Our students and staff are working hard, in great spirits to ensure that Term 1 continues with real momentum; there is such positive energy around learning in our school and it’s great to feel it. I’ve been delighted with how well our Year 7 students have settled into life at BPC. It’s been wonderful getting to know them and to meeting so many of their families at the recent Year 7 BBQ, as well as hearing the stories from their first camp together in Marysville.
It’s not only our Year 7s though who have settled in well; of course our Years 8 -12 students have too. It’s been a very focused term of hard work. Especially I would like to acknowledge the early work that has been done by our student leaders. In particular, Josh, Ella, Zac and May – our College Captains and Vice-Captains have really stepped into their leadership roles well. It’s very exciting working with this student leadership team.
As Term 1 comes to a close (I can’t believe I’m saying that already!) I’d like to share with you some of the exciting events, student successes and school improvement initiatives that are happening at BPC.
Feedback Stations – Students, Parents, Staff
A key part of our ongoing school improvement strategy is to seek regular feedback from all community members: students, families and staff. Along with our long-standing and sincere invitation to provide feedback (both positive, and not-so positive) this year we’re looking to build on this with feedback stations placed around the school. There is now an iPad at both office windows and a simple link on the staff homepage, all for the same purpose.
These devices offer people a simple, 30 second opportunity to share some feedback for us to think about. We just ask 2 simple questions: 1. What’s going well at BPC? 2. What’s something we can do make our school more effective? We call this ‘quick-data’ and it can be very helpful for us. As a Principal team, we collect the data, discuss it and develop actions. Next time you’re at the office window, we invite you to take 30 seconds to provide us with some quick feedback.
PAC Redevelopment Building Project
The PAC redevelopment is now well under-way. It’s exciting seeing the works begin at last. The demolition works are complete and the steel frame will begin to take shape within the next week. It’s been a very smooth process so far and although the contractors are 1 week behind schedule, we’re confident that they’ll make that time up, as we hope to meet our end Term 2 timeline.
Our students loved the recent visit by 30 of their peers from our Nanto Fukumitsu Senior High School, our Japanese sister school. They were engaged in all sorts of meaningful activities with our students as well as attending classes with them and living with some of them. A large number of families supported our program by providing homestay to our visiting students and teachers. I thank them sincerely.
My thanks also to Candice De La Motte, Jessica Suh and Justin Garrett who organised this excellent program. I also thank Neil Champion and Sue Mitchell who hosted teachers at their homes for the duration of the trip too. The exchange visit was a great success, with a lot of tears flowing on the afternoon the Japanese group departed.
School Tours, Enrolment Planning for Year 7 2018
We’ve already begun running school tours with prospective families multiple times per week. It’s such a pleasure to look over our school with these families and feel their excitement and interest in joining us. We can’t ‘fake’ the sense of learning and of positivity that these visitors are sensing in our school – it’s real, it’s important and it’s noticed by visitors. The ability to ‘walk and talk’ is valued by families. On each of these tours, 2 of our current Year 9 students are joining us to talk about their school and they are doing a superb job.
Colour Run – Last Day of Term
On the final day of this term, we will be holding our first “colour run”. The purpose of the Colour Run is to build on the efforts of the PRYDE group and Fair go, Sport. These students and their teachers aim to plan a celebration of Buckley Park’s inclusive culture and reinforce our zero-tolerance for bullying and discrimination. This promises to be a fantastic event when our 7/8 students will run/walk for 3 kilometres, starting from Buckley Park oval and finishing on our south oval. During the final stages of the run, students will run through some explosions of colour. You may have seen the Melbourne Colour Run which has happened annually for the past few years. Our run will also be used to start a cross country team for juniors, as well as end the term in a healthy, positive way.
Before I finish today, I’d like to share some further thinking behind our school priority area of Positive Education. Why do this work? Why, as a school, have we decided that a culture grounded in the research base of Positive Psychology is important work to pursue and further?
Some food for thought…
Diagnoses of depression and other affective mental health disorders are increasing amongst young people, worldwide, at an alarming rate. This continues to rise, but in the broader social context of relative wealth and success: more money, bigger houses, better access to education and generally higher standards of living, especially here in Australia. There’s a significant disconnect between what these indicators suggest young people ‘should’ be experiencing, and what the realities can be.
Professor Martin Seligman founded the science of Positive Psychology in 1998. Fundamentally he believed that there was a gap in the science of psychology. He noted that most psychological interventions were designed to repair, to fix problems. His simple, but multi-layered contention was that we ought to be equally as concerned with wellbeing and life satisfaction, as well as with repairing that which has gone wrong.
Seligman founded a psychology that focuses on cultivating positive emotion, optimism, our unique character strengths and life satisfaction rather than waiting for depression or anxiety to occur and then treating those symptoms. (Authentic Happiness, University of Pennsylvania, 1998)
When this science is applied organizationally in schools it is known as Positive Education and considerable research from around the globe makes us confident that we will make a positive difference in the lives of our students by embracing this work. We’re really pushing ahead with our efforts in this area this year. Mr. Brendan Bailey is our Positive Education Leading Teacher, and together with the Principal team, we’re driving this improvement focus area. We all look forward to engaging with you more and more to work together as a community in partnership.
Schools have a powerfully important role to play here. And, the many positive learning, social and community interventions we can put in place don’t rely on money or huge resources. This is cultural work and language is vital. Language is culture. Language is also powerful and free. For us, at Buckley Park, we are striving to enhance our school culture to strengthen further and continue to nurture our culture grounded in meaningfully engaged and positive relationships. Here we’re growing an even more positive culture which esteems genuine student wellbeing, as highly as our results.
Essentially we’re aiming to build a truly compelling culture of feeling good and doing good! Exciting, positive times indeed ahead for our community.
On behalf of the whole BPC, I wish you a safe, happy and restful Easter break.