From the Principal Class Team
Dear Parents and Guardians
I hope the 2022 school year has started well for you and for your children. There is a very positive and calm atmosphere throughout the school. Our focus has been on settling students back into routine of face to face learning; ensuring that they are aware of the College’s expectations of them as learners and members of the community, and that they are supported to feel connected, protected and respected. And, of course, engaging them in their learning.
A very warm welcome to our new Year 7 students and families, and to the students in Years 8 to 12 who are joining St Albans Secondary College for the first time in 2022. We hope your time at our school is enjoyable and successful.
John Coulson, Assistant Principal for the Junior School, and I visited each Year 7 class over the last couple of weeks. We wanted to welcome them to the school more personally, and to answer any questions or concerns they have about their new school. By all accounts, they are settling in very well.
We also welcome 11 new teaching and 4 Education Support staff this year. Tung Ngo joins the Maths department and Jenny Luong is teaching Maths and Science. Angus Adams and Taylor Decker are commencing as Commerce and Commerce/Humanities teachers; and Stella Dong joins the Arts team, specialising in Visual Communication and Design. Ashleigh Huisman is teaching English, as is Graham Preston who will also lead our whole school Literacy strategy. Annemarie Papaleo joins the Middle Year Literacy and Numeracy (MYLNS) team as a Literacy Improvement Teacher, and Heba Shone has been appointed to an English position. Daniela Karner commences as a Food Studies and Textiles teacher, and Meyrem Ogutveren is teaching piano as part of our Instrumental Music program. The following staff have joined the Education Support staff team: Tracy Alexopoulos as the administrative assistant in the Senior Sub School office; Nicola Le’Toille will head up our Individual Needs program; and Myers Nguyen is a numeracy tutor in the Tutor Learning Initiative program.
We wish each of these new members of the staff team all the very best for what we hope is a really rewarding time in your careers.
We have a number of staff on short term leave this term, and want to extend our best wishes to them, and sincere thanks to the replacement teachers who are taking their classes for these few weeks.
Further Improving Teaching & Learning at SASC – Our Strategic Direction for 2022
We are now in our third year of our Strategic Plan 2020 – 2023. As such, the focus of our work is very much on deepening our knowledge and practice in each of the key strategic areas:
Differentiation – further developing the knowledge and skills of our teachers to meet each student’s learning needs by designing differentiated curriculum, assessment and teaching approaches.
Literacy – continuing to implement our whole School Literacy plan to strengthen each child’s reading, writing and speaking skills in all subject areas.
Numeracy – introducing our whole School Numeracy plan to promote an awareness of the numeracy skills required in all subject areas, and a common language for teaching them.
Effort & Goal Setting – supporting students to set SMART goals in order to increase their motivation and effort in their learning. Students have seen the value of focusing on the effort they apply to their learning and having structured time to reflect on the impact of effort. From early next week, your child’s Term 2 effort goals will be available on the Insights tab on their Compass homepage (see below for more detailed information).
Connect Protect Respect – building the resilience of students through using the language and strategies of resilient mind sets; and focusing especially on improving the learning experiences of girls.
As well as these priorities, all secondary schools are planning for the introduction of the new Senior Secondary Certificate. From 2023, VCE and VCAL will become part of this certificate, with the Vocational Major replacing Intermediate and Senior VCAL.
Detailed information on these changes will be provided to students and parents as soon as it becomes available.
Regional Director Visit
Chris Thompson, Regional Director for the South West Victorian Region of the Department of Education, has requested a visit to our school on Thursday 3 March. He has indicated his interest in learning about the work being done by our staff, students and parents to support high quality learning and teaching. Chris will meet with staff and students, and visit some classes.
Year 12 Camp
The annual Year 12 Camp was held last week at University College, University of Melbourne. Nearly 200 students participated in a range of activities across the 2 days. These included sport and wellbeing sessions, study skills, English/EAL workshops, VCAL workshops, a session on consent, as well as viewing a movie at IMAX. It was a great opportunity for the students to bond together as a group, as well as to gain important information and learning for the year ahead. Thanks to the Senior Sub School team, particularly Laura Gough, for their organisation of the camp, and to all the Year 12 and support staff who attended the camp.
Tutor Learning Initiative
Once again in 2022, we are fortunate to have been allocated approximately 10 tutors to support students in Literacy, Numeracy and selected VCE subjects. This support is in recognition of the effects of remote learning in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid. Students have been selected based on their learning data from 2021. The tutoring in most cases commenced last week.
Learning data from 2021 indicated that students involved in the program showed increased learning growth, so we look forward to improved learning for the students involved this year.
If you have any questions about the program please contact your child’s Year Level Coordinator.
Students in Years 7 to 12 are in the process of writing their effort goals. These goals are based on a student self-reflection tool, and demonstrate a commitment to what each student believes they can do to improve their effort, and therefore their learning.
For Years 7 to 9, goals will be set with their Learning Manager, and all teachers will touch base with students midway through the term to discuss progress.
Learning Mangers will conference with students in Week 5, and then, in Week 10, lead the students to again self-assess their progress towards meeting their goal, and determine them for Term 2.
For Years 10 to 12, students self-reflected and set their goal on Friday 18 February. There will be time set aside to reflect on progress in Week 7 of Term 1 and Week 1 of Term 2. In Week 9 of Term 2 students will again self-assess against the Effort Rubric, and use this to set their Semester 2 goal.
All Effort Goals are available for parents to read on Compass in the Insights tab. We encourage you to discuss the goal with your child, and to regularly touch base with them about their progress towards meeting their goal.
2021 Parent Opinion Survey
There were 43 responses to the Parent, guardian and caregiver survey in 2021. We thank those families that responded and encourage more families to take part when the survey is available later this year.
- We had greater positive endorsement than the State in all but one factor, and our results are overall generally positive
- We improved in positive endorsement for all the factors within the Parent Community Engagement module, in particular parent participation and involvement
- We maintained a high level of satisfaction across all domains.
Areas for focus:
- Increase the number of families who take part in the survey to give us more useful data
- Investigate those factors where we noted decline from our previous levels of positive endorsement
- Investigate the indicators linked to the non-experience of bullying factor (in the Safety Domain) which was the only factor in which we fared below the State level of positive endorsement having 67% compared to the State positive endorsement of 73%. However, in terms of Managing Bullying we were above the State in positive endorsement – 83% compared to 74% for the State. This shows that those parents who completed the survey generally feel we respond well to any bullying.
We would like all our families to have input into our survey to provide us with the most useful data to assist us to identify areas of focus and to plan for interventions to promote improvements where needed. Please look out for notifications when the 2022 survey is open. Unlike many schools, we make it available for our entire parent body to have input rather than identifying a sample of families and we encourage all families to have a say in shaping our school.
Thank you again to all those who completed the survey in 2021.
We had our school photos on Wednesday this week (16 February). All students were required to have their school photo taken as they are necessary for the school ID card. Photos are available for purchase in a variety of formats.
Photos can be ordered online via Compass and details of how to order can be found on Compass by going to the Photos page under the Communities tab.
Students absent on the day will have the opportunity to have a photo taken on Friday 18 March.
Whole School Assembly – Monday 28 February
We postponed the Whole School Assembly, where we welcome our new Year 7 cohort, and it will now take place on Monday 28 February. This should enable us to come together as a whole school in the newly completed Covered Outdoor Learning Area. This assembly is an important part of our school calendar and is one of our school traditions that we look forward to every year. All new members of the school community, both staff and students, are officially welcomed during this event.
Congratulations to the VCAL students and teachers for running a fantastic Valentine’s Day Event on February 14. Students organised a range of stalls and activities to raise money for the TONGA Relief Appeal and their Sunshine Hospital Community Project. It was a wonderful welcome back to school for many students and staff, who were able to listen to some live music, engage in the activities organised and purchase food, drinks and items from the stalls. We look forward to the next VCAL event at the College later in the term.
Resilient Youth Survey.
The College has partnered with Resilient Youth and Brimbank Youth Services to roll out the Resilient Youth Survey in Week 5 of this term. The Resilient Youth Survey is a short survey completed by all students across the College to provide the school with valuable data regarding our students. Students will be supported to complete the survey in their classes, by teachers and staff from Brimbank Youth Services. The survey collects, analyses and reports the resilience of students at a cohort level in terms of their strengths, life satisfaction, hopefulness, anxiety and depression, coping style, and risk and protective behaviours. The school will then use this data to inform our wellbeing planning throughout the year ensuring we provide the support students need and that we deliver effective proactive programs and education regarding wellbeing.
- All students should be in full uniform by now, unless there are exceptional circumstances that have been discussed with the Year Level Coordinator.
- If this is not the case and your child is not in the correct uniform, you will be contacted and your child will be send home to change if someone is not able to bring their uniform to the school.
- Classes begin at 8:55am and students should be at school no later than 8:45am to go to their lockers.
- We expect and appreciate your support in ensuring that your child is ready for learning at that time. If you need help to reinforce this with your child, please talk with their Year Level Coordinator who will be able to assist you.
Thank you for all you have done at home to support a positive start to the year. We appreciate working in partnership with you, and know how fortunate we are to have such a dedicated parent community.