NEWSLETTER – END OF TERM 1 2019

Dear Parents and Carers

Term 1 has come to rapid close and it has been a very busy term at the college. We welcomed our Year 7 cohort to the college and they have settled in well to the day to day routines and their learning. They have also undertaken a fantastic camp on which friendships were formed and our staff got to know them a little better.

This term has seen the continued introduction of our whole school instructional model (called GANAG) which is our framework that is aimed at ensuring all students are engaged in their learning for every lesson. All of our teachers are setting learning goals for each lesson and reflecting on the learning that has taken place at the end of each lesson. Our teachers are using high impact teaching and learning strategies to teach our agreed curriculum and using assessment data to target the teaching to the level required. We are undertaking this work in collaborative teams all with the common aim of improving student learning outcomes.

Our new gymnasium is making swift progress and as you drive past the college, you can now see the scale of the project and the incredible facility that is going to be delivered for our students, staff and community. At this stage we are on schedule for completion by term 3 and I look forward to inviting our community to see the completed building. This project is one part of our college master plan aimed at providing the best facilities possible for our community.

This year we are undertaking our college review which is focused on the things that we are doing well and the areas that we need to improve in. Our reviewer has been appointed and will be meeting with us shortly to outline and begin the review process. From our review we will develop our next four year Strategic Plan which outlines the key areas of work for the college. We have already begun some of this work and have been running focus groups with students from all year levels to find out what they think is working and they enjoy at the college and what areas need improvement. Staff have also had input into this process and we will of course be inviting parents and carers for their views and opinions. It is important that all stakeholders have a voice in this process.

Based on feedback we have already received from students we will be building more locker bays in the college to support students to store and access their equipment as they attend their various lessons. Part of this process will involve moving our bike shed to another location. As part of providing our students with the best facilities possible we need all parents to please pay their school fees. This money supports our college on many levels including learning programs and facilities. We have the lowest school fees of any school in the state and we have kept them at this low rate to not place a large financial burden on families. However without collection of these fees we are restricted in continuing our improvement journey. Payment plans are also available to assist families.

I would like to ask all parents/carers to support our students to wear a bike helmet as they ride or scooter to college. There are a number of students who are arriving without this important head protection and we know the importance a helmet plays should the worst case scenario occur and a child is involved in an accident. I would also ask all parents to encourage their child to use the relevant approved crossings adjacent to the college. This is the safest way to cross the road and reduces the risk of a car not being able to react to a student running across the road. Road awareness and road safety are important aspects of arriving and leaving the college and we have been reinforcing this with our students on a daily basis.

This term we have had our highest levels of attendance at our college open night and parent/student conferences. This indicates the increased interest and engagement in our college. Our college numbers have increased this year and will increase even further in 2020, which is a reflection of the improvement journey we have been on.

I would like to thank our staff for their support of our students and their learning and I would like to thank our students for focusing on their studies for Term 1. Please have a restful term break and I look forward to Term 2 where we will continue our focus on learning.

Regards

Mark Gow

Principal

 

NEWSLETTER – TERM 1 2019

I would like to welcome back all parents, students and staff to Carrum Downs Secondary College for the 2019 school year. I hope everybody had a restful break and we are now back into full swing here at the college.

I would particularly like to welcome the 185 Year 7 students and their parents/carers who have just joined our college. I have been into the classrooms of our Year 7 students and received feedback from our Year 7 teachers that they have settled in well and are adapting to their new schooling environment.

It is a bit daunting at first getting to know their new classmates and teachers, working out their new locks for their lockers, understanding the timetable and making sure they arrive on time with correct equipment for each lesson of the day but credit to them all for accepting and overcoming these challenges.

Our House teams have been supporting each student to make sure that the transition from primary school to secondary school is as smooth as possible. It was great to catch up with many parents this week at our Year 7 meet and greet nights. Putting a face to a name for both parents and teachers is invaluable as we try to establish a strong partnership with each family. Please remember that if you have any issues or concerns you can contact your child’s teacher or a member of your child’s House leadership team for support.

This year at Carrum Downs Secondary College will be another busy one with the focus of our college being placed on student learning. We are supporting our staff to use and embed high quality teaching practices in every classroom and to be consistent in our approach to teaching and learning to ensure that every student grows and learns.

I am sure every parent gets the same answer when their child gets home from school and you ask them what they did today and that is “nothing much”. I have had four of my own children recently complete their secondary schooling and I used to get the same response and I would think, “What does happen at school each day then?”

A handy tip to get the conversation past this point is to ask your child what were the learning goals that the teacher had for you today. Every lesson, our staff outline to our students the goal of the lesson and what will be learnt. Students write these goals down into their workbooks each lesson.

Our staff will also ask your child to reflect at the end of each lesson as to their level of understanding based on the learning goal for the lesson. Did they understand what was taught to them or do they still need assistance with this work. These reflections are performed through learning reflection sheets and your child should have these in their workbook for you to look at.

Last year we undertook a large amount of work to revisit our school values. We sought feedback from parents, students and staff and once we have further refined this work we will be publishing our core values across the college. We are also in the process of revisiting our school vision with the aim of reducing it to just one sentence which will assist to embed it in our everyday work.

Our college is undertaking a school review this year. This is an Education Department process that looks at how the college has performed over the last four years and areas of work that it needs to focus on for the next four years. From this review we will develop our Strategic Plan which outlines these priorities and this plan will be approved by our school council and published on our website for all of our stakeholders to see.

As part of this work we will be calling on students, parents and staff to provide us with feedback and to ensure that they have a strong voice in this process. Please contact the college if you would like to participate in this process.

As you have probably noticed our new gymnasium is motoring along with the steel skeleton about to be erected. Our builders are doing a great job and at this stage are on schedule to complete this project by July.  We look forward to being able to use this new learning facility and I ask for everybody’s assistance and patience as we go through this building process. Our PE faculty have been most affected by not being able to use the current gym and our whole school activities such as assemblies have also been impacted. We have plans in place to work around this and the short term pain this build causes will be far outweighed once our new double gymnasium is in action.

This year we will be introducing the School Wide Positive Behaviours Support across the college. This program aims at reinforcing positive behaviours in all areas of the college. Our House leaders are developing and implementing this program and will be sending out information as we begin its operation. We will also continue to implement The Resilience Project across the college which assists with the development of Empathy, Gratitude and Mindfulness. Please take the time to visit their website and find out about the program and to attend our parent information session on April 29th at 7.00pm in the Theatre.

I would like to thank all our parents/carers for your support with ensuring that your child is in correct uniform, at school on time and has the correct materials and equipment to undertake each class. These are the things that ensure your child is ready to enter the classroom and focus on learning.

I look forward to the year ahead and the growth that each child will be able to demonstrate through their commitment to their learning.
Regards

Mark Gow
Principal
Carrum Downs Secondary College

NEWSLETTER – TERM 4 2018

This year has been another busy one at Carrum Downs Secondary College. We recently held our Year 12 Valedictory dinner which was a highly successful celebration of the completion of secondary schooling for all of our Year 12 students.

We have just received our VCE results for 2018 and I would like to congratulate our Dux of the college, Evan Katsianos who intends on pursuing a pathway in Law and has applied to the relevant Universities to gain a placement in this course. We wish him well.

Last year we had over 50% of our Year 12 VCE cohort gain places in Universities and Tertiary Institutions and we will be aiming to surpass this mark again this year. Overall our senior students in both VCE and VCAL are very successful in gaining relevant pathways as they leave our college and we will continue to support our current students to pursue the pathways that they have chosen.

We also recently held our college Awards night which celebrated the achievements and academic success of our students across Years 7 to 12. As I outlined on this night our core business as a college is student learning along with all of the other programs that we conduct to support all of our students to develop and grow.

I would like to congratulate all of our award winners who have shown a high level of commitment to their studies. I would also like to thank the parents and carers who attended on the night and are supporting their children with their learning. We are in a partnership with all of our stakeholders to ensure every student is progressing through the college and that their learning is at the required standard.

As you may be aware we have been running our SHINE (Student Help in Numeracy and English) program this year which supports students who need extra assistance with their studies. Data clearly indicates that the learning of our Year 8 and 9 students who participated in this program grew by twice the expected amount as measured by our testing program and all other students in the program demonstrated significant learning growth. We intend to continue this program in partnership with Monash University into 2019 to further support our students.

Our gymnasium construction has begun and our builder, Interface Constructions is making rapid progress. We are hoping that the gymnasium will be completed by around July next year and we will be able to access this new space. We have plans in place to conduct our PE classes during construction and we will also be hoping for good weather so that we can conduct classes in our outside Physical Education spaces while the gym is out of action.

We have once again provided a large extra curricula program for our students which has included camps and excursions, music programs and concerts, school production-Little Shop of Horrors, inter house and inter school sport, pathways activities, hosting Japanese students and our students touring Japan and the many fundraising activities that our students and college supports.

Once again we ran our student leadership camp for our 2019 school leaders. Our innovative leadership program is aimed at developing leadership skills and activating student voice in our college. Our 2019 college Captains, Josh Trickey and Angelina Nania and Vice Captains, Klaire Santos and Jake McCarten did a fantastic job of leading the program and mentoring our student leaders. I look forward to working with them in 2019.

This term we welcomed our Year 7 students for their 2019 Orientation Day. These students will be graduating from our college in 2024 which seems a long way off but will be upon us before we know it. We will have an extra class of Year 7 students next year as our student numbers increase significantly in 2019. This indicates that our reputation as a destination school is growing and is a reflection of the work we have all been undertaking in recent years. I would like to thank our school community for supporting our college and the journey we are on.

In 2019 our college will be undertaking a school review. This is standard practice across all schools and will give us the opportunity to develop our strategic plan that sets the directions and focus of the college for the next four years. Part of this process will be ensuring that we have a strong community voice in our college and we will be inviting all stakeholders to be a part of this process.

I would like to thank our college staff who have worked tirelessly throughout the year. Our staff go above and beyond to support every student in our school and it is important that their efforts are acknowledged. After all schools are not just buildings and it is the people in them who make up the fabric and culture of the school.

I would like to also thank our school council which is made up of our key stakeholders of parents, students and staff. They form an important voice in our school and give up their time freely to support our college. Our school council has stood strongly behind the direction that the college is headed and has also set the direction for key areas in the college.

Our council is currently investigating mobile phone usage in our college and the impact they have on the learning environment with the aim of developing a policy that will once again place student learning and wellbeing at the forefront. These types of discussions and decisions are the things that good schools have as they are constantly trying to improve their practice.

I would like to take this time to wish everybody a safe and happy holiday break and I look forward to seeing everybody in the New Year refreshed and ready to tackle another year of learning and growing at Carrum Downs Secondary College.

Regards

Mark Gow
Principal