I am so proud to be part of the special Riverside community. Together, students, teachers and parents have developed a school culture where achieving personal best is recognised and the use of the imagination, of reflection and of being challenged, is valued. The curriculum is delivered in a dynamic yet very calm and focused learning environment, underpinned by the wellbeing approach of positive psychology.

Our priority is learning: the quality of teaching creates learning you can see in the way the girls talk, cooperate and explore. The classroom is an energised place of learning, of mutual respect and collaboration. Our existing programs have been enriched this year with new ways for students to collaboratively solve problems and to have more of a say in the direction of their learning and assessment. Introducing greater student choice in learning is an innovation for 2014 and this has already been valued highly by students in projects such as “The Riverside Survivor” sustainability course in Year 9 science.

Our school students today are part of a long network of empowered women who have a well-defined sense of self. At a recent farewell assembly for a staff member who had been here for 34 years, the guest of honour reminded staff and a hall full of one thousand young women, that Riverside is a school that enables you ‘to be you.’ What does this mean? He went on to say that each girl’s strengths are recognised and an opportunity will come their way to realise their dreams or be challenged and make a difference in their life and the life of others if they decide to take the opportunity. I could not have said it better.

Riverside has a focus on gratitude. We ask girls to take the time to show gratitude for their strengths and to show gratitude to their personal support teams – staff, friends, family. They take a strong social justice stance on community and global issues because they care. Our fortnightly whole school assemblies provide an opportunity to build awareness of a global issue and also provide a way for the girls to build connections across the years as they work in teams to make a difference.

We have built strong teams of teachers that are energised, motivated and focused on the very best outcomes for our students. In 2014, we have a new Deputy Principal, a capable educational leader with a profound knowledge of learning for students with exceptional abilities. She joins our deputy who commenced three years ago, a leader with a deep passion for focusing on literacy learning and student leadership.

I look forward to talking with you about the extraordinary programs we have to support your daughter’s academic, social and emotional development.

Belinda Kelly (M.A. (Special Education); B.A (Honours, Psychology); Dip Ed.) Principal

33 years in public education and appointed principal of Riverside in April 2011