian faith amongst staff and students, developing the practice of Service Learning and offering pastoral care to students, staff and parents.
As we come to the end of the Year of Possibility and I draw close to ‘unveiling’ the new Strategic Plan to the School community at Speech Day, it is timely for me to inform you of changes in the structure of the School’s leadership team.
Until the end of 2017 the structure is:
- Principal (on executive team)
- Head of Senior Years: Mrs Tonia Gloudemans (on executive team)
- Deputy Head of Senior Years: Mr John Farmer
- Head of Middle Years: Mrs Jo Matheson (on executive team)
- Deputy Head of Middle Years: Mr Russell Baldock
- Head of Junior Years: Mr Steve Warren (on executive team)
- Deputy Head of Junior Years: Mrs Brenda Suhr
- Director of Finance and Facilities: Mr Jason Hockaday (on executive team)
- Director of Operations: Mr John Devine (on executive team)
The new executive team (2018), made up of positions aligned with the new Strategic Plan which focuses on wellbeing, learning, teaching, community and sustainable operations, is as follows:
- Deputy Principal: Mrs Jo Matheson
- Dean of Teaching and Learning: Mrs Tonia Gloudemans
- Dean of Students: Ms Jodi Blades
- Head of Junior Years: Mr Steve Warren
- Deputy Head of Junior Years: Mrs Brenda Suhr (not on executive team)
- Associate Dean of Staff: Mr Russell Baldock
- Director of Finance and Facilities: Mr Jason Hockaday
After many years in leadership roles, Mr Farmer has decided that he would like to focus on his teaching. Whilst sad that John has decided to step away from a formal leadership position, I am delighted that he will continue to teach Economics and see out the QCS program at Glennie.
Mrs Kerryn Chapman will be concluding her work in Learning Support at the end of the year to pursue a new business venture. I know many of the girls have benefitted so much from her work with them over the years.
Mrs Sue Fuss will also be taking a break from her teaching here at Glennie, as she, too, pursues other interests. Mrs Fuss has worked from Prep to Year 6 over the years and has given wonderful support to the girls.
Miss Lauren Potter will conclude her work in PE and Sport in the Junior Years and is moving to Adelaide. Starting here as a coach, before graduating as a teacher, Lauren took over a much smaller position than she now has, as sport particularly has expanded so much under her direction in the Junior Years.
Mr John Devine, current Director of Operations will be taking on the position of State Manager of AICD Tasmania. In the two years that John has been at The Glennie School he has played a pivotal role through his contribution across numerous areas, but in particular Philanthropy, Development, Community and Enrolments. John and Kirsteen are excited to be returning to Tasmania at the end of the year and they go with our very best wishes as they embark on their next adventure!
I am also delighted to announce that alongside his role as Associate Dean of Staff, a role which will focus on the culture, development, pedagogy and wellbeing of our teaching staff, Mr Baldock will be the new Head of Department - Science. I am every confidence that Russell’s experience, professionalism and passion for education and The Glennie School make him highly qualified for both positions.
A number of parents have asked how they can be involved in farewells to Rev Kate Powell. Kate has requested that her farewells are ‘low-key’. We will have a small service for Rev Powell next week for friends, colleagues and students who have played a major role in her time at Glennie. On Wednesday the Chapel Committee have organised a picnic when staff and students will have the opportunity to farewell Kate in a relaxed environment. The greater community will be able to say their goodbyes at the Carol Service and/or Speech Day later in the term.
Mrs Kim Cohen
20 October 2017
From the Principal
As we are currently finalising the position of Head of Department Science for 2018, I have been thinking a lot about this particular faculty within our school. I am delighted that at Glennie we have the majority of our students taking at least one, and often more, science subject/s in their senior years. Our science teachers are all highly qualified, professional and passionate about their craft and this rubs off on the girls. The teachers challenge them, push them out of their comfort zones and expect them to use ‘failure’ as a stepping stone to achieve their goals.
UNESCO’s latest report on the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) begins with the confronting fact that only 17 women have won a Nobel Prize in physics, chemistry or medicine since Marie Curie in 1903, compared with a staggering 572 men. Even today, only 28% of all the world’s STEM researchers are female. “Such huge disparities,” writes UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, “do not happen by chance.” Rather, she says, the under-representation of girls in STEM “is deep rooted and puts a detrimental brake on progress towards sustainable development”.
UNESCO’s report, Cracking the Code, analysed STEM participation and outcomes in more than 100 countries participating in international studies including PISA 2015 and TIMSS 2015. UNESCO found that differences in boys’ and girls’ mathematics scores widens between primary and secondary school and that, by the age of 15, boys outperform girls in two-thirds of countries measuring applied learning in mathematics. The good news is that UNESCO’s analysis also found that the STEM gender gap is closing in middle-to-high-income countries, particularly in science, possibly because parents - and particularly mothers - with higher educational qualifications and socio-economic status “have more positive attitudes towards STEM education for girls”.
However, there are significant regional differences. In Australia and New Zealand, Year 4 girls slightly outscore boys in science, whereas boys outscore girls in mathematics, particularly in Australia where the differential in boys’ favour is nearly ten points. By age 15, however, boys are outscoring girls in PISA testing in both science and mathematics, with Australia ranking 36th and New Zealand 46th out of 70 participating countries. Interestingly, however, the independent sector in Australia ranked amongst the top performing sectors worldwide. “When we look at other test results, such as the 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), it is pleasing to see that Australia’s independent schooling sector is achieving results equal to some of the best countries in the world,” according to Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) Executive Director David Robertson,
“When comparing PISA raw average scores, Australian independent school students outperformed all countries in reading and ranked second only behind Singapore in science.”
Countries where girls outperform boys in both science and mathematics at age 15 include Albania, Finland and several Arab and Asian countries, including Jordan which tops the list with girls outscoring boys by nearly 40 points in science and 15 points in mathematics. Girls from Arab countries outperform boys in other secondary school subjects as well, and young women are “seeking and succeeding in higher education at higher rates than young men”. This could be because girls and young women in Arab countries have “greater engagement overall with education”. Another interpretation, writes UNESCO, is that “single sex learning environments present in the region allow greater time for teacher interaction and opportunities for inquiry for girls”.
Addressing the issue of why boys outscore girls in many countries, UNESCO writes that: Research on biological factors, including brain structure and development, genetics, neuroscience and hormones, shows that the gender gap in STEM is not the result of sex differences in these factors or in innate ability. Instead, current research suggests that “learning is underpinned by neuroplasticity” - the ability of the brain to expand and form new connections - which means that educational outcomes, including in STEM, are “influenced by experience and can be improved through targeted interventions”. Importantly, the Cracking the code report states that: Spatial and language skills, especially written language, are positively correlated with performance in mathematics and can be improved with practice, irrespective of sex, especially during the earlier years of life. Because of this, UNESCO says that we must look to other factors to explain the STEM gender gap. These include the “social, cultural and gender norms” which influence the way parents, teachers and the wider community interact with girls and boys. All of these interactions explicitly and implicitly pass on gender stereotypes to girls from a young age, shaping their identity, beliefs and choices.
The evidence shows that “girls’ self-efficacy and attitudes related to STEM are strongly influenced by their immediate family environment, especially parents”, as well as by the wider social environment. Parents, whose own beliefs and expectations are influenced by gender stereotypes, may unintentionally treat boys and girls differently in terms of play and education. In fact, writes UNESCO: Mothers, more than fathers, appear to have a greater influence on their daughters’ education and career choices, possibly due to their role-model function.
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova concludes that girls and women will be “key players” in providing a sustainable future and improving the lives of us all. “They are,” she says, “the greatest untapped population to become the next generation of STEM professionals - we must invest in their talent”.
The Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia is currently funding an important research project by Monash University academics, Helen Forgasz and Gilah Leder, on female participation in STEM. A major aim of the study is to track the impact of school setting (single-sex or coeducational) on girls’ subject choices at school and eventual career paths in STEM. Preliminary findings are very positive for girls’ schools and the Alliance will release a the full report in the near future.
- UNESCO. (2017). Cracking the code: Girls’ and women’s education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0025/002534/253479E.pdf
- ISQ. (2017). Toowoomba Independent School Leaders Briefed on State of Play in Education. Retrieved from: https://www.isq.qld.edu.au/media-resources/toowoomba-independent-school-leaders-briefed-on-state-of-play-in-education
Mrs Kim Cohen
13 October 2017
I must be honest, with four late nights in a row and meetings back to back - I ran out of time to write an article. But I am all about finding a solution, not focusing on the problem, so I found someone else’s article to share. I hope you share it with your children too. Enjoy!
What makes sports stars like Serena and Venus Williams great? We think we know: they are naturals who came into the world with a talent for playing tennis. Fortunately for all the rest of us, it's not so simple.
The good news is that talent has little or nothing to do with success. In virtually every field of endeavour, most people learn quickly at first, then more slowly and then stop developing completely. A few people keep improving for years and go on to greatness.
But greatness isn't handed to anyone; it requires a lot of hard work. Yet that isn't enough since many people work hard for years without getting significantly better. What's missing? The best people in any field are those who devote the most hours to the kind of practice that's intended to make you do better, tells you how well you are doing and involves doing the same things over and over again.
So how do you practise schoolwork? Think about all your schoolwork, like writing, reading, calculating, sitting tests, understanding difficult material – the list goes on and you can practise them all.
First of all, you have to start every task with a new goal: instead of merely trying to get it done, you aim to get better at it. Everything that you do at school, from the most basic task to the most demanding, is a skill you can improve. Once you know that, you will approach your schoolwork in a new way. You will process information more deeply and retain it longer. You will want more information on what you’re doing and adopt a longer-term point of view.
You aren't just getting the work done, you're trying to get better at it.
Feedback is crucial, and getting feedback is easy at school. Some students give up when their work is criticised. The ones who do well welcome criticism as the path to getting better results. They even ask teachers to show them where they are going wrong and how they can get better.
The important truth is we can make ourselves what we want.
Here are some ways you can try:
1. Approach each school task with the goal of getting much better at it.
2. As you do the task, focus on what's happening and why you're doing it the way you are.
3. After the task, ask your teacher for feedback on your work. Make changes in your work as necessary. Practise the changes.
4. Think about your future and the jobs you will be able to do, the life you want to lead.
5. Do these things all the time, not just now and then.
Acknowledgement: Adapted from What it takes to be great
by Geoffrey Colvin, senior editor-at-large, Fortune Magazine
Mrs Kim Cohen