When many people think about schools as communities they think in terms of students and teachers. At Norwest, we think differently. When we consider school community we think about students, teachers, staff, parents and volunteers. We are describing a rich network of relationships held together by a common understanding of the value of partnership and belonging.
With this in mind, I would like to share with you what I have already shared with staff and the Board throughout the January holiday period. You are an important part of both the history of the College and it’s next, exciting chapter and it is my desire that as I share with you where I believe God to be leading us, that you would be inspired to join me in as we plunge into the next phase of the expedition.
Norwest Christian College has long held a very special place in my life. Quite simply, it is much more than a place of employment. Over the last 15 years I have watched with great interest, both as teacher and parent, as God has worked to rebuild it to be a vibrant, education community. I have been excited to see, both from the perspective of a staff member and parent, the profound impact the College has had over the lives of many young people.
Now it feels as if we are on the cusp of a new phase of growth. It is my strong belief that over time God has been laying a foundation to prepare us for this new phase of growth. One that is focused on excellent, holistic, Christ-centered education. Does that mean that we haven't in the past been focused on these things? No. But our attention has been divided. Now we are at a point where we can afford to be single minded about these things. Now we can move confidently in pursuit of an excellent education, a holistic education and a Christ-centred education
An excellent education
I believe that in this new phase of growth, God is calling us to be committed to excellence in 3 areas; academics, care, and character. Each of these 3 elements are inextricably linked, that is they cannot be separated, one feeds the other.
Excellent pastoral care naturally informs the development of character and a well-formed character enables successful engagement with teaching and learning experiences, maximising the potential of all students. And students that know more about the world, how God is working in the world, His purposes and plan for human beings are more able to use that knowledge to care for others and be compassionate
It is my feeling that for a while, schools have favoured one of these areas over the other. However, what happens when you favour one of these areas is that you cease to deliver a holistic education. Our next chapter is about the integration of these elements - a truly holistic education.
A holistic education
The best education develops the whole person. It integrates the pursuit of academic excellence, the acquisition of skills, the development of the student’s character and knowledge of God. Scripture says of Jesus that he “grew in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52). If we are to follow the example of Christ this gives us four domains which together form a holistic education;
- Wisdom – the acquisition and right application of knowledge (academics),
- Stature - the development of personal character to the extent that you conduct yourself in such a way as to win the respect of others.
- Favour with God – the development of the spiritual aspect of our personhood.
- Favour with man – the development of right relationships with our fellow man.
A firm foundation; Building Purposeful Lives
As we dive into the next phase of the expedition it’s important that we launch from a strong platform. Building Purposeful Lives is a firm foundation for the next chapter of the College. BPL provides staff and parents a framework from which to grow both an excellent education and a holistic education. BPL is by nature a holistic framework. It addresses the development of wisdom, the development of character, the development and exploration or faith in God and the development of relationships with our fellow man. It also captures the pursuit of excellence as it invites students to improve their capacity to the extent that they are equipped to pursue their God-given purpose. But most importantly, BPL provides a framework that enables us to remain Christ-centred in all that we choose to do at the College.
A Christ-centered education
Being a Christ-centered learning environment means that we invite students to become all that God intended them to be. We believe that a person’s life is rich with meaning because it is purposed and planned by God. Our vision then is to nurture each child’s potential so that they are fully equipped to realise their God-given purpose.
I am so excited about this next chapter and invite each of you to consider how you may participate. I am committed to the value of community, knowing that there is nothing of worth that has been or will be achieved at this College by the strength of an individual. Successful in this next chapter is dependent upon the strength of our partnership. And so I invite you to partner with me in the realisation of this vision, that is, the development of a community marked by excellence and known for its commitment to holistic and Christ-centered learning.
Mrs Felicity Marlow