|Dear Parents and Guardians
Schools are complex entities. Principals are tasked with running good academic institutions that educate the whole child. This responsibility goes far beyond the scope of mere teaching and learning. It includes child welfare, character and spiritual development, a solid administrative and financial department, being a moral compass and much more. No easy task!
As an Anglican School, the concept of living in community is especially important. We need to respect all those who are part of our school from pupils to parents, kitchen staff to coaches, teachers to temporary workers. As individuals, we work for the common good of the institution.
Community living requires us to be respectful which is also a transformative principle. When we show respect for the “other”, be it a difference in race, religion, gender or opinion, we eliminate the tendency to exclude or demonise. The consistent practice of respect goes a long way to decrease conflict and brings a needed stability to that institution.
A sense of community at the School also builds strong relationships that often continue well after girls and teachers have left St Cyprian’s School. It encourages us to build relationships with trust and enough depth to face life’s real issues and dilemmas together. Community fosters personal growth and develops the habit of asking for more information before leaping to judgement as well as a willingness to see an alternative viewpoint. However, it depends on the core understanding that decisions are made for the common good of the School, balanced with an acknowledged respect for the individual.
While I share my thoughts about the merits of community living, how we live it out practically is another matter and a constant challenge. The School makes decisions, not always popular, but always for the benefit of the whole school community, especially our girls.
It disturbed me greatly recently, when I heard about the reception one of my teachers received returning from camp last term. The teacher had been tasked with directing traffic and ensuring the returning buses were safely parked inside the beacons strategically placed. When a parent parked on the beacon, she was respectfully asked to move. Her response was first that “she had got there first” and then when requested to move again, said, “Make me!” Later another parent was asked to make way for the bus as it turned to leave. She replied, “Don’t make the bus’s problem my problem.”
I realised this behaviour was not reserved for teachers alone when parents approached me about the traffic congestion. Parents know that Gorge Road is a one way at key times. This decision was made for the benefit of all, but a minority- as it always is- continues to drop off their girls at the Woods and then slip down to the Preparatory School. Others insist, on parking inside the School, blocking the traffic from getting onto campus. In Belmont Road parents insist on getting out cars to hand their daughters bags and books hence causing a traffic jam. Lovely for the individual, but not for others.
Another issue raised by a Parent Liaison volunteer was concerning the behaviour of certain parents on the class messaging group. The CLPs work hard at supporting the class group by sending out messages from time to time reminding them of upcoming events and other items of importance. However, a few parents have abused this system, inundating the parents with endless requests for information available on BlueSky and also posting rude comments. Any problems that are related to school decisions or children should rather be raised with the teacher or me.
The “integrity gap” refers to people who expect their children or an institution to act within a certain moral code, but do not think the same values apply to themselves. It leads to much unhappiness, especially from those choosing to live in community and working that bit harder to live within the rules.
In a society where the needs of the individual reigns supreme, that sense of community is being eroded, and with it those values of respect, integrity and selflessness. One of the most important endeavours our school can do is teach our girls the meaning of values-driven living and character development. Our parents are an integral part of the journey and we need to rely on each other and collectively be good examples to our children. I urge our collective school community to embrace the values which have made our school strong over the decades and hold each other accountable for the way we choose to behave and model socially acceptable behaviour.
Wishing our Christian families a blessed Easter, our Jewish families a happy Pesach, and our whole school community, a relaxed short holiday.
Carol te Water
Parents are reminded that all girls need to be in full winter uniform by 6 May. Please don’t forget to visit the second hand clothing shop situated next to the School uniform shop when kitting out your daughter. They have some wonderful bargains!
School photographs will be taken next week during school. Please ensure your daughter wears her summer dress and has her hair neat.
Round Square Conference 2019
The Round Square conference theme was discover. The definition of discover is to see, find, or become aware of something for the first time - I think this ties in nicely with the conference because we discovered new people, new places and traits we did not even know we had. Our baraza groups were all named after discoverers, my baraza group was called Galileo. Galileo was an astronomer, physicist and engineer. One of Galileo's greatest discoveries were Jupiter's four biggest moons. I thought that was pretty cool.
We were privileged enough to meet people from all over Africa and learn about their cultures and traditions. We learnt and experienced how to look at things differently and appreciate diversity. We now know how to solve problems, commit to sustainability and work together. The three rules that were drummed into us by our motivational speak was: Show up, be ready, and never give up.
Some questions that we had to answer was:
Are you comfortable talking to strangers?
Can you stand up and give a speech to over 100 people you don't know?
Would you share your opinion on a topic to a group of strangers?
These were some of the questions we had to deal with at Round Square.
Congratulations to Miss Wright who announced her engagement during the holidays. The girls are thrilled to hear that four teachers are planning weddings and are all keen to be wedding planners!
Congratulations to Ms Salie. She was chosen to attend the World Microsoft Conference for innovative teachers held in Paris and subsequently appeared on Morning Live. She achieved her Microsoft Certified Educator status and we are so proud of her achievements
Congratulations to Mrs Hyland on her attempted swim from Robben Island. She shared her vision with the girls last term and today she reported back talking about courage and tenacity as to how she plans a second swim. She had to withdraw after suffering from hyperthermia after two hours in freezing water. We are so proud of her endeavours!
Morganne Thom U19, Neave Archbold U13 and Grace-Ann Samson U11 are representing WP Chess Team at the Western Cape Tournament in Mosselbay later this term. They have all already ordered their WP track suits. Great excitement!