From the Principals' Desk

Dear Parents,

 

Welcome to the first edition of our Newsletter for 2021. There is a large amount of information here but please take some time to skim through it as some of it will be quite important and I hope that you will find things informative and useful.

 

We had a tumultuous start this year. Following a universally challenging year in 2020, we were looking forward to a more settled 2021, albeit with some expected restrictions and limitations imposed by COVID 19. 

 

The tragic death of Ms Lisa Mandeltort (Science Domain Leader) in January was shocking and unsettling. Lisa died heroically and will be greatly missed by our school community; she was a dynamic young educator with a great passion for life, for teaching, for her students, friends, and family. I again extend our sincere condolences to her partner, family and friends, and offer our ongoing support, assistance, and friendship. Her many friends, colleagues, and her students (past and present) are grappling with this sudden and unexpected loss, and we have put a number of additional wellbeing support services and resources in place to assist members of our community to come to terms with this and to manage their own grief and the emotional responses that it may trigger. Should you have any concerns for your children or their friends, please contact the Wellbeing Team or myself so we can determine the best way to support them. 

 

We are planning a whole school Memorial Assembly to be held at 11.50 am on March 1, when we will commemorate Lisa’s life and her wonderful contribution to Nossal High School. We hope this will be an uplifting and affirming event where we will celebrate and pay tribute to Lisa’s spirit and quirkiness. For this reason, and in line with her family’s wishes, we will declare a free dress day on March 1 and encourage students and staff to dress in vibrant colours and patterns. The gold coin donation for doing so will be collected and donated to the MS Society in her name, and we will unveil a school memorial tribute at this time. Alumni and parents are welcome to attend.

Staffing News

We welcome the following new and returning staff members to Nossal this year:

  • Ms Lydia Sayer – Business Manager
  • Ms Jo Ensor – Mental Health Practitioner
  • Ms Livy Segev – French Language Assistant
  • Ms Karry Zhang – Maths/Science Teacher
  • Mr Niro Ratnayake – Maths/Science Teacher
  • Mr Rupinder Sidhu – Math/Science Teacher
  • Ms Debbie Engler (returning from leave) – Humanities Teacher

Unfortunately, Ms Amanda Graystone has had to undergo an unexpected medical procedure and will be absent for approximately the next 6 weeks, so there will be some adjustments to teacher timetables to cover her classes during this time. We wish her a speedy recovery.

Responsibility Positions

Many Nossal staff take on significant additional responsibilities and roles on top of their core teaching roles and the following list details many of them.

Sir Gustav Nossal MedallionMichelle Desaulniers
Data LeaderKerwyn Alley
Domain Leader - Arts/TechnologyLeslie Cilia
Domain Leader - EnglishBriony Schroor
Domain Leader - HumanitiesJane Denman
Domain Leader - LanguagesYvonne Sly
Domain Leader - MathematicsMark Jelinek
Domain Leader - ScienceTBA
Domain Leader -PE/HealthShelley Veale
Duke of Edinburgh AwardMichelle Desaulniers
House Leader - GarudaMat Delaney
House Leader – GriffinJess Ball
House Leader – PegasusLeigh Jose
House Leader – PhoenixBrad Monaco
ReportingSue Lee-Ack / Michelle Lloyd
Sister School RelationshipsYvonne Sly
Sports CoordinationScott Harnath
Carnivals CoordinatorAnita Coffa
Sustainability CoordPo Lin Ooi
Terry Bennett CupChantelle Pumphrey
Timetable AssistantScott Harnath
Year Level Leader - 12Joanna Soltys
Year Level Leader - 11Reshma Ravi
Year Level Leader – 9/10Anna Gonzales
Year Level Leader – 9/10Emma Winton
VSL CoordinatorRohan Bramley
AV CoordinatorLucy Bonham
Peer Observation/QTRShane Woon
Literacy CoordinatorNatalie Faulkner
NT/ Respectful Relationships Sara Villiers
Course ConfirmationEmma Winton
Staff WellbeingLeanne Ansalde
Student LeadershipMichael Bird
Casey Tech School ChampionEmma Winton/Anna Gonzales
Tutoring ProgramRamesh Mahalingham
SRC LiaisonJulie Ward
Director of CurriculumAngus Clarke
Director of VCE and PathwaysKatherine Warriner
Director of Years 9/10Rian Labrooy
Director of WellbeingFiona De Zylva
Director of Digital DevelopmentStuart Fankhauser
Director of Operations & Compliance Amanda Graystone

COVID Restrictions

Masks are required to be carried by all Nossal students and adults and must be worn inside and where social distancing is not possible. Teachers may remove them when teaching to improve communication, and they may be removed for eating and drinking. During hot weather, mask breaks are encouraged. The only exceptions for the mask rules are for those with an approved medical exemption. It is the responsibility of every student to ensure that they bring a mask from home every day. While the school has a limited supply of masks for use in an emergency (e.g. if a student's mask breaks/tears during the day), these are not for general use.

 

Sanitising, hand washing, caution around high touch areas and designated circulation directions to avoid congestion are still the main lines of defence, and of course anyone with any symptoms, or who believes they may have been exposed to the virus, must get tested and isolate until the all-clear has been received.

 

Most school-based activities have resumed with some limits on numbers and mixing, and visitors are permitted back into schools, but must register at the office to enable contact tracing.

 

NOTE: Re Federation University

Nossal students have been welcome to use the university facilities in the past, but their COVID restrictions do not currently permit visitors. I ask that students not enter the university buildings at all until further notice.

Carpooling and Private Bus Hire Options

The government and transport authorities do not provide dedicated school bus services to schools anymore, preferring to utilise the public bus networks. Even when they did do so, Nossal was not eligible as we are not a neighbourhood school and we are in close proximity to the railway station. The school is unable to facilitate a bus service, but in the past groups of parents have explored the option of privately contracting a bus and driver to service Nossal via the most "in demand" suburbs. This proved to be quite expensive, and required 100% capacity for each and every trip. For this reason, the plan was never implemented.

 

One of our parents, Mark (Udaya Seneviratne), has set up a private Facebook group to explore this option again and would be pleased for interested parents to join with him via the following link.

fb.com/groups/NossalParents

The dedicated email address for the Facebook Group is 

fbgmod3806@gmail.com

The PFA also have a number of parents interested in making arrangements to carpool from various areas, and this has been operating quite successfully for many families.

Nossal Parents and Friends Association

It was wonderful to see a large number of new parents attending our first PFA meeting on February 3 (the first Wednesday of the month), and I encourage all parents to consider joining them at any of their monthly meetings or events and activities throughout the year. They are a delightful group who provide great support to the school while socialising and getting to know other parents. The next meeting (on March 3) will be their Annual General meeting, where nominations for positions will be sought. Please see the attached information sheet and nomination form, and join us next month.

 

Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of the month from 7.00pm in the Jean Russell Centre (above the school office) – all welcome.

 
 
 

PFA Event

The PFA have booked a place at Bunnings in Fountain Gate on March 6 to run the sausage sizzle to raise funds for the school and would welcome some additional assistance on the day and in the lead up. An email to the school's email address (nossal.hs@education.vic.gov.au) can be forwarded to the current President should you wish to make contact.

School Council Parent Nominations

School Council is the peak decision-making body of the school and is made up of teachers, parents, students, and community members. 

We are calling for parent nominations to fill 4 parent member vacancies for the new School Council this year. Please refer to the attached information sheet for more general details abut the role and functions of School Council, and make use of the nomination details elsewhere in this newsletter, or collect a nomination form from the general office.

 

VCE Results 2020

I congratulate the Class of 2020 for their excellent VCE results last year. In spite of the challenges of remote learning and the COVID restrictions, Nossal students performed at very high levels and achieved some of our best ever VCE results. 

 

These results are testament to the hard work and dedication of our students, their families, and their teachers. Our long-term work with Digital Delivery Days and online learning prepared us very well for many of the challenges of remote learning, and our staff and students were able to manage the demands of the sudden lockdowns with minimal interruption to the curriculum delivery. 

 

We will celebrate the collective and individual success at our annual High Achievers Assembly in March, but in case you were not aware of the outcomes a brief summary follows. 

  • ATARs of 90+                     56%
  • Median ATAR                    92.3.
  • ATARs over 99                  16
  • Study Scores Mean        35.4
  • Study Scores 40+            26%
  • No. of 50s                           17*
  • No. of 50s by Yr 11s        9
2020 Dux: Hasna Kazi 
(ATAR = 99.95**)  

*50 is the maximum study score awarded in any subject

**99.95 is the highest possible rank in the VCE. Only 38 students (out of over 50,000) achieved this. Hasna was one of just 6 females to do so.

 

University entry figures were similarly impressive with all students receiving an offer, most for their first or second preference.

 

I commend and thank Ms Jacques and Ms Warriner in particular for the significant additional workload they carried throughout late December and early January due to the late release of results and university offers. In a year where they really deserved a break, their holidays were severely truncated.

 

Unit 1 & 2 completion certificates will be distributed directly to students later this week.

Tutoring Program

You may be aware that the Victorian Government has committed substantial funding to enable each school to employ tutors to work directly with students who may have fallen behind or been disadvantaged by the lockdowns and disrupted learning in 2020. We have different needs than most schools, and will be tailoring a program to maximise the benefit to as many of our students as possible. In the short term we have employed Ms Kat Webster to work with Mr Ramesh Mahalingham during Term 1 to develop a broad and targeted program that we will roll out during terms two and three.

Mobile Phone Policy

A reminder to parents and students that we are still required to adhere to the Mobile Phone bans. Students must leave their phones switched off and in their lockers between 8.48 am and the end of the school day. The only exceptions are when a teacher has sought a special exemption for a specific classroom activity where a phone is required to be used as part of the curriculum program. Phones will be confiscated on sight and held at the office, and parents contacted should there be a repeat offence.

School Tours: For Parents and Prospective Parents

As we were unable to run school tours for most of 2020, many of you will not have had an opportunity to see the school in action and I would encourage you to join me for a tour to do so. It will greatly enhance your understanding of our unique environment, the school culture, and the adult learning environment that we cultivate. You will be able to see the students working, observe the teachers and speak with some of the students about their experiences at Nossal. There is also an online version of the tour on our website, but the real thing is more illuminating and interactive of course.

 

Dates will be published on the school website and tour bookings can be made online (https://www.trybooking.com/XKVK)or by ringing the Nossal office.

Testing Dates: 2022 Entry

Applications for the vacancy testing to fill places in Years 10 and 11 (to take place on June 9 at Nossal) or for Year 9 entry (to take place on June 19 and 20 at the Melbourne Showgrounds) are now ope. Registration details are on the school website, which can be accessed by following the link below:

Orientation Day and Foundation Assembly

We held a belated Year 9 Orientation day on January 28. For most Year 9 parents and students, this was their first time at the school and the first time for us to meet with them. I was gratified to see so many parents in attendance. It was wonderful to meet some of you, and I look forward to strengthening the relationship further during the next four years. 

 

The Foundation Assembly followed on January 29 and was sadly COVID limited so that we were unable to accommodate parents and had to significantly limit the number of guests in attendance. We were (as always) pleased that Sir Gus could join us to meet the new students and their Year 12 mentors, and to share some words of wisdom with us. We thank him for his time, and his enthusiastic commitment to signing endless autographs and posing for selfies with the students afterwards.

 

Our student AV team have filmed the event and we will shortly provide a link, so parents are able to witness some of what occurred. I’m afraid the sound quality was affected by the heavy downpour of rain on the roof, which made the AV team's work a little challenging. Despite this, they have been able to capture a sense of the formality of the occasion.

 

I was very surprised, humbled, and greatly honoured when the Berwick Rotary Club presented me with a prestigious Paul Harris Fellowship at the end of the assembly. We enjoy a great partnership with the Rotarians, and they have been wonderful supporters of the school since our foundation and are excellent role models for our students. Apparently, they had been colluding with members of Nossal staff for some months, but were unable to make the presentation last year due to the COVID restrictions. I was very shocked and totally blindsided. I sincerely thank them for the very kind words and generous gesture, and of course for their ongoing support and assistance.

iWeek

Year 9 students have now completed their induction week (known as iWeek) and have begun normal classes, although there will be some disruptions this week due to the Year 10 Camp. This camp would not normally take place, but is a replacement for the Year 9 Camp that the 2020 cohort missed. Once our current Year 9s (the Class of 2024) have completed their own camp experience, I am sure they will agree that giving the Class of 2023 a chance to take part in a similar event was worth some minor inconvenience.

 

I would like thank the staff involved in the induction program specifically. The Year 9 cohort already seem well settled into the school and appear happy, positive, and very engaged. I was gratified to hear very affirming feedback from some new parents at the PFA meeting last week, and happy to hear that their children were enjoying the experience to date and were very positive about coming to school each day. If you have any concerns about how your child may be settling in, or have any questions that you need to clarify before the Meet and Greet Night, please contact myself, the Tutorial teacher or House Leader for advice, assistance, or information.

Nossal Activities and Events – A Request for Parents.

We have quite a number of additional activities and events taking place during Term 1. Some of these will replace normal classes and some will occur within classes as part of the program. Every event or activity that we run at Nossal has been carefully considered (particularly if it requires changes to classes) and they all contribute to the total school program. We would not be running them if we did not think that there was significant educational, social or wellbeing benefit for our students, and contrary to some commonly held misconceptions they require additional work and commitment from staff and can be quite costly to run. For all of these reasons, we do not offer them lightly. 

 

I am always disappointed when a small number of students decide not to attend such events, which may include sports or House events, excursions and wellbeing days, for example. More disappointing is the fact that in some cases they manage to convince their parents to give them permission for this, or suggest to their parents that the activity is “optional.” Can I ask all parents (and students) to not do this? If we have arranged such an event, it is not optional. It is offered because we believe there is significant benefit for our students in doing it. If there are times students are officially not required to attend school (Pupil Free days, report writing days, parent teacher interviews, Digital Delivery Days etc), you will be formally advised of this well in advance. There is no such thing as “My normal classes won’t be running today so I don’t have to attend, and I can stay home and study.” Please support us in this and do not permit this to occur. If you are unsure, please ring or email the school or me, and we will clarify the situation for you. The House Swimming Carnival takes place on February 26 and I hope to see 100% attendance and participation on the day. Parents are also welcome to join us at the Doveton Pool.

Canteen

We have a new canteen run by The Mobile Catering Company, who are very keen to improve and grow the services they offer us. I encourage staff and students to patronise them; the menus are quite comprehensive (see attached file below), the food is freshly prepared by them, and both of their staff are qualified chefs who are happy to make individual adjustments or prepare special requests. They are still getting settled in and will be seeking feedback and input from the school and the students to ensure that they are delivering the best possible service to us. 

 

Congratulations to....

 

...Nalini Jacob-roussety of Year 12 

who was runner up for the very prestigious Melbourne University John Button School Prize late last year. Her essay will soon be published on their website and the Deputy Director of the School of Government had this to say:

 

Dear Nalini 
 
2020 JOHN BUTTON SCHOOL PRIZE 
 
On behalf of the Melbourne School of Government and the Button Fund I am writing to congratulate you as the first runner up of the 2020 John Button School Prize. Your essay, “Don't Let the Bed bugs Bite: Tackling fatigue in the Australian workplace” was chosen by the judging committee who made the following comments:
 
This essay draws on a diverse range of credible evidence to address an often-overlooked issue. This is unexpected and quite original. The analysis effectively incorporated discussion of the relevance and impact of the COVID pandemic. The policy recommendations are high level but could be more specific. The essay is very coherently written and very engaging to read. The student also displayed a good sense of humour.

...Lily Vo (Class of 2020), 

who was selected to be a National 2020 Olympic Change Maker and attended a three-day summit with other dynamic young leaders to make recommendations to the Australian Olympic Committee around sustainability, diversity, equality, regional impact, and community spirit. The CEO of the AOC has written to me to praise her input and leadership and the positive representation for Nossal High School. He will take their recommendations to the AOC to inform their planning for the Olympic movement over the next decade.

Alumni Request

The alumni are currently running a number of focus groups so they can revitalise their organisation and best respond to the needs of current and future Old Nossalonians. They are seeking input and advice from students, staff, and parents, and are very keen to speak with you. I hope that some of you may be able to assist them. Details of their program are available below:

 

Dear Parents and Friends of Nossal High School,
 
We are writing to inform you of the Nossal High School Alumni’s recent revamp! As part of this process we are in the final stages of drafting the new organisation’s constitution which we hope to have approved by the Alumni at our inaugural General Meeting in late March. This document outlines and determines the foundations of the organisation and will underpin it’s focus, processes and structure for decades to come.
 
 In order to ensure these foundations are strong, and in alignment with our community, we are seeking the feedback and insights from the parents and friends of Nossal High School. We hope that by extending our hand to you, in this critical period for our organisation, we will begin a strong, co-creative and impactful relationship with you all. Please register here.
 
Throughout the month of February we will be hosting four critical stakeholder focus groups with Nossal High School students, staff, the PFA and the alumni themselves. We are looking for roughly 20 members of the PFA to join us on Wednesday the 24th of February from 5:00-6:30pm for a facilitated discussion, food and drinks. 
 
We can’t do this without you, and wouldn’t want to either. We hope to see many of your kind faces on the 24th and many more in the exciting months ahead.
 
Yours sincerely,
The Old Nossalonians Association 

School Privacy Statement

Finally, I offer our annual reminder that the school collects, uses, discloses, and stores student and parent personal information for standard school functions or where permitted by law, as stated in the Schools’ Privacy Policy.

Please take time to remind yourself of the school’s collection statement, found on our website (https://www.nossalhs.vic.edu.au/policy-privacy/)

 

For more information about privacy, refer to: Schools’ privacy policy: information for parents (education.vic.gov.au) This information is also available in nine community languages:

  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • Dari
  • Mandarin
  • Somali
  • Sudanese
  • Turkish
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese.

Regards,

Roger Page