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The association dedicated exclusively to the education, development and growth of young adolescents

2021-22 President's Report

Presented at AGM  October 2022

By Debra Evans, President of Adolescent Success

Since our last AGM, our strategic focus has been twofold, with the key priorities being to (1) enhance the experience for our members and (2) improve and increase communication opportunities. 

Our ENewsletter is now a monthly publication and engagement with this has been excellent. Our journal continues to be important, with research and practitioner reports and articles being integral to this. Our website is constantly being revised, and now provides detail about our new products and services, as well as our ongoing events and activities. 

One of those services, The Adolescent Success Middle Years Schools of Excellence was launched at the beginning of 2022. It is an endorsement program for schools, aligned to our Position Paper, which acknowledges member schools that have well established middle years’ practices, programs, and strategies which are ongoing. Following detailed applications, this year we have endorsed six schools at this status and we congratulate them and look forward to their continued engagement. Congratulations to Burgmann Anglican School (ACT), Redlands College (Qld), Kristin School (Auckland), St Margaret’s College (Christchurch), Cornerstone College (SA), and St Francis Catholic College (NSW).

Our Diagnostic and School Improvement Tool was also developed and is now available for member schools who wish to gauge the effectiveness of their middle years’ practices, recognise areas of strength and target areas for improvement. Upon completion of the audit, the tool enables school teams to acknowledge key areas requiring action; create an action plan; and review and reflect upon progress of that action. 

A key focus of our communication strategy has been to expand our reach on social media, with a particular focus on using LinkedIn. Our reach has expanded to 788 followers and 525 connections. We continue to interact through Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. 

Our second priority, which is an ongoing focus, continues to be around managing our financial position and ensuring that our association is a continuing and strong entity.

Our conference is key to this, and thanks to the expertise of the Executive Officer, and our Executive and Management Committee, we hosted our 2022 Conference at Hillcrest College on the Gold Coast this year, rather than a convention centre. For us, we see this move as having multiple benefits. Firstly, it can showcase one of our member schools. It also brings educators together in an environment that is open and inviting and achieves significant reduction in expenses. We sincerely thank Hillcrest College Leadership Team for working with us to bring our international conference – Humans Matter - to fruition for 2022. The feedback we received following the success of this conference indicated that we should make this an annual event moving forward. As such, we have made the decision to host another conference in 2023. The launch of conference theme and naming of the host school will occur in the ensuing weeks once all expressions of interest are considered.

With a specific focus on teacher wellbeing and responding to the needs of teachers during these last years of COVID, lockdowns and disruption, we engaged Daniela Falecki as a keynote speaker at both our online conference in August of 2021, and as a face-to-face keynote this year. We will continue to provide opportunities and activities relevant to teacher wellbeing moving forward. 

Some important connections and reconnections for our Association have occurred during this past year. We continue our highly valued partnership with Furnware and encourage our members to consider them when purchasing furniture and redesigning their own middle years learning environments.

We welcomed CYC Burleigh back as valued partners in 2022 and we thank them sincerely for their ongoing support. The outdoor education programs they provide are challenging and relevant to adolescents. They can also be tailored to meet the specific needs of schools and students involved.  Our aim is to support them in the development a program for 2023.

We have also, through our Executive Officer – Angela White, reconnected with the Northern Territory Department of Education, Independent Schools NT, and Catholic Education NT:  working closely with them in the development of our Darwin Study Tour scheduled for May 2023.

We have connected with Murdoch University and the Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study and will be working more closely with Dr Lisa Mundy and her team in 2023.

We have established a connection with the University of Queensland and the Learning Lab and are looking forward to being able to share with our members the work they are doing in the coming months. We thank Dr Stephanie Macmahon and Dr Timothy Smith.

We continue to maintain our connection with Griffith University who were Silver Sponsors at our conference this year, and we thank Professor Donna Pendergast and Associate Professor Katherine Main for their continued expertise and their support of our association. 

Our calendar for the remainder of the year and 2023 is in the pipeline, with several key events already available for registration. Three study tours within Australia are scheduled, those being: Brisbane – 23rd-24th March; Darwin – 16th – 19th May; Melbourne – dates to be confirmed.

Being part of the Adolescent Success Management Committee is on a purely volunteer basis, and takes much time, dedication, and commitment. I express my sincere gratitude for that expertise and ongoing support.

Management Committee Resignations: 

We have had some resignations from our Management Committee this year. We farewelled Dr. Emily Ross earlier in the year (Sunshine Coast University). Emily had held positions on the committee at various times throughout the years, with her most recent positions being Treasurer, then Journal Editor. We thank Emily for her expertise and her long commitment and service to the association and wish her all the best moving forward. 

Our Treasurer, Darren Rackermann (Hillcrest College) has stepped down from the committee and we sincerely thank him for his contributions and management of our finances for this past year, and for his tireless work and support of our 2022 conference as host school. 

Due to work commitments, Anne Coffey, our WA representative has decided to step down. Anne has been on the committee for many years, and we know will continue to support Adolescent Success.

Our current Social Media Manager, Rachel Koulyras-Quinn is stepping down from this role, but remaining on our committee as a New South Wales General Member. We thank Rachel for her work in this area, and are pleased that she continues to be a valued part of our team. 

We also thank Timothy Hadfield (General Member) from Riverside Christian College for his time on the committee.

Management committee appointments:

We welcomed our new Journal Editor Dr. Rebecca Seward-Linger, who is also our Tasmanian Representative.  Assisting her with the journal, we also welcomed, as a Management Committee supporter, Sue Webb.  We know that the journal is in very capable hands.

Gerard Alford, who has been a supporter of Adolescent Success and MYSA for many years is new to our Management Committee and is taking on the position of Treasurer. He is a long-time educator and now the Director of ICT Publications. We thank Gerard for taking on this important role. 

We also welcome to our Management Committee, our new Northern Territory representative – Catherine Hives – Data Management and Curriculum Support Coordinator at O’Loughlin Catholic College; Western Australian representative – Paul Green – Head of Transition at All Saints College; our Victorian representative – Chris Ryan - Head of Middle School at Beaconhills College; our new Social Media Manager – Jacqueline Simpson – Middle Years Curriculum (Years 5-8) Sydney Catholic Schools.

Finally, I thank all members for your ongoing engagement with Adolescent Success. We trust that you will continue to allow us to support you in meeting the needs of your young adolescents.

Debra Evans

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