To the entire community of The Knox School, I extend a very warm welcome to the start of Term 1, 2023.
From our very youngest students in the ELC, to our students in the final stages of your journey with us here at TKS, we are so excited to welcome you all back on campus next week!
For our families who are new to our community in 2023, I extend an additional welcome; you are joining a wonderful community!
As I sat down to write this piece, I looked back to my welcome of 2022.
I think it is fair to say, the world has changed a lot, since January 2022; as we embark upon our start of term here at TKS, we do so entering into the fourth year of a global pandemic. Who could have possibly imagined this would be the case.
Almost 12 months to day, I wrote the following: “At TKS we have navigated the last 2 years of the pandemic as a community, safely completing 2021 with only one known case reported following the departure of students in the final days. One of only few schools across the state to do so.
Although we always knew it wasn’t over – we had hoped it was finally coming to an end.”
Whilst our pandemic is not quite over; our way of dealing with and living with it certainly is.
In the second semester of 2022, we saw our much loved TKS events return to our calendar and were thrilled to welcome our families back onto campus in numbers that we had not seen since 2019!
As we celebrated our 40th year anniversary under the #Proudtobelong, we joined together on a number of occasions to celebrate the strength of our community and to acknowledge and pay respect to those that have gone before us.
We are who we are today, because of those who have gone before.
One of the defining features of The Knox School is its pioneering spirit. Emerging in 1982 (then known as Knoxfield College) as a visionary enterprise, one of the foundation teachers commented, “there was a great feeling of family. Students, parents and teachers all working together like pioneers moulding the future of the school with every decision and special event.”
It is this spirit of innovation which still abounds at TKS today.
Over the last few months our team of educators have been working closely with our students, listening carefully to better understand their experiences, and working together to codesign programs and structures, underpinned by a strong evidence base to better improve our focus on student wellbeing and academics.
Last year, we undertook our largest parent and student survey in recent years, with the intention of gaining greater insight into the needs of our community and to provide an opportunity for all voices across our community to be heard.
Whilst we were pleased to see the high levels of satisfaction amongst our families, we were determined to listen closely to the feedback and ensure this data was unpacked and utilised as we strive towards the continuous improvement of our student programs.
In 2023, I am excited to announce that we have made several improvements to our existing frameworks and structures underpinning student wellbeing and academic focus. In the link below, our Year 7 – 12 families can view the outline of the updates and the introduction of the staff team.
In the Junior School, we have maintained a similar focus, and for 2023 we are excited to introduce a dedicated Specialist Team to the Junior School with the introduction of dedicated Languages, Music, PE, and TAD Specialists to the Junior School Team.
In my last Knoxmail article of 2022, I announced the addition of a new early morning Sport and Fitness program. We have already seen a lot of excitement from our students around this new opportunity and are looking forward to the commencement in week 2 of Term 1. The program will be released in the coming days, with further detail around sign-up procedures. I encourage our students to sign up early to avoid disappointment!
You will hear more detail about these exciting developments from the Heads of Junior and Senior School in their welcome letters, which will be delivered on Friday of this week.
As we continue to evolve, our focus on our people and our culture becomes ever more fundamental; for TKS, these are the cornerstones of our community. In 2023, I am delighted to announce that Mrs Toni-Ann Bright will step into the new role, Associate Principal, People and Culture. With her wealth of experience and dedication to TKS, I am confident that Mrs Bright will continue to lead our community in this exciting new phase and aspect of our development.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the wonderful VCE results of the Class of 2022. These results, achieved by a cohort who had endured two years of rolling lockdowns and Covid disruptions which spanned their entire Senior School experience, are a reflection of the commitment, dedication and resilience demonstrated by the Class of 2022.
As we celebrate the achievements of our wonderful graduates, we acknowledge and applaud not only the academic outcomes, but also the contribution this cohort made across all aspects of the school. From the stage to the sports field and every other aspect beyond, this cohort were committed and not only showed up, but excelled as individuals and as a team.
As they begin the next stages of their own personal journey in life beyond our gates, we recognise the part they have played in our community, the legacy they leave behind and we will take time to acknowledge and celebrate the individuals who have contributed so much to the TKS story.
We are who we are today because of those who have gone before us. We are the current custodians of this wonderful school.
As the first day of Term approaches, our staff are already busy on campus preparing classrooms, programs and activities for our students. As I have walked around the campus welcoming teams back, there is a buzz in the air; an anticipation of what is to come. I hope that as our families prepare for the return to school, the same excitement is tangible within your homes too. Preparing the uniform, packing the bags and the obligatory annual trip to Office Works for the essential stationery items.
I send my best wishes to you all and hope you enjoy the last few days of the break and I look forward to welcoming you all back to campus on Monday morning!
Principal and Chief Executive