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The association dedicated exclusively to the education, development and growth of young adolescents

2022-23 President's Report

Presented at AGM  October 2023

As my final President’s Report for the Association, I begin by acknowledging the achievements of the management committees during my time in the various roles I have served. I particularly make mention of the Executive Officers I have worked with during my 9-year tenure as President. As an association, we would not function without their ongoing dedication, and professionalism. It is central to the ongoing growth and development of Adolescent Success. Furthermore, the dedication and commitment of the Executive Officer keeps us at the forefront of the educational landscape, and I cannot commend highly enough the work that has been undertaken and will continue to occur moving forward.

Strategically, our focus for 2023 continued to target each of our key areas: Being known as a leader, offering Dynamic Products, engaging our members, and being well-managed, which all ultimately lead to the Association’s Financial Stability.

Following the success of the 2022 Conference, planning was underway for several key initiatives to ensure the continued diversification of the work we do.  Several enterprises for 2023 were set in motion during the final term of 2022: two Study Tours were planned, a Brisbane tour, and a Darwin tour; the theme, venue and date for our International Conference for 2023 were set, and keynotes identified. As well, we engaged with O’Loughlin College facilitating our first Diagnostic process.

Sadly, our long-term Executive Officer Angela White, resigned in November 2022 to pursue a new career path, and as such, we began a recruitment process. Whilst it was extremely difficult to farewell Angela, we were privileged to secure Liz Benson to take on the role for 2023, and with support from myself and other members of the Executive and Management Committee, Liz has led the association with professionalism and expertise. This change over highlighted the importance of collaboration and shared responsibility, and I thank sincerely thank and congratulate Liz for her skilfulness in embracing the role of our EO.

Key priorities for 2023 have been mostly achieved; they are as follows:

Our Middle Years Diagnostic and School Improvement Tool has proven to be of benefit to several schools across Australia and internationally, and this will continue to be a priority into 2024 and beyond. We are currently working with Padua College (Brisbane), St Marks, (WA), and Dubbo School of Distance Education and worked with Taejon Christian International School (South Korea) early in the year. As this initiative continues to expand, we have implemented Consultancy arrangement to ensure that the EO has the resources to service those schools engaging with us throughout the 12-month period of the process. This will also, ensure expansion of our membership and community, and improve our financial position.

Five of our six Middle Years Schools of Excellence renewed for 2023. Congratulations to Burgmann Anglican School (ACT), Redlands College (Qld), Kristin School (Auckland), St Margaret’s College (Christchurch), and Cornerstone College (SA) for their continued exemplary middle years practices.

Whilst we did not acknowledge any new schools for this year, we have had several inquiries moving forward. As such, a key target area is to update this program, and to identify and acknowledge new MYSOE for 2024.

In March, our Brisbane Tour was highly successful with 20 delegates from around Australia collaborating and visiting six schools – thank you to Indooroopilly State High, St Peter’s Lutheran College, Yeronga State High, St Pauls’ School, St Eugene’s College and Cannon Hill Anglican College for your willingness to host. 

Unfortunately, the Darwin Tour was postponed for 2023, but plans are already under way with the Northern Territory Department of Education and Catholic Education NT to reschedule for Term 3 2024.

Membership for 2023 has grown slightly, and this will continue to be an important priority moving forward. Building our middle years community is key to further growth. The emphasis will be on our Institutional Memberships and those individuals who have not renewed this year will be the focus.

Unfortunately, our Social Media Manager Jaqueline Simpson, resigned her position early in the year. As such, I with the support of the EO maintained our social media presence for much of the year. Through the expertise of the EO, a key focus of our communication strategy has been to expand our reach, with LinkedIn being a target. A more distinct branding was introduced this year, along with the introduction of a middle year’s blog and conversation starters based on research and our position paper.  Aligned with this, more regular posting around our work, as well as marketing and specific targeting of middle years leaders has occurred. This has meant that we have seen growth in our numbers of connections and followers on LinkedIn; our reach expanding from 788 to 1541 followers and from 525 to 785 connections (from 2022 to 2023).

Other communications through our monthly ENews – Succeed have continued, and through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter/X continue to inform and grow our membership and community.

Rebecca Seward-Linger, our Journal Editor stepped down from committee meetings in August. Rebecca will continue to oversee the upcoming journal for Nov/Dec this year, with support of Sue Webb and myself. We sincerely thank Rebecca for her work in this area. She will remain as an editor into the future. The Association will look to recruit a new Journal Editor for 2024.

Adolescent Success formalised their partnership through a Letter of Agreement with Murdoch University and the Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study in August this year. We will work more closely with Dr Lisa Mundy, and her team during 2024. I personally, engaged in a forum to review tools they have created for trial in some Victorian Primary schools, and we will continue to engage with and be an integral partner with this group as they maintain their research and focus on Transition from Primary to Secondary school.

Our partners CYC Burleigh supported us financially again this year, and we thank them for this ongoing connection. We also partner with Food is Cool, providing access to their website and information via social media.

Our international Conference 2023 “Reimagining Learning and Working in the Middle Years was successful, with approximately 180 delegates. We thank St John’s Anglican College, their principal, staff, and students for hosting this event. Our Keynotes – Phil Cummins, Michael Anderson, Stephanie MacMahon (UQ Learning Lab), and The AI discussion panel were highly rated, and we thank them for the important contributions they made.

The 48 Concurrent sessions by leaders and teachers from around the country, from New Zealand and United States of America were exceptional. We were privileged to have Stephanie Simpson, the Chief Executive Officer of AMLE present one of these sessions, and to engage with her during the conference. Student agency was an important component, and we acknowledge and thank Braydon Giles for his organisation of the young people who performed, facilitated the concurrent sessions, and attended all aspects of the event.

We also acknowledge and thank our ambassadors – Prof Donna Pendergast and Paul Browning for their involvement in our conference.

Already, several online Professional Learning opportunities are in place for term 4, and I encourage our members to engage in these.

The 2022- 2023 year has been successful for Adolescent Success, seeing our middle years community grow and our financial stability maintained. I commend the outgoing Executive and Management committee members who are stepping down – Jenny Knowles our secretary, Liz Craig, our ACT Rep, Pascale Drever, our NSW Rep, and Chris Ryan, our Vic Rep. Thank you for your expertise, and your advocacy for the middle years.

The incoming Executive and Management Committee is a dynamic team. It will be exciting to see the directions and growth of Adolescent Success throughout 2024-2025 and beyond.

I wish all of you every success in the future and urge you to continue your explicit agenda on and for the middle years.

Thank you,

By Debra Evans, President of Adolescent Success

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