From the Principal Class Team
Dear Parents and Guardians
Welcome back to Term 3. Whilst it certainly has not been the start we were hoping for, it was lovely to have everyone back from most of the first week. And hopefully, we will have some good news this week about a return to onsite schooling.
Like everyone else, we are becoming used to postponing or adapting events in line with the requirements and challenges of lockdown – an important skill and mindset to have at any time, but particularly in the current circumstances. At the same time, we appreciate how deflating this is for our students and staff, especially when so much time and energy have been invested in planning for these events. The MAC 50 Years celebration, the Year 10 Parent Information evening and this week’s Curriculum Day and Year 10 Course Counselling are just a few of many examples.
But what is evident throughout this is the commitment of all of our teaching and education support staff to ensure that, in spite of these challenges, our students do not miss out on the opportunities and support they need and deserve to be successful. They have worked tirelessly to provide a quality teaching and learning program (we know that many of you have seen first-hand evidence of this each day in your own homes!) and to maintain continuity in the extra curricular and wellbeing programs.
Remote learning and working is very tough on everyone in different ways. We are extremely proud of the combined efforts of our staff, students and families in making this as successful as possible.
A special welcome….
To the new members of staff who have joined St Albans Secondary College this term:
Jaquim (Jake) Duggan is taking Rosemary Sirianni’s English classes. It is wonderful to welcome Jake back as a former student. Tina Phan, also a former student, joins the Office team as a receptionist and first aid officer, and Leanne Stelle is the new Sub School Assistant in the Senior Sub School office.
We wish each of them all the very best for their time at St Albans. We also welcome back Cameron Beale and Lizzy Fitzgerald from leave.
2021 Parent/Caregiver/Guardian Opinion Survey
Our school is conducting the annual Parent/Caregiver/Guardian Opinion Survey offered by the Department of Education and Training (previously known as the Parent Opinion Survey). We want to know what parents/caregivers/guardians think of our school. The survey is designed to assist schools in gaining an understanding of families’ perceptions of school climate, student behaviour, student engagement, and experiences of remote and flexible learning. Our school will use the survey results to help inform and direct future school planning and improvement strategies.
We invite all families to participate in this year’s survey. All responses to the survey are anonymous. The 2021 Survey is open from now until Friday 3 September. All parents have been sent a link to complete the survey. Although not compulsory, the more parents who respond the better.
The survey is being conducted online, only takes 20 minutes to complete, and can be accessed online at any convenient time up until 22 August. The survey is available in a range of languages other than English. These include: Arabic, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Chin (Hakha), Hindi, Japanese, Somali, Turkish, Punjabi and Greek. You can find the translated survey information on the Compass post titled Parent Opinion Survey.
The survey results will be communicated to parents/caregivers/guardians through annual reporting, to School Council, and via the newsletter. Last year we had an increase in parent uptake and we are hoping that this will be increased again this year. We use the information to enable us to better support students and families, and to ensure that the parent perspective is reflected in our planning for 2022. Please speak to your child’s Year Level Coordinator if you would like more information.
Course Counselling and Year 10 Parent Information sessions
Despite the recent lockdown, Course Counselling for Year 11 moving into Year 12 and Year 10 moving into Year 11 for 2022 was able to take place over the past two weeks. This included Year 10 pre course selection information sessions run remotely by our Careers/Pathways Team with the support of the Year 10 teaching staff. During these sessions and interviews, students received information to assist them make informed decisions about subjects they should study aligned with their interests, course and career aspirations.
The Year 10 Parent Information sessions for VCAL and VCE ran on Tuesday 20 July also by being moved to an online live format. These sessions provided an overview of the subject selection process and the opportunity for parents and students to ask questions. The frequently asked question document circulated prior to the event further streamlined the questions asked and provides a great reference for students and parents as they work through the course selection process.
It is a credit to the Careers/Pathways, Middle and Senior School Teams that changes to the implementation of these programs could occur seamlessly in this rapidly changing environment, particularly with the uncertainty about when we would be onsite. The intensive work this involves is done with passion and integrity by all staff who support and assist students to make these decisions, in the knowledge they will have the support of all those at the school to achieve success.
At this stage, we have successfully completed the Year 10 and 11 interviews with individual students. Any student who was unable to attend their interview can reschedule by contacting the Careers Office or speaking with their Year Level Coordinator.
The Course Counselling interview sessions for Year 9 moving into Year 10 will be held on Tuesday 3 August. Year 9 are required to attend for their interview time only, and there are no scheduled Year 9 classes on this day. Should lockdown be extended, these interviews will go to an online format and students will be provided with instructions.
We wish all our students well with selecting their courses and thank all the staff and parents involved for their support in this process.
Semester 1 Reports
Semester One reports for Years 7 to 11 and progress reports for Year 12 VCAL and VCE Unit 3 subjects are now available on Compass. Year Level Coordinators will be contacting parents directly where there are concerns about progress.
Please discuss these reports with your children, with a focus on how to improve in Semester 2.
If you have any questions relating to these reports, please contact your child’s Year Level Coordinator.
This year NAIDOC Week was celebrated across the country on the 4-11 of July. As this was during school holidays our school held our NAIDOC week celebrations during the first week of Term 3. The Theme of this year’s NAIDOC Week was: Heal Country. “Heal Country! – calls for stronger measures to recognise, protect, and maintain all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage.”
This year at the College we shared the themes and messages of NAIDOC week to students. We opened the week with an official Welcome to Country ceremony with local Wurundjeri Elder Julianne Axeford. She shared with us information about her history and the culture and the traditions of the Wurundjeri people. We also were very fortunate to have a dance performance and workshop at the College conducted by Djirri Djirri – a Wurundjeri women’s dance group. They led a workshop and performed Wurundjeri dances and songs.
It was wonderful to see so many students and teachers get involved in what was a great week of celebration and learning about our nation’s first people.
And finally …..
More than ever, over the last year we have seen the importance of schools as places of connection and protection within their communities. They have been at the forefront of maintaining a sense of community in times of separation, and of providing essential wellbeing support.
This term our CPR theme is: Everyone belongs.
At our school, we believe that everyone should feel connected, protected and respected every day. We also want everyone to feel that St Albans Secondary College is their school. This means feeling proud of your school, your achievements, and also the achievements of others.
To continue to ensure our school is one where everyone feels like they belong, stop and take a moment to consider the role we all have to play.
So what can you do?
- Try to foster positive relationships with other students and staff. People won’t always remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel. For example:
- Support someone to feel included, make them feel part of the group.
- Smile and cultivate positive experiences for others. It feels nice to be around people who have an optimistic outlook.
- Show interest in others and what is happening in their world.
- Treat others with kindness.
- Practice GEM (gratitude, empathy and mindfulness) – check out your diary for more information about this.
- Be an Upstander! Say no to discrimination and challenge bullying. For support, always see your coordinator, a teacher or a member of wellbeing.
- If you are having a problem or are not feeling great, talk it out. Your coordinator and the Wellbeing Team are always available to help.
No matter what, remember YOU ARE AMAZING!