I have taken it upon myself this year to clearly identify the things that unite us as a School and in particular to explicitly state what these are. There are many threads in this narrative and it will no doubt take the rest of the year to articulate and communicate them to the school community. But articulate and communicate them I will – primarily through the fortnightly newsletter, but importantly also through our actions and interaction. Underpinning everything we do and are is of course captured in our School ethos but statements such as these need unpacking so that they guide and direct our decisions, behaviors, mindset and purpose.I have talked about our Ethos many times in the past and indicated that it is our mission this year to focus our effort to be the school encapsulated in our Vision. However these are often statements and the conversations cannot stop there. As such I intend to use this forum to explore some aspects of our school in greater detail – starting with the culture of Hills Grammar.
Culture is often described as ‘the way we do things around here’ – the rules, the traditions, the routines. Largely they are developed over a period of time, and as such the experiences that our current students have will be the same as those experienced by former and future students. It is the culture that links the generations of students and make them proud Hills Grammarians.
Culture, whilst often intangible, is essential. Walk into any school and you will know immediately whether you want to be there or not. How does Hills Grammar stack up against this criteria? I believe very well. Visitors to the school will often comment on the ‘vibe’, characterised as it is by a peace, a calm and a respectful atmosphere. Further, visitors are taken by the purposefulness and the possibilities for learning that are enhanced and created as a result of the environment (built, natural and human) in which students learn, teachers teach and parents engage. Our positive culture therefore is a crucial contributor to improved educational outcomes.
Russell Hobby states ‘culture can also be the ultimate form of capacity – a reservoir of energy and wisdom to sustain motivation and co-operation, shape relationships and aspirations, and guide effective choices at every level of the school’. Our Hills Grammar culture has been developed and deliberately created for this purpose – not for its own sake, but to ensure that our students are provided with an environment and atmosphere which is conducive to learning, discovery of their passions and formation of their character.
Hills Grammar is a truly excellent school by these particular measures and the content of this, and future Newsletters illustrate the possibilities and outcomes of a strong and conducive school culture in which each child’s ‘potential for greatness’ is fostered.
We are committed to ensuring that your aspirations and ambitions for your children are nurtured and realised within our unique, and very special, culture.
Michael Smith | Principal