From the Principal Class Team
Dear Parents and Families
It is a pleasure to welcome you back to the 2023 school year. I hope your children have experienced a positive start. We certainly have been very happy with the way the year and classes have begun, and with students’ readiness and enthusiasm for learning.
We extend a very warm welcome to our new Year 7 students, who were officially welcomed into the school community at our school assembly last week, and to their families. 284 students are new to the school across Years 8 to 12. We wish all these students a successful and enjoyable time at St Albans Secondary College.
We also welcome 14 new teachers and 3 Education Support staff to the college this year. Melissa Tamraz, Katie O’Connell, Patrick Burke, Thanasi Theoharopoulos, and Katelyn Smith are joining the Humanities/English Learning Areas. Melissa also takes up a leadership position in the Junior School, and Katie is the new Learning Area Leader for Humanities.
Yi-ting Zhu and Alex Chan are teaching in the Commerce fields. Andrei Alexandrescu joins us as a Maths teacher and also as Assistant Sub School Leader in the Middle School. Gloria Yi has similarly been appointed to a Maths position and to the Assistant Staff Development Coordinator role. Della Butler commences as a Visual Communications and Design and Art teacher; Ali Yamin joins the English Department; Ethan Loo joins the Science team; and Chiemi Shepherd is teaching Japanese.
Maddie Matheson joins the Wellbeing Team as a social worker; Serkan Bertan and Emily Zdravevski take up positions as Teacher Assistants in the Individual Needs Department.
We wish our new staff members all the very best for their time at St Albans Secondary College.
And just to complete the welcomes to new members of our community………
Congratulations to Ashley O’Dowd on the birth of her baby boy, Lucas.
And to Dane Stammers on the arrival of Ali.
Both families and babies are well and thrilled to welcome little brothers.
You would be aware from the media that many schools are facing significant shortages in both teaching and Education Support staff.
We are in the extremely fortunate position of having only two unfilled vacancies at this stage. These are currently being covered by experienced teachers who have worked at the College over a period of time. Our thanks to Liston Williams and Patrick Agius for their ongoing support of out students.
Year of Self Evaluation and Review
2023 is the final year of our current Strategic Plan. As such, it is a year of self-evaluation, followed by a review in Term 3.
School reviews are managed by the Department of Education who appoints an external reviewer to conduct the analysis of the school’s performance in all areas of its operations. The school selects two external challenge partners to be part of the review team.
The review provides a valuable opportunity for the whole school – staff, students and parents – to have input into identifying the achievements, and the areas where there could be further improvement. We will be inviting parent input via a Compass survey later this term.
In the meantime, we continue with our work on differentiating teaching curriculum and assessment; building literacy and numeracy; and effort and goal setting to improve student learning outcomes and growth.
Alumni Morning Tea
If you are a former student, and many of our families are, or you know former students, you are invited to our Alumni Morning Tea on 22 March from 9:30am to 11:00am.
We would love to see you there and to show you around.
Contact our Alumni Coordinator, Nicole Gurd, at the school (9366 2555) for more information, or to register your interest.
Year 12 Study Camp
During the second week of this term, all Year 12 students attended a residential camp at University College, a residential College at the University of Melbourne. The study camp focused on providing students with a better understanding of university life and supported them to develop the skills and strategies needed to be successful this year and beyond. Students received information on study skills, career pathways, and their wellbeing, and heard from a range of guest speakers. They participated in sporting and social activities and also had the opportunity to tour the physical campus of the University of Melbourne or RMIT during this two-day camp.
The camp was a tremendous success with students taking advantage of the opportunities to prepare for the year ahead as well as engage socially in an environment other than a classroom, enhancing their interpersonal skills and the overall cohesiveness of the year level.
Congratulations to our VCE- VM students for hosting a fantastic Valentine’s Day lunchtime market on the 13 February. Students ran a range of activities and sold Valentine’s Day themed food and merchandise as part of their personal development projects. Live music, as well as house team activities, created a positive atmosphere enabling all students to participate in the day.
The Valentine’s Day market will be the first of many lunchtime events run by our VCAL and Wellbeing Team to build connectedness at the College and to create a positive and engaging school environment.
Prepared for Learning
A focus of our work with students this year has been supporting them to be Prepared for Learning (PfL)
Prepared for Learning is based on the 5 fundamentals:
- establishing good routines at school
- being organised with books, equipment, uniform, a tidy locker, and punctuality
- having positive relationships with teachers and classmates
- behaving safely and respectfully in accordance with the College value and policies
- making sure that we are physically and mentally prepared for learning – food, sleep, seeking help from teachers, Coordinators and Wellbeing staff.
To further support each student to be prepared to learn, and to enable you to support your child better, our teachers have developed record of work guidelines for each subject at each year level. This tells you very clearly what books and equipment are required, and exactly how work should be organised. It is an excellent way for you to know what your child should be doing in each subject.
The record of work is available on Compass for each year level.
Our Curriculum Day on Wednesday 15 February provided teaching staff with an opportunity to continue the development of their differentiation practices. Staff participated in a number of workshops, and then set a goal to enhance their practice in this area. We hope that students continue to see improved differentiation in their classes.
Whole School Assembly
It wonderful that we were able to hold our first whole school assembly so early in the year to welcome our 2023 Year 7 cohort. The morning celebration took place in the covered outdoor tlearning area with an audience of approximately 1800 students and staff. At this assembly, we not only welcomed our Year 7 cohort, but also all other new staff and students and their families into the St Albans School Community. These assemblies are an important part of our school calendar and school traditions, and provide an opportunity for us all be together to build connections.
The assembly began with Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Elder Aunty Julianne Axford, who welcomed us to country and gave an overview of the history of traditional culture for our area and surrounds.
During proceedings, we celebrated together and acknowledged examples of student leadership and excellence in a range of areas. We were treated to student musical performances, including a lovely rendition of the National Anthem by Paul Fatai. An overview of the excellent 2022 VCE and VCAL achievements was provided by the Leader of the Senior Sub School, Ms Marlene Cassar. Our school Captains, Kathleen Phan and Karli Keskin welcomed our newest students and Srish Naidu and Sophia Luc of Year 7 responded on behalf of the Year 7 Cohort. Students were provided an overview of the scholarships, awards and prizes available. The 2023 Year 7 scholarship recipients were introduced and presented with a certificate by the College Principal, Ms Kerrie Dowsley, and our School Council President, Doctor Tracy Nero.
Students were reminded of the Student Recognition Prize, an iPad, awarded at the end of each year to a student from each Sub School who exemplifies the school values of Respect, Integrity, Leadership and Excellence; this includes having over 90% attendance, always behaving in accordance with expectations and respectfully to both other students and staff, and wearing school uniform correctly.
This was the first of our whole school events for 2023 and we look forward to our next opportunity to come together. These traditions are what helps to create a school community and certainly support our whole school commitment to Connect, Protect and Respect.
School Photos make up day
We have a photo make up day on Friday 24 February to enable students who were absent on the first day to be photographed. All students are required to have a school photo taken. They are necessary for the school ID card and are available for purchase in a variety of formats. Photos can be ordered online via Compass.
Parent Opinion Survey – Results for the 2022 survey
We 62 responses to the Parent, guardian and caregiver survey in 2022 from a sample of 474 families. This was a greater response than we had in 2021 when we opened the survey to all parents. 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 modules and most factors
- We maintained a high level of satisfaction across all domains
- We rated highly in the whole Safety Domain and either improved or maintained our positive endorsement in all the factors, the most pleasing result was the rise in positive endorsement from 67% to 84% for response to not experiencing bullying with a 3% rise also in managing bullying.
- We also rated highly in the Connection and Progression Module, having 82% positive endorsement for positive transitions and 86% positive endorsement for student connectedness. Comparing to the State of 72% and 81% respectively.
- In the Student Development Domain, for Student Agency and Voice factor, we rose 7% to 81% compared to the State with 70% endorsement.
- Although we rated highly in the School Communication factor (80% vs State 74%), the factor of Teacher Communication will be further investigated having positive endorsement the same as the State on 57%.
Thank you to all those who completed the survey in 2022. A more detailed summary is below for those interested in the individual factors:
We would welcome all our families having 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 2023 survey is open.