Message from the Principal

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends,

We celebrated the beginning of the 2017 school year with our Opening Mass on Friday 3 February. A very hot and uncomfortable day, yet our girls were dignified and self-disciplined. Uncle Eric Law, our Aboriginal Elder, spoke beautifully about indigenous traditions of contemplation, how they listened to their environment and of their sense of responsibility to look after their world. This is Dadirri. The Sacred Heart tradition of combining contemplation and apostolic work is very similar to the concept of Dadirri. Ms Sarah Daff, our Director of Mission, presented at every Parent Information Evening, at staff meetings and our retreat and to student groups, on establishing the practice of ‘Take 5’. Take 5 is our attempt to introduce to our students and staff the practice of the art or discipline of contemplation. We have taken the Jesuit prayerful practice of the Examen and ‘married’ it to the contemporary psychological research about the spiritual child. We are taking five minutes at the beginning of period 5 to stop, be still, individually reflect on our day to identify what went well and for which we should be grateful, and then to identify where we under-performed, and finally to resolve to improve. This practice, whether we consider it prayer or contemplation,  spiritual or psychological, has been identified as a powerful means to developing discernment and self-knowledge. Serendipitously this year our Sacred Heart Goal is – A Personal and Active Faith in God.

An aside yet important issue, 38 girls were treated by our nurses during the Mass – feeling unsteady or unwell. The common denominator for this reaction to the heat was they had not had any breakfast or any fluids that morning. Once we gave them fluids and something to eat they returned to the whole school event.

As I mentioned at our six Parent Information Evenings, 2016 was a year of observing and learning about Stuartholme traditions and culture. 2017 is coincidentally our year for a new Strategic Plan and our Non-State School Accreditation Board process. I intend to identify what Stuartholme School excels at and what areas need to be improved. During Term 1 and 2, we will be collecting data from numerous sources. Kate Gilmore will be collecting information through surveys focusing on strengths and improvements which will be completed by students, staff and parents. Two consultants from the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) will be conducting a school review – interviewing students, staff and parents at the end of March. The National School Improvement Tool will provide comprehensive data.  We will be reworking our Masterplan and undertake a Heritage Conservation Plan. Consequently, Term 1 and 2 is data collection, in Term 3 collation, analysis and reporting will be completed and in Term 4 the Strategic Plan will be written and published. I call on you to contribute to this comprehensive process to ensure we all contribute to the future directions for the Stuartholme community. I thank you for your anticipated support.

God bless and take care,
Kristen Sharpe