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Planting the Seeds

Rosabeth Moss Kanter observed that “a vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.” When the vision of Ambrose Treacy College was first conceived there were many who thought it couldn’t or shouldn’t be done. Building a school in a high change, 21st century environment, is far from easy.

As I look back on the journey of the last five years, I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment at what our teachers and students have created. The attraction of coming to a school like Ambrose Treacy was to build a school from the ground up, taking into account all the lessons that have been learned about best educational practice and 21st century skills. As we begin to end the Learning Year for 2019, it is important to take stock of what has been accomplished, particularly in the space of Senior Schooling. Indeed, 2019 has required a tremendous undertaking of collective action to build a Senior phase which has required the simultaneous operation of the existing QCE system and the new, for the first time. This has involved the operationalisation of:

• different tracking systems for each year 11 and 12 cohort
• different SET Planning processes for each year 11 and 12 cohort
• different assessment calendars for each Year 11 and 12 cohort
• a QCS preparation program for Year 12s, along with OP indications
• 118 units of work across Year 11 and 12
• two different assessment systems with different success rubrics, involving a total of 220 assessment pieces over Year 11 and 12 in a single year

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate our graduates of 2019. As I write this blog, I am confident that each of our boys will have achieved their Queensland Certificate of Education and have bright futures ahead of them. A sign of their commitment to what was asked of them in 2019, is the 100% completion rate for Diploma, Certificate, Authority Registered and Authority courses, showing that Ambrose Treacy College walks an individual journey with students, setting them up across diverse pathways. A further sign of the robustness of the Senior school, was the tremendous achievements of our OP eligible cohort in the 2019 QCS test. While 2019 state averages are not available at this time, it would appear that our students have done very well if 2018 state averages can be used as a guide.

These results are indeed impressive and a tribute to the commitment and drive of the students themselves, as well as the highly professional and hard-working staff who have been unwavering in their support of them.

As I prepare to leave the College however, I am aware that learning is not only measured by outcomes on state tests. Brother Patrick Ambrose Treacy believed that education must transform and liberate. I have long urged stakeholders at this College to play the long game. Throughout 2019, teachers continued to build educational programs that not only engaged students in the world around them, but in so doing, challenged and formed them to make a prophetic difference in the world. Across year levels and subjects, students were exposed to issues of moral complexity and contemporary significance. Issues covered included:

- The position of women in our world
- The threats and opportunities of genetic engineering
- The nature of religion and state relationships
- The use of force to achieve political objectives
- The insidious nature of racism and the notion of unconscious bias
- The responsibilities of the powerful to the powerless
- The tension between global and national interest
- The responsibilities of stewardship
- The rights and responsibilities of citizens

At Ambrose Treacy College, as ever, students are called upon to be life-long learners, knowing that education is not only a means to an end, but an end in and of itself. None of this would be possible without the cooperation of our student body, the vast majority of whom, demonstrate in small and large ways, their engagement and appreciation of the efforts of their teachers. To all students who worked with us and partnered in the educational journey, I thank you.

In a particular way, can I thank the staff who have given so generously of themselves to walk alongside our students. Chris Lehmann, author of ‘Building School 2.0: How to Create the Schools We Need’, argued that ‘good people are capable of great things under the right circumstances.’ Time and again our teaching and support staff have proved themselves capable of great things under challenging circumstances.

Those who know me well know that I am guilty of having a never-ending list of things that need to be done. While 2019 has seen the initial fulfilment of the vision to build an authentic Edmund Rice school for boys aged between Year 4 and Year 12, I am well aware that, in the words of Oscar Romero, ‘we have accomplished only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work and that nothing is complete.’ I am confident; however, that ‘we have planted seeds that will one day grow.’ Since 2015, at every Academic Awards Assembly I have used the phrase: ‘there is a place for excellence in this world’. I leave the College in 2019, firm in this view, and in the confidence that our graduates of 2019, 2020 and beyond, will build a world that is truly a sign of faith, worthy of the Kingdom.

Kath Little

ATC Learning Department