Catherine Glover, the first woman to be appointed as Principal of Kiama High School, is enthusiastic about her new role.
She comes to the School after five years as Deputy Principal at Turramurra High, on Sydney’s upper North Shore, where she was Acting Principal for the last three terms. Like Kiama High, Turramurra is a large comprehensive school drawing its students from the local community.
“Kiama is a very similar school, with kind and caring staff, wonderful students with great potential, and a broad range of opportunities in the academic, sporting and creative areas,” she says.
“I really like the core values of respect, responsibility and commitment to excellence. I can already see them in action when I drop in on classes and get to know the students.
“By bringing everything back to those three core values the students are able to understand what is expected of them.”
Originally a French and Italian teacher in rural and regional areas, Ms Glover spent almost twenty years teaching English as a Second
Language in South West Sydney.
“My real passion throughout my career has been on literacy – understanding and making meaningful language empowers you and gives you opportunities and choices in life.”
She says her focus as Principal will revolve around teaching and learning.
As a strong supporter of the visible thinking method developed at Harvard, Ms Glover is keen to incorporate this philosophy into the School.
“I really want to instil a culture of learning for both staff and students.
“Making thinking visible allows students to see the sense of what they are doing. It is a wonderful framework to use.
“It’s a way of letting everyone see the steps towards understanding.”
From Term Two she will be consulting widely with staff, students, parents and the broader community to bring visible thinking formally into the School’s next three year plan.
“I’d also like to incorporate mindful agency, where students take responsibility for their own learning. It allows the student to have a say about how they like to learn. By taking ownership of their learning there is a partnership between the teacher and the student.”
Having established a Gifted & Talented Program at Turramurra, Ms Glover sees opportunity to introduce one at Kiama, as part of meeting all students at their point of need.
“If we have high expectations it will move students up. You don’t teach to the lowest common denominator, you always challenge and inspire people to engage to the best of their ability.
“As a comprehensive school, we are a reflection of society where people have different strengths. It is not one size fits all.”
This year will also see the School facing the challenges of adopting a new administration system (Turramurra participated in the pilot) and the introduction across NSW of a Bring Your Own Device policy.
Given her experience at Turramurra, a public school surrounded by major private schools, Ms Glover knows the important role uniforms play in shaping people’s perceptions of a school.
“Often students were judged by how they wore their uniform rather than what happened in the classroom,” she says.
“We will be encouraging students to wear a full school uniform to send a clear message that they belong to Kiama High School and they feel proud to wear the uniform.”
A survey will soon be conducted to identify areas for improvement so students feel comfortable wearing the school uniform.