From the Principal Class Team
Dear Parents and Families
We are just about to complete our first full term of face to face learning and teaching in 9 terms; and we cannot underestimate the challenges that this has presented for students, staff and families. Whilst coming back together has been exciting and enjoyable, we have also felt the demands of getting used to new routines and expectations, having to navigate so many people, and simply getting through a full day of learning or work without the small periods of down time we have become used to during online learning.
There has been an intensity about this term, not least because we were anxiously hoping to avoid another lockdown, or a significant COVID outbreak at the school. Fortunately, neither of these things eventuated, and we have come through the term positively.
As a community, we have had a sustained focus on building, or re-building, relationships, especially amongst our younger students. Those in Year 7, 8 and 9 have little knowledge or experience of what it means to be part of the St Albans Secondary College community, and what this looks and feels like in classes, in the yard, and in terms of how we treat each other.
Our school values of Excellence, Leadership, Integrity and Respect have been central to our conversation with students, as has out focus on CPR – Connect Protect Respect, as we re-emerge as a community post online learning and teaching. And we are really pleased to see the strengthening of positive behaviours and attributes to learning. We will certainly continue this focus in Term 2.
We are delighted to welcome Nicola Le’Toille as the new Coordinator of our Individual Needs program, and Francess Connison as the Teacher Assistant in the SPELD reading program.
Tania Nguyen-Milgate has also joined our staff as a Science Lab Technician, and Hebah Shone has taken up an English position.
We wish each of our new staff all the very best for their time at St Albans Secondary College.
A warm welcome, too, to Shona Cowell’s baby daughter, Genevieve, and congratulations to Shona, Trevor and big brother, Harrison, on her arrival into the family.
At the end of this term, we will say farewell to several staff: Salvina Farrugia will be on family leave, as will Tina Phan and Annemaree Papaleo, and we wish them well for the births of their babies.
David Bell, our Grounds Person, is taking up a position at a new school. Again, congratulations and good wishes to David in his new role.
Congratulations also to……..
Amra Pajalic on being nominated as one of the 8 incredible Melbourne-based writers to read on International Women’s Day. A fabulous and well-deserved recognition of Amra’s talents as a writer.
Follow this link to read the article in Secret Melbourne: https://secretmelbourne.com/women-writers-melbourne/
And to another writer on staff, Michael Bowden, for his new publication for the Arts, Art Making and Exhibiting VCE, co-authored with Alma Tooke.
How fortunate the school is to have these two authors and experts in their creative fields teaching our students.
And for a change of pace, we also recognise Cameron Beale for his achievement in winning the National Brazilian Ju Jitsu Champion title for 2021. In just a few years, Cameron has risen to the top of his sport and is an inspiration for his students.
A shout out, too, to Nicole Gurd, our Alumni Program Coordinator and all of our past students who have contributed so generously, especially over the last two years, to provide enriching and motivating talks, seminars, work experience opportunities and guidance for our current students.
Here is a snapshot of our 2021 Alumni program achievements:
Year 7 2022 Information Evening
It was a privilege to welcome almost 400 prospective students and their families to our Information Evening and school tour several weeks ago.
Our staff and student leaders did a wonderful job showcasing and explaining our curricular and extracurricular programs, as well as the services provided by our Wellbeing and Allied Health teams.
Congratulations to Transition Coordinator, Marlene Cassar, Assistant Transition Coordinator, Vicki Bunce, and to our staff team who so warmly and expertly welcomed our visitors.
Our Teaching and Learning Coordinator, together with the Senior Sub School, hasdeveloped and delivered the first session of a Study Skills program to all Year 12 VCE students. This first session focused on defining the difference between homework and study, and provided tools to plan and implement an effective study timetable. There was also a focus on thinking tools to support study through techniques such as summarising. There will be a follow up session in early Term 2.
Lady Northcote Recreational Camp
Each year, our Year 11 students travel to Lady Northcote Recreational Camp to participate in a team building day. The 180 students were randomly put into groups of about 13. and then rotated through a series of activities aimed at developing leadership and team work skills. It was a great day, and it was excellent to see the students interacting with each other in different ways. Thanks to the Senior Sub School team for their organisation of this event.
With the move to NAPLAN on line this year, we have provided all year 7 and 9 students with the opportunity to practise two online tests. These were the writing test, and an omnibus test comprising numeracy, reading and language conventions. Students are able to do further practice if they wish. There is a link posted in the Compass newsfeed by our NAPLAN Coordinator, Ms Jacqui Hunter. NAPLAN for 2022 will be held in weeks 3 and 4 next term.
Whole School Assembly
It was with great anticipation that we had our first whole school assembly in our beautiful new outdoor teaching space with an audience of approximately 1800 students and staff. At this assembly, held on Monday 28 February, we welcomed our Year 7 cohort and other new staff and students and their families into the St Albans School Community.
This assembly is an important part of our school calendar and school traditions, and provided an opportunity for us all be together and to make connections, especially with our new Year 7s. The assembly was opened by the National Anthem sung by an acapella group from the Year 11 and 12 Music class. These 4 students, Salote Mulitalo, Julie Timo Fiamalo, Faatali Vaiusu and Kilisi Mafileo sang in beautiful harmony without accompaniment and it sounded wonderful in the space.
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 and an overview of the excellent 2021 VCE and VCAL achievements. Our School Captains, Tina Duong and Sarah Liu, welcomed our newest students and Api Nicol and Jade Tran of Year 7 responded on behalf of the Year 7 Cohort. Students were provided an overview of the scholarships, awards and prizes available.
In particular, students were reminded of the Student Recognition Prize, 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. Due to not having our whole school assembly at the end of 2021, the recognition prizes we would normally have presented at the end of the year were presented at this assembly.
The recipients of these prizes were:
2021 Junior Sub School – Kritik Dhingra
2021 Middle Sub School – Kelly Lam
2021 Senior Sub School – Lan Anh Le
The Crocker House Cup was awarded to Irwin for 2021.
This was the first of our whole school events for 2022 and we look forward to our next opportunity to come together in celebration. These traditions are what helps to create a school community and support our whole school commitment to Connect, Protect and Respect.
All Year 7 to 9 and selected Year 10 students travelled to Oak Park Aquatic Centre on Tuesday 8 March for our annual Swimming Carnival. Although it was an overcast day there was enthusiasm by competitors and those making use of the giant waterslide and large floating obstacle course during supervised free time. There was well supported competition in the swimming and novelty events, and a lot of house pride was on display. You can read more about the Swimming Carnival later in this newsletter.
The final points for each house were:
Well done to all participants, and to Irwin House for being named the overall winner. Thanks to Mr Winduss and his team for the organisation of this very successful event.
Parent Teacher Interviews
Parent Teacher Interviews for Term 1 took place on Wednesday 6 April. It was lovely to see so many parents and students attend, and it was a welcome return to having this event on site. Interpreters were provided which a number of families were able to access to assist with their interviews. Many parents and staff commented on how much they appreciated this opportunity to communicate directly about student learning. We thank all those parents and students who attended and the staff for their work in providing this valuable feedback. Any parents who were not able to attend the Parent Teacher Interviews, or would like some follow up can contact their child’s Sub School at the email address below:
Please note that contact to Sub Schools can be made at any time by parents as needed.
Year 7 Expo
We recently hosted the Year 7 Expo at the College. This important date on our calendar provides an opportunity for Year 7 students to showcase their class work to families. Parents also met teachers and spent some valuable time back in the classroom, seeing school from their child’s perspective. We thank all the students and staff who participated in making the Year 7 Expo a truly successful event. We also would like to extend our thanks to the families that came along to participate in the night.
National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence
March 18 marks the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence. This important day on our school calendar is a time where we come together as a community to stop and reflect on the impacts of bullying and violence and pledge to work towards removing it from our school and our lives more broadly. The theme for this year’s day was Kindness Culture. This theme resonates with the culture we promote at our school and students have been learning about the impacts of bullying and how to promote kindness in classes. On the Day of Action students participated in a market day and celebration, with a range of external services, guests and activities to promote this important theme. Students and special guest Ed Moon performed for cheering audiences in what was a wonderful celebration. A massive thank you to the College Wellbeing and VCAL teams for organising what was a very successful event.
Best wishes to the students, staff and families for a relaxing and enjoyable break over the holidays. We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday 27 April for the start of Term 2 for students (Tuesday 26 April is a student free day).