It is with great enthusiasm that our Danebank staff and I welcome you and your families back to school for 2020. I trust that you have all enjoyed a well-deserved, restful holiday and that you will experience a new year filled with of hope, imagination and curiosity, ready to learn and thrive.
On Wednesday our beautiful grounds were buzzing with excitement and laughter as our girls returned, found their friends, met with new teachers and discovered their classes. I’ve personally loved hearing various holiday adventures and meeting with the girls, families and staff.
Visits to classrooms have been inspiring: I’ve enjoyed seeing our resident rabbit happy in his pen in our Life Skills Class, visiting the science lab, maths class and Junior School classrooms. I’ve witnessed the deep commitment of our staff who are working with dedication to establish the best possible learning environment for our girls.
I am truly discovering what an incredible place Danebank is; one of the leading girls’ schools in Australia with a stunning community of students, staff, parents, old girls and friends. It is an honour and a privilege to be here.
These past weeks have reminded me of why I was drawn to Danebank. It is because of who you are as a Christian learning community:
- your wonderful reputation as a leading school for girls,
- with high academic attainments and
- a focus on the holistic development of each young woman.
But most importantly, I was drawn to Danebank because of you... the girls, staff and community of Danebank.
Danebank puts people first and our GIRLS are at the heart and centre of all we do. The quality of our relationships, founded by trust and support, are so important, not just for our girls but for our whole community.
It is said that relationships are the “oil of learning” and the “oil of wellbeing”. A growing body of research confirms that students learn better if they like their teacher and if their teacher is perceived to like and respect them, and furthermore, that through positive relationships we experience greater wellbeing.
Likewise, meaningful parent engagement (that is linked to learning) has a positive impact on student learning in various areas such as improved academic results, increased enrolment in more challenging situations, lower drop-out rates and better progression to tertiary education. Byyk et al (2010) indicate that schools with established family engagement practises were four times more likely to improve student reading over time and ten times more likely to improve learning in maths.
When the involvement of parents is meaningful, the results of engagement can be significant as a genuine sense of connection is developed with all stakeholders working towards a common goal.
Our endeavour at Danebank is personal. It is about girls and families with whom we hope to develop strong relationships and partnerships. All learning (whether it be academic, social, emotional, physical, spiritual or cultural) is founded on the strength of those connections and actively promotes the wellbeing of our students.
When our relationships between families, students and staff are positive and supportive, we work in collaboration to promote learning. Together we strive towards ensuring that our girls develop into young women who flourish in every aspect of their lives, to serve but also to shape the world.
In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be taking time to get to know our community more ... meeting with you and discovering things that are deeply loved and cherished at Danebank. Together we will build on our strengths and explore new areas for growth and development in the future. This is so we can continue to provide an exceptional Christian education for our girls, that they would be equipped to thrive, serve and shape the world.
In 2020, it is my prayer that we will be a leading futures-focused Christian school of exceptional learning and care for girls, positioned to flourish, today and into the future.
That s/he will be standing firm
Like a flourishing tree
Planted by God’s design
Deeply rooted by the brooks of bliss
Bearing fruit in every season of life
S/he is never dry, never fainting
Ever blessed, ever prosperous