Posted by John Foley on 6 July 2020

Earlier in the year, St Michael's College staff came together and shared what Lasallian education at St Michael's should look like today and for the future. This approach to defining Lasallian education is very much in the spirit of the early Brothers, who came together in the early 1700s as the 'most experienced and most capable of running a school well' to inform the monumental work known as "The Conduct of the Christian Schools". It provided the essence of what a quality education in that era should be and focused on what the Brothers (teachers) at the time knew 'worked'.

Over 300 comments were offered by St Michael's Primary and Secondary teaching and non-teaching staff and these are now being developed into aspirational statements that staff will proudly put their name to. Somewhat like "The Conduct" this will be our agreed, authentic, well-articulated, 'way of being' at St Michael's College, and has the potential to be definitive and enduring in terms of what is core and most important to our educational culture. As a small preview, some of the aspirational staff statements include (without names at this point):

"Staff at St Michael's/Lasallian educators

  • understand that students should be treated as individuals with their own unique needs and provide the right balance of gentleness and firmness."
  • are positive, friendly and welcoming. They are busy, respectful and patient, always recognising the value of teamwork."
  • provide opportunities for all students, regardless of means, and work with each individual to bring out their best."
  • ensure students at St Michael's are engaged in their learning and involved in respectful, two-way conversations with teachers and other students. Safe and inclusive behaviours are always evident, as are smiles on the faces of staff and students."
  • are welcoming, friendly and attentive, always providing service with a smile. They work as
  • a team, are open to learning, organised, and respectful of the circumstances of others."
  • display a positive attitude, passion, and a heart of compassion, showing their care and love for self and others through actions rather than words."
  • lead by example, not just talking about their values but displaying them. They focus on the positives in individuals and aim high to thrive, not just survive."
  • ensure they are amongst students throughout the lesson so they are not only seen to be the teacher, but a member of the team. Staff know student names and 'check-in' through frequent casual conversations both inside and outside the classroom."
  • display a presence where they smile, are enthused and excited to be with students. They are innovative in their teaching methods, actively seek strategies that work and consistently upskill. Expectations are clear, feedback is constructive and interactions are positive, kind and respectful."

Whilst the process will continue with staff throughout this year, students and families will also be invited to contribute their thoughts on what a 'Quality Lasallian Education at St Michael's College looks like, now and into the future'.  I look forward to progressing our partnership on this important work.

Kind regards,
John Foley

Author:John Foley
About: Principal, St Michael's College, Henley Beach
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