Dear Families, Students and Community Members,
Welcome back for Term 4. Thanks to Marina Walsh who was Acting Principal over the last two weeks of Term 3 while I was on Long Service Leave.
Future Facility Development
I am pleased to announce that MINX Architects have been appointed to deliver our $8.5 million project. We held the start-up meeting with them on Thursday 29 August with a timeline presented for the project. Given our revised student number for design (1100 students) we need to work through a process of redoing our masterplan. The first step was to run a workshop day for staff and students to contribute their ideas. They spoke to representatives from the Year 7 & 8 team, VCE team, Art/Tech team, and some Year 7 & 8 students and VCE students. Even though the key deliverables can’t change (Year 8 LC and Year 12 Study/Learning Centre), how we go about them can. We have the first planning meeting this Friday, where the architects will present their initial ideas from the feedback regarding our new masterplan and possible staging of this project. Given the architects were appointed at the end of August, at best if we get the funding in the 2020 May State budget, we will be ready to start construction around the same time next year. I will provide regular updates in the newsletter.
Prior to release of the results I was interviewed by one of the Education journalists for The Age. They were wanting to speak to schools who have performed well in NAPLAN in recent years, thus going against the state trend of declining NAPLAN results in Year 9. This story appeared in The Age on Thursday 29 August. I spoke about many actions that have resulted in our improved results, however, he just focused on our intervention program. He also spoke to one of our students from Year 9 last year, Aaliyah Zaph, who did a great job.
The results for this year were available to schools via the NAPLAN website in early September. Overall our results are again very positive, especially for writing which has been our whole school focus. In comparison to last year we have increased the percentage of students in the top two bands in Year 9 writing and decreased the percentage in the bottom two bands. We have also improved the percentage of students achieving high growth and decreased the percentage of low growth for writing in Year 9.
Individual reports have been sent home to each student in Year 7 and 9 with their results. The teacher teams within the Middle School have received copies of the results for our Year 7 and 9 students to utilise in conjunction with the On Demand (English) and Maths Essential testing program that already exists within the College, and other assessment data, in their planning for their respective classes over the rest of the year and into 2020.
Staffing Term 4
Tracey Bastin, currently a Leading Teacher at Dromana SC, has been appointed to the Assistant Principal position beginning from Headstart, November 18. As previously mentioned, with our significant growth in student numbers we are moving to three APs and portfolios have been revised. Tracey is currently the Leading Teacher for Senior School at Dromana. She has fifteen years’ experience across a number of leading teacher responsibilities so will bring a wealth of knowledge to the role. Tracey (like Marina last year) has also recently completed the Department's Principal Preparation Program through BASTOW.
We have two additions to the Wellbeing Team this term which is very exciting. I have appointed social worker Annette Matov to our full time Mental Health Practitioner role. As previously reported, every Victorian government secondary school is receiving funding to recruit a mental health practitioner. Bayside Peninsula have been selected to go through the process of recruitment first. We were allocated funding for 0.8 and I increased this to fulltime using school funds. We also have a new Adolescent Health nurse starting with us this term, Carly Schreiber. Carly will be working with the Wellbeing team and supporting students and teachers on Tuesday and Thursday each week.
Sharonne Crossley is taking family leave from early Term 4 and we have appointed Sarah Robinson to this 0.6 Food/Health teacher position. Sarah is already well known to the College through her previous work here as a casual relief teacher.
Dominic Newsome is relocating to the other side of town and has taken a position at Collingwood SC in their Language Centre. I am pleased to announce we have appointed Jenny Tran from Glen Waverley SC to lead our Language Centre, a very important position at the College.
Principal for a Day Program
This is an annual program run by ACER and I have participated in it each year, hosting a range of people from business over the years. On Wednesday 4 September I hosted Tim Richardson, local MP and Parliamentary Secretary for Schools. I first spoke to Tim about our areas of success and where we have been recognised by the Department. He was really interested in the literacy intervention program and the extra support program we run for students who may be vulnerable in transitioning from primary to secondary school. I also updated Tim on the recent architect interviews and the timeline we are now following for all of the required planning documentation. I did ask him if he could guarantee that the rest of the capital works funding would be announced next May and I got a definite YES! Tim spoke to all Year 10 students during My Mentor about his own career path and challenges and key learnings along the way. We held a morning tea for all staff to have the opportunity to speak to Tim. He then spent time meeting with the Wellbeing Team to hear about the challenges in this area and what extra support the government could provide; and then with Emma White to learn a bit more about the pathways role in secondary schools. Tim also had the opportunity to speak to a Year 11 Legal Studies class and the Year 7 SEAL class. He thoroughly enjoyed his time here and was most impressed.
Focused on achieving Personal Best
Thanks to our Director of Senior School, Joanne Greenhalgh, 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 30 October with English. My thanks to all teachers who assisted with the supervision of these revision exams and their speedy marking of the papers, to provide students with valuable feedback to assist their preparation for their final exams at the College.
All students in Years 9-12 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 the exam time constraints. Students in the Senior School had the opportunity to participate in workshops with Elevate held at the school, focusing on study techniques during the year. I encourage students to also be fully utilising their key learnings from participating in these sessions in the lead up to the exams.
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 Co