Welcome to 2018. I am incredibly proud and excited to be Principal of St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School and I extend a warm welcome to our new and continuing students with a special welcome to our Prep and Year 7 students and their families, as they commence their journeys in the Junior and Senior schools respectively.
Over the last couple of weeks staff have been planning for another dynamic year ahead, paying particular attention to how we grow our learning culture and all of our learners at St Aidan’s. Also, I know that our wider community are looking forward to a celebration of academic achievement through recognition at events in the coming weeks.
Starting at a new school is an emotion-filled experience for new students (and staff!). I go back to an article, which was written a few years ago now but still reflects my views and experiences of starting at a new school. My parents were small business owners and moved around Southeast Queensland frequently when I was a young child. Consequently, I attended seven different primary schools!!
Maccoll writes in “New School Year, Different Teachers, No Old Friend: I only changed school once, in Year 10, and not by choice. I spent the first week trying to find my way around on my own. It was hard to get to know kids and to understand the teachers and rules. Some kids were mean, probably just because I was new, but I didn’t know that; I thought it was just me. And then, one lunch time in the second week, a girl named Leanne Earl said, “Come and sit with us.” We remained friends until she left school at the end of that year. (Maccoll, 2014, QWeekend, 25/01/14, p.8)
So what helps ‘new kids’? What should teachers, parents, and students do to ensure an effective start at a new school? Overwhelmingly, friendliness helps – Leanne Earl’s style of friendship of reaching out – is certainly at the top of most lists. A staff member whose child started at a new school this week suggests approaching a “carefully selected” member of the class, or a group, who have interests in common with the new student, and ask them if they could keep her company in the first week. She said this is especially important at lunch and morning tea, when the last thing we want is for someone to have to sit by themselves in a new place. Even if they don’t remain friends, it provides crucial, initial support.
A parent asked her daughter, a St Aidan’s girl, who spent some time in an international school a couple of years ago what had worked for her when she was the ‘new girl’. Friendship was high on her list too, having friends who ‘know the school and what to do’. Also being nice ‘to the nice people but,’ she said, ‘You have to be yourself’, and ‘It’s up to you’.
Maccoll also offers a timely reminder of the role of parenting in helping our children develop resilience, reminding us that our job is not to protect our children from everything. It is encouraging to reassure parents joining our St Aidan’s community, that we include advice and learning activities for developing friendships and resilience as part of our induction processes; it is part of our aim to help our new students make a positive transition to St Aidan’s life.
Similarly, to help our new parents feel part of our St Aidan’s school family; I take the opportunity to introduce you to our Parents and Friends (P & F) Association. Within the P & F, a network of Support Groups operates, with the function of fundraising for and supporting co-curricular activities enjoyed by both Junior and Senior school girls. St Aidan’s Support Groups cover the interests of our sporting and cultural activities – Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Cricket, Cross Country, Debating, Equestrian, Artistic Gymnastics, Hockey, Music, Netball, Rowing, Soccer, Softball, STAGE (dance), Swimming, Tennis, Touch Football, Volleyball and Ministry & Worship. Support Groups assist Teachers in Charge, Coaches and the girls. P & F meeting dates are advertised in the School Newsletter and on behalf of the P&F, I extend their invitation to attend the Annual General Meeting of the P & F on February 28, at 6:30pm. Further details will be advertised closer to the date.
In the meantime, if you would like to know more about becoming involved in a Support group, please contact Claire Rush, our P & F Liaison Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org). It is a great way to meet other parents, make new friendships and to quickly feel a valued part of the St Aidan’s family.
I wish everyone a joyful and fruitful 2018.
Welcome to new staff:
• Bess Sellars SWAN Coordinator (when Ms Rosie Sanders commences leave)
• Deirdre Forristal DIS/Art Design Teacher
• Dimeng Pang Chemistry/Maths Teacher (Semester 1)
• Eldene Johnston Teacher Intern
• Emma Swan Year 4 Teacher
• Kristeen Courtney Financial Controller (SSA)
• Krisztina Mesch Japanese/English Teacher
• Samantha Lee Maths Teacher
• Thomas Woodley Maths Teacher
• Yvonne Boonman English Teacher (Term 1)
• Kate Riethmuller (Year 12) who was selected to participate in the Fiftieth ANU-AAMT National Mathematics Summer School that was held at the Australian National University over the holidays.
• Katie Vidler (Year 11), Sharada Athuraliya (Year 10), Georgia Scott (Year 12), Amber Mitchell (Year 12), Adelaide Pope (Year 11), Rebecca Chae (Year 11), Jaidaeja Gaffney-Hintz (Year 12), Gabrielle Terranova (Year 12), Imogen Taylor (Year 11), Phoebe McAuliffe (Year 12) and Alice Baumann (Year 12) who competed in the National finals of the Australian Space Design Competition.
Phoebe McAuliffe was awarded Best Female Presenter for the second year running and Georgia Scott won the Richard Gale Silent Leadership Award.
• Jayde Ramsey (Year 12) who has been selected as a member of Queensland Synchronised Iceskating Club’s Junior Synchronised skating team Iceskateers Elite for the 2017/2018 season. Jayde will represent Australia in events in both Switzerland and Sweden this month.
• Ruby Harris (Year 12) who was selected for the School Sport Australia U16 Hockey team following her performances at the Pacific School Games in December. The Australian team will tour South Africa in June.
• Charlie Bell (Year 12) who has been selected to represent Queensland U17 at the National Netball Championships in Adelaide.
• Georgina West (Year 8) who captained the Queensland U13 Indoor Hockey team at the National Championships in Goulbourn, where Queensland Fire won the silver Medal.
• Angelina Tignani (Year 8) who won gold in the 13 years Javelin at the Pacific School Games in December.
• Gemma Casaceli (Year 8) who won a silver medal in the 12 years Long Jump and in the Medley Relay at the Pacific School Games in December