A Culture of Excellence
Mr Geoff Lancaster | Principal | Grammar News | 24 July 2020
St Luke’s is an incredible school and I have had a wonderful week meeting students, staff and parents across both Campuses. I thank all in the St Luke’s Community for the warm welcome that I have been shown, as I have begun to experience life at St Luke’s.
This week, I have spoken about five key cultural imperatives I would like to underpin the work we do at St Luke’s, namely: Excellence, Curiosity, Kindness, Collaboration and Courage. Over the next few weeks I will unpack these cultural imperatives to help explain a little more about my philosophy of education.
Culture of Excellence
St Luke’s students achieve amazing academic results, most publicly at HSC level and I am determined for this to continue to be the case as it is a fundamental aspect of our culture of excellence. However, this isn’t all there is to excellence.
I love the quote by Tom Peters that “Excellence is the next five minutes”. He goes on to say that excellence is not a long term destination, it is a short term strategy. I reminded staff that the work we do is so important that we must give it our best efforts consistently, even in the little things.
I also questioned what an excellent education looks like. Part of the answer is to use evidence-based approaches to teaching and learning. Part of the answer is to provide students with voice and choice. Part of the answer will be to survey parents to see if we are hitting the mark. We know how important feedback is for student improvement but it is also important for us as teachers, leaders and as a school.
Beyond academic excellence I know we already have students achieving amazing feats in creative and performing arts, sport and other areas. We will continue to build on these programs as well as find other avenues to help each of our students find their passion, and work hard to give them the opportunity to pursue it.
The staff at St Luke’s bring a plethora of different skills and abilities to the School, but I tabled a few things I think we should all have in common:
> A desire to get the best from each of our students
> A passion for what we teach
> An understanding of best practice in our area of teaching, and
> A desire to continually get better at our craft.
I would also like to think we are a school that is an excellent place to work, where teachers and admin staff love their jobs. Where each person feels challenged and supported to be the best version of themselves.
During Assemblies this week, I spoke with the students less directly about the idea of pursuing excellence, and used the analogy of an ice cream, asking that ‘instead of giving almost enough, or just enough, let’s try to give more than we’re asked for”.
I want our attitude as a school to be one of abundance - where we, as students and staff, are known for giving more than we were asked for. It is also important for us to develop a mindset that seeks excellence in everything we do. In Philippians 4:8, Paul challenges the Christians of Philippi to not only pursue excellence but for it to fill their thoughts too.
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
It is so easy for our self talk to be negative and for us to fill our minds with other people’s opinions. Let’s work hard to fill our minds with things that can build ourselves and others up.
We don’t want our students to settle for second best or something that is just OK when they have the potential for so much more. I look forward to working with our community over the coming years to continue to provide an environment where our students can flourish and achieve their potential!