As we head into the final school days of 2023 and the 110th year of Murray Bridge High School, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our extended school community for your support and investment in the young people of the Murraylands.
We pride ourselves in preparing students for future pathways and this includes development of strength capabilities that encompass knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions such as critical and creative thinking, collaboration and ethical understanding. Local employers, along with the Murraylands Skills Centre have provided opportunities for students to immerse themselves in mentoring and work experience, providing a direct link to employment possibilities for the future. The number of volunteering opportunities has also been huge this year, enabling students to give back to the community as well as develop teamwork skills along the way. Thank you to the businesses and organisations who provide food, material goods and support to students and their families who are doing it tough. When we all work together in a wrap around approach we create the best connections and outcomes.
Last week we wrapped up a two year engagement of a collaboration between UniSA and Adelaide Uni in an Australian Research Council action research project on Culturally Responsive Schooling. We investigated the five core elements of how to connect strongly to student lifeworlds, recognising cultural difference as a positive asset for learning, providing high intellectual challenge, supporting the performance of learning and multimodal literacies along with enabling an activist orientation, and this has seen significant positive changes in classroom and office dynamics. Our teachers have embraced the opportunity to share a challenge of practice and the changes they have made in classroom practice to increase learner engagement. While this was a whole school project, some had much greater commitments in the action research process. I would particularly like to thank Josh Coulter, Nick Pearce, Aimee Sparrow, AJ Perkins and Danika Mortimer who were our first round teacher leaders (known as the Fab 5) who went through the process and then mentored the second team of Monika Hatcher, Blake Tabe, Melanie Bennett and Nick Spencer in their presentations to university academics and other schools. The written outcome of the ARC project will be available to us later next year, and in the meantime we have over 90 action research projects from across the school to draw on in future years.
The teaching and school support team have much to celebrate with strong learning outcomes, a broad range of options to meet individual needs and interests offered, and planning for next year well under way. Thank you all for your dedication to creating such a vibrant learning environment this year. Every year we sadly farewell a number of staff who are moving on to other schools and positions. I know that Murray Bridge High is a wonderfully supportive training ground for early career teachers and those keen to experience leadership, and in turn we benefit from their passion, commitment and unique skills. I would personally like to thank Gilbert Tuazon, Leah Waye, Alex McFarlane, Sarah Stephensen, Joel O’Connor, Jess Hankin, Nikita Hein and Cassie Brion for giving their best. I wish them all well in their new endeavours.