30 November 2018
Yesterday we celebrated the end of the Year of ‘Be Like a Girl’ and acknowledged student achievement in its very different forms during The Glennie School JY and MSY Speech Days and Prize-giving Celebrations. Below I have shared adapted parts of my presentation which referred to the theme of 2018 and the introduction to the theme for 2019.
What a year it has been - we have experienced joy, tears, exhilaration, challenges and change - and our girls embraced them all in the spirit of being like a girl. In fact the students were so inspired by the theme that I was tempted to keep it for another year - but there is no need, it is already instilled and so much has been achieved by our girls, with passionate staff supporting, encouraging, coaching and inspiring them every step of the way.
There are many stories of girls being powerful in their own right each and every day. These include the girl who tries and tries and never gives up, even though she struggles so much in maths; the student who gets home every evening after a long day at school only to don her work clothes and work a few hours in the family business or help her parents by supporting her younger siblings with their homework; and the girl who recognises a need in the community and does something about it
To these girls - stand tall.
So, the groundwork is done - our girls have the soft and hard skills required to be a girl/woman in the 21st Century. They know how to :
- 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
There have been many challenges for many in our community during the year and some disappointments. But the learning they gained from these disappointments, their development of character, their get up and go attitude - they did it like a girl. They threw back their shoulders, straightened their spines, plastered smiles on their faces and strode forward - Like a Girl. Many of them epitomised what Nelson Mandela meant when he said, “I never lose, I either win or I learn”.
And now? Now it is time to turn our focus outward.
I have thought long and hard about the theme for next year. I am always inspired by those who go out of their way for others, inspired by people like Steve Warren and those many students and teachers who find their strength in helping others, putting others’ needs before their own.
Remember the starfish. Thousands were beached and a little boy was throwing them back into the ocean one at a time. It made no difference to the thousands - but it certainly made a difference to each individual starfish. Individuals survived because of his actions.
Mother Teresa said, “If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one”. That's easy isn't it?
Mark Twain made a profound statement when he said, “ The two most important days in your life are the day you are born … and the day you find out why”. He is referring of course to your reason.
What is our reason for being here?
There may be many reasons. Your daughter may be the reason someone can face coming to school each day; the reason someone feels good about themselves; the reason a friend can stand up to bullies; the reason their baby brother or sister smiles; the reason you, as parents, parents work so hard; or even the reason a teacher continues in this noble career. They may be the reason, and if not - they can be.
So my challenge for 2019 to each and every one of you in the Glennie community is Be the Reason!
This week we sadly farewelled a number of staff members from Glennie and wish them well with their future endeavours.
Prior to listing the staff who are leaving I would like to acknowledge Ms Sue Reynolds, who is stepping away for the role of Head of Hale House after 11 years. Ms Reynolds has led the House and supported the girl’s wellbeing with fierce determination and loyalty. We thank her for the enormous contribution that she has made to the Student Wellbeing team:
Staff leaving us at the end of their contracts are:
- Liza Barnes
- Kylie Dolan
- John Handyside
- Roz Riley (Teacher Aide)
- Bree Coleman
- Olivia Taylor
Staff who have been with us for some years and are heading off to pursue further career options are:
- Wendy Evans
- Brad Griffiths
- Beth Hardey (Teacher Aide)
- Sue Kelly (Teacher Aide)
- Peta Vincent
- Steve Warren
- Kim Coleman
- Ian Dixon
- Nicarla Hindle
- Val Lovell
- Megan O'Reilly
- Linda Rother
Teachers taking Long Leave:
- Nola Dadswell (one year)
- Sue Reynolds (one term)
- Fiona Stone (one year)
All of the leaving teachers and most non-teaching staff were farewelled on assemblies or boarders’ functions by students who spoke sincerely and with passion about the impact that these people have had on their lives during their time at Glennie.
There is,however, one teacher who, only this week, has been offered a position of added responsibility at another school and therefore was not farewelled by students: Ms Wendy Evans has been at Glennie for four years and during her time here has made a substantial contribution to the maths and music departments as well as the extra-curricular music program. She is both professional and passionate in her practice and is going to be missed by staff and students.
Although we had farewelled Ms Leanne Klein on assembly this week, I am delighted to announce that due to staffing changes we have been able to offer her a contract position for another year!
As a staff we farewelled our departing colleagues today, but in this forum I would like to express my thanks and wish you all well in your new ventures.
I would like to make special mention of four staff members who have been at Glennie for many years:
Mrs Kim Coleman leaves us after 17 years as the School Counsellor. During her time here Kim has touched the lives of many students and their families through her pastoral support during times of need. She has also been a huge support and sounding board to the Heads of House.
Mrs Sue Kelly has worked tirelessly as a Teacher Aide for almost 13 years. She is know for her kind manner, her can-do attitude and her friendly welcoming smile. She has also been passionate in her organisation of staff social events!
Val Lovell has been the second mother to hundreds of girls during her 13 years in the role of Head of Boarding. Val is known for her caring nature - the girls have felt loved and nurtured on her watch.
Steve Warren is the ultimate gentleman and gentle man. For me coming into the role of principal after the previous Head of 15 years was daunting to say the least. Steve made it easier. He was welcoming, accepting and 100% loyal from the word go. Steve is much loved in the Glennie community, not just because of his kind and caring nature, but also because he always stands for what is right. He epitomises our values of Integrity, Respect, Compassion and Courage.
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
Click here to view the Speech Day photo gallery.
23 November 2018
As the holidays approach it is a good time to encourage your daughters to immerse themselves in a good book - preferably more than one. With the rise of the smartphone and the amount of time spent on Social Media and Netflix, reading is an activity that has become less attractive to a number of students. This is problematic in that the benefits of reading are so much more than just the ability to lose yourself into the world that the author creates.
In a recent article in Education Review, Professor Ross Johnston asks, how is it that in an era when the number of words in our lives is multiplying by the millions virtually each day, “we are now at risk of losing some of the very communication skills, particularly that of reading, that helped us become connected in the first place”?
It is ironic that we seem to be turning into slick readers, skating over the top of words, rather than deep readers, diving for their richness, at a time when researchers from multiple disciplines — not only in literary studies and education, but in psychology, paediatrics and neuroscience — are stressing both the testable importance of reading (and of reading stories), and the positive effects of reading on the brain. As Ross Johnston writes, the brain not only has a region dedicated exclusively to reading, but research from the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT shows that this region has developed the connections for reading before children even learn to read.
Researchers scanned the brains of children at age 5 before they could read and at age 8 after they learnt to read, finding that they could predict the precise location where each child’s visual word form area (VWFA) would develop, based on the pre-existing connections of that region to other parts of the brain associated with language processing. Research by Carnegie Mellon University scientists also shows that an intensive six-month daily reading program in children aged 8 to 10 causes the brain to physically rewire itself, as well as increasing the volume of white matter in the language area of the brain improving communication within the brain. But it is not just that increased participation in reading makes children good readers and better students.
Professor Ross Johnston cites several examples of research showing that reading has positive effects on a person’s wellbeing. Research by Emory University’s Center for Neuropolicy has found that reading a novel can cause persisting changes in connectivity and brain function, as well as improving a reader’s empathy. This is backed up by the research of Canadian academics, Keith Oatley and Raymond Mar, who have found that people who are frequent readers of fiction are better at understanding other people, empathising with them, and seeing the world from their perspective. In fact, Uri Hasson from Princeton University believes that the brains of storytellers and listeners can actually synchronise. As Ross Johnston notes, this is “pretty amazing” research, but how is the sudden impact of the digital generation and all the technological devices we now have access to affecting or changing our reading behaviour and, therefore, our brains?
The ability of the human brain to read only developed 5,400 years ago, helping the brain to develop further critical skills including analogical reasoning, empathy and critical analysis. But as Maryanne Wolf from UCLA asks, if all we do now is skim and skate over the top of words, will we change the neuronal circuit that is so crucial to the brain’s ability to read? Sherry Turkle from MIT says she is not ‘anti-technology’ but she is concerned that essential and complex ‘deep reading’ processes may be coming under threat. There is also wider concern among academics that the loss of deep reading may threaten cultural knowledge and result in the loss of knowledge about language. Maryanne Wolf writes that English literature scholar and teacher Mark Edmundson has described how many students are now actively avoiding the study of the classic literature of the 19th and 20th centuries “because they no longer have the patience to read longer, denser, more difficult texts”.
Research by Ziming Liu from San Jose State University shows that the “new norm” in reading is skimming, with many readers using an F or Z pattern to sample the first line and then word-spotting and browsing through the text. When readers skim like this, writes Wolf, the brain reduces the time allocated to deep reading processes like grasping complexity, understanding other people’s feelings, and perceiving beauty. As Rosemary Ross Johnston writes in Education Review: This all inhibits the development of deep literacy, that essence of literacy — communication of meanings — which grows out of deep and contemplative reading, and helps us not only to think subjunctively (‘How would I feel were that me?) but to develop insight and empathy that acknowledges and values ‘the truth of the other’ (‘this is how she feels because she is she’). “Deep literacy,” argues Ross Johnston, “nurtures the imaginations and minds that generate civil societies.”
Her advice to educators and parents is to observe and teach observation; model looking at details; encourage curiosity and a sense of wonder; question and imagine; exercise and practise thinking and its articulation; and encourage a sense of play. Above all, however, educators and parents should encourage and model deep reading. Not only will deep reading encourage empathy — something that Ross Johnston says seems even more valuable in this “tangled and sometimes angry world” of bullying — but deep literacy will encourage something that genuinely matters and is much needed today: “a generosity of spirit that is mindful and respectful of others”.
Raube, S. (2009, December 9). Carnegie Mellon scientists discover first evidence of brain rewiring in children. Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved from: https://www.cmu.edu/news/archive/2009/December/dec9_brainrewiringevidence.shtml
Johnston, R. R. (2018, October 15). Why reading and deep literacy matter in a technologically connected world. Education Review. Retrieved from: https://www.educationreview.com.au/2018/10/whyreading-and-deep-literacy-matter-in-a-technologically-connected-world/
Trafton, A. (2016, August 8). Study finds brain connections key to learning. McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. Retrieved from: http://mcgovern.mit.edu/news/news/study-finds-brain-connections-keyto-learning/
Wolf, M. (2018, August 25). Skim reading is the new normal. The effect on society is profound. The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/25/skim-reading-newnormal-maryanne-wolf
Mrs Kim Cohen
16 November 2018
For the Year 12 parents in our community. We have come to the end of a beautiful week where girls and their parents have been celebrated. It has been a time for our girls to express their gratitude to you, their parents, and the school for the love and support they have received during their schooling journey and for us to acknowledge their contribution to the Glennie Community.
Every year at this time I think not only about the young woman 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 has settled we may find ourselves wondering: ‘What now?’ The lines that demarcated rules and boundaries become blurred as the structure, supported by years of schooling, now shifts. We all feel somewhat at sea. The comfort and security of the school day routine had been pulled from under our feet and, as a family, we are left to muddle through a whole new set of challenges without guidelines or the clearly defined set of boundaries that school life provided.
I find consolation in the fact we’re not alone. Most parents had come down to earth with an anti-climactic bang after all the school-is-out excitement is over and the realisation hits home that our daughters are 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 our daughters settle into life after school, we 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, however, this is also 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
9 November 2018
Congratulations to all the Year 11 students who have been appointed to the positions of up Captain and Vice-Captain on Glennie committees for 2019:
Boarding: Erin Geddes (Captain), Lila Vincent (Vice-Captain)
Academic: Thedini Pinidiyapathirage (Captain), Sofie Halfpenny (Vice-Captain)
Arts: Jessica Rutledge (Captain), Alice Armytage (Vice-Captain)
Chapel: Nikhitha Jacob (Captain), Madison Draheim (Vice-Captain)
Student Welfare Committee: Mya Watkins (Captain), Saburi Chavan (Vice-Captain)
Interact: Katie Chicalas (Captain), Georgia Ditchfield (Vice-Captain)
Sport: Lily Black (Captain), Sophie Hilliar (Vice-Captain)
Donaldson: Eloise Innes (Captain), Georgia Applebee (Vice-Captain)
Hale: Emily Waters (Captain), Jessica Black (Vice-Captain)
Tufnell: Torwen Eerkens (Captain), Ella White (Vice-Captain)
Webber: Sarah-Jane Coggan (Captain), Isabella Murphy (Vice-Captain)
Last week I wrote about how to help you daughter deal with their emotions when they don't receive the prize/leadership position that they were hoping for. I said that it is important to learn to cope productively with disappointment because it’s an important skill that underpins a sense of wellbeing. This week I would like to expand on this topic as Year 11 have now finalised the process of selecting the School leaders for 2019.
He process, and outcome, can be particularly stressful for our Year 11s and thus their parents, and it is more important than ever that we are teaching our girls how to deal with disappointment in a positive way.
We regularly refer to the research of Carol Dweck when speaking about dealing with failure, or rather, what is perceived as failure. Dweck highlights the opportunities of not getting what you want, or believe that you are entitled to or have worked for. She talks about using these opportunities as learning experiences, to be approached with a growth mindset and to determine what can be gleaned for the next time. To give up by taking on an attitude of, ‘What’s the point?’ only weakens us as humans and makes the next ‘failure’ even more disappointing.
I love this quote by Wilma Rudolph, who sums it up so well:
Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion one day.
How true this statement is …’nobody goes undefeated all the time’, and what better place to learn how to cope with ‘defeat’ than during your childhood and adolescence when you have your parents and teachers to support you through it. Note, that the term ‘support’ does not mean rushing in to make it all better or make the problem go away. Rather, in this context, it means allowing your daughter to work through her emotions, helping her to understand why this has happened and, possibly most importantly, not permitting her to embrace the culture of blame that is so evident in our society. She needs to understand that not getting what her heart most desires, after preparing for weeks or years and not being selected for a leadership position, training for months and not being chosen for a team, spending days on an assignment only to find that she has not fulfilled the criteria, having a friend move to a different group … all of this has a name, it’s called LIFE.
You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It won’t happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.” Joel Olsteen
Mrs Kim Cohen
2 November 2018
Today five phenomenal Year 11s made speeches to the whole of Middle and Senior Years as part of the selection process for 2019 School Captains. They all did a wonderful job, detailing their lives of their female leader of choice, outlining how they epitomised the values of Compassion, Courage, Respect and Integrity. They then spoke about how these values can be lived out by the students at Glennie. Well done to the following students:
I am delighted to announce The Glennie School Captains for 2019 are Ekene Aghanwa and Hope Loveday. Congratulations, I know that our student leadership is in the hands of girls who stand for all that Glennie espouses.
This week I announced some key staff appointments for 2019. Please join me in congratulating the following staff members on their upcoming appointments:
Head of House Hale: Ms Broadfoot
Head of House Tufnell: Ms Watts
Head of Department - The Arts: Mr Wisley
Director of Performance JY: Mr Findlay
Director of Performance MSY: Ms Davidson
You will know most of these fine teachers, but the majority of you will not know Ms Davidson. Ms Davidson is currently the conductor of The Glennie Senior Years Concert Band and is also the Coordinator of Junior School Specialist Music Teachers at Toowoomba Grammar School.
I am confident that the future of Hale and Tufnell Houses as well as The Glennie Arts program is in excellent hands.
As the season of awards ceremonies and leadership selection is upon us, you may find yourself having to console your child if they don't receive the prize/leadership position that they were hoping for. It is important to learn to cope productively with disappointment because it’s an important skill that underpins a sense of wellbeing. If you do need to support a disappointed child or adolescent the following pointers may be of assistance:
Talk about what matters.
An important aspect of school life is to be immersed in learning, engaging and participating. The prizes and accolades are a nice addition. However, some students desperately want always to be the best. Ask your child, “What does the prize/position really mean to you?” If it is recognition for work well done, help them see what a good year they have had and how much they have accomplished. It should be their own sense of satisfaction for a job well done that really matters.
Don’t blame those who make the decisions.
Those who give prizes and appoint leadership positions are keenly aware of their responsibility and are thoughtful and conscientious in their decisions. Decisions are not made lightly.
Learn to find joy in the success of other people.
Children can focus on their own unhappiness or be happy for their classmate. Bad feelings fade quickly. Disappointment provides an opportunity to take joy in someone else’s success. That may be difficult, but the ability to enjoy another’s good fortune is part of an emotionally mature life.
Focus on happy memories.
If a child cares enough about an activity or subject to be disappointed by not winning a prize/gaining a leadership position, that activity has been important. Celebrate the year’s work as a family. By focusing on the happy memories, the lessons learned, the personal growth and skills developed and the relationships cultivated, parents can help lessen the sting of feeling passed over. Acknowledge their disappointment and help your child stay focused on what is most valuable. That way, you help them develop resilience and emotional maturity.
Mrs Kim Cohen
26 October 2018
Today is World Teachers’ Day. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the amazing teachers at this school for the dedication, professionalism and passion that they bring to this job each and every day. It can be a tough gig, but one which is so rewarding when we watch our girls facing and conquering challenges through hard work and perseverance.
Mrs Elizabeth Gillam, Chair of The Glennie School Council, had this to say on behalf of the Council:
To all Glennie Teachers
In recognition of World Teachers' Day, inaugurated in 1994, The Glennie School Council would like to thank all the teaching staff at The Glennie School.
We recognize the importance of not only you as a teacher but of your passion demonstrated each and every day which shows in your work and for which a Glennie teacher is renowned.
It is important to remember that it is due to this passion that every day you are influencing a young mind, a growing mind and you are becoming part of the lifelong memories of each of your students. You should never underestimate the value of this.
As you go about today take the time to reflect on what it is you do and how valuable it is to your students; your team; the school; your community; your family and to the world. Celebrate the moment - you deserve it.
Last Friday, Jo Matherson (Deputy Principal), Donna Grant (Head of Boarding 2019) and I were lucky enough to attend the annual QLD Yalari Dinner. This is an opportunity for Yalari to recognise the achievements of students on Yalari Scholarships as well as being a major fundraising event.
All of our Yalari students presented extremely well and were wonderful ambassadors for the Glennie School. I would like to make particular mention of Sophia Mene, who introduced Waverly Stanley, the founder of Yalari, in a passionate and heartfelt speech, and Seferina Whap for her Acknowledgment of Country.
Yalari was founded in 2005 by Indigenous educationalist Waverley Stanley, his wife Llew Mullins and a group of like-minded and generous people. Waverley grew up in the town of Murgon and attended Murgon State School. It was at this school where his Grade 7 teacher, Mrs Rosemary Bishop, recognised Waverley’s potential and felt he deserved a chance for a brighter future. Mrs Bishop was instrumental in Waverley gaining a scholarship to attend Toowoomba Grammar School for his high school education. It was this opportunity that started him on the Yalari journey.
Waverley acknowledges his later opportunities and success were shaped by the education he received. In recognition of this opportunity and the desire for Indigenous generational change, Yalari was founded in 2005 and the Rosemary Bishop Indigenous Education Scholarship program was established.
The Glennie School and Toowoomba Grammar School were the foundation schools partnering with Yalari and now there are 26 partner schools located across seven of Australia’s states and territories. Yalari’s selection process for partner schools is aimed at ensuring their scholars are placed in the care of dedicated education professionals. Each of the current partner schools across Australia has been chosen through their alignment to Yalari’s vision, values and philosophy.
Yalari identifies children who are doing well at primary school and, after a rigours application and interview process with them and their families, gives these students the opportunity to be educated at some of the best boarding schools in Australia. Through the gift of education, Yalari provides young Indigenous people with the ideas and skills to help them pursue their goals and dreams, whatever they may be.
Through unwavering vision and passion, Yalari is providing real educational opportunities for Indigenous children and is supported nationally by individuals, philanthropic foundations, companies, government and many fantastic volunteers.
‘Yalari’ is a word from the Birri Gubba Indigenous language group meaning ‘child’. Waverley was given permission to use ‘Yalari’ by the late Grandfather “Blokey” Wilson.
Mrs Kim Cohen
19 October 2018
The new Head of Boarding, Donna Grant, and I have just returned from a wonderful trip visiting our families and prospective families in Meandarra, Surat, Roma, Charleville, Taroom, Mundubbera, Miles and Dalby. We were welcomed into family homes and had mums organising functions at external venues. It was rewarding to have relaxed conversations with parents about their daughters, for them to hear Donna’s vision for the boarding houses and to answer face to face concerns that parents may have with regards to the day or boarding schools. Speaking of vision for the boarding houses, having Donna head up and complement the existing boarding team is very exciting as she has a number of initiatives to be rolled out in the new year.
I would like to extend special thanks to the following parents who welcomed us into their homes or organised events at a function venue: Phil and Cindy Coggan, Chris and Leon Packer, Sarah Parry-Okeden, and Ainsley and Troy Emmerton. Your hospitality was overwhelming and I know that Donna now feels very much a part of the Glennie community.
One of the most positive aspects of this trip in particular, supported by engagements I have had with numerous families over the year, is particularly encouraging, and that is that parents feel confident to raise matters with me on a broad range of topics. I keep on talking about The Glennie Executive having an open door policy and this is a fine example of how this works. I am overwhelmed by positive feedback we hear but as with everything in life, I am just as keen to learn of those things which are of concern to the Glennie community. I am a strong believer in open communication knowing what is on the minds of our families presents an opportunity to address each of these matters in turn.
A number of matters have been brought to my attention recently and I am going to place them all into the general category of “Rumour”. As we all know, failing any other feedback, people tend to invent their own and this can never be a good thing for a community so let me take this opportunity to highlight some of the concerns and to respond to each one in turn.
The best way to address these concerns is to be as upfront as possible and honest with our feedback. Sometimes you will not hear the whole story from the School’s perspective as we have to maintain confidentiality in decisions and discussions regarding individual students and families. Unfortunately, this tends to be when people fill the gap with their own interpretation of events. I encourage you to urge other parents who have concerns or have heard something of concern, to contact a member of the Educational Exec team to address their concerns (names below). Please remember at these times, every decision that we make is always underpinned by our core values of Compassion, Respect, Integrity and Courage.
I will address some of the rumours that have been brought to my attention. If you are aware of others that you would like addressed please let me know:
- Myth: There are a number of Year 10 students leaving because they could not get their preferred subject choice. Typically in any school year, families do leave a school for various reasons. While I am not at liberty to publish the reasons students have chosen to leave the school (as it is a personal matter) I can tell you that only a handful of students are leaving this cohort and of them, only two have indicated subject choices as a reason.
- Myth: The Principal informed Year 12 students that they would have to pay for their balloons for the traditional 100 Day Celebration. Firstly, this is not a tradition. Last year, the Year 12s decided to celebrate this day and organised it themselves. This year it was once again a Year 12 initiative. The School was once again not involved and therefore did not fund it.
- Myth: The subject selection in Year 10 is limited due to lack of teachers and/or as a cost cutting exercise. There is always a balancing act between making subjects available and being able to support these subjects, and it always gets distilled down to applying resources where they are needed. Having said that, we do have a broad selection of subjects and wherever there was support for a subject, it was made available. Every attempt is made to support the choices made. Subject selection is a process and it went ahead in the same way as it always has:
- The process was clearly communicated via multiple methods; Direct engagement with students and parents, newsletters, supporting documentation distributed with the subject choice forms, and individual communication/counselling throughout the selection process whenever concerns were raised.
- Subject choices were released to students, with the proviso that if there was insufficient uptake a subject could not be offered.
- The subject lines in the timetable were then created using these preferences in such a way that the majority of the students should have been able to do at least six of their eight preferred subjects.
- It does happen on occasion, (over the years) where a student may not have received their first choice due to her choosing a combination of subjects that very few other students had chosen. There were some subjects that had fewer than five students choose them and clearly, it is impractical to sustain these numbers in a subject.
The reality is, as in any organisation, that there is a fine balance between supply and demand and we have to ensure that the breadth of what we can offer balances with its uptake.
- Myth: Glennie does nothing about reports of bullying. This rumour is a particular concern as we at Glennie take very seriously any reports of bullying. Each incident is fully investigated by Heads of House, the Dean of Students and others as appropriate and dealt with in line with our behaviour management procedures accessible in the Student Handbook. All parties are heard. Incidents, unfortunately, are never linear and there are almost always complexities across the communication which impact how we arrive at a resolution. We use various researched methods to deal with the instances, one of which is Restorative Practices, which research tells us has the most effective results. Students who are guilty of bullying are dealt with. As you would appreciate the consequences for those students are not widely advertised; this would not be appropriate when dealing with any of our girls in any situation in which they may find themselves. These consequences may involve community service and/or internal and external suspensions to name a couple. I believe that because of our level of confidentiality when dealing with these issues there is a perception that nothing is being done; I would like to assure our community, that this is not the case.
- Myth: Some teachers are not qualified for the subjects they are teaching. This is an easy one to respond to. We have a highly qualified teaching staff, all of whom have the relevant expertise in their subject.
Change in any environment can be hard; in schools with big and diverse communities it takes on a new dimension altogether. There have been a few changes over the past year and a half and, of course, the new senior curriculum introduced to Year 10s this term has added extra pressure. From my interaction with principals across the Darling Downs and greater Queensland, I know that this pressure is being felt by all cohorts of Year 10s across Queensland.
Many other schools will be starting the senior curriculum in Term 1 2019, compressing the first two units over three terms of Year 11 and starting Year 12 work (Unit 3) in Term 4 of Year 11. At Glennie we did not want to add to the pressure of the new curriculum by compressing the first two units into three terms and, on advice from five schools we visited in Melbourne, who are way down the track in this system, we opted for starting the units in Term 4 Year 10 so that our students have four terms to complete Units 1 and 2. Our teachers have been preparing for this since early in 2017.
Ms Tonia Gloudemans will be sending a letter out to Year 10 parents early next week with an update on how things are progressing with the start of Unit 1, as well as outlining assessment practices, explaining the Term 4 start in more detail and addressing the issue of resources in the teaching of the new curriculum.
Glennie Educational Exec Team:
Principal: Kim Cohen
Deputy Principal: Jo Matherson
Head of Junior Years: Steve Warren
Dean of Students: Jodi Blades (student wellbeing issues)
Dean of Teaching and Learning: Tonia Gloudemans (academic and curriculum issues)
Associate Dean of Staff: Russell Baldock
Mrs Kim Cohen
21 September 2018
As we finish of Term 3 it is time again to farewell a few staff and students. We wish everything of the best to the families who are leaving us for varied reasons. We wish you well as you move on from The Glennie family and trust that you will find yourselves in a warm and inviting environment elsewhere. Wherever you go may God keep you in the palm of his hand.
To the following staff, go well and go safely, you will be missed:
- Amy Logan – Gymnastics and Volleyball Coach
- Taryn Obst - Retail Sales Assistant - GOSS
- Joy Karez - Learning Support and Hospitality Teacher Aide
- Loretta Callaghan - Junior Years Tuckshop Convenor
We do have a new member of staff who has recently joined the team. Welcome - we are delighted to have you as part of the family:
- David Moore - Facilities Team Member
Two staff members are lucky enough to be going on long service leave. We wish you all the best and hope you enjoy a time of relaxation and renewal:
- Alison Bedford – Long Service Leave for the first 4 weeks of Term 4
- Robyn Coonan – Long Service Leave for Term 4 2018
Due to the implementation of the new senior curriculum in Year 10 Term 4, there will be some knock-on timetabling effects for a few classes. If your daughter is affected, you will be notified during the next week.
Parents are reminded that in the sad circumstance of you withdrawing your child from Glennie, a full term's notice is required in writing. In lieu of this, a term's fees are payable. Notice to withdraw is not required for Year 12 students leaving at the end of the school year. For all other students, notification should be made at the latest by the first day of the term of which the student will conclude their studies at Glennie. Notifications should be emailed to the Registrar firstname.lastname@example.org
Please remember that if there are any issues that are causing you to consider withdrawing your child we encourage you to speak to the relevant executive member of staff as soon as possible.
I wish you all well for the next two weeks and I hope that your daughters have a wonderful, fulfilling break from school.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Mrs Kim Cohen
14 September 2018
On Friday we held our annual Audi Centre Toowoomba Corporate Golf Classic, in conjunction with The Glennie School Foundation, at Toowoomba Golf Club. It was a wonderful, sunny day, filled with high spirits and some good golf. No matter the standard of your swing, everyone played enthusiastically and had a great deal of fun. I would like to extend warm thanks to The Glennie School Foundation and Tammy Wilson for the enormous amount of work that they put into the organisation of the day.
On Wednesday we farewelled Tina Tilden from our Development Office. Tina has worked at Glennie since 2004 and has been an amazing asset to the development team. Her skill in putting out an impressive eNews every week as well as The Glennie Gazette every year, to name only two aspects of her role, has been quite phenomenal. She will be missed.
So often when people in the wider community become aware that I am the Principal of Glennie, they make comments along the lines of, ‘Ah - you can always tell a Glennie girl’, or, ‘Your students always look so good, they represent the school so well’. I agree. We do, however, need to ensure that our standards do not drop in any aspect of the Glennie education; be that intellectual, physical, emotional or spiritual. At the same time, it is important that the girls continue to maintain their high standard of presentation which is indicative of a pride in their school and themselves.
Yesterday on Middle Years assembly I ran an activity with the students to determine how many were wearing their uniforms correctly. The result was a bit disappointing; particularly when it came to the presence of hats and clean shoes!
I would like to reach out to you, as parents, to please support us on the home front in our efforts in ensuring that Glennie girls represent the School, and themselves, in a tidy and presentable way. It is important that all girls wear their hats when engaged in outdoor activities, during break times and when walking outside as protection against the harsh sun.
Please be aware that the only earrings that students may wear are small gold or silver studs (one pair in the lower lobes) and their hair should be worn neatly off their faces, at the back or on the sides of their heads, so that hats can be worn.
I have included the relevant section from the Student Handbook to help you to ensure that your daughter is presenting herself in a way that upholds the high standards of our beautiful School.
School Bag (compulsory)
Only the school backpack or hand-held school bag which can be purchased from the school are permitted.
Permitted at morning tea or lunch, when outside.
Earrings, plain silver or small gold studs worn in the lower earlobes, one per ear, is the only jewellery permitted.
A small, simple watch coloured silver, gold or black is permitted.
Any type or amount is not permitted
Piercings and Body Art
The only piercing permitted is in the lower earlobe. Multiple earrings or fancy studs are not allowed. Sleepers are regarded as dangerous during physical activities. If students are only able to wear sleepers, it is required that these be removed before coming to school and replaced on return from school. Medical opinion suggests that ear piercings will not close in this period of time. Face or body piercings are not permitted. Tattoos or any other form of body art are not permitted.
Hair must be in a neat, conservative style; no shaved areas or way out (e.g. spiky) styles are acceptable. Colour must be natural and hair must be kept out of eyes and off the face. If longer than collar length, hair must be tied back neatly and secured by a plain navy scrunchie or navy ribbon (both available from the school). If hair needs to be pinned off the face, bobby pins or plain tortoiseshell combs are to be used. Headbands should be navy or tortoiseshell. Hair must be in a style that will allow you to wear your hat correctly.
Mrs Kim Cohen
7 September 2018
This week our Year 12s sat for their QCS tests. The atmosphere was one of positivity and comradery. Whilst the days were long and tiring, the girls were provided with treats to sustain them and enjoyed chatting together between the exams. The feeling that I got when talking with them during breaks was that they felt well prepared and had given their very best effort. Well done to all of you, I hope that the experience was enjoyable.
Tomorrow, 28 Year 9 and 10 students head off to France on the French Immersion trip. They are being accompanied by Mr Vincent Morere, Ms Tonia Gloudemans and Mrs Janene Mills. We wish them well on their exciting journey to one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Make the most of this amazing opportunity.
We have so many phenomenal teachers at Glennie; they are hardworking, professional, nurturing and dedicated. There are currently two awards that recognise high-performing teachers. If you wish to nominate a teacher for either of these you can do so via the following links:
It is that time of term when most members of the school community are feeling the pressure. Students are preparing for assessments, sitting exams, finalising subject choices and applying for tertiary education. Teachers are supervising tests, planning for Term 4 and 2019, responding to umpteen emails, teaching class and marking, marking, marking. Parents have the stresses of their daily lives as well as having to support their children as they learn resilience in times of challenge.
It is at times like these that we can all take heed the words of Hermann Hesse in his novel, Siddhartha, “... you know that soft is stronger than hard, water stronger than rocks, love stronger than force.”
When we are tired, stressed or worried it is so easy to lash out at those closest to us, or those who we believe have wronged us. At high-pressure times I ensure that I double and triple check my emails to ensure that the tone does not give a hint as to my stress levels. When having to write a difficult email I have gotten into the habit of rereading it 12 hours later before pressing send. It is a good habit to foster. Always remembering that there is a human at the other end reading my discourse. A human who will be dealing with their own issues at work and at home. If possible I will have a conversation rather than sending an email, so much more can be achieved in a far shorter space of time.
Please encourage your daughters to be mindful of others’ feelings when they post on social media or send a text or email. So much hurt could be avoided if people just hesitated prior to pushing send, post or share. As adults, we need to be the role models in this behaviour.
Mrs Kim Cohen
31 August 2018
According to Dr Ben Jensen of the Grattan Institute, ‘The world’s highest-performing school systems provide time for teachers to be mentored, research best practice, have their classes observed and receive constructive feedback on their performance’ (2014). At Glennie, teachers engage in fortnightly in-house professional development where they work collaboratively on such things as the development of the Staff Mission Statement, pedagogical frameworks, inquiry learning, what our values look like in the classroom, design thinking and the incorporation of digital technologies into the curriculum. This collaborative approach is a powerful tool in professional development and thus, student learning.
What teachers do in the classroom is always student centred and we are guided by The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. These comprise seven Standards which outline what teachers should know and be able to do. The Standards are interconnected, interdependent and overlapping. They are grouped into three domains of teaching: Professional Knowledge, Professional Practice and Professional Engagement. In practice, teaching draws on aspects of all three domains, keeping the student as the focus in each.
- Know students and how they learn
- Know the content and how to teach it
- Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning
- Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments
- Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning
- Engage in professional learning
- Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/ carers and the community
The domains constitute agreed characteristics of the complex process of teaching. AITSL (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership) is supportive of a collaborative learning culture to help teachers engage with the domains and support each other in ensuring that student learning of the highest standard is occurring.
According to AITSL you will know your school’s professional learning culture is collaborative when:
- teachers engage in frequent, ongoing formal and informal conversations about pedagogy and teaching practice
- teachers work together to research, plan and design effective teaching strategies and programs
- teachers engage in professional dialogue to evaluate and modify teaching strategies and programs
- teachers engage in regular classroom observation and feedback and can articulate how changes in their practice impact on student outcomes
- there is collective ownership of learning goals and outcomes, for both the individual and whole-school
- teachers undertake leadership roles that include initiating and leading professional discussions with colleagues to evaluate practice
- collaboration is prioritised and sufficient time is given to investing in the practice
At Glennie we can tick every one of these dots points thus ensuring that we enjoy a collaborative and professional learning culture.
Mrs Kim Cohen
24 August 2018
As a mother of three daughters, I have so often wanted to swoop in, gather them in my arms and protect them from the world when the going has been tough. I still frequently have the urge, and the youngest is 21 years old! I am now pleased that I refrained from ‘saving’ them when they had fallouts with their friends, forgot their lunch at home, didn’t complete an assignment on time, or received a poor result for an assessment. I know I may sound cruel, but they are now independent, confident young women who are finding their places in the world. At times it is tough, really tough, but they have the resilience to see it through. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t totally neglectful; they were taught strategies on how to deal with tricky friendships, how to learn from mistakes made in assessments and how to accept consequences if they did not do what was required at school. They also learnt how to get food from their friends when they forgot their lunch - a skill I’m sure they still employ today.
I read with interest an article researched by Jan Richardson at the Alliance of Girls’ Schools on the idea of helicopter parenting, a practice that is so tempting to indulge in but can be so detrimental to our children.
Helicopter parenting leads to lower confidence, reduced resilience and poorer academic achievement
Research, conducted by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) in conjunction with Professor Michael Bernard, an educational psychologist from Melbourne University, highlights a lack of resilience among an increasing number of young people. Commenting on the study of 137,408 students from 701 primary and secondary schools, Professor Bernard expressed his concern about the growing trend towards helicopter parenting, telling The Australian that:
We see students who are unable to stand up to pressure — be it a NAPLAN test or simply schools expecting lots more of them — because parents tend to helicopter. Over-involved, very concerned parents are trying to do everything for their children, taking on too much responsibility on their behalf, and as a result, kids lack confidence.
“In contrast,” writes Rebecca Urban in The Australian, the study found that “those with highly developed social and emotional wellbeing tended to have parents who were authoritative and interested, and teachers who were effective and caring”. These students were “positively engaged with their peers and extra-curricular activities, were effective at managing worry, were aware of their emotions and were self-accepting”.
The results of the Australian research will come as no surprise to the authors of a recent American study which has found that toddlers with overcontrolling helicopter parents are less able to control their emotions and impulses as they get older, leading to behavioural problems at school. Children were assessed at the ages of two, five and ten, with the results showing that controlling behaviour by mothers was linked to children having less control over their emotions and impulses at age five, and worse social skills, more emotional problems, poorer academic performance, and a poorer attitude to school at age ten.
Commenting on the study in The Guardian newspaper, developmental psychologist Professor Dieter Wolker of the University of Warwick said that while over-controlling parenting is usually done with the best of intentions, taking away the opportunity for children to learn how to self-regulate could be considered “a form of abusiveness”.
As for the authors of the American study themselves, Nicole Berry and her colleagues conclude in their Developmental Psychology article that children who possess greater emotional regulation and inhibitory control at age five demonstrate fewer emotional problems, better social skills and greater academic productivity at age ten.
In order to possess this greater emotional regulation and inhibitory control at age five, toddlers must learn to handle challenging situations and develop self-regulation on their own. As the researchers note, toddlerhood is a difficult time as their greater desire for independence often puts toddlers in “situations of increasing emotional challenge and complexity”.
The danger, however, is that: if parents try to exert too much control over these situations and step in before children try to handle the challenge independently, or physically keep children from these frustrating or fearful contexts all together, they may, unintentionally, hinder the development of children’s independent self-regulatory abilities.
Using the example of children fighting over toys, the study authors write that if an overcontrolling parent removes their child from the situation, rather than letting them learn that they need to control their emotions and behaviour to successfully interact with their peers, then they “may not develop the skills to navigate that situation in socially appropriate ways when a parent is not present”.
The American study also provides some evidence that self-regulatory skills predict how well children are perceived outside their family, including by teachers. Children with effective self-regulatory skills are more cooperative and engaging in the classroom (i.e., they are less likely to distract from classroom activities or speak out of turn) which impacts on how teachers interact with children. When teachers give students more opportunities and invest more time in them, children become more academically productive, are more optimistic about school, are more confident, and have better overall psychological health.
Thinking back to Professor Michael Bernard’s warning about ACER’s study of 137,000 Australian primary and secondary school students showing that an increasing number “lack confidence” and are “unable to stand up to pressure”, it is hardly surprising that the American researchers came to the conclusion that “by the end of early childhood, children with overcontrolling parents may be less able to manage the challenging demands that come with entering and navigating through the school environment, leading to greater maladjustment across social, emotional, and academic domains”.
Berry, N., Dollar, J., Calkins, S., Keane, S., & Shanahan, L. (2018, June 18). Childhood self-regulation as a mechanism through which early overcontrolling parenting is associated with adjustment in preadolescence. Developmental Psychology. Advance online publication. DOI:10.1037/dev0000536
Davis, N. (2018, June 18). Leave those kids alone: ‘Helicopter parenting’ linked to behavioural problems. The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jun/18/over-controlled-toddlers-grow-up-unable-to-cope
Urban, R. (2018, June 15). Students’ stress levels up and confidence down. The Australian. Retrieved from: https://www.theaustralian.com.au
Mrs Kim Cohen
17 August 2018
You will notice that this week’s eNews is very much ‘bare bones’. This is due to staff illness. Any articles and photo galleries that appear to be missing will be included next week. Our apologies to those who were looking forward to reading about and seeing photos of specific events and functions in this edition.
Last Friday we celebrated Founder’s Day and 110 years of Glennie’s existence. Mrs Crystal Hede, Glennie Old Girl (‘99); former School Captain; current Head of Department and Glennie mum, made a powerful and inspirational speech at the Middle and Senior Years services. I have shared it with you below.
Good morning Mrs Cohen, Reverend Sharon, staff and students,
There was once a little country girl, from a small town. She lived a simple life which involved long days of free play, being the chief rouseabout for her older brothers and lots of sport. Her youth was based on the solid foundations of family time, love and support. Her parents had never considered sending her away to boarding school as they saw no reason to change life as they knew it; however, a series of events and opportunities meant that private school became an option. For the girl’s parents, the decision concerning whether to send her to boarding school or not, was a divisive one. Whilst they desperately wanted to keep her at home, they couldn’t ignore the artistic, sporting and academic opportunities that private schooling might afford her. What they could agree on was that the school of choice had to feel like home; not just for their daughter, but for their entire family. For it was much easier for them to accept their daughter not being with them if they knew she was being raised in a warm, homely environment. There was one particular school that shone, because as they set foot on the campus, they were greeted with a sea of smiles, the sound of laughter and a hum of contented activity. Some of the students waved to them as they walked past and many said hello. This school that I speak of was called...The Glennie School. And as you have no doubt guessed, that girl, was me.
Reverend Sharon asked me to speak with you today as an old girl, as 2018 represents the 100th anniversary of the Glennie Old Girls’ Association. It is my privilege to represent the thousands of Glennie girls who have proudly called this school - your school - their own over its rich history. I reflect upon that difficult decision my parents made when I was their 11 year old ‘baby’ and I truly see it as a sliding doors moment in my life. There was one path, and then there was the Glennie path. I am so glad my parents chose Glennie. There are many positive things that I have to say about my days as a Glennie girl, but if I had to summarise it, I would say that Glennie was a gift that my parents gave me, and that gift gave my life a positive direction.
This gift came in three forms: it taught me determination, it taught me to have aspirations and it gave me a strong moral-compass.
Determination developed though my immersion in a safe, nurturing, high-achieving, yet nonjudgmental learning environment. I wasn’t your typical straight A student, but I never felt as though there was a ceiling on my academic capabilities. Ok, maybe that’s a lie. I did have the art teacher tell me in Year 8 that art probably wasn’t for me. And there was that time in Home Economics when the teacher had to remind me that we were making fondue, not glue (easy mistake). But jokes aside, our teachers taught us to celebrate our own and each other’s improvements. Therefore, we learned to place value on the process of learning, not the outcome. Interestingly evidence is now showing that the most successful people in life are not those with high IQs, but those with grit and determination. I took those lessons learned at Glennie and I applied them at university, where I did achieve high grades. Glennie gave me the skills. I just needed to find the thing that made my heart sing.
The second gift, aspiration, came from being a small part within Glennie’s big community and rich heritage. Glennie opened up my mind to a world of possibilities that I had not yet imagined. As I celebrated the achievements of older students graduating before me, I became more and more inspired to make their stories my own. I watched graduates become world travellers, rocket scientists (seriously), Olympians, nurturing mothers, politicians, fighters for a cause and generally good, kind, humans. It caused me to question what I wanted to do; what I wanted to be. Nobody in my family had ever been to university. My mother came from a small island near Madagascar and my father worked hard to make his own business from scratch. They were immensely proud of me when I decided to seek a pathway that was never an option for them.
The most important gift Glennie gave me though, was a moral-compass: to know right from wrong and to know when to act on something. All of my experiences, be them boarding, sporting, academic or spiritual, gave me a toolkit of values that I could take with me through life. These values are exemplified in the school prayer and represent what our school’s founder, Benjamin Glennie, would have wanted for those in the care of this institution:
- to give and not to count the cost refers to the values of kindness, generosity and selflessness
- to fight and not to heed the wounds teaches us to stand up for what is right regardless of whether we stand to gain from it or not, to fight for what we believe in and to fight for those without a voice
- to toil and not to seek for rest suggests that we should always persist in the face of setbacks and to never shy away from a challenge
- to labour and not to ask for any reward reminds us that we have to find motivation from within.
To finish, I will leave you with some questions upon which you can reflect. How will you embrace the gift that is Glennie? How do your actions say ‘thank you’ to your parents for giving you this opportunity? How do you show pride in your school? How can you contribute to the legacy that was created by Benjamin Glennie and been left behind by Glennie Old girls over the last 110 years? It is important that amidst the busyness of our lives we take the opportunity to reflect on these things. I say thank you to my parents by speaking to you now. By advocating for a new generation of Glennie girls to embrace the opportunities that my parents wanted for me. There’s so much waiting for you girls, so make your actions count and go get ‘em.
Over the weekend, we celebrated 100 years of the Glennie Old Girls’ Association. Many GOGs attended the Saturday brunch and Sunday Chapel and family barbeque. It was wonderful to catch up with the Old Girls and hear their fascinating stories. It was an honour to talk to Isabel Sharp (1938), who joined us for all of the events. Glennie girls who helped over the weekend and took the Old Girls on tours of the School, were intrigued to hear how naughty girls were in times past!
I would like to extend a very big thank you to all who made the day possible but particularly to our Development Office and the Glennie students who helped out over the weekend.
Mrs Kim Cohen
10 August 2018
Today is a very important day in the Glennie School calendar - Founder’s Day. It was on this day 108 years ago that Glennie was officially opened on its current site. The Glennie Memorial School had, in fact already been operating for two years, since 1908) out of a large house in Russell Street called St Alban’s, with daily classes held in the Masonic Hall in Neil St. There were five boarders and between 20 and 25 day girls. The Toowoomba Chronicle, 10 August 1910, had the following to say, 'The opening of the new home of The Glennie School in Toowoomba is an event of interest to all church people of the diocese. For it means that we now have on one of the highest and healthiest spots in Queensland a thoroughly up-to-date school conducted on modern methods, and housed in a thoroughly modern and specially-designed building'. The building referred to is today our main administration building.
This year is also 100th anniversary of the Glennie Old Girls Association and we are having a weekend of celebrations in recognition of the Old Girls, starting with a Reunion Brunch tomorrow.
As we all settle into the rhythm of Term 3, I would like to remind you of a few upcoming events and extend a warm invitation for you to attend them:
All families are invited to celebrate with the Glennie Old Girls (GOGs) as they celebrate 100 years of history, on Sunday 12 August. The day starts with a Chapel service at 10.30am, followed by a family barbeque at 12 noon in the Junior Years courtyard. Tickets for the BBQ are available at the venue. I hope you can join us.
- The Boarders Mothers Lunch will again be held in my garden this year, and I am delighted that our new Head of Boarding (2019), Donna Grant, will be in attendance to meet all the guests. This will be a wonderful opportunity for you to meet and chat with Donna in an informal setting, as well as catch up with, or meet, other mums. Please make sure that if you are attending you purchase your tickets by Monday (extended deadline), for catering purposes. I am very much looking forward to seeing you all there.
- On Saturday 18 August, the Toowoomba Branch of the National Trust will hold a Free Community Day at the Royal Bull’s Head Inn. Benjamin Glennie celebrations will be part of this day. These are being held to commemorate the achievements of Reverend Glennie, not only for the church but also for the Darling Downs. Members of The Glennie Singers and Choral Group will be singing during the church service at 11:00am. Here are some details of the day.
We have many very talented students at our school and because I could never possibly acknowledge all those who have achieved well in their fields I urge you to read the eNews thoroughly to witness all their amazing achievements.
Please enjoy a piece of writing by Rita Martin, Glennie student 1911 to 1915:
Remember? Remember? The risings at dawn,
With ice in the jugs of each cube and dorm?
Long walks before seven, be it sunny or wet?
In calm and in wind our goloshes we’d get
And wend our way slowly, in Toowoomba’s red soil;
At every few steps with bogged shoes we would toil.
No bitumen roads, no footpaths secure,
But mud and long grass we had to endure.
Mrs Kim Cohen
3 August 2018
The universal wish of parents, when asked what they most desire for their children, appears to be that they are happy. The answer almost always comes without hesitation. And would it not be wonderful if we could all go through life happy, without a care in the world, all our worries lifted from us? There is, however, more to happiness than just “being happy”.
We all do need to care, we do need to feel sad when confronted with the images of homeless, wounded people after an earthquake; or the horror of going to bed with the thought of bombs and rockets raining down in myriad areas in the Middle East, or hearing about yet another high school massacre.
What I want for my children is that they are compassionate, empathetic and resilient all underlined by a sense of wellbeing. Yes, I do want them to be happy – but not all the time. I believe we put too much pressure on our children to be happy because, let’s face it: if they’re happy then we’re happy. What a burden for them to carry. We need to be very careful of focusing continually on how they are feeling as this could inadvertently amplify feelings of anxiety or sadness.
As parents, we often try to smooth out the bumps in the road before our daughters trip up. Yes, we may be trying to cushion them from the disappointment of failure, but are we doing them any favours? Should we not rather use these opportunities to teach them the value of failure; teach them to acknowledge the disappointment and determine how they might improve in the next attempt and the next. The relatively safe environment of school and home is the perfect place for them to learn these skills and thus build up resilience.
Too often when parents level the path for their daughters they are teaching them to be helpless because mum or dad will sort out any difficulties. As a mother I have felt the pain of watching my daughters struggle with friendship issues, poor grades, breakups and disappointments and I have had to resist the almost overwhelming urge to rush in and make it all better. I do this because they have to learn to deal with these challenges and I know I have to teach them.
More and more in our stressed and fast-paced world we find students tend to pass the blame for forms not signed, drafts not completed or poor results. It is so important our children recognise they are responsible for their own success, be it academic or personal. Throughout their lives they will come across classmates, teachers, colleagues or bosses with whom they don’t gel. They need strategies to deal with these instances, not escape routes.
Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology - the study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive - lists five components of the concept of flourishing (PERMA):
- Positive emotions – happiness
- Engagement – being completely absorbed in activities
- Relationships – being authentically and positively connected to others
- Meaning – connecting to things larger than oneself
- Achievement – a knowledge of one’s genuine strengths
He states that as parents the emphasis that so many of us place on the first one comes at a cost to the other four. We would all do well – and through that, our children too – to take note.
Gostrengths.com, (2014). What is PERMA by Martin Seligman | GoStrengths! [online] Available at: http://www.gostrengths.com/whatisperma/
Mrs Kim Cohen
27 July 2018
We live in an era where reality TV glamourises bullying in shows such as America’s Next Top Model, Idol and similar where judges often take it upon themselves to belittle contestants and in response the contestants often turn on each other in order to survive. An exception is Masterchef where the judges usually encourage and give positive feedback to contestants and the contestants support and befriend each other. Our children are sent mixed messages - there are only two extremes - be aggressive or be passive, but it is the crossover of these - be assertive - where we find the solution.
Assertiveness is the sweet spot between two extremes. Historically girls were taught to be compliant and to always ensure that everyone around them was happy. This is a problem (and always has been) in that it can pave the way for instances of grooming and harm, that are so much on our radar in this day and age. Being assertive does not contradict the message, ‘be kind’, but rather encourages girls to stand up for themselves and others in a non-aggressive way.
- Aggressive – Prioritising your own needs; using threats or violence to get your way;
- Passive – Doing things you don’t want to do because of pressure or threats;
- Assertive – Standing up for yourself without diminishing others; strong, not mean.
Assertive communication is a hard skill to learn in a culture that sometimes tends to reward aggression. Put downs are framed as humour in cartoons and sitcoms, and the Internet can be a platform for bullying. It’s hard to find examples of assertiveness in the public sphere. That’s why teachers and parents need to explicitly teach assertiveness so students internalise skills and use them in everyday situations.
Here are some techniques that you can pass on to your children no matter their age:
The “nice no” – When a student feels pressured to go along with other people’s ideas or invitations (“Do you want to trade lunches?”), it can be effective to say, “No, thanks” or “Thanks for asking, but not today”.
Setting a boundary and holding to it – When asked to do something outside your comfort zone (“Can I copy off your paper?”), it’s effective to say, “No, I’m not comfortable with that” and not feel compelled to give reasons.
Asking for some thinking time – When asked for something and you’re not ready to answer, an assertive response is to say, “I’m not sure how to answer that right now. Can I get back to you later today?” Ask for the amount of time you need to get more information, weigh other options, and reflect on your feelings about the situation.
Stating your needs – It may seem that others are ignoring or disrespecting your needs when the problem is that you actually haven’t articulated them clearly enough. For example, a student might say to a teacher, “Could you please repeat that? I need to hear the directions again”.
Using an “I feel” message – This may be the best way to communicate your feelings and emotional needs so others have a chance to understand – for example, saying to a friend, “I feel sad when you cancel our plans, because I love hanging out with you”.
Responding to aggression – Sometimes an assertive statement is met with an aggressive response. A good next step is to calmly remove yourself from the conversation, saying, “I think I communicated my thoughts clearly, so there’s not much more to talk about”.
Acknowledgement: “Modeling Assertiveness with Students” by Kristin Stuart Valdes in Edutopia, January 25, 2018
Mrs Kim Cohen
20 July 2018
Welcome back to Semester 2 2018, it is quite frightening how fast this year is progressing!
This term we welcome new staff members to the Glennie family. I know that they will be embraced by the community and will settle in very quickly:
- Tanya Reukers - Learning Support Teacher Aide
- Nicola Peltz - Boarding Supervisor
- New Gappies arrived yesterday: Carla Dittmann, Antonie Morgenstern, Laura-Marie Butenhoff, Laura Wacker
We also have some staff returning and we welcome them back:
- Michelle Tickle - MSY Teacher 3 weeks
- Susan Rollason - returning from Long Service Leave T2
Two members of staff are on very well deserved long service leave for a few weeks and we wish them a relaxing and rejuvenating time away:
- Steve Warren - 4 weeks
- Sue Reynolds - 3 weeks
In Semester 2 there are some staff who have stepped up into acting positions. I know that they will do stirling jobs in these roles:
- Brenda Suhr - Acting Head of Junior Years - 4 weeks
- Darryl Griffiths - Acting Assistant Head of Junior Years - 4 weeks
- Leanne Wisley - Acting Head of Hale House - 3 weeks
- Chris Putland - Acting Head of Brown House (boarding) - Semester 2
- Bronnie Stiles - Acting Boarding Administration - Semester 2
I would like to say a very big thank you to Jo Matherson, Deputy Principal, who held the fort during the last week of Term 2 while I attended the National Coalition of Girls Schools Global Forum in Washington, and over the holidays while I took time out to travel. Jo did an amazing job of ensuring that things ran smoothly in my absence.
We are currently reviewing our mobile phone policy, and during the process I read a well-researched article put out by the Alliance of Girls Schools (AGS). I have taken the liberty to share it with you for your interest. I would also encourage you to read the article in last weekend’s Weekend Australian magazine, titled Just Go KYS XO. I value your thoughts on the topic. Please indicate your daughter’s grade if you do send me a response.
Friend or foe? Mobile phones in the classroom
Issue 12/2018: July 10, 2018
The UK’s Chief Inspector of Schools, Amanda Spielman, recently gave her support to principals who introduce policies forbidding students from using mobile phones at school. Spielman was reported in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper saying that: “There’s no doubt that technology has made the challenge of low-level disruption even worse ... I am yet to be convinced of the educational benefits of all day access to ‘Snapchat’ and the like; and the place of mobile phones in the classroom seems to be dubious at best.”
The UK’s Department for Education confirmed to the Telegraph that principals already have the power to ban mobile phones in schools. In fact, said a department spokesperson: “We know that 95% of schools already impose some kind of restriction on mobile phone use during the school day, with a substantial number banning them from the school premises altogether.”
As reported by the BBC, Simon Henderson, Headmaster of Eton College, where all students are boarders, has implemented a policy requiring Year 9 students to hand in their devices at 9.00pm. Henderson recently told a Girls’ Day School Trust conference in London that he thought there would be “outrage” over the move but, in fact, the boys “actually liked it” because they had “permission” not to check their phones overnight.
The BBC report also noted that research conducted in 2015 by the London School of Economics found that banning mobile phones in schools gives students an extra week’s education over the course of the year and increases test scores by just over 6%. Looking at the report itself, however, reveals that while the results of the average student were improved by about 6%, banning mobile phones at school was most effective for low-achieving students whose results improved by about 14%. On the other hand, the ban had little impact on high-achieving students. The study authors, Louis-Philippe Beland and Richard Murphy, write that: “The results suggest that low-achieving students are more likely to be distracted by the presence of mobile phones, while high achievers can focus in the classroom regardless of whether phones are present.”
They conclude that mobile phones “can have a negative impact on productivity through distraction” and that schools “that restrict access to mobile phones subsequently experience an improvement in test scores”. However, Beland and Murphy also note that students are not affected by mobile phone distraction equally and that “mobile phones could be a useful learning tool if their use is properly structured”.
Closer to home, the New South Wales Minister for Education has ordered a review into the use of mobile phones in schools, while Finnish education expert, Pasi Sahlberg, has cited smartphones as one of the main reasons for declines by Australia and New Zealand in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings.
So, is the answer to ban or restrict mobile phones, smartphones and other devices in schools? Sophie Helzer, Commissioning Editor of Education for The Conversation, put this question to five experts, and it may surprise you to learn that four out of the five said “no” to a ban on mobile phones in classrooms.
Danielle Epstein, a Clinical Psychologist with the University of Sydney, was alone in arguing for the classroom ban, stating that mobile phones replace face-to-face communication; are addictive; reduce our working memory capacity and fluid intelligence even when we are not using them; and are associated with anxiety and depression.
The other four experts argued that mobile phones are now so integral to our daily lives that schools should make the most of the device’s ability to enhance both learning and wellbeing. As noted by Matthew Kearney, Associate Professor with the Teacher Education Program at the University of Technology Sydney, “if students want to investigate, collect data, receive personalised and immediate feedback, record media, create, compose, or communicate with peers, in and beyond the classroom, then using mobile apps is ideal”.
In addition, Dr Joanna Orlando from Western Sydney University, an expert in the use of technology in education, argues that “significant research” shows that “selective, quality and empowering uses of technology provides new learning opportunities and the ability for students to develop skills they will need for future careers. The ability to copy work off the blackboard into an exercise book is not a skill today’s employers are looking for.”
But it isn’t just about education within the classroom. The experts interviewed for The Conversation also argue that mobile phones can support learning anywhere and at any time, making them ideal for collaboration outside school or for working at a student’s own pace at home. They also provide an important safety link between children and parents, and can help support the health of young people, including those who need to monitor diabetes during the school day.
Professor Susan Sawyer, Director of Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Adolescent Health believes that a “particular benefit” of mobile phones is that they provide real-time access to mental health support for young people in distress via text-messaging-based crisis lines, which may be far more accessible than a telephone support service or face-to-face appointment with a trained professional. Even so, she says, all schools need to develop policies around safely negotiating online environments for students. “Given the dynamic nature of the mobile world,” argues Sawyer, “regularly engaging students and parents in reviewing and revising these policies is an important part of everyone’s learning.”
- Beland, L.-P., & Murphy, R. (2015, May). Communication: Technology, distraction & student performance. Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) Discussion Paper No. 1350. London: CEP, London School of Economics and Political Science. Retrieved from: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/62574/
- Helzer, S. (2018, June 28). We asked five experts: should mobile phones be banned in schools? Conversation. Retrieved from: https://theconversation.com/we-asked-five-experts-should-mobile-phones-be-banned-in-schools-98708
- Sellgren, K. (2018, June 13). Don’t be afraid to take phones off teens, says Eton head. BBC News. Retrieved from: https://www.bbc.com/news/education-44474538
- ‘Smartphone use should be managed in schools rather than banned: Industry figures’. (2018, May 30). New Zealand Herald. Retrieved from: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12061139
- Turner, C. (2018, June 21). Chief inspector backs calls for mobile phones to be banned in schools. Telegraph. Retrieved from: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2018/06/20/chief-inspector-backs-calls-mobile-phones-banned-schools/
Mrs Kim Cohen
21 June 2018
Isolated Children's Parents Association Conference Winton
Last week our Dean of Students, Jodi Blades and I travelled to Winton for the Isolated Children's Parents Association Inc. State Conference in Winton. There are many branches of this association across regional and remote Queensland, and delegates from each one join together annually to attend the State Conference.
Boarding families are an integral part of our school community, and the challenges our girls face in their educational years at home are an important element for teachers and boarding staff to understand. It was very interesting to hear about the issues that are arising, successes that the ICPA has had from lobbying government and private enterprise bodies and the challenges that rural and remote students are still facing after many years.
For the town of Winton, hosting an extra 200 people was no small affair, and the Winton Branch of the ICPA provided superb hospitality, and the conference was extremely well organised. Nothing was too much trouble, and they were always smiling. Maybe that had a little to do with the rain that began to fall shortly after our arrival.
Staff Changes Term 3
Term 3 will bring about some staffing changes in the Middle and Senior Years and in boarding.
- Susan Rollason will return from leave, and we thank Rebecca Denny for teaching her classes and Kathy Lee for stepping in as Head of Donaldson House for the term.
- We farewell Gill Reynoldson from Brown House in boarding and look forward to notifying you of her replacement shortly.
- Our GAP students return home after a year at the School, and we will welcome four more, all from Germany, early in Term 3.
Time for Reflection
During the mid-year holiday break is a good time for you and your daughter to slow down and reflect on Semester 1. What were her successes? Where did she feel that, if she had chosen a different path the outcome might have been better? Does she have balance in her week?
We encourage the girls to become involved in the co-curricular life of the School and to explore the opportunities provided to them. We encourage them to open their minds, adopt a growth mindset and to learn from their experiences. This can assist them in identifying what they are passionate about. It is also important to ensure that each girl is not over-committing herself. It might be time to have a conversation about ensuring your daughter is able to meet the requirements of her commitments.
In the Mind Fit program, we talk about recharging our batteries and the girls in the Middle and Senior Years are well-versed in this checklist. There are five steps to ensuring your battery is recharged each day.
- Have you had enough sleep?
- Have you eaten nutritious food?
- Have you exercised?
- Have you had time to build relationships?
- Have you had time away from technology and some downtime?
To have a fully charged battery, we all should score 5/5.
We, both parents and teachers, need to help the girls to achieve balance in their academic life and activities program so that they have time each day to recharge their batteries. A full battery allows for each girl to be the best they can be each day.
Mrs Jo Matherson
15 June 2018
Next week I will be in Washington attending the National Coalition of Girls Schools Global Forum on Girls’ Education® II. It will bring together girls’ education advocates from across the globe to exchange best practices and innovative approaches for academic excellence and the healthy development of girls.
I will be engaging in sessions addressing universal themes in girls’ education and learning first hand from researchers overseeing current studies. The key topics which will be addressed are:
- Leadership – female leadership, curriculum, programming (formal and informal), training, school leaders and governance, character/confidence development, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, leadership assessment tools, gender discrimination in the workplace, post-school/workplace success, professional development
- Strategic School Advancement and Sustainability – strategic planning, legal issues, financial sustainability, fundraising, communications/marketing/messaging, admissions, post-secondary placement, residential community, international student recruitment, op-eds, parent relations, grant writing, starting a girls’ school, graduate surveys, alumnae tracking
- Classroom Innovation – blended learning, the flipped classroom, project-based learning, assignment calendars and tutorials, field experiences, cooperative learning and study groups, internships, differentiated learning, experiential learning, alternative scheduling, student-led classroom, classroom design, digital portfolios, academic risk-taking
- Teaching & Curriculum – research, curriculum mapping, best teaching practices, interdisciplinary education, summer curriculum, auxiliary programs, girl-centered pedagogy, signature programs, globalization of curriculum, social-emotional learning programs, professional development
- Testing & Assessment – university preparedness, International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Placement (AP), Common Core, standards-based grading, international recognition of regional/national testing/assessments
- Physical Space/Materials – maker spaces, innovation labs, outdoor classrooms, technology, equipment
- Curriculum – STEM vs. STEAM vs. DREAMS, design thinking, curricular integration, computer science, encouraging creative play, science research programs
- Civic/Community Engagement – service learning, community partnerships, political activism, public/private partnerships, leveraging community resources, effective management of strategic partners, political voice
- Global Partnerships – exchange programs (virtual and in-person), travel opportunities, cross-cultural curriculum, global citizenship
- Health & Wellness – support services, self-esteem, athletics, bullying, resiliency, anxiety, perfectionism, addictive behavior, mindfulness, body image, social media, online behavior, healthy boundaries/relationships, social-emotional learning (SEL), peer-led programs, healthy lifestyle coaching and programs, food services, parent education, extracurricular activities, self-injury, mental illness, counselor self-care, grief and crisis management, confidentiality
- Equity & Inclusion – support services, respect, gender identity, racial/ethnic diversity, legal issues, bullying, conflict resolution, socioeconomic diversity, immigration, asylum seekers, unaccompanied refugee children
As you can see it will be a busy time, but I am excited for this period of intense learning, networking and opportunities for collaboration. I will also be visiting some local schools.
During my time overseas (last week of term and the school holidays), Jo Matherson will be Acting Principal.
I wish all members of our community a relaxing, rewarding and warm winter break.
Mrs Kim Cohen
8 June 2018
I would like to once again thank the parents who took part in the annual survey. 234 parents responded; 184 day parents and 50 boarding parents. As promised I am sharing the results of the survey.
Surveys of this nature are very valuable as they alert the School to areas in need of improvement at the same time as pointing out our areas of strength. They also enable us to be aware of areas where parents may need to be provided with more information, such as the move from OP to ATAR. Suggestions and comments made by parents often highlight specific concerns of individuals. If a parent has major concerns and has put their name to the survey, we meet with these parents during the year to address their concerns.
The survey results are available below.
Mrs Kim Cohen
1 June 2018
This week as a community we have been coming to terms with the news about the loss of Tim Davies, Glennie athletics coach, and Ravin Chand, father of Tanvi (Year 8) and Trisha (2016). Our hearts go out to Tim’s and Ravin’s families as they navigate this difficult time. As a school, we are praying for both Tim and Ravin and their families and will continue to do so. The chapel remains open throughout the school day for those who would like to say a quiet prayer or spend some time in reflective silence. There are candles that may be lit in their memory.
Brad Griffith has written the following words about Tim:
It was with great sadness that we woke to the news on Sunday morning that one of our coaches, Mr Tim Davies, passed away during the early hours of the morning.
Those who knew Tim would agree that he was a rough diamond and would give you the shirt off his back. Despite being employed as a throws coach, Tim could be seen most mornings and afternoons training the girls in a variety of athletic events. He had a passion for strength training and was of tremendous assistance to our Senior PE students.
Tim's coaching knowledge and technical ability aside, he was a strong presence in the lives of many of our students. Speaking to a number of girls through the week, our conversations were equal parts tears and laughter. Tim made a lot of people smile. One of his students was telling me about one of his favourite sayings. She said that any time she'd say to him "see you tomorrow," Tim would look at her in mock horror and reply "don't you threaten me!" It didn't matter how many times he said it, it always made her laugh. That was Tim...he always made you laugh.
Farewell Big Fella. You'll be forever in our hearts
For many of our girls, it is the first time that they have experienced the death of someone they know, for others it may open old wounds created by the passing of a family member or friend.
In recent years, there has been a move away from looking at grief as a process of universal stages, with an emphasis instead on the very personal pathways people experience in their journey with grief. Often a student may feel guilty if she does not show outward signs of grief and, instead, feels the sorrow internally. As parents and teachers we need to assure them that this is okay, this is normal – an individual’s grief or sadness is unique.
While there are differences in the ways that adolescents and children may express and experience grief, two things do remain the same: significant loss of an individual with whom a child or teenager has formed an attachment will cause grief, and most importantly, a child or adolescent — as with any grieving adult — needs understanding and support while coping with loss in her own way.
I would like to share a prayer that I have found comforting in times of loss:
Bless those who mourn, eternal God,
with the comfort of your love
that they may face each new day with hope
and the certainty that nothing can destroy
the good that has been given.
May their memories become joyful,
their days enriched with friendship,
and their lives encircled by your love.
c 1991 Vienna Cobb Anderson, Adapted from "Prayers of Our Hearts"
Mrs Kim Cohen
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 email@example.com.
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.”