October 6, 2021

Principal’s Update

Dear Families, Students and Community Members,

 

I hope everyone was able to enjoy the holiday break and is now refreshed and ready to focus on the final stretch for the year.

 

Return to Onsite Learning and Remote Learning 

As I communicated to all families during the first week of the school holidays via Compass, Year 12 students and Year 11 students studying a Unit 3/4 subject returned to onsite learning on Wednesday October 6. Final year VCAL students have been booked in to have individual progress meetings with our VCAL Co-ordinator, Krystal Collyer, starting from Thursday October 7. Note: Year 11 students studying one or more Year 12 VCE subjects need to be onsite for these subjects and if, they can’t return home in time for their Year 11 subjects, rooms have been allocated for them to continue remote learning lessons onsite.

 

We are running our Year 12 classes onsite right up until their respective exams or our 2022 Headstart program (which ever happens first). After spending most of Term 3 at home, students will want to be at school and teachers will have the opportunity to re-teach content that was hard to deliver over remote learning and have extra time for revision. These classes will be compulsory except on the days students have a scheduled exam.

 

On Tuesday October 26, students in Years 7 and 11 return full time to onsite learning (note: Year 10 students studying a Year 11 subject/s, arrangements will be confirmed closer to the date).

 

From Tuesday October 26, students in Years 8 and 9 return two days a week to onsite learning on Tuesday and Wednesdays: and students in Year 10 return two days a week to onsite learning on Thursday and Fridays.

 

All going well, all students will be back onsite full time on Friday November 5.

 

Remote learning will continue to be delivered via our Google Meet platform on the days students are not onsite during this staggered return.

 

This staggered return is based on the advice of the Victorian Chief Health Officer and is designed to manage the increased movement across the community with the gradual return of staff and students to school. It is subject to change based upon the health advice at the time.

 

Vulnerable children and children of parents or guardians who are on the authorised provider and authorised worker list can continue attending onsite throughout this period.

 

We will be emailing out via Compass just prior to October 26 our updated Return to School Guide for parents and students. Our Senior Students returning to onsite learning this week should have received an email from Mr Moffat and Ms Greenhalgh outlining our COVIDSafe behaviours and processes in place for their safe return. All students will be required to wear a mask inside and outside unless a medical exemption applies, and social distancing requirements will be followed as is practically possible. Hand sanitising stations remain in key locations across the school.

 

Schools across Victoria have three clear collective priorities for this term:

  1. supporting students’ and staff mental health and wellbeing
  2. identifying those who need help catching up and extending those who have progressed
  3. preparing for successful transitions.

However, a precondition is that we ensure all our schools continue to remain safe environments, based on four key pillars:

  1. reinforcing COVIDSafe behaviours, such as staying at home and getting tested when unwell, physical distancing where possible and wearing masks
  2. creating COVIDSafe spaces, including ensuring adequate ventilation and regular cleaning
  3. promoting COVIDSafe activities, such as limiting visitors to schools, and reducing mixing between groups
  4. responding to any coronavirus (COVID-19) risk

We look forward to welcoming our final year students back onsite this week and we will continue to provide a quality remote learning program for our students in Years 7-11 until their respective return dates. The most important action parents and carers can take for these students is continuing to provide comfort, support and encouragement to your child/ren, in addition to a suitable learning space at home.   We will continue to do our best to support our Year 7-11 families navigate through this final stretch of remote learning. Please don’t hesitate to call or email a member of the College Leadership Team, IT or Wellbeing Team if you need our assistance in any way.

 

School Operations Term 4

The Schools Operation Guide for the commencement of Term 4 was sent to Principals over the weekend, just before our return to school. The Department of Education and Training based on advice from the Health Department is taking a very cautious approach to the commencement of onsite learning for our final year students. At this stage we are not allowed to have camps, excursions, incursions, assemblies, school tours, sporting activities, singing, brass and woodwind classes. In addition, parents aren’t allowed onsite, with visitors limited to essential services.

 

We will continue to revise our plans in line with restrictions and hopefully, over the next few weeks, if everything is going well, there may be some revisions to the operations guide. We are very mindful of providing a meaningful celebration for our final year students, if possible before the final year exams commence.

 

VCE General Achievement Test (GAT)

On Tuesday 7 October 10am-1.15pm, we had 153 students across Year 11 and 12 who are studying a Unit 3 & 4 sequence sit the GAT onsite in the gym. The GAT is a test of general knowledge and skills in written communication, mathematics, science, technology, humanities, the arts and social sciences. Thanks to Jo Greenhalgh, Tim Randell and Andrew Moffat for their support of our students in preparation for the GAT. Like last year, the GAT is even more important as it will be used to help calculate the ‘consideration of educational disadvantage” process this year, given the potential impact of COVID-19. It will also be used to help calculate a student’s Derived Examination Score for any student whose exam performance is affected by illness, accident or personal trauma. The GAT results are also used to help validate the accuracy of school based and external assessments. We always encourage students to strive for their personal best in completing the GAT, putting in a 100% effort across the three hours, just as they would for a SAC or exam.

 

Focused on achieving Personal Best

Thanks to our Director of Senior School, Joanne Greenhalgh and Year 12 Coordinator, Tim Randell and all Year 12 staff for the timely completion of Unit 4 content to enable our practice exams in all subjects to be completed during the last week of Term 3. This has provided more focused time on targeted revision in the lead up to the important final Year 12 exams starting on Wednesday 27 October with English. My thanks to all teachers for their prompt marking of the papers, to provide students with valuable feedback to assist their preparation for their final exams at the College. As mentioned earlier, Year 12 classes are running up until their respective exam and/or our 2022 Headstart program to allow students to maximise time with their teachers in person for revision work and support in the lead up to each of their exams.

 

All students in Years 10-12 will be completing final assessments and continuing the rigorous planning and preparation for their final exam weeks that are fast approaching. It is so important for all students to remain focused and use class and home study time effectively. VCE students should seek help from their teachers to work on any identified weaknesses, complete unit summaries and continue to work on exam performance by completing past exam papers under exam time constraints. Please note: we may be revising the exam timetable and requirements due to staggered return to onsite learning.

 

Students in Years 7-9 will also be completing assessments throughout the term leading into the final reporting period. All students in Year 7-9 also need to present a Student Led Conference to celebrate their achievements for this year before moving up to the next year level in our Headstart program. More information will follow about the Student Led Conference arrangements occurring during Week 7 this term.

 

Note: these dates may also change due to the staggered return to onsite learning. It is our clearly stated expectation of everyone to continue to strive to achieve their personal best in everything they do. We will be focusing on supporting our students to have a successful transition back to onsite learning, supporting their wellbeing and making sure they are ready to learn and mix with their peers in a collaborative learning environment.

 

Mordi Idol

It was fantastic to be able to continue this traditional end of Term 3 event, albeit in different circumstances. Thanks to Simon Cummins, Adelle Stevenson, Aaron Davis and our Performing Arts Captains, Tahlia and Tomas, for putting the event together and making a video all classes could watch during Period 4 on Thursday in the last week of Term 3. Students had the opportunity to vote at the end for the student choice award and the judges (one of our School Captains – Meike, Tomas, Ms Stevenson and I) scored each act based on set criteria – entertainment value, quality of delivery and creativity.

 

Congratulations to the fifteen student entries for this event, who were all prepared to put themselves out there in front of the rest of the school community and give it their personal best. It was certainly a wonderful event to bring the whole school together during remote learning and it always leaves me with such a warm feeling of pride in our students.

 

Congratulations to:

First Place: Unravelled aka Liam, Lachlan, Will and Dylan (Year 9) performing “Day by Day”

Runner Up: Celina and Matthew (Year 12) performing “The Moon Song”

Third place: Bronte (Year 11) performing “Young and Beautiful”

Student Choice Award: Dhawan Sayee (Year 10) performing Beatboxing

 

 

Year 9 NAPLAN Achievement Certificates

From this year, the Department is recognising students in Year 9 who achieve outstanding results, or who significantly improve their results from Year 7, with a NAPLAN Certificate of Achievement.

 

Thus, the new certificates aim to celebrate and recognise the importance of both excellence and learning growth.

 

Category one: the achievement of excellence through getting a result in the top band for Reading or Numeracy, or both.

 

Category two: the achievement of outstanding learning growth through improving by two or more bands between the NAPLAN Year 7 and Year 9 tests for Reading or Numeracy, or both.

 

Please refer to the pages following my report to see all the students who were successful in achieving one of these certificates.

 

Congratulations

Tim Whitford

To Tim Whitford in Year 11 for being selected to participate in the 54th ANU-AAMT National Mathematics Summer School to take place on 13-21 January 2022.

The National Mathematics Summer School (NMSS) is the oldest and most prestigious program of its type in Australia. It has been academically sponsored by the Australian National University and the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers since being founded by Professor Larry Blakers (AM) in 1969. The NMSS aims to discover and develop the mathematical talent of high-achieving school students from all over the country.

Participation is normally limited to approximately 75 students who have completed their Year 11 studies. Thus, this is a significant achievement for Tim.

Year 7 2021 Transition information video and Q&A session

Due to the current restrictions and social distancing requirements we are not able to run our usual Grade 6 to Year 7 Transition Information session onsite this week. Instead we have a video presentation for parents, carers and students that I sent to families via email on Monday. This important 30 minute video includes information about our Bring Your Own Device program operating at the College. As a follow up to this video, there will be the opportunity for parents and carers to attend an online Q&A session via Webex on Tuesday 12 October at 6.30pm. All key leaders will be in attendance to answer any questions parents/carers may have from watching the video. Again, details of this session were communicated to families on Monday. Our Year 7 Year Level Coordinators and some of our current Year 7 students are also running some online meetings over the next few weeks with groups of primary school students to support their transition to secondary school.

We look forward to welcoming all our new students officially to the school on Orientation Day Tuesday 7 December, pending Department advice that this state-wide day can proceed.

Uniform

All students returning to onsite learning should be wearing the summer uniform this term. Just a reminder that ALL boys must be wearing the short sleeved business shirt with College logo in summer. Also, to our current Year 9 students, a reminder that you will need to purchase the grey Senior School jumper for 2022 Headstart as you will be entering Year 10 and the Senior School. Headstart will begin from mid to late November for all students moving from Years 7-11 to Years 8-12 in 2022. We are currently revising our calendar of key events e.g., the exams and Headstart considering the staggered return to onsite learning. Further information about this whole school program will be outlined to all families closer to the time.

Staffing News

Katie Loynes – is taking 6 months leave from Term 4 to the end of Term 1 2022 to relocate to Sydney and play for GWS in AFLW. Indigo Yorke who has filled in for some short-term contracts this year, will be teaching Katie’s load for the next 6 months.

Carly Schreiber – our adolescent health nurse is relocating to Bentleigh SC and Pamela Johnson will be our new nurse. This is organised and paid for by the department not out of our school funds. Carly has been a great addition to our team and will be missed. We wish her all the best at Bentleigh.

Fiona Biss – our Speech Pathologist has gained a promotion with the region working with a cluster of schools. She starts in term 4, and this position is currently advertised.

Qun Mao – is our new International Student Coordinator, who we are sharing with Heathmont College. Mao will work 0.5 at both schools, starting this term.

 

What Makes Girls Tick

Last term I shared an article from Michael Grose, founder of Parenting Ideas on what makes boys tick. Please click on the attached link to read an article by Michael on what makes girls tick. This may be of interest to parents and teachers.

https://www.parentingideas.com.au/blog/know-what-makes-girls-tick/

 

Continue to take care everyone and stay strong. We are nearly there.

 

Michelle Roberts

Principal