Welcome to 2018. We are already half way through Term 1 and it seems like it was only yesterday that we were on summer vacation!
We know that each year seems to fly by very quickly due to the busy calendar of school events; already we have had an action packed first four weeks.
The beginning of the year is always exciting as we welcome the new Year 9 students, along with a small cohort of Year 10 and 11 students. It is a pleasure to welcome these new students to our school and to begin the process of helping them transition into a new environment. One event that certainly introduces them to the school culture is swimming sports, which were held five days into the school year!
This year we moved the swimming to the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC) in Albert Park. This venue is a huge improvement on the Lara pool and saves us having to transport the entire school to and from the venue. In this newsletter, you will see pictures and information about the successful day we had at MSAC.
The Year 9 students undertake the Primus program, which is specifically designed to assist in the transition of students from some eighty different schools into SCHS. As part of this program, the students undertake three days of city experience and undertake small group projects on growth mindset. These projects are then displayed around the school and made available for parents to view at the "Meet The Teachers" evening. The evening was well attended and the students very proud to show off their projects. We have found that the Primus program establishes the foundations of a positive experience of our school for all of our Year 9 students.
The Year 12 students have made a positive start to their final year of secondary schooling. This year we added a three day camp for them to assist in preparing them for the remainder of what is often a very stressful year. The Year 12 students are our school leaders and their example is very important to the development of the positive school culture we engender. Even in these few weeks of school, the Year 12 students have already been leading the way.
There is always pressure on our senior students to perform well in the VCE. Unfortunately, the school’s results are published in the paper each year; subsequently, that places pressure on the following cohort. Our results from 2017 were very pleasing, placing us in the top five government schools; however, these VCE results do not tell the real story. As many of you will have heard me say, a more appropriate set of data is not the ATARs or median study scores, rather the better data is the percentage of students receiving offers for one of their first three university course preferences. This data for the 2017 cohort was exceptional; 88% of students received an offer for one of their first three preferences. An important aspect of this success has been the emphasis, time, and effort placed on careers advice. The school employs 1.5 full-time equivalent staff to provide careers and university course selection advice.
The strength of the school and the education we provide is not just about academics. The development of the whole person is fundamental to the success of the students and the school. The Renaissance person, a well-rounded individual, will always do better academically and in life. This is why all of our students are expected to participate in a wide variety of activities, from sport, to co-curricular, to chorals, and a myriad of other opportunities. We work very hard to ensure that we offer a wide range of opportunities and educational experiences.
Overseas trips are an important part of the school program. In past years, we have had trips to Cambodia, Vietnam, the USA, New Caledonia, Singapore and China. Each of these trips has had a different focus; however, they all have an educational purpose. This year we will develop a two-year travel plan for overseas trips. This year we will have three trips on offer: Singapore in July; Greece and Italy in September; and Cambodia in December. The Singapore trip is for Year 9 students to participate in humanities based projects with our sister school, the National Junior College. Greece and Italy is focussed on ancient history and Latin, but is certainly not limited to students studying those subjects; and Cambodia is a project under the auspices of Global Learning Expeditions (GLE) (formerly APYF) where the students fundraise to help build a school in rural Cambodia and then go and help build the school. Please look for information on these trips on Compass, in the newsletter, on the school’s website or on Facebook.
We are always looking for ways to improve our communication with the school community. This year we will be overhauling the school’s website and streamlining our social media presence. We have employed a new person to improve our communications and marketing and already Jack has made a significant difference to our digital footprint. This newsletter is now using a different platform, which will enable translation into different languages to improve accessibility for parents. The newsletter will be produced twice a term. Compass remains an important point of contact and information for parents as well as students. The parent portal is for the exclusive use of parents; please don’t give your login details to your child.
Once again, welcome to the 2018 school year. I am looking forward to an exciting year ahead.