A warm welcome to all our children, students, parents, carers and the wider IGS community as our 2022 academic year begins.
We’ve had a happy and successful start to the school year today, all things considered. Classes commenced, students met their teachers, friends greeted each other with lots of smiles and laughter, and our new students were warmly welcomed to IGS.
With over 6000 Rapid Antigen Home Test kits distributed to parents yesterday, we have a number of families at home isolating due to COVID and we’re looking forward to supporting you through the days ahead so that your children’s learning continues and they stay connected to what’s happening here at school.
Our whole school goal for the year is to “go deep and produce something great!”
IGS is a strong and robust school and we are pushing on into an exciting future; our actions underpinned by the IGS Strategic Plan Into the World 2022-2026.
Our motto of Unity Through Diversity recognises and honours the fact that we are all different and each of us has something unique to contribute.
The role of kindness in this third pandemic year
The first guiding principle of the National Framework for Managing COVID-19 in Schools and Early Childhood Education and Care is that schools will be the “first to open” and the “last to close” wherever possible in outbreak situations, with face-to-face learning prioritised. You can review our IGS COVID safeguards here.
Living with COVID isn’t easy and implementing the NSW Return to School Roadmap is a complex and multi-layered operation. In our professional development sessions over the last week, we took a few moments to acknowledge this.
Among the challenges the pandemic presented last year, colleagues listed teaching all day with a mask on, delays at short notice to the HSC, telling students not to hug each other, writing pandemic plans and COVID risk assessments, sending paint and brushes home to an entire cohort of visual arts students, marking HSC trials of online performances, shutting down singing on campus, keeping early learners physically distanced, new classmates not knowing each other, having one student at home and others learning remotely, everyone using sanitizer before a lesson could begin, and the list goes on. It’s a strange time and with the arrival of the Omicron variant, we feel that the last two years have been a dress rehearsal for what’s ahead.
I thank our teaching and support staff, parents, carers and students for all they achieved last year, and for all they are set to achieve this year. In spite of the challenges, we’re excited about the year ahead and feel ready to work together to provide our students with a great year in 2022.
Beyond the day to day challenges we all face, is the overarching challenge of equity and a quality education for all. In a world where millions of children still have no access to education due to the pandemic, I’m heartened by the fact that our students often take time to reflect on how fortunate they are and are determined to use their education to help others. We will continue to instill that sense of altruism across the student body this year through the IGS Connect Program.
This year we also want to wrap kindness around our values of authenticity, personal achievement, diversity, connectedness and vibrancy. We want to give people time, and let them know how we feel about them.
As a school, we encourage personal achievement and effort and we reinforce again and again our belief in the endless capacities of our students. Despite all their challenges, our Class of 2021 produced outstanding HSC results, including these highlights. The culture of this particular year group was quietly confident, determined, good humoured and philosophical about how the HSC year was panning out for them. They just got on with it and exemplified an ethos of humility, gentle self-belief, creativity and hard work.
There are so many inspiring and heartwarming stories behind these HSC results. We witness the promise and power of our students as they grow. Suffice it to say, these students were a source of inspiration to staff and students alike.
I can’t wait to see what all of our students achieve this year when they go deep and produce something great! While we know we may be in for a bumpy ride ahead, it’s lovely to know that we are united as a community to do the very best for our wonderful students.
Take care and all the best for a great year.