Principal's Report

Uniform & Headphones, New Rubbish Bins, STEM Building, Alumni Program, Deakin University Case Study, Whole School Improvement Plan, Follow up from Premier’s recent visit & General Achievement Test.
Friday 16th June, 2017.
Principal, Featured News.

Uniform & Headphones

Now that the colder months are here, students are allowed to wear clothing with long sleeves under their school polo top which is all black, all navy or all white. If your child is wearing incorrect uniform on a particular day, please write a note so a uniform pass can be issued.

Students are not permitted to use headphones for non-educational purposes or have finger spinners at school. These items will be confiscated if used and will be returned to the student at the end of the school day.

New Rubbish Bins

The College has ordered another 20 of the new style bins which will arrive during Term 3. These bins are similar to those used by councils. This will enable us to phase out the existing bins and will help maintain the aesthetics of the school grounds.

STEM Building

Since the funding announcement, we have been working carefully and methodically on designing the internal spaces of the STEM building. Staff and students provided valuable suggestions which were taken on board and design adjustments were made. This ‘Design Development’ phase concluded last week so now we move into the ‘Tender Documentation’ phase of the project. We are aiming to have builders on site in December this year and hope to open the new building in Term 4 2018. This is such an exciting time for our College!

In Semester Two, we are setting up a STEM working party which will initially involve Ms. Mraz (Head of Science), Ms Dannock (Head of Mathematics), Mr Green (Technology Teacher), Mr. Threadgold (Digital Technologies Leader) and Mr Broecker (Assistant Principal). This group of staff will start the journey of developing innovative and interdisciplinary STEM curriculum that involves inquiry and project-based learning.

This buildings modern learning spaces and facilities will enable us to activate this new curriculum for our students. There are so many possibilities and opportunities! Teachers will have the opportunity to team teach and change the way they teach, maximising the learning space. We are also hoping to engage with Deakin Universities “Successful Students-STEM Program” and link in with university staff.

Alumni Program

Our application to be part of the Victorian Association for State School Principals (VASSP) new ‘Our School’ Alumni Program has been successful. We will part of a two-year pilot involving eight schools from Victorian to develop our College Alumni Program. If you are interested to know more please visit: https://ourschool.net.au/

The main elements of our future Alumni Program will be:

Deakin University Case Study

Nine year 8 students were selected to be part of a Deakin University Case Study conducted about using Fitbits to promote physical activity in inactive Victorian adolescents. This study was funded by VicHealth and at the end of the study the students were able to keep the Fitbit Flex to continue to use.

The case study was run over 12 weeks where they had to use Facebook to get updates about the study, motivational videos and messages. The type of data collected was information about sleep, activity levels and steps taken.

Currently 13% of Australian 12-14 year olds do not engage in sufficient physical activity to benefit their health. Worryingly, there is evidence that inactive adolescents think they meet physical activity recommendations, suggesting that they see no need to change their behaviour yet would greatly benefit from doing so. The activity trackers may help to increase awareness of physical activity levels and result in changing behaviours as part of the development activity programs.

Whole School Improvement Plan

We are now over 12 months into our improvement plan and what fantastic progress we have made.

In Stage 1 we have been focusing on establishing the pre-conditions for learning which are; the orderly environment, strong leadership and setting high expectations. This has certainly made a big difference. All staff are implementing the College’s Behaviour Management Plan which has been agreed to by the Student Leaders and staff.

STAGE 1:

As a College community we need to be united in continuing the excellent work in this area from last term. All staff expect students to:

These are all essential preconditions for optimum student learning which is paving the way for our College in becoming a High Performing School. I would like to thank parents for supporting the College in the above as we need to have these basics in place to ensure that all students receive the most from their classes. I know students get annoyed if they are asked to put their phone away or want to listen to music and not allowed.

However, as a parent myself I have seen on many occasions when visiting friends or families how frustrating it can be when young people are on these devices and they won’t engage in conversation, are texting while eating a family meal, have ear phones in and don’t listen to us as parents. It is no different for classroom teachers. It is very difficult to teach students if they have ear phones in because they miss the explicit component of the lesson. It is also very frustrating when students are constantly texting their friends etc. Employers wouldn’t expect this to happen in their work place either do teachers.

STAGE 2:

This stage involves building capacity through the development of an effective professional learning program. A big thank you to Team Impact (which is a group of teachers within our College) for designing our Professional Learning Team program so far this year. This is all part of the process to build teacher efficacy and provide high quality professional learning.

I would like to thank you and the staff for supporting the process to create our Teaching and Learning Framework. We are close to finalising a framework that will work for us and will underpin learning and teaching here now and in the future. The College has been working with an external consultant Jenny Wajsenberg. Jenny will be working with staff on Monday 26th June for two hours starting at 3.20 p.m. and concluding at 5.20 pm

Follow up from Premier’s recent visit

A project consultant has been engaged by the Premier’s Office to report back on costings of increasing the size of our weights room. Never one to miss an opportunity I asked for further costings of some smaller projects around the College to be undertaken such as: new weights equipment, refurbishing toilets closest to the rugby oval and more soil for the rugby oval and it was so convenient that I had already had quotes for these. I figure if you don’t ask you don’t receive. I will keep you updated regardless of the outcome.

General Achievement Test

Year 12 and some Year 11 students sat the GAT this week.

The General Achievement Test is a test of general knowledge and skills in:

These areas are very broad.

Each represents a body of general knowledge and skills that students are likely to have built up through their school years.

Because it is a general test, no special study is required for the GAT. Students will already have done preparation for the GAT in past study of subjects like English, Mathematics, Science and History, where they have built up general knowledge and skills in writing, numeracy and reasoning. These are the knowledge and skills that will be tested.

Why do students have to do the GAT?

The GAT is an essential part of the VCE assessment procedures.

All students enrolled in one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3 and 4 sequences must sit the GAT.

Although GAT results do not count directly towards a student’s VCE results, they play an important role in checking that school-based and external assessments have been accurately assessed, and in calculating Derived Examination Scores.

The GAT is used in these ways because achievement on the GAT is a good predictor of achievement on other assessments. If students have done well on the GAT, then their achievements are likely to be high on their school-based and external assessments.

Clearly, some GAT questions relate more closely to achievement in particular studies. The VCAA takes this into account when it calculates students’ expected achievements in each study for each school. For example, GAT results in mathematics, science and technology

How is the GAT used?

The VCAA will use students’ GAT scores as a basis for: