It's hard to believe that 2020 is coming to a close, it has been a huge year for our community with unprecedented challenges. We also acknowledge that for our school community, it has been one like no other. We have merged four secondary schools in Shepparton to become Greater Shepparton Secondary College. Our staff have shown incredible commitment to coming together as one school with many fantastic achievements. Furthermore, our students have shown fantastic resilience as they have had to overcome many obstacles. There are so many great things that have happened at GSSC in 2020 (despite the challenges) and I will attempt to provide an overview.
Greater Shepparton Secondary College has been embarking on writing a completely new curriculum for all years. In 2019 the curriculum was rewritten for years 7 and 9 and has been implemented this year. This has seen the development of a joint curriculum that allows all students to receive high quality teaching. We also have many new and exciting electives that students have been able to pick. We hope this has an impact on student engagement. This year our domains have completed writing new and exciting units for years 8 and 10. Now we have a first-class curriculum for years 7 – 10 which is a fantastic foundation for delivering excellent teaching and learning at GSSC. Our teaching staff are excited about delivering this to students in 2021. Thanks to our teaching and learning leaders, domain leaders and all staff for all their hard work.
GSSC has also embarked on a journey to become a School Wide Positive Behaviour Support (SWPBS) school. This has seen the introduction of new systems and protocols to help teach students expected behaviours, that relate to our school values. We have worked hard at encouraging and teaching students about Aspiration, Integrity, Respect and Responsibility.
This has occurred through teaching in our learning mentor curriculum and by acknowledging expected behaviours. Our staff have acknowledged students displaying behaviour consistent with our values 113,000 times! We have only just begun our journey to becoming a positive behaviour school and 2021 will see us continue on this pathway.
Another foundation of GSSC has been the development of the neighbourhood model. This has seen students receiving wrap around support from learning mentors, teachers, house leaders, wellbeing and support staff, neighbourhood leaders and leadership.
Within this model our learning mentor curriculum has been delivered to build the social emotional capabilities of students; and also students receive help and support from these key people in the school.
COVID-19 – Remote Learning
2020 saw the introduction of state-wide remote learning in response to the COVID–19 pandemic. This saw all of our students learning remotely online for a total of 13 weeks. This was a massive change for all our students and also parents who had to navigate students learning from home. As a school we managed to hand out over 700 laptops to students so that they could learn online. Our teachers placed over 100,000 learning tasks online for students and our staff spent thousands of hours on Microsoft TEAMS, Compass and other online platforms connecting with students and supporting them. We thank all the parents, caregivers and significant others that worked with our school to ensure that students could continue to learn.
During 2020 we have seen an incredible transformation of our future school site. Hawdon Street has been transformed over a matter of months with our new neighbourhood buildings. We hope you have enjoyed the photos and videos that we have shared in the newsletter during the year. It seems that the build will be complete before we know it and moving into a new school site will be a reality. We look forward to tracking this progress during 2021.
Being back onsite during term 4 has seen our school work very hard to offer learning opportunities for our students. This has included some fantastic excursions, camps and extra activities for our students to enjoy. It has also involved our teachers and support staff working hard to ensure that students adjust to being back at school and assessing where our students are with their learning progress. Term 4 also saw our year 12 students complete their secondary schooling. In what was one of the most challenging years, we applaud our students that persevered and completed their assessments and exams. We wish them the best of luck in the future. We also want to thank our senior school leaders for the dedication and adaptability they have shown in supporting students, and helping them to graduate.
Term 4 has also involved transition of our grade 6 students to our McGuire Campus. This has been a big project, but a rewarding experience and we feel we are well prepared for our new students. We also completed three days of transition for all our students that are changing campuses next year. This was to assist them to prepare for the change in 2021. Overall, these transition activities have been very successful. While it has been a very busy term, this has helped us to be prepared for a strong start to 2021.
Thank you to all our wonderful staff. I am sure that our parents and broader school community would agree that our staff have shown fabulous commitment to our students this year. There are so many individual and team achievements that I simply wouldn’t be able to mention them all. But thank you, to each of you, for working hard to make GSSC a great school.
Also we would like to thank those staff that are retiring, taking leave or moving onto other schools or positions. We thank you for your contributions to GSSC and wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavors.
It would also be remiss to not acknowledge the change in our leadership that occurred in the last week. We must thank Genevieve for the huge job that she took on in being the first Executive Principal of GSSC.
Genevieve has set the direction for transforming education in Shepparton. She was relentless in her pursuit of improving the educational offering for students. Genevieve always put the students needs at the forefront of decision making. While she will not continue with our team in 2021, we thank her for the courage and commitment she has shown.
Finally, we wish our school community a safe and happy break over the summer period. We hope that the New Year is bright and prosperous, and we look forward to 2021 together.
Nicholas Bamford on behalf of the GSSC Executive Leadership Team
The Executive Team
Greater Shepparton Secondary College