Ashwood High School eNews

Issue 5 2021

Principal's Report

Remote & Flexible Teaching & Learning to a Return to Face-to-Face Teaching and Learning - ‘From Great to Exceptional’
Ashwood High School’s ability to pivot and act with the latest health advice regarding the pandemic was once again challenged by the state-wide events listed below:

I look forward and am hopeful of the return of students on Friday 3 September 2021.

Ashwood High School’s response to COVID-19 has shown that the school has implemented agile and innovative responses in these challenging times. There is an important role that culture and leadership plays in building resilience, where teachers and leaders are going above and beyond, keeping student wellbeing at the centre, instilling community confidence.

The subsequent return of students to Face-to-Face Teaching and Learning (albeit short-lived) on Wednesday 28 July 2021 was a relatively smooth experience for students and teachers alike. This highlights that the safety, health and wellbeing procedures we have put in place have allowed a relaxed and focussed return to school.  The school has made a number of adjustments to its structures and processes to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of all members of the school community. Thank you for your cooperation and support of these health and safety measures.

Thank you 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.  

Virtual Assembly On-Site– ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
Students returned to onsite learning for a brief period from Wednesday 28 July 2021 until Thursday 5 August 2021. On Wednesday 28 July 2021 we held a WebEx Welcome Assembly for the whole school.  Each class took part via our video screens which are a feature of every classroom.  Our students showed admirable optimism, unity and respect.  The School Captains, Lula Tadesse and Sivan Chen spoke with focus, composure and confidence offering support to the student community.

Student Enrolments 2022 – ‘The Jewel of the East’ ‘From Great to Exceptional’
In 2022, Grade 6 to Year 7 Transition will proceed as per the Department of Education and Training timeline.  Primary schools have received confirmation of enrolment for their Grade 6 students which take into account first, second and third preferences. Enrolment ‘welcome’ packs have been sent to all students accepted into Ashwood High School in 2022 via Australia Post. At this stage, pending appeals and late changes of preference, Ashwood High School will welcome around 150 Year 7 students in 2022.

Virtual Tour – ‘Increasing Positive Community Engagement’
During COVID-19 in 2020 the school wisely invested in a virtual tour, which has recently been updated with a more contemporary look and feel. In 2021, with the circuit breaker lockdowns and extended lockdowns, the virtual tour has maintained its currency. .  To date, the virtual tour has enjoyed over 5000 ‘hits’.

ACE Program 2022 – Growing Pride and Achievement
Letters of acceptance were sent to families of successful ACE applicants for the 2022 Year 7 class on Friday 6 August 2021. The next round of ACE Testing will occur on Friday 22 October 2021 and registrations are now open.  We hope to hold ACE testing on-site, but the test can easily be changed to being held off-site (at home) if COVID-19 restrictions remain in place. The ACE Program has been an important part of our school’s vision, transformation and success.

Principal’s Awards – Adaptive Practice – Great to Exceptional School (All four priorities)
Due to the period of COVID-19 and the repeated lockdowns, deserving students received their 2021 Principal’s Awards in the mail. Families have been encouraged to submit pictures of their child receiving their award and these will be featured in this School Newsletter. It is extremely heartening to receive photos and notes of gratitude from our students and families at this difficult time. These interactions are a wonderful way to celebrate the success of students and maintain our connection whilst we all work remotely.

Student Leadership Structure and Processes for 2021 - Enhancing the Student Culture
Ashwood High School has a culture of high expectations.  It is very pleasing to see that our students have high expectations of themselves, as portrayed in the many submissions the school received for Student Leadership positions in 2020 for 2021. The Student Leadership Structure introduced in 2021 which coincided with Ashwood High School’s move to two mini schools has been an enormous success empowering students and building school pride. I am extremely proud of Ashwood High School students and look forward to submissions for leadership in 2022, where minor procedural refinements have been made to enhance student access to leadership opportunities.

Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO) – ‘From Great to Exceptional’
The Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO) is an evidence-based framework that is designed to deliver continuous school and system improvement by supporting schools to focus their efforts on areas known to have the greatest impact on improving student outcomes.

Annual Implementation Plan 2021 – ‘From Great to Exceptional’
According to the evidence, we are tracking extremely well in relation to our three Strategic Plan goals and our targets set out in the 2021 Annual Implementation Plan.

The Mid-Cycle Annual Implementation Plan (AIP) was completed at the start of Term 3. Its purpose is to elicit an evaluation of the school’s progress towards set targets. It is pleasing to note that we have already surpassed many of the targets for 2021 set at the end of last year.

Curriculum Day – ‘Valuing Staff and Building Capacity’
A Curriculum Day was held Thursday 12 August 2021. It focussed on two key areas:

  • Learning Intentions and Success Criteria
  • The ongoing improvement of our viable and guaranteed curriculum.

The day was designed to strike a balance between giving staff the tools to improve their practice, whilst also providing time for staff collaboration in the writing of curriculum. Ultimately students will reap the rewards of improved teacher practice. Congratulations to Caroline Servadei, Colin Shnier, Kate Davis and Catherine Nelsson for their efforts on the day.

Student Led Conferences Term 3 – Adaptive Practice - Growing Pride and Achievement -  Increasing Positive Parental Engagement
In response to parent / guardian and teacher feedback and to ensure the health and wellbeing of staff, this semester’s Student-Led Conferences will again take place over two days, Wednesday 25 and Friday 27 August 2021. Time slots will be allocated 10 minutes apart allowing for 5 minutes of conference time and 5 minutes to transition from one virtual teacher’s WebEx Room to the next teacher’s WebEx Room.

Parents / guardians and students will be provided with hyperlinks to each teacher’s personal WebEx Room for the conference. These will be set-up with ‘waiting rooms’ and teachers will admit the next student and their parents / guardian at their allocated meeting time. The Wednesday session will remain as previously scheduled, starting at 10:30am and running until 7:00pm. The Friday session will run during normal school hours 8:50am – 3:10pm. Regular classes will not run on these two days and all students are expected to attend with their parents / guardian in full school uniform.

Senior School Examinations – Years 10 and 11 – Semester 1, 2021 - Growing Pride and Achievement’
As indicated in my last newsletter report, examinations were able to proceed with students in the Senior School. This was in acknowledgement of the necessity to prepare students for the rigour of examinations. Whilst in regular circumstances we have all students undertake examinations, the decision to cancel Semester 1, 2021 examinations for Middle School students enabled a greater focus on wellbeing. For these students, smaller assessments informed teacher judgement on student progress in lieu of the completion of examinations in Semester 1, 2021.

As the principal, I am genuine in my desire to ensure the wellbeing of Ashwood High School students whilst ensuring they receive the best education possible during the period of Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning. I wish to provide a special acknowledgement to our teachers for their adaptive practice, to ensure that our students still gain essential skills and experience for the successful undertaking of timed assessment tasks in the absence of examinations at these year levels.

Adjustments to VCE SACs & General Achievement Test (GAT)– Adaptive Practice – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
A number of adjustments to SAC assessment schedules have been made in response to COVID-19 and Stage 4 restrictions. Processes have been established to attend to the wellbeing and performance needs of students, ensuring the integrity of VCE assessments in line with VCAA requirements within a remote and online learning environment. Students undertaking assessments in an online environment will be required to complete a Statutory Declaration authenticating the work as their own.

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 will now be rescheduled once more due to the current restrictions put in place due to the pandemic. The GAT plays a role in the calculation of students’ ATAR scores and we will keep our community updated of the new date of the test once it has been set.

Subject Offerings 2022 – CAPs, VCE, VET & VCAL Programs – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
Ashwood High School’s curriculum in 2022 will be based on providing a guaranteed and viable curriculum in conjunction with the school’s overall resources. Due to our increase in enrolments, I am pleased to announce that we will have three additional VCE Units 1-4 subjects in 2022: History, Global Politics and Music Performance. The expansion of studies available at VCE level has been much anticipated and I am very proud that we are able to offer students a breadth of choice for 2022.

Musical Production – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
As one of the foundational ‘pillars’ of Ashwood High School the School Musical Production, as an expression of the Creative Arts, is of great importance to our school. I met with all members of our School Musical Production team at 1:00pm Friday 20 August and it is with a heavy heart that I announced that Ashwood High School has taken the decision to further postpone the performances of Ashwood High School’s Musical Production of The Addams Family, which will now occur in 2022. This decision has been taken in light of the most recent advice concerning assessments, performances and subsequent COVID-19 restrictions. A letter was sent to all students and families involved in the School Musical Production on Friday 20 August 2021. Once again, I thank the school community for their understanding and support.

Co-curricular Program 2021 - ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
Unfortunately, due to the current restrictions, a number of events have been cancelled or postponed, including:

  • Year 8 Camp (cancelled)
  • Year 10 Camp (cancelled)
  • Year 11 and 12 Formal (postponed at this stage as the school investigates alternatives)
  • School Musical Production (postponed to 2022).

Although these programs will not run as scheduled, I am cognizant of the fact that these decisions, whilst out of our hands, will cause some disappointment for our students. It is my hope that in 2022, we will be able to run improved programs unfettered by government restrictions.

Staffing in 2022 - ‘Valuing Staff & Building Capacity’
2022 will be an exciting year.  Ashwood High School will commence its new Capital Works Program, including the new $10.2 million STEAM Centre, and will begin the year with the highest enrolment seen for decades. With these increased student enrolments there will be an increase in the number of staff including an additional Leading Teacher position. The Leadership Structure will comprise of the following leading teacher positions:

Ashwood Alliance - Deakin University Partnership – ‘Increasing Positive Community Engagement’; ‘Valuing Staff and Building Capacity’
The Ashwood Alliance 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.  I have been asked to contribute to a chapter of a book entitled School - University Partnerships - Innovation in Initial Teacher Education. The edited collection brings together contributing chapters from around Australia focusing on school-university partnerships. My contribution will centre on my experiences and considerations relating to the Deakin Ashwood Alliance.

Student Attitudes to School Survey Data - Enhancing the Student Culture
Due to COVID-19 the Student Attitudes to School did not occur in 2020. In 2020 the school had integrated Pastoral Groups for 10 minutes daily, from 3:20pm to 3:30pm. This enabled daily wellbeing checks to be conducted and valuable data about student wellbeing, engagement and connectedness to school to be collected and analysed.

In 2021 the student Attitudes to School Survey will be implemented.  Due to the repeated lockdowns there has been a further extension to the completion date to Friday 20 August 2021, however, this is likely to be revised once more. Results of this survey will be compiled and reported to the school community when they become available from DET. The data will form part of the Annual Report for 2021 reported in March 2022.

Please see our data below, which represents the survey results in 2019.
Parent Opinion Survey - Increasing Positive Parental Engagement
The Parent Opinion Survey, conducted annually by the DET, is now open. Schools are required to generate a random sample of 30% of their parent community to complete the survey. The letters of invitation went out via email and post on Friday 30 July 2021 and parents have until Friday 3 September 2021 to complete the survey. The survey provides valuable feedback on parents’ views on the school in a variety of topics. Please see below for full details of the modules, as well as Ashwood High School’s results in 2020. It was pleasing to note that our school obtained a positive endorsement above all comparison factors (State, Network percentage, and Similar schools).
School Staff Survey - Increasing Positive Parental Engagement
The School Staff Survey is conducted annually in Term 3 and all staff, teaching and non-teaching, are invited to participate. Individual staff participation is voluntary. The survey is differentiated based on role classification (principal, teacher, education support) and whether staff spend time in the classroom.

Our School Staff Survey is currently in progress and results will be reported back to the school community when the data is processed by the Department.  Please see below for a snapshot of the data in 2020.
Update on the Capital Works Program - ‘From Great to Exceptional’ – ‘The Jewel of the East’
At the School Council Meeting in June 2021 extensive documentation was shared with School Council. This visual and associated documentation pertained to the following:

  • STEAM Centre
  • Library - Research Centre
  • Transformation of Building G
  • Re-configuration of Building B
  • Re-location plans for rubbish dumpster (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
  • Redevelopment of outdoor areas north of the new building
  • Redevelopment of outdoor areas to the north of Building G
  • A timeline prepared and endorsed by the Control Project group
  • The school’s financial commitments to the Capital Works Project.

At present we are finalising the Design and Development phase which includes costing. A submission is being prepared for the tender process.

It is an exciting time to part of the Ashwood High School community. The development of the STEAM and Research Centre reflects the ‘design thinking’ principles which underpinned the School’s Asset Management Plan completed in 2020:

  • Our school is a community hub
  • Our school is a welcoming environment
  • Learners and learning are central
  • Diversity is celebrated.

Brett Moore
Executive Principal
Monday 16 August, 2021







Key Dates - Term 3 2021

Principal's Awards



Middle School Assistant Principal's Report

Please see below for some summary highlights from the first half of Term 3, 2021.

Student Recognition

  • Principal's Awards

Congratulations to our many students who received Principal’s Awards via post at the start of Term 3. It was lovely to see the pictures submitted of students receiving their awards. I hope that this acknowledgement was positively received by our many deserving students.

  • School Colours

Just a reminder to students that School Colours applications are open. Please refer to Compass for all details on how to apply. Relevant documentation can be found under the Community tab (School Documentation à Student Information àSchool Colours)

Co-Curricular Activities

I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the innovation and optimism demonstrated by many our staff and students as they proceed with their planned co-curricular involvement during Term 3, despite the many potential challenges introduced by lockdown. It is heartwarming to consider students collaborating practice lines, songs, and dances for the musical production, engaging with Model UN and debating competitions, and collaborating to design the School Magazine – all through the comfort of their own homes. It is again a testament to our committed teachers and staff, as well as our highly engaged students, and supportive families that these many co-curricular activities are proceeding with purpose during this time.

I hope you and your families are keeping well at this time. We look forward optimistically to our students’ return to onsite teaching and learning.

Meg McLellan
Middle School Assistant Principal

Middle School Engagement, Wellbeing and Transitions Report


Term 2 began by lulling us into a false sense of security, before throwing us into another lockdown. The transition back to Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning was optimistically embraced by staff and students alike, knowing that community connectedness is a key ingredient to continued learning in these challenging times. We were thrilled to welcome Middle School students back on site on Wednesday 28 July, beginning with a Whole School assembly, with a focus on recognition of student achievement.

Mr Moore spoke proudly about the developments in the plan for the new STEAM Centre, as well as his pride in students who were recently recognised through the Principal’s Awards. These were sent out in the mail to many richly deserving Middle School and Senior School students, to celebrate their achievement in Academic Excellence, Academic Endeavour and Citizen & Leadership. Thank you kindly to the students and families who helped us to celebrate this in a COVID safe way by taking pictures and sending them through.

Ms McLellan also gave students a sneak peek at the School Colours application process for 2021, which was outlined in more detail in Tutor Group on Tuesday 3 August. Students were excited to learn about how to apply for School Colours in the categories of Academic, Sport, Art, Music, Service and House. There are many resources available to support student applicants and we look forward to receiving a record number of applications.

During the Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning period in Tutor Group, students in the Middle School were introduced to the Elective Preference selection process for 2022. This provided vital information for current Year 8s and Year 9s, to inform their decision making, whilst Year 7s were able to hear more about the electives that may be on offer for them when it comes time for them to make a decision toward the end of next year. This process encourages students to reflect on their passions, skills, areas for improvement and pathways, and make carefully considered decisions about their future, with the support of their Tutor Group teacher.

Parents, guardians and carers are also asked to be involved in the process by signing off on the Elective Preference selections made by their student. Thanks must go to Ms Kate Davis, our timetable extraordinaire, who puts countless hours into making this process as streamlined as possible. There are still many hours to go in preparing a timetable that accommodates the broadest range of students possible – thank you Ms Davis!

The eagerly anticipated House Athletics carnival has been postponed for the time being in best support of the health and safety of our students, staff and broader community. With that said, we eagerly await a potential date for reschedule where we can conduct the carnival in a COVID safe way, to allow our talented athletes and passionate house supporters to hit the track to earn points for their house.

Finally, our Wellbeing Team always take on an additional workload during periods of Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning and has recently been working very hard to bring the Time to Shine program to a wonderful group of students within the Middle School. Thank you to our School Psychologist, Ms Elisa Jones-Arango and our School Chaplain, Mr Long Nguyen for their work with the university providers in getting this program up and running.

As always, a huge thank you to our Middle School Team: Mr Driscoll, Mrs Dernikos, Mr Hayward, Ms Cooper, Ms Wraight and Ms Higgins for always being on the ball, enthusiastic and advocating for the best interests of our Middle School students.

Meg Brydon
Middle School Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Transitions Leader

Cowan House Report

Hello Cowaners,

I hope you are all doing amazing despite the amount of time we have spent at home. Time has just flown by as we are already in Term 3. I hope you all are staying connected with one another and I encourage each and every one of you to check up on your friends and loved ones if you haven’t already. I understand this may be a hard time for many of you, but keep persistent like you have been for the year so far. It was great to see so much involvement in the Olympics daily quiz, and if you enjoyed that, be sure to look out for the Paralympics quiz coming soon! Coming up we do have Science Week, so make sure to get involved if you love science! Just a reminder that you are still able to be involved in many of our Ashwood co-curriculars such as Art Club, the Magazine Committee as well as Sustainability Club if you wanted to try something new.

I’m proud for all of your efforts at home and at school and I cannot wait to see you all again face to face. Again, please look out for each other and I will hopefully see you all soon.

Dannah Casanova – Cowan House Captain

Flynn House Report

Dear amazing Flynn House,

I hope you are all settling in well to the third term of 2021! We have had an amazing year so far and I am so proud of each and every single one of you for your ongoing optimism. Unfortunately, we were not able to have our House Athletics Carnival due to lockdown, but I know that Flynn would have dominated, and it would have been a fantastic day for all involved. Due to the fact that we cannot all be at school together at the moment, I encourage you all to reach out to your peers, teachers, or any of the House Captains if you’re feeling a bit down or unmotivated, as these feelings are completely normal and tend to happen when we’re not all together onsite. In saying this, I would love you all to try your best to stay involved within our school community. Whether that is joining the school magazine committee or the Sustainability club, or signing up for interschool sport when we return back to on site learning. I wish you all the best of luck during term three, and I look forward to seeing our houses success continue to thrive.

Matilda Stanton – Flynn House Captain

Melba House Report

Hi Melba!

I hope that you are all doing well since the sudden lockdown, I understand that this is a very challenging time for many of you and would just like to say how proud I am of you for your continued effort. The Athletics Carnival was something I’m sure many of you were looking forward to, but due to COVID-19 it has had to be pushed back. Although you can’t represent Melba on the field just yet, you certainly can remotely! Here are some things that you can do in order to gain House points: participate in Science Week as well as the School Magazine Committee. There are also many clubs such as Interact Club, Art Club and Sustainability Club which can help you gain House points! Involving yourself in things such as these can also help keep you entertained and connected throughout these times so I would highly recommend them!  

Remember to stay positive, you got this Melba!

Greer Van Rooyen – Melba House Captain

Paterson House Report

Hey Paterson!

I cannot express how proud I am of you all for remaining optimistic in such stressful times. It’s important for us all to stay connected and enhance our communication with each other. Through participating in many activities, we as a team can grow closer and support each other throughout our high school experience. Both during this term and the next, I encourage you all to get involved and participate in many activities and co-curricular events Ashwood has to offer. These may include Science Week, the School Magazine Committee, lunch time sports like APL or clubs such as the Interact, Art and the Sustainability Club. You are always welcome to join and highly encouraged to participate. Thus, through your participation, we can grow as a team and most importantly as a community.

 “Coming together is a beginning” “Keeping together is progress” “Working together is success”

Elizabeth Tziafas – Paterson House Captain

Middle School Student Leadership & Agency Report

I wish to congratulate all of the Middle School Student Leaders on a highly successful Semester 1 of 2021. The Leaders have shown continual resilience, optimism and innovation in the face of considerable challenges. I have also been extremely impressed with the selflessness and generosity of Ashwood High School’s students, who are always willing to do what they can to help others within the school and the wider community. One example of this is evident in the success of the Interact Club’s participation in the Rotary Club Community Raffle Program. The students sold raffle tickets within the Ashwood High School community and raised a total of $578, which they plan to donate to various causes with a focus on those that aim to tackle poverty and homelessness in Australia.

Term 3 brings the opening of applications for School Colours awards and for Student Leadership positions in 2022. I encourage all students to take up these valuable opportunities for personal growth and to look forward to the continual development of the Student Leadership program at Ashwood High School in Semester 2 and beyond.

Matilda Wraight
Student Voice, Leadership & Agency Coordinator

Middle School Captains Report

Dear Students, Parents and Staff,

I am Amber Balmer, one of the Middle School Captains. This term, so far has been very disrupted. Even though it is only Week 4, we have had two separate lockdowns. However, throughout this hardship, we have all managed to remain resilient and come out the other side. This is what we need to do with the current lockdown. Even though it is hard to learn at home, it may be because it is hard to have consistent motivation or something else, but we will make it through this lockdowns and if there are any in the future.

This term, in Week 5, we were meant to have the House Athletics Carnival. Because of the current lockdown and the previous one, it has been postponed. Even though this is a bit of an upset, we hope it will happen in the future.

This term, the School Colours applications for all students has opened up. This is an excellent opportunity for students. It is a great way to recognize the achievements of all students and it will help prepare students for job applications with the application process. I believe this can be a great accomplishment for student and a great confidence booster. It can also be a great source of feedback for people who apply.

Amber Balmer

Hello everyone!

I hope everybody is doing well and fighting through yet another lockdown. It has been tough to keep up with everything happening right now, but Amber and I are confident that all of you will be able to power through this and we highly encourage you to stay focused and on track with your learning. We also hope that all of you will take full advantage of all the opportunities at our school even through this lockdown.

We would love to see more School Colour badges on all students; we highly encourage that all of you apply for at least one of the categories. We encourage you to ask for help with your applications and we would also love to see more students participating more in our school clubs. We have many new clubs available at the school such as the French Club and Art Club.

We know that it has been a tough time for all of you, but we know that you can fight through this and still stay at your peak performance. We wish you all well and we shall see you soon at school once again as a strong community.

Haris Shehzad

Accelerated Curriculum & Enrichment Program

Students enrolled in the ACE program represent Ashwood High School in a number of public forums, including national and international competitions such as the Australian Mathematics Competition and ICAS (International Competitions and Assessments for Schools). In August 2021, ACE students in Years 7-10 will represent the school in the Australian Maths competition as well as the English, Mathematics and Science divisions of ICAS. We wish them all the best in their endeavours.

In other news, a second round of ACE testing has been scheduled to take place onsite at Ashwood High School on Friday 22 October 2021, allowing interested families who may have missed out on the first round of testing the opportunity to apply for entry to the ACE program in 2022. To register your interest, please contact the school on 9807 1333 or visit for more information.

Caroline Servadei
Enrichment, Pedagogy Partnerships & Professional Learning Leader

Senior School Assistant Principal's Report

Dear Ashwood High School Community,

Ashwood High School continues to be at the forefront of educational adaption with the 5th and now 6th COVID-19 lockdown. It has been a credit to our community of dedicated Ashwood High School staff and students for how they have been able to adapt to the continuing changing educational landscapes with limited preparation. Our teaching staff have developed the curriculum to allow our students to continue to remain engaged and challenged through these changing times. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, we have had to reschedule several events, including the GAT for Year 12 students, the Year 11 and 12 Formal (rescheduled to the 24 Aug) and the School Athletics Carnival. We as a school are very disappointed that our students are missing out on these opportunities, but are very hopeful in the future that these changes will be on offer again soon.

Our students in Senior School continue to develop high expectations and drive for excellence. Our students have shown evidence through working together to improve all aspects of learning at Ashwood High school. To foster this development, we have had our VCE students, that undertake a Unit 3 and Unit 4 subject, attend school during the Term 2 school holiday break. These students are involved in the VCE practice exam program led by our Senior School Student Outcome Leader, Ms Lucy Rimmer. This has given our students the best possible practice for the upcoming VCE Unit 3 and Unit 4 exams commencing at the end of October.

Innovation continues to be one of our key focuses in the Senior School as our Year 10 Student Management team has been working with our students to source meaningful work experience placements for Week 10 Term 3 (13 Sept to 17 Sept). We expect all students to work with our Career Counsellor, Ms Jodie Hechenberger, to make sure they have a meaningful placement that will help them gain a significant understanding of career pathways for the years ahead.  

I want to thank our Principal, Mr Brett Moore, for his outstanding leadership and guidance through the two Government COVID-19 lockdowns during Term 3. These lockdowns continue to change our teaching landscape from onsite to remote time and time again. The way our staff and students continue to adapt with the limited timeframe and preparation has been a testament to our school organisation and community communication. The multiple whole school Assemblies that our Principal, Mr Brett Moore has led, allowed for the smooth and safe transition back and forth from remote to onsite learning for both staff and students. This has reassured our community that all members' wellbeing and safety are at the forefront of our learning community.

As the Assistant Principal of the Senior School, I wish all Ashwood High School community members a safe and happy Term 3 as the landscape continues to move back and forth from remote to onsite learning.

Tom O’Toole
Senior School Assistant Principal

Senior School Engagement, Wellbeing & Pathways Report

Term 3 has already brought its challenges, and I am so proud of how our collective body of students have worked together to look after each other to create an environment of support and resilience.

Our two School Vice Captains, Courtney Tulia and Zac Aitken, have penned the below message for their peers:

Hello Ashwood High School community,

If you are unaware, we are your proud School Vice Captains: Zac Aitken and Courtney Tulia. Term 3 has already presented its challenges, due to the 2 week lockdown we all faced earlier this term. Although it brought uncertainty and disruption, yet again, we have been able to come together as a community, thanks to the endless support provided by the staff and executive leaders at Ashwood High School. We would like to congratulate you for maintaining high expectations and respect throughout remote learning, it has been an ongoing battle but you have managed to once again prove your resilience.

Despite these minor setbacks, we have a lot of exciting upcoming events scheduled. Ms Miller and her Performing Arts team have been working hard towards putting forward yet another outstanding musical for the school and wider community. Lastly the Year 11 and 12 Formal has been rescheduled to a later date this term. We are all looking forward to an amazing night to enjoy ourselves and share a memorable part of our lives. The senior students would like to thank Ms Lindsay and her team for their efforts and hard work.

Thank you for remaining optimistic and positive during these times, you all are truly champions.

Courtney Tulia and Zac Aitken

In Year 10 Form Group this term, students have completed OHS modules in preparation for Work Experience later this term. These modules improve students’ knowledge of occupational health and safety before they go to a workplace, ensure understanding of hazards and laws, provide practical solutions to common health and safety problems, and assist students to understand their responsibilities and the responsibilities of their employer. Currently, students are preparing for future pathways using the Ashwood High School Careers Portal to complete lesson sequences related to career research, communication skills, conflict resolution, social media presence, and personal presentation.

While we were disappointed by the unavoidable postponement of the Year 11 and 12 Formal, I am very pleased to announce the new date of celebrations as Tuesday 24 August. 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.

I would like to congratulate the senior school cohort on an excellent start to Term 3 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

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” Henry Ford

I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.” B. Priestley

Congratulations to all Year 10 students on an excellent beginning to Term 3.

Despite the challenges of yet another lockdown, it has been amazing to see students supporting each other, expressing gratitude to their teachers, and continuing take up the multiple opportunities offered to them.

Although work experience placements have been hard to secure, it has been wonderful to see the persistence and resilience that some students have displayed to seek an excellent work placement for later this term. Congratulations!

To those students who still are working through this, it is so important that your placement is secured as soon as possible. Please be in Contact with Ms Hechenberger to support you as needed.

Thank you to parents and guardians for your support of this program.

It has been exciting to engage in conversations with students and hearing their enthusiasm and excitement to apply for school colours. I wish Year 10 students all the best with their applications!

Sachael Miller
Year 10 Coordinator

To all Year 10 students - be proud of who you are, what you have achieved and where you are going!

Here are some short reflections from Year 10 students: 

Being in Year 10 this year, I have enjoyed the more challenging work. I have also enjoyed my musical classes as I feel like I am progressing well and am being challenged by what I have to do.
Millie Taylor


Whilst being in Year 10, I have had the amazing opportunity of being a lead role in our School Musical Production of ‘The Addams Family’. I am playing the role of Morticia Addams. I love getting to know the cast and performing during rehearsals as it gives me a sense of belonging and confidence at school.
Jess Sterle

I have enjoyed my Food Studies classes with Ms Miller. The classes have really helped me through lockdown.
Stella Evans

The coolest part of Year 10 so far is completing a dramatic reading and re-enacting the play ‘Twelve Angry Men’.
Mel Saengyojarn

In Term 3 English, we began with an oral presentation about current issues in the media. My teachers were so supportive and helpful when presenting and with helping us project our voices when speaking.
Jess Lewis

Year 10 has been a welcoming challenge for me. I have undertaken two early commencement subjects and love them! My regular classes have stepped up a notch and my teachers and classmates have given me wonderful feedback. Year 10 has been the best year of schooling despite the intermittent attendance in person.
Jamieson Adler

Hello to all Year 10 students!

Going into VCE or VCAL soon? Well, here are our top 5 tips for being a Year 11 student that will assist you through these two important schooling years.

  1. Choose subjects you enjoy : When it comes to selecting your subjects for year 11, choosing subjects that you like and are interested in will allow you to be engaged in class.
  2. Don’t leave your homework until the last minute: In VCE, homework increases from previous year levels and if you leave it all to the night before it’s due, it will cause you to stress which is something you want to avoid. This leads into the next point of having a homework system in place.
  3.  Get a homework system in place: If you have a homework system in place, this allows you to stay organised and stop the overwhelming build-up of all your subject's homework being due at once! 
  4. Maintain a healthy balance between school and home life: It is important to stay physically active and healthy to enhance your mental health and wellbeing by getting a good night’s sleep, eating well, and doing the things you enjoy. 
  5. Stay positiv!: During this period in your life, keep a good mindset even when things get hard. Reach out to the people around you, and remember you’ve got this.

Hope this helps and good luck!

Carli Taranto and Jakita Mann - Year 11


Year 11 Coordinator's Report

The Year 11 students have continued to build on their strong foundation through the start of Term 3, despite the impact of lockdowns on their physical attendance at school.  The Year 11 cohort have continued to show excellent learning behaviours, regardless of the setting, demonstrating high levels of independence and maturity. I commend them on their continued flexibility and active engagement throughout this period. Considering this I have asked some Year 11 students to share tips and strategies that have been helpful for them during this time. I encourage parents to continue to have a conversation with their children about how they can best support their learning to ensure their continued progress and success during this period of interruption.  If I can assist in any way with this, please do not hesitate to make contact.  Thanks very much to the students below for their input and wishing everyone a safe and productive Term 3.

John Sheehan
Year 11 Coordinator

“One tip I have for doing well in Year 11 and throughout Online Learning is to make sure you are taking care of your mental wellbeing first; this may include taking a night off from homework every so often and substituting it for one of your favourite things such as video calling a friend or watching a movie. Spending short amounts of time away from schoolwork can help clear your mindset and get you motivated for when your return. " 

Daisy Jones

“VCE is a big step up and it is important to have a schedule and routine to keep you on track. I like to keep a calendar on my wall with all the events and due dates coming up so that I can plan to spread out my studies so that I do not get too overwhelmed.”

Abby Helm

“Get a homework system in place! if you have a homework system in place, this allows you to stay organised and stop that build-up of homework close to the due date. Also, maintain a healthy balance between school and home life – it is important to stay physically active and healthy to enhance your mental health and wellbeing by getting a good night’s sleep, eating well, and doing the things you enjoy.”

Carli Taranto and Jakita Mann






Year 12 Coordinator's Report

“Change is the only constant in life.” – Heraclitus of Ephesus

When I look back into these couple of weeks in our Year 12s’ final year, there seems to be no other better way to describe the experience than the words from the pioneer of wisdom, the Ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, from two thousand years ago. In a duration of nine weeks, Year 12 students are faced with many changes, the state-wide snap lockdown that was then extended by another week, the postpone of GAT, and yet again adjustment of dates for a number of SACs. We also waved bye, via WebEx, to one of our valuable Year 12 members, Ms Heidi Cornelissen.

However, it is not the change, but how our Year 12s dealt and are dealing with changes that I would like to comment and commend on. It is not how unpleasant some of the changes that I want to mention, but how our Year 12s rose to the occasions to have demonstrated adaptability, flexibility, unity and gratitude that I want to share. Despite the frustration and restrictions posed by online learning and lockdown, our Year 12s engaged with their studies in school, in TAFE and alternative arrangements in School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBATs) and took the initiative to enhance their engagement to counteract the ‘lockdown’ effects on either their academic or their wellbeing. Moreover, despite broader context and the ‘turbulence’ they are experiencing, our Year 12 students did not put aside their gratitude and appreciation. Business Management students and Ms Allison Phillips prepared an unfeigned and heart-melting farewell party for Ms Cornelissen, or to borrow students’ words, a celebration parity for the new chapter in Ms Cornelissen’s career. ‘… I am going to miss Ms Cornelissen deeply but I am truly happy for her…’ This is what I heard from many students. This brings back the memories of you mentioning in our small conversations how you appreciate what your subject teachers or your carers did for you.

Year12s, I am truly proud! Proud for your gratitude towards Ms Cornelissen and many others, your peers, your teachers, your parents, your grandparents and other guardians. Proud that you are not seeing your academic achievement as the only element in your last year, even if it is important. Proud that being a virtuous, grateful and good person is what you value more. British writer G. K. Chesterton once said ’When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.’ I am truly proud you are amongst those who choose the latter. With such pride, I wish you all the best as we solder into the last quarter of your final year and wish you embrace what this quarter has to offer with this quote from Eckhart Tolle. ‘Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for abundance.’

Jessie Tian
Year 12 Coordinator

Senior School Student Leadership & Agency

The series of unexpected lockdowns that we have seen at the beginning of Term 3 have posed significant challenges to the plans and proposals of the Senior School Student Leaders. However, the entire Student Leadership team is to be commended for their continued efforts and the consistently positive example that they set for other students.

In spite of the obstacles and disappointments that the lockdowns have posed, the student leaders have shown high levels of optimism and innovation so that some initiatives can be “COVID-proofed”. If the proposed initiatives have been impossible, the leaders have generously continued to document their plans in the hope that future leaders can bring them to life.

Term 3 brings the opening of applications for School Colours awards and for Student Leadership positions in 2022. I encourage all students to take up these valuable opportunities for personal growth and to look forward to the continual development of the Student Leadership program at Ashwood High School in Semester 2 and beyond.

Matilda Wraight
Student Voice, Leadership & Agency Coordinator 

 School Captains Report

Dear Ashwood High School students, staff and wider community,

We hope you all took care of yourselves mentally and physically and are keeping well in Term 3.

Something that has been made clear over lockdown is that being a part of a school community involves so much more than simply coming to school and learning. It involves working together, strong communication with one another and overcoming adversities jointly. This is something we have exemplified and achieved as a school community. 

Despite the likely frustration associated with yet another lockdown, the extraordinary cooperation from students and timely thinking from staff and teachers allowed us all to get through it in one piece (I hope!). You should all be so proud of yourselves for reacting in such a responsible and mature manner.  

For many, however, the lockdown may have unfortunately intensified feelings of worry, stress or other negative emotions. We can't stress enough how important it is to reach out to someone, whether it be a close friend or a trusted teacher and ask for support. We all need to understand that there's absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it! So, if you feel that someone may have struggled with this lockdown, perhaps more than usual, simply check in on them and make it your responsibility to make sure they’re doing okay.

Listed below are some free, online and trusted mental health services which are available to young people:

  • Headspace, Kids Helpline, Beyond Blue and Youth Beyond Blue.

The impact of the lockdowns has made our Term 3 become compact unexpectedly. A good sword strengthens from the long hammering, plum blossoms from the bitter cold. That’s what my culture teaches me - to view struggles and challenges as necessary for achieving goals.  Although this lockdown caused inconvenience and frustration just like what Lula said, I am confident to say that we are capable of overcoming these current negativities and those in the future. Six successful periods of Remote Learning is enough to say that we are “pros” of lockdown. We've been doing well in looking after each other, and keeping our high expectations in our studies. 

With the excitement of returning to school, we would like again to thank the Mr Moore and staff, and cooperation from students. Through working together, we can achieve the success that we’ve been aiming for, no matter what.

Lula Tadesse and Sivan Chen















VCE VCAL VET Curriculum Services

As I write this we are currently in lockdown, with students and staff having rapidly reverted to online delivery of content. In line with this it is imperative that students maintain a high level of attendance so as not to miss the important learning that comes from classroom discussions and interactions.  With the VCAL students currently developing their major community projects this classroom interaction is a vital aspect of their assessment, and any absences must be accounted for via contact with the school via Compass.

The term has been moving very quickly, with many assessments already having taken place and Student Led Conferences in the coming weeks, I would urge all students, parents and guardians to ensure that they are regularly checking Compass for information and due dates. Particularly with changing dates due to the lockdown.

All VCE and VCAL assessments continue to follow the strict guidelines based on VCAA requirements.  Students have been advised of these and, where online submission is required, students will be provided with authentication forms to be completed with each assessment, and the possible need for validation tasks once back onsite. It is vital that all students follow the processes and we appreciate the assistance of parents and guardians with this. Please do not hesitate to be in contact with myself or the classroom teacher should you have any questions around this.

A further reminder that the GAT is currently postponed until further notice. Students will be advised as soon as it becomes available.

Discussions have begun with Year 12 students regarding their post-secondary options. All students were introduced to the VTAC website and have started the registration and application process for further education through TAFEs, Universities and private providers. Ms Hechenberger and I will also be meeting with all of the Year 12 students this term to assist them with this process. 

To assist with their choices all students are encouraged to attend the Open Days currently taking place. Many of which are online due to the current situation.  Students can use these sessions to seek clarification regarding courses and entry requirements, and also to take a virtual tour of campuses.  Ms Hechenberger and I are happy to assist with any follow up questions students may have.

While the year has continued to have its challenges, the rigour of the senior school programs have not altered and I look forward to continuing to support our students as they navigate their VCE and VCAL programs.

Julie Huggins
VCAA Curriculum Services Coordinator

Careers & Pathways

Congratulations Daisy Harvison!

On 20 July 2021 it was announced that Daisy Harvison was the Victoria State 2nd Prize Winner for Australian Society of Medical Research (ASMR) School Quiz 2021.

The ASMR is the peak professional society representing Australian health and medical research. As part of medical research week ASMR host multiple events including career events for high school and tertiary students, schools visits, and an online schools quiz.

Congratulations again Daisy, you have done yourself, family, and the Ashwood High School community proud.

Year 9 Morrisby Profiling
It has been an exciting two months in careers with the Years 9s participating in the My Career Insights – Morrisby Profile Interview phase.

Feedback from students regarding the Morrisby Profile Program included how accurate and enlightening it was. The test captured their skills and interests to a tee with students amazed of its accuracy. The interview process allowed students to explore the pathways their attributes could lead them.

Thank you to all parents and teachers who supported the students throughout this process. The program ran smoothly through these uncertain times; it is a credit to all involved. Feedback from the interviewers was outstanding including comments such as “a delightful bunch of students” & “absolutely delightful, completely engaged and on time”.

 Well done Year 9!          

Year 10 Mock Interviews
Those who participated in the Mock Interview Program were rewarded with the opportunity to experience firsthand what to expect during a formal job interview. The interviewers consisted of 9 volunteer Rotarians and 4 possible jobs the students could apply for. Portfolios completed during Humanities in Semester 1 included a cover letter, resume, and certificates the students had acquired over the years. These were presented to the interviewer as evidence linking the class activities and demonstrating to students the purpose and importance of their portfolios.

The students enjoyed the activity and were very excited when they learnt they got the job! Congratulation and well-done Year 10, the hard work paid off.

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, the Where to Apply for Work Experience resource and the Where students have gone for Work Experience over the years resource posted in your Compass newsfeed on 20 July 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 were due on 25 June 2021. Please submit any outstanding documents by Friday 20 August 2021.

As I am mostly in Building A, please submit paperwork to Reception. All students are encouraged to please come and see me during recess, lunch and after school if you require assistance. I am also contactable via email

Miss Jodie Hechenberge
Careers & Pathways Coordinator


School Psychologist's Report

This term has required students and families to once again 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. We hope that all families are keeping safe, well and connected.

We are excited to announce that we had a record number of students attend Breakfast Club, with 58 students braving the cold to enjoy breakfast with peers and staff. Breakfast Club is an opportunity to meet students from different year levels, as well as connect with friends. We look forward to the return of Breakfast Club soon.

This term we are working in partnership with Monash University to bring the Time to Shine Program to Ashwood High School. This program is focused on increasing student engagement, ensuring all students feel part of the Ashwood Community.

As you continue your remote learning in the coming days please remember to make sure that you are taking care of yourselves and looking out for one another!

Elisa Jones Arango
School Psychologist

Director of Studies Report

Dear families of Ashwood High School

By now all students have settled into the routines of learning in Term 3. The Year 12 students are now in their final semester of schooling, finishing their courses and preparing for final assessments which for VCE students will include the November exam period.

In Weeks 6 and 7, we take time to reflect on each student’s learning journey so far and to plan for the rest of their academic year. The students’ Interim Reports are released in Week 6, and then in Week 7 we conduct Student-Led Conferences to discuss their progress. The table below shows the key dates.

Community: Active EngagementInterim Reports
The Interim Reports contain teacher feedback on each student’s Learning Values measured against the Ashwood High School Choir values:

  • High Expectations: Learning Effectiveness
  • Optimism: Responding to Feedback
  • Innovation: Learning Independence
  • Respect: Respect for self, others, the school, the teacher

Students who achieve consistently in these areas typically show the skills and dispositions of a successful learner. Teacher judgements in these areas provide an important starting point for conversations with students.

Student Led Conferences
Student Led Conferences are an important event in the academic calendar, and all families are encouraged to attend.

In order to maintain social distancing, Student Led Conferences will again be held online over two days. The interviews will run for five minutes each, and if this is not enough time then teachers will arrange to continue the discussion at another time convenient to both parties. Parents and guardians will receive information closer to the time about the process for making bookings and logging into meetings. This is now a familiar path for many, and has proven to be quite straightforward.

Students are asked to prepare for the Student Led Conferences by completing a reflection form for each subject. This will be discussed in class but can also be found in the students’ school planners. Students are expected to lead each interview by discussing their responses to the question prompts provided.

During the interview, students, parents and teachers will share their reflection on their learning so far this year. They will acknowledge achievement and growth and set goals for future improvement. Parents and teachers can then help the student to work towards achieving these goals over the rest of the year.

Colin Shnier
Director of Studies

Student Outcomes Leader's Report

Congratulations to our Year 12 students who are almost half-way through their last full term of school at Ashwood High School. It is great to see students working so hard and so continuously towards their final goals. Teachers are also working hard to ensure that our Year 12 students are feeling prepared and ready for the final months of school.

The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority have also announced that the Consideration of Educational Disadvantage will be in place again this year for our Year 12 students. This is good news for students and gives teachers the opportunity to identify Year 12 results that were likely to have been achieved without the various impacts of COVID-19. In the coming months, teachers will be working to determine how each individual subject result across VCE and VCAL should be re-evaluated in this context, and I look forward to working with teachers and students to make this process as fair and rigorous as possible.

In the midst of a difficult and disrupted year, there are many opportunities to celebrate the achievement of our students. Congratulations to all students who received a Principal’s Award this year, and all students are strongly encouraged to apply for a School Colour Awards as well to recognise their achievements across multiple areas.

Well done to all students for continuing to demonstrate excellence.

Lucy Rimmer
Acting Student Outcomes Leader

Data Analysis, Improvement & School Organisation Report

Thank you to all the Year 8 to Year 11 students who submitted their subject preferences online recently.  This is an important step in allowing us to develop a timetable for 2022 which allows students the flexibility to choose a range of subjects to meet their individual needs.

It was particularly pleasing to see increased numbers of students applying to enrol in Early Commencement VCE subjects in 2022. We have been able to offer a much wider range of Early Commencement options next year by aligning Year 10 subjects with VCE blocks and by having multiples classes in many subjects.

There is greater choice for our 2022 Year 9 and 10 students in terms of the electives available with the introduction of Commerce at Year 10 and a range of PE and Health related options.

Student preference data will play a huge role in the development of the 2022 timetable, with as many students as possible receiving all their top preferences a top priority.

The process of developing a timetable is a lengthy one, as there are many factors to take into consideration.  Students completing VCE subjects next year will receive confirmation of their subjects later this term, while 2022 Year 9 and 10 students will receive confirmation of their subjects later in Term 3 or early Term 4.

The final timetable for 2022 will be published at the end of Term 4.

Kate Davis
Data Analysis, Improvement and School Organisation Leader

Enrichment, Pedagogy, Partnerships & Professional Learning

Term Three will witness the culmination of two key projects that have been developed in collaboration with the Deakin University School of Education. The Embedded Unit ‘Literacy Teacher Researchers in New Times’ will involve pre-service teachers from Deakin University joining our Year 7 English classes for a collaborative project that will answer the inquiry question: how can the use of digital technologies support students to structure analytical texts in the Year 7 English classroom? This project will run over a five-week period and involve three visits to Year 7 English classrooms. Thanks to Mr Dominic Holloway (English Learning Area Coordinator), Ms Jessie Tian and Ms Carmela Diaz (Year 7 English Teachers) for their support of the project.

The Deakin Alliance Health and Wellbeing project is planned to take place in Weeks 9 and 10 of Term 3 and will involve students selected from the school’s Learning Mentor program. These students will work with Deakin University pre-service teachers in their first year of training to unpack the notion of learner identity in online focus groups. In particular, the study will explore how students’ perceptions of their identity as learners can change over time and how this might impact their efficacy as learners.

On the professional learning front, Term 3 has offered teachers a diverse range of professional learning experiences to support the development of their professional practice. Staff have participated in Communities of Practice, panel discussions, and 7 Minute PL sessions, to mention just a few of the professional learning activities on offer. On Wednesday  21 July, first and second year VIT candidates and their mentors participated in an online panel discussion that focused on unpacking a range of scenarios related to teachers’ professional behaviour. The forum was organised to support our provisionally registered teachers to prepare a reflection on teacher professional behaviour as part of their evidence gathering process to achieve full VIT registration. Thanks must go to the panellists: Mr Tom O’Toole (Assistant Principal), Ms Meg Brydon (Middle School Engagement, Wellbeing and Transitions Leader), Ms Phoebe Lindsay (Senior School Engagement, Wellbeing and Pathways Leader), Ms Lucy Rimmer (Acting Student Outcomes Leader) and Ms Caroline Servadei (Enrichment, Partnerships, Pedagogy and Professional Learning Leader) for leading this discussion.

Finally, Ashwood High School extends a warm welcome to the twelve pre-service teachers who will be joining us from Deakin and Monash Universities in Term Three. I would also like to acknowledge the support of their teacher mentors Ms Meg Brydon, Mr Daniel Christiansz, Ms Phoebe Lindsay, Ms Niesha Moorad, Ms Allison Phillips, Ms Lucy Rimmer, Ms Caroline Servadei, Ms Jessie Tian and Mr Calvin Yin.

Caroline Servadei
Enrichment, Pedagogy Partnerships & Professional Learning Leader


Mathematics Learning Area Report

In Year 7 ACE Maths, students are currently studying Probability. They were given an investigation task where they had to become detectives to solve a crime by finding the suspect. The investigation included a series of problems where students had to demonstrate their problem solving skills as well as apply their knowledge of probability to eliminate suspects. Each group used different methods for their enquiry including; graphing, algorithmics, tree diagrams and number skills. The Year 7s were then given the opportunity to share the outcome of their investigation with the class to find out who was the best Detective.   

Stephanie Richards
Maths/Science teacher

Our Year 7 Maths students recently took part in an experiment called 'Monopoly Risk' as part of the Probability topic. Students were tasked with investigating the most likely outcome when you roll two dice and add the results together.

The students actively worked in pairs to roll a pair of dice 100 times (yes, you read that right), make note of their results in tabular form, represent their findings in a column graph and comment on any trends that they noticed. Using their understanding of Experimental Probability, students calculated the probability of getting a series of different combinations and based on their finding, they decided what was the most likely sum for the dice to add to.

Students were also shown how to use an Excel spreadsheet to simulate rolling three 6-sided dice. Overall, it was a hands-on activity which both students and teachers enjoyed.

Emma Doorley
Maths/Information Technology teacher


Science Learning Area Report

Have you ever looked closely at a simple pencil and wondered what resources are needed to make its components, and where these came from? Here is a group of students from Ms Bernie Jowett’s Year 7 Science class who presented their findings from their Simple Pencil Research Investigation. Students considered the steps needed to make a pencil and researched what each component is made of. They investigated what resources are needed to make the components, as well as what resources are needed to assemble and finish the pencil in the factory. Students then presented their findings in a creative and engaging way.

During Term 3, our Year 7 students have also been enjoying regular practical work in their Chemistry unit. Students have been learning about different techniques to separate mixtures. Here you can see Garry Barcham, our experienced laboratory technician, performing a demonstration of how distillation works.

Students also had the chance to see a centrifuge in action, which separates suspended particles in a liquid. These demonstrations have supported students’ understanding of the different types of separation techniques.

Niesha Moorad 
Science Learning Area Coordinator

Humanities Learning Area Report

It’s been an exciting time in the Humanities department over the last month, with plenty happening and the students handling the move between remote and flexible learning and face-to-face with aplomb.

Term 3 marks the shift to the study of Geography in Humanities classrooms from Years 7 to 10, with  Year 7 beginning their inquiry into Water in the World, Year 8 investigating Landscapes and Landforms, Year 9 delving into Biomes and Food Security, and Year 10 examining the Geographies of Human Wellbeing, having wrapped up their focus on Careers.

We are fortunate at Ashwood High School to enjoy strong community partnerships with our local Rotary clubs. The Year 10s recently benefited from the generosity of local Rotarians when they collaborated to participate in mock job interviews. The Year 10 students demonstrated excellent adaptability when the interviews were moved online in response to Covid-19 restrictions, and the Rotarians provided valuable feedback regarding interview preparedness to all students involved. We are grateful for the time and effort of the nine Rotarians who participated to support our students, and recognition goes to the students who worked hard to prepare for this opportunity.

Keeping with the theme of simulation activities, as part of the recent study of Civics and Citizenship in Year 9 Humanities, students participated in a mock election. Groups of students representing different Australian political parties worked with diligence in class to research those policies they felt would appeal best to younger voters. Each group then selected a candidate to represent their party and their policies were presented to the class in an entertaining ‘town hall’ style debate in front of an audience of Year 7 students. At the end of their presentations, the candidates answered questions from the floor and all students then anonymously voted on replica ballot slips for their preferred candidate using the preferential voting system. It was very pleasing to see students engaging in politics in such a hands-on way.  Special thanks to the following Year 9 students for being their party candidates and presenting to the group, they did a wonderful job: Miles Guy, Madeleine Schaxmann, Cameron Voigt, Hava Samad and Bailey Moreland. Also, thanks to Mrs Vicki Dernikos and Mr Ned Hayward for allowing their Year 7 classes to participate in this democratic experience. Thanks to candidate Hava Samad for sharing her experience of the event below.

Catherine Nelsson
Humanities Learning Area Coordinator

Creative Arts/Technologies Learning Area Report

Welcome to students commencing a new subject in our Learning Area this Semester. We hit a minor bump in the road with a recent snap lockdown, but resilience, creativity and persistence prevailed.

Term 3 is a busy time for Year 12 students undertaking folio subjects as they are finalising folios and finals for assessment.

It is fantastic to see a range of students across year levels assisting in the creative side of the Musical Production as we have many a fashion designer and painter in the making.

Looking forward to seeing all the students in our community in the hallowed halls of Ashwood High School and hearing about what you are learning and doing.  

Annalisa Buyks
Learning Area Coordinator – Creative Arts and Technology

Year 8 Food during Lockdown

Here is Yunal Lufti of Year 8s impressive blog

Throughout the start of Year 9 VCD, students have been learning about the language of design and how this can be applied in different ways. One way is through rendering existing objects. Students were required to draw, from observation, a drinking container and a Lego brick, and then render these objects using line and point respectively. Below are some of the great outcomes that were submitted. Additionally, students were challenged to showcase their work and allow their peers to observe and provide feedback. Below are a couple of photos of the students observing their peers’ unique efforts.

Rendering techniques by Kezia Leow 9B

Water bottle line render by Amber Balmer 9B

Lego Brick stippling render by Tahia McPherson 9D

Sayuren Pillay 9B and Tahia McPherson 9D observing their peer’s work.

Themis Tziafas 9A and Mikey Perdicakis 9Z observing their peer’s work.

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


Instrumental Music Report

The Annual Music Concert has been postponed to Tuesday 9 November at 7:00pm.

We are so proud of our Music students who continue to demonstrate extraordinary positivity and perseverance during a most difficult period of uncertainty for those in the Performing Arts. We congratulate them for their effort and ability to look ahead and their families for supporting and encouraging their musical endeavours.

In the meantime, the following Year 10 students have been invited to participate in the VCAA Music Performance sample assessments in August; William Roache (Alto Saxophone), Millie Taylor (Flute), Mozhda Shekibi (Violin), James Talbot (Piano), Rupesh Bankar (Drum Kit), Jack Christie (Drum Kit), Ina Christensen (Vocal), Jamieson Adler (Electric Bass), Charlotte Anderson-Weir (Vocal).

This is a fantastic solo performance opportunity for our students, each of whom have prepared two contrasting pieces for an 8 minutes solo recital program. We congratulate them and their teachers in advance on their preparation and achievement.

We look forward to continuing rehearsing for our upcoming Music events and running our Lunchtime Concert Program onsite when restrictions allow. In the meantime, enjoy the extra time at home playing for and entertaining the family in your loungerooms and backyards!

Wendy Anderson
Director of Music

Health & PE Learning Area Report


What a fantastic two weeks of sport! I hope families have been able to watch some of the tremendous efforts of not only our Australian athletes but other athletes from around the world. Whether it be the medals won in the pool, to watching the new sports in 2021 such as the skateboarding and surfing. It has been exciting to watch our Aussie athletes do their best.

To celebrate the Olympics, we have been running a quiz on Compass every morning on all things Olympics. The results are as follows:

Cowan: 72 points

Paterson: 36 points

Flynn: 29 points

Melba: 19 points

Thank you to all students entered every morning. We will be running a Paralympic Quiz beginning on Tuesday 24 August. These results will be added to the scores above to give a final tally. Remember to get in and earn some House points for your House, every point counts!

As we have been celebrating all things Olympics, I have found a few students who participate in some events shown in the Olympics. Check these out:

I hope the Olympics have inspired your family to have their own mini-Olympics or to get involved in any physical activity together as a family.

Lastly, I would like to introduce our newest HPE Teacher Mr Jeff Newman. Mr Newman started at Ashwood High School at the end of last term.

Things to know about Mr Newman:

Hometown: Edmonton, Canada

How long have you been living in Australia? Since 2011

Favourite Sports: Mountain Bike riding and Soccer

Favourite Activities to do on the weekend: Mountain biking with friends, camping and exploring the great outdoors!

Make sure you introduce yourself to Mr Newman when you see him around the school yard.

Stay safe everyone.

Allison Phillip
HPE Learning Area Coordinator






EAL Learning Area Report

Plurilingual awareness

What is Plurilingualism?
The ability of a person who has competence in more than one language to switch between them when necessary for ease of communication and learning. It is the interconnected knowledge of multiple languages. (VCAA EAL Glossary)

What does Plurilingualism look like in the classroom? 
Below are some plurilingual strategies EAL students use in the classroom to validate prior knowledge, build self-esteem, and foster a sense of belonging.

When I am struggling with some words during reading, I will translate them into Chinese, and then I will read some English sentences which includes these words.
Amber Dong, Year 11 

When I come across new vocabulary, I search up the Chinese meaning to gain a basic understanding, and then I try to memorise its English definition.
Tina Hung, Year 11

Carmela Diaz
EAL Coordinator

Digital Pedagogies Learning Area Report

Over the past 18 months, the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital pedagogies within and beyond the classroom. It has emphasised to students and teachers alike that learning is mobile, and that education is not child redicated on ensuring a group of people congregate within four walls.

Last year I worked with Meg Brydon to scope out a project called ‘Ashwood Achieve’ that would see Ashwood High School investing in a platform and curriculum content which further develops students’ success in cross-curricular priority areas. These are the ‘why don’t schools teach that’ learnings that don’t fit neatly into subject area topic tests, but help develop and support high-functioning civic and social contributors. At nearly every Student Led Conference, parents will ask me about whether their child is values-driven, caring, considerate, and kind. It’s fantastic to know that Ashwood High School now has a formalised program that prioritises this aspect of education.

In scoping out and implementing the Ashwood Achieve program, we decided that all curricula would need to be intuitive and accessible for all students in Years 7 to 10 in both face-to-face and remote learning environments. In partnership with Princes Trust Australia, we developed multiple short lessons known as ‘Twenties’ that are easy to access and available online at any time.

Daniel Christiansz
Digital Pedagogies Learning Area Coordinator

Sport Coordinator's Report

Ashwood High School Athletics Carnival postponed
Unfortunately the Ashwood High School Athletics Carnival that was scheduled to take place on Monday 9 August is being postponed until further notice. I am hopeful that it will take place later in Term 3. I will keep students and families up-to-date once I know more information. In the meantime, students should keep an eye on Compass for information about the next round of Athletics, the Mullum Division Athletics Carnival.

Students will be able to sign-up for athletics events for the Mullum Division Athletics Carnival and represent Ashwood High School on this day. There may be try-outs taking place after school to determine who will go through to this next round. All information will be provided on Compass, so keep a look out for any new information.

Due to current lockdown restrictions, all interschool events are currently postponed. Please watch Compass for updates as they become available.

Tom Grbac
Sports Coordinator

Debating & Public Speaking Report

Despite the extended lockdown, the debating spirit remained as competitive as ever with the fifth and final round of Debating Association Victoria’s interschool debating competition online on Thursday 29 July.

This round, the Year 10 Ashwood team consisted of Chai Couzens, Sebastian Millan, and me, on the topic “that the economy is a poor measure of a nation’s success”. We emerged victorious after representing the negative side against South Oakleigh College. I was awarded the best speaker for this debate, but I could not have done so without the support of my fellow debaters.

Meanwhile, the topic “that television programs glorifying the military (e.g. SAS) should not be broadcast”, posed a challenge for the Year 9 team with Annais Lewis, Emma Hew, and Christos Giakoumatos on the negative side. Although they lost narrowly, all of our students conducted themselves with decorum and the value of respect that the students of Ashwood High School typically exemplify.

Overall, this interschool debating season was a success. The Year 10 Ashwood team won four debates and lost only one, and the Year 9 team scored two wins and three losses. We have all grown and continued refining our skills as debaters. I would like to extend a big thanks to Mr Ronald Lee for dedicating the time and resources, while continuing to provide amazing and educational opportunities that allow us, as individuals and a team, to challenge ourselves.

Angela Hewerdine, Debating Prefect

International Student Program

Congratulations to our high achievers
A big congratulations to Andy Kuok for being selected as the winner for the Victorian Global Learning Awards in student leadership category.

The Victorian Global Learning Awards Program is hosted by the Department of Education and Training in Victoria. It is open to all high school students in Victoria from both government schools and independent schools. Please find more information on the Victorian Global Learning Awards here.

Congratulations to Sivan Chen, Andy Kuok, Jeffrey Jia, Anthony Zhu, Vivian Yan, Carol Yuan, Jason Suryanata for receiving Principal’s Awards in 2021.

We are so proud of our international students’ achievements and honour the exceptional and valuable contribution they make by bringing cultural and lingual diversity to our school community. We look forward to seeing more international student awards winners next year!

Welcome to new students
Welcome to new international students, Yuhang Meng and Guoqiang Yin who joined Year 10 in Semester 2. Here is Yuhang’s self-introduction to Ashwood High School community.

My name is Yuhang Meng. Actually, I felt lost when I first joined online learning at Ashwood High School because I didn’t know any other students. I am an open person and would like to share my thoughts with my friends. However, I am a rather constrained person in an unfamiliar environment and prefer to be alone most of the time, but I am still eager to make more friends. Friends can make me feel less lonely and we can help each other. If a friend makes me feel comfortable, I would be willing to consider him as my true friend. I now feel very comfortable and confident with my online learning peers.

My dream is to study at the University of Melbourne, I know it’s very difficult for me, but everyone should have a goal. Goals and pressure can motivate me to do better and learn more. The reason I want to study at University of Melbourne is just for my future career success. Getting into a high rating university and learning more knowledge is a good step towards my future success.

My three favourite sports are skiing, bungee jumping and parachute jump. You might think these are dangerous sports, but as for me this is the meaning of my life. People need more challenges in life. I love travels. In my view, going where you want to go is like having a new life. The meaning of travel is not how many places you have been to, it is what you have seen and learned on your trip. I agree with an old saying in China that it is better to travel ten thousand miles than to read ten thousand books.
Yuhang Meng, Year 10

Learning experience sharing
The most exciting school activity happened in Term 3 is the Mock Interview in my Humanities class.

The mock interview is a very good opportunity to help us gain some understanding and experience of a job interview. Through this mock interview, I have learned a lot, for example, structuring my answer when a question is given to me, keeping eye contact during with interviewer and adapting the stress and anxiety during the interview.

Thanks to the instructions and tips from my teacher, Mr Christiansz, I have received very positive feedback from my interviewer, Ms O’Connor. I am so grateful that in Australia, this is a part of our curriculum.

Carol Yuan, Year 10

Yonghong Williams
International Student Program Manager

Education Resource Centre Report

Lunchtime in the ERC
Every day, at lunchtime, the Education Resource Centre offers Ashwood students a comfortable refuge from the winter chill, and a safe sanctuary from the everyday pressures of student life. The dynamic space is used by students for a variety of purposes. Some come to work independently or collaboratively on homework. Others come to relax, read a book or a newspaper, browse the collection, have a quiet chat, or just enjoy some downtime in a comfortable chair. Some students play cards or board games, and there is always at least one game of chess being played. The ERC is open every lunchtime and all students are welcome.

Echo Online
This term the Education Resource Centre is trialling a new media issues resource. Echo Online is a searchable, issues-orientated compilation of text and multimedia news items with accompanying comprehensive issue analyses. Students and staff are encouraged to take advantage of the free access to the resource during the trial period. Further details can be found on the ERC webpage.

Premiers’ Reading Challenge
All Years 7-10 Students are registered in this year’s Premiers’ Reading Challenge, and with a full month remaining, it is not too late to participate and earn some Ashwood house points. Each participant earns five house points for the first book they read. Full details are on the ERC webpage.

Remember to find time to enjoy reading every day.

Mr Matthew Feeney
ERC Coordinator


Parent and Community Partnerships - Parents & Friends Network