Ashwood High School eNews

Issue 2 2021

Principal's Report

2021 School Council Elections – Increasing Positive Parental and Community Engagement
We received five nominations for the parent representative category.  As there were only three places available an election was called and votes were counted on Thursday 11 March 2021. Congratulations to newly elected members Dr Lisa Gillespie, parent of Alyssa in Year 8; Ms Rachel Shankland, parent of Jasmine in Year 11 and Tyra in Year 9. Mr Cory Pearce, parent of Sasha in Year 10 was successfully instated as a full member after serving as a co-opted member.  Mr Dean Hurlston, parent of Kiara in Year 11 was accepted as a co-opted member of Council. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms Lisa Alday who has now retired from School Council.  A special thank you to Mr Marc Peters and Mr Russell Diggins who have retired after long-standing service.  As School Council President, Mr Russell Diggins has been pivotal to the growth of the school and has provided distinguished service. New DET members include Mr Tom O’Toole, Ms Lucy Rimmer and Ms Phoebe Lindsay. Ms Meg McLellan has been reinstated for a two year term. Student members Sivan Chen and Lula Tadesse have replaced Alexander Morgan and Nicole Dreyer.

At the AGM and the subsequent meeting afterwards held Wednesday 24 April 2021, we welcomed all members of the 2021 Ashwood High School Council.  Congratulations to the following members of Council on being elected to the following positions: Ms Nicki Dear, President; Dr Lisa Gillespie, Vice President; Mr Dean Matchett, Treasurer. I am looking forward to forming strong governance and working with all members as a team to fulfil the objectives set out in ‘The Path Forward at Ashwood High School’ reflected in the 2019 – 2022 Strategic Plan and the 2021 Annual Implementation Plan.

Thank you to Ms Debbie Whitehouse, Director of Business, for ensuring that technical governance processes are of a high standard.

Annual Report to the School Community - Good to GREAT, Great to Exceptional (all four priorities)
The 2020 Annual Report was tabled and endorsed at our recent AGM and will be loaded to our website. I would urge our community to take a look at the range of positive results. Thank you to Meg McLellan for her contribution to the 2020 Annual Report.

Staffing – Excellence, Continuity and Coherence - Valuing Staff and Building Capacity
The 2021 inductees have settled in very well to the school. School leaders have assumed their positions with growing confidence, and purpose with a commitment to student wellbeing, engagement, and learning.

 Co-curricular Program 2021 – Enhancing the Student Culture
The Year 7 Camp was a positive experience for students and staff. The commitment of Ashwood High School staff towards the holistic development of each child is outstanding. Thank you to organiser Meg Brydon and her team including James Boarotto, Ruby Cameron, Harriet Cooper, Matthew Dexter, Carmela Diaz, Tom Grbac, Michelle Leane, Jessica Lindholm, Delphine Marie, Kirsten McCluskey, June Ren and Calvin Yin who all attended this great camp.

Co-curricular Program 2021 – House Swimming Carnival – Enhancing the Student Culture
Attendance and participation at the 2021 House Swimming Sports was extremely positive on Tuesday 2 March 2021 with 79% students in attendance. Congratulations to first placed Melba House, with Flynn in second place, Paterson in third place and Cowan in fourth place.

Co-curricular Program 2021 – House Cross Country Carnival – Enhancing the Student Culture
Our House Cross Country Competition on Monday 29 March 2021 was superb. It was a perfect day at the Jewel of the East. Our students are very fortunate and appreciative of the opportunity to complete their 2.7 kilometre cross country within the safety of our unparalleled, spacious and beautiful grounds. It is a privilege to be a member of the Ashwood High School community. Congratulations to first placed Cowan House. Congratulations also to our House Captains, Vice Captains and Coordinators for the team spirit displayed by all competitors.

VCE Data Analysis Valuing Staff and Building Capacity
The Annual Implementation Plan for 2021 outlines clear strategies in relation to evaluating impact on student learning.  For the fifth consecutive year Carmel Richardson is being employed as a consultant as part of building practice excellence. There is a strong focus on building the capacity of staff to analyse student learning data to inform teacher practice.

Staff Collaboration – Collective Responsibility and Efficacy - Valuing Staff and Building Capacity
Staff are working collaboratively in teams designed for the effective implementation of our teaching and learning model PIVOT. See below a graphic representation of the structures and processes that have been established to support staff in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment and the implementation of the two mini-schools in 2021.

University Partnerships and the Ashwood Alliance - Increasing Positive Community Engagement
We have pre service teachers attending Ashwood High School from Monash and Deakin Universities. The Ashwood Alliance was formed in partnership with Deakin University in 2015. In 2021 pre-service teachers will be working with Ashwood High School staff on two main research projects:

  • Student wellbeing, in support of the Tutor Groups and Form Groups programs
  • Data literacy as part of the Intensive English / Intensive Maths and Learning Mentor program.

Student Flag Bearers - Enhancing the Student Culture
Student ambassadors have once again been selected from Years 7, 8 and 9 to take responsibility for the raising and lowering of the flags each day. Respect is intrinsic to the Ashwood High School culture.

Student Voice and Agency – Growing Pride and Achievement; Enhancing the Student Culture
Student membership of the Education Sub-committee for 2021 has been considered. Congratulations to Abby Helm and Anthony Zhu who have been appointed to the student representative positions on the Education Sub-committee.

Student Led Conferences – Good to GREAT, Great to Exceptional (all four priorities) 
In recent years the school Vision of empowerment and excellence based on mutual respect has come to fruition. There were 2555 Student Led Conference bookings. This is a positive increase of 5% when compared to Student Led Conferences in Term 1 2020 and equated to an average of 4.4 bookings per household. The decision to hold the meetings via teleconferencing over a two day period was met with positive feedback from our families.  Parents are strategic partners of the school in the education of Ashwood High School students.

After School Study Hall – Middle School – Growing Pride and Achievement; Enhancing the Student Culture 
The Study Hall - Afternoon Homework Club is now a hub of learning with many students regularly enjoying extra assistance in Maths / Science and English / Humanities / Languages each week. Study Hall runs two afternoons per week from 3:30pm – 4:30pm. Well done to Bernie Jowett and Kath Robinson for making this program possible.

After School Study Hall – Senior School – Growing Pride and Achievement; Enhancing the Student Culture
The implementation of the two mini schools has also had a positive impact on Senior School students.  The Senior School Leadership Team has implemented study classes after school on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of each week. We are providing outstanding academic tuition across all levels in the school. Congratulations to the staff of Ashwood High School for their commitment to the students and their learning.

School Capital Works Progress – Great to Exceptional
I have been meeting with architects each week for the planning of our Capital Works Program which includes the STEAM and Research Centre. School Council has been provided with regular updates on the Capital Works Program. Consultation with our STEAM staff leaders, on Tuesday 23 March 2021, has been beneficial to the project.

The schematic design phase will be completed by the end of this term. Following this we will enter the ‘complete design development’ phase of the AMP process.

Designs for the Capital Works Program reflect the Vision, values, growth and prosperity of our school. This is an exciting opportunity for the Ashwood High School community.

Ashwood High School Revealed Campaign – 2021 – Increasing Positive Parental and Community Engagement
I have been taking weekly tours of up to 60 parents throughout the term, strictly following our COVIDSafe plan.  Tours have been increased this year not only because of demand, but also to minimise crowding on our Open Day in which we expect to see reduced numbers. Ashwood Revealed has been marketed to the local community by the installation of signage around the school, primary school advertising and the provision of postcards for Grade 4-6 students in our local primary schools

Parents and Friends Network – Increasing Positive Parental and Community Engagement
Our Parents and Friends Network is experiencing growth, thank you to Merran Taylor for again taking on the role as President. I had the pleasure of attending the recent PFN AGM and was impressed with the development of community goals for the school. School leaders will be present at all PFN meetings in 2021. Each PFN meeting will focus on a particular theme that aligns with the needs of the PFN and the portfolio (area of responsibility) of the participating school leader. Ashwood High School remains supportive of a viable and healthy PFN as its commitment to increasing positive parental and community engagement.

A Safe and Enjoyable Term 1 Break
Ashwood High School extends its wishes for a safe and enjoyable break to all members of the school community. I would like to thank all members of the school community for their contribution to a very busy, exciting and rewarding start to the year at Ashwood High School. To Year 7 students and other students new to the school this year, I trust you have all settled into school life and enjoyed being part of our great school culture at Ashwood High School. For most VCE students, the break will present an opportunity to consolidate on a solid term’s work. Details of staff availability and classes running during the term break has been provided via Compass by Lucy Rimmer, Acting Student Outcomes Leader.

I wish all members of the Ashwood High School community a rewarding Easter holiday break.  We look forward to seeing you back at school for Term 2 on Monday 19 April 2021. It has been wonderful that COVID-19 restrictions have eased and I have enjoyed meeting with students and staff face-to-face once more. Please look after one another and stay safe, well and connected.

Brett Moore
Wednesday 7 April 2021


Swimming Sports

Ashwood High School Swimming Carnival – Tuesday 2 March 2021
It was a beautiful day at the Oakleigh Recreation Centre as the whole school converged on the picturesque pool. Staff and students had a wonderful day. Congratulations to the overall winners, Melba House. Melba finished on 328 points, followed by Flynn (290), Paterson (210) and Cowan (153).

Congratulations also to our 11 age group champion winners: Rhyannon Bergin, Conrad Ineson, Leah Ried, Ryan Thach, Chai Couzens, Luke Noy, Greer Van Rooyen, Isaac Roder, Freya Bolton-Rogers, Sam Harvison and Ben Seers.

Mullum Division Swimming Carnival – Friday 5 March 2021
A mere three days after the Ashwood High School Swimming Carnival the champion Ashwood swimmers fronted up for the Mullum Division Swimming Carnival. Time and time again Ashwood students put their hands up for events and did their very best. It was such a rewarding day, with Ashwood High School finishing 2nd out of seven schools. A personal best effort and something we will strive to beat in 2022. 11 students have progressed to the Eastern Metropolitan Region Swimming Carnival on Tuesday 23 March.

Tom Grbac
Sports Coordinator

Middle School Assistant Principal's Report

Middle School Assistant Principal – Newsletter #2

Congratulations to the successful end of Term 1 to our new and returning students and families in the Middle School. Please see below for a few key event since Newsletter #1, as well as some important reminders.

Year 7 Camp

Camps enable our students to engage with valuable learning outside of the classroom. Our Year 7 cohort attended camp from Wednesday 17 March 2021 to Friday 19 March 2021 at Kinglake Adventures Camp. Students demonstrated their resilience, tenacity and optimism throughout – by engaging in a number of skill-building activities, including an overnight stay in tents on one of the nights. Congratulations and thanks to Ms Meg Brydon – Middle School Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Transitions Leader for leading the Year 7’s and staff in attendance.

Students on School Tours

The engagement of our students on School Tours helps provide prospective students and their families a view of the school from a student’s perspective. Many thanks to a number of Year 7 and 8 students who assisted Mr Moore on School Tours this term. You make us proud!

Cross Country Carnival

The weather worked in our favour for the Cross-Country Carnival on Monday 29 March 2021 in Periods 5 and 6. A record number of students participated. We are so fortunate to be able to have the space to complete this annual sporting event on our spacious grounds. Congratulations to Mr Tom Grbac – Sport Coordinator for his organisation and delivery of another highly successful sporting event.

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 hats, including the broad brimmed hat with the school logo, will soon be available for purchase the from the uniform supplier, Dobsons.  


Please be advised that the following Middle School Camp is upcoming in Term 2, 2021:

Year 9 Camp – Tuesday 18 May 2021 to Friday 21 May 2021. Please see Compass for all details, including consent and payment.

Meg McLellan

Middle School Assistant Principal

Middle School Engagement, Wellbeings & Transitions

Term 1 has flown by, with an amazing array of activities engaging our students in the Middle School. Our Year 7s have continued their whirlwind induction into Ashwood High School with Year 7 Camp at the outstanding Kinglake Forest Adventures. I was lucky enough to lead a team of 12 dedicated staff who joined “tribes” and competed to be the inaugural “ultimate survivor tribe” from Ashwood High School.

The camp activities were heavily focused on developing students’ confidence and leadership in the group dynamic, and on their night out camping, students attended Tribal Council with three other tribes. This experience was absolutely phenomenal, and students were asked to reflect on the development of themselves and others, affirming positive developments through a voting process. Students who were awarded “Most Developed” in their tribe were: Tania Pao, Jimmy Dvorak, Charlie McKay, Abbey Sheehan, Jake Selby, Spencer Schaxmann, Chriswin Joby, Angus Cadzow, Sasha Dubravac and Keely English. Students who were awarded “Outstanding Leadership” in their tribe were: Tom Houghton, Sebastian Trent, Ava Morrin, Josh Wilson, Kate McFarlane, Emma Anderson-Weir, Oliver Holbeach, Eunjae Kim and Eleni Tsamis.

Perhaps the most coveted prize for the camp, however, was the title of “Ultimate Survivor Tribe”. A big congratulations goes out to Gurnmil (Tiger Snake) Tribe, led by Ms Michelle Leane and the wonderful KFA Tribal Elder Maddy. This tribe included Abbey Sheehan, Daniel Huang, Declan Connell, Eleanor O’Brien, Heather Austin, Isabelle Shirley, Jack Gebka-Reid, Jok Mabil, Josh Wilson, Kate McFarlane, Victoria Rushton, Minh Tran, Nehir Mirdogan, Paul Giannakopoulos and Saige Harewood.

It would be remiss of me not to thank the amazing team of staff who made this camp possible. I would like to acknowledge James Boarotto, Ruby Cameron, Harriet Cooper, Matthew Dexter, Carmela Diaz, Tom Grbac, Michelle Leane, Jessica Lindholm, Delphine Marie, Kristen McCluskey, June Ren, Calvin Yin, as well as Elisa Jones-Arango and Meg McLellan who made the huge effort to drive up to Kinglake after a full day of work to visit us.

The new Tutor Group Program has continued to go from strength to strength, with our students now beginning some specific learning modules, referred to as “Twenties”, to support development of their Learning Characteristics in line with our CHOIR values. It will be particularly exciting to see where this journey takes students next term, when they are given the freedom to select their own “Twenties” in line with their personal learning goals. Thanks to the team of Tutor Group teachers who have embraced this new program and are integral to its success.

Finally, it was a pleasure to see so many Middle School students enthusiastically representing their Houses in both House Swimming and House Cross Country this term. House spirit is alive and well in the Middle School, and as a dedicated Cowan-ite, I was thrilled with a big win by Mr Driscoll and his team in House Cross Country in the final week of term! Congratulations to all of the age group champions, and those who might not be runners, but participated in support of their House.

To our families, we hope you have had a wonderful Term 1 and are ready for some rest and relaxation during the holidays. In a term where students have needed to settle back into the rhythm of onsite schooling, after the disruptions of 2020, the amazing Middle School team have worked tirelessly to ensure this has occurred, with student wellbeing at the centre. A huge thank you goes out to House Coordinators, Mr Driscoll, Mrs Dernikos, Mr Hayward and Ms Cooper for their tireless efforts above and beyond their working hours. I would also like to thank Student Voice, Leadership and Agency Coordinator, Ms Wraight and School Psychologist Ms Jones-Arango, who play a central role in our team, and finally, my heartfelt gratitude to our superb Integration Team, including Integration Coordinator Ms Clearwater and Integration Aides, Ms Coe, Mr Dexter, Mr Feeney and Ms Ren.

Meg Brydon
Middle School Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Transitions Leader

Cowan House Report

Hello Cowaners,

For those who may not be familiar with me, my name is Dannah Casanova and I am your proud Cowan House Captain.

On Tuesday 2 March, the school community held our annual Swimming Carnival. Although we didn’t place the way we hoped for, I am delighted with the number of students who participated and gave the races a go. My pride not only goes to those who swam, but also those who cheered on all swimmers, maintaining and upholding our House pride. All in all, it was a great day!

Despite our loss at the Swimming Carnival, your hard work and participation certainly paid off as we took victory for Cross Country! The level of involvement, as well your drive to do your best was astounding. Congratulations to not only the many age group champions, but to everyone involved, whether you ran, walked or simply encouraged and motivated your fellow peers. Let’s see if we can take home another win at Athletics.

On behalf of myself, Mr Guy Driscoll and the Cowan House Team comprising of Isaac Roder (House Vice-Captain), Torbjorn Christensen (Middle-School House Captain) and Anjali Rao (Middle-School House Vice-Captain), we would like to again congratulate each and every one of you for the amount of effort you have put into this first term. We hope you enjoy your well-deserved break, and come back refreshed and ready for another great term.

Dannah Casanova

Flynn House Report

Hello to the students, staff and wider community of Ashwood High School. My name is Matilda Stanton, and I am the House Captain for Flynn in 2021!

I am very excited for the year ahead and am already very proud of our achievements. I have always loved being a part of our amazing House and feel very privileged to be able to lead it this year along with my fellow captains. 

In week 6, we had the Swimming Carnival, which was an exciting day for all. We had many Flynnians in the pool and helping out around the pool, which resulted in raking up heaps of house points. We came home with 2nd place, which I, along with my fellow House Captains and Coordinator Mrs Vicky Dernikos, were very proud of.

We just recently had that Cross Country Carnival, which again was taken on by all Flynn students with lots of energy and a passion to get those House points! We came away with 2nd place and once again I was beyond proud of everyone for giving it their best go.

I am looking forward to the next house event as well as seeing all members of Fynn participating in different activities within our school community.

Win for Flynn!

Matilda Stanton

Melba House Report

Hello everyone, my name is Greer Van Rooyen and I am the proud Melba House Captain for 2021!

I am so excited for the year ahead and cannot wait to see where it leads us. Already after the first term, Melba has done so well. It is so great to see everyone participating in House events, and having an amazing time whilst doing so!

The Swimming Carnival was a huge success for Melba House, taking home first place overall! A massive well done to everyone, you all did excellently. The Cross Country was another highlight from this term. It was great to see everyone participating and trying their best, always having such great spirits whilst wearing green to show support!

I cannot wait for the year to come; I can already see it will be a great one.


Greer Van Rooyen

Paterson House Report

Hey Paterson house,

It’s Elizabeth Tziafas here, your Paterson House Captain for 2021.

Thus far, within 2021 our house has participated in the Swimming Carnival and the Cross Country Carnival. Although we didn’t receive the placings we hoped for, our House demonstrated a high level of participation and House spirit. On behalf of the Paterson House team, we would like to thank you all for your efforts and a big congratulations to those who showed a high level of participation and efforts towards the events. We are so proud of you all for your encouragement and contributions on the days.

The House Athletics carnival is soon approaching, and we encourage you all to give each event a go and demonstrate Paterson’s high level of optimism. Within our school, there are also a range of ways to obtain House points, some being the School Production, Debating and plenty more. These are also ways to receive school colours nominations, which the House team highly encourage your participation. 

Remember to never give up because great things take time.

As a team, we will work hard to make Paterson great again!

Elizabeth Tziafas

Middle School Student Voice, Leadership & Agency Report

The growth and effectiveness of Student Leadership in the Middle School during Term 1 has been outstanding. The students appointed to positions of leadership have shown great commitment to the enhancement of their school community by participating in regular meetings, proposing new initiatives and serving as positive role models at all times.

Many of these students are undertaking a formal leadership role for the very first time but all student leaders have adapted to and upheld their positions with vigour and enthusiasm. The newest members of the Middle School Student Leadership Team are the Year 7 Ambassadors. Congratulations to Joe Edwards, Ruairi Keating, Amy Noy, Teghan Rado, Josh Wilson and Lynette Yoshida for their appointment to these positions.

The various Student Leadership teams have begun to plan and implement events and activities for the student body to participate in and enjoy. One such event was Clean Up Australia Day held on Friday 5 March, which was led by Social Justice Prefect Bianca Ting, Sustainability Prefect Madeline Booker and the Interact Club Executive. Forty students stayed after school to clean up litter from around the school to preserve out wonderful school environment and raise awareness around issues related to sustainability. This event was a great success and was well attended by students of all year levels. Well done to all who participated! Thanks also to the staff members who supervised and participated during the event, Mr Jay Chan, Ms Ruby Cameron, Ms Danielle Di Carlo, Mr John Sheehan and Mr Tom O’Toole.

Congratulations to all Middle School Student Leaders for a wonderful first term in their roles!

Matilda Wraight
Student Voice, Leadership & Agency Coordinator

Middle School Captains Report

Hello Parents, Students and Staff of Ashwood High School. We hope that you all have had a successful first term of the school year.  

This year has started off as a very successful year for the school. After the break, everybody is back into the routine of school life.  

As we said previously, this year we hope to increase the number of students interested in leadership and extra-curricular activities. We believe this is important so we can increase school spirit and it is also very beneficial for the students as it helps them socialise and build confidence. 

So far this year we have had one whole school assembly. This was amazing to have the whole school together and it was an honor to be presented with our badges in front of the whole school. It was also great to listen Mr Moore about what the school year has to bring.  

It has been great to welcome the new Year 7s into Ashwood High School. It has been 

exceptional to see how welcoming all the other students in other year levels have been. We all know how hard starting Year 7 can be, so it has been great to see that everyone is being very kind and helpful to all the Year 7s.  

The term holidays are approaching, and we are sure that many students are excited to relax for a bit. Term 2 is also around the corner and we are very excited to implement our goals and plans for the school community.  

We are still trying to improve the student participation and spirit. We encourage the higher year levels to set an example for the Year 7s.  The Swimming Carnival was great and we were very happy to see how well the Middle School students participated. 

In Term 2, the exams will be happening. This will be a new experience for the new students and we would love to help them however we can and encourage them to ask for help from their peers and teachers.  

We wish you a great day and an even better week. Enjoy your holidays!

Haris Shehzad and Amber Balmer

ACE Program

Access to the Accelerated Curriculum and Enrichment (ACE) Program at Ashwood High School is offered to our most able students in acknowledgement of the finding that ability grouping is known to have a beneficial effect on the academic achievement of highly able students (Kulik & Kulik, 1997; Steenbergen-Hu, Makel & Olszewski-Kubilius, 2016). High ability grouping allows opportunities for social comparison and competition, both of which are considered to be beneficial for developing students’ resilience and facilitating individual growth (Dai & Rinn, 2008).

A key factor contributing to the success of such groupings in promoting resilience and individual growth is the student’s mindset (Yeager & Dweck, 2012). Critically, a student’s capacity to develop resilience depends on their implicit beliefs about the malleability of their cognitive and personal capabilities and their capacity for self-efficacy when placed in academically challenging or stressful situations.

At Ashwood High School, the ACE Program is structured to support the development of the whole learner. While our students complete their core subjects as a cohort in order to provide an appropriate level of challenge, competition and companionship with like-minded peers, ACE students in Years 7-9 also participate in mixed ability classes as part of the “Achieve” Tutor Group Program. “Achieve” is designed to enhance students’ self-efficacy and resilience. Students learn how to make ethical decisions, practice mindfulness, engage in positive visualisation, and are coached on how to provide positive affirmations. Accordingly, our system of flexible grouping is key to supporting the development of our students as future focused learners who can call on a flexible repertoire of personal, social and cognitive strategies to achieve success with their future learning.

Parents can support the work of teachers in this space by emphasising personal responsibility and recognising and celebrating their child’s self-regulated learning behaviours. We know that a student’s capacity for self-regulated learning is a key factor in determining their resilience in academically challenging or stressful situations. A strong partnership between home and school can provide students with the support they need to not only survive but thrive in a competitive learning environment.

Dai, D.Y., & Rinn, A.N. (2008). The big-fish-little-pond effect: What do we know and where do we go from her? Educational Psychology Review, 20, 283-317. Retrieved from doi:10.1007/s10648-008-9071-x

Kulik, J.A., Kulik, C.L. (1982). Effects of Ability Grouping on Secondary School Students: A meta-analysis of evaluation findings. American Education Research Journal, 19(3), 415-428. Retrieved from

Steenbergen-Hu, S., Makel, M., & Olszewski-Kubilius, P. (2016). What one hundred years of research says about the effects of ability grouping and acceleration on K-12 students’ academic achievement: Findings of two second-order meta-analyses. Review of Educational Research, 86, 849-899. Retrieved from

Yeager, D.S. & Dweck, S.D. (2012). Mindsets that promote resilience: When students believe that personal characteristics can be developed. Educational Psychologist, 40, 302-314. Retrieved from doi:10.1080/00461520.2012.722805 

Caroline Servadei
Enrichment, Pedagogy, Partnerships & Professional Learning Leader

After School Study Hall

Senior School Assistant Principal's Report

Dear Ashwood High School Community,

I have had the privilege of being involved in my first Ashwood High School Swimming Carnival. I would like to congratulate Mr Grbac, the Sports Coordinator, his teacher team and student leaders for the organisation of such a fantastic event that provided our school community with a platform to showcase the sporting talent at Ashwood High School in 2021. As a school, we are always looking for ways to develop and show our community values and sportsmanship and it was on full display at the 2021 Ashwood High School Swimming Carnival.

Ashwood High School continues to have high expectations and strives for improvement. This has been recently evident in the Senior School teaching team who over the last few weeks have been working with Professor Carmel Richardson from Melbourne University on analysing our past GAT and VCE data. Carmel is working with the Senior School teachers in 2021 to develop strategic teaching techniques with regards to our Senior School.

All students undertaking a Year 12 subject in 2021, will be involved in the GAT (General Assessment Test). As a senior school we have very high expectations for all our students undertaking this test and we endeavour to make sure they are best prepared. To achieve this, we are conducting a practice GAT before the real GAT which will be undertaken in Term 2. This will allow our students the best understanding of the process and expectations for success in the GAT test.  

At the start of week 4 Term 1, the Senior School welcomed Ms Lucy Rimmer who has undertaken the role of Senior School Learning Outcomes Leader. In this new role, Ms Rimmer has been preparing our students for the upcoming Term 2 GAT preparation and implementing the Senior School Study Club that occurs Monday to Friday in the Senior School centre from 3:30pm to 4:30pm. During these sessions, a number of Senior School teachers are available to provide students with extra tuition and understanding in all subjects from Years 10, 11 and 12.

The Senior School Teaching Team have been meeting to continuously develop the learning and knowledge of our teachers. These meetings have been used to discuss strategies on how to ensure students continuously engage in their learning, with the community and remain innovative learners.  

Our school continues to be at the cutting edge of innovation with health and wellbeing programs thanks to our Principal Mr Brett Moore. He has worked with a number of our teacher leaders to develop the health and wellbeing programs at Ashwood High School in 2021 and, as a result, the school has newly introduced a full time psychologist, Ms Elisa Jones Arango. During this term, Ms Jones Arango has been working with our Senior School year levels in presenting stress and self-management workshops to best prepare our students to thrive in the year ahead.

As the Assistant Principal of the Senior School, I wish all members of the Ashwood High School community a safe and happy break over the holidays and I look forward to seeing you all in Term 2.

Tom O’Toole
Assistant Principal

Senior School Engagement, Wellbeing & Pathways Report

Term 1 at Ashwood High School has seen our senior school students settle into the new mini school structure and build positive relationships with their new teachers and Year Level Coordinators. The upcoming school break is a good opportunity for our senior students to rest, regroup and review their studies so far. It is also a good opportunity for students to evaluate their work habits of the first term and make any necessary adjustments to ensure a smooth and positive outcome for the year. Students will also have tasks to complete over this break - these are vital to ensure students are feeling prepared and confident in their studies.

Our Years 11 and 12 students have been busy preparing for and completing SACs (School Assessed Coursework) throughout Term 1. I have been very impressed by their dedication and the high expectations they hold for themselves and believe they should be commended on their rigour. To ensure students are able to consistently achieve their goals, it is important to take the time to care for their health and wellbeing. See below some simple suggestions to assist students with this goal.

Term 1 at Ashwood High School has seen our senior school students settle into the new mini school structure and build positive relationships with their new teachers and Year Level Coordinators. The upcoming school break is a good opportunity for our senior students to rest, regroup and review their studies so far. It is also a good opportunity for students to evaluate their work habits of the first term and make any necessary adjustments to ensure a smooth and positive outcome for the year. Students will also have tasks to complete over this break - these are vital to ensure students are feeling prepared and confident in their studies.

Our Years 11 and 12 students have been busy preparing for and completing SACs (School Assessed Coursework) throughout Term 1. I have been very impressed by their dedication and the high expectations they hold for themselves and believe they should be commended on their rigour. To ensure students are able to consistently achieve their goals, it is important to take the time to care for their health and wellbeing. See below some simple suggestions to assist students with this goal.

Currently we are supporting student agency and voice through our extensive leadership program, student led conferences, whole cohort feedback surveys, and the building of independence in senior school students. With the aim to excel in the field of student voice and agency, we also currently have an action research group investigating more potential ways to empower student voice in individual classrooms through curriculum implementation.

Lastly, I would just like to congratulate the senior school cohort on a fantastic return in Term 1 and I look forward to seeing what the rest of the year brings.

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

Year 10 Coordinator's Report

The Year 10 students have had an exciting and busy first term. It has been an absolute pleasure to watch them transition so seamlessly into the Senior School, form great relationships with their teachers and develop and maintain such a mature approach to their studies.

In my numerous conversations with students over the term, some of the things that stood out to me were:

  • The wonderful encouragement and support they have for each other
  • The excitement they display when they talk about what they are learning in each of their subjects
  • The opinions they share on recent issues within our society
  • The eagerness and intrigue on working out an exciting pathway for their future

I continue to be impressed by their motivations to try something new and how they so openly take on advice and feedback from their teachers.

In the last couple of weeks of term, students have been introduced to the Year 10 Work Experience Program. Some students have already started working out their placement, however I encourage all students to have a conversation with their families/friends/teachers and to work on finding a placement that is exciting, something of extreme interest.

My favourite thing about Term 1:
“Our favourite thing about Term 1 has been when we have performed on stage during our Year 10 Theatre Studies class. We have also enjoyed the exciting school events, such as Cross Country and the Swimming Carnival.”
Edison Xu and Felix Su

“My favourite things about Year 10 this term has been being back at school, the fun day we had at the Swimming Carnival and being informed about Work Experience.”
Felix Cassou-Dessus

“My favourite thing about this term was the Swimming Carnival, as I loved being able to cheer on my house and enjoy the day.”
Jessica Lewis

“I have really enjoyed the Form Group Program this term as we have been covering great things that are so useful for us!”

Mahine Tapper

“I have really enjoyed the combined classes for most of our subjects. I enjoy working with various people and can ask different teachers for help.”
Mel Saengyojarn

Congratulations to all Year 10 students for an excellent first term!

Each of you should be very proud of your efforts and for the dedication you have shown toward your studies and the positive attitude you have displayed as part of the Senior School.

Sachael Miller
Year 10 Coordinator

Year 11 Coordinator's Report

I would like to take this opportunity, as the end of term draws near, to congratulate the Year 11s on the positive start they have made to their senior studies. There is undoubtedly a ‘step-up’ in the workload in the senior years of study and regardless of how well-prepared students are for it, the increased expectations and workload can come as a shock for some. Despite some early trepidation, it has been pleasing to see so many students meeting the challenges maturely and enthusiastically, settling into strong routines of study and revision. It has also been particularly pleasing to see many students taking the opportunity to study after school as part of the Senior School Study Program that runs each afternoon from 3:20 pm. These sessions are a golden opportunity for students to seek assistance with their work from teachers and peers. Student communication with teachers is very important and I would encourage students to approach their teachers or communicate via email if they are having any issues with their work or would like some additional assistance or extension. Finally, Ms Rimmer recently ran a study and revision skills seminar at school for all Year 11s and the student feedback on the session was extremely positive. I would like to thank Ms Rimmer for her time in preparing and running this.

I wish the Year 11 students and their families a safe and happy Easter holiday and I look forward to seeing the students back at school relaxed and ready for a big Term 2.  

John Sheehan
Year 11 Coordinator

Year 12 Coordinator's Report

‘I just finished the last SAC of the term!’‘Mine is tomorrow!’ ‘Can’t believe we are already in the last week of the Term!’ With students’ gleeful voices permeating the study space in the Senior School Centre, our Year 12 students are reaching the 1/3 milestone of their Year 12 journey.

The first term of their last year in high school might be flying by fast for our Year 12s with sudden changes between study modes and fast-paced study and assessments. However, it is definitely not one that is humdrum as our Year 12s take on the challenges to find their momentum to sprint and scamper towards their respective destinations, from the day they were presented with their Year 12 badges on Tuesday 23 February in our whole school assembly.

Following the requirements of our VCAL curriculum, many of our Year 12 VCAL students are now learning to juggle with the increased demands of workload, as they not only need to look after their 2-day study at school but also need to take on the demand in their structured workplace learning. Thanks to all VCAL teachers and our Careers & Pathways Coordinator/School Organisation Manager Miss Jodie Hechenberger, studying and working at the same time has been made easier for our VCAL students.

Whilst our Year 12 VCE students’ priority and main focus is their academic progress, the ‘single’ focus has not been easy as each and every single subject has its own complexity and intricacy. Pleasantly, our Year 12s are now gradually adjusting to the high demand of their Unit 3 study despite such challenge. I would like to take this chance to acknowledge the great effort our Year 12 students have been putting in and the tremendous support all Year 12 teachers have given to our students! I would also like to express my gratitude to our school psychologist Ms. Elisa Jones Arango for taking the time to share her expertise with our Year 12s in the ‘Staying Well in Year 12’ wellbeing session.

As the term break is approaching, I would encourage all Year 12 students to take some time off to rejuvenate and also take this opportunity to reflect on their approach to bring necessary adjustments. For those who seek teacher support over the holiday, please remember that there are holiday classes running by Year 12 teachers in the first week. Also, I have set up ‘Kicking off Term Break Study’ on Tuesday 6 April in Building E, anyone who would like to set the tone for their term break or would like to receive some help with setting up a study plan are welcomed to attend!

To conclude this report, please allow me to wish everyone a happy holiday by sharing the newsletter written by our school captains, Year 12 students, Sivan CHEN and Lula TADESSE.

Swimming Carnival
Last week, our school’s swimming carnival was successfully and smoothly held. The swimming carnival was the first ‘whole-school’ event of the year, and it was so great to see everyone come together. Regardless of the competitive nature of the event, all students united and created a motivating and encouraging environment!

Despite the weather not being sunny and warm, the cloudy sky did not stop our students from participating in this exciting event. Additionally, those students who weren’t getting in the water were cheering on the swimmers - demonstrating the strong community values of our school.

While all Houses put up a great effort, Melba came out on top and won first place (GO MELBA!) Apart from the House campion, we also witnessed many age-group champions. Their effort and dedication to this event are to be acknowledged!

Last but not least, we would like to acknowledge Mr Moore and all the staff members of Ashwood High School for their proactive involvement, hard-work and support.

 “I had a lot of fun and I leant that next time I should definitely learn how to swim properly.” This was how I concluded my participation in the event and I am sure many of my peers would echo me. For us who may not be excelling when it comes to swimming, Swimming Carnival definitely gave us a chance to have fun and give it a go! After all, participation is just as important as winning!
Sivan CHEN and Lula TADESSE

 Jessie Tian
Year 12 Coordinator

Senior School Student Voice, Leadership & Agency Report

Congratulations to all Senior School Student Leaders on a wonderful first term in your roles. The high volume of new leadership positions has meant that a large proportion of Student Leaders are originating their portfolios. To pioneer a leadership role in this way requires high levels of innovation, preparation and persistence, and I have been continuously impressed and delighted by all the hard work the Student Leadership Team has put in this term.
The House Captains and Vice-Captains have been very busy preparing for two sports carnivals this term. Their mentoring of their Middle School counterparts has been wonderful to observe and their consistent embodiment of the CHOIR values has helped them to be admirable role models to all students in their Houses.

Our teams of Prefects, Music Captains and Sport Captains have been working diligently to establish their portfolios and provide engaging opportunities for their fellow students to participate in all aspects of school life. These students have begun to plan and implement their chosen activities and events, including lunchtime concerts and Clean Up Australia Day, with a great deal of success. We look forward to seeing many more student-led clubs, activities and events throughout the year.

A new school year has meant renewed opportunities for Student Leaders to represent the perspectives and interests of all students in an official capacity. School Captains, Lula Tadesse and Sivan Chen, have represented the student body within the School Council and Year 11 SRC Representatives, Abby Helm and Anthony Zhu, have served on the Education Sub-Committee. These students have been preparing and presenting reports on Student Leadership, the learning environment, teaching and learning, and fundraising and publicity within Ashwood High School. The feedback of all students, as presented by these Student Leaders, is highly valued and has led to many positive initiatives already, including the recent Year 11 Study Skills Support Session and the upcoming ‘Go Grey in May’ fundraiser led by the Student Representative Council.

Leadership within the Senior School extends beyond just those students who are undertaking leadership positions. All Ashwood High School students have the capacity to be outstanding role models within the community and many continue to be recognised for their efforts. One such student is Nyapal Giek of Year 12, who received the Zonta Club of Melbourne East’s Education Encouragement Award, which was presented at the club’s recent awards evening. Nyapal spoke to the attendees, answered questions about her studies and ambitions for the future, and met with her fellow award recipients as exceptional young female leaders within their communities.

Congratulations again to all for an excellent first term, I look forward to seeing what the rest of the year holds!

Matilda Wraight
Student Voice, Leadership & Agency Coordinator

School Captains Report

A warm hello to Ashwood High School students, staff and the wider school community, 

It’s beyond crazy to say that a whole term has already passed! 

Reflecting on the chaos of the previous year, it’s been great to experience an undisturbed and smoothly ran year – for both teachers and students.  

As this term has been characterised by a relative state of normalcy, school events for the term were able to run as they typically would have. In addition, students were able to express themselves through our multitude of school clubs, groups and after school events, wich have begun this term and will continue throughout the year. These include, Interact Club, Art Club, Sustainability Club, and Study Hall. 

Student-Led Conferences have always been an important aspect of our school community, so continued to run online this term. Students and teachers acknowledged the requirement to be COVID-Safe, and were efficient and respectful when adhering to the short session restrictions. High expectations were upheld as this process allows students to be engaged with their learning, and they can reflect on their work throughout the year.  

The implementation of our ‘Senior School Study Hall’ has proved to be very beneficial for students. A reminder to any students who may be struggling with workload, need a quiet environment to complete work, or need extra assistance from teachers,  that Middle School Study Hall is held every Tuesday and Thursday, meanwhile, Senior School Study Hall is held every day after school for senior school students! 

Our annual ‘Clean Up Australia’ day ran this year. This event, which both beautifies our school environment and raises awareness about sustainability, was held successfully - with students from all year levels attending and coming together as a community. This was symbolic of all of our school’s CHOIR values. This would not be possible without our Social Justice Prefect, Sustainability Prefect, Interact Executive, and Ms Wraight, so we would like to acknowledge their contribution and hard work.  

Lula Tadesse and Sivan Chen 

VCAA Curriculum Services Coordinator's Report

As Term 1 draws to a close, and following the recent Student Led Conferences, the upcoming term break is a good opportunity for the students to reflect on how their year is progressing.

Year 11 students should be focusing on how they are managing the transition to VCE or VCAL and what supports and changes they may need to put in place to ensure that the rest of the year progresses smoothly.  The following reflection from our VCE Prefect, Adrian Tan, looks back on this first term for the new VCE students:

As of now, nearing the end of Term 1, VCE has been good yet challenging. Many of us had to realise the importance of constant revision and prioritising our studies over entertainment. As for myself, a full Science and Mathematics only course, I expected the challenges that would come, but eventually, it all came out well.  

After the first few weeks, I understood the importance and need for constant feedback and discussions with teachers. It has made some of my weaker subjects, some of the most enjoyable, and likewise my favourites, some of the most challenging.  

I myself began the slight addiction for caffeine through long study nights, whilst some felt no difference from Year 10. One student noted that “teachers gave more tolerance for students to get used to”. The students this year have all had their share of ups and downs, from; unexpected SACS, weekly requirements, and late nights, but overall, most have found joy in our chosen subjects.  

As the VCE Prefect, even with my fears of coping, I think it is still fair to say the majority have found a balance between work and study. 

Additionally our VCAL Prefect, Morgan Peacock Clark, had the following to say about his role within the Student Leadership structure:

As VCAL Prefect this term, I have been working together with other prefects and captains in the meetings every Monday, discussing our part and our plans we hope to bring to Ashwood High School this year. I can guarantee we will see both VCAL and VCE prefects working with younger students and their pathways for the future. Coming into Ashwood High School late last year and deciding to go for the role as VCAL prefect, taking on the first in school role I have ever had I feel will really make a positive impact on my confidence and the way I help others. Including already helping to organise and set up the Ashwood Basketball League for one of my projects in Personal Development Studies.

Year 12 students should be focussing on how well they are managing their workload, and developing their time management and study skills further where necessary, to ensure the best outcomes in all areas of their studies.

A number of staff are providing extra sessions over this term break for Units 3/4 subjects and all students are encouraged to attend these sessions.  The timetable for these sessions is included below.

All students have completed some formal assessments, whether SACs for the VCE students or Outcomes for the VCAL students and thus will have some quantitative measure of how they are progressing.  I encourage all students to revisit the advice and information provided by Elevate Education through the various sessions that have been run.  Students can access extra resources via the website: All students are encouraged to seek assistance from staff at the school should they require some guidance in this area. 

I wish all students a safe and restful break and remind you that while, as senior students, you will be expected to complete schoolwork over this break it is still important that you take some time to recharge.

Julie Huggins 
VCAA Curriculum Services Coordinator

Careers & Pathways Report

It has been a busy few weeks for the Year 10 students. On Tuesday 16 March 2021 they had their first career lesson for the year, a Work Experience Information session. During the information session the students learnt the basic of Work Experience:

  • When is Work Experience and the duration?
    • Monday 13 September – Friday 17 September 2021, one full working week – 5 days.
  • Who is responsible for finding my placement?
    • You are, however, I am always here to help and offer guidance.
  • What is my deadline for securing placement?
    • Friday 25 June 2021

All students also received a Work Experience Information Pack which included a letter for parents. If you missed out on a pack please email me direct at, and I will organise one for you.

With the holidays just around the corner it is a great time for Year 10 students to source their Work Experience placement for September.

Some tips for sourcing placement include;

  • Access further information regarding Work Experience and possible placements via the Ashwood High School Careers Website, your Work Experience Information Kit and the Where to Apply for Work Experience resource.
  • Local councils are quite good as they offer structured Work Experience programs for schools:
    WMCA Victoria
    Monash Aquatic Recreation Center
  • Also, use your connections!It’s not what you know but who you know. Ask your aunties, uncles, cousins, older siblings, friends, neighbours, and acquaintances if they can offer you a work experience position within their organisation.

On Tuesday 23 March 2021 Year 10 participated in their second career session for the year. During this session Year 10 Completed their Career Action Plans. For the Year 10s who have not yet completed their Action Plans 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.

Ashwood High School Careers Expo, yes, it is close to that time of year again. Save the date Tuesday 15 June 2021 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm. The purpose of the night is to showcase career options such as; undergraduate programs for both local and international students, pathway programs, traineeships and apprenticeship opportunities and services offered by institutions for students who require extra assistance due to a disability.

We have a number of fantastic exhibitors who have already RSVP’d including Box Hill Institute, Collarts, JMC Academy, Kangan Institute, Young Workers Centre, Gateway LLEN and many more.

Jodie Hechenberger
Careers & Pathways Coordinator

School Psychologist's Report

My name is Elisa Jones Arango and I have taken up the position of school psychologist at Ashwood High School. I have undertaken my postgraduate studies at Monash University, consisting of a Master of Educational and Developmental Psychology. I am also currently finalising my PhD. My research focus is on individual differences, specifically in different ways that individuals understand the world around them. I look forward to sharing my knowledge with students and staff.

Psychologists in schools apply their psychological and educational expertise to support students to achieve academic success, psychological health and social/emotional wellbeing. The primary purpose of the psychologist’s work is to assist schools to address the barriers to learning for young people and to improve their educational achievement. Consequently, a broad range of interventions may be employed to facilitate and advance the educational process. As part of the wellbeing team, the focus for this first term has been to understand the needs of Ashwood High School. I look forward to updating you on the projects and workshops that take place to support overall student engagement, well-being, and resilience. I have been warmly welcomed into the Ashwood High School community, and I am looking forward to continuing to work with students and staff.


Breakfast Club will be starting back up for 2021 on Friday 23 April 7:45am – 8:45am in the Performing Arts Centre foyer (Building C).   

Recently, the year 12 participated in a workshop “Stay Well in Year 12” where we discussed stress, management of study life balance and strategies for staying focused during exams.

Elisa Jones Arango
School Psychologist

Student Outcomes Leader's Report

As this term comes to its conclusion, it is a good opportunity to reflect on the progress that our students have made in 2021 so far. I am very pleased with our students and the commitment to their studies that has been demonstrated this term.

The same can be said for our wonderful staff who are continually committed to improvement in their work and in student results. This was evidenced most recently when our Year 12 teachers met with Carmel Richardson, a data analyst and VCE expert, who spent time with our dedicated teachers to interpret their results from Year 12 in 2020. This is an excellent opportunity for professional development and is an important step in our school’s mission to improve student outcomes. We are fortunate to have so many teachers who are so dedicated to continual improvement and student success.

I am also pleased to see many Senior School students taking advantage of the new after-school study sessions taking place every afternoon in the Building E. This is a wonderful way to build routine and study with peers under the supervision of a teacher who is available for assistance with homework each day. I encourage all students in Years 7-10 to take advantage of this opportunity to complete work in a quiet, dedicated study space to improve their results and study habits.

This is an exciting time to be a young student at Ashwood High School, with construction soon to commence on the new STEAM Building next to the Building G. This will be a wonderful resource to enrich our studies of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, and I am very excited to be designing the curriculum that will be taught in these buildings. I will be working closely with Niesha Moorad (Science Area Coordinator), Annalisa Buyks (Arts Coordinator), Calvin Yin (Technology Coordinator) and Kate Davis (Maths Coordinator) to bring together a rich and integrated curriculum to be taught within this building, with access to state-of-the-art resources.

Early next term, our Year 12 students and some Year 11 students will participate in a new trial GAT paper that is due to be introduced in 2022. This will be a valuable opportunity for our students to be exposed to the types and styles of questions that will be asked as an indicator of general capability in the GAT exam. These results are used to moderate Year 12 results, and it will be a wonderful opportunity for students to gain some exposure and experience with this important task.

Wishing everybody a safe and happy holiday break and I look forward to the challenges and successes that await in Term 2.

Lucy Rimmer
Acting Student Outcomes Leader

Director of Studies Report

Term 1 is always a busy time of the year and 2021 has been no different. Ashwood High School has delivered some amazing teaching and learning programs across all Learning Areas, with students engaged, motivated and confident to do their best. But as we break for the Easter holidays (with a collective breath) the commitment of both students and parents is worth noting. This was illustrated with the fantastic turnout for Student Led Conferences with 2555 bookings made! This partnership between students-parents-teachers is fundamental to setting meaningful learning goals and improving student outcomes; it is our core business.

Firstly, a reminder to parents/guardians of the large amount of information that Compass provides about your student. Each student’s current Interim Progress Report, plus all previous reports, can be accessed via the Reports tab. Lesson plans for every class are on your Compass home page, so if you want to see what your student is working on, or what homework they have, this will help. You can send emails to your child’s teachers, let the school know if the student will be absent, pay for excursions, etc.  The Compass Newsfeed and Calendar informs students and parents/guardians of important dates and changes to the regular curriculum so please check this regularly.

Compass also provides all students and parents/guardians with the details for upcoming VCE SACs for Units 1 & 3.

Secondly, as we move into Term 2 information will be provided about the processes involved for NAPLAN and the Year 7-11 Exam Week. Parents/guardians of students in Years 7 and 9 are encouraged to visit the NAPLAN website over the holidays, in order to assist your child to prepare and be comfortable with requirements for NAPLAN testing. This website includes a FAQ section, advice for parents/guardians, information about results, as well as sample test papers to go through with your children. Please refer to the link

The Term 1 holidays are a good opportunity for students to rest and recharge their batteries. They are encouraged to use this time also to ensure their books and folders are well organised, and to ensure they are up to date.

Have a restful and productive Term 1 break!

Colin Shnier
Director of Studies

Data Analysis, Improvement & School Organisation Report

The Gentle Art of Timetabling

When I began timetabling, my predecessor proudly presented me with a box of pins, some coloured paper and a large pinboard.

Fast forward a decade and echoes of that can still be seen in the way timetabling software displays computer generated results to the timetabler.

In a matter of minutes, today’s highly sophisticated software can test hundreds of thousands of different timetable permutations to find the best match ensuring it meets the various constraints that have been defined.

Specialist rooms and teachers, part-time teachers, a good spread of subjects over the week, double periods, single periods, co-teaching and reducing movement for teachers and students between classes are all factors that software can take into account far quicker than a mere human armed with coloured paper and a pin-board.

Using software to produce our timetable has allowed us to make more effective use of resources, human and physical, and be much more responsive when changes are required.

Work on next year’s timetable will start in a few weeks, setting up the system to allow 2022 VCE/VCAL students to select their subject preferences following the Future Focused Fair.  Students in Year 9 and 10 in 2022 will select their preferred electives early in Term 3.

Kate Davis
Data Analysis, Improvement and School Organisation Leader

Enrichment, Pedagogy, Partnerships & Professional Learning

Goal 4 of the School’s Strategic Plan is to enhance 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.

This year, one of our key improvement strategies relating to Goal 4 is to develop and embed a comprehensive system of coaching, mentoring, focused classroom observations and learning walks that supports the implementation of a whole school approach to teaching and learning and provides support and induction for new staff.

The School’s leadership team is currently engaged with the first phase of this process as we collectively explore what high expectations and authentic relationships look like in our classrooms. In phase two of the process, our school curriculum leaders will engage with the validation of rubrics that provide feedback to teachers on their engagement with and use of the high impact teaching strategies.

This initiative represents a significant investment in the ongoing professional learning of our staff that will support our teachers to enhance the teaching and learning that is taking place in their classrooms. Further, the introduction of learning walks in Term Three will facilitate the aggregation of whole school data on teaching and learning as a measure of our success at applying evidence-based strategies to improve student outcomes.

In other news, two highly informative professional learning sessions on the new Tutor Group program “Achieve” were held in term one. Thank you to Ms Meg Brydon, Ms Lucy Rimmer and guest speaker Ms Summer Howarth for leading these sessions. Thanks must also go to Ms Kate Davis for her thought-provoking session on student data, Mr Colin Shnier for his workshops on writing interim reports and facilitating student led conferences, and to Mrs Caroline Servadei and Mr Daniel Christiansz for their seminar on WebEx.

Our second-year VIT candidates were not forgotten either with two seminars scheduled in Term 1 to help them prepare for their workplace panel presentations that are to be held in terms two and three this year.

In all, Term 1 has offered the staff of Ashwood High School a veritable smorgasbord of professional learning activities to excite, engage and enrich the experience of our teaching staff and we look forward to continuing the learning journey in Term Two.

Caroline Servadei
Enrichment, Pedagogy Partnerships & Professional Learning Leader

Mathematics Learning Area Report

Year 7 Maths

I enjoyed learning how to find the perimeter of shapes during our Measurement and Geometry unit. The poster activity was fun as an end of unit task as I liked the creative aspect of it. 
Alyssa Gonzalez 7C

I loved learning how to properly use a protractor and apply it in person, rather than online, during our Geometry and Measurement unit. I also enjoyed working out the area and perimeter of different shapes. My favourite thing I included on my poster was the big heading and inclusion of different shapes and angles. 
Victoria Rushton 7C

Year 10 Maths Statistics Investigation

To finish off the recent Statistics chapter, our Year 10 Maths students conducted statistics investigations. They were asked to investigate whether there was a correlation between a person’s height and their arm span.

The first step was to collect student data. Students spent class time using metre sticks and measuring tapes to measure their height and arm span and then recorded their data on a shared Excel spreadsheet.

Once finished, students worked in groups to decide which graph(s) were most appropriate to use to answer their question. They had the choice to use Microsoft Excel to create their graph or to do the graph by hand on A3 paper- with most students opting for Excel.

Finally, all students commented on their findings in order to answer their question with some students conducting a regression analysis to make predictions about height and arm spans. Their findings can be seen at Ashwood Revealed in Term 2.

There was a great sense of collaboration and enjoyment during the investigation and the Year 10’s are to be commended on their efforts.

Michael Cifra, Jay Chan, Emma Doorley & Rosario Ripper
Year 10 Mathematics Teacher


Science Learning Area Report

During Term 1, our Year 7 students enjoyed visits from the team at Engineers Without Borders during their Science classes. Engineers Without Borders is a community organisation that delivers a Schools Outreach Program focused on inspiring students to become engineering-led change-makers. Seven volunteers from Engineers Without Borders at Monash University and two Engineers from their partner company Aurecon ran a series of workshops with students focusing on the issue of clean water. Students were challenged to design and apply a method to clean water in order to make it safe for drinking. This encouraged students to practise important critical thinking skills and engineer solutions to real-world problems, considering how these methods may be applied in developing countries. Students investigated how a country’s wealth impacts their ability to access clean water. This was a fantastic opportunity for our students and we value our school’s ongoing partnership with Engineers Without Borders.

Niesha Moorad 
Science Learning Area Coordinator

Humanities Learning Area Report

Highlights from the Humanities Learning Area include a virtual incursion for Year 8 to help them become more successful at researching online. They learned how to identify credible websites from more unreliable ones whilst becoming critical thinkers and effective researchers.

The Year 7s are still investigating Ancient Egypt and will be ending their journey with making an artefact.

The Year 8s are learning about continuity and change of lifestyle in Medieval Europe and contemporary society.

The Year 9s are learning about the working conditions and child labour used during the Industrial Revolution and how to prepare a research report.

The Year 11 Accounting students are learning about recording their first cash transactions and this was done using a board game called Bugs and Slugs. The students made some interesting discoveries behind the processes when recording in journals.

Heidi Cornelissen
Humanities Learning Area Coordinator

Creative Arts/Technologies Learning Area Report

Term 1 is quickly coming to an end, and students are busily preparing themselves for submission of folio tasks and assessments. I look forward to seeing the output of our students as Term 2 commences and the end of Semester 1 reaps the benefits of their continued concentration, care and passion for the Creative Arts.

From the Kitchens
Excitingly and brilliantly the kitchens have been alive with the hubbub of students working productively. Our Year 8 cohort has busily been preparing their Designer Rice dishes as part of their assessments, the Year 7s have completed their first practical assessment making Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Blanched Green Beans and Potato Mash, Year 9s are researching dishes for their Catalyst Café assessment, the Year 10s have produced their Contemporary Australian food item, and last but not least our VCE class continues to build their knowledge of the functional properties of food through producing complex recipes.

Keep practicing at home, and don’t forget to help with the washing up!

Year 10 Visual Communication Design
What makes you, you? This has been the theme for the first major folio of work in Year 10 Visual Communication Design.

Our creative, talented and enthusiastic designers have been busily combining design thinking, typography knowledge and their existing illustration skills to create a Google homepage that reflects this very theme.

Keep up the great work, and I look forward to seeing more of your creative output

Annalisa Buyks
Creative Arts and Technology Coordinator

Why I chose art as an elective in Year 9  
I chose Art as an elective in Year 9 because I love to create and express myself through different styles of art. Art for me is a way to be free and create things. Art allows me to escape from the real world and all of its problems. It helps me to release all of my negative emotions and channel my positive feelings and thoughts into making art that I am proud of. Furthermore, I chose Art as one of my electives for 2021 for various reasons but the main reason is because, it is a major part of my life, even when I was younger, I loved to draw and paint as it gave me happiness. 
Eirini VilianiotiI, Year 9 

Design and Technology Year 10

During Term 1, Year 10 Design Technologies – Digital students have been working diligently to produce Upcycled Propellor Vehicles. Throughout this assessment, students produced a folio detailing their design process to arrive at a proposed final design. They were then challenged with translating their ideas from paper into reality. The students were required to build their vehicles using items that they might have disposed of into landfill or the recycling bin. Many discovered that their drawn ideas did not translate perfectly into reality. They quickly learnt that they needed to adapt and make meaningful modifications to succeed.

One of the most important things about this project is the end of project “Race Day” (to see how far the vehicles will travel) that was held on 25 March. It was a glorious sunny afternoon on the Netball Courts with wheels being tested and last-minute checks occurring. The track was dry with low winds blowing in a south-westerly direction. Twenty-two vehicles propelled forward, each time and distance recorded by Jack Hoang 10A. Congratulations to Jamieson Adler 10Z for taking out the day with a distance of 5.4m!

Photo 1: Folio Page by Angela Wang (10Z).
Photo 2: Jason Chen (10C) and Minhyeok Shin (10A) at the hot glue station during the build in process.
Photo 3: Cruz Caffaro-Rossi (10D) demonstrating his build during the build process.
Photo 4: Lucas Johnston (10B) ready to cut a skewer for a wheel axel.
Photo 5: Emma Newcomb (10C), Ruby Savio (10C) and Hashim Khokhar (10B) building their individual vehicles using different materials.
Photo 6: Students demonstrating their Racer Driver Posses. (Class photo)
Photo 7: The student’s vehicles. (Table photo)
Photo 8: It’s a sunny day on the track, ready to race for distance!

Visual Communication Design Year 11
For the majority of Term 1, Year 11 Visual Communication Design students have been working on a short body of work for their Area of Study 1: Drawing as a means of Communicating. Students were tasked with applying different drawing methods, media and materials to create incredible visual communications. Some of the Tasks involved the students translating 2D drawings into 3D, draw from observation; use creative thinking to depict the provided Lego bricks as something else; and depict different material textures using different media. Here are some of the awesome pieces of work from the students.

Photo 1: Class in action (Class panorama).
Photo 2: The last-minute touch-up before a 3:30pm submission.
Photo 3: Isometric blocks by Daniel Butler (11A).
Photo 4: Ice-cream shop interior planometric drawing by T.
Photo 5: One-point perspective street view by Yao Zhang (11A).
Photo 6: Visualisation drawings by Vivian Yan (11A).
Photo 7: Observational drawing of an iPhone 12 Pro by Olsen Ou (11A).
Photo 8: Rendering techniques by Lucy Jordan (11A).

Rosario Ripper
VCE Visual Communication and Design, Design and Technology, and Mathematics Teacher


Instrumental Music Report

A note from our Music Captains……

“I have been playing music at Ashwood for four years and during that time there has never been a Music Captain. I was really excited by the opportunity to be a Music Captain as it's a new position in a time of great change for the Music Program. Without Ms Anderson and Mr Moore growing the culture of the music program and the school respectively I don't think I would have given this opportunity. I have a great appreciation of the work of the teachers in both setting up a new Music Program at the school and making the school big enough for the opportunity of being a Music Captain. As far as the role is concerned it's been a lot of fun to set up different musical events and I believe it is helping the school as well.” Daniel Butler, Year 11

“I’m Quyen, the middle school Music Vice-Captain at Ashwood High School. As a leader, I often promote the Ashwood High School Instrumental Music Program along with the Music Captain. So far, we have been able to organise a lunchtime concert series that has been positively spread throughout the school. Throughout my life, I have had experiences with different instruments such as the piano, trombone and my main instrument trumpet. I am enjoying extending my skills on the trumpet as a member of both the Concert Band and Stage Band.”
Quyen Tran, Year 9

Congratulations to Lucy Jordan, Jason Suryanata and Noah Rostan for their fabulous performances at our first Ashwood Unplugged Lunchtime Concert. Thank you also to our very enthusiastic large audience of both students and staff.
Wendy Anderson
Director of Music


Health & PE Learning Area Report

As we draw to the end of Term 1, I would like to thank our wonderful HPE staff for their ongoing commitment to providing a motivating and engaging curriculum.

Year 8 students have been learning about fitness and finished their term by presenting warm-up activities to their peers. This has given students an opportunity to demonstrate their understandings of the theoretical concepts taught in class.

Some reflections from Year 8 students:

“It was fun being with my friends and playing the warm-up activities they were teaching us”
Orlando Tilli, 8D

“I enjoyed teaching our peers and friends as well as being taught by them. I have also liked the competitiveness of playing minor games with my class”
Rhyannon Bergin, 8D

We have continued to incorporate Orienteering into our Physical Education program after the success in 2020. Our Year 7 students have been seen running around the school grounds completing Star Relay and Cloverleaf courses.

Some reflections from our Year 7 students:

“I liked that is wasn’t on our own and we worked with our class mates. We used a map without a compass, and we got to know the school better”  
Tom Houghton, 7C

“It was fun exploring the school.” 
Emma Anderson-Weir, 7Z

“It was fun and challenging and a good way to get used to the school” 
Joe Edwards, 7Z

We hope students and their families have a wonderful Easter break and a relaxing holiday, and we look forward to Term 2.

Stay active!

Allison Phillips
Health and Physical Education Learning Area Leader

EAL Learning Area Report

Year 12 EAL – Rear Window Padlet

It is my honour to write a short description of the work we have been doing recently in EAL. Ms Brydon has introduced the fabulous Padlet to us to develop our knowledge about the characters in the film Rear Window that we are studying. I find it is fascinating while I am "playing" with this platform. There are two main reasons I would like to share with you why this task is so useful. Firstly, it reinforces characteristics of the characters in the film, including each character's key quotes. Secondly, I can collaborate with my friends to do it. We can add our knowledge about the film, because each person in my class has fantastic individual ideas and has a different interpretation of the text that helps me to approach various aspects of the film from a different perspective. For instance, each character in the film can be linked to a specific theme using Padlet’s features, helping us to consolidate our knowledge.  Therefore, it improves my knowledge of the text effectively. Furthermore, I realize that learning EAL is so important as long as I study it; it is not only a technique to help people communicate with each other, it is also an awesome opportunity for us to explore the beauty of English and connect us with the people who we have never seen and, speak with people we have never met. Again, it is my honour to be studying with my classmates and working with an excellent teacher!

Louis Nguyen, Year 12

Digital Technologies Learning Area Report

As part of our commitment to enhancing student learning, Ashwood High School is evaluating new initiatives to strengthen and embed digital learning within the classroom. Building upon our successes during remote learning, we are currently trialling OneNote in several classes. OneNote allows teachers to distribute worksheets with graphic organisers, embedded videos, and rich text.

Rich media is a powerful tool to evoke engagement and empathy. Virtual Reality, for example, has been used to build empathy between Palestinians and Israelis and may become necessary as more decisions of global consequence are made in online spaces. Next term the Year 10 Humanities students will experience a laptop-based virtual reality walk-through of Auschwitz to help develop their engagement and empathy.

Rather than merely replacing former technologies with slightly newer technologies, the digital transformation at Ashwood High School is allowing us to augment and redefine our teaching practice. Media-rich technologies are assisting our teachers to more deeply convey ideas, experiences and historical empathy.

Daniel Christiansz

Digital Technologies Learning Area Coordinator

Sport Coordinator's Report

Intermediate Boys Volleyball – Monday 1 March 2021

The Year 9 Intermediate Boys Volleyball team comprising of Freddie Thorpe, William Lee, Angus Cutfield, Max D’arcy, Luke Noy, Xavier Monea, Quin Bolton-Rogers, Jethro Dvorak, Charlie Pearson and Miles Guy announced their return back to interschool sport with a nail biting victory on a golden point. With scores locked at 7-7 and the next point being declared the winner, the boys held their nerve and got across the line. They have now progressed to compete at the Eastern Metropolitan Region Volleyball Tournament on Tuesday 30 March. Congratulations boys!


Marko the Magnificent Maestro

Marko Khattab of Year 9, on the podium after receiving his silver medal at a recent fencing tournament. Congratulations Marko!!

Tom Grbac

Sports Coordinator


Debating & Public Speaking Report

This term, Ashwood High School students began competing in the 2021 Debaters Association Victoria (DAV) Interschool Debating Competition.

In Round 1, our Year 10 team consisted of Tile Bodin, Angela Hewerdine, and Sebastian Millan, debating as the affirmative side on the topic, “That alcoholic products should be subject to plain packaging laws”, against John Monash Science School. Meanwhile, our Year 9 team consisted of Annais Lewis, Matthew Pirozek, and Cooper Senova-Tapp, debating as the affirmative side on the topic, “That the government should subsidise tourism in regional Victoria”, against Salesian College. Both Ashwood High School teams made a winning start, with Matthew Pirozek winning the Best Speaker Award in the Year 9 debate.

In Round 2, our Year 10 team made a few substitutions, lining up with Chai Couzens, Angela Hewerdine, and Jessica Sterle, debating on the negative side on the topic, “That we support mandatory national service”, against Salesian College. Meanwhile our Year 9 team fielded the same line-up as in Round 1, debating as the negative side on the topic, “That animal testing should be banned”, against Huntingtower School. Our Year 10s won their debate, with Angela Hewerdine winning the Best Speaker Award. However, our Year 9s lost narrowly in a high-quality match.

Congratulations to all our students who have worked hard and competed so far – especially to those who competed for the first time. Our school continues to offer weekly training to all students every Monday after school. I also wish to thank our Debating Prefect, Angela Hewerdine, who continues to mentor newer Year 7 and 8 students at these training sessions. We have a bright future ahead of us.

Ronald Lee
Debating Coordinator

International Student Program

Nomination for Victorian Global Learning Awards (VGLA)

The VGLA celebrate excellence in the internationalisation of Victorian schools and recognise the valuable contribution made by international students in internationalising our classrooms and in making Victoria the Education State.

A nomination for our International Student Captain, Andy Kuok has recently been submitted for VGLA as our recognition of Andy’s outstanding leadership skills, his contribution and positive influence he brings to our school community. 

Best wishes for Andy’s application and we look forward to nominating more international students for VGLA in the future years.

Participation in school events

Thanks for Lionel Zhou, Jason Suryanata, Minhyeok Shin, Olson Ou, David Ji and Sivan Chen for participation in Swimming Carnival and all participants in Cross Country Carnival. We are so pleased to have Jason Suryanata, Chris Li and David Ji performing at lunch time concert series Term 1.

I would like to encourage you to proactively participate in more school events and activities as they are an integral part in our learning experiences at Ashwood High School.

Yonghong Williams

International Student Program Manager

Agent Briefings for VCE Students

As Term 1 comes to its end, we are one third of our way through our Year 12 journey at Ashwood High School. For those who are still unclear about their further education and career, this is time to really consider what pathway and what university courses you will choose. I would like to thank Ms Williams who has kindly arranged a presentation delivered by an education agent to students in Years 11 and Year 12. I personally found the session very helpful as I now have a clearer idea about the entry prerequisites and requirements for international students for different university courses I am interested in.

Andy Kuok, International Student Captain

Every coin has two sides, as well as online learning. There are two perspectives I would like to reflect by this report, one is from teaching aspect and another one is from students’ aspect.

From the side of teaching, teachers can respond to questions from students on time and clearly. Although sometimes the internet may interrupt classes, it’s not a big issue. Teachers are always able to fix it and continue teaching. All teachers’ conveying ways are patient and full of passion, for the homework, it is wonderful that we can receive feedback on time.

From the side of students, I think we need to be more enthusiastic and feel free to ask questions. I understand some students may feel awkward and nervous when they talk to a teacher individually, especially online. However, this is an obstacle we need to get through. I believe that teachers will never blame you if you ask for help. Now, when it comes to homework submission, it is clear that we are learning for our better future, so completing homework on time is being responsible for our future. Although the learning process may be tough and difficult for foreign students, we still have to comprehend each key point and try our best to understand details of everything being taught. As for me, Accounting and Business Management are two relatively difficult subjects with considerable new words and an unclear new knowledge point. However, studying a new subject in an additional language is not easy, so I will keep reading and ask teachers for help when questions appear.

To conclude, teachers online can offer as much help as they can do. Despite learning online in a foreign language is literally difficult for senior students, I believe that we can do it step by step and seek help when needed.

Ziming Zhuang, Year 11

I think our online learning is good and I am very satisfied with the quality of our online classes. The teachers are very responsible.

Now I can understand most of the lessons taught by the teachers and I feel good about that. I write down the new words I don't know every day and recite them slowly. I'll need to keep working on my vocabulary. The homework is also very good and helps me understand what I want to learn. The teachers are very kind, responsive and they try to welcome me into the big group.

I got to know a lot of friends from online classes. Every day life is very interesting. I can discuss with my friends in a group and we help each other. When I ask teachers questions, my teachers always patiently help me.

My only problem is my poor English foundation, but I believe my efforts will improve this.

On the whole, I think online classes are very good and I can follow them. I don't think I have any suggestions for improvement.

Yufei Wang, Year 9


Education Resource Centre Report

I am pleased to announce that the 2021 Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge is now open, and all Ashwood High School students from Years 7 to 10 are invited to participate. The Challenge is a long running, very successful program that benefits both confident and developing readers. It is not a competition but a personal challenge for each student to read more, and to read more widely.

The challenge is to read fifteen books before 17 September. Years 7 - 9 must choose ten of their fifteen books from the Premiers’ Reading Challenge approved booklist. Year 10 must choose five from the list. Many of the books on the list are available for loan from the Education Resource Centre. Full details and rules of the Challenge can be found here.

As well as a great opportunity to broaden their reading, the Challenge offers students at Ashwood High School an opportunity to earn house points. All participants will earn 5 points for reading their first book. Those who complete the Challenge will earn 30 house points and receive a certificate of achievement signed by the Victorian Premier.

Years 7-10 students have been automatically registered and can log on to their PRC portal using their school email username and password at or by following the link on the Education Resource Centre’s homepage.

Take up the Challenge over the holidays and remember to make time to enjoy reading every day.

Matthew Feeney

ERC Coordinator

Parent and Community Partnerships - Parents & Friends Network

It’s hard to believe we are already at the end of Term 1!  The PFN held its AGM on Wednesday the 3rd of March and the following parents were elected to the executive committee:

President -            Merran Taylor (Year 8 & Year 10)

Vice President -   Lisa Gillespie (Year 8)

Treasurer -           Airlie Anderson-Weir (Year 7 & Year 10)

Secretary -           Steph Bryan (Year 7 & Year 10)

Did you know the PFN collects bread tags to help fund wheelchairs in South Africa? The tags are recycled in South Australia and funds raised are used to purchase wheelchairs for disadvantaged people in South Africa.

Adelaide charity recycling bread tags for a good cause - 7.30 (

Please collect your bread tags (even the broken ones) and once you have a bag or container full, drop them to the office to be passed onto our co-ordinator Juliet Peeva.  Bread Tags for Wheelchairs have already recycled 2910 kg of Aussie bread tags - 200kgs raises enough money to fund one wheelchair.


6:30pm - 8:00pm

5 May With Phoebe Lindsay Senior School Engagement, Wellbeing and Pathways Leader - Report on Senior School Initiatives in 2021

9 June With Colin Shnier, Director of Studies - Report on Curriculum progress in 2021

Everyone is welcome!

There are currently WhatsApp parent group chats for Years 7-10 You can join via these links:

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Year 10

Need to purchase or sell second hand uniform or books? Check out the Buy,Swap,Sell Facebook group.  It’s a great place to find winter uniform or sell outgrown ones, especially now that the weather is getting colder!

If you would like to be kept up to date with the PFN, please send an email to   We generally only send 2 emails a month (one with meeting details and then another with minutes from our meeting) via our mailing list. It is a great way to keep up with what we are working on and get updates from our leading teachers.

Have a safe and relaxing Easter and holiday break.  See you in Term 2!


Merran Taylor


Ashwood High School Parents and Friends Network

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