I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support, kindness and friendship over the last two years during my period of relieving as principal of Mount Ousley Public School.
I am proud of all that we have achieved together, and will cherish the memories and the learning that I have gained as we worked closely together in pursuit of equity, excellence, wellbeing and innovative learning for our school. I am proud that at MOPS, your voices, our children's voices and the teachers' voices are all valued to collaboratively build our school's directions, vision and values. I feel so privileged to have led such a caring, strong community within a culture of trust and respect. These qualities became undeniably evident during the recent unsettling and challenging period. All of you - from parents and grandparents, to teachers and staff, to the children themselves - exhibited such flexibility and commitment to wellbeing, safety and continuation of quality learning through a pandemic. I am so proud of the way we pulled together to manage remote learning and physical distancing while staying connected and committed to caring for each other. The quality of our remote learning was truly outstanding, and from the stories I have heard from around the globe, I know we nailed it! With innovative and digital solutions, as well as the personal Apple devices that we sent home ensuring every child had access to one, we were able to continue high quality learning and teaching, nurturing wellbeing practices, social connection, targeted learning support, assessments, constant teacher feedback, special celebrations and more. Congratulations on rising to the challenge and proving that all those future-focused skills and strategies that we deeply value at MOPS, do indeed empower us to be capable of adapting to new, sudden and challenging situations and transforming the way we live, work and learn at any time.
Our targeted learning support initiatives, including the Number Sense intervention implemented early this year, have had a big impact on student growth, and I am so proud that we were able to continue our personalised learning support throughout remote learning via Zoom. We ensured our commitment to wellbeing practices, informed by trauma-informed practice research and the Berry Street Education Model, also continued throughout remote learning. I was so impressed by how our teachers innovated ways to maintain morning meets and/or afternoon check-in routines through Zoom, Google Classroom, chats, video responses, online surveys, etc. Thank you for supporting the teachers and your children at home through this transformation of education and learning.
I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to our P&C executive teams and P&C members of the past two years. You are truly a fun, hardworking bunch, and I wholeheartedly respect the way you have strived and succeeded in creating a welcoming atmosphere, valuing community engagement and investing in initiatives that improve learning and the learning environment for our young people. Just some of your amazing achievements include:- air-conditioning throughout the school with solar power to offset the electricity used; music lessons for every child K-6 with Mark from Wollongong Conservatorium of Music; innovating on our Easter Hat Parade, Mother's Day Stall and Pie Drive, and all the creative fundraising initiatives that also served to build our sense of community. I look forward to continue laughing and working as part of your fun-loving team.
To our beautiful Harmony Circle team, I am so proud of what we created. The feeling of true inclusivity, non-judgement, nurturing and support that you all gave each other during our meets was simply moving and inspiring. May we continue to work together to publish that community cookbook that we are all so looking forward to!
I look forward to the day when we can welcome you all back into our school. I miss our chats and seeing you socialising in our gardens and playgrounds - as the integral part of our school that you are. I am looking forward to sharing the aesthetic and functional improvements we’ve made as well - including the external painting of our buildings, a new memorial garden and seating wall and our revamped cubby house. Our Food Forest Project has also acquired a shipping container for safe storage of garden tools and supplies. Inside the buildings, we have enhanced our innovative learning environments with matching learning pods throughout the hallways, a purpose-built collaboration zone, and updates to the library and Innovation Zone.
Unfortunately due to COVID restrictions, we were unable to hold our Student-Led Conferences this year, or invite you in for Education Week next week. I would have loved to have shared with you some of our fantastic learning initiatives that we have implemented throughout the year. Our strong commitment to High Potential and Gifted education this year has seen our continued participation in Genius Time, the Keirabald Art exhibition, Tournament of Minds, The Empathy Project and Debating (although canceled), and new initiatives such as the Game Changer Challenge, a book writing and publishing Literacy Opportunity Class and now some targeted high potential numeracy support.
To all the MOPS learners... I was presented with a stunning video of messages from you yesterday afternoon. Now I know why you were acting so strange every time I walked past you last week! Thank you for the beautiful, kind, creative messages. I am so proud of you all, and I know you are going to impress the socks off Ms Jones with your passion for learning, creativity, growth mindset and innovative problem solving!
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the whole MOPS staff team…. for their support, their patience and their trust. I am so proud of how they always keep students at the heart of everything they do, and especially of how they pivoted through a pandemic. Huge thanks and congratulations as well to Savanna Brule, Susie Hamers and Laura Drysdale for all your support and wisdom, and most importantly for having the courage to step into the leadership arena. I am excited that I get to continue working and leading alongside Savanna, as she will continue as relieving assistant principal.
Finally, I am pleased to welcome Ms Emily Jones to Mount Ousley as our new principal starting on Monday. I met with Emily during the week and we already know that we will work beautifully together. She brings drive, knowledge and experience to our school, as well as a healthy sense of fun, and I am sure we will all benefit from her leadership.
I am forever changed by the experience of leading our amazing community. I feel honoured, proud and inspired. May we continue to empower our young people (and each other) to make the world a better place... through who we are, what we say and do, the values we choose to focus on and the courage to stand up for what's right. It has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to serve you. Thank you for giving me your trust.