Moving Right Along
It has become a commonplace to talk about the way in which the quarantine period has felt endless, and how this had made 2020 feel like a year in stasis. Our lives have been full of postponements, and time seems to be dragging as the days replicate themselves within the confines of our homes. Progress can be hard to see. It's important to take note of the many deeds which, despite the constraints that exist, have been done by our students and their teachers.
As you read the rest of this newsletter, you will see how our Environment and Sustainability Team (NEST) has not let the difficulties of 2020 stop them from working towards a better future for our planet. Our Year 10 Design students have used an online gaming environment to explore architectural design, and our Health and PE staff have led the way in getting Nossalonians moving to the beat with their focus on dance as a fitness tool. As the term has progressed we have celebrated Book Week with multiple presentations from visiting authors, and Science week with a host of engaging online activities.
Our science students have once again shown their ambition and ability through their participation in the various Science Olympiads and members of our senior French class have put themselves to the test through their involvement in the annual language competition run by the Alliance Francais. Indeed, two students (Joel Whitcher and Andrea Thaithong) progressed through to the State Finals in that competition. Our debaters have once again been extremely active in the Debating Association of Victoria's online competition, and the B-grade debating team made it through to the finals for their division. We are looking forward to hearing the outcomes of these students, but we are already very proud of them for their persistence and drive.
Meanwhile, the ordinary life of the school has been going on. Our Year 9 students have been working hard on a project in which they explore an aspect of the City of Melbourne. This long term research project, which requires them to define their own question, identify their own data sources and present their own conclusions in an engaging way, is emblematic of the type of independent learning which we hold up as an ideal at Nossal. While they have been confronting the challenge of a truly open question, our Year 12 students have had their own "big question" to confront - they have registered with VTAC, the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre, and started firming up their plans for the transition out of Nossal and into the university sector.
As the term draws to a close, and parents and students alike use the opportunity of their conversations about the Term 3 reports and the Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences to reflect on the year so far, I encourage all of you to take pride in the very real achievements of this term. Some of those achievements are academic, while some are in the realm of personal learning. Whether they were part of an assessment task or not, these achievements are very real and ought to be celebrated. I commend students, staff and parents for their persistence, their diligence and their commitment to the ideals of maintaining within Nossal an environment in which each individual is proud to be a learner, even when the learning is uncomfortable and progress is hard to see. An author once wrote that "[t]he path to wisdom does, in fact, begin with a single step. Where people go wrong is in ignoring all the thousands of other steps that come after it." Well done for taking the thousands of steps through this term. I hope that you can rest on your laurels (and away from your screens!) over the holiday break.
Term 4 Arrangements
At the time of writing, the school has just received a new Operations Guide from the Department of Education and Training to support the announcements made by Premier Dan Andrews about the new 'road map' on Sunday 6 September. The guide will provide us with the detailed expectations of the DET in relation to our return to school at the start of Term 4. As usual, we will communicate these expectations to parents (via Compass) and to students (via Teams) as soon as we are clear on how we are being asked to proceed.
Please watch for an important update later this week through the Compass portal.