March 13, 2020

Director of Student Wellbeing’s Update

Dear Families, Students and Community Members,

With the new school year now in full swing, it is a great time to bring you up to date with what has been happening in the area of student wellbeing at Mordialloc College. Evidence tells us that students who are happy, safe and feel a sense of connectedness to school are much better placed to achieve their personal best in their learning. Now in my 16th year at the College as Director of Student Wellbeing, I have seen many changes but these areas continue to be the priority for us as a wellbeing team in the different programs and supports we offer.

The wellbeing team has grown to a team of 5, including myself, who all bring a depth of experience and expertise to the team to support the wellbeing of students across the College. We have welcomed Linda Walsh, who joined us this year working 2 days a week as School Chaplain . We were also excited to have Carly Schreiber , Secondary School Nurse, return this year in an ongoing capacity, also 2 days a week. Katie Haywood continues with us this year 2 days a week in a Youth Worker role. Annette Matov is with us fulltime in one of the new Mental Health Practitioner roles that have been rolled out across the state as part of the government initiative to strengthen the provision of mental health support in schools. All members of the Wellbeing Team are available to students for one to one support on the wide range of issues facing young people, and are also involved in the delivery of a range of wellbeing programs.

A key focus for the wellbeing team at the start of the year is to build our opportunities for parent engagement with the College, particularly for our new parents and carers joining us. The Parents and Carers’ Marquee at the swimming sports was a  wonderful opportunity for a group of Year 7 parents to gather and watch their child competing while enjoying conversation and refreshments with other parents. Recently a group of Year 7 parents and carers met with the wellbeing team and enjoyed some morning tea and conversations together. This will be a monthly event – our next gathering will be Thursday May 7.

Mordialloc College is part of the Safe Schools program. This program is managed and directed by the Department of Education and Training. Safe Schools was born out of the need identified by school communities, parents and teachers for greater support for our LGBTI students, who are at higher risk of bullying and suicide, and to ensure that schools create safe and inclusive environments. Carly and Katie facilitate, with students, the Respect Group, which meets fortnightly for support and to plan activities and actions to promote a safe school for all.

We are fortunate to have the staff from Kingston Youth Services join us at lunchtime on Thursdays providing activities for our Year 7 students during Term One.  This is very valuable to support our Year 7s to make friends with their peers and build their sense of connectedness to the College.

Our weekly breakfast club, held in Wellbeing each Thursday, is another extremely valuable opportunity for students to get to know a wide range of students across the year levels. This before school gathering is open to all students.

In addition to the wellbeing team we also have valuable connections with other support agencies. We have a positive connection with Engage 1on1 Psychological Services: Kathy can provide free psychological counselling support through the Mental Health Care Plan program. Kathy meets with students fortnightly at school. We also have positive connections with external services such as Headspace (Mental Health Service), Taskforce (Youth Service), Orange Door (Child and Family Services) and the Police Youth Resource Team.

We welcome not only our new Year 7 students and families to the College this year but also our new students and families who have joined us across different year levels. As a wellbeing team our aim is, during the term, to meet all students who are new to the College and check in with how they have settled into their new school life. As part of our welcome, we will be hosting a pizza lunch this week for new students across the College.

Please feel free to contact me or a member of the team (via Reception or email) to discuss further the supports we can offer for your child to feel safe, happy and connected at Mordialloc College.

Di Douglas

Director Student Wellbeing