Dear Parents, Students, Staff and Friends of the Magdalene Community,
In my brief time Mr Lo Cascio has been away I have learned a great deal about leadership: mostly from the twenty–five Year 11 students who were nominated by their peers to be considered for the 2016 Student Leadership Team. In their speeches and during the Leadership Discernment Day, these twenty-five wonderful young people taught me the following lessons:
1. Leadership grows out of love. These people love Magdalene Catholic High School and the students here. Their love for the school inspires them to want to lead.
2. Leadership is an act of service. Not once did a student say that their reason for leading was to receive the status, to exercise power or to put it on their resumé. Each person in the team sincerely wanted to work hard for the benefit of the students of the school.
3. Leadership is situated in a community. Each of these people expressed an understanding that they cannot achieve anything in leadership without the support, energy and gifts of the wider community.
4. Leadership is an expression of spirituality. Our students have a clear sense that, in our Catholic school, leadership can be countercultural, and can stand in opposition to the selfishness and meanness of some aspects of our culture.
I wish to congratulate all twenty-five students for the contribution they made to the process and the gifts they share so readily with our community. In our newsletter you will see who is in our Leadership Team for 2016. I am sure that Magdalene is in safe hands with such high quality individuals leading and representing us. Congratulations, in particular, to our new School Captains, Elyse Beauchamp and Tyler Bosco.
Our Year 10 students have been engaged in a series of activities that are critical to their futures, both as students and as citizens. The subject selection process for senior school has concluded, with our students taking the time to discern the best pattern of study for their Higher School Certificate. It is a terrific opportunity for the students to clarify their goals and focus their efforts on their learning. Just last week, Mrs Dobbie organised a full Work Readiness Day. Students arrived at school dressed as if they were attending professional job interviews. They young men looked excellent in dress shirts, suits and ties, while the young ladies looked equally professional in business outfits. It was difficult to recognise some of them. As a part of the day, a team of visitors from industry and the community conducted a mock interview with every student, one at a time. The students were appropriately nervous, yet they acquitted themselves with distinction. I received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the visitors at the end of the day, with some of them saying they wish to offer a number of our students jobs when they are ready! Once again, this is evidence of the quality of Magdalene students and the credit that comes from being a student here.
We have been working with all students in Years 7 to 11 about the idea of having a GROWTH MINDSET. We have shared with the students that a FIXED MINDSET is one where a person believes that they can’t do much to change their intelligence or ability; that these are fixed characteristics about a person. Conversely, a GROWTH MINDSET is a belief that, with effort, anyone can improve and achieve personal excellence. People with a GROWTH MINDSET enjoy the challenge of learning, and see setbacks and failure and an opportunity to work differently or seek help to improve, while people with a FIXED MINDSET are more likely to give up and see failure as confirmation that they ‘can’t do it’. As parents and carers you can support your child’s development of a GROWTH MINDSET in four simple ways:
1. Only praise your child’s effort, not their intelligence. “I can see how hard you worked to achieve that” instead of “Aren’t you clever!”.
2. Help your child to see failure as a signpost for improvement “I know you’re disappointed, so what can you do to get better at this?”
3. Never label your child as ‘smart’ or ‘not academic’ or ‘no good at Maths’. These things cause the child to become stuck in a FIXED MINDSET.
4. Encourage them to persist. Giving up is the shortest path to a FIXED MINDSET, and being given permission to give up just cements it.
For more information about Mindset, please visit http://www.mindsetonline.com.
At the end of this term a number of staff will be leaving Magdalene. Mr Luke Eisenhuth, who has been job-sharing with Mrs Hort, will be leaving to take up work at St Benedict’s College. Mrs Samantha Grey will leave to prepare for the birth of her first child. We wish her and her husband, Scott every blessing on their new family. Mr Brent Lipscombe is leaving to take up a significant leadership position at FlexiSchool – a Catholic high school for students who have had seriously struggles in mainstream schools. Mr Lipscombe has had a wonderful impact on Magdalene in his role as a senior Year Coordinator since 2012. We are grateful to each of these teachers for the gift they have been to Magdalene, and we pray that the next steps in their lives will be filled with God’s grace.
Please join with me in praying for our brothers and sisters trying to escape the daily tragedies in Syria and the Middle East, that the world may recognise our common humanity and reach out with care and generosity.
A Prayer for Refugees
Almighty and merciful God,
whose Son became a refugee
and had no place to call his own;
look with mercy on those who today
are fleeing from danger,
homeless and hungry.
Bless those who work to bring them relief;
inspire generosity and compassion in the hearts of our poeple
And in the hearts of our nation’s leaders;
and guide the nations of the world towards that day
when all will rejoice in your Kingdom of justice and of peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Mr Greg Elliott