Friday 29 June 2012

How time flies in this busy life of Boarding Schools

Those of you from New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory will certainly understand the title of this blog piece having just enjoyed the first week of your mid-year break - I do trust you are finding some time to refresh after a busy first semester. South Australia and Victoria are all farewelling their students as I write, and Western Australia and the ACT are just holding on with a week of term left. Tasmania have just gone back into their second term of the year.
So what has been happening on the ABSA front this week - to be honest, not much really. It has been really great to have a week with us both in the office, which has meant the National Conference is now all up to date and workshops are almost finalised, the database update forms are all processed (only 20 still to come in), and some work has started on our website offerings. A project that has been on my list of things to do for over a year was launched by Tom this week - our YouTube videos, accessible through the YouTube link on our home page. Tom has been videoing boarding staff talking on a number of questions he poses, and then edits these together to form a fantastic collection of ideas - all watchable on a brief video. Check this link out on a regular basis as we plan to add more and more to the library.
Our Twitter and Facebook presence is also increasing, so if you are a user of one of these social media make sure you 'follow' or 'like' us - our Twitter feed can be found at @austboarding and for our Facebook page search 'Australian Boarding Schools Association'.
We have also started working with Australian Digital Partners, have developed a 'QR Code', and will be targeting those people who will find our Conference and training offerings most useful in new and exciting ways - watch this space!
Lastly, I am almost up-to-date with the marking of Duty of Care books in the office - with only those which arrived this week still to go. If you have been slow to complete your workbooks this semester break might give you a little time to do those last few tasks - then just send them in and I will mark them and issue your certificate (with an invoice, of course). Work is progressing with the accreditation of this course - more information will be forthcoming on this later in the year.
Don't hesitate to ring (or call in) if there is anything either Tom or I can help you with.

Saturday 23 June 2012

My first Blog

Having read a number of articles recently on different ways to use Social Media for organsations such as ours one of the more useful suggestions is a regular blog on the happenings and activities of ABSA so I have taken up the challenge and here we go.

The most exciting development for ABSA in recent weeks is the employing of our new 'office manager' and business trainee Tom Dunsmore. Those of you who have already met Tom would have been impressed to see a young man with so much energy to learn becoming an integral part of our organisation(at least I hope you were impressed). Tom is studying a Certificate III in Business under the Australian Government's traineeship program and has already taken on the challenges of looking after our social media presence (the video project he has started is looking fabulous and will be linked to our website this week from our youtube channel) - thus me having this new task as well, as well as all of the conference registrations and bookings, our distribution of Directories and Duty of Care books ordered and a myriad of other tasks in the office. I have known Tom for a number of years, including having taught him in Year Eight, and now I am enjoying having someone young and energetic in the office each day challenging me to do an even better job of supporting our members.

Associated with this was the move four weeks ago into our own office (and out of my home office) and we are now very well established at Brendale in Brisbane's north. Work is underway to increase the offerings of the members' section of the website and I encourage everyone to visit there regularly to see what else we have to offer. If you think of something we should add, please give me a call or send an email and I can look into getting it in place.

The last month has also seen a visit to Victoria to run a Duty of Care Beginners Workshop at The Hamilton and Alexandra College (thanks to Jane Horne for hosting this and to Sue Collister, our Victorian Chairman, for coming along for the trip). I was also lucky enough to squeeze a visit in to Worawa Aboriginal College in Healsville during that trip and really enjoyed the chance to meet their Principal Lois Peeler and Business Manager Andrew Jans and to see their facilities - a real highlight for me was the student art gallery which is fabulous!

This week saw a visit to Perth, firstly to attend a boarding review meeting at Guildford Grammar School, then to run a Duty of Care Bridging Workshop to help 13 staff who had completed the old Duty of Care course upgrade to the new one(thanks to Elaine Riley from MLC for hosting this great day), and lastly to look at potential venues for next year's Boarding Leaders' Symposium - more information on this to come shortly.

I am looking forward to a quieter week ahead in the office, which should allow me to catch up on some of the marking or our Duty of Care books, as well as to finalize the conference workshop program. Don't forget to contact our office if there is anything you would like us to assist you with - Tom's presence means we might even answer the phone when you call!