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From the Principal

Our School values of compassion, integrity, self-discipline and courage define our culture. The values form our DNA, our lived experience, and are visible daily. We tested these values when I first arrived at the School in January 2019 and it is evident that our vision, mission, and values are integral to our culture. As Principal I am constantly searching for confirming evidence and proof points of lived values within our culture. For me, an authentic school with values that form the culture is essential, if I am to lead well.

Culture can be defined as ‘the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.’ MGGS has a distinctive culture, which is visible in the day-to-day actions of our community. It is what we do, what we accept as normal, appreciate, value, and give importance to. To enculturate is the verb meaning ‘to cause to adapt to the prevailing cultural patterns’, and the end of the academic year is an interesting phenomenon of when this is happening at perhaps its most potent level. I have personally reflected on what are the tangible signs of a MGGS culture. The following six elements are clear, confirming MGGS as having:

  • high expectations and a pursuit of excellence in academia rigour 
  • a sense of inclusiveness and a respect of individual difference
  • the deep belief of responsibility to serve and to lead
  • a commitment to being industrious and doing
  • a genuine love of learning, and
  • a remarkable sense of fun and optimism.

Culture can be defined as ‘the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.’ MGGS has a distinctive culture, which is visible in the day-to-day actions of our community. It is what we do, what we accept as normal, appreciate, value, and give importance to. To enculturate is the verb meaning ‘to cause to adapt to the prevailing cultural patterns’, and the end of the academic year is an interesting phenomenon of when this is happening at perhaps its most potent level. I have personally reflected on what are the tangible signs of a MGGS culture. The following six elements are clear, confirming MGGS as having:

  • high expectations and a pursuit of excellence in academia rigour 
  • a sense of inclusiveness and a respect of individual difference
  • the deep belief of responsibility to serve and to lead
  • a commitment to being industrious and doing
  • a genuine love of learning, and
  • a remarkable sense of fun and optimism.

Culture can be defined as ‘the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.’ MGGS has a distinctive culture, which is visible in the day-to-day actions of our community. It is what we do, what we accept as normal, appreciate, value, and give importance to. To enculturate is the verb meaning ‘to cause to adapt to the prevailing cultural patterns’, and the end of the academic year is an interesting phenomenon of when this is happening at perhaps its most potent level. I have personally reflected on what are the tangible signs of a MGGS culture. The following six elements are clear, confirming MGGS as having:

  • high expectations and a pursuit of excellence in academia rigour 
  • a sense of inclusiveness and a respect of individual difference
  • the deep belief of responsibility to serve and to lead
  • a commitment to being industrious and doing
  • a genuine love of learning, and
  • a remarkable sense of fun and optimism.
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"Being back on campus after extended Melbourne lockdowns, happiness is highly obvious with our Grammarians, and this too truly epitomises our culture."

Dr Toni Meath, Principal

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Morris Hall Treehouse
Student in Morris Hall
Remote Learning
Drive through library
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Morris Hall Treehouse
Student in Morris Hall
Remote Learning
Drive through library
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Language is a central part of culture and the narrative we use also distinguishes us. My term of endearment for our students is Grammarians and this too has been a long part of our School culture. I am always pleased when I come across a past use of the term Grammarian referring to current students. Here is one from 1911, ‘The play chosen was "The Merchant of Venice"; the Court scene ending the representation; and the cast of performers was chosen from among both past and present Grammarians.’ A lovely use of Grammarian from sixth Principal, Miss Kathleen Gilman Jones writing in 1933 to OG, Gwen Towl, on the birth of her daughter - ‘Mrs Day told me about the safe arrival of your little daughter, and I am afraid I have been rather a long time in sending the future Grammarian her birthday present’.

Class of 2021 Grammarian, Chloe Adnams  when referring to her learning about our values states, “you’ve taught me to always be true to my morals (Integrity), you’ve shown me that I should speak up and implement actions in the face of adversity (Courage), you’ve shown me to love and accept others with forgiveness and empathy as we navigate our lives (Compassion) and you’ve shown me that I must strive with persistence and work for what I aspire to (Self-Discipline).”

Additionally, it’s always enlightening to hear the perspective of someone new to the School in regard to its culture and personality. Commencing at MGGS this year,  our Executive Director,  Research and Innovation, Ms Lauren Sayer in a recent discussion described our Grammarians as ‘brave, robust and resilient’, and the culture of the School as ‘energetic, with a reverence for history and a generosity of spirit’.  I believe this describes us well!

Language is a central part of culture and the narrative we use also distinguishes us. My term of endearment for our students is Grammarians and this too has been a long part of our School culture. I am always pleased when I come across a past use of the term Grammarian referring to current students. Here is one from 1911, ‘The play chosen was "The Merchant of Venice"; the Court scene ending the representation; and the cast of performers was chosen from among both past and present Grammarians.’ A lovely use of Grammarian from sixth Principal, Miss Kathleen Gilman Jones writing in 1933 to OG, Gwen Towl, on the birth of her daughter - ‘Mrs Day told me about the safe arrival of your little daughter, and I am afraid I have been rather a long time in sending the future Grammarian her birthday present’.

Class of 2021 Grammarian, Chloe Adnams  when referring to her learning about our values states, “you’ve taught me to always be true to my morals (Integrity), you’ve shown me that I should speak up and implement actions in the face of adversity (Courage), you’ve shown me to love and accept others with forgiveness and empathy as we navigate our lives (Compassion) and you’ve shown me that I must strive with persistence and work for what I aspire to (Self-Discipline).”

Additionally, it’s always enlightening to hear the perspective of someone new to the School in regard to its culture and personality. Commencing at MGGS this year,  our Executive Director,  Research and Innovation, Ms Lauren Sayer in a recent discussion described our Grammarians as ‘brave, robust and resilient’, and the culture of the School as ‘energetic, with a reverence for history and a generosity of spirit’.  I believe this describes us well!

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"When we place such pivotal importance on the environment; when it is embedded as the third teacher in our curriculum and pedagogy, we can ensure that every space is one of educational beauty."

Dr Toni E. Meath, Principal

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Grammarians share a hug and a laugh together on campus.
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Grammarians share a hug and a laugh together on campus.
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We can see clear evidence of the courage and bravery inherent within the MGGS culture. It has always been there in the strength of leaders such as DJ Ross, who without fear or trepidation managed the School across Marysville and Doncaster during WWII; saw strength of character in girls; encouraged them to follow their personal passions; and questioned the validity of competition over striving for personal best.  She solidified the culture by heralding an education predicated on early learning foundations and the importance of investing in the junior years education of young people to set them up for life’s unknowns.  Many others over the years of the School’s history have left an indelible mark too – we only need look to see their legacy in our buildings, our graduates, and our reputation.

Today, the culture at Melbourne Girls Grammar has not faltered, it has simply matured with age like a fine wine takes on additional ‘notes’ that set it apart from another.  Each year brings new challenges and like the vines, we weather the storms. For us this year it has been COVID.  The School has and continues to take its strength, however, from knowing that over time, it has developed the strong foundations that will enable MGGS to continue to be innovative in our thinking, reflect on and contribute to the intellectual discourse and rigour of the day, and guide Grammarians in finding their voice, and place as future leaders in a continually evolving society.  For it is our Grammarians who will always be entering into a world they have both inherited from past generations but will need to skillfully and confidently navigate and who will ultimately leave their legacy for future generations.  For we – students, parents, staff, and community – all come and go but the one thing that remains is our shared culture – it lives on through our shared values, and what we have singularly or collectively contributed through our words, our ideas, and our actions.

We can see clear evidence of the courage and bravery inherent within the MGGS culture. It has always been there in the strength of leaders such as DJ Ross, who without fear or trepidation managed the School across Marysville and Doncaster during WWII; saw strength of character in girls; encouraged them to follow their personal passions; and questioned the validity of competition over striving for personal best.  She solidified the culture by heralding an education predicated on early learning foundations and the importance of investing in the junior years education of young people to set them up for life’s unknowns.  Many others over the years of the School’s history have left an indelible mark too – we only need look to see their legacy in our buildings, our graduates, and our reputation.

Today, the culture at Melbourne Girls Grammar has not faltered, it has simply matured with age like a fine wine takes on additional ‘notes’ that set it apart from another.  Each year brings new challenges and like the vines, we weather the storms. For us this year it has been COVID.  The School has and continues to take its strength, however, from knowing that over time, it has developed the strong foundations that will enable MGGS to continue to be innovative in our thinking, reflect on and contribute to the intellectual discourse and rigour of the day, and guide Grammarians in finding their voice, and place as future leaders in a continually evolving society.  For it is our Grammarians who will always be entering into a world they have both inherited from past generations but will need to skillfully and confidently navigate and who will ultimately leave their legacy for future generations.  For we – students, parents, staff, and community – all come and go but the one thing that remains is our shared culture – it lives on through our shared values, and what we have singularly or collectively contributed through our words, our ideas, and our actions.

We can see clear evidence of the courage and bravery inherent within the MGGS culture. It has always been there in the strength of leaders such as DJ Ross, who without fear or trepidation managed the School across Marysville and Doncaster during WWII; saw strength of character in girls; encouraged them to follow their personal passions; and questioned the validity of competition over striving for personal best.  She solidified the culture by heralding an education predicated on early learning foundations and the importance of investing in the junior years education of young people to set them up for life’s unknowns.  Many others over the years of the School’s history have left an indelible mark too – we only need look to see their legacy in our buildings, our graduates, and our reputation.

Today, the culture at Melbourne Girls Grammar has not faltered, it has simply matured with age like a fine wine takes on additional ‘notes’ that set it apart from another.  Each year brings new challenges and like the vines, we weather the storms. For us this year it has been COVID.  The School has and continues to take its strength, however, from knowing that over time, it has developed the strong foundations that will enable MGGS to continue to be innovative in our thinking, reflect on and contribute to the intellectual discourse and rigour of the day, and guide Grammarians in finding their voice, and place as future leaders in a continually evolving society.  For it is our Grammarians who will always be entering into a world they have both inherited from past generations but will need to skillfully and confidently navigate and who will ultimately leave their legacy for future generations.  For we – students, parents, staff, and community – all come and go but the one thing that remains is our shared culture – it lives on through our shared values, and what we have singularly or collectively contributed through our words, our ideas, and our actions.

Written By

Dr Toni E. Meath

Principal

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