1. ‘Change is the essential process of all existence.’
Mr David Gardiner is the Mr Spock to my Captain Kirk. Compassion and Optimism, the first two elements of our Men of Courage framework, capture Mr Gardiner’s character perfectly. Whilst Mr Spock is not as jovial and gregarious as Mr Gardiner, our Mr Spock is as loyal, mission oriented and steadfast as Captain Kirk’s. A more positive, constructive and service minded leader you could not find for the Starship ATC. Like any significant undertaking, good teams require good team players who contribute to the whole before self and who embrace the flux that change creates. I am very grateful to our entire College Leadership Team, Middle Leadership Teams and staff both non-teaching and teaching for the way in which they are embracing change during our ATCLearns@Home mission.
As we move into Week 3 of the term, the Premier’s timeline concerning announcements regarding the next phase of schooling management in Queensland remains in place. She has announced that a decision will be communicated by 15 May. Possibilities include a staggered transition of some kind that would have a priority for Year 12 students. At the time of writing, it is pleasing that Queensland’s health statistics continue to improve. We remain positive and prepared to respond quickly should there be an announcement regarding students transitioning back to classes prior to the current timeline or in alignment with the current timeline. We await the advice of the Premier and the Queensland Health authorities and are ready for this next phase of change. The staff, both teaching and non-teaching very much look forward to the boys returning to school.
2. ‘I could not deprive you of the revelation of all that you could accomplish together, of a friendship that will define you both in ways you cannot realise.’
Thank you to our parents and caregivers who have provided us with feedback both critically constructive and positive. It is inevitable that we will not always get things right and that there may be misunderstandings and disagreements during our ATCLearns@Home mission. I am very grateful that our community can talk things through, listen to one another, problem solve constructively and most of all, care for our wonderful sons and boys together. We look forward to continuing to listen to community feedback and to implementing improvements to our practice as we also learn through this experience.
It was great to see, our live Homeroom video conferencing being rolled out on Friday. Students and staff alike enjoyed this very much. We look forward to the roll out of the 3Cs meetings in double core classes in the Middle School and first and last periods of Senior School subjects next week. We will monitor this and are happy to expand or decrease depending on professional judgement and feedback.
3. ‘Computers make excellent and efficient servants, but I have no wish to serve under them.’
I am greatly enjoying the engagement of our boys with our various challenges such as ‘Dude Perfect’ and ‘Lip Sync’ battle. It is joyous to see the boys of all ages having a go, making, creating and “getting it”. In my first months at the College I have learned that this aspect of our culture is an x factor. While the boys and staff are working hard behind their computers, it is great to see each other having a laugh together, cheering each other on and having some fun through the powerful connection of relationships.
4. ‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.’
One of the most challenging aspects of this time is the pastoral care of individuals: students, parents and staff alike. I think that Spock is ultimately right that hard decisions ultimately need to be in the best interests of the most people possible but how we look after each other individually and each of our special needs defines us. Throughout these two weeks, I have been privy to some of the hundreds of phone calls, emails and messages between our community; parent to staff, student to student, staff to student and parent to parent and staff to staff. We have a thirst for connection, for community and for care. Again, we will not always get it right, but thank you to the hundreds of people throughout our community who are caring for others, picking up the phone, jumping online and shouting out to each other “Hello!” “Still here-how are you going?” “How can I help?” “Let’s work together”.
For some of us it may be hard to move our minds to getting ready to return to school. One of the ways we are transitioning to a ‘getting ready’ phase is I am asking all staff to return to working on site for Week 5 (May 18-22) in readiness for hopefully more boys to be on campus the following week.
I have asked Mr Finn, Dean of Formation to write to Year 12 parents and students next week to outline the beginning of a ‘readiness’ or transition plan for coming back to on-site learning. However, this applies to all year levels as well as we do not yet know the timeline of return. This planning includes simple things like haircuts, uniforms, sleep patterns and getting used to timetabled lessons and the like. It would be wise for our older students to start working on this over Week 3 into Week 4. I am aware that there have some terrific ‘iso’ beards and hair styles, but it is time to start transitioning out of that mindset and back into a ‘normal mindset’. If this starts earlier rather than later, it will be easier for individuals and whole groups in the long run rather than by quick ‘shock’ when things change.
5. ‘Live Long and Prosper.’
You knew it was coming. The genius of Mr Spock’s iconic phrase encapsulates what we wish for ourselves, each other, our children and our friends and extended family. It is also known as good will. Star Trek is tapping into the ancient wisdom of the Gospel. Particularly in the Gospel of John where we know that Jesus wishes us to “Have life and have it to the full”. All of us are hoping that the other good news of the coronavirus statistics continue to improve and that we will all be together again as soon as possible. We would like nothing more than to see the good Starship ATC land back in Indooroopilly and transition back in to full life and continuing to prosper as the wonderful community it is.
Ros Peters, our Head of Information Services is retiring from her position and finishes today after a 38-year career at ATC and Nudgee Junior College. The staff and students at ATC have been very lucky to have benefited from her passion for libraries, reading and education. More so, we have been blessed by Ros’s boundless positivity, kindness and collegiality. We want to say a huge thank-you to Ros for her years of amazing and priceless contributions to the ATCommunity. We wish her all the best for her retirement. Those of us on campus took the opportunity yesterday to form a guard of honour to celebrate Ros and she passed the baton of longest serving staff member to Lisa Mortlock in a moving ritual. We look forward to the time, hopefully, soon, when we can gather with all staff and students to acknowledge the significant impact Ros has had on the Nudgee Junior and ATC communities over 38 years. May Ros indeed live long and prosper!
I would ask the community to please keep Arian Gates (7 Senior) in your thoughts and prayers following the recent passing of his Grandfather. We hope that the passage of time will help heal the pain of his passing. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, may perpetual light shine upon him, may he rest in peace. Amen.