Principals Report 2017

2017 has been another exciting year for Gymea as we continue to see improvements and share some great stories of achievement in learning, sport, performing arts and in the power of student voice, active citizenship and leadership.

It has been a wonderful and very busy school year seeing so many of our students continue to succeed and improve in their learning and academic achievement.  So firstly, congratulations to all of our award recipients this year. Your efforts, talents and dedication have seen you achieve at an exemplary level with your learning, with your contribution as citizens in your school and in areas of wider school involvement.

This year we opened our Technology Centre through an official opening and more so, to the students of the school.  It has to be one of the most interesting initiatives we have undertaken, as it is so much more than a technology space. Providing a compliment of current model PC and Mac computers, a great layout and accessibility to equipment, it is certainly a funky looking space and it does look special. While all these are great and give us plenty to boast about, the best bit about this Technology Centre is our students. The activity that consumes the centre varies as you walk around and as you see students at different technology levels, busy working away, often collaboratively on something that requires technology.

The other day I walked through the centre while a number of classes were booked in. Students seated at and away from computers, each engrossed in discussion which was focused on the task at hand. As I walked through, taking care not to step on little robots circling the floor or flying between my feet, I looked onwards to students at computers working on projects with each other while a small team was editing a video using an image projected on the table. It is no silent work place, but the noise is a functioning buzz with students working and playing (yes, I did see a couple of games on screens – though explanations were given to these). So when we designed and constructed that centre and we threw around words like collaboration and engagement in technology, I don’t think we really anticipated what that really meant or looked like. Walking around and seeing our students in action, it is now very clear.

So often the activity in the centre is very similar to the setup of displays that were exhibited at the official opening. The activity is encouraged and promoted by staff, but it is says quite a bit more about our kids. They are the igeneration, they are socially connected, technology dependent and they do care about the world in which they live, the school that is theirs. What makes Gymea a wonderful place to learn and a wonderful place to work is it is truly populated by a beautiful group of young people who want to be involved, want to be part of what is going on and be part of their school. Their success is strongly founded by those collective qualities. To all of our students, congratulations. Congratulations on your part in making this a wonderful place to learn and work.

A significant area of growth for our school is in student academic performance. This growth is not just isolated to our high achievers. Over the last two years, identified through NAPLAN, we have significant improvements in student performance across all areas of literacy and numeracy. So much so, we have been recognised for this growth by ACARA, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, as well as the Department of Education. The Department of Education provide a measure for schools they call value added. Our school has an outstanding value added result indicating the experiences here at Gymea are adding significantly to student academic performance. In year 9 NAPLAN this year, the Department has identified us as ‘Excelling’, the highest rating on the schools excellence framework. This is not a one off, this is a trend for Gymea. Such improvements come as a result of a collective commitment to learning by all in our community.

We are finalising our planning for the schools directions for the next three years. This is my sixth year as Principal and during that time I have seen some significant changes in our school, all focused on improvements and betterment’s for our students.

I have seen a significant change in school culture, a strengthened school community and a drive towards success that is apparent from all directions. Our motto we redefined as Inspire Learn Succeed. What we do here is centred on learning and ways we can assist students much more explicitly than ever before so they can each, in their own ways, find their success. A school that can inspire its staff and students to commit to that learning and develop that thirst for success has been our challenge and is now something upon us in wonderful ways.

Our work towards our Strategic Plan this planning cycle has evolved into something a great deal more inclusive and consultative. Our staff and executive have remained strong contributors towards our directions, along with our parents, always providing perspective that helps us keep that open mind. The strategic directions this year have been strongly influenced by our students, their voice on matters that affect them, their peers and their school. It is their collective voice that has guided the planning areas of student and staff learning and student wellbeing. Their insight, through surveys and focus groups, has allowed us to bridge what we know and read about student quality with tangible directions on how it directly impacts on them.

We look forward to seeking further improvements in implementing initiatives over the next three years that focus on student learning in areas of Literacy, Numeracy, STEM initiatives, student self-regulation and quality feedback to guide learning. The wellbeing and happiness of students is paramount to success at school and throughout life and more explicit and proactive programs to assist in that development for all students is high on the agenda. Technologies and learning spaces will continue to evolve within the school and we have some exciting plans for next year to provide increased scope for students to deepen and enrich their learning with technology. In all this, the quality of teaching will be supported by valued and connected teacher professional learning to continue the positive changes we are seeing in teaching and learning in our school. The next three years will see some outstanding improvements that will build on what is a fantastic school.

Our teaching and support staff truly want to make a difference for our students and have committed long-term to our directions, through professional learning and the extra work that accompanies. As Principal, I am very lucky to have such wonderful, committed staff and I wish to acknowledge the gains the school has made through their professionalism and dedication. My congratulations to all our staff and thank you.

Special thanks to my executive team, Deputy Principals Angela Kay and Victoria Koukoutaris, Head Teachers Janet Fairweather and Ruth Skeen in English, Katherine Edwards in Mathematics, Julie Smith in HSIE, Megan Suliman in Science, Nick Liley in PDHPE, Donna Sarcia in Technology and Applied Studies, Eva Korkidas and Nerida Noble in Computing / CAPA. Their leadership in support of student programs ensures that we will continue to be a school in the pursuit of meeting the needs of our current 21st century learners.

To our students, who continually make us proud and excite us with talents, interests and drive that they bring to their learning and to the activities that they have led across the school. Congratulations to all of our students on their achievements this year and in taking ownership of your school.

And last but certainly not least, our parents and families, for your support and partnership in the education of your children. A partnership that we will continue to build and proudly celebrate together.

I wish each and every one a very happy, safe and restful holiday.

Upcoming Events

January 2020

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
  • School Development Day
  • Year 7, 12 & Peer Support Commence school
  • All students Yrs 7-12 Commence school