Term 2 began with a rather busy week with the SRC Leadership assembly followed by Parent Teacher Student Conferences, Debating and the Great Art Show (hosted here at Nossal).
We trialled a “hybrid” parent teacher interview structure this year with all teachers here onsite delivering a mixture of face to face and online interviews. We are reviewing the effectiveness of such an approach and would welcome any parent or student feedback about their experiences and preferences for the future. We found that (during the 2020 lockdown) the fully online interviews were quite effective and enabled greater efficiency, much less travel, and considerably better time management. The feedback at the time was strongly positive and we are hoping to capture the advantages and minimise the disadvantages. It is usually challenging for us to meet the demand for appointments for the first parent teacher conferences each year, so we are always seeking ways to improve our efficiency and the effectiveness of our communication and interactions with parents. In spite of the logistical advantages of online meetings it is also important that we establish and maintain excellent relationships and sometimes that can be much better achieved face to face, and many people have a preference for communicating this way. We will continue to review and refine our processes to ensure we are providing the best possible feedback and communication opportunities. If you were unable to see a particular teacher or teachers – or need to speak further - please don’t hesitate to contact the teachers directly via email to set a time for a meeting or to have further conversations; or contact myself, Ms Mackin, or Heads of House depending on the need.
I had the pleasure of attending the DAV debates and am very impressed by the number of Nossal teams that are competing this year, and even more impressed by the way the students are assisting and supporting each other. At Nossal, debating is largely student run and supported; senior students train and mentor the younger teams and it is a delight to see Nossal debating teams participating while being supported by their peers and mentors. Very few schools have such high levels of participation and collegiality, and it certainly exemplifies the inclusive, student centred, growth mindset culture that we nurture at Nossal. We are there to participate, to learn and to enjoy, but we also have some very strong and competitive teams who will certainly be contenders for the finals later in the year. I commend the students and staff involved.
The Great Art Show
The Great Art Show has been hosted at Nossal for a number of years now and the organisers always present us with an original artwork by one of their members as a thank you. This year one of the local artists painted a portrait of our current school Leaders – the four School Captains (Nadia, Asher, Kelly and Zhengqin) and School Council Student Representative (Nam), entitled “2021 Leaders of the Future.” We are now looking for a suitable place to hang their portrait, although the models themselves are rather unsure of how public they would like the display to be and are still getting used to the ideal of being immortalised in paint for future generations. There is always impressive artwork on display, and I was particularly taken aback by the life-sized and exceptionally heavy Lycan (werewolf) sculpture made almost entirely from thousands of old kitchen forks. I was pleased to see that a couple of Nossal students had entered the show and they both received Highly Commended Awards for their individual drawings. Congratulations to Minaya and Minadhi Somawansa of Year 11.
Clyde Road Update
Please refer to the works schedule and update attached to this newsletter. I met with the community consultative group and the crossing removal authority team last week, and I’m afraid there is no good news nor easy solutions to the increased travel time and the restricted access to the school. Significant drainage works will be taking place along the university boundary from the crossing to the freeway and northbound traffic will be restricted to a single lane from the freeway off ramp for many months. This has added at least 20 – 30 minutes to my commute each way each day and along with many of you I have been experiencing much frustration trying to get to work on time, and even getting out of the university in the evening is a significant challenge. This experience is echoed by our colleagues at Chisholm, Federation University, and the hospitals, all of whom have no alternative routes to their workplaces. The Crossing Authority are well aware of the frustrations and impact this is having and are monitoring the traffic loads and patterns in real time, adjusting traffic light signals to improve flow, and adding signage to redirect traffic away from the areas of greatest congestion. They too get caught in the same traffic jams entering their own works depot so do understand the tension it is causing and are hoping that it eases as people who have alternate routes realise that they should be taking them rather than trying to traverse Clyde Road at present. Many staff (and myself) are arriving at school much earlier, as are some students, and leaving later. (although please try to stay within the 7.30 am – 5.30 pm envelope) We understand that people may be late as a result (the 8.30 am public bus arrived at 9.30 am several times last week) and I again urge you to use public transport (or feet or bikes) if at all possible.
A reminder that all students should now be in full winter uniform and that the wearing of ties is compulsory. The ties need to be correctly and fully knotted and shirts tucked in when the tie is worn. Blazers with the academic uniform and Spray Jackets with the sports uniform should be worn as the outer garment when travelling to and from school (even by car), and blazers must be worn for all formal occasions (assemblies, excursions, and the like). Sports uniforms are only to be worn to and from school when the student has a PE class on the day – not if they are in a club, or in training at lunchtime. The Heads of House and tutorial teachers will be monitoring compliance and issuing Nossal service duty for those in breach of the regulations. Our uniform is how we are identified and recognised in the community, so it is important that it is worn with pride and worn well.
There has been a significant easing of restrictions for staff and students within the school although we are still required to be vigilant, to distance where possible, to maintain good hand hygiene and, most importantly, to stay home and get tested if we are suffering any symptoms at all. Visitors are now allowed into the school, but density restrictions need to be applied to activities and events that involve people from outside the school, so while we are able to hold a whole school assembly in the gym with nearly 900 people (staff and students) in attendance, if we invited parents or other groups of visitors, we would only be able to accommodate 350 in that space. Cleaning and sanitising are still of paramount importance and masks are optional (but encouraged) at school and are still compulsory on public transport. I had myself tested recently after coming down with a cold and was impressed by the speed and efficiency of the current process. I went through the Frankston drive through testing station at 12.00 pm on Sunday (Anzac Day) and received my results at 9.00 pm the same day. Even more pleasingly, the current test is much less invasive, and they only now probe to the top of your nostril rather than the back of your head as they used to!
Year 9 NAPLAN Certificates of Achievement
Our Year 9 students are about to undertake NAPLAN testing and we will again be doing so online. NAPLAN does not currently provide too much useful data for high performing Nossal students as the non-adaptive tests that have been previously employed fail to accurately measure the high levels of performance for many of our students. Put simply, many are placed off the top of the scale, so any improvement measure is impossible. The adaptive online testing program should address that, but as we have only had the Year 9 students for 4 months when they are tested, the results usually tell us little about their progress and performance at Nossal (although these results do confirm that we have selected well). Any credit for their high levels of performance belongs to the students, their parents and their previous schools and teachers.
A new feature of the NAPLAN assessment is being launched this year, with the award of Year 9 Certificates of Achievement. The new certificates aim to celebrate and recognise the importance of both excellence and learning growth. Beginning in 2021, Year 9 students who achieve outstanding results or who significantly improve their results in NAPLAN tests will receive a NAPLAN Certificate of Achievement.
The certificates will be awarded for two categories of achievement:
* 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 improvement by two or more bands between the NAPLAN Year 7 and Year 9 tests for reading or numeracy, or both.
For more information about the new certificate and measures for learning growth, refer to Year 9 NAPLAN certificates of achievement on the Department’s website.
Applications for Entry for 2022
There has been a steady stream of prospective parents and students undertaking school tours for the past month or so and applications for Year 9 entry in 2022 close on May 21.
We hosted a parent information evening last week which is predominantly run by current Year 9 students with minimal direction from us. The students decide what they think the new students and parents may need to know, offer tours, do the presentation (with multiple presenters), and provide entertainment and refreshments as well. Our students really are our best ambassadors and they do allow me to say a few words, but much of what I say is rendered redundant as the students themselves model what we claim we offer. I always find it humbling and uplifting to see and hear them in action – their commitment and passion for the school is remarkable and their perceptiveness and enthusiasm is a joy to behold. I sincerely thank the many Year 9 presenters and the large number of Year 10 students who returned from an excursion to the city to run tours in the evening (and Mr LaBrooy for his organisation).
Parents and Friends Association Meeting
Wednesday 5 May at 7.00 pm in the Jean Russell Centre – all welcome.
House Athletics Carnival
This is an all-day event at Casey Fields for all staff and students on Friday 7 May . All students are expected to be in attendance and supporting their houses in the competitions or cheering and encouraging others. It is a wonderful event where we witness many inspiring performances and great rivalry as the four Houses vie for boasting rights and significant points towards the Annual Page Cup. Parents and families are welcome to attend this outdoor event.
House Performing Arts Festival
Planning for this event has now commenced with the appointment of House Leaders and students will shortly begin work on this inspiring and most entertaining annual spectacular.
Poppy Clemence of Year 11 who has been quietly and proudly representing Nossal at a number of interschool equestrian events. In spite of an injury to her preferred horse, she rode a replacement and less experienced horse and still managed to achieve a fourth place in the recent 2021 Tintern Interschool Horse Trials. It is wonderful to see the diverse range of interests and talents our students display.
Ms Sara Villiers (Health and PE Teacher) who has just been named the 2021 ACHPER (Australian Council for Health PE and Recreation) Health and PE Teacher of the Year.
An outstanding achievement. We already know that she is a brilliant teacher, but it is gratifying to see that excellence recognised by the peak body supporting Australian Physical Education.