Connected Community

An inclusive, caring and connected community that embraces our students, families, staff, old grammarians and friends from diverse backgrounds.  With a commitment to: including all, ensuring effective communication and valuing our past and our traditions, the School is focused on building our community relationships, improving loyalty and affinity locally, nationally and internationally. – CGGS Strategic Plan 2015-2019

One of the most important and significant features of CGGS for me is our connected community. When I talk to students, parents, prospective students and parents and old grammarians, one of their highlights they often talk about is the wonderful sense of community. There is no doubt that our warm and inclusive community is a long-standing feature of our school that we must respect and continue to build.

I see how connected our community is every day when I witness the interactions between students, and students and staff. When I ask Year 12 students “what have you loved most about CGGS?”, it is most common that I hear the answer ‘teachers’ within seconds. The girls value that their teachers know them and that they will be there to assist them if needed.

I also strongly value our relationship with parents. During the last few weeks there have been so many functions, for me part of the joy of these functions is being able to talk to parents. We are all united in our desire for our girls to experience the very best education at CGGS, and this happens as we work in partnership. In the second half of this term we have enjoyed together an number of incredible events. These included Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Ormiston Creates and the most phenomenal Festival of Music, I know I am biased but I have never heard such a high standard of music performance at a school. We enjoyed the Father’s Day Breakfast and sporting challenges, the Ormiston Art Show, Interschool Skiing Championships at Mt Buller, Junior School Disco, UK Literature Tour Movie Night. As well as the very entertaining Parents and Friends Association Trivia Night where the money raised will fund the ‘Eye in the Sky’ camera in the newly refurbished Physics Laboratory.

On Friday 24 August, we launched the, James Zhang and Weina Huangfu Physics Laboratory. The refurbished laboratory now provides a modern space for our Physics and Science programs. James and Weina have provided wonderful support to the school to enable the completion of this project in such a short time and we will share more details of the launch in the summer edition of CamLife.

We have been working to continue to build our connectedness with our extensive old grammarian network. We recently held a very successful 50 year reunion at the school and have hosted visits from old grammarians who reside internationally as they come back to re-engage with their school.

This week, our students worked with Murrundindi in dance and storytelling from an indigenous perspective. Murrundindi is already working with key staff on projects that will be launched in 2020, our centenary year. During the last few weeks we have also hosted a number of authors and performers as part of our Book Week celebrations:

> Early Learning Book Character Parade

> A performance by New Picture Books for Foundation to Year 3

> An author visit – Asphyxia for Years 4-6

> Acknowledging the Year 6 Picture Book winners in Assembly

> The nation’s youngest ever Poetry Slam Poet, 13 year old Solli Raphael spoke to the Year 7’s

Last week Reverend Helen Creed hosted the Chaplains in Anglican Schools Meeting. Approximately 30 Chaplains attended, commencing with Eucharist, followed by a meeting and then dinner. Bishop Lindsay Urwin joined the service to preach and our very own Cathy Georgiev also attended to play the piano during the service. Liss Campbell, our Head of Service Learning was a key presenter highlighting the Camberwell Girls Service Learning Framework. I was very honoured to be invited to lead the prayers and welcome all of our visitors.

I also thoroughly enjoyed taking two of our Year 10 students to Dream Stitches last Friday, where we helped to mind the children of refugee women who were learning to sew. This partnership has been a very important one for our school and I thank our Service Learning Team who ensure that we serve this important community and project every week.

From an international perspective, Nicky Rogers, Karin Lemanis and Kath Woolcock recently presented to staff their work whilst attending the Strategic Alliance of Global Educators (SAGE) conference in New York. As one of only 16 schools in this prestigious Alliance, and one of the most recent to gain membership, we have already engaged in many significant opportunities. Including hosting educators from Singapore who visited to learn specifically about our Wellbeing and Positive Education programs. We also hosted students from the SAGE school in Finland who specifically chose Camberwell Girls as the school in the network they wanted to visit and investigate to see our wellbeing programs in action.

The participation of our three highly engaged teachers in New York has now enabled us to commence working with other SAGE schools on virtual projects for students. It also allows us to participate in new international design and innovation programs and to possibly extend our exchange programs. The details of these programs will be available later this term and at the beginning of 2019. In their presentation to staff about the SAGE conference, Nicky, Karin and Kath all concluded that “through the conference, we have had the opportunity to connect, celebrate and share our collective experience and to start dreaming about potential projects, virtual experiences, exchanges and programs that we might collaborate on now and into the future.”

In concluding the term, I would like to farewell two members of staff. Mr Dickson Ho, a Chemistry and Science teacher has the opportunity to travel and investigate some new projects. Dickson has been an enthusiastic and joyful member of our community and as we wish him all the very best, we also thank him for almost three years of service. Ms Claire Colthup has been a wonderful drama teacher whilst Ms Keira Lyons has been on long service leave. Claire joined us during the final stages of preparation for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and has been an incredible support to staff and students in the performance area. We wish her all the very best for the future.

I am also very excited to be heading back to Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) at the end of this week. This is the second and final year of the formal part of this project, however I am delighted, as I indicated in the last CamNews, that we will be continuing our relationship and work with HGSE throughout 2019.

It will still be a busy time for us during the holidays as we conduct the VCE Enhancement Program as revision for our VCE students, followed by the trial exams. We also have groups travelling to China to visit our sister school, Shanghai No 3 Girls High School and to Siem Reap in Cambodia to work with the Green Gecko Project. Thank you to the staff who are leading these international trips.

I wish all families a very happy and safe holiday period and I look forward to welcoming you back on Monday 8 October 2018, ready for Term 4!


With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody