Home' Independence : Independence Vol 33 No 2 Oct 2008 Contents 56 Independence Volume 33 No. 2
Principal, St Aidan's
St Aidan's Anglican Girls' School is a day
school for girls, with 900 students from
Prep to Year 12.
At St Aidan's we articulated our vision some
time ago -- to be recognised as the premier
girls' school in Queensland. We still hold to
that vision and regularly revisit it to ensure
that we have a shared meaning of it.
When our Senior Leadership Team
meets with the Council to undertake
either master or strategic planning, we
first affirm the vision. We then 'unpack'
the vision so that we can be confident
we have a shared meaning. We brain-
storm on what it is that the premier
girls' school in Queensland should be
and what that means to each of us. It is
very affirming to find you have a com-
mon understanding of what that means.
We then set about working out a higher
level action plan of how the school might
take that vision forward in a way that
the executive team can operationalise.
We identified seven broad goals that sit
under our strategic vision and mission
and under these goals sit those things
that contribute to achieving the vision.
It's very powerful when you've got your
Council and leadership team all signing
up for the same thing and coming up
with ideas and working together at that
master planning level.
To enable Council members to partici-
pate fully in that process it is impor-
tant for the Head to keep people up to
date on trends not only in education
per se but in the way schools are con-
structed, the way they operate and the
environment they oper ate in. If people
are not aware of the significant things
that are impa cting upon education
at a macro and micro level then they
are not nece ssarily making informed
decisio n s.
Loreto Normanhurst is a secondary Catho-
lic boarding and day school for girls. It has
900 students from Years 7 to 12.
Under our previous head, Dr Leoni De-
genhardt, we started work in 2000 on a
new model of education for the school.
Our Council members have always been
really interested in and very forthcom-
ing about wanting to be part of strate-
gic development in the school so when
we established a Strategy Group to lead
development of the new model mem-
bers of Council were included, as well
as the school leadership team, members
of staff (support and teaching staff) and
parents. We aimed to be inclusive.
When Council members understand the
underpinnings and reasons for what you
are doing, then it is easier for them in
their discussions around the governance
table, and to support the Head and the
work of the school into the future. Our
Council does not impose a top down
view, and has given the school support
to build a vision -- with their input all the
way along. So it was a shared vision and
a shared understanding.
We've totally reinvented our idea of
schooling. The Loreto Normanhurst
Student Growth Model (LNSGM) is a
student-centred, holistic model of learn-
ing. We look at the student in terms of
what we call a FACE curriculum involv-
ing four elements: Faith, Academic,
Community and Extra-Curricular. We
support independent learning so that our
girls have a sense that they own their
learning, and are able to articulate what
they've learnt and how they've learnt it.
The model incorporates deeper learning,
research and ICT skills for 21st century
living, and emotional intelligence skills.
We now have a new strategic group,
the 'LNSGM 2008 and Beyond Com-
mittee', to take us to a new level and
members of Council are again involved
in that group. This has been really ef-
fective for us. It enables great dialogue
at Council meetings, and those Council
members who aren't on the Committee
feel well briefed not just by the Prin-
cipal but also by the Chair of Council
and other members.
We have included students on the new
strategic group. We have two Year 12
students and three Year 11 students,
so that we can include all students'
perspectives in our movement forward.
Council members, parents, members of
the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary
(Loreto Sisters), as well as educational-
ists who are from outside the school but
who have a connection with it are also
included in the group.
The changeover in Principal was an obvi-
ous time to reflect on future directions
and so Leoni as retiring Principal and
myself as Principal Elect began the new
process together. This gave us the op-
portunity to work together to support all
the people in our organisation during the
transition and to reflect on past success
and see where we now need to move. It
also helped to build confidence with the
Council, staff and our community.
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