We share the below Christmas message from current principal, Kim Kiepe to the Somerville House Community.
Dear Somerville House community
Our school community has many reasons to be thankful as this academic year draws to a close. Each member of the School has managed throughout the challenges that have made for such a unique 2020 experience. I write to acknowledge and extend my congratulations to everyone in our community, for working together to overcome the situation posed by the Coronavirus pandemic.
I wish to thank Chair, Mr Jim Demack and the School Council for their ongoing support throughout this year. Our School Leadership Team has committed to engaging in a review of our approach to the delivery of education at Somerville House. I also give thanks to the members of the School Leadership Team – Mrs Jo Matherson, Ms Chris O’Gorman, Ms Renee Bromiley, Mrs Julie Brunckhorst, Mrs Louise McGuire, Ms Laura Duffield, Mrs Wendy Jurss, Mrs Frances Greene, Mr Alan Legge and Mrs Amanda Houston – for their leadership this year.
While the pandemic has presented significant hurdles for everyone in education, I am also mindful that its impact will be felt for some time into the future. It is with deep gratitude that I thank the Somerville House Foundation and Old Girls’ Association, for working with the School to ensure that the COVID-19 Bursary Fund was established earlier this year, in order to help retain enrolment for those families whose livelihoods were affected. I also give thanks to the Parents and Friends Association and all parents involved in Support Groups for their ongoing hard work and commitment to the continued success of Somerville House.
Appreciation is extended to our teaching staff, whose commitment to reimagine learning and connection in the online classrooms was so well received. The professionalism of Somerville House teachers – who worked under duress – to make for valued teaching connections is salient to the thread that binds us as a learning community. Andreas Schleicher (2020), Director for Education and Skills at the OECD cites that “Learning is not a transactional process, where students are passive consumers of content, where schools are service providers and where parents are clients… Learning always happens through interaction and in an environment of wellbeing and self-efficacy for both learners and teachers.”
Our corporate support staff are vital members of the School team who are responsible for bringing the action in the classrooms and on the sporting fields/courts/pool to life. Without them, we would not have been able to navigate through such trying circumstances. From the Sporting coaches and Music staff through to the Library, Health Centre, Tuckshop, Uniform Shop, Technology Services, Administration, Catering, Human Resources, Communication and Admissions, Finance and Facilities teams, I extend sincere thanks on behalf of all students and staff. The Under the Clock baristas receive a special mention… for obvious reasons!
Our students are congratulated for their ongoing Somerville spirit, with special mention and thanks to our outgoing Class of 2020. School Captain, Kate Lockyer and Vice-Captains, Alisia Aloisi and Madeleine Webber, are acknowledged and thanked for leading the student body with such resilience and courage. All student leaders have been remarkable throughout this year and their encouragement, both on campus and in the Microsoft Teams classrooms, has been uplifting. Whether it was Tutti Frutti busking in the Mall or Junior School students writing to our Old Girls during the isolation time, we acknowledge the optimism and compassion shining through from our students.
As a collective, education can stand proud in this tumultuous year of 2020. As the Principal, when I have, (at times), been uncertain in making decisions with limited information, in a fast time frame, it is important to express my personal gratitude and appreciation to parents. Thank you for understanding that the COVID-19 parameters helped us stay safe, yet affected our ability to hold traditional functions and normal rites of passage. Thank you for your acceptance of working within the imposed changes and the new normal. From a personal perspective, the kindness and reaching out to hold each other up has been essential to bring 2020 to a successful close.
We have much to look forward to in 2021, with the implementation of SomerLink, as a collaborative teaching and learning management system, which will provide an enhanced experience in communicating news and events. Additionally, we will be able to share your daughter’s progress more readily and leverage more opportunities to work together towards improved outcomes. From a parent’s perspective, SomerLink will strengthen parental engagement by connecting you directly with your daughter’s assessment schedule to guide continued growth and achievement. Advantages include additional analysis capabilities in comparison to the capabilities of MySomerville, and improved tracking and trend identification relating to pastoral care and attendance.
The School Reception will be closed on Thursday 24 December 2020 and officially reopen on Monday 4 January 2021.
I thank all members of the Somerville House family for your support this year and wish everyone the very best for a safe and happy Festive Season.
The gift of love.
The gift of peace.
The gift of happiness.
May all these be yours at Christmas.
Mrs Kim Kiepe
Schleicher, A. (2020). “International education and COVID-19 – Insights from TALIS”, Teacher Magazine, 25 March, viewed 26 November 2020, https://www.teachermagazine.com/au_en/articles/international-education-and-covid-19-insights-from-talis