Principal's Report

Dear students, parents, staff and our community, 


As the 2020 school year draws to a close this week, I am incredibly proud of the resilience and determination that has been shown, as we have navigated this year. Never before in the history of education in our state have we shifted a whole system to learning from home (let alone twice), and often with little notice and short time frames to prepare. On many occasions staff and parents were put under significant pressure to adapt quickly to new circumstances, and our students taken from their familiarity of school routine and their peers. 


Despite the challenges, the thing that has struck me most this year is how as a community we have pulled together, and shown a level of empathy, compassion and understanding for each other as we have navigated this year. This year has been far from normal, however, the shared acknowledgment that we have all worked to do the best we can has been a strength of our community. For this and your ongoing support, I thank you. 


Remarkably, through the dedication of our staff and willingness of our students, we have continued to drive improvement at our college. I arrived at Lowanna College two years ago, with a clear determination to support our staff and students to be the best they can be. Collectively, we continue to rise to this challenge. 


Thank you

There are so many people to acknowledge and thank, but I would like to particularly thank our Mini-School Leaders, who are integral drivers of our work across the college on a daily basis. These incredible leaders – Ms. Nicole Taylor (Junior School), Mr. Darren Mitchell (Middle School) and Mr. Justin Rea (Senior School), together with their teams and supported by Mr. Trevor Cox, are at the forefront of student support and maintaining a positive student climate across our college. They work tirelessly with such dedication and commitment, and this year more than ever, their support for our students has been needed. I would also like to thank Kristy Bannister and her passionate team of Education Support staff, who have supported our students with additional needs, and went to lengths to keep in regular contact with students and families throughout the challenges of this year. Finally, thank you to our Wellbeing Team, led by Ms. Donna Perkins this year, for the work in ensuring students were well supported with all of the ups and downs we’ve experienced. 

Literacy and Numeracy

At the start of this year we launched our Literacy Enrichment Program, on the emerging success of our Numeracy Enrichment Program commenced late last year. Through targeted teaching via our new Fountas & Pinnell system, we have seen significant growth in reading for over 100 of our junior students, closing gaps and providing a solid foundation for their future years of education. We have provided an intensive range of numeracy support to students across Years 7 to 10, achieving our best high growth results in over a decade. I would like to thank our respective teams for their incredible work – in literacy, Ms. Phoebe Richardson, Ms. Bree Anderson, Ms. Julie Reeves, Ms. Sarah Lyne, Ms. Elyse Rowlings, Ms. Emma Arthur, Ms. Kiara Dunn, Ms. Lauren Edwards, Ms. Belinda Ludlow, and all our classroom teachers. Likewise, in numeracy – Mr. Daniel Board, Ms. Grace Matthews, Ms. Grace Wilson, Ms. Kirsty Speirs, Ms. Fiona Milkins and our many classroom teachers. We are humbled to have been recognised by the Department of Education and Training for outstanding practice in this area, and we are excited to build on and expand this work next year. 

Advance to University

We launched our new Advance to University program in strong partnership with Federation University, and it was wonderful to see how excited our students were last fortnight as they had their first two weeks of their new university subjects (as part of Headstart). In our first year of this new program we have Year 12 students studying university subjects in Nursing, Engineering, ICT, Education and Business. We are grateful to Carmelina Manzo, Stuart Levy, Leigh Kennedy and the whole team at Federation University for their support, and I would like to thank Ms. Kirsty Mitchell in our Careers Team for the significant work setting up the logistics of the program for our students. 


VCE and VCAL Outcomes

This year was a difficult one for our senior students, but they were up for the challenge. As part of our ongoing improvement agenda, our Senior Team introduced a number of reforms to our VCE program, including an increased focus on exam preparation, funding support for students to access VCE revision lectures, and increased expectation regarding study commitment throughout the year. Our Year 12 VCE students have done a remarkable job, and I am confident these endeavours will have a positive impact on the results for our students next fortnight, creating greater pathway opportunities for their future. Thank you to Mr. Justin Rea and his team, backed by Mr. Trevor Cox and Ms. Fiona Milkins, for their support in driving this work. I would also like to make special mention of our VCAL students, and Ms. Sarah Giessler for her tireless work in supporting our students. VCAL is intended as an applied learning certificate, however, remote learning made this difficult and the tasks more theoretical – Ms. Giessler did an outstanding job working creatively to engage our students and continuing to provide significant support all year. 

Facilities and Grounds

It is pleasing to have recently heard so many comments about how good our college is looking. There is perhaps no coincidence – this year we took the opportunity to refresh and refurbish many of our spaces while students were away. In the last 12 months we have repainted dozens of rooms and hallways, replaced carpet in many areas, added new signage across the college, added modern rubbish and recycling bins, installed new branded drinking fountains, new basketball boards and nets, upgraded gardens and invested in new lockers and furniture. Over the summer break we are refreshing our entire Science and Art wing with new paint to complement the recent flooring upgrade, and undertaking a complete redesign of our Technology (woodwork) learning space. A huge thank you to Mr. Matt Robinson, Ms. Angela Skinner and our Communications Team for their passion, commitment and determination to ensure our students have the best available facilities and environment to learn in. Thank you to our incredible team of maintenance staff, who bring this all to life through their daily work (with remarkable attention to detail) – Mr. Rennie Vella, Mr. Mick Burnett and Mr. Allan Burkett. With much thanks to our administration and finance team we are in a strong financial position, allowing us to continue to grow and invest in our college, to support our students’ learning. 


ICT and Systems

Of course, we wouldn’t have survived this year without the provision of ICT to enable learning to continue at home. Our laptop program continues to grow, with approximately 100% of our Year 8s with a consistent laptop device, and already over 90% of our incoming Year 7s equipped with our consistent, school-ready laptop. Thank you to Mr. Matt Robinson and his IT team for their work. In addition to our systems, infrastructure and new laptop program, this year we were pleased to be able to loan over 100 laptop devices to students who needed support to learn from home, together with dozens of internet-dongle loans to ensure all students were able to connect online. 


Staffing Update

As the year concludes, this year we farewell a number of staff who are either retiring or moving on to other ventures. Farewell and thank you to Ms. Sumita Mathews, Mr. Taneon Jones, Mr. Matt Mackay, Ms. Donna Morris, Ms. Elizabeth Robinson, Ms. Nova Doherty, Ms. Annette Young, Mr. Caleb Michie, Ms. Denise Rudy, Ms. Jenny Stephens and Ms. Sharyn Denning. Thank you for your contribution to our college, and we wish you all the best. 


As our college grows, we welcome a range of new staff for next year:

  • Ms. Kylie Lambert (Science Leader, Leading Teacher)
  • Mr. Jason Sands (Science Teacher)
  • Mr. William McInnes (Science Teacher)
  • Mr. Brandon Goses (Maths/IT Teacher)
  • Ms. Monica Planko (Maths/Humanities Teacher)
  • Mr. Daniel Wilson (English Teacher)
  • Mr. Daniel Weichman (English/Humanities Teacher)
  • Mr. Paul Fry (Wellbeing Leader)
  • Mr. Riley Baldi (Student Support – Junior School)
  • Ms. Liz Humphrey (Food Technology Assistant)

In 2021, our Assistant Principals are Ms. Belinda Ludlow, Mr. Michael Lakeman and Ms. Fiona Milkins, who will drive strategic improvement in various portfolios across the college. 


Our Junior School will be led by Ms. Nicole Taylor. Our Year 7 Coordinator is Mr. Joe Licciardello, our Year 8 Coordinator is Ms. Hannah Keegan, our Student Support Officer is Mr. Riley Baldi, and our Junior School Administrator is Ms. Tammie Percivall.


Our Middle School will be led by Mr. Darren Mitchell. Our Year 9 Coordinator is Mr. Phil Berends, our Year 10 Coordinator is Ms. Kerrie Logan, our Student Support Officer is Ms. Anna Hirchfield, and our Middle School Administrator is Ms. Andrea Coad. 


Our Senior School will be led by Mr. Trevor Cox. Our VCE Coordinator is Mr. Norm Trewin, our VCAL Coordinator is Ms. Sarah Giessler, our Student Support Officer is Ms. Shelby Wulffers, and our Senior School Administrator is Ms. Julie Jeffrey. 


Our 2021 Learning Team Leaders (Learning Specialists) are: Ms. Emma Arthur (English), Ms. Elyse Rowlings (English), Ms. Lauren Edwards (Humanities/Languages), Ms. Kirsty Speirs (Mathematics), Ms. Kylie Lambert (Science), Ms. Kristy Bannister (Technology), Mr. David Williams (The Arts) and Mr. Allan Chandler (Health and PE). 

Thank you

Our college continues to grow, as we welcome eight form groups of new Year 7s next year. It continues to be an exciting time at Lowanna College, as we look forward to stepping into our new 2021-2024 Strategic Plan. Thank you to our students, parents and staff who contributed to the establishment of our values this term – Respect, Integrity, Determination, Growth and Excellence. While the values are new, it is evident many of our staff and students are already living them, as shown through their effort this year. As I conclude for 2020, a huge thank you to all of our dedicated teaching staff, our education support staff, and our administrative and operational staff for their work this year. 


Finally, to our students and families – well done, and thank you. Have a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and a well-deserved break over summer. As I said to all of our students at our recent year level award ceremonies, try and take some time to disconnect from technology, and reconnect with family, friends and the environment over the break. I look forward to seeing you all back bright and fresh for 2021!


Adam Hogan

College Principal