Strategic Goals For 2023 – Jennifer Oaten

As the first school week of the 2023 academic school year comes to an end, I hope new students feel welcomed and are starting to feel comfortable, as with transitioning to a new job, settling into a new school can have some bumps along the way. But each day brings more confidence and resilience as you settle into your new environment.

The start of the year has been full of energy and excitement. Our new boarders have settled into their home away from home, and the Boarding Sundowner provided the perfect opportunity for boarding parents to connect. Staff have been preparing for the upcoming year, and students have met their teachers and settled into their classes. We have had our first House meetings for Years 5-12, Breakfast and Achiever’s Assembly for the Class of 2022, swimming and volleyball trials, Achievers’ Club lunches, and the first of our Parent Information Evenings for Years 5 and 6 parents. It has been an action-packed start to the year, and we are ready for the weekend.

As we commence the year, I share with our community some key strategic focus areas we will be working towards in 2023.

Our Strategic Plan 2021-2025 document can be viewed HERE.

The Strategic Goals which will guide our work for 2023 include the following:


Santa Maria College has five Mercy values: Hospitality, Compassion, Justice, Service, and Excellence. Each year we focus on one of these values. In 2023 our value is Excellence. To us, excellence means persevering with courage to achieve our personal best – in all aspects of life, not just academics. We strive to ensure that both students and staff understand and live this, and our other values. This year let’s all pursue excellence with a commitment to growth, improvement, and self-development!


A clear focus on teaching and learning each year has guided continued improvement. This year, we seek an even more strategic focus that centres on the fundamentals of what we believe will provide an outstanding education for all our students.


We will undertake a comprehensive review of our course offerings and scheduling to ensure we are well-equipped for the future requirements of students. Additionally, an Academic Committee composed of students will be created in order to gain feedback on potential future programs and other educational possibilities so that all learners can benefit from flexible, equitable learning experiences.


We are committed to fostering positive mental health in our students. As part of our Mental Health Strategy we have developed a Wellbeing Curriculum that outlines the skills and knowledge we aim to teach to our students. This curriculum will focus on specific areas, such as resilience and emotional regulation, to ensure that students have the skillset to manage their wellbeing. To reinforce these efforts, we will be providing staff development opportunities that ensure an effective and consistent approach when it comes to promoting positive mental health in our students.


We believe that diversity is essential in order to create an environment of acceptance and understanding. We are working with students, staff, and parent groups to develop a framework that encourages inclusion across all areas of diversity – physical, cultural, academic and gender. Our goal is to ensure everyone feels welcome, respected, and celebrated for the unique perspectives they bring.


We value student voice at the College and have provided ample opportunities for our leaders to make their voices heard. To ensure we are listening to and taking action on this valuable input, we want to foster further dialogue from a wider range of students in all aspects of college life. With this goal in mind, we want to continue to develop these opportunities and embrace our theme: ‘Your Voice Matters’.


Our Years 7 and 8 students will soon begin a brand-new woodworking elective! We are also considering additional ways to engage our community in the Santa’s Workshop, such as co-curricular, mother-daughter, father-daughter, and alumni opportunities.


Construction on our state-of-the-art Cultural Centre is just around the corner! We are 90% finished finalising the design and making the last of the decisions. The road ahead includes staging the project to ensure minimal disruption to student learning and safety. The carpark will be completed in the first half of this year, while construction on the Cultural Centre itself will begin mid-year.


As we move closer to launching our foundation, it will not only provide us with a supplementary revenue source and helps alleviate the government funding reductions but also introduces us to new possibilities in terms of providing bursaries. Moreover, this initiative allows us to remain committed to further developing and upgrading our college’s facilities.


As sustainability is a key focus for the future, our college will soon commence the installation of solar panels to lower energy costs and provide an environmentally friendly power source. Additionally, we will assess how all college events can be more sustainable and incorporate eco-friendly practices.

I am excited about the prospects ahead in 2023 for our key focuses. I am fortunate to have an enthusiastic and capable team of employees who can tackle even the biggest and most complex issues. So, in the spirit of our Mercy Value of Excellence – let us continue to work together collaboratively and strive for the very best outcomes. Together let us make sure that our students, families, staff, and community have a strong sense of belonging and purpose in an environment that promotes positive mental health, diversity, and student voice – so they can live life with dignity within a sustainable society.

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