07 February 2019
Issue One
McKinnon Secondary College
03 8520 9000
McKinnon Road
McKinnon, Victoria, 3204



Friday 8 February



Monday 11 February

PAT Testing


Tuesday 12 February

PAT Testing

7:00pm Year 12 Parent Information Night


Wednesday 13 February

PAT Testing

2:00pm Year 7 Meet the Principal


Thursday 14 February

School Photos

PAT Testing

Kingston Senior Cricket


Friday 15 February

8:30am Photo Catch-ups (P1&2)

PAT Testing


Monday 18 February

Kingston Intermediate Cricket


Tuesday 19 February

6:30pm Finance Sub-Committee

7:00pm School Council


Thursday 21 February

2:30pm Early Finish (Staff PD)


Monday 25 February

Kingston Lawn Bowls

7:00pm Years 8 & 9 Parent Information Night


Wednesday 27 February

Swimming Carnival

7:00pm Music Tour Information Night


Thursday 28 February

9UP Day 1

Year 11 Outdoor Ed Camp


Friday 1 March

Year 11 Outdoor Ed Camp


Monday 4 March

Year 10 Outdoor Ed Surf Camp

7:00pm Years 10 & 11 Parent Information Night


Wednesday 6 March

Year 8 Survivor Islands Challenge

Year 10 Outdoor Ed Surf Camp


Thursday 7 March

Year 12 Formal


Friday 8 March

Year 7 Immunisations

9UP Day 2


Monday 11 March

Labour Day Public Holiday

No classes


Tuesday 12 March

7:00pm Education Sub-Committee


Wednesday 13 March

9UP Day 3

5:00pm Year 7 Information Night


Thursday 14 March

Kingston Swimming


Friday 15 March

Cabaret Night (Hall)


Tuesday 19 March



Wednesday 20 March

House Music Festival


Thursday 21 March

Year 11 Formal

Kingston Intermediate Round Robin














Welcome back to all staff, students, parents and a special welcome to our new families. I hope 2019 will be a most rewarding year filled with many wonderful opportunities for learning and growth.


Congratulations to the school community for such a successful start to the year. I have been very impressed with the excellent way in which students have returned to school looking their best in their uniform, organized with all their appropriate materials and ready to learn.


It is with tremendous pride and honour that I continue as Principal of one of the best schools in the State! I look forward to the wonderful opportunities ahead and give a commitment to continue to serve this community with dedication and professionalism, providing all children with many opportunities to thrive and shine.


Nomination Forms for the School Council elections are now available from the General Office. Included in this newsletter is a link you can access which explains our School Council Elections. Nominations are being called for 1 parent representative and 2 Department representatives and 1 student representative from Year 7 to Year 12. Anyone with any queries regarding School Council Elections are welcome to contact me at school.



Part of the secret to the McKinnon model of success with student outcomes is the very strong partnership that exists between parents and staff.


We value these quality relationships and I know students benefit from them tremendously.


Parents at McKinnon can be relied upon to attend concerts, drama nights, all information evenings but also they read the newsletter, Compass feeds and keep informed and up to date with all relevant events.


They also assist students to be organised, punctual and in full uniform.


This all contributes to student success and building strong relationships and I thank everyone for your efforts.


Congratulations to our Class of 2018 for their outstanding results. Once again McKinnon was one of the top co-educational, non-selective schools in the State.


100% of our students were successful in attaining their VCE


Our Dux achieved an ATAR of 99.90


297 students completed Year 12 and applied to VTAC


96% received a first round offer


98% received a University place


2% received a TAFE offer


18% of all study scores were over 40


35% achieved an ATAR over 90

58% achieved an ATAR over 80


34 was the average study score


I congratulate all students, staff and parents for these wonderful achievements. Our strong partnership ensures the best educational outcomes can be achieved.


This year we fondly welcome new and returning staff members to our College:


Mrs Jessica Dixon - VCAL/Mathematics

Ms Emma Griffith - Mathematics

Ms Ange Masterson - English

Ms Jacqueline Brown - Mathematics & Science

Mr Jesse Grantham-Smith - Mathematics & Science

Mr Shane Papatolicas - English

Ms Marie Lucarelli - Business Management

Ms Natalie Same - English

Ms Meagan Cross - English

Ms Helen Mason - Media & English

Ms Jessica Rogosic - Studio Arts

Ms Sarah Bowes - Psychology

Ms Lucy Angell - English & Drama

Ms Annette Reid - French

Mr Jack Gromer - History & Geography

Ms Anna Koehne - French

Mr Will Voorham - Science

Miss Rachel Walker - English

Mr Robert Bucher - Science & Chemistry

Mr Robert Valerio - Mathematics & Science

Ms Katherine Sip - Art

Ms Helen James - Accounting

Mr Allan Keogh - ICT Support


I hope they find their work with our community professionally rewarding.


There are numerous information evenings and “get-togethers” that will be held over the next few weeks. The Principal Class, Heads of Sub-schools, Student Managers and Teachers look forward to meeting as many parents as possible. There is no doubt that one key aspect to success at McKinnon is the very strong partnership that exists between staff, students and parents in this community. See below for details and thank you in advance for your attendance and support.


Year 12          Parent Information Evening

                        Tuesday 12 February at 7:00pm


Year 7            Meet the Principal afternoon

                        Wednesday 13 February at 2:00pm


Year 8            Parent Information Evening

                        Monday 25 February at 7:00pm


Year 9           Parent Information Evening

                       Monday 25 February at 7:00pm


Year 10          Parent Information Evening

                        Monday 4 March at 7:00pm


Year 11          Parent Information Evening

                        Monday 4 March at 7:00pm


Year 7            Parent Information Evening

                        Wednesday 13 March at 5:00pm


I heard very favourable reports about the Year 12 Camp this week at Phillip Island and I congratulate all of our Year 12s for their respect, dedication, commitment and positive attitude. I would like to acknowledge and thank the Senior School Team, Mr Hudd, Ms Andrieux and Mr Blackmore and all the staff who eagerly participated in the organisation of a very successful camp. I hope it is the beginning of a very rewarding year where incredible success eventuates. Most of all I hope the students feel a strong sense of belonging to their school.

I wish all the Year 12 students the very best in their endeavours and look forward to sharing in their success.


Caitlin Irving (Year 12) has been chosen to perform in this year’s Top Class Dance program as part of the VCE Season of Excellence 2019.  This is an outstanding achievement! Well done Caitlin.


Sam and Will Kay (Year 9) have been selected in the Australian Under 17 Volleyball team to tour Thailand in April.  Well done to both boys, this is a marvellous achievement!


Patrick Gallagher (Year 10) has earned the Australian Scout Medallion. To attain this top award in each of the five Sections in Scouting reflects initiative in tackling this challenge, sustained effort over many months and years, plus self-discipline, teamwork and leadership. Well done Patrick, you are a very worthy winner!

Andjela Zlatic (Year 11) has scored 43 in the Language study of Serbian a subject she studied with the Victorian School of Languages.  This is a wonderful achievement. Well done Andjela!


McKinnon is a full uniform school.  We consider our students’ ambassadors for the College and expect all McKinnon students to wear their uniform with pride. All students in Years 7 to 12 are required to wear a blazer.


For Terms 1 and 4 the blazer is optional – however it is the only outer garment permitted if the students want something warmer than their dress or shirt.


Adherence to school uniform rules is about respect for this community and its traditions and culture.


Again I thank parents for their support in implementing school policy. Anyone experiencing difficulties may contact the relevant Student Manager, Assistant Principals or myself.


All students should arrive at school by 8:30am to give themselves enough time to be organised for an 8:50am start. Lateness is considered a lack of respect and it impacts negatively on the good order of our school. Please assist us to ensure everyone is prompt each and every day.


Parents should nominate a drop off and pick up point with their children outside the school buildings. The school reception foyer can become very congested during the day and is not the place to meet your child after school.


Students must not use their phones from 8:30am until the end of the day bell (including recess and lunchtime). We are committed to following through to help your child concentrate better in class, build stronger relationships with their peers and ultimately improve their mental health.


This decision was made through extensive consultation with students and staff and after reviewing the current research on the subject.


Students are required to keep their phones at home or leave them in their lockers at school. If parents have an urgent need to contact their child over the course of the day they can leave a message at the school office. 


Thank you in advance for your support.


I would also like to remind all parents to be careful when driving along McKinnon Road. It is very congested and at times dangerous.  Please be aware of street signs and adhere to road rules. Parents are being booked daily by parking officers from Glen Eira Council.


The school car park must also not be accessed by parents during school hours. 


The speed limit is always 40km per hour along McKinnon Road and u-turns are not allowed. We have many students riding bikes so please be careful parking and opening doors.


Public Transport Victoria has written to me to ask that we communicate requirements to all students using public transport in Victoria.


Please note the following:


From Term 1 2019 school students can use a PTV Approved School Student ID to access concession fares and to buy Student Passes.


For a school’s ID to be approved by PTV, it must include:

  • The school’s name
  • The student’s name
  • The student’s photo
  • An expiry date no later than 28 February of the year after the student finishes Year 12
  • The PTV logo


The Department of Education does not provide personal accident insurance or ambulance cover for students. Parents/Guardians of students, who do not have student accident insurance are responsible for paying the cost of medical treatment for injured students, including the cost of ambulance attendance/transport and any other transport costs. Parents/Guardians can purchase insurance policies from commercial insurers.


Personal property is often brought to school by students, staff and visitors. This can include mobile phones, iPods, electronic games, calculators, toys, musical instruments, sporting equipment and cars parked on school premises. The Department of Education does not hold insurance for personal property brought to schools and it has no capacity to pay for any loss or damage to such property.


Thank you once again for allowing me the privilege of continuing to serve this community.  We will endeavour to do all we can to ensure this important time in your child’s life is rewarding, engaging and prepares them for success and happiness.

I look forward to seeing everyone throughout the year.




Welcome to the 2019 school year. We especially welcome those families who are new to our school community.  We hope all families had a terrific summer break. 


McKinnon Secondary College uses Compass School Manager as our parent portal. It provides effective communication between parents and the College, and simplifies a range of administrative procedures. Using Compass you will be able to view your child’s assessment results through ‘Learning Tasks’, approve student absences, provide consent/payment for excursions, and book Parent/Teacher/Student interview times, among many other tasks.


All parents need to ensure their Compass username and password are kept secure and confidential. As parents have the ability to approve absences online, your login details should not be shared with your child. In addition to using Compass, parents are welcome to provide notes, emails and/or call the College to inform us of absences.  


Parents can access Compass via the link on the McKinnon Secondary College website. Compass also has a phone app which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play. Any parents who are new to McKinnon this year and have not received their login details should contact the General Office. For parents who accessed Compass last year, the same username and password still applies.


Students who arrive late to Period 1 (which begins at 8:50am), will receive an automatic after school detention, unless a note with an acceptable excuse is provided by a parent. An acceptable excuse is a doctor’s appointment, illness, etc.


We have this system because we believe that:

i. Research shows the best learning occurs early in the day;

ii. Students must be organised and prepared for all classes;

iii. Our teachers and students who are punctual should not have their lessons interrupted by late students;

iv. Period 1 sets the ‘tone’ for each day.


Therefore we ask all parents to support our expectations by ensuring students arrive at school each day by 8:30am so they can get organised for the start of Period 1 at 8:50am.


Please ensure your child comes to school in correct uniform that is in good condition at all times. Uniform should be clean and any tears, holes, etc. repaired. Boys must wear a plain black belt with both shorts and long trousers, with their shirt tucked in. Boys must wear college grey socks; black socks are not acceptable. Only polished black lace-up shoes are acceptable for both boys and girls. Facial piercings such as nose studs are not acceptable and students will be instructed to remove such piercings on-the-spot. Clear studs are also not permitted. We want students to wear the uniform with pride and it is an important part of our school culture.


Please make use of our uniform shop located on campus. The opening times are included in this newsletter and on the McKinnon website. Parents in financial difficulty are encouraged to contact the manager of the student wellbeing team, Mr Peter Gale, for assistance with the provision of uniforms.


A reminder to parents that the sports jacket is only to be worn with Sport/PE uniform. This replaces the Kia spray jacket that will be phased out and is no longer sold at the uniform shop. Students in Year 10 to 12 may still wear this jacket with their sports uniform this year.


The College blazer is the outer uniform garment for all students in Years 7 - 12.  Blazers are optional in Terms 1 & 4; however, when travelling to/from school, students wishing to wear an outer garment must wear their blazer (rather than the College jumper). The blazer is the compulsory outer garments in Terms 2 & 3.


McKinnon runs a very successful Chromebook program designed to improve student engagement and promote even greater academic achievement by providing teachers and students with new ways to learn and collaborate. The College’s teaching and learning program has been developed with the Chromebook’s functionality in mind and both the leadership team and teaching staff believe it plays a vital role in delivering an effective and engaging curriculum.


The success of our Chromebook program is based around all students using a standard platform. All students therefore need to have a school-approved Chromebook. They must also adhere to the following expectations:

  • bring their Chromebook to school every day, with the battery fully charged (it is a good idea to plug it in the night before);
  • take their Chromebook to every class - when and how it will be used will be at the discretion of the teacher;
  • ensure their Chromebook is only used for educational purposes; students’ use of these devices (and all ICT resources such as gmail, Google docs, etc.) must be appropriate at all times and be in line with the College’s values of respect and integrity;
  • never sign-in to the school’s network using another person's Chromebook, and do not permit others to use their Chromebook at school;
  • always store their Chromebook securely when not using it - in lockers in between classes and in bags when travelling to and from school.

If families need to purchase a new Chromebook, please contact the IT office.


For more information about our Chromebook program go to:


We thank all families for supporting this important part of our teaching and learning program.


At this point in the year it is important that parents check that their children are getting into the correct habits with homework. The school diary has recommended homework hours stated for each year level. These suggested times should not just be used to finish set tasks from class but also to review topics covered in class and complete wider reading.


Students are encouraged to write all deadlines in their diary and parents are encouraged to check diary entries, so that students can meet all deadlines punctually.


As all students in Years 9 to 12 have exams in June and/or November, effective revision skills are essential. If no homework has been set for a given evening, students should revise work already completed so that revision is not left to the last minute.


Parental consent is required for students to participate in any excursion or camp, and consent is usually required around at least one week prior to the excursion taking place. Compass displays any events for which consent is required, with an alert under the ‘My News’ heading on the Compass homepage.


School photographs will be taken throughout the day on Thursday 14 February. Please ensure your child attends in correct summer uniform.  


Information about ordering online is included below - the process is slightly different this year. Parents need to logon to the website, enter the school code and add the details for all your children. When the photos are ready to view, you will be notified and will have the ability to customise photo packages. There will be a deadline for ordering online if you want the photos sent to the school. Otherwise, there will be a home delivery option.



 CSEF is provided by the Victorian Government to assist eligible families to cover the costs of school trips, camps and sporting activities, for students in Years 7 to 12.   If you hold a valid means-tested concession card  (e.g. Health Care Card) or are a temporary foster parent, you may be eligible for CSEF. Application forms are available from the Finance Office. For more information about the CSEF visit


PAT Testing will once again take place for all students in years 7 to 9 in the areas of Reading, Grammar and Punctuation, Maths and Science. These tests focus on monitoring student growth over time and allow our staff to tailor their teaching to the needs of individual learners in our classrooms. These assessments reflect the college's commitment to deliver the best program to each student.


Please note the Walnut St Gate is locked at all times.  Students accessing the school from the north must enter and exit via the Draper St gate.



Over the Christmas school holidays, Charlotte McLaverty (Year 9) entered a film into Tropfest Jr

and was selected as a finalist. Tropfrest is the biggest short film festival in the world.


She wrote, produced, directed, shot and edited the film all by herself and is one of the 16 finalists whose films will premiere at Tropfest in Sydney in the coming weekend.


Congratulations Charlotte on this amazing achievement and we wish you continued success!


Merryn Walker




Welcome back to the wonderful world of English. We have an exciting year ahead of theatrical performances, presentations from authors, writing workshops and much more. In 2019 we also welcome several new staff who bring a wealth of experience and expertise to McKinnon.


As usual Writer Of The Month and Book Club will be running; keep an eye on Compass for information. Students in Years 7-9 are reminded that they must bring a reading book to each English lesson.

The Library is open for borrowing throughout the term, with the team there happy to recommend a good book.


We look forward to a fantastic year of exploring texts, challenging ideas and creative thinking.


Sam Florence

English KLA Manager



Code starts in A3 on Monday 11 February. Mr Munro will be running this club every Monday lunchtime so come along and improve your coding skills.



For Year 7s, it is good to know what you can get help with ICT any lunchtime in the computer room A04. This room is open every lunchtime and is staffed by one of the Year 7 ICT teachers.


For all other students, A4 is a great place to come and catch up on work for any subject. Sometimes your teacher may ask you to come to A4 to complete a test that you have missed but students are free to use this room at any time for completing work.


Shirley Munro

IT Teacher



The McKinnon Spanish program for beginners at Year 9 level is based on social communication and cultural enrichment and includes a closer collaboration with our sister school in Cuenca, Spain. Ms Jimenez developed this course for our students which can lead into Cert II in Applied Language qualification in Year 10. The course was introduced last year and students already experienced additional workshops with Spanish soccer coaches, traditional Flamenco dancers and culinary experiences on offer. Ms Jimenez´s skills as Spanish native speaker benefits not only our students but the entire school community. We look forward to engaging more students in the Spanish Language program in the coming years.


All French Language students are using the e-book version of the course book which needs to be purchased from Campion. Language lessons are a compulsory part of the Curriculum and give students the best start in an increasingly multilingual world.


Your child will require the online version of the prescribed textbook. You will receive an access code for the purchased book. Please make sure you keep this information secure, in case your child's access gets interrupted.


Year 8 German students are the last Year level with the Nelson online subscription to the textbook “Genau!” purchased at Campion. Please ensure your child has access to the online book. If your child is new to the school or is unable to log on, the student needs to contact the German classroom teacher.


All other German students and Year 11 and 12 French students are subscribed to Oxford online resources which are purchased by the school. The cost for these books has been included in school fees. Students will be enrolled by the administrator and have full access for the entire year.  


As in the past years, all Year 10 French and German students will be enrolled in the 10297NAT Certificate II in Applied Language. This course includes social and vocational language and is auspiced by a Registered Training Organisation, Ripponlea Institute.


The course is funded by the Government and encourages each student to complete this certificate.


This national qualification is part of our Year 10 program and acknowledges the students´ language learning. It counts for 3 units at Unit 1 and 2 level and could be completed with Certificate III in Applied Language in Year 11. Students will receive an increment to their ATAR - 10% of their 4 subjects.


This course should attract students who do not feel confident in completing VCE languages, but would still like to have their languages qualifications acknowledged in their final VCE statement.  


If your son/daughter studies another language outside of school, the Victorian School of Languages offers this certificate in several languages.


An information session will be held before the Year 10 Information Night. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.


Please support your child in learning another language! Research confirms that the parents´ attitude towards language learning has a significant impact on the child's success.


Another language is a lasting asset in an increasingly demanding global world whilst many other skills undergo constant change. Languages do not only teach communication skills but also develop flexibility, creativity and higher order thinking. Language learning also adds health and social benefits. As already Goethe said “The more languages you know, the more you are human”.


The following article will give you a few tips of how to help your child!


Andrea Fowler

Head of Languages


Mme Koehne

Hello, my name’s Annie Koehne and I’m a graduate French teacher. I studied at Deakin and have been learning languages all my life. I fell in love with French in primary school because of an amazing teacher; whom I hope to emulate for my students. Fortunately, my passion didn’t decrease, and actually took me to study a year abroad in France for Year 12! It was hard at first, as I skipped a year and a half to the end of Year 12 and we studied cool subjects I’d never encountered before such as philosophy! My brain was so tired from the French exposure, that I accidentally started falling asleep in class – it was so embarrassing! I’m glad I persevered however as languages are a central part of my personality and I speak a little Spanish and am currently learning Serbian!


Mme Reid

I am new to the French Department at McKinnon Secondary College after eleven years of teaching French and German at Melbourne Grammar School and one year at The Knox School. Having lived in a number of countries and different cultures, I find McKinnon Secondary College fascinating in all its diversity, which I wholly embrace. Languages are a life skill that assists learners see things from different perspectives, develop problem-solving skills, and make them more adaptable, resourceful and creative. My aim is to make learning French fun and enjoyable, whilst keeping students accountable and focussed on achieving excellence.  


Gaining cultural awareness and the ability to operate cross-culturally is just as valuable as straight language skills. With this in mind, I endeavour to engage our students in a range of cultural projects this year. Languages require students to think on their feet and when they can find the correct words or suitable sentences they feel a real sense of achievement. Languages also contribute to the cognitive development of the learners and help them improve their memory which is essential for other school subjects.


In summary, whilst language learning can, undoubtedly, be challenging to many, it is worth the effort as the experience is very rewarding. In this context, I will focus on creating personalized lessons and a productive environment where each student is engaged and supported at their own level. It is a privilege to be working at McKinnon Secondary College and I look forward to a great year at the School.


Last December, sixteen of our Year 10 French students spent three and a half wonderful weeks in France, reunited with their exchange partners and meeting their families. It was an incredibly positive experience where our students learnt so much about France, French language, French culture, their host families, French school life and even about themselves.

During the weeks, the students went to school and on several excursions, exploring the French Riviera region. One highlight was a day at a 'wolf sanctuary' where the mountains were covered in fresh, soft, white snow. We ate delicious foods, saw beautiful scenery, met many kind people and had a lot of fun. The students have many memories that will stay with them forever. Many will keep in touch with their partners and their families, some already making plans to go back next year!


The current Year 10 group can now start getting excited about hosting the new selection of French students in June.


Ms Kellie Dickson

French Exchange Co-ordinator



Welcome back to Sport in 2019!


Below is a list of important dates for Term 1.


Kingston Senior Boys and Girls Cricket - Thursday 14 February;

Inter Boys and Girls Cricket - Wednesday 20 February;

Kingston Lawn Bowls - Monday 25 February;

McKinnon House Swimming Sports - Wednesday 27 February;

Kingston Swimming - Thursday 14 March;

Kingston Inter Round Robin - Thursday 21 March (sports include - tennis, baseball, softball and volleyball);

Kingston Senior Round Robin - Monday 1 April (sports include - tennis, baseball, softball, futsal, basketball and volleyball).


James Bridges

Head of Senior Sport














A warm welcome back to the new year in the Music Department.  We are thoroughly looking forward to the fantastic performing opportunities that will present themselves throughout the year.


VCE students are reminded that they should be setting up their rehearsal schedule NOW for whole year to ensure success in the final performances.


We are excited about the House Music Festival where the students have the opportunity to showcase their talents as arrangers and performers. This will take place at 7pm on Wednesday 20 March in the School Hall.  Make sure you mark your calendars for this very exciting event. Once Music Captains have been announced at the upcoming General Assembly, rehearsals will begin.


The allocation process for new music students has already started with both the band and string classes and will continue to take place in classes over the next few weeks. Students will be advised when to bring their instruments for their ensemble practice.


Rehearsals for out of class ensembles will start progressively over the next few weeks. Students are reminded that they will need to be prompt to all rehearsals. 


All personally owned instruments brought to school must be clearly identified with the student’s name and a contact number. It is also advisable that something that is a ‘point of difference’ is attached to the case so that students can quickly and easily identify their own instrument.


Saturday 23 February 2019, at 3pm - Senior Stage Band performing at the Big Bands Sunsets Festival in Mordialloc. For more information


All fees will be payable online through Compass.


Megan Papworth

Head of Music



The library looks forward to seeing all students in the library this year. We are no longer a Year 12 VCE centre, but a resource to be used by the whole school!


The library opens at 8:15am in the morning and closes at 4:30pm, closing at recess. Later in the term we will be opening until 5:30pm. Students are reminded that food or drink are not permitted in the library.  As per school policy mobile phone use is not permitted.


Most of my posts are about the fundamental importance of reading in education.  An article in the Herald-Sun on 18 December looked at high achieving VCE students, and in particular a Cheltenham Secondary College student Marwa Karimi who was the school’s highest-achieving student in English despite not being able to speak it fluently until she reached high school. To build her confidence she “hit the books”!  “I saw it as a really important thing because if you can’t communicate with people, you’re really creating barriers for yourself”.


Morris Gleitzman is the author of Once, a book studied at school and widely enjoyed by students. Reprinted below is the full text of an article published recently in the Herald-Sun. I ask parents to read this article and discuss the importance of reading with their child.



During more than thirty years of writing for young people, I’ve been to a couple of thousand schools.

My main focus on these visits, apart from spending important time in the staffroom working out which is the visitor’s mug, has been listening to young readers talk about their reading. Learning what it is that really keeps them turning the page.


Some of it is what you’d expect. Fun, excitement, the chance in each new book to make new friends and have new experiences, sometimes in fascinatingly different times and places, sometimes in places you know well but are seeing through different eyes, all the while discovering the joy of words and what you can do with them and what they can do to you.


Reading stories creates literacy like nothing else on the planet. But there’s more. And when I first discovered this surprise extra as a young author, I was so stunned that the visitor’s mug slipped from my incredulous fingers. (Luckily teachers are great at diving catches.)


Stories don’t just help kids develop language literacy. They help them develop life literacy too.


Here’s how it works.


Young readers love stories in which a young character is facing a problem bigger and more threatening than any they’ve faced before. To solve or survive the problem, the character must develop skills and qualities beyond their previous experience or homework. Such as:


* Thinking bravely and honestly about what’s causing the problem;

* Developing their research skills to better understand what they’re up against;

* Big problems require teamwork, so the character needs to form friendships and alliances. Understanding enemies is a help too. All of which requires development of people skills, in particular empathy;

* Creative thinking is a must because a character with a problem needs problem-solving strategies;

* And resilience is inevitable because big problems never get solved on page 27, not when an author is contracted to write 250 pages. Which gives the young character plenty of opportunities to pick themselves up and try again.


You can probably see where this is going. As young characters steam ahead on their problem-solving journeys, young readers are at their side, imaginations aglow, offering advice and care and creative solutions. And themselves absorbing every one of these new skills and abilities.


In my current role as Australian Children’s Laureate, almost every day I meet young people whose lives are powered by books. Reading for pleasure keeps their minds expanding, their hearts beating with humanity, and helps them explore who they are and who they could become. And when one of your favourite activities is equipping you with resilience, creative thinking, empathy, bravery, interpersonal skills and problem-solving abilities, there’s no limit to who you can be.


In a perfect world, every child would have this experience every day. Ideally in a school with books for all, and teachers with time to share them, and principals who know that everything they wish for their students will happen spectacularly better if those students spend at least a part of each day being guided through the realms of reading, and being initiated into its limitless possibilities, by an experienced, highly educated, infinitely wise professional guardian of all that is precious in our human journey. A national living treasure known in the staff room as a teacher librarian.


Not all schools have these things. Though in my experience, the more that parents demand them, the more they appear.


Parents and carers have another role to play in the equipping of young people to be the literate heroes of their own lives. This one at home.


News Corp and Australia Post have launched an Aussie kids’ literacy program.

No, I’m not saying sit around for hours each day reading lots of books and setting a good example for the kids. Be great if you could, but in the real world, at least until we parents get ourselves organised and agitate for the 48-hour day, that’s probably not going to happen.


There is something you can do, though, that really doesn’t take very long. When young people are reading life-changing stories, they want to talk about them. Often to older people they trust and love. Try to make the time for those conversations. They will truly turbo-charge the reading that is fuelling your kids’ life journeys.


Morris Gleitzman is an Australian children’s book author and the Australian Children Laureate for 2018 and 2019.


Returning library books that you have borrowed so other students can enjoy them!  Please return all books promptly.


Russell Absalom

Library Resource Manager



At McKinnon we aim to encourage our students to be SunSmart so they can reduce their risk of skin cancer later in life. 


We know that a healthy balance of exposure to the sun’s UV rays is important for everyone. However, the latest information indicates that the information we should be paying particular attention to is the UV Index reported by the Bureau of Meteorology. This is a far more accurate way of protecting ourselves against skin damage that can lead to skin cancer. The predicted temperature for the day, the time of day and the month of the year are also important considerations, but UV radiation can be high even on cool and overcast days. Our advice? Apply sunscreen prior to coming to school and bring some from home to apply when necessary. SPF50+ is the recommended sunscreen and needs to be applied liberally.


The school hat is a compulsory part of the PE and sport uniform and MUST be worn Terms 1 and 4 during these lessons. It can also be worn to and from school, at recess and lunchtime or when attending an outside class such as peer support.


We are now aware that eyes are very sensitive to UV damage. Wearing a broad-brimmed hat can cut the amount of UV radiation reaching your eyes by 50%. Wearing both a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses can reduce UV rays to the eyes by up to 98%, therefore sunglasses may also be worn when in the sun.


Our Annual Swimming Carnival is to be held on WEDNESDAY 27 FEBRUARY. We encourage students to be responsible by wearing hats, sunscreen and covering up whilst waiting for their events or watching other students participate. It is the students’ responsibility to manage their SunSmart behaviour although we do remind them and reinforce sun protection measures.  If they do happen to forget their sunscreen on the day, there will be sunscreen lotion available.


It is also important to be mindful that, as we know, Melbourne can have four seasons in one day, so be prepared!


The following links may be useful if you want more information.


Please visit the Cancer Council Australia website for more information including the link to a useful SunSmart App.


Susan Wilken

Community Health



Office hours are:                        8:15am - 4:30pm

Telephone:                                                8520 9000


Parents should always make contact with the General Office first when visiting the school or trying to make contact with their children.


Appointments with teachers must be made via telephone or email them directly.



Student absences should be reported to the school before 9:00am. Please email the Attendance Officers Alison Pollock/Joanne Robinson ([email protected]) or telephone 8520 9050 on the day of the absence by 9:00am. 


A note on the day of return to the General Office is required for absences where no parent contact has been possible.



In order to minimise disruption to class and maximise learning opportunities for our students, we would like to remind you of the school policy regarding late arrival to school. Students are expected to be at school at 8:30am. A locker bell rings at 8:35am and class begins punctually at 8:50am. If your child is late for any reason, please notify the school by phone 8520 9050, email [email protected] or by writing a note in the student's diary explaining the reason. 


If no explanation has been received students are given a pass to class and an after school detention for the following day.


Please ensure that if your child is leaving early or arriving late for any reason that a note needs to be written in the diary so that the teachers are aware too.


If your student needs to leave school early for any reason, please write a note in their diary explaining the reason. Teachers will not allow any student to leave their class unless there is authorisation.


We appreciate your support in this. If you have any questions please call Alison/Joanne on 8520 9050.


Families are now able to order and purchase uniforms online. Ordered items can be collected from the Uniform Shop. Please allow three working days for pick-up. Please click on the attached link to order uniforms:

Phone/Fax No:  9578 2151



For years 9 - 12 only there are a limited number of old style track pants and old style kea jackets being sold at reduced prices.

Track pants $21.00

Jackets          $42.00

Only available for purchase from the shop.



Tuesdays                                      8:15am - 12 noon

Fridays                                        12:30pm - 4:00pm

1st Saturday every month    9:30am - 12 noon


Please ensure all school clothes, books and personal property are clearly labelled with the student’s name. Many items are not returned to their rightful owners because they are not labelled correctly or clearly.


USBs should include a folder with the student’s name and form to assist in returning it to the correct person. If you have lost anything see Mrs Plate in the Sick Bay during recess, lunch or end of day.



Local Community News


The Victorian School of Languages offers classes in Russian, Hebrew and Korean on the McKinnon Secondary College Campus on Thursday evenings from 4.30pm to 7.30pm. These classes are open to any school student and the standard cost is $80 for the year ($95 for VCE level) which covers 30 lessons.

For more information, please visit our website or email [email protected]




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