SMARTGIRLS at Lourdes Hill College

Sep 11, 2012

 

The Good Samaritan Education Curriculum and Pastoral Leaders Conference led by the Mission Team (Monica Dutton and Meg Kahler sgs) at Pennant Hills in June 2011 gave birth to a fantastic idea for the pastoral care program at Lourdes Hill College. Revisiting Benedictine values in the context of the Good Samaritan Education Teaching and Learning Framework during the conference lent itself as a vast backdrop of opportunities and possibilities for a pastoral care program that would be relevant, embedded into centuries-old values and workable inside the broader educational framework. A presentation of a SMART goals program by Lisa Dean – a Mount St St Benedict College Pastoral Care Coordinator, gave us further food for thought. The conference was a wonderful opportunity to network and to share ideas while at the same time also gave time and space for focused and clear professional discussion, which we used to shape our initial proposal for the Year 9 Pastoral Care Framework, later known as SMARTGIRLS Program.

The SMARTGIRLS Program is based on

 

Benedictine values of:

–          Humility – intellectual and personal – realising individual talents and limitations

–          Discipline – a way of focusing energy and attention on what matters most.

–          Balance  – between work, prayer and relationships

–          Hospitality of heart and place – offering and receiving hospitality

 

Good Samaritan Education Teaching and Learning Framework – Pastoral:

–          Dignity of each person

–          Hospitality of heart and place

–          Seeking of peace

–          Balance and appreciation of beauty and cultural plurality

 

Good Samaritan Education Teaching and Learning Framework- Curriculum:

–          Love of learning

–          Holistic view of education

–          Respect for individual differences

–          Integration of life, faith and wise stewardship

 

This program is loosely framed on the principles of the Smart Targets Business concept, a concept of management by objectives often attributed to Peter Drucker (1954) and later developed by Paul J Meyer and George T Doran, who first used the concept of SMART goals in the discipline of project and programme management in 1981.

The above concepts, values and framework were amalgamated into the SMARTGIRLS Program, targeting goal setting and working towards setting directions and goals, which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-constrained Goals Intended to be Relevant Learning Strategies. The Program also takes into consideration various middle school theories on the development of the adolescent brain as well as the theory ‘that setting and measuring goals is probably the most effective classroom modification teachers can make to increase student confidence’ (Packard, 2007).

The aim of this programme, implemented at the beginning of 2012, is to focus on Year Nine students at the beginning of their year as leaders of the Middle School to encourage them to see this time as an opportunity to work towards their futures in a practical and realistic manner by articulating for each semester an Academic, a Pastoral and a Personal Goal under the mentorship of their individual Home Room Teacher and House Coordinator. Students are given SMARTGIRLS Card on which their semester goals are recorded, revisited, re-evaluated and monitored by mentors during the semester. An appropriate rewards system is in place for achieved goals at the end of each Semester.

While the program has been carefully developed, and a handbook and power point presentations written outlining the program, it is still in its first year of operation and some revision will be necessary. However, so far the SMARTGIRLS Program is proving to be successful in all of its major objectives.

Jenny and I (Marta) are most grateful to the Good Samaritan Education Mission Team for organising the Curriculum and Pastoral Leaders Conference, its 2011 participants, and Mount St Benedict College for the inspiration and the opportunity to formulate this program and to the LHC staff who are implementing the program on weekly basis.

 

Jenny Hill and Marta Skrbis

Lourdes Hill College