Ashwood High School eNews

Issue 1 2021


Principal's Report

  • Welcome to 2021
  • New Staff
  • COVID-19
  • The new Mini Schools at Ashwood High School
  • Learning Mentor Program
  • Class of 2020 Results
  • Dux of the school - George Tziafas
  • Enrolment 
  • Strategic Planning
  • Whole School Assembly 
  • Ashwood Revealed & School Tours
  • ACE in 2022
  • School Council Elections
  • Capital Works

Welcome to Ashwood High School for 2021 – Good to GREAT – GREAT to Exceptional

Welcome to our first, digitised, newsletter for 2021.  I hope you enjoy the array of articles we have produced which highlight and celebrate the achievements of our school community.

We have enjoyed an outstanding start to the year.  The Professional Learning Program for staff was most productive, focusing on the quality of teaching and learning. The academic program, which commenced on Friday 29 January 2021 was a positive experience for students.

We have inducted 11 new staff members and over 160 students into the school (Year 7 and other levels) this year. It is easy to learn the Ashwood High School way. Please see our article within this newsletter introducing our new staff.                    

We farewelled Ms Chevelle Alderton, Senior School Student Outcome Leader, on Friday 26 February.  Ms Alderton has been a popular staff member with both students and staff.  I would like to thank Ms Alderton for her involvement, as a Leading Teacher, in the implementation and subsequent success of ‘The Path Forward at Ashwood High School’.  Ms Alderton will commence a new role overseeing a pathways program across a number of schools and I wish her well in her new endeavour.  Ms Lucy Rimmer will become the Whole School Student Outcomes Leader.

I have invited Ms Janet Wiggins back to the school, out of retirement, to take Food Studies Unit 1-4 in Term 1.  It is nice to have an esteemed and experienced practitioner back at Ashwood High School.  Ms Annalisa Buyks will take on this important duty from the start of Term 2.

COVID-19 ‘Circuit Breaker Lockdown’ Ashwood High School Response – Good to GREAT – GREAT to Exceptional

Students and staff had enjoyed just over two weeks of school life before being placed back in a 2020 style ‘lockdown’. Whilst this was not what we had hoped, Ashwood High School’s response to the news received on Friday 12 February 2021 was explicit, decisive and compassionate:

  • All students were assembled in a virtual assembly prior to the end of the school day assuring students of Ashwood High School’s ongoing commitment to their learning. Plans were swiftly put in place and communicated to students, with special consideration given to the Year 7 students;
  • Students were supervised to collect their belongings in a calm and orderly manner;
  • A staff meeting at 3:30pm allowed us to connect as a staff, which was especially important for our new staff members;
  • A letter was sent to all students, parents and carers on Friday evening;
  • An explicit email was sent as a follow up to all staff on Friday evening. Staff continued to meet as a whole at 8:30am every morning for Staff Briefing.

Although we had hoped that the lockdown experience was left in 2020, much thought and planning has occurred for this eventuality and it was a simple matter of putting our plans into Vision Inspired Action.  Further to the Premier’s Press Conference on Wednesday 17 February, students returned to school on Thursday 18 February 2021 with adjustments in place to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of the school community.

I hope that students and families of Ashwood High School are secure in the knowledge that the safety of our community and the continuity of learning in any circumstance is my priority.  In the event another outbreak or lockdown occurs the school is well placed to put our Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning Plan into immediate action.

Implementing the Mini-School Structure - Safe and Orderly Learning Environment – Enhancing the Student Culture

Students and families may have noted that the structure of the school has transformed into a new model that prioritises student wellbeing and learning. Due to enormous enrolment growth, Ashwood High School has changed its structure to two mini-schools. Planning for the Mini-School structure commenced in 2018 and anticipated when the design of the current School Colours badges were introduced in 2017. The implementation of the two mini-schools is documented on the School Review and Strategic Plan which were published in July 2018.

Middle School – Years 7, 8 and 9

In the Middle School there is a core team of teachers and education support staff who work with House Coordinators and other class teachers to create small professional learning communities within the Middle School. This structure is designed to provide students with an enhanced sense of belonging by allowing them to get to know, and identify with, a particular group of students and teachers within the form.

The Middle School is managed by an executive team comprising the Director of Middle School (Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Transitions Leader), a Director of Learning (Middle School Student Outcomes Leader) and four House Coordinators. The four House Coordinators along with members of the Middle School Executive, support the wellbeing and learning needs of all students.

Each House in the Middle School comprises six smaller Tutor Groups. Tutor Groups are House based and are comprised of Years 7, 8 and 9 students. The vertical program within Middle School House Tutor Groups is an integral part of enhancing our proud school culture of empowerment and excellence based on mutual respect. Tutor Groups meet once a week for a pastoral care and study skills program. The Tutor Group program celebrates the school’s core values of choir, enhancing a community of learners based on diversity, inclusivity and respect.

The Middle School Assistant Principal, Ms Meg McLellan, oversees the Middle School.

Senior School – Years 10, 11 and 12

The Senior School is managed by an executive team which consists of two Directors: Director of Senior School (Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Pathways Leader), Director of Learning (Senior School Student Outcomes Leader) and three Year Level Coordinators. The Senior School Executive is supported by a VCE VCAL Curriculum Services Coordinator who ensures that the school’s processes are aligned with the Victorian Curriculum & Assessment Authority (VCAA) policies, requirements and guidelines including VASS coordination (2021 - 2022), a Careers Advisor and the Manager of International Students.

For Year 10 students, the first port of call is the Year 10 Form Teacher followed by the Year 10 Level Coordinator. The first port of contact for Years 11 and 12 students are the Year Level Coordinators.

The Year Level Coordinators work closely with the students and their subject teachers to look after the learning and wellbeing of the students under their care.

The Year Level Coordinators are managed by the Director of Senior School - Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Pathways Leader. The Director of the Senior School is responsible for managing the engagement, wellbeing and academic achievement of all students in the Senior School. The Director of Senior School and other Directors in the Senior School report to the Senior School Assistant Principal.

At the Year 10 level, Form Group Teachers provide additional support to Year Level Coordinators and Directors in delivering programs aimed at developing the dispositions and capabilities that will equip students for successful completion of high school and positive futures beyond school.

The Senior School Assistant Principal, Mr Tom O’Toole, oversees the Senior School.

Intensive English and Intensive Maths Program (MYLNS) – Growing Pride and Achievement

The government is investing $183 million in the Middle Years Literacy and Numeracy Support initiative. It provides intensive teaching support to students who are at risk of finishing school without the literacy and numeracy skills they need for future work, education and training. Teachers will work directly with students and build the capability of other teachers to improve the literacy and numeracy of students at our school.

Intensive English and Maths classes will be run by qualified teachers who will work with small classes of identified students to develop learning goals, complete targeted work at the required level and assess student progress. A full report on these classes will be published at the end of each semester to inform parents of student learning progress.

Learning Mentor Program (TLI) – Growing Pride and Achievement

The Ashwood High School Learning Mentor Program (DET Tutor Learning Initiative) is designed to support students whose learning has been disrupted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. It is understood that some students have not been able to engage as fully in the Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning period as they would if learning onsite. Ashwood High School is committed to ensuring all students attain standards at or above the expected level.

There are a number of students who have been identified through student engagement and learning data that have not made the same progress in their education as would be anticipated under normal circumstances. These students come from a wide range of backgrounds, year levels and ability levels. It is important to acknowledge that Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning has had a positive impact for some students who have made extraordinary progress in learning, however for other students it has been an additional challenge. It is for these students that the school is implementing a Learning Mentor Program aligned with the DET’s Tutor Learning Initiative.

In 2021, Ashwood High school has introduced its own Tutor Group and Form Group programs. For this reason we have not used the Department’s program title.

Using various data points (including PAT and OnDemand testing), the school has assessed and identified those students who need additional support to regain and enhance their learning outcomes.

Congratulations to our 2020 Dux, George Tziafas who scored an ATAR 93.75. George achieved excellent study scores in all subjects and should be very pleased with these results. Thank you and well done to the staff who have supported all of our Year 12 students over the course of the year, and to all staff who in some way have contributed to these fine young adults’ education in a positive way over their six years of formal schooling.

Class of 2020 Results Growing Pride and Achievement

Congratulations to the Class of 2020; there were some exceptional high performance results.

  • A number of 40+ scores in Psychology, Chinese FL, Food Studies
  • 25% of students with ATARs of 80 or above
  • 91% of students applying for tertiary places
  • 1 student was awarded the VCE Baccalaureate

Projected Enrolment – Growing Pride and Achievement

The Department’s projected overall enrolment (made in 2015) for our school in 2020 was 269. Despite the Department’s projected downward trend in enrolments, Ashwood High School currently has 663 enrolments, almost 400 more than predicted in 2020.  Please refer to the graph below. The Path Forward has delivered for the Ashwood High School community an outstanding public school education.

Enrolments - Growing Pride and Achievement

In 2015 when developing The Path Forward at Ashwood (High School), the following enrolment projections were made (see graph below).

Actual Enrolment and anticipated enrolment for 2023 (at Monday 15 February 2021) – Growing Pride and Achievement

The student enrolment increase at Year 7 is particularly exciting for the future of our school. We have also grown at Years 9 and 10, which will have a positive impact on the quality of education.

Strategic Plan 2019 – 2022 – Polishing and Donning ‘The Jewel of the East’ - Good to GREAT – GREAT to Exceptional

Our school’s Strategic Plan for 2019 – 2022 is on track to deliver our three major goals:

  1. To raise achievement of all students through consistent implementation of a powerful approach to teaching and learning.
  2. Enhance active engagement in learning and motivation to learn, through implementation of approaches that empower students and develop voice, leadership (advocacy) and agency.
  3. To enhance student learning growth by continuing to build the capacity of all staff (teaching and non-teaching) to consistently apply evidence-based strategies related to curriculum planning, pedagogy and assessment.

As Principal, I am confident and excited about the next phase of The Path Forward at Ashwood High School.

Annual Implementation Plan 2021 – Good to GREAT – GREAT to Exceptional

The Annual Implementation Plan for 2021 has been approved by School Council and validated by DET.

Student Leadership Profile 2021 - Enhancing the Student Culture

2021 marks the implementation of an exciting new School Leadership Commitment at Ashwood High School.  Our focus on student voice and agency is now a reality with 58 students being appointed to these positions. Student leadership, voice and agency is part of Goal 2 in the Strategic Plan and the Vision of the school.                                                                                                                              

Whole School Assembly - Enhancing the Student Culture

Our Whole School Assemblies are an important part of our proud school culture of empowerment and excellence based on mutual respect. Assemblies are an important part of celebrating our school vision and CHOIR values. Although our first assembly was held via technology due to the ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown, my second assembly of the year on Tuesday 23 February 2021 was glorious.  Held in our school amphitheatre,  Year 12 badges were presented to the Year 12 students and our school captains were presented with badges.  It was an auspicious occasion for the Year 7 students who had the opportunity to hear the School Captains speak at the first ‘live’ assembly held in 12 months.

Co-curricular Program 2021 -  Enhancing the Student Culture

The Year 12 Study Advance and Year 11 Queenscliff Camp were positive experiences for students and staff. The commitment of Ashwood High School staff towards the holistic development of each child is outstanding. The International Student Program Lunar New Year Celebration is an important part of celebrating our culture of diversity and inclusivity at Ashwood High School. A luncheon, held on Friday 12 February 2021 was a great success.

Afterschool Homework Study Hall Program – Year 7 – 10 – Growing Pride and Achievement

Ashwood High School will continue to offer a scheduled afterschool homework program run by teachers in the Educational Resource Centre; two afternoons per week (Tuesday and Thursdays) 3:15pm – 4:15pm. This is an outstanding offering for students and families. Students can get help in Maths / Science and English / Humanities / Languages.

Ashwood Revealed Campaign and School Tours – 2021 – School of First Choice

A plan has been developed for our Ashwood Revealed Campaign for 2021. The Ashwood Revealed Campaign will involve six main sub-programs:

  • Weekly Tours of Ashwood High School by the Principal (if COVID restrictions permit)
  • Primary School Visits – Ashwood High School Roadshow – Meg McLellan / Meg Brydon and student ambassadors (if COVID restrictions permit)
  • ‘A Day in the Life of Ashwood High School’ (if COVID restrictions permit)
  • Ashwood High School – Ashwood Revealed (Open Day & Night) Wednesday 28 April 2021 (if COVID restrictions permit)
  • Open Morning (publicised at the Open Night) (if COVID restrictions permit).

Meg McLellan and Donna Mineo are working on remote replacements for these programs that may run alongside or even replace these programs if COVID restrictions require them to be cancelled.

I have been holding weekly tours which have proved to be immensely popular.  If family or friends would like to join a tour, it is an easy process to book via the website:

Alternatively, our Virtual Tour, including a principal’s address is available here

Ashwood High School Year 7 2022 ACE Class –– School of First Choice

Students in Grade 6 are now invited to apply for entry to Ashwood High School’s ACE Program.  Testing will occur on Saturday 15 May 2021 and parents should ensure that the application and payment is made prior to Monday 10 May 2021.  Families can book for an application for entry to the Year 7 ACE Program in 2022 here.

Ashwood High School Year 7 2022 Scholarships –– School of First Choice

Ashwood High School offers scholarships for entry in Year 7 in the following categories:

  • Academic Scholarship
  • Sporting Excellence Scholarship
  • Leaders and Community Spirit Scholarship
  • Instrumental Music Scholarship
  • Performing Arts Scholarship

If your Grade 6 student wishes to apply, please click here to find out more.

 School Council 2021 Elections – Sound Governance – School of First Choice

Thank you to parent, student and staff members for their commitment to sound governance of Ashwood High School and realising the Vision and ‘The Path Forward’ at Ashwood High School. The following table reflects constituency and terms prior to the Election process:

2021 School Council Elections – Increasing Positive Parental and Community Engagement

Nominations closed for School Council on Monday 15 February 2021. We have received the correct amount of nominations for staff, but have received 5 parent nominations for three positions which required an election process.

The election process has commenced with all election material posted out the week of 15 February. Prospective parent members consist of:

  • Mr Matthew Baker, parent of CJ in Year 7
  • Dr Lisa Gillespie, parent of Alyssa in Year 8
  • Mr Cory Pearce, parent of Sasha in Year 10
  • Ms Rachel Shankland, parent of Jasmine in Year 11 and Tyra in Year 9
  • Mr John Sharkey, parent of Hugo in Year 8.

The election closes on Tuesday 9 March 2021 at 4:00pm.

DET Members:

  • Meg McLellan
  • Tom O’Toole
  • Lucy Rimmer
  • Phoebe Lindsay

Thank you to all families who have voted in our election. Results of the election will be published in Compass and the next newsletter.

 Capital Works Program – From GREAT to Exceptional

I would like to provide a Capital Works Program overview which will assist in our understanding of the project timeline.  Please note, this overview is produced by the Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) and as such, is an indicative timeline (subject to COVID-19 adjustments):

Over the summer break, I have had the pleasure of attending meetings with the architects, the VSBA the APP Corporation and the Regional Office to ensure that our Capital Works Program proceeds in a timely fashion.

The AMP1 and AMP2 is now finalised and signed off by the school and the Department

It is my understanding that the scope of the Capital Works will now include a ‘drop off’ point at the rear of the school to the approximate value of $500,000.00.  This was part of the AMP 2 endorsement process.

Brett Moore

Friday 5 March, 2021

New Staff at Ashwood High School in 2021

Tom O'Toole - Senior School Assistant Principal

Hello, my name is Tom O'Toole and I am the Senior School Assistant Principal in 2021.

I am very excited to be joining such an amazing school and educational community. Over the past month the school community has welcomed me with open arms. I have had the privilege in attending the Year 11 Camp at YMCA Queenscliff and 12 study conference at Deakin University which allowed me to meet many students and staff in a dynamic learning environment.

During the past seven Years, I have worked in educational leadership positions which included both Senior School and Middle School. I really enjoy being part of an educational team with staff who are enthusiastic about holistic student improvement with strong focuses on developing self and others with the aim to evolve leadership skills for the future. In my short time at Ashwood High school, I have seen a strong culture of all teachers striving to develop a focus on the development of key strategies to improve all students.

As someone who is very passionate about learning, I have spent several years working at Monash University as a lecturer in Inclusive Education (Faculty of Education). I am very excited and look forward to working with Principal Mr Brett Moore and the Ashwood High School community to continue developing the learnings and growth of our community.

Phoebe Lindsay - Leading Teacher 

Hello, my name is Phoebe Lindsay and it has been my absolute privilege to join the Ashwood High School team as the Senior School Engagement, Wellbeing and Pathways Leader.

I have always been passionate about education and have dedicated my career to developing my pedagogical practice and campaigning for student voice and agency initiatives. I have already had the pleasure of attending both the Year 11 and 12 camps which were an excellent opportunity to get to know the students outside of the school context. Furthermore, it was my privilege to host the Senior School Parent Information Session in Week 3, which some of you may know me from.

On a personal note, I have been overwhelmed by the kindness and welcoming nature of the students, parents, and staff at Ashwood High School and look forward to continuing my journey with you all.

Elisa Jones Arango - School Psychologist

Hello, I am Ms Elisa Jones Arango, the new Mental Health Practitioner at Ashwood High School.

As a new member to the school community, I have been busy getting to know the fantastic staff and students. Previously, I have worked as a psychologist in the private sector, providing children, young adults and their families with the tools and knowledge to cope, and thrive, through challenging situations. I feel privileged to be a part of an individual’s journey, and I am constantly inspired by the people I work with.

I have graduated from a Master of Educational and Developmental Psychology from Monash University, and I am completing my PhD studies this year. My research is focused on understanding individual ways of thinking and using this knowledge to implement strategies for learning and well-being. Within my role, I hope to make a positive contribution to supporting student wellbeing.

James Boarotto - PE & English Teacher

Hello, my name is Mr Boarotto, and I am teaching Health and Physical Education, English and VCAL at Ashwood High School. I am a recent graduate of Deakin University and the welcome and support that the Ashwood High School community has given me has made my transition into full time teaching a thoroughly enjoyable and positive experience thus far.

The students at Ashwood High School show an enormous amount of respect and I am looking forward to teaching many of them over the 2021 year. I am extremely passionate about representing Ashwood High School and strive to always be challenging students to become the best individuals that they can be.

I am privileged to call Ashwood High School the school I began my teaching journey at, and I look forward to giving back to the school in the way I educate and live up to the schools values.

Ruby Cameron - Maths / Science / Dance Teacher

Hello, my name is Ruby Cameron and I am a teacher of Maths, Science and Dance.  I recently graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Primary and Secondary Teaching (Honours).

As a new member of the Ashwood High School community, I will be teaching Mathematics and Science, as well as choreographing the school production. I am very excited to be joining such a welcoming and talented community, and thus far I have been blown away by the high standards set by both staff and students.

As a teacher, I love seeing my students build confidence and respect for themselves, and I always strive to help them achieve this.

Outside of school, I love dancing, playing netball, catching up with friends, and going to the beach. Thank you for the warm welcome to Ashwood High School!
Rebecca Cooper - Reception

Hello my name is Rebecca and I have joined the administration team in 2021.

I am very excited to join reception here at Ashwood High School and I am very grateful to be surrounded by extraordinary staff and wonderful students.

There is a strong, positive sense of pride and community here and it is a very inspiring and motivating school to be a part of.

I have a background in music and photography and in my spare time I love being outdoors, cooking, practicing yoga and drumming.

I am looking forward to the year ahead and being a part of the Ashwood High School community.

Danielle Di Carlo - English and Humanities Teacher

Hello, I'm Miss Di Carlo and I am a teacher of English and Humanities. I'm so happy to be a part of the Ashwood High School team!

I'm a recent graduate of Deakin University's MTeach program and have worked previously in boarding schools and in educational publishing - I'm excited to be able to bring my knowledge of these industries to the school community.

In my spare time I'm usually painting, baking, reading and watching the Richmond Tigers play. I'm really looking forward to teaching my English Humanities and Tutor Group classes this year and to learning more about the students, staff, and school community.

Thanks for having me!

Delphine Marie - French and EAL Teacher

Bonjour, my name is Delphin Marie, and I am the new French teacher at Ashwood, I am particularly happy to be part of this community, as it was the school where I did my first placement two years ago. Back then the staff and students left such a great impression on me that I told myself that it would be great to come back one day to teach. It is a real privilege to now be in the school and to be part of an exceptional team.

I love languages in general and am fascinated by how languages and culture are interlinked. This is something that has always been my main focus throughout my studies at Monash university.

When I am not teaching, I love watching international movies, playing tennis and sketching.

Kristen McCluskey - Health & PE, Outdoor Education and Maths Teacher

Hello, my name is Kristen McCluskey and I am a teacher of Health, PE, Outdoor Education and Mathematics.

The first few weeks as a full time teacher at Ashwood High School has been a whirl wind, however an amazing start to the year. The students have been respectful and engaged in their learning which has made my teaching experience tremendously meaningful. The broader school community has made for a smooth transition, where I have been able to collaborate and communicate with an extremely knowledgeable teaching faculty to enhance my professional learning.

I look forward to the year ahead at Ashwood High School as a valued member of this extraordinary teaching team. 

Daniel Meagher - English and English Literature Teacher

Hello, my name is Daniel Meagher and I am a teacher of English and English Literature.

Joining the incredible Ashwood High School community in 2021, I come from a teaching background of five years.

Teaching English, Literature and Media, my life before teaching was focused on working as a journalist both within Australia and the United Kingdom. As a new teacher here at Ashwood, I have been humbled by the warm welcome from the entire community- especially my exceptional classes.

On a personal note, I spend most of my time enjoying live music, writing and hiking with my little pooch (turned-teaching assistant in 2020) Biscuit! Thank you once again for the warm welcome!

June Ren - Integration Aide

Hello I’m June Ren. I’m so excited to join Ashwood High School as an Integration Aide. I’m originally from Chongqing, China and moved to the Yarra Valley a few years ago. 

I really enjoy supporting the teachers and students. I love coming into a classroom and helping the students obtain their best. Sometimes it can be challenging but the outcome far outweighs it. I endeavour to help students achieve their academic and life goals. 

My hobbies include taking photos, creating videos and editing. Fun  Fact: I’ve got over 320k followers on ‘Tic Tok’, where I share my life living in Australia and comparing how different Western and Asian cultures are.  

I look forward to working at this wonderful school. Thank you! 

Middle School Assistant Principal's Report

It is with great honour that I write my first newsletter as Middle School Assistant Principal.

We have had a positive start to 2021 with the transition of 139 Year 7 students. Our students in the Middle School have settled in well and are off to a great start in their learning in 2021. Please see below for a few key events that highlight the key parts of our year thus far, as well as some important reminders.

Our Year 7 students have settled in well as Ashwood High School students. Year 7 Orientation assisted students in preparing for life as a high school student and aligned with our CHOIR Values. An extended orientation program ran for Year 7 students, with guided sessions on topics to assist with their move to high school. Sessions included: Getting to know your home group classmates, getting yourself organised, finding your setting up your laptop and finding your way around the school.

Our first ‘live’ assembly for the 2021 academic year was held in the Amphitheatre on Tuesday, 23 February. Our students exhibited exemplary conduct through their high level of engagement and respect throughout the entirety of the assembly. Mr Moore gave a passionate address to the school population which encompassed the importance of high expectations and effort. The Principal’s address was followed by an impressive and highly astute Captains Address by our School Captains, Sivan Chen and Lula Tadesse. The nature of their speech focused on the importance of routine to support success. Due to the 2020’s fluctuations between on-site and Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning, it was decided that the Principal’s Attendance Awards for 2020 would be withheld. The assembly also included the Middle School and Senior School Captains receiving their badges. Overall, the assembly was an impressive display of the high level of respectful conduct exhibited by our students.

Year 7 Barbecue
Unfortunately, due to current COVID-19 restrictions, the annual Year 7 BBQ had to be cancelled in 2021. On behalf of the staff, we are sad to be unable to gather as a group to welcome our new families to the school. We look forward optimistically to having the opportunity to meet students with their families at other times this year.

Year 7 Student Representative Council (SRC)
It is with great pleasure that to announce the Year 7 SRC students in 2021:

  • Tom Houghton
  • Evelyn Chew

Many congratulations to Tom and Evelyn as they make up the final numbers for our Student Representative Council in 2021

Important Reminders:


We uphold high expectations of our students in all aspects of their conduct at Ashwood High School. Thank you to parents who assist us in ensuring your child’s uniform reflects our school’s CHOIR values. Please note that the school approved scarf, with school logo, is available for purchase from the uniform supplier, Dobsons. The scarf is only to be worn in Terms 2 and 3. Also please note that white socks must be worn with the P.E. uniform.


The Critical Role of Attendance
Research around attendance suggests a strong positive correlation between high attendance and strong social and academic outcomes. Please note that students are expected to be at school and Doctor’s certificates should be sought for days off. All absences must be approved via Compass. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask your child’s House/Year Level Coordinator.

Meg McLellan
Middle School Assistant Principal

Middle School Engagement, Wellbeing and Transitions Report

2021 has been off to a flying start, with our staff eagerly welcoming our Year 7 – 9 students to Middle School in our inaugural year as an official mini school. It has been wonderful to see our students settling into their new classes, getting to know their new teachers and most importantly, loving learning back in the physical classroom.

It has been wonderful to see the care taken by our Year 8s and Year 9s in welcoming our new Year 7s to Ashwood High School. I have personally witnessed many older students helping Year 7s to decode those challenging locks, find their way to class, or even just making recommendations for the best treats at the canteen. We are very proud of the leadership and sense of community shown by our older students.

This is particularly apparent in Tutor Group, where many of these helpful friendships have been formed. Tutor Group is a new program at Ashwood High School in 2021. The program runs for one period a week and focuses on developing academic and practical skills needed to succeed in learning and life, as well as supporting the wellbeing of students in Years 7 – 9.

Tutor Groups are made up of students within the one House, but from all three year levels. This allows our older students to act as mentors and friends to our newest members of the school community, encourages the development of House pride and identity, all whilst driving rigorous and valuable learning. We look forward to revealing more about this exciting program to students and families in the coming weeks.

As already mentioned, our Year 7s have made an excellent transition to high school, after an interrupted transition process in 2020. Our expanded Orientation Program meant that, in addition to Statewide Orientation Day, Year 7s have participated in a further nine Orientation Sessions over their first 3 weeks of school, including ‘Getting Yourself Organised’, ‘Setting up your laptop’ and ‘Getting to know your Homegroup’. These sessions allowed for repeated exposure to the key ideas, knowledge and skills required to make a smooth start at Ashwood High School. Feedback from the students on these sessions has been excellent, and the proof is in the pudding with the way our Year 7s are competently navigating their way around the school, using technology, interacting with their peers and learning.

Year 7s have also recently had the exciting opportunity to apply for Student Leadership positions at Ashwood High School. We were flooded with a large number of excellent and enthusiastic applications, but the two Year 7 SRC Representatives appointed are Thomas Houghton and Evelyn Chew – congratulations. We are still in the process of appointing Year 7 Ambassadors, who we will look forward to announcing to the school community soon.  

Our other 2021 Student Leaders in the Middle School, appointed at the end of 2020, have made an excellent start. There have been many great speeches delivered, thorough and enthusiastic preparation for House Swimming, and a number of excellent initiatives underway for 2021. Thanks to Ms Wraight as Student Voice, Leadership and Agency Coordinator for her facilitation of this excellent program.

The Middle School team has been excited to welcome some fresh faces in 2021. Mr Driscoll (Cowan House Coordinator), Mr Hayward (Melba House Coordinator) and Ms Cooper (Paterson House Coordinator) are already doing a fantastic job supporting our students in their new roles. We also welcome back the wonderful Mrs Dernikos as Flynn House Coordinator and thank her for her unwavering and continued dedication to the role. Finally, a warm welcome back to all of our students and families. It is so wonderful to work amongst such a supportive and engaged community and we are looking forward to a very fun and successful 2021.

Meg Brydon
Middle School Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Transitions Leader

Cowan House Report

What a turbulent year last year was. However, with the frustration of COVID now (hopefully) behind us, a fantastic year is shaping up nicely on the horizon!

With that frustration, one of the Ashwood High School staples and favourites, the school House events, was sorely missed in 2020 but of which 2021 looks extremely promising for Cowan House.

With brand new leaders stepping up to assist in running the house, a fantastic new Year 7 cohort joining our ranks and older students relishing the opportunity to compete for the Yellow, Cowan House has never looked so strong.

Congratulations are in order to our new House Captains, with Dannah Casanova and Isaac Roder becoming our new Senior School House Captain and Senior School Vice-Captain respectively. In our Middle School ranks, our Captain this year is Torbjorn Christensen and our Vice-Captain being Anjali Rao. All four leaders are well deserving of their positions and have already shown fantastic leadership and enthusiasm. I am confident that Cowan House will succeed under their guidance.

Furthermore and with further accolades needed, it is important to acknowledge that Cowan has an abundance of leaders at our disposal, with three Cowan personnel, out of a possible five, holding significant Student Leadership Positions for 2021. Well done to those three students.

In summary, it fills me with great excitement to look forward at the upcoming year for Cowan House, including at the introduction of our new Tutor Group program, of which is fitted with sensational and nurturing Ashwood teachers to guide the Cowan youth. At the conclusion of the year,
I fully expect great success to have eventuated with the personal growth of students, as well as the promise of winning the House Competition at the fore.

Up the Batters,

Guy Driscoll
Cowan House Coordinator

Flynn House Report

Welcome to 2021! As Flynn House Coordinator, I am thrilled to be back on campus and supporting a wonderful community of learners. As we awaken to another exciting school year, we reflect on our past successes and aspire to conquer new triumphs collaboratively as a House. Our school motto of Vision Inspired Action encapsulates a new dawn for Flynn House as we set new goals and collectively aim to reach for new heights in all aspects of school life. We congratulate our wonderful student leaders, Flynn House captains, Matilda Stanton and Micky Van Dalen and our Middle School Flynn House Captains Oscar Morton and Alyssa Pettingill, who we know will lead us to great successes this year.

We welcomed our new Year 7 cohort in our Middle School meeting at the start of the year, where we all enjoyed being back on campus together and appreciated the positive energy that was created. It is anticipated that Year 7 Flynn House students will involve themselves in as many opportunities as they can and practise the CHOIR values at all times.

Exciting times are ahead and I look forward to Flynn House students showcasing their breadth of talent in upcoming school events such as the Swimming Carnival, Athletics Carnival, Cross Country Carnival and The School Musical.

Vicky Dernikos
Flynn House Coordinator

Melba House Report

Hello to all the members of the Melba House Community, and to any members of other Houses who find themselves curious enough to read my little note. There is a curse which says, ‘May you live in interesting times.’ 2020 demonstrated to an ‘interesting time’. It also demonstrated the value of resilience and perseverance. I am proud to say you showed both throughout that ‘interesting’ time, and you should feel proud of yourselves for it. This was demonstrated in 2020 by the victory Melba achieved – well done! The path to victory this year is paved through participation. The more we work together and give our all in every event, contest, and opportunity the more points will be earned and the more fulfilling your time as a student here will be. 

I congratulate the outstanding Melba Executive Team: The Melba House Captain and Vice Captain are Greer Van Rooyen and Stephanie Millan, and the Middle School House Captain and Vice Captain are Annais Lewis and Leah Ried. This is an outstanding group of young leaders who I have no doubt will lead us through a brilliant year. Remember that if you have any questions about Melba that they are friendly and empathetic people who will be glad to help you.  

This year we also welcome a cohort of Year 7s, who are a thoroughly impressive bunch of young people. It is so pleasing to see that as our school grows we continue to maintain the closeness of our School Community. I am also pleased to see all students welcome these new members of our community into our pleasant little ‘village’.  

2021 will be a year of optimism and hope, and I look forward to seeing everyone giving their all in the exciting events we have coming up. Good luck!  

Ned Hayward 
Melba House Coordinator 

Paterson House Report

Welcome back to Ashwood High School Paterson House. As Paterson House Coordinator, I am excited to be back on campus to support all learners and enjoy an uninterrupted 2021. Reflecting upon 2020, our community missed out on many opportunities to come together and be rewarded with our individual and collective efforts as part of many school House events. This year I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of the Paterson House and work with our new leaders to develop a stronger sense of House spirit aspire to set new goals for 2021.

Congratulations are in order to our new House Captains, with Elizabeth Tziafas and William Roache becoming our new Senior School House Captain and Senior School Vice-Captain respectively. In our Middle School, our Captain is Freddie Thorpe and our Vice-Captain Hayley Brinkworth. All four leaders have demonstrated excellent enthusiasm, passion and leadership so far in their role. I am confident that all four leaders for 2021 will continue to support and guide all Paterson House students to strive for excellence.

Furthermore, I would like to congratulate and welcome our new Year 7 cohort. The entire Paterson House community are excited to see how well the Year 7 students have settled in at Ashwood High School. It is anticipated that the Year 7 Paterson House students will involve themselves in as many opportunities that Ashwood High School has to offer and enact the CHOIR values at all times.

Paterson House started 2021 to a perfect year by successfully winning the Holiday Challenge at the end of 2020. The upcoming Swimming Carnival event will be a great opportunity for all Paterson House students to continue to be involved and contribute points to our House. Other events where Paterson House students can showcase their talents are the Athletics Carnival, Cross Country and The School Musical.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the Paterson House students for their on-going effort so far this year and endeavour to see a successful and uninterrupted year ahead.

Harriet Cooper
Paterson House Coordinator

Middle School Student Leadership & Agency Report

Middle School Student Voice, Leadership and Agency Report

The start of Term 1 has brought many exciting developments for Student Leadership in the Middle School. The Middle School Captains, Amber Balmer and Haris Shehzad, Vice-Captains, Emma Hew and Christos Giakoumatos, and International Student Captain, Jason Suryanata, have been working diligently to ensure that all new students to the Middle School feel welcomed into our school community.

The Middle School House Captains and Vice-Captains have been meeting regularly with their Senior School counterparts to prepare for the House Swimming Carnival and to develop new and exciting House events to entertain the student body throughout the year.

A huge congratulations to all the Year 7 students who have applied for a Student Leadership role. Applying for a role in your first couple of weeks in a new school environment shows courage, determination and an ability to uphold our CHOIR values with pride. I am delighted to announce that the Year 7 SRC Representatives for 2021 will be Evelyn Chew and Tom Houghton and look forward to announcing the Year 7 Ambassadors soon.

Thank you and well done to all Middle School Student Leaders for a great start to Term 1!

Matilda Wraight
Student Voice Leadership and Agency Coordinator

Middle School Captains Report

Middle School Vice-Captain Emma Hew, Middle School Captain Haris Shehzad, Middle School International Student Captain Jason Suryanata, Middle School Captain Amber Balmer, and Middle School Vice-Captain Christos Giakoumatos.

Hello teachers, students and parents of Ashwood High School. We hope that you all have had a successful start to the year. We are Amber Balmer and Haris Shehzad, your Middle School Captains for 2021.

As we all know 2020 was a challenging year. With online learning being a major obstacle for our community, especially for the newer students, we were amazed and were very proud of the performance of Ashwood High School in these hard times. We all had to be resilient, hardworking and independent but we feel that we have all learnt many valuable lessons during the difficult times that make us stronger for the challenges ahead. 

This year we are both looking forward to being the Middle School Captains of Ashwood High School. We are also excited to make a difference and further enhance our school community through our goals and visions for 2021. We are very excited to work with the Student Leadership Executive Team to represent the interests of all students. 

This year one of our main goals is to increase the number of students who are interested in Student Leadership and different aspects of engaging in community events. We believe that these things can give a boost to your confidence and are a great way to meet new people. One of the best things about being a leader is the experience that comes with it. That experience teaches you how to the best you can be. This also helps you to direct others on the right path. We would also like to try to get back to what school life was like before COVID-19; this will be challenging because much has changed but we will do our best to get back to normal. We cannot wait to see our Houses compete against each other again in the upcoming swimming carnival and we also hope that we can attend every full school carnival and event this year. 

As the role of Middle School Captain was just introduced this year, we are learning on the job. So please do not hesitate to approach us with any ideas or if you need any support. Being a leader is relatively new for us as well; sure we have had other positions before but none like this. This will be a very interesting learning experience and we would love to have the school community by our side throughout 2021. 

We have great plans for the Middle School community. We will try our best to engage and inform the newer students who are just starting their high school life. As we said, we would like to help more students to apply for leadership positions. In 2021 there are many new leadership opportunities, and we do not want anyone to miss out. So, we encourage students to ask the teachers and their Captains to assist them with their Leadership applications. Trust us you will not regret it. 

One thing is for sure, that the two of us are committed to supporting our fellow students and working with various people in the school community to continue to improve our developing and thriving school. We are very excited and slightly nervous to face the challenges ahead, but we will cherish every great moment and share it with the community. This year, like always, we have a top-of-the-line Student Leadership team and we owe most of that to our teachers and our community for guiding us to the position that we are in right now. 

We hope you all have a great day and even a better year. 

Amber Balmer & Haris Shehzad


Cowan House Leaders – Middle School House Vice-Captain Anjali Rao, House Vice-Captain Isaac Roder, Middle School House Captain Torbjorn Christensen, and House Captain Dannah Casanova

Flynn House Leaders – House Vice-Captain Mikayla Van Dalen, Middle School House Captain Oscar Morton, Middle School House Vice-Captain Alyssa Pettingill, and House Captain Matilda Stanton.

Melba House Leaders – Middle School Vice-Captain Leah Ried, Middle School House Captain Annais Lewis, House Captain Greer Van Rooyen, and House Vice-Captain Stephanie Millan

Paterson House Leaders – Middle School Vice-Captain Hayley Brinkworth, Middle School House Captain Freddie Thorpe, House Vice-Captain William Roache, and House Captain Elizabeth Tziafas.

Ashwood High School Student Representative Council – SRC Vice-Presidents Christos Giakoumatos and Emma Hew, Year 8 Representatives Connor Russo and Talia Isik, Year 9 Representatives Noah Rostan and Lily Greaves, Year 10 Representatives Thomas Kinnane and Jessica Sterle, Year 11 Representatives Anthony Zhu and Abby Helm, and SRC Presidents Zachary Aitken and Courtney Tulia


Accelerated Curriculum & Enrichment Program

As we commence a new school year, it is timely to revisit the purpose of the Accelerated Curriculum and Enrichment program at Ashwood High School as described in the school’s Accelerated Curriculum and Enrichment policy.

Ashwood High School recognises that high ability students require specialized support to optimise their growth and achievement. The Accelerated Curriculum and Enrichment (ACE) program has been designed to promote the engagement and challenge of high ability students, regardless of background, through talent development opportunities and differentiated teaching and learning practices, to ensure that their specific learning and wellbeing needs are met (Ashwood High School Accelerated Curriculum and Enrichment Policy).

At Ashwood High School we believe that high ability students from all backgrounds should have access to quality learning opportunities that meet their needs and aspirations. High ability students require tailored resourcing and support to cater for their different learning needs. This support should be responsive to family, socio-economic status, language, cultural background, health and wellbeing as well as geographic location.

High ability students across all domains require evidence-based talent development to optimise their growth and achievement. At Ashwood High School we provide advanced learning pathways for high ability students through the VCE early commencement program in Year 10 and the Advanced Standing/Extension studies programs offered as part of the VCE.

Our goal is to create learning environments that support high ability students to experience efficacy, agency and achieve their educational potential. Ashwood High School is committed to supporting the social-emotional development and wellbeing of high ability students, enabling them to connect, succeed and thrive.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the achievement of the 14 students who have been participating in the Victorian High-Ability Program through Virtual School Victoria in Term 1 this year. Congratulations to Max Arthur, Rhyannon Bergin, Mason Boltuc, Dexter Cutfield, Joshua Doyle, Ryan Fourna, Cooper Leaper, Horim Lee, Maddisen Rado, Leah Ried, Christabel Sequeira, Ryan Taranto, Julia Tran and Emily Zhang.

Caroline Servadei
Enrichment, Pedagogy, Partnerships & Professional Learning Leader


Study Hall Program

Please enjoy our latest photos of our Study Hall program in action. Ashwood High School will continue to offer a scheduled afterschool homework program run by teachers in the Educational Resource Centre; two afternoons per week (Tuesday and Thursdays) 3:15pm – 4:15pm. This is an outstanding offering for students and families. Students can get help in Maths / Science and English / Humanities / Languages.

Bernie Jowett
After School Homework Coordinator, Maths/Science

Kath Robinson
After School Homework Coordinator, English/Humanities

Senior School Assistant Principal's Report

Dear Ashwood High School Community,

It has been a really warm welcome to Ashwood High School as the new Assistant Principal of the Senior School. I have had the privilege of getting to know many staff and students in an outdoor educational learning environment through the Years 11 and 12 camps within the first week of being at the school.

During the first two staff professional development days, Principal Brett Moore presented the values, vision and goals of the school for 2021. As an educational community, we remain focused on continued growth, this is evident in our introduction of 12 new staff joining our community for the first time in 2021. Principal Brett Moore explained that we as a team will continue to focus on, building and developing relational trust in our students, teachers and community.

In 2021 at Ashwood High School, I have been able to gather a real strong sense of pride and excitement while attending a number of events like the Senior School Information Evening hosted by our new Head of Senior School Phoebe Lindsay and professional learning sessions presented by Kate Davis and our data team. Both these presentations displayed the innovation, optimism and expectation set up at Ashwood High School to continue to push our students in 2021 to achieve their best.

As a Senior School, we have had a really positive start with a first day Senior School meeting which involved introducing the new Senior School structure and the Head of Senior School Phoebe Lindsay and the four coordinators: Year 12 Jessie Tian, Year 11 John Sheehan, Year 10 Sachael Miller and VCAA Curriculum Julie Huggins. This allowed our students to have a clear understanding of the line of leadership. On Tuesday 25 February, the Ashwood High School community came together in a formal assembly to celebrate and formally welcome the new Year 7 students of 2021. We also presented the School Captains for 2021, as well as the Year 12 badges.

The innovation of the school continues to grow and develop with the introduction of the form group system in the Senior School at Year 10 level. This allows our students to gain an improved understanding of their pathways while building a strong working relationship with their Form Group teacher.

I would like to thank our Principal Mr Brett Moore for his outstanding leadership and guidance through the snap Government COVID-19 lock down during week 4 of this term, the way our staff and students adapted within the limited timeframe was a testament to our school organisation and excellent community communication.

As the Assistant Principal of the Senior School, I look forward to meeting you all over the next year at the many upcoming Ashwood High School events in 2021.

Best regards

Tom O’Toole 
Assistant Principal

Senior School Engagement, Wellbeing & Pathways Report

It has certainly been an exciting beginning to the year, and I have been delighted to step into the role of Senior School Engagement, Wellbeing and Pathways Leader for Ashwood High School. Being new to the school, I have been continually grateful for the welcoming nature of students and the early opportunities provided to get to know each student in the Senior School. In particular, the recent Year 11 and Year 12 camps have been an absolute highlight for the beginning of my year.

Transitioning to two mini-schools places Ashwood High School in the prime position to cater to the multifaceted needs of our students, and I have great confidence in the support structures the school has in place for the different year levels. I would especially like to acknowledge the passionate and dedicated Co-ordinators of each year level: Jessie Tian (Year 12), John Sheehan (Year 11) and Sachael Miller (Year 10). Each group of students are facing a new and exciting development in their educational journey this year, with our Year 12s completing their final year of high school, Year 11s entering VCE, and Year 10s transitioning to Senior School. The committed team of Senior School teachers and wellbeing support staff are prepped and ready to assist all students in reaching their full potential and achieving their goals.

This year’s 2021 Senior School Parent information and Elevate evening ran online via Webex on Tuesday 9 February. The parent information component provided detailed information on VCAA rules and regulations, how to apply for Special Provision, Senior School expectations, and key dates for the year. This was followed by the Parent Seminar run by Elevate: Empowering parents to reinforce study skills at home. The senior presenter delivered a 60-minute webinar which delved into practical strategies for parents/carers assisting their children with motivation, organisation and engagement.

The Year 12 Study Advance this year was a resounding success with meaningful workshops run by Ashwood High School staff and external providers. Thank you to Jessie Tian and Julie Huggins for their tireless work to ensure the camp was a memorable and valuable experience for our Year 12 students.

Thank you also to John Sheehan for organising and running the fantastic Year 11 camp in Queenscliff. This was an excellent opportunity for students to build connections with their peers as they move into VCE and their final two years of high school. The feedback from students was overwhelmingly positive and truly reflects the quality of the program and the commitment of the teachers involved.

I would lastly like to thank the principal, Brett Moore, along with all the staff and students of Ashwood High School for supporting me in joining the Ashwood community. I eagerly await getting to know all of the students further in the coming weeks and supporting them in their future scholastic accomplishments.

Phoebe Lindsay 
Senior School Engagement, Wellbeing and Pathways Leader (SSEWPL)

Year 10 Coordinator's Report

Year 10 students at Ashwood High school have had an excellent start to the year. Being inducted to the Senior School and showing commitment to their Year 10 Studies, they all have really set themselves up for a great year ahead. Congratulations Year 10s!

The new Form Group structure has seen students working hard on developing strategies toward a ‘growth mindset’, and the excitement of preparing for work experience and future pathways has been felt by all.

I look forward to continuing to work with Year 10 students, teachers and families this year and look forward to seeing all they accomplish.

Sachael Miller 
Year 10 Coordinator

“Through the help of my teachers, peers and Coordinator, I have been able to drift through Year 10 successfully so far.’’  Kirubel Tadesse

Year 10 is a step up from Year 9, however, it is assisting us to prepare for VCE and the future and allowing us to thrive and find what we are passionate about.”  Jessica Sterle

“We have comfortably got back into the swing of things at school this year through the support and help of our teachers.”  Hudson Brumley

Year 11 Coordinator's Report

The Year 11 group have made a positive start to the year and I am very proud of the effort they have shown in adjusting to the increased expectations of the VCE and VCAL programs. While starting studies at this level can often be a bit of a shock at first, I have no doubt that the new routines around homework and revision will become second nature and lay a strong foundation for the remainder of their studies. As senior students, they have shown themselves to be excellent role models for the younger year levels and I really feel strongly that this group is capable of big things!

Many thanks to the following staff that gave their time to attend the Year 11 Camp to Queenscliff at the beginning of the term: Chevelle Alderton, Colin Shnier, James Boarotto, Stephanie Richards, Rosario Ripper, Heidi Cornelissen and Matthew Dexter. Also thank you to Assistant Principal Thomas O’Toole and Phoebe Lindsay for spending a day and night with us.  

I know I speak on behalf of all staff when I say we could not have been more pleased with how the students conducted themselves during this action packed 3 days. It was fantastic to see the group mixing so well with one another and staff and being so actively involved in the challenging beach focused activities. I have been on many school camps over the years and this one was a real highlight for me in my time as an educator.

John Sheehan
Year 11 Coordinator

Below is a report on the camp from Year 11 student Elizabeth Tziafas;

“As the new school year commenced, the year 11 cohort travelled off on camp to Queenscliff, Victoria.  We arrived at YMCA Camp Wyuna where we were warmly welcomed by staff.

The camp was only a total of three days, but we sure did make the most of our time. We immediately split into groups and commenced our activities, which included boogie boarding, bike riding, walks into town, team challenges, camp games and activities.  As a group, the year 11s demonstrated integrity, initiative and optimism regarding the activities.

A highlight of camp for me was competitively playing GAGA ball and volleyball with the teachers, walks by the sea, exploring the town of Queenscliff and most importantly spending time with peers and friends.

Thanks to all the teachers for attending and making this such a memorable start to the year!”

Year 12 Coordinator's Report

The 2021 academic year commenced in February with the implementation of two mini schools and presented students with more focused support and opportunities. It is of great pleasure and my utmost gratitude to take on the role of Year 12 coordinator role and support our 2021 Year 12 cohort.

In the first issue of 2021 school newsletter, I would like to take the opportunity to officially thank every and each member of the Year 12 team.

Thank you to all staff who are supporting Year 12 students. Thank you to all who participated Year 12 Study Advance. Thank you to all who joined the students for Year 12 dinner. Thank you to everyone who are ensuring our students have the best possible start in their studies. Thank you to the leadership team for your leadership and guidance. Thank you to Mr Moore for your continued pursuit of excellence for Ashwood High School.

Thank you to all Year 12 students! Thank you for leading by example as the highest year level in school. Already, you are taking up the important roles and responsibilities as leaders of Ashwood High School and upholding the School CHOIR values and four respects. Thank you for your active engagement throughout the two-day camp, Year 12 Study Advance in Deakin University. Thank you for articulating your appreciation and gratitude to all your teachers at Year 12 dinner and on a daily basis. Thank you for realising the critical role of attendance in supporting you to achieve strong social and academic outcomes. Thank you for your enhanced commitment to your study, submitting work on time and staying back to continue study related conversations with your teachers or peers. Thank you for seemingly transiting between remote learning and onsite learning, living up to the high expectations despite the circumstances…

‘The journey is the reward.’ (Steve Job) With pride and joy, I’d like to congratulate all 2021 Year 12 students and dear guardians of 2021 Year 12 cohort on embarking on this unique journey in the transforming year. Sometimes what happens can be unexpected; embrace it and enjoy it! Together, we embark on this unique journey, Together, we will make our journey memorable!

Please allow me to share one of these great memories to conclude the Year 12 coordinator report. Thank you to Nyapal Giek for recording this for us.

“On Monday 1 February the year 12s attended Year 12 Study Advance. We spent the two days learning about useful ways to succeed in Year 12, and strategies to assist us with studying.

We began our Study Advance with a tour of the Deakin campus which is where we stayed for the two days. It was a great opportunity for us to experience what it would be like to live on campus and have an insight into what university is like.

We listened to many lectures including some from Elevate, Andrew Jobling, Ross Huggard as well as our teachers. They were all extremely helpful and taught us a lot. The Elevate session provided us with many useful tips to memorise the large amount of content we cover in Year 12. Andrew Jobling’s lecture inspired us to aim high and set goals. From Ross Huggard, the Year 12s doing VCE learnt many ways to succeed in VCE English.

One of the highlights of our retreat was the dinner with the teachers and Mr Moore. It was great to talk to our teachers outside of the classroom setting. I’m sure we were all glad that they took the time out of their evenings to spend with us!

The Study Advance helped us think and plan for our future beyond high school. Each of us completed career action plans which encouraged us to look at the different pathways we can take after we finish school. 

It was great to be able to undertake activities in our House groups, such as the sporting activities and kahoots, as we are no longer able to participate in star. It was good to be able to be grouped together again after a really long time.

Overall it was such an enjoyable camp that I’m sure we were all grateful to go on and will remember!”

Jessie Tian 
Year 12 Coordinator

Senior School Student Leadership & Agency

Senior School Student Voice, Leadership and Agency Report

Congratulations to all the Student Leaders in the Senior School for making a wonderful start to 2021. School Captains, Lula Tadesse and Sivan Chen, reflected the delight of the school community at having the opportunity to participate in onsite learning after the disruptions of 2020. They commended all students for the “resilience and optimism” that they have shown and encouraged students to make the most of the opportunities available to them.

International Student Captain, Andy Kuok, and his Middle School counterpart, Jason Suryanata, were proud to assist with the smooth running of the International Student Program Lunar New Year Lunch and Celebration. This event has become a beloved Ashwood High School tradition and was enjoyed by all who attended.

The Student Representative Council, led by School Vice-Captains Courtney Tulia and Zac Aitken, have begun meeting fortnightly to discuss any issues, concerns or ideas arising from the student body. These meetings have already raised many interesting and innovative ideas that both embody out CHOIR values and demonstrate the commitment and pride that Ashwood High School students feel towards optimising their school and school experiences.

 2021 has brought with it the tenure of many new leadership positions; one such position is that of the Prefect. Ashwood High School’s twelve Prefects hold the portfolios of VCE Prefect, VCAL Prefect, Communications Prefect, Debating Prefect, Performing Arts Prefect, Social Justice, Student Clubs Prefect, Sustainability Prefect, Technology Prefect, Transitions and Orientation Prefect, Visual Arts Prefect, and Wellbeing Prefect. The Prefects have been meeting regularly as a team and working with supervising staff members to devise a wide variety of projects, activities, clubs and events. We look forward to seeing these exciting plans come into action soon. One such event is Clean Up Australia Day, an opportunity for students to raise awareness and take action against the issue of litter and rubbish pollution within the community, led by Sustainability Prefect, Madeline Booker, Social Justice Prefect Bianca Ting and the Interact Club Executive.

Thank you and well done to all Senior School Student Leaders for a great start to Term 1!

Matilda Wraight
Student Voice, Leadership & Agency Coordinator

(Above) School Vice-Captain Courtney Tulia, School Captain Sivan Chen, International Student Captain Andy Kuok, School Captain Lula Tadesse, and School Vice-Captain Zachary Aitken.

School Captains Report

To the greater Ashwood High School community, this may be the first time you are hearing from us as the School Captains of 2021, so we will use this opportunity as a means to introduce ourselves. 

My name is Lula Tadesse and it fills me with pride to be a Senior School Leader this year. When I was appointed to this role, I had a vision to ensure that every student at our school understood the importance of having a voice in their community. This year I will work hard to speak on behalf of our student body, and work to achieve an innovative, creative and respectful school environment.  For the short time that we have returned to school, we have observed that students have begun to settle, or have already settled, into the new school year. Despite the unexpected nature of the short lockdown this year, everybody faced it with resilience and optimism. The teachers quickly adapted to the lockdown and ensured that we stayed calm in the face of crisis. We also commend the students for embodying the values of our school so beautifully.  

My name is Sivan Chen and I am also very excited to be a School Captain for 2021. The goals that Lula has outlined will not be achieved without the help of Ashwood High School’s students. It will occur through proactive participation in all the school events, activities and opportunities available to us as students. Therefore, we encourage students to take part in the events and thus to take the lead in developing fundamental skills in many aspects of life, such as socialising, teamwork and self-improvement. In addition, we hope that these opportunities will help to bring us together as a community after last year’s periods of social isolation. These school events can be a welcome break between periods of intense study and we hope that they will improve student mental health and reduce student stress levels. Becoming part of a community is not only helpful for student personal growth, it also has a relaxing effect on students’ minds after experiencing so many lockdowns. 

2021 will hopefully be a year filled with opportunities and achievements. We want to see students thrive and prosper as people, as students and as leaders. We have had changes to both our school structure and our leadership team. The implementation of our school’s many new leadership positions, such as the prefects, will give more students the ability to display their leadership skills, and more specifically, they cater to the needs of a wider range of students. From our Sustainability Prefect to our Performing Arts Prefect and Social Justice Prefect, our school is aiming to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to be a leader. However, all student should remember that just because they might not have a badge, it does not mean they should not strive to be a positive leader every day.

High school really does fly past, so we hope that students make sure that they make the most of this year and all subsequent years! 

Lula Tadesse & Sivan Chen

(Above) Sport Vice-Captain Quin Bolton-Rogers, Sport Captain Lily Patterson, Music Captain Daniel Butler, and Music Vice-Captain Quyen Tran.

(Above) Social Justice Prefect Bianca Ting, Communications Prefect Caitlyn Lim, Debating Prefect Angela Hewerdine, Student Clubs Prefect Darcy Morrin, Sustainability Prefect Madeline Booker, Wellbeing Prefect Mile Trifunovic, VCE Prefect Adrian Tan, Performing Arts Prefect Sam Harvison, Visual Arts Prefect Stacy Chishaka, Technology Prefect Luka Perovic, and Transitions and Orientation Prefect Jake Larking. Absent: VCAL Prefect Morgan Peacock Clarke.

(Above) Ashwood High School Interact Club Executive – President Bianca Ting, Vice-President Jamieson Adler, Secretary Georgie Taylor, Treasurer Daisy Harvison, and Project Managers Kai-Cooper Anderson, Celina Hewerdine, Maddy Rado, Amelie Sydenham and Rhyannon Bergin.

(Above) Ashwood High School Student Representative Council – SRC Vice-Presidents Christos Giakoumatos and Emma Hew, Year 8 Representatives Connor Russo and Talia Isik, Year 9 Representatives Noah Rostan and Lily Greaves, Year 10 Representatives Thomas Kinnane and Jessica Sterle, Year 11 Representatives Anthony Zhu and Abby Helm, and SRC Presidents Zachary Aitken and Courtney Tulia.

(Above) Year 10 Students Caitlyn Lim, Jamieson Adler and Bianca Ting attending the Darwin Defenders 79th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin Commemoration Service at the Shrine of Remembrance.

(Above) Jamieson Adler, Bianca Ting and Caitlyn Lim with Darwin Defenders President and WWII Veteran Mr Alan Day.


VCE VCAL VET Curriculum Services

The VCE and VCAL students have had a very positive and busy start to the year. As we enter Week 5 the students are well into their various courses, in many cases having already completed some assessments, attended excursions and participated in incursions. I would remind students, parents and guardians to check Compass regularly for VCE SAC and VCAL Outcome dates which will appear as events on both the student and parent dashboards. I would also like to take this opportunity to remind students that any absence from a VCE SAC or VCAL Outcome event requires a medical certificate.

To best prepare for any assessments, students must ensure that they are completing homework tasks in a timely manner and utilising all available class time productively. Many teachers are also offering additional help sessions after school and all students are encouraged to take up these opportunities.  VCE students should also be revising regularly, on top of their scheduled homework, to ensure that they are well prepared for SACs and Exams. 

The Year 12 students all took part in an Elevate Education session, Memory Mnemonics, at the Year 12 Study Advance, and Year 11 students will be participating in upcoming sessions on Study Techniques and Time Management, which will assist them with their study habits.

As the workload builds for students please remember to plan ahead, seek assistance as required and keep the school informed regarding any issues, as they arise, that will impact on a student’s ability to complete tasks. To this end I would also remind VCE students to speak to me if they believe that they qualify for Special Exam Provisions as the forms must be completed as soon as possible to enable these provisions to be put in place in the class room, as well as for external assessments. As explained at both the Year 12 Study Advance and the Parent/Guardian Information session these provisions allow for a “level playing field” for all students. 

A reminder that Student Led Conferences are coming up in Week 7. These meetings are a valuable opportunity for all students, along with Parents and Guardians, to “check in” on their progress and gain valuable one-to-one feedback, and it is extremely important that bookings are made with all teachers.

Julie Huggins
VCAA Curriculum Services Coordinator

Careers & Pathways

Career News

It has been a great start to the year for careers! During the first week I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the Year 12 Study Advance to deliver their last ever Career Action Plan session. After we figured out the Deakin University WiFi the session went without a hitch. From what I have seen so far we have a very ambitious Class of 2021, congratulation and stick with your plans. For the Year 12s who have not yet completed this, you still have time, if you need a refresher you will find the student user guide here – remember to click ‘Share with your Teacher’ it will come through to me for feedback. Or I am happy for you to make contact with me via email at to set up a time to go through the CAP process.

For Years 7 to 11 you will also be completing your Career Actions Plans throughout the year with Year 10 next in week 9.

Senior School - Structured Workplace Learning (SWL)

The 2021 VCAL class have started their search for industry related placements including Hospitality, Horticulture, Carpentry, Tourism, Automotive – Mechanical, Animal Studies, Information, Digital Media & Technology – Gaming, Business and Screen & Media – Creative & Digital Media, as well as their volunteer placements. Some students have been successful in securing placement, however some industries are more challenging than others especially at this time.

If you or someone you know could offer a student one day per week placement on a term by term basis – you are not locked in for a full year – please make contact with me on 9807 1333 or your support is greatly appreciated. Offering a student work placement is very rewarding and a great way of giving back to the community.

Jodie Hechenberger
Careers & Pathways Coordinator

Student Outcomes Leader Report

A warm welcome back to the Ashwood High School community for 2021. We have had a dynamic and productive start to the year, and I am very excited at the prospect of working in the role of Student Outcomes Leader this year. The purpose of this role is to work collaboratively throughout all aspects of learning and curriculum delivery in the school to identify and provide opportunities for improving student achievement.

The transition to two Mini-Schools at Ashwood High School this year marks an exciting opportunity to identify these years as very specific stages of learning. I will be working across both of the Mini-Schools with a focus on achievement, and emphasis on the best way to improve this according to student age and stage of development. In the Middle School, our focus is to “Lay Strong Foundations for the Future”. To achieve this, students are explicitly taught and encouraged to find their most appropriate and effective learning styles and teachers are working to foster a love of learning in their students. In the Senior School, our focus is to “Forge Successful Futures”. During this stage of learning, students are required to shift their focus to achievement and content to perform at their best by the end of Year 12. I am very much looking forward to working more closely with our teachers and students to achieve these outcomes.

A key aspect to enhancing performance outcomes is to analyse and reflect on data, information and actions already taken. To improve on student learning outcomes at Ashwood High School, opportunities will be created to assist teachers in the analysis of data, reflect on individual and cohort data, and to support teachers to improve their pedagogical practices based on that data. In support of this process, Carmel Richardson, an expert in the field of data-informed practice in secondary schools, presented to VCE teaching staff on Thursday 25 February. Carmel has worked closely with the Ashwood High School VCE teaching staff in previous years and has provided invaluable feedback and analysis of our school’s results to ultimately identify opportunities for improvements. Her recent presentation of our students’ 2020 VCE data provided the opportunity for new and experienced teaching staff to understand the intricacies of their results data to improve students’ outcomes in 2021 and beyond.

Another opportunity to improve individual student outcomes at Ashwood High School in 2021 is through the Learning Mentor Program in the areas of literacy and numeracy.  This program is based on a Victorian Government initiative to provide support to students of all learning levels and abilities, in response to changes and challenges faced in 2020 brought about by the need for Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning. Involvement in the program is based on a holistic reflection and analysis of individual student data in Years 7-12 from 2020. With a targeted approach, students have access to an experienced Learning Mentor teacher that provides learning support in the classroom at either one-to-one, small group or whole class levels. The Learning Mentor teacher and classroom teacher collaborate on the learning activities and outcomes to ensure students’ learning opportunities are optimized according to their level. This initiative has wonderful potential for our students to further flourish in the classroom across all year levels.

I look forward to working across all learning areas of this wonderful school this year in the best interests of students and their learning.

Lucy Rimmer
Acting Student Outcomes Leader

Director of Studies Report

Learning at Ashwood

Welcome Ashwood families to 2021.  

Getting Organised
It is important that by now, all students have the required books and materials for every subject. If you are having problems getting organised, please contact the school for assistance.

The Ashwood High School Planner is a fantastic tool that all students should be using to regularly record and prioritise their homework and study. It will also allow you to keep abreast of what is happening in the classroom with your child enabling you to fully support them.

If you haven’t already done so, make sure you have explored and know how to access the Parent Portal on Compass. This is the centralised location where you will find all information about events, programs and other news items, as well as the place where you can access lesson-to-lesson information about your child’s learning program. If you have any concerns about your child’s learning, please contact their House or Year Level Coordinator or subject teacher as appropriate.

Tips for Studying Effectively at Home
Working hard is important, but not necessarily productive. These tips might help your student make the most of their study time.

  • Most people can’t concentrate for very long. Break your study time down into blocks of 20-25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break to keep your brain fresh and awake.
  • Use specific locations for studying. Have a study chair and a study desk so you know when you are sitting there you need to be studying. If your brain doesn’t associate your study space with sleep or computer games, then it will focus and learn more easily. For example, if your desk is in your bedroom, turn your seat so that you are not looking at your bed or Playstation.
  • Teach others what you are learning, so that you will learn it better. Join a study group or teach to your parents, or even your dog.
  • Understand the difference between concepts and facts. It is one thing to know the names of the planets in the solar system. It is another to understand how they orbit or interact with the solar system. It is important to learn and remember facts but make your goal understanding concepts not learning facts.
  • To remember more of what you learn in class you should take notes in class to record key information. But not too many notes; then you won’t have time to listen and understand.
  • Get enough sleep. When you sleep your brain will enter the REM stage of sleep. During this stage the brain will replay what it learned during the day and you will remember more.
  • Test your memory by writing what you learned. Do not look at your notes but write as much as you can recall without looking this will test your memory and it will also strengthen your memory to remember more of what you study.
  • Review new material on the night that you have learnt it. Ebbinghaus showed in 1890 that this makes you remember more than twice as much.

Interim Reports and Student Led Conferences
Your student’s Interim Progress Reports were released last week. At Ashwood High School we measure what we value, and therefore the Areas of Assessment on the Interim Progress Reports reflect the school's CHOIR values.

Active Engagement (Community)
Refers to the extent the student is an active member of class activities in a way that improves their learning and contributes to the ‘class community’.

Learning Effectiveness (High Expectations)
Refers to the extent the student demonstrates productivity, effectiveness and efficiency, and the extent to which they are focused on their learning and consistently do the best they can, working effectively within the given timeframe.

Responding to Feedback (Optimism, Reflection & Resilience)
Refers to the extent the student improves the quality of their work, and if needed their behaviour, based on feedback.

Learning Independence (Innovation, Creativity & Sustainability)
Refers to the extent the student is able to work independently in a productive and self-regulated manner.

Respectful Behaviour (Respect)
Refers to the extent the student demonstrates respect for the learning of others.

Each value is rated as Consistently, Often, Sometimes, Rarely, Never or Not Applicable.

Student Led Conferences will be held on Wednesday 10 March from 10:30am to 7:00pm and on Friday 12 March from 8:50am to 3:10pm Year 12 students will be required to attend classes on the Friday, but no other students will be required at school on either of these two days.

As their name suggests, the interviews are designed to be ‘student led’, using their Interim Progress Reports, as well as the ‘Student Led Conferences – Preparation’ document as the basis for discussion, reflection and feedback. This document (which students have had time to complete in advance) instructs students to reflect on their reports by answering the following questions for each subject:

What are you most proud of? Why did you get these results?

When/how do you learn best?

What can you do to optimise your learning? What can your parents and teacher do to help?

Set a goal and an action/strategy based on responses to questions 2 & 3.

Students should complete the questions using the document and bring it to their conferences. Please encourage your child to complete and have this with them for each of your conference bookings. This will then be followed up in subsequent Tutor group sessions, where students will set their Semester One Personal Learning Goals.

Please contact the General Office if you require assistance with your bookings.

Colin Shnier
Director of Studies


Data Analysis, Improvement & School Organisation Report

The importance of Literacy in all subject areas

Language is foundational to all learning experiences (Vygotsky, 1962), and literacy ability has been directly linked to academic outcomes (Thomson et al., 2017).

Whether it is essays, case studies or practical investigation reports, all subjects require the ability to read, comprehend, present, discuss and write for an intended audience.

From Year 7 through Year 12 subject specific language used in the classroom becomes more complex, with a growing emphasis on technical language rather than commonplace language.

All VCE and VCAL Outcomes need students to comprehend the full requirements of a task and communicate clearly to demonstrate their understanding of key knowledge and skills.

How Ashwood High School is improving student literacy

  • all subjects require written responses in assessment tasks
  • feedback on literacy skills and areas for improvement is provided in all subject areas
  • written information provided to students models a high standard of literacy
  • the Intensive English program has been introduced this year to provide extra support for students who are challenged by the literacy requirements of their subject. This includes support for EAL students
  • all teachers are responsible for teaching the subject-specific literacy of their learning area/s

What students can do to improve their literacy skills

  • create glossaries of new words and phrases they encounter in their classes
  • use colour or highlighters to draw attention to key information in tasks
  • summarise the key points from lessons in their own words
  • read regularly to improve comprehension and vocabulary
  • proofread all work before submission

Improving literacy at home

  • encourage students to discuss what they have learnt during the day with you
  • ask questions to allow students to explain a concept in a variety of ways
  • encourage students to read books of their choosing

Kate Davis
Data Analysis, Improvement and School Organisation Leader

Enrichment, Pedagogy, Partnerships & Professional Learning Report

2021 was off to a flying start after more than 60 members of staff came together on Wednesday 27 January to hear Mr Moore’s opening address for the school year. The following two days of professional learning were an opportunity to engage with colleagues and plan for the learning that will be taking place in the year ahead. Among the 40 strong teaching staff present at the conference were 11 new members of staff who were warmly welcomed into the school following an engaging introduction by the Principal.

Special thanks must go to Assistant Principals Mr Tom O’Toole and Ms Meg McLellan for ensuring that the sessions ran smoothly and to Ms Chin Byrne for organising the delicious morning teas that, according to staff feedback, were one of the highlights of the conference!

In other news, not even the circuit breaker lock down could stop the official launch of our Communities of Practice taking place on Wednesday 17 February. The launch was ably led by our leader of Enrichment, Pedagogy, Partnerships and Professional Learning, Mrs Caroline Servadei who provided an overview of the action research cycle and highlighted the moral purpose that underpins our school’s commitment to staff professional learning. This year, teachers’ collaborative work will focus on digital learning pedagogies, continuous reporting, developmental rubrics and tutor/form groups.

Finally, Ashwood High School is once again set to welcome pre-service teachers as part of our ongoing partnerships with Deakin, Melbourne and Monash Universities. The School looks forward to welcoming these teachers as they bring their energy, enthusiasm and knowledge of the latest evidence-based teaching practices to our classrooms.

Caroline Servadei
Enrichment, Pedagogy Partnerships & Professional Learning Leader

Mathematics Learning Area

Year 8 Maths

Today we learnt about Highest Common Factors and Lowest Common Multiples, we wrote all the information in our glossary page so we can refer back to it whenever we need.
Arden Willis

We learnt about integers and played a game where we had to add negative and positive integers and get the highest score. The winner got a sticker. Hudson Bianchi

Mathematical Methods

Mathematical Methods seemed like the best option for me, as I want to pursue a future in finance. The course so far has been enjoyable and enlightening to say the least. 
Keifer Lo

I chose Methods because I have a passion for learning and it broadens my options for post high school studies.
Abby Helm

I’m doing Mathematical Methods because I find it rewarding and challenging, and wanted to push myself to do the best I can.
Hunter Howard

Mathematics most authentically appeals to logic; thus, it is most logical to pursue it.
George Missailidis

I chose to do Mathematical Methods in Year 11 because I believe that it would assist me in getting into Medicine in the future. I love the challenge Methods brings to table and as a result, I feel good about myself when I overcome these challenges.  
Yousef Samad

I am doing Mathematical Methods because I have many passions in the field of environmental sciences which is an extremely broad area and with Methods it opens up many possible branches within environmental science. Another reason I chose Methods as a subject was to prove to myself that I can work hard and achieve high standards.
Madeline Booker

Mathematical Methods presents me with an opportunity to challenge myself with my maths. This subject will allow for me to get into my dream courses in the future and offers a wide range of potential courses. I’m looking forward to pushing myself to achieve high academic results.  
Elizabeth Tziafas



Science Learning Area Report

Year 7 ACE Barwon Heads Excursion

The annual ACE 7 Barwon Heads Biology/Maths Excursion once again combined high expectation in learning with a field trip to an intertidal zone.

The students demonstrated their skills in the Marine Discovery Center Lab and actually completed a Year 11 Biology practical session. Both Ms Richards and I were so very proud of the enthusiasm and higher order thinking demonstrated by our class.

Students collected data on organisms in the intertidal zone at the Bluff using transects and quadrats.

The class are now writing a very comprehensive report using their collated class data and applying the new information and ideas presented to them in the lab and in the field.

Bernie Jowett 
Science/Maths Teacher  

During Term 1, our science teachers and students have certainly made the most of being back in the lab. Students have hit the ground running this year by planning, conducting and communicating a range of science investigations exploring phenomena in the world around them.

Niesha Moorad
Science Learning Area Coordinator

Students in Year 8 started off the year reviewing how to design an investigation and follow fair testing methods in an experiment. In the experiment demonstrated in the images the students are determining if the length of a pendulum affected the amount of time it took for a full swing of the pendulum in a period from point A to point B and then back to point A.

Kath Robinson
Media/Science/Humanities Teacher


Humanities Learning Area Report

7Z (the ACE class) have been learning about the seven Historical Concepts in H and their importance in understanding and interpreting history. With the unexpected shift to online learning, 7Z took the opportunity to explore the Concepts in depth, becoming subject matter experts in the Historical Concepts. Once we were reunited onsite, a subject matter expert for each Concept was grouped together with various other subject matter experts to undertake peer teaching and learning. Each student presented their newly acquired knowledge to their peers, and by the end of the lesson every student had an applied understanding of the seven Historical Concepts.

The Accounting Class enjoyed creating calculator holders for the cheapest cost price to ensure the maximum profit. Some groups were definitely more extravagant than others!

The Year 12s used a variety of management styles (from Laissez faire to Autocratic) to build a tower of spaghetti to support marshmallows.

Heidi Cornelissen
Humanities Learning Area Coordinator

Creative Arts/Technologies Learning Area Report

The beginning of the school year is always awash with new faces in Year 7, and lots of new creativity happening in the Creative Arts and Technology Faculty.

This year we welcome our Prefect Stacy Chishaka, who will undoubtedly lead our students in a range of exiting and creative ventures. I am looking forward to working with her in developing a range of student led opportunities for 2021.

I look forward to working with all of my faculty, our creative students in 2021, and cannot wait to present some of their creative output in upcoming newsletters.

Annalisa Buyks
Creative Arts and Technology Coordinator

Across Year 7, 9 and 10, students have returned to the Art Room with incredibly positive and productive energy. Many Year 7 students are using a Visual Diary for the very first time to explore, develop and curate their work as they study Modern Art Movements.

Year 9 students are beginning the year by exploring their personal style through sources of research and vast and varied experimentation, whilst Year 10 students are borrowing inspiration from Wassily Kandinsky to explore the ways in which they can represent their favourite musicians, bands and genres of music through the elements and principles of art.

2021 is shaping up to be especially exciting, as being on-site means we can explore art materials and techniques that are likely new to many of our students. In the art department, students and staff alike are excited to be exploring varied processes such as printmaking and sculpture. Watch this space!

Ms Jessica Lindholm – Visual Communications/Art/Design Teacher

Why did you choose Art as an elective for 2021?

“In Art I feel like I can be myself no matter what.

It is like I can express my feelings, emotions, interests and even personal problems (that are something I’m not very open about) without being judged.

I find it much easier to take out everything on paper, rather than having someone come up to me and talk about my issues.

For me Art is a very therapeutic tool that helps me to restore and replace all my negative energy in my body with my imagination on paper or canvas.” Vanessa Koziarz, Year 10

Instrumental Music Report

Welcome to Instrumental Music 2021! It’s official, after an 11 month break the rehearsal schedule is running at capacity once again. And to celebrate, we have added a few new ensembles to the mix. Please see below for the IME Rehearsal Schedule for Term 1.

Thank you to all our instrumentalists and families who have commenced or continued enrolment in our program. The number of student instrumentalists is at a record high and to the Year 7s, thank you for your patience as enrolments have continued to come in, as is normal at the start of the year, we have staggered commencement of some of your lessons up to week 6.

A big thank you to Mr Brett Moore, our Principal for his enthusiastic and wholehearted support of all things Music at Ashwood High School. And to the IM specialist music team, thank you for your expertise and engagement with our students; Ms Renee Badcock (Woodwind), Mr Nelson Woods (Brass),        
Mr Oliver Cox
(Percussion/Drum Kit), Mr Thomas Fraser (Electric Bass/Guitar), Mrs Tania Kaev (Vocal),
Mr Navin Gulavita (Strings/Violin/Viola), Mr Troy Rogan (Cello/Viola). A big thank you also to
Ms Cecilia Tan and Mrs Robyn Maclarn in the General Office for their ongoing support and assistance with enrolments. Here’s to a celebratory year of Music at Ashwood High School!

Wendy Anderson
Director of Music

Health & PE Learning Area Report

Welcome to Health and Physical Education here at Ashwood High School. We are looking forward to an exciting year ahead, packed with new experiences and learning opportunities.

Firstly I would like to give a warm welcome to our new students and look forward to meeting you all soon.

We have three new faces in the HPE Learning Area in 2021, Mr Tom O’Toole, Ms Kristen McCluskey and Mr James Boarotto. We are thrilled to have such talented teachers in our learning area and who have already settled right in!

HPE staff have moved offices and most can now be found in Building D, making it easier for students to seek assistance when needed.

New to 2021, is the wearing of PE uniform to and from school on days students have PE prac and Sport. At the beginning of term, in line with our CHOIR expectations, students were given an outline of what is expected in terms of PE uniform. Should parents/guardians have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s HPE teacher. The student planner outlines the PE uniform expectations.

For new parents/guardians, and a reminder for those returning, should your child not be able to participate in his/her practical class, please send you child with a note (or email your child’s teacher) outlining the reasons. We will be guided by your child’s health professional for returning to physical activity due to injury.

It has been a busy and exciting term thus far.

Our Year 10 students have been participating in a brand new American Football unit that has been run by “Team Touchdown”. ( We have been very fortunate to have Liam and his team visit Ashwood High School and deliver four amazing clinics per group, with students learning the rules of Flag Football. Students have been demonstrating offensive and defensive plays. Check out our great pics and videos!


Year 9 students have been learning about the key ideas used Invasion Games, such as creating space, keeping possession of the ball etc, then adapting these when participating in a sport. It has been exciting to see students learning how to transfer skills from one movement activity to another.

Year 8 students have been busy working on a Fitness unit, utilising the wonderful 2 new exercise bikes, which have been donated by the PFN.

Our new Year 7 students are beginning our amazing Orienteering unit – look out next newsletter for some photos and videos of how it is run.

Our new Year 9 Sports Coaching elective has kicked off this semester with Mr Grbac. Students have been learning about the characteristics of coaches and beginning to take part in peer teaching to demonstrate their understanding of the theoretical concepts. Outdoor Studies is also a Year 9 elective with Ms Cooper this year, and the focus for this term is sustainability.

As you can read, it has been a busy but energising start to 2021, and I have no doubt the rest of the year is also going to be just as amazing!

Keep active.

Allison Phillips
Health and Physical Education Learning Coordinator

LOTE Learning Area Report

2021 is an extremely exciting time for the language department at Ashwood High School.

Our first Year 11 French class in almost ten years commenced in 2021. Our class of 12 students are working very hard to set a high standard for language learning at Ashwood and are busily preparing for their first School Assessed Coursework, giving oral presentations for their assessment. They will be addressing the discussion question “Comment mener une vie équilibrée” or “How to lead a balanced life”.

Our Chinese First Language students in Year 11 are also busily working and preparing for their assessments. At a time when people are impeded from travelling and seeing the world, it is so important that our students keep up their language skills to stay connected to their communities, their heritage and to other cultures around the world, virtually.

Our French Conversation Club begun this week. It runs on Tuesdays at lunchtime in room G01 and is designed to give French students at Years 10 and 11 level opportunities to practice their spoken French. This includes general conversation, themed topics as well as assistance in preparing for any upcoming speaking tasks or SACs. All Year 10 and 11 French students are encouraged to attend to finesse their pronunciation, vocabulary, fluency and questioning skills.

Finally, the French Film Festival is back in Melbourne starting in March. Participating Palace Cinemas around Melbourne are screening a variety of French films, some of which are premieres. Our Year 9 and 10 students of French are planning to attend to increase their cultural knowledge and apply their comprehension skills to some fantastic new French films. I encourage our wider school community to consider checking out some of the dynamic films on offer this year!

Alistair Rayner 
LOTE Coordinator

EAL Learning Area Report

How to prepare a Point of View speech: Two Year 11 EAL students give some public speaking tips.

In Year 11 EAL, students learn how to deliver a Point of View speech for their Oral presentation SAC. Students will speak about a current issue debated in the media, such as COVID 19 racism and climate change. Anthony Zhu and Vivian Yan offer some public speaking tips.

Carmela Diaz
EAL Learning Area Coordinator


What are some tips to help you succeed when presenting a speech?

Listen to your teacher
Prepare your speech (research and practise)
Know your target audience
Use your voice and body language to affect the audience.

To achieve a successful oral presentation, you can utilise humour, anecdotes, and concise language. Using your voice and hand gestures effectively can also help to engage your audience.

How do you overcome your fear of public speaking?

Practise speaking English with a local student and your teacher.
Find a style that works for you
Practise in front of the mirror
Speak clearly.

With preparation and persistence, you can overcome your fear of public speaking.

Digital Technologies Learning Area Report

One of the tasks of any teacher is to make assessments meaningful. At the University of Melbourne, I recall a teacher suggesting that all assessments should be formative. In other words, all assessments should assist the student to progress their future learning. While assessments may provide a window into your child's learning engagement and independence, we also use assessments as a tool to plan future learning. 

Ashwood High School has mined the silver-linings of remote learning and reflected on the question 'how can the tools we adopted during the pandemic assist us in providing exceptional student outcomes in a face-to-face environment?'. One of the tools we have continued to utilise is the online teaching and assessment platform Education Perfect. 

After the first Year 8 Humanities test, which occurred in late February, I witnessed the inevitable queue of students at my office door waiting to be told their results. At previous schools I have been involved in, we only had the capacity to give students one number – or one letter – which stood as a judgement rather than a tool for growth.  

This time it was different. Through utilising the analysis tags in Education Perfect, every Year 8 student received detailed feedback on the domains where they performed well and the domains where they have the greatest opportunity to improve. Every student who waited in line out the front of my office was given genuine feedback with a clear targeted pathway on the same day that they completed the test. One student was encouraged to draw up timelines to better understand the sequencing of events, while another student needed to participate more in class discussions on significant figures. 

Technology like this allows teachers to spend more time giving face-to-face, meaningful feedback. The teachers at Ashwood High School are using tools like Education Perfect to ensure they spend less time performing tasks that can be more efficiently undertaken by machines and more time getting to know and work alongside students to achieve outstanding results. 

Daniel Christiansz
Digital Technologies Learning Area Coordinator

Sport Coordinator's Report

Welcome back to another year of Ashwood High School Interschool Sport. We will be looking to produce some even better results this year, as we have been steadily growing (both in enrolments and winning teams) since 2016.

You may have noticed the event on Compass titled: Major Sporting Carnivals 2020 – (House Name). This year, all 3 major whole school sporting carnivals, Swimming, Cross Country & Athletics have been bundled into one Compass event. This is to make it easy for families to make one payment of $40 which will cover the cost of running all three sporting carnivals.

Thank you to parents and guardians who followed this process in time for the first major sporting carnival of the year, the Swimming Carnival on Tuesday 2 March (Week 6).

As always, if you have any questions, please email me at:

I look forward to another year in the helm as Sports Coordinator and continuing to grow from a good to great sporting school.

A message from the Box Hill Tennis Club:

Getting Girls Into Tennis is a program designed exclusively for girls aged from 11 to 14 who don’t play tennis.

Eight weekly sessions bring the girls together to have fun, make new friends, be more active and learn new skills in a relaxed setting. Sessions will be run at Box Hill Tennis Club by an experienced tennis coach with all equipment provided.

You can learn more about Getting Girls into Tennis at

You can also come along to the Box Hill Tennis Club’s Open Day on Sunday, 28 February from 11 am to 2 pm where there’ll be a girl’s come and try session at 11 am with all equipment provided.

Tom Grbac
Sports Coordinator

Debating & Public Speaking Report

Earlier this term, Ashwood High School had a delegation of eight students participate in the 2021 international model United Nations conference, run online by the World Federation of United Nations Association. This conference was attended by students from thirty-two countries around the world. Taking on the role of Head Delegate for our school at this prestigious conference was Ashwood Debating Prefect Angela Hewerdine.

In the Third Committee of the General Assembly (3GA), discussing “Refugees and the Impact of COVID-19”, we had Angela Hewerdine representing Germany, Cooper Senova-Tapp representing Brazil, Emma Hew representing Afghanistan, and Jason Suryanata representing Burkina Faso.

In the Environment Assembly, discussing “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”, we had Matthew Pirozek representing UK, Christos Giakoumatos representing Afghanistan, and Lucas Leventakis representing Kenya.

In the Human Rights Council, discussing “Human Rights and the Environment”, we had Gabriel Sebastian representing Indonesia.

Our delegates put in hours of research and preparation even before Term 1 had started. During the conference, they played vital roles in writing draft resolutions that addressed the key concerns in each committee and debated firmly in order to reach consensus. The draft resolution from 3GA would later be passed on for consideration by one of the committees from the actual United Nations.

Furthermore, Angela Hewerdine was presented with a Diplomacy Award during the Closing Ceremony, and she was congratulated by her committee facilitator for being “extremely intelligent and extremely firm” especially when it came to amending the committee draft resolution. All of our delegates are to be congratulated for conducting themselves in a professional manner befitting the spirit of the United Nations and making new friends and rivals along the way.

Ronald Lee
Debating Coordinator

International Student Program

In Term 1 2021, we have 43 international student enrolments including 8 students located in China and Vietnam accessing online learning with us. Here is where our students are from.

Welcome from International Student Captains
Dear new international students,

Welcome to Ashwood High School. No matter whether you are on school campus or overseas, we are excited to see you joining us in this warm community. We hope you will get to know your peers and make new friends, if you have not yet done so.

You are welcome to have a chat with us at any time as we are always here to support you.

                Andy Kuok  
International Student Captain

             Jason Suryanata
Middle School International Student Captain

Summer Holiday Program
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our international students were unable to return home for school holidays. To support international students’ academic progress and wellbeing, additional efforts were made by our school including:
Additional 10 days Homework Club at the end of Term 4 2020;
Movie night for senior school students during school holiday;
2 online international student assemblies for homestay students; Enrolment for English Enrichment Program run by the International Education Division (IED), DET; BBQ and visit to Bright Beach for homestay students.

All these arrangements were well received by international students and very appreciative messages were received from students’ parents.

DET has requested to use our student photos from holiday program to promote high quality services for Victorian government schools.

Lunar New Year Celebrations
On 12 February, the Lunar New Year’s Day, all international students gathered together at  the Gym to celebrate the most important lunar festival. Mr Moore, Ms McLellan, Mr O’Toole, Ms Brydon and Ms Lindsay attended the celebration. Mr Moore’s red packet presentation is always a highlight of the event.

Students really appreciate that their culture is well recognised in Ashwood High School community.

Thanks to Andy Kuok, Senior School International Student Captain, Jason Suryanata, Middle School International Student Captain, Anthony Zhu, Vivian Yan and other students who helped organise this beautiful event.
Thanks to all student performers for their amazing performance. Ashwood High School is a big stage for you and there will be a lot more opportunities for you to shine in the future.      


Online Learning Program
This year, we have three Year 9 students and five Year 11 students overseas undertaking online learning at our school. This program has been running smoothly with the support from ISP team, Ms Diaz, Ms Tian and Ms Buyks as well as Year 9 teachers.

With the COVID-19 vaccine available now in Australia, we look forward to these students’ arrival at Ashwood High School.

Here is some reflection from those students:

Because of the current COVID-19, we cannot enter Australia to study. The overall online course is very good, and we are very satisfied with the current arrangement. Although there were a few problems in the first week, the quality of online courses has been perfected through continuous trials and adjustments by the school. Teachers in the school actively support and send us the materials for class in advance to deal with situations where PowerPoint may not be visible. During the online class, I also felt that I was integrated into the entire middle school even though I was not physically at school. The classmates were very enthusiastic and lovely. They always said hello when they saw us on the screen. This makes us feel very welcoming.
Kaisheng Hou, Year 9

After almost four weeks online learning, the most challenging for me is Physics. I cannot fully understand the lessons, it’s so difficult for me to learn it from home. Currently, I also have some problems with week three Math Methods, but I am going to ask my teacher soon.

The level of support at Ashwood is totally good and the teachers at VSV are enthusiastic. However, VSV teachers just answering student’s questions via email is not going to help the students understand the learning content easily. In my opinion, VSV teachers should have an answer recording for students. It will be better.
Binh Tang, Year 11

Yonghong Williams 
International Student Program Manager

Education Resource Centre

The Education Resource Centre’s mission is to support teaching and learning at Ashwood by providing students and staff with access to relevant, well-managed information resources, and it was a pleasure to start 2021 by introducing our very attentive Year 7 students to those resources. Judging by their continuing use of the collection, our library orientation sessions were a success, and it is evident that our new students know a good thing when they see it.

Open Hours
This term The ERC is open as a quiet study space at lunchtimes and after school. We close at 3.30 on Mondays and Fridays and 4.30 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

Online Access
Infiniti is the, from anywhere, at any time, gateway to the ERC’s catalogue and online resources. Details and links can be found on the ERC’s homepage. To access the homepage, go to Compass > Star Icon > Library System.

The ERC maintains a broad collection of non-fiction books. In addition, to meet the demand for current, accessible information, in a variety of formats, we provide access to two excellent, online research databases, Links Plus and Britannica School. These can be searched through Infiniti, and are highly recommended as initial go-to sites for all student research.

Reading makes us happier and more creative. To support the reading culture that exists at Ashwood we have a wonderful, ever-growing, fiction collection full of classic novels and popular favourites. The collection also includes highly acclaimed graphic novels and audiobooks. All items are available for loan and all loans must be registered before leaving the ERC.

Remember to make time to enjoy reading every day.

Matthew Feeney
ERC Coordinator

Parent and Community Partnerships

We hope that you have had a successful start to the school year, especially those who are new to Ashwood!  The PFN had hoped to hold their traditional morning tea on-site for Year 7 parents on the first day of school. 

Unfortunately, due to COVID restrictions, we had to change our plans at the eleventh hour. The PFN put out a notice via PFN email and WhatsApp and about 20 Year 7 parents were able to join us at Stocksville Café after drop off for a coffee and a chat.  It was so nice to be able to answer any questions in person and put faces to some of the names on the WhatsApp group!

WhatsApp Parent Groups
Sometimes you have a question after school hours or that only another parent can answer!  There are currently WhatsApp parent groups for Years 7-10 and you can join via these links:

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Year 10

Last year, the PFN was pleased to be able to assist the PE department by funding the purchase of two spin bikes and some sport trackers for Health and PE classes.  Allison Phillips has advised that the trackers will be used in Semester 2 for Sports Science. The spin bikes are already getting a workout in Year 8 HPE!

If you would like to be kept up to date with the PFN, please send an email to  We send out the minutes from each meeting via our mailing list and it’s a great way to keep up with what we are working on.

Merran Taylor 
PFN President

Fundraising, Revenue & Building Works


Parent Payments
Ashwood High School values the high level of support it receives from parents and families. Your financial support allows us to offer our students extra resources and high quality programs, beyond our basic curriculum funding provided by the Department of Education and Training (DET), such as:

  • Classroom resources
  • Installation of audio and visual equipment to the Gymnasium
  • Leadership and team building sessions
  • New lockers for all students
  • New classroom furniture
  • Award Ceremonies
  • Education Resource Centre resources

In order for students to enjoy the opportunities that this extra funding provides, please check your Compass Portal. Methods of payment can be found on the portal. This funding does make a difference to our students.

Parent Payments have been added to Compass. Compass allows for a variety of payments as well as a payment option. You can also arrange a payment plan at the General Office. Thank you to families who paid prior to the end of the year and to families who have paid this year or have set up payment plans.

Camps Sport Excursion Fund
CSEF applications can be submitted to the General Office up until 25 June, 2021. For secondary school students the amount received will be $225.00. This funding must be spent on school camps or trips, swimming and school organised sport programs, outdoor education programs, excursions and incursions.

 Accident Insurance and Ambulance Cover
Parents/Guardians are reminded that the Department does not provide personal accident insurance or ambulance cover for students. Parents and guardians of students, who do not have student accident insurance/ambulance cover, are responsible for paying the cost of medical treatment for injured students, including the cost of ambulance attendance or transport as well as any other transport costs.

As there is no whole-of-school policy for student accidents or ambulance cover, you are reminded that:

  • parents or 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 or transport as well as any other transport costs; and
  • parents or guardians can purchase insurance policies from commercial insurers.

Personal Property
Parents or Guardians and Staff are reminded that the Department 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.

This can include mobile phones, calculators, toys, sporting equipment and cars parked on school premises. As the Department does not hold insurance for personal property brought to schools and has no capacity to pay for any loss or damage to such property, students and staff should be discouraged from bringing any unnecessary or particularly valuable items to school.


  • Capital Work Program – Senior Student STEM and Research building.
  • Emergency lighting is again being serviced.
  • Routine inspections for the school are scheduled for 2021 eg evacuation system.
  • A new office has been installed in Building F.
  • A new office has been installed in Building D.
  • New whiteboards are being ordered for new offices.
  • Essential storage cupboards have been installed in the music area.
  • New blinds were installed in Building F and Building D.
  • OH&S matters continue to be maintained.


A warning to the school community to read parking restrictions signs outside the school. The City of Monash frequent Vannam Drive during pick up and drop off times to ensure the safety of the school community on the roads. Families have been booked in the past for stopping and letting their children out of the car in restricted areas. A caution to students to use the attended crossing during drop off and pick up. Vannam Drive is a busy thoroughfare during the day and student safety is of utmost importance.

The administration car park is for visitors only and not for student drop off or pick up.

 Schools’ Privacy Policy


Information for parents and carers
During the ordinary course of your child’s attendance at our school, school staff will collect your child’s personal and health information when necessary to educate your child, or to support your child’s social and emotional wellbeing or health. Such information will also be collected when required to fulfil a legal obligation, including duty of care, anti-discrimination law and occupational health and safety law. If that information is not collected, the school may be unable to provide optimal education or support to your child or fulfil those legal obligations.

For example, health information may be collected through the school nurse, primary welfare officer or wellbeing staff member. If your child is referred to a specific health service at school, such as a Student Support Service officer, or school-engaged psychologist, the required consent will be obtained.

Our school may use online tools, such as apps and other software, to effectively collect and manage information about your child for teaching and learning purposes, parent communication and engagement; student administration; and school management purposes. When our school uses these online tools, we takes steps to ensure that your child’s information is secure. If you have any concerns about the use of these online tools, please contact us.

School staff will only share your child’s personal or health information with other staff who need to know to enable the school to educate or support your child, or fulfil a legal obligation.

When our students transfer to another Victorian government school, personal and health information about that student will be transferred to that next school. Transferring this information is in the best interests of our students and assists that next school to provide optimal education and support to students.

In some limited circumstances, information may be disclosed outside of the school (and outside of the Department of Education and Training). The school will seek your consent for such disclosures unless the disclosure allowed or mandated by law.

Our school values the privacy of every person. When collecting and managing personal and health information, all school staff must comply with Victorian privacy law. For more information about privacy including about how to access personal and health information held by the school about you or your child, see our school’s privacy policy:

Throughout this notice, ‘staff’ includes principals, teachers, Student Support Service officers, youth workers, social workers, nurses and any other allied health practitioners and all other staff at our school. This includes employees, agents and service providers (contractors) of the Department, whether paid or unpaid.

Debbie Whitehouse
Director of Business

Apply now for Year 7 ACE in 2022

Do you know a Grade 6 student who would like to join the Ashwood High School ACE Class in 2022?  Applications close for Round 1 by Monday 10 May 2021. Register now

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Roberts McCubbin Primary School Art Show