Saturday 30 April 2016

A Time to Calibrate Goals

While the holidays provided time for some welcomed rest and relaxation, they also afforded an opportunity for the boys to review and calibrate goals and priorities over the term ahead. More than simply change uniform from summer to winter and adjust to the organisational transition to another term, it is important in an Ignatian school where the inner impulse for the magis – that which speaks to a depthed and highly reflective approach to life, can be pursued with insight and zeal. It is a challenge that is issued to each and every boy as they return to take responsibility for their own learning to ensure that they achieve on a level fully commensurate with their God given potential and abilities, and in so doing, contribute to a culture and a community where aspiration takes primacy of place.

Three major tours were conducted over the break that saw Riverview in different hemispheres of the world. A contingent of musicians headed off to Italy where time was spent in some of the great Renaissance cities including Venice, Florence, Pisa and Rome. The high point of the Italian tour was the performance of the Riverview Choir in St Peter’s Basilica; something that will remain with the boys always. Further north in Europe, the Football Tour headed to the Basque country, Ireland and England, where games were played against other Ignatian schools, but also where the boys saw some of the world’s elite in venues such as Real Madrid. On the other side of the world, the Language Tour to China involved an intensive week attending classes in the Beijing Polytechnical School as well as visits to some of the great sights of the Far East. In the case of the latter, that the boys were asked to step out of their comfort zone was apparent when Matthew Dutalis was asked to address the 3,500 student population in his non-native Mandarin, which he did with enormous poise and proficiency. And, in each instance the tours touched base with Ignatian sites, be they the Collegio Internazionale Del Gesu  or El Storta in Rome, the birthplace of Ignatian spirituality in Monserrat and La Cova in Spain, or, the destination of the first Jesuit diaspora in 16th Century China.

The first classes of the Supervised Study Program began this week under the watchful eye of Peter McLean, former Head of Secondary School at the College. This represents a new era in the College’s history as it responds to the increasing demands on family life during a working week that is compounded by busy personal and professional commitments, and, difficulties provided by Sydney’s traffic during peak travelling hours. Early feedback from the students and parents has been extremely positive and we look forward to the consolidation of this initiative over the weeks and months ahead. Some of the unsolicited comments include:

I wanted to let you know that our son in Year 10 really enjoyed his first session of ReView last night. He generally struggles to do his homework and he came of the the session with a lot of enthusiasm for it. He really liked the tutors and amazed himself at how much he got through. (GH)

Just a very quick bit of feedback about ReView: “it was GREAT!!!!” (CQ)

Should there be any queries about the program they can be directed to the Deputy for Teaching and Learning, Mr Russell Newman.

ANZAC Day was commemorated at Riverview in a variety of contexts: in the local community at a Lane Cover Remembrance ceremony, and, in a School Assembly on Wednesday in solemn and meaningful tones – as it has been for over a century at the College. Thomas Lunn read the Ode and a small delegation of Riverview boys placed a Wreath of Remembrance as part of the community acknowledgement of the commemoration at Lane Cove. At school, as the name of the each of the fallen Old Boys was registered, a student stood in the Ramsay Hall; a silent and salient reminder of the magnitude of loss and the tragedy that is synonymous with war. In all, 120 Old Boys have lost their lives in the service of their country and it is fitting that this acknowledgement continue, not only to reinforce the deep and profound sense of loss, but that there is a shared past that inextricably links the College to the foundational history of the region and the nation. Many thanks are extended to the special guests who attended and to Mr James Rodgers who officiated on the day.

Over the break considerable time was spent in preparing for the management of the building program which is intended to re-purpose the Therry precinct from November of this year. Given that one quarter of the College’s facilities will be lost during the 12 month building phase, extensive analysis of room usage against timetable, office provision, amenities, grounds use and contingent operations needs to be entered into in granular detail to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of the educational program throughout. This is also in context of the ultimate use and deployment of the new precinct, which will contain dedicated pastoral care facilities contiguous to re-designed faculty areas along with 10 extra classrooms that will provide the best by way of collaborative learning in multi-modal learning environments. Over the coming term a new micro-site will be added to the College’s website that will provide a communications platform for the immediate and wider College community to keep abreast of developments during the intensive building periods across the different stages of the Master Plan.

Over the coming weeks there is much on the calendar. Term 2 is arguably the most intense with the fewest interruptions and a term that accounts for 9 teaching weeks (instead of 10) before the mid-year break. Over successive weeks, students in the secondary school will be undertaking mid year examinations, beginning with Year 11 in just 17 teaching days. These will be followed by Year 10 examinations with the rest of the cascade following in quick succession. It is a term which is notoriously short and particularly fast moving. Hence the need to calibrate goals at the outset. It would be my hope that there would be a discussion on a family level with every boy in the College – be they in Year 5 or Year 12, to ensure a common and shared understanding of key priorities, targets and ambitions, so that they can be realised over the coming weeks.

Very best wishes for the term ahead.

Dr Paul Hine