DioNews Editorial April 2021

From the Principal

Kia ora koutou

The academic year is definitely in full swing.  It is rewarding to see how well our students are integrating into both the social and academic life of the school. They seem happy and settled and ready to embrace the coming year.

A number of our sports teams were successfully engaged in their respective regional and national campaigns at Summer Tournament Week. It has been gratifying to see not only medals but also our young women competing with pride in their school colours and remaining humble in both success and defeat. 

Many staff and students have also been heavily committed to production rehearsals throughout this term, with the opening night of the sell-out Bring It On: The Musical tomorrow night. Ticket sales were very pleasing and, like many of you, I am very excited for opening night.

Just before we broke for our Easter Break, our Year 9s came back from their camp with tired but happy faces. They spent their time meeting other new students and challenging themselves both physically and socially.  My thanks to staff and parents who supported them over this time. Without their support, we could not run our camps.

Another annual tradition is the making of Easter Baskets for the elderly. Students at all year levels put gift baskets together with great care and these were delivered to local rest homes by our wonderful senior students.  I know how gratefully and humbly these baskets are received. 

These types of projects are relevant to our special character and our theme of Integrity; to love, to be, to do. Our learners are being exposed to ideas of human need, social justice and human rights in real and authentic ways.

Dio belongs to a not-for-profit organisation called ‘Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia’. The Alliance is a leading voice for the advancement of girls’ education and it delivers relevant and topical research that supports girls’ education. One recent study: The internet, social media, and girls' mental health was of particular relevance.

For years, the media has been reporting the dangers of screen time, as well as its positive impacts, leaving parents and educators confused about whether to limit children’s access to devices or just specific games, apps and programmes. So it’s great news that Professor Jean Twenge, a recognised international expert, has recently led a study examining different types of screen activity separately, as well as taking gender into account. However, while this study gives much clearer guidance about screen time, it also raises concerns for parents and educators of girls, with the findings revealing that adolescent girls using the internet and social media are most at risk of compromised mental health.

Here at Dio, we take an educative approach to the management of cell phones, rather than implementing a total ban. This helps our students to become better at self-management around device use and it more accurately reflects how things are beyond the safety of the school environment. 

We do not allow students to use cell phones in the classroom environment unless they are used as a learning tool with teacher permission. We encourage students to spend less time on their devices during break times by providing resources such as board games and jigsaws in the library and sports equipment to use for recreational activities, as well as running some lunchtime events/activities led by the different council groups.  

It does take a village to raise a child and to be knowledgeable is to be forewarned, particularly in this case around screen time for our young women.

Finally, next Tuesday (13 April) the Parent School Association will be holding its AGM at 7 pm in the CRC Staff Room. These parents are invaluable to our school. Please consider putting your name forward and joining the Association. It is a fun group of parents committed to supporting the betterment of our school - and we know that many hands make light work. Positions up for election or re-election include Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary, Proprietor's Board Rep, Staff Rep, Boarder Parent Rep, Stock Scheme Co-ordinator, Bear Scheme Co-ordinator, and Hospitality Co-ordinator. Some of these roles can be shared roles, and some only require a short-term commitment.

Enjoy the term break and we look forward to seeing students back refreshed and ready for another productive term.

God bless,

Mary Curran