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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
18 May 2018
Walking around the school during the Empowerment Day activity sessions on Wednesday reminded me yet again of the amazing enthusiasm and leadership of our students. Empowerment day came about because our arrangements for International Women's day had to be cancelled due to poor weather predictions.
The day started with a lunchtime session including music performances, speeches and the opportunity to purchase from the sausage sizzle and sno-cone stalls, manned by parent and past-student volunteers. The PAC lawns were filled with girls enjoying the mild weather and each other’s company.
Immediately after lunch the Student Welfare Committee organised the students into their predetermined groups and off they went to engage in activities that challenged them, pushed them out of their comfort zones, encouraged teamwork and relied on them to reflect on what empowerment means to them. The afternoon ended with the girls coming together on the oval to perform a dance that they had each had a 10 minute opportunity to learn during the day.
The leadership and organisation shown by the Year 12s, particularly Bella Nolte and Kate Reeves (Captain and Vice-captain of the Student Welfare Committee) was outstanding and resulted in a very successful day. To quote a Year 9 student, ‘That was the most awesome day ever!!! I wish we could do that every week!!’
There is great value in having these kinds of activities in a school; the research is clear - students, particularly girls, learn best when they feel connected within their learning environment. According to Pretty and Ward, ‘When many in a community feel positively connected with each other, this can lead to a level of social capital in which trust and reciprocity predominate and there is a greater chance of defining and attaining shared goals’ (2001).
The fortnightly Wednesday afternoon sessions in the MSY are proving to be successful in enhancing our connected community through house meetings, study sessions, guest speakers, chapel and other whole school services. At the same time, there are aspects of the program which are designed to enhance students’ resilience, study skills and leadership skills. These have been included in the school day at the same time as increasing the amount of time students spend in academic classes.
These activities are an important part of our School’s program and I ask parents that you do not use this time to make appointments for your daughters which could occur outside of school hours. If they tell you that they are not doing anything, please check the outline for the term in the School calendar or phone Mrs Blades. There is so much more to education today than sitting in classroom, desk-bound.
Mrs Kim Cohen
11 May 2018
Two items in the news recently are of particular significance to the education sector of Australia; The Gonski Blueprint for Education Reform and the Federal Budget. I have shared two articles from the Independent Schools Queensland Media Centre which give a broad outline of the effects that these have on Independent schools in Queensland.
30 April 2018 ISQ Welcomes Gonski Blueprint for Education Reform
Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) today welcomed the report of the David Gonski-led Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools and its blueprint for future education reform.
ISQ Executive Director David Robertson said the report’s central focus on student outcomes was paramount in achieving continuous improvement to Australian schooling. “In its report, Through Growth to Achievement, (please insert link: https://www.appa.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/20180430-Through-Growth-to-Achievement_Text.pdf the review panel urged the need for a national and bipartisan commitment to address the performance slippage of Australia’s school education system and in this context all governments and sectors of schooling must work collaboratively to have the greatest impact on lifting student outcomes,” Mr Robertson said.
“The report’s 23 recommendations across the key drivers of school improvement provide a comprehensive framework for such a national commitment,” he said.
Mr Robertson said independent schools would welcome the focus on supporting and valuing the teaching profession and empowering and supporting school leaders. “These are key features of the independent sector and can be further built upon to create a world-class education system.”
Mr Robertson said the central agenda of the reforms to prioritise individual student achievement and learning gain suited the way independent schools operated, but would still require a concerted long-term effort across all schooling sectors. He said the recommendation for a comprehensive review of senior secondary schooling would be problematic for Queensland given the changes currently being implemented to the state’s senior assessment and tertiary entrance procedures.
“However, we do need to heed the changing nature of future work skills and the increased retention of students to Year 12 to ensure that senior secondary is meeting the needs of students, employers and the community.”
ISQ welcomed the recommendation to develop an online student learning assessment tool for teachers, but urged some caution that further assessment burdens were not placed on schools already doing well in this area.
“Ensuring schools and teachers have maximum time to concentrate on the learning growth of their students was a strong theme throughout the review,” Mr Robertson said. “We need to be careful that further layers of administration, compliance and accountability are not placed on schools,” he said.
Mr Robertson said ISQ looks forward to engaging with the Australian and Queensland Governments as they consider their policy responses to the review.
8 May 2018 Federal Budget Delivers Good News for Schools
Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) has welcomed the Australian Government’s four- year funding pledge for the National School Chaplaincy Programme in the 2018-19 Federal Budget.
ISQ Executive Director David Robertson said the $247 million four-year continuation of the program would enable many independent schools to maintain this important service for students. “The renewed focus of the program on supporting students and schools to address bullying and cyberbullying is appropriate given the heightened community awareness and focus on
these issues,” Mr Robertson said. “It is expected about 100 Queensland independent schools will benefit from the continuation of the program which has always been well received by school communities.”
Mr Robertson said the Australian Government’s commitment to school education was further confirmed in the 2018-19 Budget with record total support for schools of $18.7 billion. “Under the Australian Government’s Gonski 2.0 funding model, this level of support is expected to increase to $30 billion per annum by 2027,” he said. “Independent schools welcome the certainty provided by the federal funding under the
Gonski 2.0 funding arrangements and its fair and equitable allocation across non-government schools.”
Mr Robertson said ISQ looked forward to working with the Australian and Queensland Governments to shape the new National Education Reform Agreement to be signed later this year. “The agreement, which will be informed by the recently released recommendations from the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools, will be an important framework to guide the future of schooling in Australia,” he said.
“All schools have a responsibility to ensure that the increased funding being provided by the Australian Government results in the best possible student outcomes.”
4 May 2018
What support do children need from teachers and parents to develop the cognitive skills, values, attitudes and attributes needed for lifetime success? Here are some ideas on how you can help your child to become a successful independent learner with a growth mindset.
If children get stuck at something, don’t sort it out.
Ask “How could you do this?” “Have you done anything similar before?” “What did you do then?” This helps them develop their own learning ideas and makes them much less likely to say they can’t do things.
Build big picture thinking.
Ask “What would happen if … it never got dark/the rivers ran dry/ everyone ignored the law?” A key characteristic of students labelled as gifted is their ability to see how learning connects to the wider world.
Ask “How would you weigh a giraffe/rhinoceros/bridge/house/star?” Creativity builds learning capability and is vital for high performance.
Develop critical or logical thinking.
Ask ‘Why do you think … bread goes mouldy if you don’t freeze it/babies cry/ leaves fall when autumn comes?” The ability to deduct, hypothesise, reason and seek evidence is probably the characteristic most associated with academic success.
Help them monitor their own progress.
Ask: “What do you need to be able to do this? How can you check you’re on track? How can you tell whether you are doing it right?” This is the key to maximising thinking skills.
HAVE A GROWTH MINDSET
This is a “can do” approach to learning, even when it’s hard. If a child says they are no good at something, say: “I know you can learn how to do this if you work at it.”
Being open to new ideas is the hallmark of an advanced learner. Start with being open-minded yourself so you model what it’s like to be receptive to ideas that differ from your own.
Children ask lots of questions if you answer them. The desire to know more – curiosity – is at the heart of all learning. The more curious children are, the better they do at school and in life.
It’s the only way to get good at something. Make sure it is regular, deliberate and planned, working towards achievable incremental goals. Practise what you can’t do well.
To keep going when it’s tough is the most important behaviour in high performance. With younger children you can talk about what would happen if no one persevered – the farmer who didn’t bother to harvest his crops, the builder to finish the house, the surgeon to complete the operation. With older ones, encourage a sense of pride in what they do so that they are motivated to persevere.
Acknowledgement: Great Minds and How to Grow Them, by Wendy Berliner & Deborah Eyre.
Mrs Kim Cohen
27 April 2018
Every year Mission Australia does a Youth Survey which provides a snapshot of how young people feel about their lives and broader national issues. Schools are aware of the results of this survey and, at Glennie, we have programs and staff in place to support students to deal with the stressors that they have mentioned. In the Junior Years the Bridge Builders program is currently being rolled out and in the Middle Years students take part in the Mindfit program. In the Senior Years we have guest speakers and aspects of various curricular addressing some of these issues. Ms Blades, Dean of Students, and the Heads of House are currently reviewing the whole school wellbeing program. Please read Ms Blades’ article for more information on student wellbeing. I have shared a summary of the results of the 2017 survey below.
The Mission Australia Youth Survey Report 2017 recently asked young people age 15-19 to rank their top personal concerns during the past year. The results were consistent with previous years, showing that the major concerns for males and females were coping with stress, school/study problems, body image and depression. Participants ranked their concerns regarding twelve issues on a five-point scale from ‘not at all concerned’ through to ‘very concerned’ and ‘extremely concerned’.
Overall, 45.3% of young people indicated that coping with stress was a major concern (i.e. they were ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ concerned); 35.6% named school or study problems as an issue of major concern; 31.1% were very or extremely concerned about body image; and nearly a quarter (23.7%) indicated depression was a major concern. However, these figures hide significant gender differences showing that females were much more concerned about these four issues than males:
- 58.2% of females indicated that coping with stress was a major concern, including those who were very concerned (31.1%) or extremely concerned (27.1%), compared with 26.8% of males (16.7% very concerned and 10.1% extremely concerned).
- 43.8% of females were concerned about school or study problems (25.9% very concerned and 17.9% extremely concerned), compared with 23.8% of males (15.2% very concerned and 8.6% extremely concerned).
- 40.9% of females were worried about body image (23.3% very concerned and 17.6% extremely concerned) compared with 16.8% of males (very concerned 10.9% and 5.9% extremely concerned).
- 27.9% of females held concerns about depression (15.0% very concerned and 12.9% extremely concerned) compared with 16.4% of males (9.2% very concerned and 7.2% extremely concerned).
Mission Australia and the Black Dog Institute’s Youth Mental Health Report: Youth Survey 2012-2016 found that rates were even higher for the 28.6% of females found to have met the criteria for a “probable serious mental illness”. For these females, who comprise over one-quarter of 15-19 year olds, 82.8% were ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ concerned about coping with stress, 65.9% were concerned about school or study problems, 63.9% were concerned about body image, and 61.5% were concerned about depression.
The Youth Mental Health Report revealed that twice as many females as males (28.6% vs. 14.1%) met the criteria for having a probable serious mental illness, with a “much more marked” increase among females from 22.5% in 2012 to 28.6% in 2016. Diagnostic data from the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing shows that females aged 12-17 are more likely to have anxiety or a major depressive disorder than males.
The Youth Mental Health Report authors write that:
This may be associated with increasing family breakdown, school pressures, and western ideals of appearance, all of which have been shown to impact young females more than young males. Additionally, social and hormonal mechanisms have been found to increase vulnerability to depressive symptoms in young females at puberty compared to young males, reversing a trend towards higher rates of depression in boys during pre-pubescence.
Research shows that dissatisfaction with body image peaks during adolescence when young people’s bodies enter puberty and go through changes, and that this body dissatisfaction is associated with greater mental distress. It is currently unknown, however, whether body dissatisfaction causes psychological distress or whether a young person’s psychological distress causes them to be dissatisfied with their body image.
With percentages of females aged 15-19 who are ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ concerned about body image sitting at 40.9% of all females and 63.9% of those with a probable serious mental illness, Mission Australia and the Black Dog Institute suggest that social pressures such as body image need to be tackled to address the large gender disparity in the observed rates of probable serious mental illness. They call for more to be done, particularly by the media, to promote a positive body image for all young people through reducing digital manipulation of images and using a greater diversity of body shapes and sizes.
With young people consistently ranking coping with stress, school/study problems, body image and depression as their top concerns, Mission Australia and the Black Dog Institute have called for a broad approach encompassing young people, parents, schools, health care services and governments to improve the mental health of young people.
Schools are critical to this effort in providing programs and interventions to improve mental health and mental health awareness, including in relation to coping with stress and promoting a positive body image that reflects the diversity of our entire society. Schools are also ideally placed to encourage help-seeking, establish pathways to professional support, and help reduce the stigma of mental illness. With research showing that about half of all lifetime mental disorders emerge by the age of 14, schools which emphasise mental wellbeing and resilience play a key role in creating a supportive environment that helps to scaffold students for life.
- Mission Australia and Black Dog Institute. (2016). Youth Mental Health Report: Youth Survey 2012 -2016. Sydney: Mission Australia.
- Bullot, A., Cave, L., Fildes, J., Hall, S., and Plummer, J. (2017). Mission Australia’s 2017 Youth Survey Report. Sydney: Mission Australia.
Both reports are available to download from the Mission Australia website
Mrs Kim Cohen
20 April 2018
Welcome back to Term 2 and a special welcome to all our new Glennie families and staff - you are now part of a very special community.
We have some new staff joining us this term, one returning teacher, a few who are taking on new acting roles and a name change!
- Sharon Gilbert has decided to spend more time with her three daughters and to focus on her health. I would like to thank Sharon for the huge contribution that she has made to The Glennie School during her time at the School. Her commitment to the Arts faculty and loyalty to the School are greatly appreciated.
- Susan Rollason - Long Service leave Term 2
Returning from Leave
- Peta Vincent - Returning from maternity leave to a teaching position. Peta has decided to remain on leave from her Head of House role until 2019.
Weddings during the holidays
- Ms Emily Scott married Nick Atwell, she will remain Ms Scott
- Ms Leanne Mitchell and Mr Jason Wisley were married, we now have Mr and Mrs Wisley on the staff
- Kathy Lee - Acting Head of Donaldson House
- Sue Watts - Acting Head of Tufnell House
- Jason Wisley - Acting Head of The Arts (Curriculum, 7 to 12)
- Jacob Finlay - Acting Head of Performance (Co-curriculum)
- Rebeca Denny - MSY Maths Teacher contract Term 2
- Libby Bellars - GOSS Manager
- Andrea Bloodworth - Cleaner
- Susan Gesler - Cleaner
- Chloe Sims - Jnr Boarding Resident
- Ashleigh Thompson - Pitstop team
- Ian Rodwell - Facilities Maintenance and Bus Driver
- Deborah Mouzouris - Learning Support Teacher Aide and Indigenous Support Coordinator
Communicating with Glennie Teachers
It is a rare profession indeed, where you have to front up to a room of more than 20 people, no matter your home situation, energy level, worries about your children, finances, marriage, health… Many professions allow room to possibly be in your own space for a time, settle into the day with a cup of coffee while checking emails or perusing financials. Not so teaching. I called it a profession, for this is what it is – as with the law, medical, business and engineering fields, educators are rigorously trained in their craft. They have studied for many years and continue to learn and keep up to date with latest trends and research in education throughout their years of teaching.
Unfortunately, the data tells us that, for many, these years will be few in number. The reality is that teachers, especially early career teachers, are leaving the profession in droves; according to a report on ABC News aired in 2017:
Teachers are leaving the profession in significant numbers — the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics suggest 53 percent of people who hold a teaching degree do not currently work in education.
And research conducted by the Australian Government in 2014 estimates that 20 percent of education graduates do not register as teachers on graduating, meaning many teachers are leaving before they've even started.
Although the figure varies by locality, about 40 to 50 percent of our newest teachers leave within their first five years on the job.
These graduates are leaving for various reasons, but similar themes recur: they feel burnt out, unsupported, frustrated and disillusioned.
This is a sad reality and one which every one of us; parents, senior-staff and policy makers, need to address. We need to support our teachers so that the profession not only continues, but goes from strength to strength.
Parents choose schools for their children based on many factors, one of which is the standard of education provided. At Glennie, we are privileged to have a team of highly skilled passionate professionals providing education in the classrooms and beyond. It is important for the community to support our teachers as they perform this vital role. One way of doing this is to garner an understanding of the pressures that they are often under when facing-up every day with a smile on their faces, compassion for their students, the ability to impart knowledge, the skills to facilitate learning and deep thinking and, of course, still have the energy to entertain anywhere up to 125 students each and every day. At the same time, there are deadlines to be met, yard duties to perform, compliance training and documents to be completed, many hours of professional development annually, emails to respond to and hours and hours of preparation and feedback. They also continually learn from each other and offer advice and mentoring. Remember that while they are doing all of this, and so much more, they are also being judged by the harshest of critics - our girls. And so they should be, ours is a noble calling; one which carries with it a huge responsibility and duty of care.
If at times girls, or their parents, wish to query a teacher's decision, a grade they have received, a method of teaching or a comment that was made, there is a way of doing this. On the rare occasion, teachers have been berated in front of students and advised by parents on how best to execute their profession, or spoken to as if they have no knowledge or integrity. Luckily, at our school, this does not happen regularly, but I’m sad to say, it does happen periodically.
It is no wonder then, that some choose to leave. Naturally, we welcome any opportunity to address concerns – after all, we are human and from time to time, something may slip through the cracks. In the same way, our staff are expected to treat parents, students and other family members with dignity and respect, we, in turn, expect the same dignity in our engagements with parents.
As a mother of three daughters, I fully understand the pain and frustration felt when we believe they have been wronged. I do, however, ask that all parents address the situation in a manner that models a positive relationship. After all, we are all here for the same reason - to get the best outcomes for your daughters. We often talk about creating a partnership between the school and the family and this is definitely one of those times where a partnership is crucial - where the partnership can be strengthened.
When needing to address a matter, please follow the procedures set out below, so that it can be resolved in a timely and positive manner:
- Approach the teacher with your concerns. Verbally is probably better than email as a conversation is most appropriate in these instances.
- If the matter cannot be resolved, the next step is to involve the Head of Department/Assistant Head of Junior Years.
- If no resolution occurs, this is the time to bring in the Dean of Teaching and Learning/Head of Junior Years.
- After this is when the Deputy Principal or I get involved.
Of course, before any of these conversations commence, your daughter should approach the teacher with her concerns - particularly if it has to do with the marking or feedback of a piece of work. Your daughter is the one it affects and she needs to be involved in the solution. All teachers are very approachable and do want what is best for your daughter. After all, that is why they went into the profession – because they love to educate the next generation. They want to teach knowledge, skills, perseverance and witness how confidence and resilience develops. Tests results are only a small measure of a child’s learning. If your daughter would like you to be involved in the conversation at this point, you should be involved, but do ensure that she also attends any meeting as it is her interests that are at the heart of the matter.
Stroud, G. (2017). Why do teachers leave?. [online] ABC News. Available at: http://www.abc.net.au
Mrs Kim Cohen
22 March 2018
I am very happy to let you know that construction of our wonderful new Sports Centre will commence after Easter. As you travel up and down Vacy Street you will be able to see the progress of the build. This new centre will be a great asset to our whole School community and I look forward to sharing updates with you all throughout the year.
As holidays start, many parents will be worrying about the amount of time their children spend in front of screens. Many of us struggle with exactly how much screen time is okay for their children. Is a half-hour TV show okay but a full-length movie bad? How much time on social media should you allow when your children also use their computer for homework? Does Wikipedia count as reading? Is it unhealthy for adolescents to spend days binge watching Netflix series after series? And when does a passion for, say, online gaming become problematic?
The truth is, there is no magic formula. And just as every family differs in what they eat, when they eat and how they eat, a healthy media diet is different for every family. The key is making sure that the things that are important to your family are fairly balanced over the long term. A healthy media diet balances activities (games, social media, TV), time (fifteen minutes? three hours?) and choices (YouTube, Minecraft, The Bachelor) with offline activities (sports, face-to- face conversations, hobbies).
Here are some guidelines for you to look at as you decide what is in the best interests of your family and your individual children:
- Find balance. Instead of counting daily screen-time minutes, aim for a balance throughout the week. Help your children plan a week that includes stuff they have to do and stuff they like to do, such as activities, chores, reading, socialising, family time and TV or gaming. Decide on limits and behaviour using a Family Media Agreement.
- Walk the walk. Put your own devices away while driving, at mealtimes and during conversations. Children learn habits from the adults around them. Model for them the importance of being in the moment with the people who are around you.
- Talk about it. Ask questions about their favourite games, shows and characters. Discuss ideas and issues they read about or learn about online, through a TV show or a game. This is an opportunity for bonding, learning and sharing your values.
- Create tech-free zones. Set rules that fit your family, such as no devices during dinner, no social media during homework or all screens off an hour before bedtime. Some families have a central spot for charging and all devices must remain there after bedtime.
- Check ratings. Choose age-appropriate, high-quality media and technology for your children.
Acknowledgement: Caroline Knorr, Common Sense Media
You should also read the article on Cyber Education, in the News section of this edition of eNews, for more tips on how to lure your children away from their devices.
It is that time of term when we acknowledge staff who are leaving us or going on leave.
Mrs Michelle Tickle leaves us after filling in for Ms Peta Vincent during Term 1. We thank Mrs Tickle for the time she spent here, the girls loved her classes and warm manner, and staff appreciated her collegiality, friendship and professionalism. Mrs Tickle will continue to help us out on a casual basis.
Mrs Susan Rollason will be on Long Service Leave for the whole of Term 2. We wish her all the best as she enjoys a very well deserved break. We welcome Ms Rebecca Denny, a qualified and experienced maths teacher, to cover her teaching load. Mrs Kathy Lee will be Acting Head of Donaldson House in Mrs Rollason’s absence.
While Ms Vincent is returning in her teaching role, she is taking leave from her role as Head of Tufnell House for the remainder of the year. Mrs Sue Watts will be stepping into the role for Terms 2 to 4.
I wish all families a relaxing and enjoyable holiday, and a blessed Easter.
God of all, open our minds, our hearts and our souls to you
as we spend time in relaxation and personal space.
May we return refreshed and filled with a renewed vision for our lives here.
Mrs Kim Cohen
16 March 2018
Last Friday was International Women's Day and today is National Day of Action Against Bullying. I will refer to both of these important days in my article.
International Women's Day
A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to attend a presentation by a remarkable woman, Dr Gillian Hicks. What she spoke of resonated with me and my passion for encouraging a growth mindset within our community.
We regularly speak to students about having a growth mindset; a mindset where we acknowledge that our talents and abilities are not fixed but continually grow as we put in the effort and learn using feedback and ‘failure’ to guide us.
Back to Dr Hicks, survivor of the 2005 London bombings. She was beside the 19-year-old suicide bomber on the tube and lost both her legs in the incident. For a while, it was touch and go as to whether or not she would survive.
Her messages were powerful:
- When she regained consciousness after the bombing, Gillian noticed a tag pinned to her, it merely stated, ‘One unknown estimated female’. Rather than be distraught she found this soothing. She realised that her rescuers had no judgement; that race, religion, wealth and nationality were irrelevant and gender was not much of a factor either. Thus her first message was: Do not judge.
- During the process of rescue and healing and through her work since, she has realised that her (and every) single life has value and she can make a contribution to the world.
- Trust is vital. She had to trust her life to paramedics, surgeons and physios, but ultimately she had to trust herself.
Gillian shared a story of how she managed to find the positive in her situation. When the consultant was measuring the distance from fingertip to fingertip of her outstretched arms in order to calculate her height for her prosthetic legs, she cheekily asked if she could please grow a few inches. He agreed and in three months she grew 8 inches, from a diminutive 5 feet to an impressive 5 feett 8 inches!
She also shared how having a growth mindset helped her to survive. She decided that if she could conceive it and believe it, she could achieve it. She was desperate to be able to drink a glass of water. Throughout the days while she was hooked up to numerous machines busily keeping her alive, nurses would squeeze a few drops of water into the corner of her mouth from a syringe. She set herself the task (her training or practice if you like) to spend an hour every day imagining holding and drinking a glass of water. From the moment of picking up the glass, to feeling it against her lips, to tilting it and feeling the water flow over her tongue, fill her mouth and flow down her throat. She conceived and believed this every day until she could achieve it.
So, how do these messages relate to your lives as students at Glennie?
- Never judge – treat everyone only as human
- Always look for and find the positive in every situation
- Create small achievable goals: conceive them, believe in them and then achieve them through willpower and perseverance
- Trust others: parents, coaches, teachers, friends, but most importantly trust in yourself
Dr Gillian Hicks took three months of agonising hard work to learn to walk again. She likens it to kneeling on a pair of circus stilts, unable to see or feel the ground and having to walk. Her greatest fear was, of course, falling. Her physio would regularly push her over from the side or the back and from these hundreds of falls she learnt that there is always a way to get up. Initially she needed help every time but finally she could do it on her own. What a great life lesson.
The message that I would like you to share with your daughter as she strives to Be Like a Girl is something that Marie Curie said, “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves”.
National Day of Action Against Bullying
On Middle Years Assembly on Thursday, Hanna Hayes addressed the students on a topic that is very close to her heart, Bullying. She spoke passionately and sensitively about the issue. Please see her words below.
I’m here to talk about Bullying, Dolly’s Dream, and the National Day of Action (NDA) against Bullying and Violence because I had a friend who suffered the highest consequences of being tormented. My friend was Dolly Everette, whose story was on the news not long ago. Dolly was a lot like all of us here, a young girl with her own hopes and dreams and talents, and her death has sparked the need for change.
I’m hoping we can embrace that change here at Glennie as well because what Dolly went through was terrible and can be avoided. For those of you who may not know, a foundation was started in the name of Doll, called Dolly’s Dream, and it has been started by her parents, Tick and Kate; and family and friends, who are all devastated at the loss. As a friend of Doll’s, I feel the need to spread her dream in any way that I can, and I thought that there was no better place to start then in my very own school.
Dolly’s dream and the NDA have many goals that they plan to achieve through fundraising and promotion. There is one goal that these foundations have that we, not only as a school, but as peers and friends, could help to reach.
It’s time to stop bullying, an action that occurs way too often with ease, reaping consequences far deeper than we see. It is not okay to bully others, but we know that already. The hard part is the fact that sometimes, we may not even realise that we are hurting someone. This is where we must put a little more thought into what we are saying. The NDA defines bullying as “An ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that causes physical and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power over one or more persons. Bullying can happen in person or online and can be obvious or discrete.” We need to put a stop to it. I’m talking physical, verbal, social and cyber.
This is not just in person though, it’s also online. Home might be someone’s only escape from bullying at school, and if they are then targeted on social media… there is no escape. Young people between the age of 10-15 are the most likely to be involved in online bullying. These mean messages over social media are a cowardly and unnecessary act. So lets act against them.
While these movements are about stopping bullying and being kinder, Dolly’s Dream is also about speaking up. You might have seen the ‘speak now even if your voice shakes,’ hashtag. Dolly wrote these words on a drawing she did, just last year, and it has become a message of her Dream. Speaking up may be scary, but I guarantee there is always someone willing to listen. If you are a victim of any sort of bullying, find someone to talk to. Your parents, friends, siblings, even our own school counsellor. I’m encouraging you to talk, girls because there are numerous people around you who care about you and will help you.
I know this because I stood at the back of a school hall that was filled with so many people that not only the chairs set up in the middle were filled, but both sides and the back wall of the hall was also lined with supporters in blue, for Dolly. I know this because I had to hold my friends while our tears poured out, any one of us who would have given her a hand if only we’d known more. I know this because Dolly could not have known the utterly devastating impact she has had on so many people, any of who would have been ready to help in any way that they could. Girls, this unnecessary pain, for the victims and their friends and family, is what we need to prevent.
The NDA says that young people are reluctant to report bullying because they might feel shame, be worried about others’ reactions or believe that they should be able to handle the situation themselves. Let’s break these assumptions and speak, even if our voice shakes.
Another assumption we must address is that students commonly express a belief that bullying is wrong but may experience concern losing social status themselves through intervening. This statement is addressing bystanders, who are potentially the most powerful people in a bullying scenario. It may take some extreme courage, but I believe that every one of you girls has the strength to tell a bully to stop. Peers are present as onlookers in 87% of bullying interactions; let’s lower that percentage and stand up. Together, we can make a difference to bullying.
So girls, speak up, even if your voice shakes. Be brave. There is always someone who will help you. Be kind. Don’t stand for bullying, don’t let each other get away with putting others down. Tomorrow is the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence. Remember, you have the power to make change. Do it for yourself. And your friends. Do it for Dolly.
Today we said goodbye to our GOSS Manager, Mrs Tracy Keighran. Tracy has been associated with GOSS for many years as a volunteer and has managed our very successful one stop shop for over four years. She will also be fondly remembered for her thousands of amazing dumplings at the Glennie Fair! We thank her for her dedicated service to the School and wish her the very best for the future.
Mrs Kim Cohen
9 March 2018
What a wonderful day Sunday was! Not only did the weather hold, but the sun shone and the skies were clear. The Glennie Fair is one of my favourite days in the calendar; it is a wonderful time when the whole Glennie community can celebrate together in a social and fun-filled way.
I would like to say a huge thank you to the organising committee, in particular; Jason Lipp, Sharon Willmington and Lyndal Brown. Without your organisational and motivational skills, as well as persistence and drive, the day would not have happened. Thank you too every parent, staff member and student who helped to organise and/or work on a stand. To the team of people working behind the scenes in setting up, working on the day and, of course, setting down - I thank you. What an amazing community we belong to.
Yesterday was International Women’s day, a day close to my heart. In line with this I would like to leave you with a quote a love:
Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them. – Unknown
Mrs Kim Cohen
2 March 2018
This week I would like to share with you some research indicating how girls benefit from single-sex environments:
In a learning environment that is free from gender discrimination, girls achieve greater academic success and are more confident.
- Dustmann, Ku and Kwak (2017, p. 28) found that the “the net effect of having single-sex peers for three years is strongly positive for girls”. When classes were converted from 100% female to 50% female, girls’ achievement in languages (Korean and English) fell by 8-15% of a standard deviation (pp. 4, 27). (Also see, Dustmann et al., 2017, Why single-sex schools are more successful.)
- A 2017 study of Year 3, 5 and 7 numeracy and literacy (NAPLAN) data by Dr Katherine Dix of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) found that even when socio-economic status was taken into account, Year 7 girls at single-sex schools were 4.2 terms ahead of co-ed students in reading and 2.8 terms ahead in mathematics (Dix, 2017).
- In 2014, Professor Alison Booth of the Australian National University wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald that “the evidence is gathering that women in single-gender classes benefit, and they benefit significantly”. In fact, just one hour a week of single-sex education benefits girls (Booth, 2014). Booth et al.’s 2013 study found that female students at Essex University who were randomly assigned to all-female classes in their first year were 7% more likely to pass their introductory economics course than girls in co-ed classes. They also scored 8% higher on their final grade and 10% higher in their required second-year courses, despite only attending single-sex classes in their first year (Booth, Cardona-Sosa & Nolen, 2013, p. 3).
- An Australian study has found that girls gain confidence in Information Technology (IT) in single-sex classes. The four-year study, which ran in seven co-ed and three girls-only schools, found that 45% of girls made an unprompted positive comment about their experiences in single-sex IT classes. Feedback from the girls included that girls-only classes were more conducive to learning because boys disrupt classes; they were more willing to ask for help without boys being present; they were more confident and not afraid to try things out; and that in co-ed classes, boys put them down when they were trying to do something or express an idea (Fisher, Lang & Forgasz, 2015).
- In 2015, Andrew Hill of the University of South California found that opposite gender friends have a negative impact on the academic achievement of students at co-ed schools. Students aged 16 and over with higher numbers of opposite gender friends had lower grades across all subjects (p. 148); were less likely to graduate from high school or attend college (p. 173); had more difficulties getting along with their teachers (p. 148); and were more likely to be in a romantic relationship, which “may reduce both the quality and quantity of homework and studying”, as well as being “distracting in the classroom” (p. 171). Hill also found that in students aged under 16, grades in mathematics and science were negatively impacted by the effect of opposite gender friends, and that girls may benefit from single-sex classes in these subjects (p. 168).
- A 2015 study by Eisenkopft et al. identified a “very robust” positive effect on mathematics proficiency for girls randomly assigned to single-sex classes in a Swiss high school (p. 137). The effect was greater for students with high ability in maths and in classes taught by a male teacher, but “the effect also holds for less talented students and for classes taught by a female teacher”. Girls in single-sex classes also “evaluate their mathematics skills more positively and are more likely to attribute their performance in mathematics to their own efforts rather than to exogenous talent or luck” (p. 125).
- Park, Behrman and Choi’s 2012 study of South Korean students — who were randomly assigned to single-sex and co-ed high schools until 2009 — found that “high school female seniors who attend all-girls schools show significantly higher mean scores than their peers who attend coeducational schools” (p. 19). In addition, college attendance data demonstrated that “the four-year college attendance rate for female graduates is 3.1 percentage points higher for all-girls schools than for coeducational schools” (p. 20). The advantage of “all-girls schools over coeducational schools in sending female students to four-year colleges is fairly substantial”, with the study showing that “female students from all-girls schools are less likely to attend two-year junior colleges” (p. 21).
- A 2012 PhD thesis by Dana Diaconu concluded that girls from Hong Kong and New Zealand “seemed to have benefited more from single-sex education than coeducation” (p. 248). Diaconu examined the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) databases for 1995, 1999 and 2003, finding that the advantage of Hong Kong girls from single-sex schools in TIMSS 2003 in science scores “remained statistically significant … even after accounting for differences in student background and school characteristics” (p. 248).
- Suzanne Link’s 2012 study of the 1999 Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) data for South Korean middle schools found “positive effects of single-sex schooling for girls” in mathematics. The effects “are not only highly statistically significant and non-negligible in their magnitude, but also highly relevant since math[s] performance is consistently linked to future earnings” (p. 2).
- Belfi et al.’s review of the literature on class composition by gender and ability in secondary school found that “single-sex classes are advantageous for girls’ school well-being and academic self-concept” (Belfi, Goos, De Fraine & Van Damme, 2011, p. 2).
- Veronica Cabezas found that: “Girls in single-sex schools perform better academically than their counterparts in coeducational schools, after holding constant measures of selection, background, peers and school factors” (Cabezas, 2010, p. 227).
- Katherine Bradley investigated single-sex education and its impact on academic achievement, concluding that “the single-sex environment provides females with the best opportunity for academic achievement” (Bradley, 2009, p. 119).
Mrs Kim Cohen
23 February 2018
On Thursday 15 February, Steve Warren (Head of JY), Jo Matherson (Deputy Principal) and I attended a briefing session at ISQ (Independent Schools QLD) about the Self Improving Schools program. Glennie will be taking part in this program. The program is a means by which we look at what we have currently in place within our school and see how we can best implement/move forward with current projects/programs/initiatives within our strategic plan.
The first step of the program is to undertake a whole school review. Only three schools have been given the opportunity to undertake the review through ISQ; one completing the SIS program, one halfway through and one starting. The reviewers will be spending three days at the school - 6, 7, 8 March - interviewing staff (mainly teachers), students and parents. They may chat to you in the car park at pick-up time. If you do not wish to speak to them, they will understand and leave you be. They will be asking about where you see the school heading, where you would like to see it heading, how you think we are doing in achieving our vision/strategic plan. This is a review to determine how we are progressing as a whole school. Please be totally honest in your conversations with the reviewers so that we can get a good overall view of where we’re currently at.
Once the review is complete the SIS Committee will use the information in discussion with our ISQ consultant, to come up with an action plan to be implemented in 2019. This plan will focus on the results of the review in conjunction with the implementation of our current strategic plan.
Mrs Kim Cohen
23 February 2018
11% of our 2017 Year 12s achieved an OP1 or equivalent and 28% achieved an OP 1 to 5. Without realising it, these students all displayed a growth mindset either all or most of the time. Other examples of students embracing a growth mindset are the girls who take French Immersion, those who persevere with a new instrument, athletes who get up time and time again until they get it right, and every student who uses feedback to improve in their field of study.
A growth mindset is the belief that your basic qualities - talents, aptitudes, interests or temperaments – can change and grow through application and development. The opposite of this is a fixed mindset; the belief that basic qualities are carved in stone, that you only have a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality and a certain moral character and these cannot be changed. According to Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, young people can be taught to ‘feed their own brains’ through understanding that brains and intelligence can be grown. This mindset improves their self-confidence and actually improves their academic performance. This idea is linked to the exciting recent discoveries by Norman Doidge, and other psychiatrists and neurosurgeons, of the ‘brain that changes itself’ or, as it is now called, Neuroplasticity. It is now generally accepted that the brain is plastic and can stretch and grow; a person’s intelligence is no longer believed to be ‘set’. Developments in both these areas of study are exciting and if you wish to learn more please watch this ten minute YouTube clip – it is well worth it.
Dweck states: ‘People’s self-theories about intelligence have a profound effect on their motivation to learn. Students who hold a fixed theory are often concerned with how smart they are and prefer tasks they know they can do well and avoid ones in which they make mistakes. In contrast, people who believe in a growth theory of intelligence want to challenge themselves to increase their abilities – even if they fail at first.’ (www.news.stanford.ed/news). Those who are part of the French Immersion program are excellent examples of students who have practised a growth mindset.
We encourage our students to embrace this mindset and use perceived failure as a stepping stone on their journey to success. It would be wonderful if you, as parents, could continue these conversations with your daughters so that we are all speaking the same language.
If you need a reminder or would like to know more about it, please read the following (you dont need to read the whole book(s)), just the appropriate bits. They’re in the School library.
23 February 2018
You will have noticed that building has not yet started on the Sports Centre, which is disappointing as we had hoped to have it completed by September or, failing that, the end of the year. The good news is that we are definitely going ahead and at this stage it looks like we will be breaking ground in Term 2, with completion forecast for early 2019. You will have received information about the Sports Centre and our medallion campaign in Term 4 last year. Please take a moment to revisit those materials (also available online).
I hope you can Be Active in your support of this important new facility that will benefit every Glennie girl.
Mrs Kim Cohen
16 February 2018
In the busyness, we often don't give ourselves time for quiet reflection. But this is so important if we are to keep up with the pace. I struggle to reflect and need guidance on how to do so. A few weeks ago I was pleased to come across this message allegedly from Pope Francis, but there has been some debate about the true author of this piece. Whether he wrote it or not is irrelevant, what it says is relevant. I thought I would share it with you to read for inspiration and guidance in a moment of quiet reflection.
This life will go by fast.
Don't fight with people, don't criticize your body so much, don't complain so much.
Don't lose sleep over your bills. Look for the person that makes you happy. If you make a mistake, let it go and keep seeking your happiness.
Never stop being a good parent.
Don't worry so much about buying luxuries and comforts for your home, and don't kill yourself trying to leave an inheritance for your family. Those benefits should be earned by each person, so don't dedicate yourself to accumulating money.
Enjoy, travel, enjoy your journeys, see new places, give yourself the pleasures you deserve.
Allow dogs to get closer.
Don't put away the fine glassware. Utilize the new dinnerware; don't save your favourite perfume, use it to go out with yourself; wear out your favourite sports shoes; repeat your favourite clothes.
Why not now? Why not pray now instead of waiting until before you sleep? Why not call now? Why not forgive now? We wait so long for Christmas; for Friday; for Reunions; for another year; for when I have money; for love to come; when everything is perfect, but ...
Everything perfect doesn't exist. Human beings can't accomplish this because it simply was not intended to be completed here. Here is an opportunity to learn.
So take this challenge that is life and do it now...love more, forgive more, embrace more, love more intensely and leave the rest in God's hands.
On Wednesday 21 February at 9:30am, Rev. Sharon Baird will be formally commissioned as The Glennie School Chaplain. The commissioning will occur on the Chapel lawns and parents are welcome to attend.
Mrs Kim Cohen
9 February 2018
On behalf of the Executive Team and the family involved in recent media publicity, I would like to sincerely thank everyone for their kind messages of support. Thank you too to the parents who approached me directly with questions. Please remember that Jodi Blades (Dean of Students), Rev Sharon and I are happy to talk to any parents, always respecting with compassion the privacy of students concerned.
I must say I read some interesting and misleading rumours on social media in the past week, but I am pleased to confirm that to date we have had no staff or students leave the school, no legal team in Sydney and no undue influence on the media's reporting. Please be assured that no member of the current staff, including myself, would ever approach the media about a student. As always our primary concern is for the safety and wellbeing of every student in our care.
It is business as usual here at Glennie where we are continuing to educate children in a safe environment underpinned by our values of compassion, respect, integrity and courage.
Middle and Senior Years Parents Focus Group
I would like to take this opportunity to invite interested parents to send in expressions of interest if you wish to be part of the Middle and Senior Years Parents Focus Group that I meet once a term. The group comprises of eight parents and we currently have two vacancies to be filled for 2018 and 2019. Please contact my assistant, Paula Nicholls, email@example.com, if you are interested.
All the best for a calm, fulfilling and blessed weekend and week ahead.
Loving God, we give thanks for and celebrate the uniqueness of each person in our Glennie School community. Help us to be accepting of all people, creating a loving and caring environment where every person feels safe and empowered to be the best they can be. We pray through Jesus the Christ, Amen.
Mrs Kim Cohen