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.

Mark Gow
Carrum Downs Secondary College

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