Welcome back for term three, I hope your winter term-break was a positive one.
We have had a great start across the first four weeks of term, notwithstanding the winter-related illnesses moving through the community. Thank you for your support and understanding as we manage staff absences.
Leading across Gippsland
We continue to keep student learning at the forefront of our improvement focus. One of our key strategies is a collaborative-based approach to teacher work, known as Professional Learning Teams (PLTs). Using best-practice approaches, we are now recognised by the Department of Education as a PLT “Link School”, where we connect with and support a number of other Gippsland schools to improve their teaching practice. We received overwhelming positive feedback from senior Department of Education executives who visited our college in Week 1, and since then we have been pleased to be able to host visiting teachers from a number of other schools, so they can observe our work. I must congratulate our staff collectively for the way in which they have engaged with research, trialed new approaches, been open to external observations, and reflected on their teaching as they closely monitor the impact on student learning. The fruits of this recent work, together with much of our foundational work over the past three years, is continuing to emerge in our students’ learning.
Last week we received our preliminary NAPLAN results for this year. Full results are released later in the year, but from the initial school reports we can see both our literacy and numeracy results continue to improve. In fact, we have improved results in every area, including reading, spelling, grammar, punctuation and numeracy. Acknowledging the hard work of our students, staff and tutors, and building on previous years, we have the best numeracy results in 15 years (based on increasingly fewer Year 9 students in the bottom two bands of NAPLAN).
Extending our strong focus on teaching and learning outcomes, we are excited to have partnered with Newborough East Primary School to collaborate on numeracy approaches, and with Churchill Primary School on their state-leading literacy approaches. We believe working together with our primary school colleagues is a great way to build shared practice and learn from each others’ strengths.
I would like to welcome Brendan Dawson to our broader Moe/Newborough community, as the new Acting Principal at South Street Primary School. Brendan was previously principal at Willow Grove Primary School, and is currently the substantive principal at Glengarry Primary School. I have known Brendan professionally for a number of years; he has a great track-record of improving student learning, and I am confident he will make a significant positive contribution to South Street!
Course and Elective Selections
Term three brings a focus on course selection, and I would like to thank both our Senior School Leader, Nicole Taylor, and our Year 10 parents, for the great Senior School Information Evening last week. We’re excited about the introduction of the new VCE – the merging of the old VCE and VCAL certificates into one, equal approach. All students from Years 7 to 11 will be engaged with a subject selection process in the coming weeks, with more information to be disseminated via our Mini-Schools.
Due to a range of positive factors, enrolments in our college continue to grow. Over the past three years we have increased from 160, to 170, to 184 Year 7s coming in. Our current numbers are sitting at 210 next year, which means we’ll have nine Year 7 form groups. Due to the physical capacity of our college (number of classrooms), we may have to cap our numbers for 2023 shortly, so we strongly encourage any
families who have not yet enrolled (or secured a place through their primary school process) to contact our college.
Despite the growth in our college, our Home Group structures, our Year Level approach and our Mini-School model means each student will be supported by their own key staff, both from an academic and pastoral perspective.