Getting back to normal
June 24, 2022
Apparently we are back to “normal”.
In many ways this is true and as Term II is one of the busiest terms on our School calendar, it has been really wonderful to recommence many of the activities and events that demonstrate the culture and opportunities central to our School and community. So what is normal at The Illawarra Grammar School?
This week our School Production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was performed to packed audiences. An inter-generational favourite, this was the culmination of months of work for students, staff (and parents). School Productions provide a magnificent opportunity for young people to contribute to a large and shared endeavour in a real world context. The show really must go on and our Production cast and crew have committed to this project. They have developed and enhanced their skills, formed new friendships and connections across the entire School cohort and experienced the thrill of performance. A triumph of learning, collaboration, courage, persistence and fun. I know that our entire community joins me in expressing my appreciation for their effort. This commitment, broad involvement and commitment to excellence is normal at TIGS.
Term II is also a busy time for Sport right across the School and Mr Deck has literally been run off his feet with deferred Cross Country Carnivals, Athletics Carnivals, NASSA events, weekly sport and other inter-school competitions. TIGS students have had a wide choice of competitive, representative and healthy lifestyle sport experiences and they have engaged with the options open to them with enthusiasm. It is normal at our School to provide opportunities to compete fiercely, achieve personal bests and also just enjoy the opportunity to have active play and healthy lifestyle and fitness.
We have held several Open Days for prospective families and it is just wonderful to observe new families interacting with our School in action, hearing our students explain their learning and just getting the feel for our community on a normal day. Without exception the feedback received for enquiring parents is just so positive and this is a reflection of our staff and students. This culture of care as well as rigour and opportunity is normal at TIGS.
Our academic co-curricular opportunities in the Senior and Junior School have also been ramping up this term. There have been over 30 debates involving students from Years 7 to Year 12, four Community Problem Solving Teams and one individual competing in the National Finals and exceptional results in the daVinci Decathlon where TIGS placed 12th overall, beating out rivals like Knox Grammar, The Kings School and Barker College.
A high level of student engagement in academic co-curricular activities at TIGS is normal and many of these students are also engaged in other School activities.
The Junior School has been busy with celebration of learning sessions where parents hear about their child’s progress and student voice is evident and Senior School cohorts have been rolling through Parent Teacher Interviews and reporting schedules. Feedback to learners and their parents is a crucial element of successful learning and these short conversations are extremely impactful on the next steps for learning. Parents will remember that our focus area this year across the entire School is GROWTH. The upcoming holiday break is an excellent time to take stock of where growth has been observed and celebrate this achievement. It is also a great opportunity to set the next goals for the remainder of the year. I encourage all families to make reflection and goal setting a normal part of their routines with regard to learning and progress.
The return of our Music Tutor Concerts has been another highlight this term, with many students taking the opportunity to perform for their adoring fans and each other. I am always so impressed by the skill and confidence of our students as they perform and I particularly enjoy watching the continuum of skill development for the very youngest students to our extremely proficient and talented senior students. This opportunity to encourage each other provides for our newer performers a clear image of where they can grow and achieve. The normal TIGS element at these concerts is the connected feeling of encouragement and joy. TIGS parents and students enjoy all of the performances and support and affirm the efforts of our students with generous enthusiasm.
“Normal” at our School is just spectacular and as we head into the final week of a very busy term, I want to thank students and parents for a wonderful Term II. Like all Schools, we have had to juggle staff and student absences due to remnant COVID-19 and rampant flu viruses have taken their toll. Our staff have prioritised the safety and learning of our students and covered classes when casuals were not available, as well as been supportive and flexible as we have managed resources to ensure that our students were cared for and their learning continued. I would like to publicly acknowledge the impact of this commitment and the weariness felt by all as we approach a term break. The staff at TIGS are truly wonderful and this too is “normal” for our community.
I do hope for a happy, safe and most importantly restful time away from School during the three week break for all families and staff and look forward to Term III.