We have a great community of leaders

After two weeks we can welcome back all students on campus next Monday to the relief of parents, students and staff. Whilst we have been very lucky with the limited exposure to online learning compared to the experiences in Victoria and NSW, online learning has provided many challenges. As a school, I am very proud of the outstanding efforts of the teaching staff to make online learning as effective and productive as possible. Students have also responded well to the challenge. However, nothing replaces the face to face contact a teacher has with students. To be present and to connect is as important for our own wellbeing. We have come to realise that with presence, our other senses are important in picking up energy, non-verbals such as body language, eye contact and that special sense which is difficult when you are online.

Thank you to our Cardijn community for your amazing efforts as I know the challenges from learning have not been easy. In my travels across our three campuses, staff are very excited to finally meet their students on Monday and meet face to face.

On Wednesday night, the South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools held the launch of its bold strategic directions and intentions “Towards 2027”, in the presence of our Archbishop Patrick O’Regan, Premier the Hon Steven Marshall and Leader of the Opposition the Hon Peter Malinauskas, Minister for Education John Gardner, Shadow Minister for Education Blair Boyer and other dignitaries. At this launch, Chair of SACCS Professor Denis Ralph announced a series of major projects across the state. Professor Ralph also officially announced that at Cardijn College, the building of a senior campus and an extensive sporting complex at Noarlunga Downs will become a reality. We are close to finalising the purchase of four hectares of land adjacent to the College and the South Adelaide Football Club and our architect is beginning the master planning process for this site. This is the outcome we have been seeking for the last 17 years and is now being realised. This will provide the school with a capacity to grow and have facilities fit for purpose for the next 30 years. Equally, we are delighted with the outcome at our Galilee campus, Aldinga with the purchase of four hectares of land between the school and the new super school. A masterplan has already been completed and we are proceeding with the second project of building our middle school facilities on this new land. In addition, the foresight that we can extend our Galilee campus to Year 12 in the future is very exciting. A short video on the CESA strategy is provided at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iw1LDEIOJxk&t=39s

We are very excited that we have been handed the keys to part of the new Stage 3 building at our Noarlunga campus. This area will have nine learning spaces and teacher accommodation. We are working closely with the builders to have this building completed by the end of the term.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the outstanding work of the executive leadership team, their commitment, care and excellent planning has ensured that we had a good start and continue to do well in many areas. I am indebted to Patrick Harmer, Johnny Ioannou, Chris Burrows, Nick Wright, Danielle Greig, Gianni Petrucci, Mel Bratovic and Joseph Catania. I also wish to acknowledge Tony Sayce and his ICT team for the extraordinary way they ensured over 400 new students and staff received their laptops and were connected to our system in a COVID safe way – brilliant!! Thank you also to Jason Allan and his maintenance staff for making sure our campuses are up and running and looking good for our community. Thank you to all staff in administration, enrolments, HR, special needs, RTO and OSHC who had to step up to support our community.

We have a great community of leaders.

I am really excited for next Monday.

Dr Paul Rijken is principal of Cardijn College, an R-12 co-educational Catholic school in the Marist tradition, deeply inspired by the method of College patron Joseph Cardijn with a foundation built on the three pillars of his teachings; to See, Judge and Act. Educating and inspiring students in the beautiful Southern Vales region of Adelaide since 1984, Cardijn has grown to encompass three schools, each with distinct offerings. Cardijn College Galilee at Aldinga offers Reception to Year 7, expanding to include Year 8 in 2022 and Year 9 in 2023. Cardijn College at Noarlunga Downs offers Years 7-12 and is renowned for academic excellence and a vibrant extra-curricular program. Cardijn College Marcellin at Christie Downs provides a wide variety of vocational education and training opportunities for students in Years 10 – 12 and beyond, with relationships that extend well into their careers. With a current enrolment of 1750 students and 240 staff, Cardijn College is an institution which strives to be a beacon of faith in the community, with students who have enormous influence and impact on both a local and global level. Paul has been the principal at Cardijn College since 2005. He has a Ph.D. from Curtin University in Science and Mathematics Education. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educational Leaders.

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