From the Principal Class Team
Dear Parents and Families
It was a pleasure to welcome our students and staff back to Term 2. We particularly welcome those students and families who are new to the school this term, as well as Sachin Sudan, our new Grounds Person. We wish everyone a successful and happy term.
Acting Assistant Principal
Janet McKenzie joins the Principal Class team this term as Acting Assistant Principal whilst Craig Jennings is taking long service leave. Many of you will know Janet, not only as a teacher, but also through her previous role as Sub School Leader, and as the director of MAC, among other leadership positions. Janet brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in student management, teaching and learning, curriculum, and staff development, and we are enjoying having her as part of the team.
To Amra Pajalic on the publication in the Age this week of her article about St Albans. Amra’s vignette is a delightful insight into a special suburb. She explores growing up, leaving, and returning to St Albans as an adult.
You can see the link below to access Amra’s article. I’m sure you will enjoy reading her observations and story.
The Age By Amra Pajalic
Page: 23 (09/05/2023)
As a teen, I couldn’t wait to escape St Albans, but I soon returned. Amra Pajalic When I tell people I’m a teacher at the public high school in St Albans, their faces crumple in sympathy. “You teach all those criminals,” they say. Then they usually share some
Year 6 Transition Visits
Last week we welcomed Year 6 students from several of our local primary schools for a “taster” of secondary school. The students experienced mini lessons in core and elective subjects, sports, a tour of the school, and a BBQ lunch together.
Hopefully, the day made them more comfortable with the transition to secondary school by increasing their knowledge of our school , meeting teachers and coordinators, and meeting some new people in their classes.
Further transition events including the Big Day In, are scheduled for later in the year.
Thank you to Lauren Honeycombe and Marlene Cassar for their organisation of the Taster Days.
The cold weather has arrived. Our Uniform Shop is open on Mondays and Thursdays from 12:30pm to 1:30pm. If your daughter or son needs some additional items to keep them warm, they can purchase them at the shop, or you can come to the school on these days.
If you need assistance with purchasing uniform, please have a chat to your child’s Year Level Coordinator.
On Friday 5 May, our teachers engaged in professional learning which reviewed and deepened our work towards creating a more inclusive and differentiated learning experience for our students. When we first began this work in 2020, our focus was largely on pedagogy within the lesson, understanding how students learn best and meeting students at their point of need; this work was based on American educator Carol Ann Tomlinson’s model for differentiation.
Our recent curriculum day focused on developing our ability to plan for a differentiated experience of learning through curriculum and assessment. We are very lucky to be able to provide quality professional learning for our staff through the expertise of our teaching and learning team and other leaders.
On the day, teachers participated in workshops on stretching students on their learning, rubrics, assessment, literacy and numeracy, and heard from colleagues ( Stav Bekiaris, Athanasios Theoharopoulos and Myers Nguyen) about their experiences in using and developing various teaching strategies. The day finished with teachers working in their key learning area teams to develop and refine curriculum and assessment based on the learnings of the day.
The organisers and presenters of the workshops included: Louis Turner ( Teaching and Learning Coordinator), Avril Good ( Curriculum Leader), Shona Cowell (Acting Staff Development Coordinator), Kathleen Main ( Differentiation Specialist), Becky Annetts ( Literacy Specialist), Amy Lee ( Assessment and Feedback Specialist), Piera Biondi (Digital Specialist), Marty Conboy (High Abilities Coordinator), Caroline Tran (Acting LOTE Leader), and Tessa Gould (Numeracy Leader).
Exams and Semester Tests
In two weeks, year 10 and 11 students will be starting their end of semester exams. For the year 10 students this is the first time they will be participating in formal exams. Year 9 students will be doing end of semester tests. The tests and exams should be seen as an opportunity to consolidate the learning of the semester. Teachers will be reminding students to prepare their summaries of units and giving extra tips on how to study and revise. We ask parents to please assist by establishing routines for study, asking questions about the work and ensuring your children are sleeping and eating well.
Staff Training by Mancave
One area of focus at our school has been to ensure that students of all genders have a positive experience at school. In the past, this has involved us working closely with girls to look at the issues they face, and how best to address them. The school has also worked closely with staff on how to create a gender inclusive school. Teachers have examined their expectations, language and the curriculum, and also explored ways to call out discrimination.
The next step in our work is a training session for staff run by Mancave, a not for profit organisation promoting social change regarding representations of masculinity. Their work has been developed by psychologists, and mental health experts to safely and reliably create an attitudinal and behavioural shift in the boys who participate in their programs. Mancave will also run a session for parents on June 15 (information on Compass) and a session with Year 8 boys later in the term.
A key focus of this new training will be to build on our previous work on gender inclusivity and to provide staff with additional strategies to challenge gender bias and discrimination at our school.
The College commemorated ANZAC Day this year on the 26 April 2023. Students, staff and special guests gathered to remember and pay their respects to those who have served in the armed services. We hold this service annually in honour of the anniversary of when Australian and New Zealand soldiers landed on the beach at Gallipoli in Turkey on 25 April 1915. Thank you to our VCE Vocational Major (VM) students and staff who organised this event; a very important day in our College calendar.
Business Partners Breakfast
We had a great turnout for our annual Business Partners Breakfast held on 3 May this year. This important part of our school calendar is an annual event that provides an opportunity to build connections and partnerships within the community. Two VCE VM students Crystal Nguyen & Tommy Tang, who spoke,outlined their journey and experience within this vocational pathway. Their personal stories were truly inspiring and showed the value of having connections with a range of business partners and of taking advantage of opportunities that are available. They were followed by the formal welcome by our College Principal, Ms Kerrie Dowsley, who introduced the guest speaker, Terry Bracks, AM. Terry is the founder of Western Chances, a non-profit organisation that provides scholarships and opportunities to disadvantaged youth in the western suburbs of Melbourne. Through her work with Western Chances, Terry has enabled young people to access educational opportunities, mentorship, and financial assistance to help them achieve their goals. Since its inception in 2003, more than 400 students at our school have obtained Western Chances Scholarships.
You can read more about Western Chances and the scholarships and support they provide at: https://www.westernchances.org.au/our-story
Breakfast was prepared and presented by a number of students in the Year 12 VCE VM class and VET Hospitality class, supported by Ms Marlene Cassar. The buffet of food was professionally executed and received many compliments from those in attendance who commented on the quality and presentation of the catering. Ms Daniel Karner also assisted with the food preparation in the lead up to the event. We extend our thanks to this team for their work in catering the event. The Breakfast proceedings were hosted by the Year 10 peer mentors who did an exceptional job of emceeing the event and we thank them for their preparation.
There were many present whose connections went beyond being a member of the local business community; a number of our business partners are also school alumni who are keen to support the school that they attended. We thank all our business partners and look forward to continuing these strong relationships. Thank you to our breakfast organisers, Ms Emily Dickinson supported by Ms Lynda VO, a great deal of behind the scenes organisation went into the smooth running of this event.
We would also like to thank our guest speakers Terry, Crystal and Tommy. It was a lovely way to celebrate these important connections within our community.
We began the year with a focus on Prepared for Learning (PfL). As the semester 1 test and exam period is approaching, we encourage all student to focus on routines, organisation, positive relationships, behaviour, and physical and mental readiness to support their learning and achievement.