School Council President’s Report

Term 4, 2020

Dear Fitzroy High School Community,

As we approach the end of a year like no other, it is worthwhile to pause and reflect on incredible changes that this year’s challenges have brought.  The most obvious change was the shift to online remote learning for much of Term 2 and Term 3.  That change has been an opportunity to learn a lot about intentional teaching and learning approaches, self-directed and independent learning and the possibilities and limits of technology.  It has reminded us about the importance of understanding and addressing the needs of individual learners and the value of interpersonal relationships in the learning process.  On the other hand, the crisis has shown us that some things do not change.  The challenges of this year have highlighted the importance of our values of Trust, Respect and Engage.  It has also cemented our vision to strive for excellence and equity as a humane learning community in which teachers use relationships to deepen their knowledge of students and where student can experience an intellectually challenging education based on powerful ideas which help them toward social maturity and prepare them for a life of meaningful possibilities and active participation as Australian and global citizens.

I want to use my last President’s report of 2020 to thank some of the people who have contributed so much to the school this year.

My first thank you goes to Principal Linda Mitchell.  Your leadership through this crisis has been amazing.  Thinking back through this most challenging of years, one consistent and critical element has been your positive, creative and inspiring leadership.  A stand-out has been your capacity to keep the ambitious strategic vision for school moving forward while managing the incredible day to day challenges of running the school through the COVID-19 crisis. So along the way, this year you have led us through the 3 year school review process, worked tirelessly behind the scenes with the Department and Collingwood College in establishing the new Gasworks Senior Campus and completed the appointment process for key senior positions that will ensure that Fitzroy High School starts the 2021 school year with a full complement of senior staff in substantive positions for the first time in a number of years. 

My second thank you goes to our incredible teachers and non-teaching staff.  What you have achieved this year has been nothing short of miraculous.  You have shown incredible flexibility and creativity and modelled the kind of resilience and positivity that we want to see develop and extend in our young people.  Through your professional expertise, willingness to throw yourself in the deep end and lots of plain hard work, you have ensured that the students at Fitzroy High School have had the best possible learning experience in extremely challenging times.

My thanks also goes to the wonderful people who volunteer their time to be a part of our School Council and subcommittees and all our other fantastic volunteers.  The School Council this year has made a strong contribution to school, starting with its central role in the school review process and including important work on a range of school policies and development areas, including the school dress code review, the working group on student voice, agency and leadership, the review of student reporting, the comprehensive review of parent fund policies and establishing the Learning Diversity Support Group.

Next, I would like to thank and acknowledge all our wonderful families who have been through so much this year.  We have confronted the challenges together as a school community and that has made so much possible. I want to thank all the parents and carers who have contacted the school in recent months to offer their support, expertise – and their encouragement and kind thoughts – and all those who have reached out to other families in various ways to offer their support and help.

Finally, I want to thank and congratulate our wonderful Fitzroy High School students!  You have worked to make the best of a difficult situation.  You have shown and developed your resilience and flexibility.  You have learned new skills and new ways of working that will benefit you in future years.  It hasn’t been easy and it hasn’t all been plain sailing but we have reached the end of the year wiser and stronger.  A special mention to our amazing Y12 students who have worked their way through what is always a most challenging year under extraordinary circumstances.  You have shown what is possible and you have done it with quiet determination and the strength that comes from a clear understanding of yourselves and the world you live in, fostered by your time at Fitzroy High School.  We weren’t able to hold a Y12 Valedictory Dinner this year but we will find other ways to acknowledge your achievements and the wonderful support of your teachers and families. 

I wish everyone in our Fitzroy High School community all the best for a happy, healthy and refreshing summer break.  I look forward to catching up again in the new year.

Cheers,

Ralph Saubern
President, School Council
Fitzroy High School