Almost an entire term has passed since I last wrote for the newsletter. And as per usual the school has been busy! One of the highlights of this term has been the school’s second musical. Playing to large audiences, the students performed Footloose; it was fantastic performance from all members of the cast and those working tirelessly backstage. The school musical is a showpiece for the school; it demonstrates the breadth of talent amongst the student body, but also provides a whole range of opportunities that add to the culture of the school.
The educational philosophy of the school is focussed on developing the whole individual; the Renaissance person. And to achieve this we must provide a wide range of co-curricular activities and curriculum choices for the students. While the musical, and music, is one such opportunity, we offer many others. Recently our debaters have made it to the quarter finals in all four divisions and four of our students, one from each division, have been awarded the best speaker award. And while students were debating, another group of students were camping overnight on the oval at school as part of the pre-expedition training for the Duke of Edinburgh Award; a strange sight arriving at school and seeing a dozen small tents in the middle of the oval and watching the students cook breakfast on trangias.
To highlight the variety of activities, last week we had the annual lip sync competition. Watching both students and staff perform was highly entertaining for the 500 students and staff in the audience. And the money raised was all in a good cause. Our students, and staff for that matter, like to both perform and dress up. We finished last term with LOTE week and an international/cultural dress day and more recently Book Week saw people come dressed as a characters from a book. We’ve also had Science week and Green (Eco) week. And we still have time to teach classes and study.
Subject selections for 2018 have been completed and this means that we are well into planning the curriculum for next year. With an increase in student numbers in the school next year; we will have 875 students, there are more VCE classes than we have had in the past. And pleasingly more classes in some of the less popular subjects. It remains imperative that we provide a broad selection of subjects to enable students to follow their academic passion. Equally important is that we provide the best careers advice possible. To that end we have increased the staffing for careers counselling.
This year we are not having end of year exams, rather we are conducting exams at the end of this term. An exam is just one form of assessment. And while in Unit 3&4 exams at the end of year take on a special significance, at other year levels, exams should be seen as just one of many forms of assessment; no more, or less, important than any other form of assessment. For Year 11 students, most of whom undertake a Unit &4 subject, having their Unit 1&2 exams this term will remove some of the stress of, and over emphasis on, the Unit 3&4 exams.
Communication with the school community is important and we will be reviewing all our forms of communication. I encourage all parents to access Compass so they are able to see the continuous reporting and therefore their child’s progress throughout the year in a timely manner. Compass is our most important means of communication to all members of the school community.
Earlier this term we held meetings to re-launch the Parents & Friends Association (PFA). We held the first meeting of the PFA last Tuesday and we have started the process of recruiting more parents to attend these meetings and support the school. A letter will be sent to all parents in the near future.
Finally, the last couple of weeks have witnessed the students preparing for Presentation Night. This year Presentation Night is on Thursday 12 October; the first week of next term. This si compulsory for all students of all year levels. This is a wonderful occasion for us to celebrate the success of our students. Family and friends are welcome to attend and you are able to book online from the link in this newsletter. Our guest speaker this year will be Professor Jeffrey Rosenfeld AM OBE, one of Australia’s preeminent neurosurgeons. Professor Rosenfeld is the Director of the Monash Medical Engineering Institute and Senior Neurosurgeon at the Alfred Hospital. I look forward to seeing many of you on the night. It will be even more spectacular than last year!