Principal's Blog - 8 November 2018

06 Nov 2018

Dear members of the Marcellin College Family,

As you are aware in recent times our College has been through a process of whole school review. Since that time we have been engaged in developing a holistic strategic plan document which will provide our community with a clear understanding of the direction our College will take in the next three years across all aspects of school life. In the coming weeks all Marcellin families will receive a copy of this significant document.

You may also recall that the first recommendation of National School Improvement Tool review undertaken by the College stated that there was a need for the development of an agreed, sharp, narrow, enduring focus for school-wide learning improvement at the college.

There appears to be one element of great importance missing from this simple statement. That is, whatever we do to develop a new way of connecting and engaging our young men in learning at Marcellin has to be firmly rooted in our identity as a Catholic Marist School for young men.

The question is, what does that look like, sound like and feel like? Marcellin Champagnat himself provides us with great insight into what it means to act within a Marist context. Over the last 200 years the Marist brothers in collaboration with lay educators have supported and added to the vision of Champagnat, always staying true to the Charism of St. Marcellin grounded in our shared faith. In contemporary times the Marist institute has commissioned the writing and publication of four significant books which shed further light on our Marist mission: In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat, Water from the Rock, Gathered around the same table and Evangelising in the Midst of Youth. Below I have attempted to provide some snapshots of each of these documents and how they influence the type of learning environment we wish to offer our students and staff.

Water from the Rock
Marcellin taught the first Brothers: To make Jesus known and loved is the aim of our vocation and the whole purpose of the Institute. If we were to fail in this purpose, our congregation would be useless. In saying this, Marcellin clearly expressed his conviction, and a growing conviction for Marists today – the centrality of Jesus in our life and mission.

Gathered around the Same Table
We consecrate the world, helping young people to discover the meaning of their existence and to be able to take their life in their hands, by the light of faith.

We are prophets for the young people announcing to them that life in itself is wonderful, that it is worth the pain to fight to build a better world. We encourage them to be critical of the society that surrounds them and we invite them to commit themselves to transforming that dream into reality.

Evangelising in the Midst of Youth
Today it is not uncommon to hear people claim that we are not only living in changing times but are witnessing an earthshaking time of change. We are talking about a profound transformation in our way of seeing, feeling, knowing, relating to and loving, all of which can be observed to an even greater degree in the young.

Youth searching for a self-sustaining society, based on respect for nature, universal human rights, effectively administered economic justice and a culture of peace based on a comprehensive ecological perspective. Many are trying to promote change through their commitment in non-governmental organizations or the political process, determined to see that issues important to youth are discussed and dealt with. We can also state that today’s young people are engaged in an intense search for spirituality.

In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat
Our style of educating is based on a vision that is truly holistic, and that consciously seeks to communicate values. While we share such a vision with many, especially in Church circles, we use a distinctive pedagogical approach which Marcellin and the first Marists initiated and which was innovative in many of its aspects.

A Marist school is a centre of learning, of life, and of evangelising. As a school, it leads students “to learn to know, to be competent, to live together, and most especially, to grow as persons”. As a Catholic school, it is a community setting in which faith, hope and love are lived and communicated, and in which students are progressively initiated into their lifelong challenge of harmonising faith, culture and life.

As you read these statements and ideas from the various Marist documents I am sure you can discern the common themes which will drive learning here at Marcellin into the future. Themes such as an integrated approach to learning. A focus on the needs of the individual and not just teaching to the middle. A desire to assist young people in developing a broader world view which focuses on those in greatest need. An integration of learning of life and of faith.

I look forward to continuing to provide further information and insight in the coming months as we reimagine learning at Marcellin. 

Student Residential Address Data Collection

As part of a recent review undertaken by the National Schools Resourcing Board, the socio-economic status (SES) score methodology was investigated. The SES is the figure used to assess a school communities' capacity to contribute towards the recurrent costs of schooling. We have been requested to provide the Australian Government our SES data, and there is more information here should you wish to know more. 

Mark Murphy