I would like one of the defining characteristics of our College to be the agency we give to our students. Agency is the degree of connection and involvement students feel to the College, that is a result of them being valued, listened to, involved in the decision-making process and developing the ability to actively shape our school culture and their learning through valid contributions that they can make.
Recently, I attended the SCEA Principal’s retreat. The presenter at some of the sessions raised the issue of unspoken but essential questions for every working environment:
- “Is this safe?”
- “Do I belong?”
- “Can I contribute?”
I asked the question, why would they be unspoken? They are the essential elements of healthy culture.
This links directly to the vision we have for students at MCC. The ability, at every level of their development, to be able to address these questions with positive enthusiasm and clarity. Because what we are fundamentally dealing with here is not a “leadership or behaviour program” but a culture that encourages resilient students, confident they have a valuable contribution, to be personally successful… to look to the future with optimism.
Mr Chan wasn’t at our last Primary Assembly. He’s the teacher normally in charge of the sound and images. While Mrs Donoghoe was a wonderful help, what I admired was the confidence with which our students involved in this technology said, “we’ve got this!”. At these same assemblies, I’m regularly taken aback (you would think I would be used to it be now) by how confidently our students throughout the years deport themselves on stage. It is a great joy to me to hand out certificates celebrating students application, determination and improvement. These aren’t tokens they're given, they have been earned and are well-deserved.
At the Secondary College, our assembly practices have changed. Alternating with our Year 7 - 12 assemblies will be Year group and House assemblies which will be student led. The first of these was today. We began the morning with a degree of trepidation around how students would pull these off. They pulled it off with consistently impressive engagement and well-thought presentations and activities. As we develop policy and practice, secondary students will be part of the consultancy that forms the decisions that build our collective culture. We are a community that our students help build.
This weekend is our annual secondary Leadership Camp at Nanga Bush Camp. The theme is Servant Leadership. I’m going and will have a chance with other teachers and students to speak into their lives. I am already confident that I will return from the camp tired, but elated at the quality of our students, their contribution and the culture we are building together at MCC.
Mr Rod McNeill