As this newsletter is being prepared, the inaugural school play has been performing. Moliere’s Tartuffe is being studied by the VCE theatre studies class and they have led the development of the performance under the direction of their teacher Mr William Donaldson. After producing our first musical last year, it is incredibly pleasing to now see a stage play being performed.
The philosophy of the school is focussed on producing ‘well rounded’ students; the Renaissance person. The culture of the school therefore needs to ensure that we offer a broad and diverse range of opportunities for our students. The play, along with the music programme, the musical, sport, co-curricular and the House system, all help build this broad and diverse culture that enhances the education of all the students.
I would like to thank the staff and students involved in the production of the play. In addition to Mr Donaldson, our set builder Dr David King; costumer Ms Martha Goodridge-Kelly; make-up artist Ms Piri Jakub von Szengelice; and technical specialist Mr Robin Czuchnowski. The time and effort they have committed to the production has been very much appreciated. I would also like to thank the members of the school community who have supported the efforts of the cast and crew by being in the audience. I look forward to next year’s production, as well as the school musical in Term 3 this year.
While the theatrical talent of the student body has been on display this week, there have been other notable achievements by our students. The Lions Club of Australia run a National Youth of the Year competition at which state, after an exhaustive selection process, is represented in a national competition. The Victorian representative this year was SCHS’ very own Joshua Cordina from Year 12. Just making it to the national final was an exceptional effort, and while he was not the ‘national winner’, Joshua was an outstanding candidate in the competition.
Although we are only at the end of week four in an eleven week term, our students have been involved in a whole range of activities, including inter school sport and House debating. Added to this the music programme conducted their first soiree of the year last Monday. With so many activities happening, school is a vibrant and busy place to be on any day of the week.
International opportunities are also an important aspect of the educational life of the school. Earlier this year a group of students and staff travelled to China and in Term 4 we will have a group of ten Year 9 students participate in the Victorian Young Leaders to China programme. This is the second time we have participated in the VYLC. The programme immerses the students in China for six weeks and is aimed at improving their language skills and further developing their cultural understanding. At the end of this term three students and a teacher will be participating in the Singapore International Science Challenge, a biannual event hosted by the National Junior College (NJC). Later this year we will begin an exchange and research programme with NJC. However, overseas trip are not just about traditional educational opportunities. In December 2016 we were involved in the Asia Pacific Youth Foundation (APYF) in Cambodia undertaking charity work with a primary school. The success of this trip was such that this year a group of students and staff will be travelling to Vietnam in December this year to work with a local community in the Mai Chau valley.
The past week also witnessed the Year 9 students undertaking NAPLAN. The results for NAPLAN are, quite frankly, of limited use to us. For high performing students the tests do not adequately discriminate in the top bands. And while it is pleasing to note that our students do incredibly well on NAPLAN, one could argue that given we’re a select entry school they should be achieving in the top bands! When the online version of NAPLAN is used in the future, the tests will be adaptive and should, therefore, be of more use to us teachers. And we should get the results in a much timelier manner.
It is important that we consider options for tracking student progress and find measures that are relatable. With this aim in mind, the Year 10 students will be sitting the eduTest exam on 15 June. Two years ago, as Year 8 students, the students sat the entrance exam. The battery of tests that we will undertake are the same six, at a higher level, that they sat two years ago. The advantage of this is that we will have data on each student that directly correlates. This will assist us in improving our teaching and learning and assisting individual students. This is an important consideration in a high performing school. Students and parents will receive the test results in the same format that you received when you they were in Year 8.
For the Year 12 students there are three big social and celebratory events. The first of these is the Year 12 Formal on the evening of the last day of this term. This is often a highlight for the students and staff alike. The other two events are at the end of the year. Unlike previous years the order of these events has been swapped. In the first week of Term 4 we will have Presentation Night, which is a night of celebration for the whole school, but the Year12 students in particular. Valedictory Dinner will then be held at the end of the VCE exam period. Our expectation is that all Year 12 students attend Presentation Night.
Education is more than just text books, exams and assessments. The culture of SCHS is aimed at widening the experiences for all of our students and expanding their educational horizons. We will continue to offer a diverse range of educational experiences and place high expectations on our students’ being involved in the whole educational programme.