Forge the Future

This past week I have been in WA, attending the Association of Heads of Independent Schools (AHISA) conference. As I have listened to keynote addresses one after the other, I have heard thought leaders from Australia and across the globe repeating a key theme:

Our children can grasp a hopeful future AND shape their place in the future.

Speaker after speaker emphasized the need for students to focus on the development of their ‘personal skills’ – “package your skill set and present yourself”

This is something Calvary promotes for our students through our focus on each student’s personal skills development. We have been saying for a while now that while mastery of curriculum content matters, development of essential skills matters more. 

What are these “essential” skills? These skills are often referred to as ‘soft’ skills. I prefer to consider them ESSENTIAL as we cannot unleash our potential unless we have well-developed skills in the following areas:

         How do I fit in (to a community and help shape a culture)? This goes to the core of our sense of belonging – a significant focus of our Vibrant Community strategic objective.

         How do I present myself (or my case) with articulate expression and confidence?


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At Calvary, students have many opportunities to develop the complex skill set foundational to communication, collaboration and cognitive versatility. Towards the end of last term, I was impressed by the articulate confident presentations of many of our Stage 2 (Year 3 and 4 students) during their learning EXPO. Their responses to my probing questions quickly convinced me of the depth of their understanding of the learning process, of their personal strengths and growth points, and above all their pride in personal achievement and progress. 

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Let’s keep working together to instil confidence in our children founded on their constantly growing personal capacities. Please join me next Monday night 14 October at 6pm on our Carbrook campus to chat further about what this means for our College community.

Yours sincerely

Cherylynne Gostelow

Principal and CEO

Principal Meet & Greet

To lead ‘for a season such as this’


We are almost sick of hearing that the world has changed and education must change too. I am not interested in change for the sake of change. But my interest is gripped by what will make learning more impactful for each child in our College community. Educational research and neuroscience have taken a lot of the guesswork out of what impactful learning design looks like.

Join me on 14 October at 6pm on our Carbrook campus. Let me tell you a little about why I am so deeply and personally invested in Calvary’s journey.

Our community is unique and my task is to lead ‘for a season such as this’, where pace of growth and renewal is important. I need to balance, on the one hand, the urgent need to keep agile in the face of emerging educational research, significant, disruptive change in the world of technology, the economic realities facing our country, and, on the other hand, the need we all have for stability in a predictable environment where we are safe to risk personal growth and learning.

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I look forward to sharing my thoughts about this next season with you. The evening will include opportunity for you to raise questions and provide comment. I am keen to hear your thoughts as we work together to provide experiences for your child to grow in understanding, character and hope for the future.

Yours sincerely

Cherylynne Gostelow

Principal and CEO

Looking towards 2020

Dear Parents/Carers

I am pleased to announce that Mr Josh Wilson has been appointed to the position Head of Middle and Senior School. Josh has been a part of the Calvary team since 2015, having joined us as Head of Faculty English and Languages. He has been the inspiration behind a revitalised program in English, improved Literacy outcomes for Middle School students as well as leading and supporting ISQ projects in the fields of providing feedback to students that promotes learning, and developing quality questions.

Since the start of this year, he has led Middle and Senior School in an Acting capacity. In this role he has developed the subject selection process for Senior School to reflect the changes to Senior pathways in the new courses developed by QCAA, as well as promoting research-based and evidence-informed learning design practices among our staff. In a field of strong candidates from across the state, Josh was outstanding with his experience in innovative curriculum development and developing high performance teams.

Other recent staff changes include the departure of our Business Manager, Rodney Taylor who has taken up a new position at Moreton Bay College. Francesca Travers, who has been working in our Year 7 team, will be leaving us at the end of this term. She has succeeded in securing an appointment in her specialist teaching area, Art.

As we plan for 2020, the College has advertised to secure a learning designer to join the Year 7 team from the start of next term. Several other learning designer positions have also been advertised as well as two Heads of Faculty positions. As we secure our staffing for 2020, I shall keep you updated on progress.

I would also like to thank our staff again for all the “above and beyond” things they do to support our learning community at Calvary. Our successful netball team, Calvary Crushers, on Saturday is one example of many staff supported extension activities for students. The College Facebook groups provide a rich record of our community life.

I am also appreciative of parent support. Thank you to those of you who have participated in the Parent Survey. The data gathered will help us with our planning. We also enjoy meeting up with you at our many and varied campus events. There is a Carbrook P&F meeting this week on Wednesday evening. It would be lovely to see you there. And, you are most welcome to pop in and join events during our Salt and Light Prayer and Mission week.

Leaders from our MSS team, Josh Wilson and James Colefax will be sharing “Stepping Up” at the Springwood campus on Thursday evening this week. This gathering gives parents opportunity to find out more about the Calvary Middle and Senior School experience.

Share in the planning as we head towards 2020

Looking ahead, I would love you to join me and our leadership team for a chat about the continued Vision and Mission for Calvary, as we plan for 2020 and beyond. Considering the many activities in place for the rest of this term, I have decided to postpone our Meet and Greet event until Monday 14 October. This will be held on our Carbrook campus beginning at 6:00pm. After a brief presentation, there will be opportunity for you to ask questions and for me to get to know you better.

Yours sincerely

Cherylynne Gostelow

Principal and CEO

What is the culture we so earnestly build and guard?

Dear Parents/Carers

 As I reflect on the past few weeks, my thoughts turn to the many manifestations of our vibrant culture at Calvary. Each student, staff member and parent plays a role in contributing to our culture. Every conversation, every interaction and even our thoughts play out in building culture. This is the partnership we long to build more fully.

What is the culture we so earnestly build and guard?

It’s a community where we can all flourish:

·         where we can explore the deepest part of our identity

·         where we have opportunity and the support to rise up to meet challenge

·         where we can step up to make a valued contribution

·         where we experience a sense of deep belonging that many of us call ‘family’

·         where we trust each other with our vulnerability

Shared experiences within our formal and informal learning environments (in lessons and on the sports field, on the farm or in the school yard), events beyond the timetabled day where we can enjoy our shared community (e.g. Fathers’ Day celebrations) and the many conversations and greetings we share as we move through the day are all moments where we experience and contribute to culture.

I invite you to stand with me in striving to make every interaction positive. Become more aware of the way God moves ahead of us preparing the way for each interpersonal encounter. Let’s work together to ensure for all children in our community, hope and joy in daily living.

 

Yours sincerely

Cherylynne Gostelow

EVERY CHILD MATTERS

Dear Parents/Carers

I am humbled by the supportive comments and the care shown by so many in our community as the news of my appointment as your Principal and CEO broke last week. I have thoroughly enjoyed serving our community as I acted in that role since 1 January this year, and for me nothing changes except that the little word Acting disappears and I have a contract that offers me a longer time to do this work! Since my arrival at Calvary in January 2017, I have sought to provide conditions that would enable every child to engage in “an education worth having”. I thought I would share with you a brief extract from my application for the position, which summarises the vision I have for Calvary and our future journey together.

My first step (where we are currently engaged) is in building alignment among the College values and observable behaviours of stakeholders. Simultaneously I am acknowledging and integrating the story of our heritage with the story of our future, building a quality educational experience within a quality cultural context.

My focus this year is on sharing this vision with all our stakeholders whilst ensuring we develop shared language and understandings. This will move the vision from being imagined and aspirational to something tangible we can see in evidence in the daily experience of all who interact with Calvary.

I want us to look parents in the eye and claim with confidence “Calvary is the place that will take care of your child’s education with the goal of making them the best possible version of themselves”.

We will achieve this through their exposure to Christian faith enacted, essential knowledge, essential skills, capacity to think deeply within a cultural and social environment that supports the development of responsibility, resilience and resourcefulness that they may emerge as full expressions of God’s creative and sustaining transforming power in their lives.

My bent is toward action and while I find thought leaders’ words inspirational and aspirational, I am keen to move from the idea to action. “What does this look like at Calvary and for Calvary” is never far from my thoughts. This is the key to engaging a community in a change agenda, centred on continuous incremental improvement which for me has always been articulated by my “better tomorrow than today” focus.

I have been asked several times over the past week when I will share my vision for Calvary. My response in a nutshell: our strategic plan does that. I refer you to my parent communication dated 11 March 2019 and the video provided shortly after. (Search Parent Communication on our website to find all past communications from me. Or use the link here.

Marking my appointment with a “Meet and Greet” occasion is, however, a significant moment in our journey together. Our Executive Team will arrange for an evening gathering of our Springwood community and our Carbrook community where we can deepen our acquaintance and I will share our vision at Calvary for your child’s education journey. There will also be opportunity for Q&A. Receiving your questions ahead of time will help me ensure I have the information you are looking for, but I am also willing to take questions from the floor. Please email questions to me at cherylynne.gostelow@calvarycc.qld.edu.au

So, save the date:

Carbrook campus Monday 16 September at 7:00 pm

Springwood campus Wednesday 18 September 7:00pm.

Yours sincerely

Cherylynne Gostelow

Principal and CEO