Dear Families, Students and Community Members,
Welcome back for Term 4. It is very important that all students settle quickly into the daily routine of lessons as well as our expectations of home study.
Having Positive Conversations about school with your child.
Parents, in partnership with the College, can have a significant impact on a child’s achievement. Do you ask your child the question “How was school today?” and get the answer “OK.” A real conversation stopper! Another way to ask the question is, “What have you learned today that might be useful for a lifetime?" Your child will have to think more deeply about this question if they are going to be polite and answer you. It will also help them see the way their learning can be applied to “real life”. Other questions you could ask include:
- What have you done today that makes you feel particularly proud?
- Can you think of a time today when you went out of your way to be helpful to someone?
- What is the most demanding or challenging experience you had today?
- Can you think of a time today when you were especially enthused?
School Performance Report
The Department has a new differentiated approach to school improvement with five identified school performance groups based on 17 measurements across 7 domains including achievement in reading and numeracy, school climate, student attitudes to school, engagement, participation and senior secondary completion rates and achievement in VCE English. This year we have achieved an overall rating of “Influence”. This is the highest performance rating a school can achieve and, as such, Mordialloc College is recognised as a state leader in teaching and learning, student engagement and wellbeing.
Principal for a Day Program
This week I hosted Ross Symons CEO of Big Ant Studios for the Principal for a Day program, a program I have participated in on a regular basis. Ross is an entrepreneur with a passion for technology and electronic entertainment. He began coding in the 1970s, authored a number of internationally published books on programming and games for platforms including the TRS80 and Commodore PET/VIC20/64 series of personal computers, studied computer science, studied law, worked all around the world, lived on most continents, came back to Australia and founded Big Ant (www.bigant.com). Ross studied law at Deakin and Computer Science at RMIT.
I first took Ross on a tour of the College, visiting a number of classrooms to observe the range of different programs in action. We held a morning tea with all staff at recess. The majority of the day was spent on specific classroom visits to some Digitech and STEM classes for Ross to speak to the students about his career pathway and professional work, with plenty of student questions. We also had an informal lunch with the student leadership group where they had the opportunity to hear about his leadership journey.
Ross’s comment on the day – “I really enjoyed the day. It was great to meet so many bright students with enquiring minds who love technology as much as I do. There is no doubt, with help from the dedicated teachers that I met, that they will be ready to take on the challenges of tomorrow and beyond. I very much look forward to coming back and visiting again soon."
From my perspective the day is always a most positive and worthwhile experience. It is such a good way to promote public education and is a great opportunity for the students to get a different perspective on local and global issues and to make new connections. In continuing our connection with a previous participant, Adrianne Fleming from Tristar Aviation, we have been able to offer VETis onsite in aviation in partnership with Tristar Aviation for interested students from our school and surrounding schools. Hopefully we can continue some form of relationship to benefit our students with Ross and Big Ant Studios.
Focused on achieving Personal Best
Thanks to our Acting Director of Senior School, Robyn Wilson and Year 12 Coordinator, Tim Randell and all Year 12 staff for the timely completion of Unit 4 content to enable our practice exams in all subjects to be completed during the last week of Term 3. This has provided more focused time on targeted revision in the lead up to the important final Year 12 exams starting on Wednesday 31 October with English. My thanks to all teachers who assisted with the supervision of these revision exams and their efficient marking of the papers, to provide students with valuable feedback to assist their preparation for their final exams at the College.
All students in Years 9-12 will be completing final assessments and continuing the rigorous planning and preparation for their final exam weeks that are fast approaching. It is so important for all students to remain focused and use class and home study time effectively. VCE students should seek help from their teachers to work on any identified weaknesses, complete unit summaries and continue to work on exam performance by completing past exam papers under the exam time constraints. Students in the Senior School had the opportunity to participate in workshops with Elevate held at the school, focusing on study techniques during the year. I encourage students to also be fully utilising their key learnings from participating in these sessions in the lead up to the exams.
Students in Years 7-8 will also be completing assessments throughout the term leading into the final reporting period prior to our whole school 2019 Headstart program commencing on Monday 19 November. It is our clearly stated expectation of everyone to strive to achieve their personal best.
Always a wonderful way to finish Term 3 is our annual Mordi Idol event in front of the whole school. We managed to squeeze into the Year 7 Learning Centre to be entertained by eight high quality student performances and of course it wouldn’t be Mordi Idol without the infamous staff act shown up on the screen at the end. I was one of the judges, along with school captains Sabrina and Bailey, and we had a really tough decision in deciding the final place getters. Congratulations to all competitors who were prepared to bravely put themselves out there in front of the whole school. The overall scores were extremely close and we were delighted to announce the winner - Liam Canavan from Year 11 and he received a resounding round of applause from the study body. Second place went to Alex Unwin from Year 11, third to Laetitia Ah-young from Year 10 and fourth was Dorje Jankos from Year 12. Thanks to Adelle Stevenson for her organisation of this whole school event and the support given by Demis Danoudis on the day.
A reminder to all parents and students to be checking the learning task section on the Compass portal to receive regular feedback on the progress of your child/children. We have moved to progressive reporting on all key benchmark tasks (common tasks completed by all students in all subjects) and SACs for VCE. For all core subjects you can expect to see two benchmark tasks per term reported on and at least one for elective/specialist classes.
This important change to reporting is allowing you to receive up to date feedback on your child’s progress and results throughout the semester, rather than waiting for the end of semester report.
Mental Health Week
Thanks to the Wellbeing team – Di Douglas, Lana Paten, Ann Marsh and Director of Student Engagement, Sally Mitchell - who have run a number of activities for students and staff to promote Mental Health Week e.g. Zumba at lunchtime, make your own stress ball, Kingston Youth activities, art competition etc.
This also included a Youth Engagement Expo with up to twenty local organisations represented here at the school on Thursday for students to visit such as SES Chelsea, Little Aths, Australian Defence Force, Bendigo Bank, Chelsea Rotary, Kingston Scouts, Aspendale Lifesaving Club and Mordialloc Sailing Club to name a few!
Congratulations to all SEAL students who participated in the respective Australian and ICAS academic competitions throughout the year. Please see Alice Leppin’s article later in the newsletter listing all award winners.
Year 7 2019 iPad Program Information Night
On Thursday 11th October we held our iPad information night for the new cohort of Year 7 students coming to us next year. The night was well attended and I thank Director of eLearning Justin Wischusen, Laura Gorman – Year 7 Coordinator in 2019 and Daniel Williams - Director of Middle School for their organisation of this night and also thank all the staff who attended to meet our new families. There was a very detailed information pack distributed on the night to all families and we look forward to welcoming our new students officially to the school on Orientation Tuesday Day 11 December. At this stage, with 190 students expected, we are planning for eight form groups again in Year 7 in 2019.
Student Led Conferences
As previously communicated, Student Led Conferences are a compulsory component of your child’s program at Mordialloc College. For students who were unable to participate in the conferences held in the last week of last term, a second compulsory opportunity has been scheduled on Wednesday 17th October between 2.45-3.45pm in the Year 7 Learning Centre. Letters with appointment times have been distributed to students this week. Students will have the opportunity to lead a 10 minute conference and reflect upon their work, progress and achievements to date. Parents/Guardians are welcome to attend, but are not required. Well done to the majority of students who completed their conference last term. They did a fantastic job reflecting upon their learning and exploring strategies to further their education. They brought examples of their work and were able to discuss strengths and areas for improvement.
This week the College has received an extra four classrooms to assist in catering for the increase in our student population. They are being installed along the fence line opposite the Year 7 Learning Centre and will be in operation from Headstart 2019, beginning on November 19. The Year 7 downball wall had to be demolished in the process, however we will rebuild this elsewhere.
All students should be wearing the summer uniform this term. Just a reminder that ALL boys must be wearing the short sleeved business shirt with College logo in summer. Also to our current Year 9 students, a reminder that you will need to purchase the grey Senior School jumper for 2019 Headstart as you will be entering Year 10 and the Senior School.
Ms. Michelle Roberts