As we approach the end of Term 2, it is good to reﬂect on the ﬁrst half of the year. For me it has gone very quickly. When I arrived I received a very warm welcome for which I am grateful. I didn’t have a lot of time to settle in as there was a Strategic Plan and Annual Implementation Plan to do straight away. These are major documents that require a great deal of time to prepare, but I am pleased that they were completed on time thanks to the teachers who were willing to participate in the process.
Since my arrival, I have enjoyed meeting many new faces and discussing aspects of education and other things at DPS. I ﬁnd it really interesting that some people have wanted to talk about “all the changes” I have made. I feel the need to mention that I rarely, if ever, make decisions in isolation. I prefer to discuss and collaborate prior to making decisions so they are informed. Regarding “all the changes”, when I ask people what changes have been made, they struggle to mention as few as three.
I did change the Friday assemblies and I feel strongly about this because I don’t believe there was a real purpose or justiﬁcation for sitting over 500 students on the cold Gym ﬂoor for up to an hour and a half every Friday morning. There are some beneﬁts to assemblies, I absolutely believe that, however, we need to be strategic about how these are achieved and I believe one assembly per fortnight for 30 minutes maintains the beneﬁts. I also felt strongly that we were wasting a signiﬁcant amount of time between 9-11am which is prime learning time for students. By the time they get settled in the gym, sit through an hour and a half then get back to class it takes most of the 9-11am block. Over the course of a term there is 20 hours lost, over a year 80 prime learning hours lost. While I obviously feel strongly about this, as mentioned above, I rarely make decisions in isolation and I discussed this issue with staﬀ at length and there was unanimous support for this change.
Finally, regarding change, my approach is always about providing the best learning conditions for our students. Our staﬀ, including myself, are committed to supporting learning outcomes for our students. I encourage all parents to come and see me to discuss your concerns, issues or simply to have a chat. Many parents have done so already and this is an aspect of my job that I enjoy; the better we know your children, the better we can cater for them. I also appreciate the opportunity to explain what I feel is important.
Mr. James Hill