Welcome to another ‘bumper’ edition of the College Newsletter for 2020!
Our first edition was a tremendous success, and I am sure you will enjoy reading through our final Newsletter for Term 1.
A VERY BUSY TERM 1
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our College Community for their ongoing support. It is has been a very busy term, given the number and breadth of opportunities provided to our students. We thank our families for partnering with us to further improve the learning outcomes of our students. Please be reminded that families and students can expect the Cycle One Reports to be made available via Compass on Friday, March 27th. If there are any queries concerning the Cycle One Reports, please contact the College on email@example.com.
COMMUNITY INTEREST IN WHSC
As a school, we offer outstanding opportunities in the four areas important to our College Community:
- Academic excellence across all learning domains
- The Performing Arts
- Student Leadership
Given the outstanding opportunities we provide, I am not surprised that the interest in our College so far in 2020 has been strong. The number of families coming through for College Tours in Term 1 has been extraordinary. Changes to our Facebook page, Newsletter and website have all been well received by our community. It is pleasing to see such a high level of interest in our College, and we look forward to sharing more information about our great school with the community in the weeks and months to come.
THE ACE PROGRAM, 2021
The College's Aspire Challenge and Enrich (ACE) Program, a learning extension initiative designed to meet the educational needs of high-achieving students, is uniquely structured to engage students of exceptional ability, and is designed to work alongside the College's many excellent and existing co-curricular and extension programs.
We are thrilled to offer this challenging and simulating program to Year 7 students enrolling in 2021, and we remain committed to ensuring that all our students - existing and future, across all Year levels - are supported and empowered to reach their full potential.
Due to the early start to the Easter holidays, the closing date for applications has been moved to Friday, April 17th. Parents of Grade 6 students are encouraged to apply for this program, and to share application information in their networks to any interested families. To download an application form, please click here.
TEACHING AND LEARNING
We are committed to providing a high-quality teaching and learning experience to our students. In Term 1, we adopted table groups in all of our classes to allow for greater collaboration amongst students. Our teaching staff continue to follow our Teaching & Learning Model which allows for consistency of practice, and relevant students were best preparing for the NAPLAN assessments before the announcement (20/3/20) of their cancellation for 2020.
Many schools have a House System in place to support key areas. Sport is an example of one such area. Our Houses System of Jells, Napier, Scott and Derrimut have served our College community well over an extended period of time. Whilst students have the ability to gain House Points in a number of areas within the College, it is our Sports Program that currently provides the greatest opportunity for students to contribute to the success of their House through any given year.
Many schools have a ‘Vertical House Structure’ allowing students from across the Year levels (eg. Years 7-9) to come together on a more regular basis (eg. once a day, or once a week). Such a structure can develop an even stronger connection to the House System within the school. A Vertical House Structure can allow students to more strongly identify with their House and peers which can create an even stronger ‘House Spirit’ across a number of areas within the College.
A Vertical House Structure is being discussed amongst staff and students for 2021. If families would like to contribute to this discussion, please contact the General Office.
Our Sports Program has been very busy this term with Interschool Sports, Swimming Competitions, and the Athletics Carnival featuring prominently. I thank all staff for their involvement in our Sports Program, particularly Ms. Kerrie Lay and Ms. Sally Pryde for their leadership of key events. Please read on in this Newsletter for a full report of student achievement and participation in this important area of the College.
Another important area of our College is, of course, our Performing Arts Program. We were thrilled to learn recently that the College Production this year will be Mary Poppins Jnr. We are renowned in the community for our high quality Productions, and 2020 I am sure will be no exception. The 2020 Cast List has now been released and we wish everyone involved all the very best for this years' Production. I thank Ms. Genelle Lentini and her team for their tremendous work in this area of the College.
COLLEGE COUNCIL 2020
Whilst our College Council for 2020 is in place, we have postponed our March meeting until further notice. The appointment of Office Bearers and the development of Sub Committees can be discussed at our next meeting of Council.
COVID-19 - COMMUNITY INFO & THANK YOU
As a community, we are in unprecedented and uncertain times; the Corona Virus (COVID-19) has changed our lives and the way we live. As a College, we will continue to act on the advice of the Department of Education. The Corona Virus has created so many challenges for us all and I am proud of how our College Community has been able to meet these challenges throughout Term 1. I believe our communications and management of the issues presented by the Corona Virus has been strong, including our support of students with their learning. I thank our staff, students, and families for working as a team to best manage the Corona Virus situation.
At the time of writing, there has been no confirmation of our school closing after the Term 1 Holidays. Nevertheless, our staff have been incredibly busy in recent times, best preparing a Remote Teaching and Learning Program in the event of any school closure.
I am under no illusion as to the challenges that a Remote Teaching and Learning Program would bring. Many families may already be working from home, and might be faced with combining their work commitments with the responsibilities of parenting, presenting a very challenging dynamic at home. As a College, we are simply asking families and students to do their best, remembering that the health, safety, and wellbeing of your family is the most important consideration during these difficult times. In the event of school closures, students, and families can expect further information to be provided about our remote Teaching and Learning Program if and when it is required.
As per previous communications with our College community, the school holiday period commenced on Tuesday, March 24th, and it will continue through to Tuesday, April 14th (currently a Student Free Day). The current start date of Term 2 is Wednesday, April 15th, but please continue to monitor Compass for Newsfeed Updates from the College concerning COVID-19 and any changes to this date.
Given the situation with COVID-19, the health, safety, and wellbeing of students, families, staff and the broader community is the priority. I ask that our College community take every measure and precaution to best keep healthy, safe, and well during these unprecedented and uncertain times. Be sure to follow the most recent advice and guidance from all of the relevant authorities.
I am proud of how our College community has responded to the challenges of COVID-19. Through Term 1, I am proud of the focused and dedicated approach of our students, and the committed and caring approach of our staff. Furthermore, I recognise the wonderful support provided to our staff and students by families during these challenging times.
I thank our staff and students for their hard work throughout Term 1, and I wish our College Community a safe school holiday break.
Mr. Aaron Smith
Principal, Wheelers Hill Secondary College
Ph: (03) 9561 5811