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Learn, Lead, Serve: Our College Culture of Excellence

310117-principal-300x200pxWelcome back to Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College. We look forward to a happy and successful 2017.

I hope that your summer break was a time of rest and recreation with family and friends. I am looking forward to all of us working together as a community to prepare for and focus on the promise of a new year.

Our Goals and Vision

We have achieved a great deal together in the last two years at the College, realigning significant areas of College life in our quest to deliver the finest education possible. These areas of development include:

  • Strategic Intent - to define who we are, what we aspire to become and what we wish to achieve as a community over the next five years.
  • Operational Plan - to put the Strategic Intent into practice.
  • Master Plan - to develop the physical environment to support the educational vision behind the Strategic Intent.

Why have we gone through this process?

These important plans define our vision for the future at the College. We need to have a shared understanding of what we are all working together to achieve. However, we must first understand the expectations of our community and gain a clear picture of the context in which our School operates.

Koichiro Matsuura, the Director-General of UNESCO, wrote in June 2000 that, “Basic education denotes the minimum skills and knowledge needed in order to be able to make a full contribution to one's environment and to be in control of one's life. In an increasingly interdependent world, the contents, and therefore the very notion of ‘quality’ of basic education are evolving. It can no longer be reduced to learning reading, writing and arithmetic. It must also teach individuals to be, to do, to learn and to live together.”

Mr Matsuura articulates something that schools like ours have long known and endeavoured to put into practice. Our role as a learning community is to help the development of the whole person. It is our hope, and the expectation of our community, that Bishop Tyrrell students grow into fine young women and men.

College Leadership Retreats

Our leadership teams, both College Executive and the College Board, reflected on the College’s progress during yearly retreats – to think about the bigger picture of Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College and to describe our feelings about the journey we undertake together.

Throughout our January retreat, the College Executive developed the following themes:

  • Bishop Tyrrell culture
  • Bishop Tyrrell people
  • Bishop Tyrrell structures

We felt the challenge for developing our culture in 2017 can be best described by the following words:

  • Commitment
  • Community
  • Communication
  • Consolidation
  • Managing Our Complexity

We’ve made a commitment to assume individual responsibility to achieve the College’s vision. It is therefore important for us to have mechanisms to help us:

  • listen, reflect and re-engage;
  • negotiate the implementation of our vision with our community;
  • conduct research into new ideas and thinking;
  • provide opportunities for constructive professional criticism; and
  • engender a relationship of trust so that when things go wrong we can initiate change and grow.

When we talk about our College, we can share a vocabulary that we and our different audiences understand. A language that speaks clearly of the symbols, identity and vision we all share.

Our branding is important to all of us – it’s not just corporate gloss. It is the true nature of Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College – both what we are and aspire to become, distilled into a form that is simple and clear for our community to understand us.

So how can we work together to make our image real and substantive? This requires action by all of us. If we talk the talk, then we must walk the walk.

One College, One Set of Systems, One Set of Processes

This sense of collective discipline also extends to our processes. We require systems at the College and are working hard to define protocols and guidelines to help us to govern how things happen.

This requires each of us to contribute our good ideas to make the system better. If the system doesn't work, we need to demand that it does.

Service learning and charities are a very good example of where coordinating our activities allows us to make the most of our opportunities, plan together and achieve a great outcome.

Other examples that require the skill and discipline of working together might include:

  • Assessment for Learning – using common practices and routines to reinforce what we are trying to achieve.
  • Teaching literacy P-12 – using common scaffolds and vocabulary to promote understanding.
  • Community engagement – bringing together and coordinating functions.
  • Cultural and Sports methodologies and leadership – coordinating programs and sharing resources, methods and philosophies to allow students to achieve their best in their teams.
  • Goal-setting – staff and students using a common approach to setting goals which helps us to align our efforts and promote accountability and recognition of achievement.

Our College Culture of Excellence

Finally, we should consider how to develop a shared understanding of excellence. It is our hope that every child will have an experience of excellence as they reach the end of their journey at Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College.

Let us begin the passage of 2017 in a spirit of support, respect and confidence. Any aspiration we have will require our collective commitment and passion. I have every confidence in the talented staff we have at Bishop Tyrrell. Let us keep aiming high in 2017 and enjoy the journey together.

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Peter Moulds