All schools and parents share a common hope that we are able to unlock the potential in every child and that they can dream and ultimately live their dreams. Whilst it is easy to say and proclaim, the reality that this simple statement is often a complex and challenging task. The individuality of students and the inconsistencies that we as individuals experience means that there is not a one size fits all approach to education today.
In years gone by (and if I go back to my schools days decades of years) schools generally had an approach that their task was to fit all students into a set mould and parents played a minor part in the education process. Thankfully today our world is more enlightened and the notion that one size fits all is no longer the norm and the importance of parents’ involvement is understood and valued. Here at Ambrose Treacy College we understand that it is important to try and have everyone, students, parents and staff, understanding and sharing commons goals for the students. We understand that it is about valuing success in education and importantly that success in education is not a simple observation of ‘marks’ a student achieves.
Currently we have a busy week interviewing prospective students for Year 7 2019. I know the most common conversation I have with the potential students is around the effort I see in the effort comment on their reports. Regardless of the marks they achieve I say to them that the effort comment should be the barometer on which they should be happy with and this should be the focus for us as parents and teachers on how we communicate with students on their progress. Having realistic expectations is always the key. It is obviously so important that these expectations are not too low to promote apathy and/or complacency, or the other extreme of too high to be unattainable and lead to stress and anxiety. Whenever we get to the point of talking about getting the balance right, we need to be informed to get this balance.
The way in which we get closer to getting this balance right is through a clear, open and honest dialogue between the school and home. It is not about teachers believing that their standards are the best and only standards and similarly it is not about parents in wanting the best for their children trying to ‘will’ them to do better that they might be capable of or worst still trying to relive their own experiences through their children. I suppose the point I am trying to make, this is not an easy process and it is one that takes time to understand and get right, and hence the importance of the school and home working together, listening to each other and trying to individualise the educational process.
Recently I saw a poem from an unknown author that I feel captures this important relationship between school and home, teachers and parents:
I dreamed I stood in a studio
And watched two sculptors there,
The clay they used was a young child’s mind
And they fashioned it with care.
One was a teacher, the tools he used
Were books and music and art;
One a parent with a guiding hand
And a gentle, loving heart.
Day after day the teacher toiled
With touch that was deft and sure,
While the parent laboured by his side
And polished and smoothed it o’er.
And when at last their task was done,
They were proud of what they had wrought,
For the things they had moulded into the child
Could neither be sold nor bought
And each agreed he would have failed
If he had worked alone,
For behind the parent stood the school,
And behind the teacher, the home.
This week saw the College take possession with the new Westcourt buildings. The Westcourt buildings add a new second library, a second tuckshop, additional classrooms, an office for our Middle School Counsellor/ Careers Guidance officer as well as additional student toilets. For many families the Westcourt development will be a revelation because it is somewhat hidden from view from most of the College. The new Tuckshop ‘The Bakehouse’ will go online next Monday for Middle School students following our recent 5 star rating Food Safety report. I know that Danielle Milne and her band of helpers have worked hard to get ready and they are excited with this new tuckshop development. Similarly Ros Peters and the rest of our library staff have worked hard to ensure that the new library has the opportunity to become a focal point in our learning culture in the Middle School. Early next term we will have an open morning and afternoon for any families who would like to look around the new facilities.
It was wonderful to hear the news of the birth of a healthy daughter, Emma Pearl for Julia Palaszczuk. Emma and Julia are both well, and big sister Evelyn is a doting big sister.
Ambrose Treacy College
Tonight we will be holding an information night for parents in Years 4 to help parents in their decision making regarding their son’s secondary school options and in particular about the options that Ambrose Treacy College will present. The night will largely be in the form of a question and answer session and I look forward to sharing more of the dream that we have for Ambrose Treacy College. I would remind parents that we have asked for your advice by next Monday 14th March to assist us in our enrolment process. Both fortunately and unfortunately we are in a healthy position in that we have more demand for places for Year 7 than we have places available. Currently for Year 7 2017 and 2018 we have healthy wait lists for parents keen (and at times desperate!) to try and get their sons into the College. In some ways this is a nice compliment from how our Middle School has started. This same situation will apply to Year 7 2019 and we would ask families to ensure that they let us know as soon as they can so that we can try and help as many families as possible who are seeking to join our community.
Living around a school must take a lot of patience; mornings and afternoons can very hectic at drop off and pick up times. Here at ATC the afternoon pick up routine can at times be very congested. We are very fortunate that the majority of our neighbours have been extremely accommodating of the extra busyness that we bring to our local community especially during our building program of late. Just as we appreciate our neighbours’ patience with us, we also have responsibilities to act considerately to them as well. In particular I would ask all parents to please show courtesy to them by ensuring that driveways are kept clear in Twigg and Bridge Streets and that they have access to their properties at all times. This common courtesy is a small step I’m sure we all can take to ensure we keep a happy, supportive local community around the College.
I would remind parents that the new car parking area is now open and I would encourage all parents wherever possible to try and park in one of the many ‘College’ parking areas inside our grounds. Parking is available in the bottom carpark adjacent to the Twigg Street entrance, the parking area on the hill adjacent to the path leading to the swimming pool and in the new carpark adjacent to the Brothers Oval.
Queensland Combined Independent School (QCIS)
Last Friday saw the inaugural Queensland Independent Schools (QCIS) Swimming Carnival held at Downlands College in Toowoomba. As an initial carnival I was thrilled with the opportunity it provided our boys and the atmosphere it generated. It was not the super competitive, win at all costs atmosphere that many carnivals can be and it was not about only the elite athletes competing. Rather than having just one division in each stroke, a number of divisions were held in the various strokes and participation was a key feature.
The QCIS is not the College’s sole focus in some of our sports, rather it is a great complimentary opportunity that adds to our sporting landscape. At ATC we have taken up the opportunity to seek school, club and community opportunities for our students in our sporting program. The inaugural schools competing last Friday were Downlands College, Concordia College, Mary McKillop College, Scots College PGC, Toowoomba Anglican and Preparatory College and Brigidine College.
The QCIS is a co-educational association and last Friday we competed under an alliance with Brigidine College, and this in itself was a good opportunity to strengthen our growing relationship with Brigidine College as well as provide the boys with a different experience. For the record I was pleased to report that the ATC / Brigidine Alliance travelled home with the inaugural Aggregate Trophy and TACAPS the Percentage Trophy for the meet. All associations start small and grow through the interest and commitment of the schools involved and I have belief that last Friday was a great start for QCIS. I look forward to our future opportunities to compete with the QCIS schools later in the year across a variety of sports.
With best wishes
Mr Michael Senior, Principal