Damian has lost count of the number of times that people have asked him to articulate his vision for Iona College. First, he needs to clarify that he certainly has a vision for our College but it is important to note that there also needs to be the development of a shared vision as to who we are in terms of our culture and identity and this will be dependent on our students, staff, parents, and community. Towards the end of this term, he will start employing the College teaching staff for 2020. He’s looking forward to sharing with them his vision and seeing where there is alignment in their hopes and dreams in the education sphere for the young people in our care.
Having now completed 113 presentations to groups of families, Damian hopes that he has been able to articulate a vision for Iona that resonates with the families hopes and dreams for their children. He’s have spoken about the need to maximize academic achievement but at the same time to recognize that success is defined beyond just getting high marks. He has spoken about the partnership that we will enter with parents where we will build on the good character of each individual. Renowned parenting expert and psychologist, Steve Biddulph talks about the quality of having ‘heart’, which is the capacity for being kind and looking out for other people. Damian’s vision that Iona can build a community where heart, respect, and empathy for others is practiced on a daily basis and forms a crucial part of character building.
Through his presentations, families have also heard about my vision for the health and wellbeing of our school community. Biddulph speaks about the mental health crisis that we have with our young people. He notes the statistics that state that boys are nine times more likely to go to prison than girls, but girls are twice as likely to experience anxiousness and depression. Simply put, we know that our students will not learn effectively unless they are well, both in a physical and psychological sense. Damian’s vision that we can build a school community that promotes and practices wellness. We have the ability to create structures that assist this goal and at the same time challenge and take away structures that have been unhelpful in traditional school settings.
Damian holds the strong belief that physical exercise in school plays a vital role in wellness (physical and psychological). Parenting educator Michael Grose talks about the scourge of anxiety that exists amongst our young people and he makes the point that physical exercise is not only a great distraction (from the issues causing anxiety) but that it releases endorphins that young people feel better and more optimistic about the future. Damian has the vision that we will create a school that will be renowned in educational circles as a place physical and psychological wellness is a priority within our curriculum structures and that we will work towards maximizing the wellness of each individual in our community.
Finally, Damian thinks that whilst it is a privilege to create a vision for our College, it is each member of our community that will play a vital role in shaping culture and practice as to how this vision is lived out daily. Damian has a fire burning deep within his soul that believes that we can lead educational communities nationally in building success for each individual by ensuring wellness is embedded in daily practice. He looks forward to you sharing in and contributing to the vision of our new school community.