Ashwood High School eNews

Issue 4 2021

Principal's Report

Return to Face-to-Face Teaching and Learning - ‘From Great to Exceptional’
Ashwood High School’s response to the COVID-19 Lockdown and Extended Lockdown has once again been well received by the community. The return of students to Face-to-Face Teaching and Learning has been a resounding success.  This has been followed by a calm yet joyous return of students in Years 7-10 on Tuesday 15 June 2021. The safety, health and wellbeing procedures we have put in place have allowed a relaxed and focussed return to school.  Some adjustments to the school’s processes and protocols have been necessary and worthwhile.  All letters outlining these adjustments were sent to parents on a frequent basis, including eLetter 4 dated Thursday 27 May 2021, eLetter 5 dated Thursday 3 June 2021 and eLetter 6 dated Thursday 10 June 2021.

As a School Council it is important that we reflect on the challenges we have overcome as a school community during this period of potential uncertainty. As a school community, we have successfully navigated our community through these times with combined purpose in the best interests of our wonderful students, hard-working staff and supportive families. Thank you once again for your continued support and confidence.  As a school community we have worked together to embody our school’s motto Vision Inspired Action and our CHOIR values.  I am sure you will agree that our response to this pandemic has affirmed the strength of our collective responsibility and efficacy as a staff and school community.  With the re-introduction of all students back to on-site learning, we have created a shared understanding of the measures and protocols put in place to ensure student and staff health, safety and wellbeing are protected and promoted.

Virtual Assembly On-Site– ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
Although, due to COVID-19, we were unable to gather in the Performing Arts Centre (PAC) for an assembly, our ‘virtual’ assemblies have been a huge success.  On Tuesday 15 June 2021 we held a WebEx Middle School Assembly.  Each class took part via our video screens which are a feature of every classroom.  Our students showed admirable respect and gratitude to be back at school.  It was important to support Middle School students with their return to Face-to-Face Teaching and Learning.

Purpose of School Council and the Function of Sub-Committees - ‘From Great to Exceptional’
It has been rewarding to witness the commitment of School Council members, both new and returning, to the school’s vision and values in the interest of our school’s continued prosperity. As executive of the School Council, I note the willingness of members to develop their individual capacity to undertake their roles and responsibilities as School Councillors with high expectations and pride. On behalf of the entire school community of students, staff, parents and families, we are very grateful to these school council members for their ongoing commitment and service.

Strategic Plan 2019 – 2022 – ‘From Great to Exceptional’
According to the evidence, we are tracking extremely well in relation to our three Strategic Plan goals:

  1. Raising achievement through consistent implementation of a powerful approach to teaching and learning;
  2. Enhancing active engagement in learning, and motivation to learn, through implementation of approaches that empower students and develop voice, leadership and agency;
  3. Enhancing learning growth by continuing to build the capacity of all staff in curriculum planning, pedagogy and assessment.

Thank you everyone for your commitment to the improvement process at Ashwood High School.  We are certainly on track to achieve the goals and targets of the Annual Implementation Plan for 2021 and the Strategic Plan 2019 – 2022.

‘The Path Forward’ at Ashwood High School – ‘From Great to Exceptional’
Our school brand is very well known and respected in the community.  Our school profile has been forged on the essential elements of The Path Forward at Ashwood High School.  As a School Council it is appropriate that we reflect on the five key elements of ‘The Path Forward’. Our commitment to ‘The Path Forward’ has led to our school’s turn around and success. Polishing the ‘Jewel of the East’ will be determined by our capacity to pull together around the following five elements:

  • School Motto and School Vision;
  • School values – CHOIR;
  • Four Pillars of our GREAT / Exceptional school;
  • Four Priorities to realising the Vision;
  • Educational Philosophy.

Reflection on the Past 12 Month Period – Asset Management Plan - ‘From Great to Exceptional’
As previously stated, the school has been successful in obtaining a $10.2 million capital works program. Ongoing and intensive meetings are occurring with our architect to ensure we maximise our funding to ensure our STEAM and Research Centre, as well as upgrades to Buildings B and G, align with the school’s vision for 21st century teaching and learning.

The template below reflects the ‘design thinking’ principles underpinning the development of our STEAM and Research Centre.

Capital Works Program - ‘From Great to Exceptional’
With a short turn-around, the School’s Administration completed rigorous planning documentation. This documentation was due for submission to the DET and Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) on Thursday 2 July 2020.  The rigorous process involved consultation with the broader school community.

The Asset Management Plan 1 (AMP1) documentation was approved by School Council at the June meeting in 2020.  Motion: That School Council accept and endorse the AMP1, for the School Council President and Executive Principal to sign off on this plan at the end of this term.  Subsequently, the School’s Administration completed the submission over the winter break and an architect ‘Content Studio’ was appointed.

The Schematic Design (SD) phase has been completed and signed off by myself (Principal) and School Council President. We have now entered the Design and Development (D&D) phase. The VSBA, APP Corporation, Content Studio, and Ashwood High School are pleased with the progress of the Capital Works Program.  A proposed project timeline prepared by the Project Control Group was presented to School Council at the meeting in May 2021.

At the June 2021meeting, the following images of the current design and development work were presented to School Council, which included:

  • STEAM Centre
  • Library - Research Centre
  • Transformation of Building G
  • Re-configuration of Building B
  • Re-location plans for rubbish dumper (skip) from below Building G to the north of the Gym. The relocation of the skip was also discussed at the Finance and Resources Meeting in June 2021.

Enrolments – ‘The Jewel of the East’ ‘From Great to Exceptional’
In 2021, Grade 6 to Year 7 Transition will proceed as per the Department of Education and Training timeline.  Primary schools submitted their initial placement requests (first preferences) by Wednesday 2 June 2021. At this stage, all subsequent preference requests (second and third preferences) are currently being sent to the school.  At this stage, it is difficult to predict our Year 7 enrolment for 2022.

Virtual Tour – ‘Increasing Positive Community Engagement’
During COVID-19 in 2020 the school wisely invested in a virtual tour. In 2021, with the two circuit breaker lockdowns and extended lockdown, the virtual tour has maintained its currency.

Staffing – ‘Valuing Staff and Building Capacity’
Our School continues to retain, develop and attract quality staff to fulfil our school’s Vision‘A school of first choice, a school with high social and academic outcomes for students, a positive school culture of empowerment and excellence based on mutual respect’. The most recent recruits to Ashwood High School include:

  • Jeff Newman – Teacher of students in Health, Physical Education (PE) and Outdoor Education, Camps Coordinator;
  • Laura Higgins – Mini-Schools Administration Officer.

Acknowledgement of Service – DET Service Awards for Retiring School Councillors
On behalf of all members of School Council, and our greater school community, I have passed on my gratitude to Mr Russell Diggins and Mr Marc Peters for their contributions to ‘The Path Forward’ at Ashwood High School via their engagement as School Councillors. The school received letters of acknowledgement from the office of Will Fowles, MP and State Member for Burwood, for their longstanding commitment to the continual improvement of our school. This is an expression of School Council’s commitment to one of the School’s priorities - increasing positive parental and community engagement.

Accelerated Curriculum and Enrichment (ACE) Program – Approved SEAL – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
The first round of ACE Program testing for Year 7 in 2022 occurred on Saturday 15 May 2021. There has been a large amount of interest in our ACE Program, as evidenced by the volume of applications.  Successful candidates will be notified in August 2021. A second round of ACE Program testing will also be organised in Term 4, 2021. The ACE Program has been an important part of our School’s vision as a school of first choice.

Ashwood Alliance - Deakin University Partnership – ‘Increasing Positive Community Engagement’; ‘Valuing Staff and Building Capacity’
The Ashwood Alliance is continuing to deliver on its objectives.  It is an alliance of schools working in collaboration with Deakin University to provide outstanding experiences for pre-service teachers as part of their professional practice.  In addition, it is enabling Ashwood High School staff and students to work in collaboration with staff and students from our local primary schools.  When forging this important partnership in September 2015, it was recognised that these connections would play a strategic role in realising our school’s Vision as a school of first choice in the local community.

Attitudes to School Survey – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
Due to the ‘lockdown’ and ‘extended lockdown’, the timeline for the annual student Attitudes to School Survey was extended to Term 3 – Week 4. The purpose of the survey is to obtain student opinion on the quality of the learning environment and connectedness to school.

Pupil Free Day – Report Writing Day – ‘Valuing Staff and Building Capacity’
A pupil free day was held on Friday 11 June 2021 for the purpose of report writing.  Report proof reading will continue in Weeks 9 and 10 and reports will be published on Compass on the last day of school for Term 2, Friday 25 June 2021.

Years 7 to 9 Examinations – Semester 1 2021 – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
As communicated in COVID-19 eLetter 6 to parents, students and families, Years 7 to 9 exams were cancelled.  The rationale for this decision was centred on the imperative of balancing the school’s culture of high expectations with an empathic concern for the health and wellbeing of students and staff, in consideration of the timing of the lockdowns. Semester 1 reporting will be comprised of assessments undertaken over the course of Semester One. As principal, I have full confidence in my staff’s capacity to make well-informed professional judgements of students’ learning progress.

Senior School Examinations – Years 10 and 11 – Semester 1, 2021 - Growing Pride and Achievement’
The decision was taken to proceed with examinations in the Senior School during Semester 1, 2021, in acknowledgment of the necessity to prepare students for the rigour of examination preparation and the stages of learning.  As members of the Senior School, and in the absence of the opportunity to sit NAPLAN or examinations in 2020, Year 10 students will benefit from the opportunity to experience the demands of exam preparation and exam writing.

  • Year 10 Examination Week was held from Tuesday 15 June 2021 to Monday 21 June 2021;
  • Year 11 Examination Week was held from Friday 4 June 2021 to Thursday 10 June 2021.

General Achievement Test (GAT) and Practice GAT - Growing Pride and Achievement’
Due to restrictions imposed as a consequence of the most recent lockdowns, the GAT – originally scheduled for Wednesday 9 June 2021 – was rescheduled. The Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority (VCAA) has confirmed that the rescheduled date is Thursday 29 July 2021. The GAT plays a role in the calculation of students’ ATAR scores.

The school was fortunate enough to engage in a Practice GAT on Tuesday 25 May 2021. The practice GAT enabled VCE students to obtain valuable experience in the expected rigours of this exam, as well exposure to the style of questioning.

Instrumental Music Program – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
Under the guidance of the Ashwood High School Director of Music, Wendy Anderson, we have over 120 students enrolled in the Instrumental Music Program.  Students are busily rehearsing for the Annual Music Concert which was to be originally held on Wednesday 23 June 2021, however, due to COVID-19 restrictions has been rescheduled for Wednesday 28 July 2021. The students are also rehearsing for the School Production, The Addams Family, which will be performed on Thursday 9 to Saturday 11 September 2021.  Our Instrumental Music Program continues to go from strength to strength.

Subject Offerings 2021 – CAPs, VCE, VET & VCAL Programs – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
On Tuesday 15 June 2021 I attended the Year 10 Subject Selection Information Meeting which was held via WebEx. Approximately 85 students and their families attended the evening.  Information regarding pathways into VCE and VCAL were outlined and an overview of the subject areas offered in 2022 was delivered. I believe firmly in student engagement and academic excellence being driven by student voice, aspirations and pathways.

Staff Workforce Planning 2022 – ‘Valuing Staff & Building Capacity’
Ashwood High School will continue to retain, attract and develop quality staff to the school. This period of growth and prosperity provides us with an opportunity to strengthen the quality of our workforce in support of improved social and academic outcomes for students.

Improving School GovernanceFrom Great to Exceptional’
At the School Council meeting in June 2020, I presented and discussed details of the School Council Self-Assessment Tool which was completed in a collaborative and transparent manner.  As a newly formed School Council it would be beneficial for us to undertake this same task in 2021; adhering to Departmental requirements, whilst focusing on growth and cohesion rather than compliance.  A copy of the relevant materials was presented to Council members at the meeting.

As principal, I would like to personally wish students, families and staff a safe and enjoyable and well-deserved school holidays.  I hope that you all come back well rested, focussed and with a positive mindset for the start of Term 3 on Monday 12 July 2021. Please look after one another and stay safe, well and connected.

Brett Moore
Executive Principal
Wednesday 23 June, 2021

Key Dates - Term 3 2021

The Addams Family Musical

The School Musical Production Rehearsals continued during the ‘Circuit Breaker Lockdown’ and what a huge success it was!Students were involved in rehearsals remotely over WebEx and continued their enthusiastic attitude and excitement. During the two weeks the students were engaged in script readings, learnt choreography, and completed vocal recordings.

I want to congratulate all students and staff involved in the musical on their adaptability, resilience and for continuously exemplifying optimism and a ‘can do’ attitude. It is a true demonstration of Ashwood High School’s CHOIR values.

Thank you very much to Ms Ruby Cameron who taught students choreography over WebEx. We all had a great time!

Thank you to Ms Michelle Leane who continued to work on characterisation, acting techniques and line learning.

Thank you to Ms Wendy Anderson who enabled students to continue practising their songs and develop their vocals.

What an amazing team we have. We cannot wait for our School community to see The Addams Family in September!

Sachael Miller
School Musical Production & Performing Arts Producer 

Middle School Assistant Principal's Report

Greetings from the Middle School at Ashwood High School. On behalf of all staff working in the Middle School, many thanks to our parent community for their support of our school in Term Two.  As ever, the strength of our community remains strong.

Please see below for some summary highlights from the second half of Term 2, 2021.

Middle School Virtual Assembly – Tuesday 15 June 2021
We held a Middle School Assembly virtually to formally welcome students back to Face-to-Face Teaching and Learning following the period of Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning period. It is a testament to our many wonderful students and supportive staff for their high levels of engagement and respect throughout. It was pleasing to note the customary symbolic gestures of respect were upheld – such as standing for the arrival and dismissal of our principal, Mr Moore, as well as attentive listening throughout. This assembly also provided us with the opportunity to re-introduce our students back onsite, including an emphasis on safety, health and wellbeing, COVID-safe protocols, and expectations of students.

High Levels of Student Engagement during the Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning period
Our school experienced record numbers of student attendance to online lessons during the most recent Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning period. With over 90% student attendance daily, it is a testament to the commitment of students, parents, families and teachers for their resilience and commitment to their studies despite potential hurdles brought forth in the move to learning from home and online. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate students on their efforts and resilience throughout this period.

Co-Curricular Activities
Term 2, 2021 has seen a huge increase in the co-curricular opportunities on offer at school. There has been high levels of student engagement in these additional programs running before school, during recess and lunch and afterschool. It is also important to acknowledge the efforts of our school’s great teachers and support staff who devote large amounts of discretionary time to organise and deliver these programs.

Students at all year levels are strongly encouraged to seek ways to become involved in our school’s co-curricular offerings. A complete list of these programs is available on the Compass Newsfeed as well as the Compass calendar.

Congratulations to all students on the successful completion of Semester 1, 2021. Best wishes to student and families for a restful holiday break.

Meg McLellan
Middle School Assistant Principal

Middle School Engagement, Wellbeing and Transitions Report

Term 2 has thrown yet another challenge at our resilient Middle School students, in the form of a circuit breaker lockdown. It has been a credit to our students, staff, and community, that we have been able to adapt so readily to these challenges again, with a seamless transition back into the world of Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning. We were thrilled to welcome Middle School students back on site on Tuesday 15 June, beginning with a Middle School assembly, with a focus on wellbeing and support for our students.

Mr Moore congratulated students on the Innovation and Optimism that they displayed during their time learning online, and gave a timely reminder of our five Respects (respect for self, peers, teachers, our community and our country), which must underpin all that we do in the Middle School, particularly in our interpersonal interactions now that we are back learning on site.

After a period of Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning, I believe that it is essential to recognise the hard work and dedication of the Middle School teaching staff, who put hours into adapting their curriculum to best suit the online environment and supporting students in their wellbeing remotely. Thanks must also go to our families and community for supporting students whilst they learn in this increasingly familiar way. Finally, I would also like to recognise the work of our IT Services Team, Mr Brendan Ariens and Mr Reece Frith-Belvedere, who used their IT genius to safely trouble shoot with students throughout the lockdown period in the best interests of everyone’s health and wellbeing.

Prior to the lockdown, we were lucky enough to get our Year 9s out on a real camp – in tents! Ably led by Miss Lucy Rimmer, our students hiked, canoed, and camped in the Otway Ranges. I would like to recognise the wonderful staff who willingly gave of their personal time, spending 3 nights away from their families, to ensure our students have a wonderful camp experience. Thanks goes to Matt Dexter, Emma Doorley, Tom Grbac, Ned Hayward, Michelle Leane, Ronald Lee, June Ren, and our wonderful pre-service teacher Jacob Vitale.

Whilst Years 7 – 9 Exam Week was cancelled by Mr Moore in support of our students’ wellbeing at this difficult time, we are pleased to report that many wonderful skills in the preparation for exams were still developed. In Week 6 of this term, Middle School students engaged in Exam Preparation week, where they heard detailed information from their House Coordinators during Tutor Group about the format and expectations of exams. Students then completed relevant ‘Twenties’ to assist with exam preparation, such as ‘How to be productive’, ‘How to reduce exam anxiety’ and ‘How to take great study notes’ and were also assisted to create study timetables by their Tutor Group teachers. Furthermore, this was complemented by teacher instruction in their regular classes including outlines of key topics and focus areas for exams, provision of exam revision resources and time to actually undertake revision within the classroom. Despite Exam Week not going ahead, we firmly believe that students will be better prepared for Semester 2 Exam Week when it comes around.

In very exciting news, I would love to welcome to the team our Mini School Administration Officer, Ms Laura Higgins. Laura is a welcome addition to the hustle and bustle of the Middle School Office and will be adeptly supporting both Mini School Teams in her work at Ashwood High School. Thank you for all your work already Laura, and we look forward to all our achievements together.

In addition, our Wellbeing Team always take on an additional workload during periods of Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning. Thank you to our School Psychologist, Ms Elisa Jones Arango and our School Chaplain, Mr Long Nguyen for the countless phone calls, check-ins and offers of assistance they have made for students and families during this period. As always, a huge thank you to our Middle School Team: Mr Driscoll, Mrs Dernikos, Mr Hayward, Ms Cooper and Ms Wraight for their tireless efforts in supporting our students.

Meg Brydon
Middle School Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Transitions Leader

Cowan House Report

Throughout Term 2, Cowan continued to impress from all standpoints of Ashwood High School’s four pillars – Sporting Excellence, Academic Excellence, Arts Excellence, and excellence within the Community.

Cowan students continued to have a fantastic level of participation in all co-curricular activities. It filled me with pride to see all students embracing the opportunities available at Ashwood High School and immersing themselves in a wide variety of activities. From the School Production, to sporting prowess in the ABL/APL, and through the creative sphere with Art Club and Animation Club, Cowan students are showing that they really can do it all!

Whilst there were no competitive events that occurred since our victory in the Cross Country, the level of house cohesion was still high, with the Tutor Group program ensuring all Cowan members still came together at regular intervals. Students during those times completed modules to enhance and further their personal learning goals. These improvements will see all members of Cowan House placed in a fantastic place leading into Semester 2.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 implications, Cowan students were unable to put their revision and studying skills to the test during exams. However, I am confident all members received important and transferable skills to be used in the future.

Overall, at the conclusion of my first Semester as House Coordinator, I am extremely happy and proud with the way in which all Cowan students have implemented their fantastic approach to their schooling and have rounded out a fantastic – albeit complicated – Semester 1. All members of Cowan House have epitomized Ashwood High School’s High Expectations and values in an admirable manner.

I keenly look forward to what Semester 2 brings and seeing the further improvement of students in Cowan House.

Guy Driscoll
Cowan House Coordinator

Flynn House Report

As we approach the mid-semester break, I am more and more proud of our Flynnians. As the year progresses, many of our students are highlighting their strengths, their resilience and the great values they are consistently developing. Some students have overcome many challenges, including the recent lockdown and in many cases, our Flynnians have gone above and beyond to meet their SMART goals for 2021.

 Completing a wide range of the learning modules that echo our CHOIR values has enlightened students to set valid and meaningful personal learning goals that will optimistically facilitate the path to their desired pathways. It is encouraging to watch our students so connected to their learning and demonstrating great collaboration and mentorship of their peers in Tutor Group.

I am proud of the green Chronicles on Compass that many students have amassed throughout the semester from all of Ashwood High School’s Four Pillars due to excellent efforts. I anticipate these increasing in Semester 2.

To take us into the holidays Flynnians, don’t forget the C in CHOIR. You belong to the best House in the school and “Our House is our castle”.

I wish all students a restful and safe holiday break and look forward to a successful and prosperous Semester 2.

Vicky Dernikos
Flynn House Coordinator

Melba House Report

Ashwood High School commenced 2021 with optimism. We were optimistic about the opportunities and experiences this year would bring. The recent lockdown came as an unwelcome surprise for many and put a certain dent in that optimism. It is in such times that optimism must be replaced by resilience. Resilience is what I saw the students of Melba demonstrate this term. For that, I congratulate all of the students and carers of this House. I also saw great innovation and high expectations during the Middle School revision week, when students continued to hone their academic craft both in their classes and in the Tutor Group program. The skills they developed will continue to assist them in their future pathways. Again, I congratulate all of you. The President of the USA may live in a White House, but we are prouder to be in a Green House!

Ned Hayward
Melba House Coordinator

Paterson House Report

Paterson House has managed to finish off Semester 2 with great spirit, effort, resilience and flexibility. Many students have broadened their social connections with other students from all year levels by involving themselves in many co-curricular opportunities that are available at Ashwood High School. Paterson House students have actively shown an interest and been able to demonstrate their knowledge and passion for debating, art, music and sport.

The Tutor Group program has continued to empower Paterson House students to get to know each other and build positive relationships within the Middle School and broader community. Students have been able to share knowledge and experiences with others to strengthen their ability to communicate with their peers, develop a sense of belonging and analyse their own personal attributes and values. Students have developed a personal portfolio to display their ‘Twenties’ and how they have grown and developed over the course of the Semester.

In Week 7, all students demonstrated resilience, flexibility and high levels of trust to continue with their learning at home, whilst a Victorian lockdown was implemented to protect everyone’s health and safety. All Paterson House students were able to maintain continuity in the learning by accessing all the resources from home and joining in the virtual learning space. This semester, the Middle School exams have been cancelled, however I would like to congratulate all Paterson House students for still continuing with their revision and preparation to ensure they were able to demonstrate success within the learning.

Finally, congratulations to our student leaders, whose commitment and efforts have allowed all students to engage in the opportunities available at Ashwood High School. I hope all Paterson House students and families have a wonderful Term 2 break and all students come back rejuvenated and inspired for Semester 2.

Harriet Cooper
Paterson House Coordinator

Middle School Student Leadership & Agency Report

Congratulations to all the Middle School Student Leaders for a successful Term 2.

It was wonderful to see the Leadership Teams of the Middle School continue to develop their skills and become stronger leaders as a result. This term, all Student Leaders have completed probationary reviews, which included a personal reflection on their performance so far and goals for the future, as well as feedback from their staff supervisors. These students are to be commended for their diligence and the commitment to personal development that they have shown though undertaking these reviews.

Term 3 will bring the opening of applications for School Colours and for Student Leadership positions in 2022. All students are encouraged to take time to reflect on their previous behaviour and their potential for the future, and to strongly consider undertaking these opportunities for recognition of their skills and for personal growth.

Matilda Wraight
Student Voice, Leadership & Agency Coordinator

Middle School Captains Report

Hello Parents, teachers, and students,

I am Amber Balmer, and I am one of the Middle School Captains. This term has been a very successful term. It was great for both Haris and I to speak in front of the Middle School community and it was wonderful to see everyone was very respectful during the assembly. Ashwood Revealed was also a great success; it was exciting to see so many students and teachers involved and it was great to see people getting together. For the Year 9s, it was so nice to see everyone together at the Year 9 camp and it was a valuable experience for everyone who attended. Although exams were cancelled for the Middle School, I believe everyone worked very hard throughout the entire school in the lockdown. It may have been hard, but it was great to see how everyone adjusted so quickly to the short lockdown. This term and semester has been very positive and I hope it can continue like this next term and for the rest of the year.

Amber Balmer

Welcome back students of Ashwood High School!

It was great to see everyone back at school again after seeing how weird this term and year has been. As you may know, Semester 1 examinations have been cancelled for Years 7 to 9 and I am sure that many people were relieved, because I sure was. Amber and I are really looking forward to ending this term on a positive note. Recently we had an online assembly, and it was great to see the school community together once again. As we know Semester 1 is about to end, and we are currently in the last week of school. Amber and I have great plans for Semester 2 and are very excited to share them with you if everything goes to plan and there are no barriers in the way. The Morrisby Assessment is also in motion right now and Amber and I would highly encourage students to try their best and hardest to finish it as it helps your own character. It has been a strange yet fun semester and we are very excited for the two weeks holidays that are very close, and we are sure that your guys must be excited too. We will see you all in Semester 2.

Haris Shehzad

Accelerated Curriculum & Enrichment Program

The enrolments process for the 2022 ACE program is now well under way, with the first round of testing taking place onsite on Saturday 15 May. In line with the state-wide enrolment timeline, round one offers will be made to families in August 2021. A second round of ACE testing has been scheduled to take place onsite at Ashwood High School in October 2021, allowing interested families who may have missed out on the first round of testing the opportunity to apply for the ACE program in 2022. To register your interest in joining the program in 2022, please contact the school.

In other news, our Year 9 ACE students are about to embark on the subject selection process for 2022. In an exciting new development, our 2022 Year 10 ACE learners will be offered the choice of 14 different VCE studies for early commencement. We hope our ACE students will take full advantage of the new flexibility conferred by the changes to carefully plan their VCE pathways with a view to maximising their options for tertiary study.

Caroline Servadei
Enrichment, Pedagogy Partnerships & Professional Learning Leader

Senior School Assistant Principal's Report

Ashwood High School continues to strive for community development and giving our students the best possible opportunity. This was evident at the Senior School Information Evening held for Year 10 students on Tuesday 15 June. The evening involved presentations from all the Learning Area Coordinators about the VCE and VCAL subjects on offer for 2022. During the presentation, Principal Mr Brett Moore presented on the historical journey of the Year 10 cohort from Year 7 and the impact they have had on the school and the staff over the period. He explained that, as the Principal of Ashwood High School during their secondary education, he looks forward to seeing them graduate from Year 12 in the next few years. A huge thank you must go out to the Senior School Engagement, Wellbeing and Transition Leader Ms Phoebe Lindsay for organisation of such a successful informative evening.

Ashwood High School continues to be at the forefront of educational adaption with the latest COVID-19 lockdowns. This has been displayed and credited to our community of dedicated Ashwood High School staff and students for the way they have been able to adapt to the changing educational landscapes with limit preparation. It was amazing to watch the way our teaching staff developed the curriculum to allow our students to continue to remain engaged and challenged throughout this period. 

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions we have had to cancel several events including the Year 10 Camp to Melbourne CBD and the VCAL Camp to Stringybark lodge. We as a school are very disappointed that our students are missing out on these opportunities, but we are very hopeful in the future that these chances will come up again.

Our students in Senior School continue to develop high expectations and drive for excellence. This has been evident throughout the examination process for our Years 10 and 11 students. Both of these cohorts of students undertook their Semester 1 exams with the upmost professionalism. We as a school are very proud in the way our Senior School students conducted and prepared themselves for these exams and they should be commended for their efforts. This is considering the unpredictability of remote and onsite classes that they all have endured in the weeks leading up to the exams. The VCE Year 11 exams were conducted in the gymnasium giving our students the best possible opportunity and understanding of Year 12 exam environment they will undertake in 2022.  

In early Term 2 it was my privilege to coach the Ashwood High School Senior School female first XVIII football team. On Monday 10 May 2021 the team represented Ashwood High School in a round robin format competition against several other schools. The team showed fighting spirit, to only miss out on the grand final by several points. The team should be credited on the way they came together as representatives of multiple year levels including 9, 10 and 11 to display teamwork, encouragement, and enjoyment with each other. The team displayed the high expectations of Ashwood High School with their commitment to improve through the 10 week, 7:00am training program in Term 1 and into the school holidays. Well done to the Captain Year 11 Lily Patterson and Vice Captain Year 11 Jakita Mann for their leadership and guidance with the players throughout the competition and trainings.

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 3.

Tom O’Toole
Senior School Assistant Principal

Senior School Engagement, Wellbeing & Pathways Report

End of Term 2 has brought to the forefront of students minds the possibilities and opportunities held for future careers and pathways. Year 10 and 11 students have been preparing and completing their subject and pathway preferences for 2022 studies.

For Year 10, a subject selection information evening was run on Tuesday 15 June via WebEx. We had a fantastic turnout with more than 85 families in attendance. Families and students were given the opportunity to learn about the pathways offered at Ashwood High School in Years 11 and 12, including VCE and VCAL. Learning Area Coordinators provided an overview of the subject areas offered and answered questions from students and families. We were fortunate to have our Executive Principal, Brett Moore, present for this event where he delivered a meaningful address on the vision and values of the school. Assistant Principal, Tom O’Toole, provided an address titled ‘Forging Successful Futures’ which encompassed the role of Senior School in supporting Ashwood High School students to achieve success in whichever pathway they choose. Our VCAA Curriculum Services Coordinator, Julie Huggins, delivered information on VCE and VCAL at Ashwood High School including pathway options, the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank, and requirements for successful completion of VCE. Thank you to all the presenters from the evening for sharing your time and expertise to ensure our Year 10 students are provided with all the necessary information to take their next steps in Year 11. Year 10 preference forms are due to their Form Group teachers on Tuesday 22 June.

For Year 11, a mini Year Level Assembly was run on Wednesday 18 June. Students were provided details on how to access Edval and submit their preferences for Year 12 study. Students were reminded to carefully consider future pathways and potential pre-requisites for tertiary studies. Year 11 preference forms are due to me on Wednesday 23 June.

In exciting news, our Year 11 and 12 Formal is fast approaching. Formal is social outing that will bring both staff and students together in an environment built on the grounds of respect and care, to celebrate the successes of Year 11 and 12 students and their time in the Senior School so far. This year's venue is The Grand on Princes Reception Centre, the event will commence at 6:00pm and conclude at 10.30pm. Ticket price includes the cost of a three course meal, soft drinks and juices, security, DJ, awards, and decorations. Payment for this event is due by Wednesday 23 June.

I would like to congratulate the Senior School cohort on a fantastic Term 2 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

Here at Year 10, students have continued to impress me with their enthusiasm, resilience, and overall positive attitude. I am so proud of their adaptability moving back to Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning and the excellent way they approached their studies, particularly the exams at such short notice.

Year 10s, I want to personally congratulate all of you for taking this in your stride. What an excellent opportunity to practise such an important process before Year 11 next year.

Year 10 parents and guardians, thank you very much for your support of students and for assisting them with their studies during this difficult and uncertain time.

It has been a wonderful first week back onsite. Students have sat exams during classes and have excelled in their commitment to study and revision. Students have thoroughly enjoyed selecting their subjects and engaging in important and insightful conversations with their peers and teachers regarding their future pathways. I want to say a big thank you to Ms Phoebe Lindsay who ran the excellent Subject Selection evening for you all and has been working extremely hard to ensure this is a seamless process for all involved.

I have absolutely loved speaking with students about their interests for courses, pathways and careers in the future and I am extremely proud of their maturity in committing to such an important task. What an amazing addition to our workforce you will be!

An important reminder: Work Experience Arrangement Form & Additional Work Experience Form (COVID-19) is due to Ms Hechenberger Friday 25 June 2021.

I wish all students and their families a restful, happy, and safe Term 2 break.

Sachael Miller
Year 10 Coordinator

Year 11 Coordinator's Report

Year 11 students have continued to show great resolve and application to their studies this term, despite the unavoidable interruptions they have at times faced. Recently, students returned for a short period to remote schooling as part of the state-wide lock-down. Students were appreciative of their teachers’ efforts in providing for meaningful and rigorous learning opportunities during this time and I know teachers continue to be full of praise for the mature way in which the students conducted themselves. Following their return to Face-to Face Teaching and Learning, VCE students completed exams across all Unit 1 subjects, while VCAL students returned to their scheduled classes. 

Having had an interrupted examination schedule in 2020 it is important that students continue to have the opportunity to develop their skills in relation to this very important method of assessment. It was with this goal in mind that the Year 11 students, with the guidance of their teachers, spent both class time and time outside of class, engaged in structured revision. While the outcomes of exams are obviously very important, and there were excellent results achieved, of greater importance at Year 11 is the invaluable feedback these exams provide students for future areas of improvement. Students are encouraged to be open-minded and reflective on ways in which they can use the feedback provided from these exams to inform their approach to both their study and revision, as well as the way in which they approach exams more generally. With the Year 12 exam still such a crucial part of the VCE certificate, the more authentic practice students undertake in this format in the earlier years the better prepared they will be.  Thanks to Year 11 students, Kiara Hurlston and Georgia Tsamis for their thoughts of the exam week experience; 

Approaching the Year 11 exams after the circuit breaker lockdown was challenging, as the anticipation for sitting the papers was postponed and uncertain. I know that my peers as well as myself initially struggled with staying motivated due to the circumstances, but the feeling of completing the exams had us all relieved. For me, the exams provided a solid overview of the content and were a great way to conclude Semester 1.
Kiara Hurlston, Year 11

As we went into Victoria’s lockdown right before exam week, I felt we were given more study time, and this was a great benefit for our revision. The exams themselves were challenging but helped consolidate my learning of the content that was covered in Unit 1. 
Georgia Tsamis, Year 11

VCAL and VCE students and parents/guardians should also read closely their semester reports and endeavour to implement the considered advice that subject teachers provide in relation to areas for improvement. There is no better time than the beginning of a new semester to put these changes into practise and students are encouraged to do so.

One of the key traits in a successful student and person more generally is resilience and the ability to face the challenges that come their way with calmness and optimism. We continue to see the Year 11 students grow in this area and I commend them on the attitude that they have shown to the challenges that they have faced so far this year. I continue to enjoy working with them as their Coordinator to help them progress with their studies and personal development.

I wish all students a good break and look forward to seeing them return fresh-faced for a productive Semester 2.

John Sheehan
Year 11 Coordinator

Year 12 Coordinator's Report

The American Psychological Association (APA, n.d., 2012) define resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors.” It also clarifies that “being resilient doesn’t mean that a person won’t experience difficulty or distress” and that “the road to resilience is likely to involve considerable emotional distress.”

The rendezvous of Victoria’s snap "short, sharp circuit-breaker" coronavirus lockdown undeniably posed additional challenges and difficulties for a lot of us and in particular our Year 12 students who are racing to reach the finish line. Nonetheless, this also paves the way for our Year 12 to exercise and build resilience. It is with absolute pride that I congratulate our very own Ashwood soon-to-be graduates on their adaptability, integrity and resilience with the manner in which they approached their studies this semester despite the adversities. Not only did they face the challenges head on, but they also demonstrated and exemplified optimism and empathy.

The sudden lockdown lead to many students stressing about missing valuable face-to-face teaching time and a complete reshuffle of the assessment dates, SACs, SATs, Outcomes and even the GAT. For our VCE students, whilst the workload and the number of assessments did not change, students had to complete them within a shorter duration. For our VCAL students, the lockdown meant that they were forced to miss out on their SBATs (School-Based Apprentices and Traineeships) and TAFE courses, both being integral parts of their secondary school education.

Fortunately, our Year 12 students have always been very ably supported by the fantastic efforts and professionalism of their teachers and support staff, by their caring guardians and by each other. During remote learning, our teachers and staff endeavoured to deliver the curriculum as vigorously as onsite learning. Many of them also arranged online catch-up sessions with a small group of students who needed additional support. Students also initiated online study groups to support each other and create a learning environment to avoid possible procrastination and enhance their productivity. Following the return of VCE students, our teachers and staff took on the challenge of teaching in a blended mode during report writing, face-to-face for our VCE students and online for students in other year levels. Highly demanding the work already was, our Year 12 teachers still found time to have lunch time catch-up sessions and stayed back after school to answer questions. Many of our Year 12s also remained at school for as long as possible to continue with their study and to make the most of teacher and peer support.

On behalf of all Year 12 students, please allow me to say thank you to all the teachers and staff for your tremendous efforts and support to our Year 12 students. On behalf of Year 12 teaching and support staff, please allow me to say thank you to all of our Year 12 students, for your highly commendable resilience and perseverance. May you all have time to rejuvenate over the upcoming term break and regroup before the rigours of Term 3. May you all continue your journey with resilience and perseverance. May this break present to you as an opportunity to review your work habits of the first semester and make any necessary adjustments to ensure a smooth and positive outcome for the year!

Jessie Tian
Year 12 Coordinator


American Psychological Association. (2012). “Building Your Resilience”. Retrieved from



Senior School Student Leadership & Agency

Congratulations to all the Senior School Student Leaders for a successful Term 2.

This term has seen many new initiatives that have been driven by the various leadership teams. These include the A to Z Community, the Art Club, the Sustainability Club, the Student Newspaper, and new fundraising opportunities led by the SRC and the Interact Club.

The recent snap lockdown presented a challenge for the Student Leadership team as it resulted in the postponement of numerous activities, notably the Go Grey in May fundraiser. They are to be commended for their resilience and optimism, and we look forward to see this activity day come to fruition soon.

Matilda Wraight
Student Voice, Leadership & Agency Coordinator 

School Captains Report

Dear Ashwood High School students, staff and wider community,

How crazy is it to say that a whole semester has already passed? These two terms have undoubtedly been defined by unexpected circumstances, however, the optimism displayed by all members of the school community has allowed us to overcome these adverse conditions, and flourish in the face of crisis.

The recent lockdown came as a surprise to many of us, yet the hard work of the teachers and cooperation from students enabled us to minimise the disruptions to our schooling, and ensure school continued to run smoothly and efficiently. For that, we commend the efforts of all members of our community!

For Year 10 and 11 students, exams continued to run. These students worked diligently, despite the disturbances and postponements, and completed their exams with positive attitudes and mindsets. Again, a praiseworthy effort of all these students.

We truly hope you all have safe and enjoyable holidays. Ensure that you take care of your health, mentally and physically, while still preparing and motivating yourselves to smash out the second semester.

Time flies, so make the most of your year!

Lula Tadesse and Sivan Chen


VCE VCAL VET Curriculum Services

With the lockdown occurring late this term I would like to congratulate our senior students, and their teachers, on their adaptability with the recent exams, SACs and outcomes.  With a few exceptions, all assessments were able to take place in a timely manner to ensure completed reports and a smooth transition to Units 2 and 4 for both our VCE and VCAL students.

The Year 12 VCE students were also able to participate in an Elevate Education session “Ace Your Exams” in the final week of term, which assisted them as they prepare for the final exams.

The upcoming mid-year break is a good opportunity for our senior students to rest and regroup before the rigours of Term 3.  It is also a good opportunity for students to review their work habits of the first semester, as outlined in their report comments, and make any necessary adjustments to ensure a smooth and positive outcome for the year.  This should include revision and summary of Unit 3 coursework, and Unit 1 where applicable for our VCE students, and planning and preparation for major projects for our VCAL students. Students will also have tasks to complete over this break and should endeavour to start the new semester up to date and fully prepared for the term ahead.

The Year 10 students have recently started the course selection process for their entry into Year 11 and it has been wonderful to hear of the number of students seeking guidance on their choices and really putting considered thought into the process.  I would like to remind this group of students that 2023 will see considerable change to the VCAL program, where it will form two new programs, a Foundation Certificate and a VCE Vocational Specialisation Certificate.  Any VCAL studies undertaken in 2022 will be included towards these new certificates. More information will be available in the coming weeks about these certificates; however, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at:

The Year 12 students will undertake VTAC counselling early in Term 3, with the opening of applications in early August.  In preparation, students are encouraged to participate in the Open Days being offered by many of the tertiary institutions, both virtual and in person. Students can visit the individual websites of the various universities, TAFEs and private institutions for the information and dates, and also the Ashwood High School Careers website.  Students in Years 10 and 11 are also encouraged to attend these Open Days to assist with subject selection for their final years.

Due to the lockdown, the GAT was postponed for our students undertaking a Unit 3/4 scored subject. However, the VCAA has just announced that the GAT will now take place on Thursday 29 July from 10:00am – 1:15pm.  All students involved should ensure that they check the event on their Compass schedule and arrive in a timely manner (by 9:30am) and with all appropriate materials, including a dictionary.

I wish all students, staff and families a restful break and look forward to seeing everyone back in Term 3.

Julie Huggins
VCAA Curriculum Services Coordinator

Careers & Pathways

Year 9 Morrisby Profiling
On Monday 7 June 2021 the long-awaited Morrisby Profiling commenced. Thank you again to all students and teachers who participated in the delivery of this wonderful program. If students do not complete the profile during the second session (Monday 21 June 2021) please do over the holidays – you will still have access.

The Morrisby Interviews – this is the really interesting part – will commence early next term either via WebEx or in person (we are just waiting on conformation). Parents and guardians are encouraged to attend. Interview dates will be released once confirmed.

Year 10 are still working towards sourcing their Work Experience placements. All students can access further information regarding work experience and possible placements via the Ashwood High School Careers Website,their Work Experience Information Kit and the Where to Apply for Work Experience resource distributed during your Form Group Class on Tuesday 16 March 2021.

Please ensure completed Work Experience Arrangement Forms are submitted to me as soon as you secure your work experience placement. A placement is only guaranteed when you have had the employer sign on the dotted line.

Completed Work Experience Arrangement Forms are due no later than Friday 25 June 2021.

My office is located in Building E. Please send me an email to book an appointment All students are encouraged to please come and see me during lunch and after school if you require assistance.

Jodie Hechenberger
Careers & Pathways Coordinator

School Psychologist's Report

This term I have began to meet many of our students and I feel very welcomed by the Ashwood High School community. Following the most recent lockdown in Victoria, students and families were once again required to be flexible and adapt to online learning. Even though we have all done this before, this can nevertheless be a challenging time for many students and families. Our focus in the wellbeing team has been to support students in their return to face-to-face learning.

This term, we have had session for the Year 10s on the topic “Stress and Wellbeing”. Students were provided with psychoeducation on stress and strategies and tools for effective stress management. Breakfast Club returned in Term 2, and it has been a resounding success. We have 30-40 students coming on Friday mornings to enjoy a nutritious breakfast and make connections with staff and students from all year levels. Thank you to Long Nguyen our new school Chaplain for getting the program organised and for the Ashburton Baptist Church group for their running of the program. We look forward to seeing their friendly faces on the Friday 17 June!

Elisa Jones Arango
School Psychologist

Director of Studies Report

Year 10 Curriculum in 2022
As our school grows, we continue to develop our programs and processes. As a part of this, I am pleased to share with the school community some important changes to curriculum structures in Year 10.

This year we have moved to a mini school model in which Year 10 is part of the Senior School. In 2022 this will be reflected in the new Year 10 timetable and curriculum offerings. We are pleased that this new model will allow students greater choice and flexibility and increase the range of VCE subjects available to Year 10 students, while still maintaining academic rigour and high expectations.

Year 10 will now operate in six blocks, each of five periods per cycle and aligned with VCE subjects. Students will study a range of compulsory subjects but will have considerable flexibility to make elective choices that reflect their interests and career goals. The following subjects are compulsory:

  • English (5 periods per week)
  • Mathematics (5 periods per week)
  • Science (4 periods per week)
  • Form group (1 period per week)
  • Health and PE (1 semester, 5 periods per week)
  • Humanities (5 periods per week, 1 or 2 semesters): students choose History for a semester, or Commerce for a semester, or both
  • (ACE students only) – VCE Early Commencement.

To complete their course of study, students select from a broad range of electives in the fields of Art and Technology, Languages, Music and Health and PE. These are listed in the Senior School Curriculum Handbook, which has been posted on Compass.

All students may also apply to study a VCE subject in Year 10 through our Early Commencement program, which runs for a full year and takes the place of two electives. This is a wonderful opportunity for those students who have shown academic maturity and place high expectations on themselves; as I write, I have next to me a large set of high-quality applications from our current Year 9 students wishing to take Early Commencement subjects next year.

This model will not only benefit the students taking VCE subjects in Year 10, but also their peers as the behaviours and expectations of the Early Commencement students will spread across all classes. I look forward to seeing the benefits in coming years, as greater numbers of students start Year 11 with the knowledge and experience behind them to undertake their senior years with positivity and success. 

Colin Shnier
Director of Studies

Student Outcomes Leader's Report

Congratulations to all staff and students for reaching the end of what was an academically and emotionally challenging term! The major event in the Student Outcomes calendar this term was the trial GAT exam which took place on Tuesday 25 May. All students in Years 11 and 12, plus accelerated students in Year 10, took part in the exam that was administered by VCAA and will be provided with external feedback before students sit the exam in its new format next year. Well done to all students who participated in this trial paper, it was highly rigorous and all students performed at their best.

Additionally, students in Years 7 and 9 undertook their NAPLAN tests this term, which provides valuable data for teachers about how to target teaching and learning to students’ point of need. These students also performed very well over a number of days of testing and are to be congratulated for their mature, considered approach to these events. I look forward to a detailed analysis of our school’s results to determine how best to support all students moving forward.

Our Year 12 students continue to work hard as they begin to approach the finish line of their senior school studies. The upcoming Term Break will provide them with the opportunity to sit a number of practice exams for feedback on their progress. Thank you to all teachers who have elected to run a practice exam in their break in the best interests of our students. Additionally, I look forward to working with experienced VCAA markers who will provide external feedback for these students in their practice English and EAL exams. The learning opportunities that come with varied and multiple forms of feedback cannot be understated, and I expect our students will benefit greatly from this experience.

Thank you all for a productive and rigorous term of learning, I look forward to seeing you all refreshed and ready for Term 3.

Lucy Rimmer
Acting Student Outcomes Leader


Data Analysis, Improvement & School Organisation Report

Late Term 2 and early Term 3 is an important time for students in Years 9, 10 and 11 as they begin the important process of selecting their subjects for the following year.

It is important that students carefully consider their choices and discuss these with teachers, parents, carers and other staff available at school to ensure their selections are suitable. For students who wish to study at university, it is important that they ensure they take into account any prerequisite VCE subjects required. Many university subjects not only specify prerequisites, but minimum raw study scores may also be stated.

In 2022 the timetable will offer much more flexibility for students in the Senior School. Students entering Year 10 in 2022 will be able to apply to enrol in a range of ‘early commencement’ VCE subjects, allowing them to study a Year 11 VCE subject instead of two of their Year 10 electives.

Year 11 students have a number of new subject offerings from which to choose.  Greater choice for students allows them to create a VCE pathway that appeals to their interests and suits their career or future study aspirations.

Students wishing to apply for a place in the VCAL program in Years 11 and 12 should complete a separate application process.

In early Term 3 students entering Years 9 and 10 in 2022 will be able to select their elective preferences. Again this is an important decision particularly if students wish to continue with the subject in VCE.

Kate Davis
Data Analysis, Improvement and School Organisation Leader

Enrichment, Pedagogy, Partnerships & Professional Learning

As mentioned in the previous edition of this newsletter, research partnerships with our tertiary partners remain a strategic priority for the school, as they offer our staff the opportunity to stay abreast of the latest developmental trends in teaching and learning. Projects currently in progress include the 2021 Health and Wellbeing initiative with Deakin University and the Q Project with Monash University.

As a founding member of the Deakin Alliance, Ashwood High School is delighted to be co-hosting an embedded unit in conjunction with the School of Education at Deakin University, in Term Three this year. The unit will focus on the development of pre-service teachers’ research skills as a key dimension of effective literacy teaching. Led by Dr Maria Nicholas (Unit Chair), the project will investigate current issues associated with the teaching of literacy, including the role of new technologies in literacy teaching. The collaboration is set to offer our teachers valuable insights into the ways that digital pedagogies can be leveraged to enhance literacy learning in the middle years.

Term 2 has been a busy time for staff professional learning with teachers involved in a range of seminars and planning groups to support the development of their professional practice. An ‘Introduction to report writing’ workshop was held on Monday 17 May for our new staff. Report writing and proofreading was the topic of an equally informative whole school seminar held on Wednesday 26 May, led by our Director of Studies, Mr Colin Shnier. We thank Colin for his leadership of staff professional learning around the reporting process in 2022.

Finally, staff in their first year of teaching attended a webinar on the VIT registration process on Wednesday 9 June, led by Mrs Caroline Servadei (Enrichment, Partnerships, Pedagogy and Professional Learning Leader). Teachers completed the AITSL Teacher Self-Assessment Tool as part of their first step on the journey of reflection that is the VIT registration process

Caroline Servadei
Enrichment, Pedagogy Partnerships & Professional Learning Leader

Mathematics Learning Area Report

Year 7 Maths – Reaction Time Statistics Investigation
Last week Year 7 did an investigation task on reaction times. The boys’ times were faster than the girls. We looked at measures of centre (mean, mode, median) and concluded that the boy’s times were quicker because their mean, median and mode times were quicker. However, in the measures of spread (range) we found that the girls times were more aggregated. We than graphed the data in a stem and leaf plot and a dot plot. I enjoyed finding the data and then graphing it.
Lazar Arapovic – 7C

This task is unlike any textbook investigation because we got to use real world data. We found out that the boys had a faster reaction time than the girls, even if the range of data was larger. I really enjoyed this task because we got to use the strategies and theories from the textbook in a real-world setting.
Tom Houghton – 7C

In Week 5 of Term 2 the class of 7C started an investigation about the reaction time of the boys, girls, and the whole entire class. We all enjoyed it very much and learnt a lot from it. We collected the data and used it to make graphs, find the range, median, mean and mode from the different results. We all went through confusion and happiness and I’m very glad we did it.
Emilia Di Cicco – 7C

Recently in Maths we looked at the reaction time of boys and girls and compared who was faster. We used the knowledge that we have been learning in class this term such as dot plots, stem-and-leaf plots, how to interpret data and how to calculate the mean, median, and mode. In the end, we worked out that the boy’s reaction times were faster them the girls. I really enjoyed this task as it was fun to look at how everyone’s times were different and who was fastest. It was fun to go over what we have learnt and how to do it. Overall, I think this task was very helpful and I would love to do something like this again.
Kate McFarlane – 7C

The investigation taught us a lot about how to interpret and graph data in different ways and I enjoyed organising the two datasets. It was the first time I did something like this and I got a lot of new experience.
Minh Tran – 7C

During this investigation, I enjoyed putting all the data in different graphs and seeing the variety of graphs that were possible to make. I also enjoyed finding out which gender had faster reaction times. Overall, this was a fun and interesting investigation task.
Alyssa Gonzalez – 7C

Halle Norton – 7C

Year 8 Mathematics
During the middle of Term 2, students in Year 8B were taught Statistics in Mathematics through a Flipped Classroom method. This meant that students were required to watch pre-recorded video lessons created by their teacher before coming into class to action their learning. As the content was delivered outside of the class, it allowed the teacher to work with students more at their point of need. Additionally, it freed up some of the class time for students to work in teams to engage in different tasks and activities to put their learning into practise.

Some of these team interactions are depicted below.

Survey Proposals for different Populations

Team Kahoots!

Zoe Cox, Bethany Mangan and Anjali Rao working together to solve the question for “Block 39” in the “Giant Jenga” activity.

Ahmed Saidy carefully removing a Giant Jenga Block for his Team to solve.

Many of the students enjoyed the activities and different classroom enviroment.

"Flipped Classroom is a lot better than the actual classroom as you can learn at your own pace." Nicholas Tan

'We can ask for more help." Marina Loupis

"We were able to actually have fun on Maths and i got quite a bit more work done which was great." Georgia Russell



Science Learning Area Report

Students have been engaged in their practical work in Science, helping them make links between theory and the real world.

In Year 8 Science, students have been learning about cells as the building blocks for life. They have been distinguishing between unicellular and multicellular organisms, and describing the levels of organisation in multicellular organisms. Here are some pictures from Mr Cifra’s class of students’ 3D cell models. In this task, students labelled the different parts of animal and plant cells, which helped them relate structure to function in cells.
             Also in Year 8 Science, students set about investigating the question “How can we be more energy efficient in our homes and place of work?” In groups, students sketched out plans for a sustainable house, considering a variety of different building features to reduce energy waste and improve energy efficiency. They then brought their plans to life by building a 3D model of their sustainable house to present to the class. Here are some photos of students with their model houses from Ms Jowett’s class.

Ms Jowett’s Year 7 ACE Science class have been learning about density and the relationship between mass and volume. Here you can see a group of students with a density tower they made with different liquids.


Ms Moorad’s Year 8 ACE Science class have been integrating their knowledge of Chemistry and Physics to explain their findings in a Flame Colours Investigation. In this task, students were required to synthesise their knowledge of electron configurations and electromagnetic wave radiation, and apply their science inquiry skills. Here you can see some of the beautiful flame colours produced in this investigation.

Niesha Moorad 
Science Learning Area Coordinator

Humanities Learning Area Report

The last month has been interspersed with a myriad of changes with the move to remote learning and back to face-to-face again. The Years 7 to 10 students have returned this past week, with the Year 10s catching up on exams.

The Year 7s are considering the nature of sources of evidence about ancient Australia and what they reveal about Australia’s ancient past, such as the use of resources. They are building timelines of their own stories and chronologically ordering significant dates.

The Year 8s are learning to explain features of Australia's democracy that enable active participation as well as learning to identify different types of law in Australia and explain how laws are made. This forms part of the Civics and Citizenship portion of the Humanities curriculum. As part of their curriculum, the Year 9s are learning about the role of political parties in the passage of a law.

The Year 10 students are working on resumes and cover letters in order to get ready for the practice interviews on Monday 26 July 2021 and start looking for their work experience at the end of Term 3.

The Year 11 Accounting students held a debate on which one of the three reports was the most important, either the Cashflow report, the Income Statement or the Balance Sheet. The debate got quite animated as the students discussed the purposes and significance of the various reports.
Heidi Cornelissen
Humanities Learning Area Coordinator

Creative Arts/Technologies Learning Area Report

As another semester closes, the teachers in our Learning Area reflect on a busy time for elective based subjects. Students studying in the Creative Arts and Technology have busily designed, photographed, cooked, produced and painted to the hearts’ content.

With Semester 2 coming up, new students are reminded to ensure they have book-listed items for all their subjects. If there are any questions to subject requirements, please do not hesitate to contact me at the school.

Students in Years 9, 10 and 11 are looking towards their futures and how these subjects can link in to their future educational and vocational pathways. If there are any questions in relation to VCE subjects, please do not hesitate to contact me at the school.

Annalisa Buyks
Learning Area Leader – Creative Arts and Technology

Across the year levels, students in Art, Design and Technologies subjects have shown great optimism and innovation to continue their studies in these practical subjects whilst working from home.

Students made use of digital design software and navigated Compass Learning Tasks and Microsoft Teams to continue receiving feedback on their creative works.

As Term 2 nears completion, Years 7 – 10 students will finish up with their first semester of electives for the year. Year 9s have a particularly fast-paced, yet exciting, two weeks ahead as they race to glaze and fire their clay pieces in the kiln before the holidays. If all goes well, we will be able to open up the kiln in early Term 3 to reveal an array of quirky ceramic vessels upon our return from school holidays.

It has been a joy teaching and learning alongside all students currently enrolled in an Art, Design or Technologies based subject this semester as well as the students who attended Art Club. 

Here are some samples of work:

This artwork was completed as part of exploration of ideas in Eric Liu’s folio in Term 2. This shows an experimental use of materials and techniques with effective results. In this piece, Eric explored adding embroidery to printed photography.
Emily Wilcock-Stuart also explored embroidery on photos as an experimental technique early in Term 2.
Enjoy these two intriguing compositions made by Vanessa Koziarz in Year 10 Art. Vanessa has explored the natural and curated spaces in great detail throughout Term 2.

Since the end of Term 1, Year 11 Visual Communication Design students have been working diligently to learn about and explore Design Elements and Principles used within existing designs. They were able to gain a deeper understanding of these terms through listening to “Lecture-Podcasts” created by Mr. Ripper. Then, to apply this knowledge, students were challenged to use different materials and media to design a laptop or tablet wallpaper inspired by these terms. This led to a creative process where different papers were drawn on, cut, ripped or glued and pencils, pens, paints, Copic markers and oil pastels were spread across folio pages. It was a vibrant classroom experience! Below are some images from the design process and the end results.

Using different media and materials with James Lee, Matilda Stanton, Carli Taranto and Jakita Mann.

Exploring, listening and analysing visual communications with Lucy Jordan,Greer Van Rooyen, Taylor Ignatiadis), Jack Cheffers and Daniel Butler.

Vivian Yan working on her Brainstorming page for her folio.

Thumbs up for Year 11 and Year 12 Visual Communication Design students working effectively on their designs!

Brainstorming page by Vivian Yan.

Generation of Ideas page by Carli Taranto.

Concept Selection Page by Taylor Ignatiadis.

Final wallpaper design applied on an iPad Pro 11-inch tablet device by Taylor Ignatiadis.

Final wallpaper design created by Daniel Butler.

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






Instrumental Music Report

Annual Music Concert rescheduled to Wednesday 28 July 2021 at 7:00pm

Please join us for our rescheduled Annual Music Concert, on Wednesday 28 July. We are so grateful to be able to bring you a live event after another round of remote learning and COVID restrictions. Pre- concert entertainment featuring small ensembles will begin at 6.15pm, followed by the formal presentation of our large ensembles at 7:00pm. To cater for a socially distanced event and audience capacity options, we have changed the venue to the Gymnasium. We look forward to seeing you there to support and celebrate our Music students in all their glory!

VET Music students in Year 11, Lucy Jordan, Sam Harvison, Darcy Morrin and Jake Murphy have been rehearsing for weekly recording sessions we are running in the Instrumental Music Program. With audio recording set-up and editing expertise from Mr Tom Fraser, Mr Daniel Christiansz’s Media students Kasra Babaei and Saad Alam have been filming and editing the sessions. This has been a great experience for our students and I thank these staff members for their time and guidance.

Wendy Anderson
Director of Music

Health & PE Learning Area Report

As we draw closer to the term holidays, I would like to thank our wonderful Ashwood High School students for their continued active engagement throughout our time of online learning and the last few weeks back at school. I hope you and your families have a much deserved break.

I am very proud of the variety of activities on offer within our Health and Physical Education Learning Area at Ashwood. Our aim is to offer opportunities for all students and to engage them in physical activity on a regular basis. Physical Activity can mean different things to different people and during our final week of term, Year 10 classes have taken part in a Goalball incursion. Goalball for those who don’t know is a Paralympic sport for people who are blind or vision impaired. ( Students have been participating in a Disability Awareness Unit and have been lucky enough to have Rob and Daniel from ExSight Sports visit the school and deliver a session in our practical classes. Fun was had by all with students learning the rules and skills required to take part in this sport. It also highlighted the diversity of sports available to all members of the community.

It is important to focus on spending time away from our devices.

The Australian Government guidelines for healthy growth and development for children and young people aged 5-17 years state that:

  • Children and young people should aim for at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day
  • Sedentary recreational screen time should be limited to 2 hours per day
  • Teenagers should be having 8 to 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night

Here are some tips for the forth coming school holidays:

  • Basketball, soccer, netball, lap swimming, skipping or running are all great ways to add more vigorous activity to a day. They don’t have to be organised, paid activities— they can be as simple as grabbing a ball or a friend and running around at the park. Anything that makes you ‘huff and puff’ counts!
  • Try to switch sitting for being active. Encourage yourself to get off the bus a stop earlier, or to meet friends for a game in the park rather than spend leisure time sedentary on a screen.
  • Make your bedroom a screen free zone!

For more info:

Allison Phillips
HPE Learning Area Co-ordinator

EAL Learning Area Report

Congratulations, Tina Hung, winner of the EAL Interschool Speech Competition

On Thursday 20 May, Korowa Anglican Girls’ School hosted an Interschool EAL Speech Competition. Tina Hung, a Year 11 EAL student, entered the competition and presented a speech based on the theme Beyond the horizon. The standard of the speeches was exceptional. The external judge, Div Pillay (CEO and Co-Founder, MindTribes), assessed the speeches on content, fluency, performance, professionalism, and timing. Congratulations to Tina for placing first and achieving perfect scores.

I want to commend Tina for her hard work, participation, and courage.

Carmela Diaz
EAL Coordinator

Digital Technologies Learning Area Report

“Learning by doing,” write Jaimez-González and Martínez-Samora (2020) “is a useful type of learning, which is why the tools that allow practice contribute to the teaching-learning process” (p.5). The authors argue that diagramming applications enable learners to find gaps in their data and problems with their logic. Of course, mindmaps and flow charts are not a new ‘technology’ for most students and teachers, but platforms that allow for drag-and-drop editing have changed the game.

Not only have interfaces and usability of visual thinking platforms changed, but so too have their networked capabilities.Pavlenko and Pavlenko (2021) contend that ‘future IT-specialists’ require ‘project technology’ that enables teamwork and communication. As the Digital Pedagogies Coordinator, it was great to see that my Tutor Group students were conducting their own ‘action research’ into productivity tools such as Trello, the exact same tools that Pavlenko and Pavlenko (2021) are researching at the Berdyansk State Pedagogical University in Ukraine.

As a classroom teacher, I like to provide clear task boundaries. Here’s the start time, there’s the end time, now we move on. When I asked a group of my Year 8 ACE students why they hadn’t yet submitted their mindmap that they developed with, I was positively surprised by their responses. One student said: “we were about to submit, but then we realised we could move this box over here, and add in a link over there – we keep finding ways to improve.” While Jaimez-González and Martínez-Samora (2020) are performing research into the pedagogical merits of in Mexico, and Pavlenko and Pavlenko (2021) research into the the collaborative possibilities of in Ukraine, Year 8s at Ashwood are perhaps performing the most vital kind of action research: applied reflection and research into their own learning.

Daniel Christiansz
Digital Technologies Learning Area Coordinator

Sport Coordinator's Report

Senior Girls Netball – Monday 24 May

On Monday 24 May, the Senior Girls Netball team competed against other schools in the Mullum Division. The girls donned the new netball uniforms for the first time and looked a cut above the rest. They battled hard all day, narrowly missing out on qualifying for the semi-finals and pushing eventual winner Forest Hill to the wire in their game. Congratulations on a great effort and you should be proud of the way you represented Ashwood High School.

 Mullum Division Cross Country Carnival – Tuesday 25 May

The final interschool event on the Term 2 calendar before the inevitable fourth lockdown hit was an outstanding day for the Ashwood High School runners. With a smallish team of only 33 runners, Ashwood High School students were unbelievable, coming third out of 7 schools. A truly remarkable effort! The clear highlight of the day was watching the triumvirate of Sebastian Trent, Elliott Sturrock and Daniel Pashutin (all below) take out first, second and third place respectively in the 13 Year Male race.

Other highlights throughout the day included:

  • Keely English (4th) and Tabetha Barrance (6th) in the 13 Year Female race.
  • Ariana Pashutin (1st) in the 14 Year Female race.
  • Henrik Thompson (4th) and Max Thompson (5th) in the 14 Year Male race.
  • Ella Selby (5th) in the 15 Year Female race.
  • Angus Cutfield (5th) and Oscar Morton (8th) in the 15 Year Male race.
  • Vanessa Koziarz (8th) in the 16 Year Female race.
  • Josh Matchett (6th) in the 16 Year Male race.

Well done to all the runners on the day; it was an outstanding day of sporting excellence for Ashwood High School. The Eastern Metropolitan Region Cross Country Carnival has been postponed until Thursday 22 July (Week 2 of Term 3), with 18 of the initial 33 students progressing to this round. Look out for this event on your Compass calendar soon.

Tom Grbac
Sports Coordinator

Debating & Public Speaking Report

Round 4 of the Debating Association Victoria interschool debating competition took place on Thursday 13 May. Speaking for the Year 10 team this round were Chai Couzens, Jessica Sterle, and Sebastian Millan, with Angela Hewerdine as the substitute who also provided preparation. The secret topic, only revealed at the venue one hour before the debate, turned out to be “that zoos should be banned”.  Ashwood was on the affirmative side against Salesian College, and lost after an intense debate.

Meanwhile, speaking for the Year 9 team were Annais Lewis, Emma Hew, and Christos Giakoumatos, with Cooper Senova-Tapp as substitute. The topic was “that smokers should not have their medical treatments subsidised”, with Ashwood on the affirmative side, losing to Oakleigh Grammar. All of our students conducted themselves with decorum and the value of respect that the students of Ashwood High School typically exemplify.

In the weekends of May following, Angela Hewerdine was one of twenty five young Australians to participate in the Youth Diplomats Tour run by UN Youth Australia. Over the six days, they studied and debated topics such as the Peace of Westphalia, the Berlin Wall, the Yugoslav Wars, and the European Union. There were also guest speakers who spoke about refugees and human smuggling, as well as the global role of the European Union.

Ronald Lee
Debating Coordinator

“[Jay Song] discussed the issues she faced in her time working for the United Nations, including the challenges that she overcame in her work environment. Overall, her honesty was very insightful and admirable, which has motivated me to push myself, in hopes that maybe one day I might be like her.” – Angela Hewerdine, 10B

International Student Program

Message from International Student Captain
Dear international students,

Firstly, I would like to welcome our Years 7-10 students for joining back to school after the 2 weeks lockdown. It is great everything is getting back into normal as it should. I would also like to acknowledge the remarkable effort you have put in for your exam preparation during these few weeks. Even though exams might be challenging, your commitment will definitely be rewarded and reflected in your results.

Secondly, I would like to acknowledge students’ contribution in sports. Felix Su and Tony Xu both participated in the interschool sports for badminton and competed with students from other schools. We also have our super soccer star Minhyeok Shin, who is representing Victoria in state level competition.  Minhyeok, we could not have won the soccer game without you.

A big congratulation to Felix, Tony, and Minhyeok for demonstrating their talent as well as sportsmanship in their games.

As we are now approaching to the end of term 2, I wish that you can have some rest during the term break. Best of luck in your holiday and take care.
Andy Kuok, International Student Captain

Feedback from an online learner
Due to COVID-19, I could not arrive in Australia for my study. It made a mess of my original arrangements. I decided to undertake online learning Program at Ashwood High School.

I was very nervous when I attended online class at the first time, but my teachers are very friendly. They understand our situation and they love to support us.  When we ask teachers for help, they always respond quickly. However, the online learning program was not perfect at the beginning, but it got better and better. Our school invested in a new laptop and an HD camera to make the screen and writing on whiteboard more visible. This has greatly improved the quality of our online classes.

I am very grateful that Ms Li always attends classes with us and explains some difficult things. We can also ask Ms Li questions if we do not understand very clearly, and she always replies immediately. In addition, the students at school are very friendly to us, almost every class they would greet us kindly via the webcam. When we need to do the scientific experiments, they would introduce the process and share data of the experiments with us. After studying the online course in Ashwood High School for half a year, I feel like I am in Australia now and I am one of the Ashwood High School community.

We three online learners met in Xi’an during last school holiday, and I am very happy to have buddies in China supporting each other.
Disheng Lu, Year 9

Victorian Global Learning Awards (VGLA) 2021
Congratulations on Chi Lap (Andy) Kuok being selected as one of the finalists for the Victorian Global Learning Awards (VGLA) 2021 for the Student Leadership category. Andy is not only a role model and outstanding student leader at Ashwood High School but also an excellent international student ambassador for Victorian government schools.

We are very pleased to see the positive influence Andy has around the international student community. We are so proud of Andy and we look forward to further announcement from the Department in July at the awards ceremony.

DET Photograph Competition
We are pleased to announce that Vivian Yan in Year 11 won the photograph competition ‘Autumn Colours’ organised by the Department of Education and Training Victoria for international students.

Here is a copy of Vivian’s photo submission ‘My Other Soul’ which is a beautiful scene caught on our school campus.

We would like to encourage more students to participate in the International Student Video Competition – Living in Victoria and Adjust to New Normal, which is hosted by International Student Division, Department of Education and Training.

Yonghong Williams
International Student Program Manager



Education Resource Centre Report

Whether we are at school or locked-down at home, the Education Resource Centre’s online resources are always readily accessible. Every search of our online catalogue automatically incorporates a search of ClickView and our two online research databases, Britannica and LinksPlus, which are strongly recommended as the initial go-to sites for all student research.

Students and staff are also encouraged to try the free Chrome extensions which integrate a search of Britannica and LinksPlus into all Google searches. Relevant Britannica and LinksPlus search results are then displayed separately at the top of the Google search results page. It is a simple and convenient way to quickly cut through the ‘noise’ on the internet, and find verified, reliable information. Full details of the Chrome extensions and passwords can be found on the ERC webpage.

The Education Resource Centre also provides ‘from anywhere’ access to our growing collection of online recreational reading. For an even wider selection follow the Read link to the list of free online sources of eBooks, eAudiobooks and movies.

Premiers’ Reading Challenge
All Years 7-10 Students are registered in this year’s Premiers’ Reading Challenge and, with over ten weeks remaining, it is definitely not too late to participate and earn some points for your Ashwood house. Full details are on the ERC webpage.

Remember to find time to enjoy reading every day.

Matthew Feeney
ERC Coordinator

Parent and Community Partnerships - Parents & Friends Network