Ashwood High School eNews

Issue 6 2021

Principal's Report

Remote & Flexible Teaching & Learning to a Return to Face-to-Face Teaching and Learning - ‘From Great to Exceptional’
I am hopeful that as part of Victoria’s roadmap out of COVID-19 lockdown, expected to be announced within days, a return-to-school plan will be featured. Melbourne students missed about 20 weeks of Face-to-Face Teaching and Learning in 2020 and another 10 weeks so far in 2021. Although the current transmission levels of the virus remain concerning I remain optimistic that a staged return to Face-to-Face Teaching and Learning may be possible in Term 4. 

Notwithstanding the roadmap, which is yet to be published, I remain proud of the way staff and students have negotiated the challenges of teaching and learning whilst at home. I will provide a detailed letter to parents and students once the roadmap is announced.

In the meantime, Ashwood High School’s ability to pivot and act with the latest health advice regarding the pandemic was challenged on numerous occasions by the state-wide changes of coronavirus restrictions and advice listed below:
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.

On the return to Face-to-Face Teaching and Learning it will be imperative for the school to assess the impact of lockdowns on our students’ learning, mental health and social development. It is a school priority to identify any acute challenges that some children may face now, so that the school and the system can give those students the support they will need in 2022.

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.  

Projected Enrolments 2022 – ‘Increasing Positive Parental and Community Engagement’
We are expecting approximately 149 new Year 7 students in 2022. The graph below clearly symbolises the positive growth and future of our school. The school’s overall enrolment in 2022 will be 745 students, an extra 110 students compared to 2021. This is extremely encouraging, a positive sign for the long-term sustainability and viability of our School. Congratulations to Ashwood High School.
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’.

Accelerated Curriculum & Enrichment (ACE) Program 2022 – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
Enrolments for the Year 7 ACE class of 2022 are being finalised with grateful acceptance letters from 2022 students and families being received by the school. A second 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 may 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

The Path Forward – New Direction at Ashwood High School’ – ‘Good to GREAT – Great to Exceptional’
Positive Future for Ashwood High School – ‘Good to GREAT – Great to Exceptional’
Our positive future will result from maintaining our strong School Vision, which includes a continued focus on:

  • School Motto – ‘Vision Inspired Action’
  • The four pillars of our GREAT school
  • Our CHOIR values
  • Four key priorities
  • Educational Philosophy
  • Principal’s commitment
  • Outstanding state-of-the-art facilities on unparalleled spacious grounds
  • Student wellbeing and learning at the centre of all decision making processes.

Principal’s Awards and School Colours 2021 – Adaptive Practice – ‘Great to Exceptional’ (All four priorities)
I hope you enjoyed our eNewsletter #5 dated Friday 20 August 2021. It was a real celebration of high expectations and resilience to see photographs of our wonderful students dressed in their formal school uniform (even though learning from home) proudly holding their award. The school has received more than 600 applications from students for School Colours. The induction of School Colour panellists occurred on Wednesday 1 September 2021 and panel deliberations undertaken on Wednesday 8 September 2021.  This initiative continues to go from strength to strength, even in the remote setting, and is evidence of our students’ high level of engagement and connectedness with school. I am extremely proud of Ashwood High School students and look forward to announcing the recipients of School Colours in the eNewsletter 7 which will be published in Term 4 2021.

Student Leadership Structure and Processes for 2022  ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
The Student Leadership Structure introduced in 2021 coincided with Ashwood High School’s move to two mini schools (Middle School – Years 7-9; Senior School – Years 10-12) has been a resounding success. Ashwood High School Student Leaders hold an important position within the school and in our wider school community. They are fundamentally responsible for upholding the CHOIR Values and enhancing the culture of Ashwood High School as a school of first choice in Melbourne’s inner east. As significant role models, all Student Leaders must demonstrate attitudes and behaviours that align with the high expectations and values of Ashwood High School every day, in and out of the school. Applications for 2022 leadership positions are now being considered. Support for Middle School applicants occurred in Tutor Group in Week 9, with applications closing Wednesday 15 September 2021 (Senior School) and Monday 18 October 2021 (Middle School).

Student Leadership and Recognition – ‘Adaptive practice - Enhancing the Student Culture’
At this time of the year, aspiring student leaders in Year 11 are preparing for speeches which are generally held at a Whole School Assembly in the first week of Term 4.  While it is difficult to know what restrictions might be in place in Term 4, we have developed a plan which will allow applicants to conduct a video speech which will be submitted with the written application for publication to students and staff as part of the school’s selection protocol and process.

Along with the Student Leadership Executive, a suite of Student Leadership positions will continue in 2022:

This inclusive structure will give students further opportunities to develop and demonstrate leadership and student voice in 2022.

I am extremely proud of Ashwood High School students and look forward to announcing the Student Leadership team in the first newsletter of Term 4 2021.

Student Led Conferences Term 3 – Adaptive Practice – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement - Increasing Positive Parental Engagement’
Parent engagement was positive at our recent Student Led Conferences held on Wednesday 25 and Friday 27 August 2021 via Webex.  In 2015 there were 389 bookings at Parent/Teacher Interviews. In 2021 our Student Led Conferences had a total of 2165 bookings or 3.85 bookings per household. Thank you to the many parents who emailed a congratulatory and thankful message about our recent Student Led Conferences.  It is wonderful to see that our school can not only adapt, but also continue to improve our practice in these difficult times.

Debating and Public Speaking – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
This year, Ashwood High School continues to grow from strength to strength with its successful debating program. This began with the implementation of weekly after-school training sessions designed to foster a sense of teamwork and belonging within the school community. Ashwood High School has truly established itself this year as a school of high expectations when it comes to debating. For example, the Year 10 Ashwood team won four debates and lost only one. Congratulations to Mr Ronald Lee, Public Speaking and Debating Coordinator.

Co-curricular Program 2021 – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
Due to the current restrictions, the following programs have had to be cancelled:

  • Year 11 and 12 Formal, which had originally been scheduled for Thursday 22 July 2021 and then rescheduled to Tuesday 24 August 2021
  • Year 8 Camp, originally scheduled for Tuesday 17 August – Friday 20 August 2021.

Thank you to students and parents for their understanding and support.

Pupil Free Days 2022 - ‘Valuing Staff and Building Capacity’
At the most recent meeting of School Council approval was granted for the following four pupil free days for 2022:

  • Friday 28 January 2022 (state-wide) and Monday 31 January 2022 - Curriculum / PL Days

(Students will return to school on Tuesday 1 February 2022)

  • Friday 17 June 2022 – Report Writing Day (Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday is Monday 13 June 2022)
  • Thursday 11 August 2022 - Curriculum Day.

Adjustments to VCE SACs & GAT– Adaptive Practice – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
In line with recent changes to VCAA guidelines regarding onsite assessments, Ashwood High School has been holding a number of onsite SAC assessments for Unit 3/4 VCE studies, which began on Monday 30 August 2021. The access to onsite assessments met the guidelines as set out by the VCAA and Department of Education, including:

  • The essential assessment cannot be conducted online
  • Only groups of 10 or fewer students can be in attendance (students will be informed by their teacher prior to the SAC being onsite)
  • Students must be in full academic school uniform.

A letter outlining these changes was sent to parents / carers and students on Friday 27 August 2021.

The General Achievement Test (GAT) will now be held on Tuesday 5 October 2021. The GAT plays a role in the calculation of students’ ATAR scores.

Musical Production – Rescheduled – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
I met with all members of our School Musical Production team on Friday 20 August 2021 to announce that the performances of Ashwood High School’s Musical Production of The Addams Family would be postponed. This decision has been taken in light of the most recent advice concerning assessments, performances and subsequent COVID-19 restrictions. At Ashwood High School we are fortunate that current Year 12 students were not involved in the School Musical Production for 2021 and, as such, we can defer the performances until 2022. The school is currently deliberating on the exact dates; the dates for these performances will be informed by health advice and communicated to the school community.  At this stage, the school is not in a position to specify the performance dates.

NAPLAN 2021 – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
Congratulations to Ashwood High School students and staff for their ongoing efforts to achieve such outstanding results, particularly in the ever-changing landscape of moving in and out of Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning. The results clearly display our students' high level of engagement, a supportive and well-informed parent community and our staff's commitment to improving learning outcomes for all students at Ashwood High School.

Top two bands

  • Year 9 Reading at 32% showed we are well above the state 22% and above similar schools 30%
  • Year 9 Spelling displayed an outstanding result with 36% compared to the state 22% and 29% for similar schools
  • Year 7 Reading at 39% was 11% above the state average of 28%
  • Year 7 Grammar and Punctuation scored 36% compared to the state at 24% and similar schools of 34%.

Students above benchmark growth

  • Year 9 Numeracy displayed a strong result with our school recording 17% compared to network schools 16% and the state 14%
  • One of our best results came from the category of Year 9 Spelling with 42% compared to similar schools 31% and network schools 29%
  • Year 7 Spelling displayed our school well above other categories with 35%, similar schools 23%, network schools 27% and the state 21%.

High Growth Students

  • Year 9 Spelling results were outstanding with 36%, similar schools and network schools at 29% and the state at 24%
  • Year 7 Spelling displayed Ashwood High School to be one of the best in the state with 34% compared to similar schools at 27%, Network schools at 29% and the state at 24%

International Student Program 2021 Annual Report Survey – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
The results from the 2021 International Student Annual Report Survey are outstanding, indicating a well-delivered program meeting the needs of our students. Congratulations to Ms Yonghong Williams and her team.

Unified and Sound School Governance focused on the Strategic Plan – ‘Good to GREAT – Great to Exceptional’
The current Strategic Plan is an ongoing extension of The Path Forward at Ashwood High School. The three major goals for our current Strategic Plan are:

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

I am confident that our Strategic Plan is delivering on our commitments as a school community.

Staffing  – ‘Valuing Staff and Building Capacity’
The school farewells Ms Adriana La Bella as she commences Maternity Leave.  Ms La Bella has performed her duties with distinction at Ashwood High School over the period of her employment and she has earned the respect of her colleagues and students.  Ashwood High School will continue to retain, attract and develop quality staff to the school. This period of unprecedented growth and prosperity in the school’s history provides us with an opportunity to enhance the quality of our workforce in support of improved social and academic outcomes for students.

Staff Wellbeing Week – ‘Valuing Staff and Building Capacity’
The week beginning Monday 30 August 2021 was Staff Wellbeing Week and this was an opportunity to value and build staff capacity through the provision of strategies and activities that supported mental health and wellbeing. Our Staff Wellbeing Week was filled with activities and workshops that focused on elements that contributed to wellbeing and resilience. Additionally, Staff Wellbeing Week had a global focus on exploring the deep satisfaction that we can find in our social connections. At the forefront, our Staff Wellbeing Week aimed to celebrate the sense of Community that is alive at Ashwood High School and reflected in the CHOIR values. Activities and workshops included a lunch-time mindfulness seminar, lunch-time exercise sessions, an evening cookery class and an evening trivia night, which were all held remotely. Although it was not compulsory to attend, the activities were supported whole-heartedly by the staff with the aim of highlighting the importance to ‘carve out time’ for ourselves. Thank you to Dr Elisa Jones-Arango, School Psychologist, and her team for this innovative wellbeing week.

School Review 2022 - 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. In 2022, the school will undertake a School Review. The FISO model will be an integral part of the School Review process. At the August School Council meeting, I stepped Councillors through the FISO model. At this meeting it will be my intention to speak to the continuous Improvement Cycle that was also in place when we undertook the School Review process in 2018.

Update on the Capital Works Program - ‘From Great to Exceptional’ – ‘The Jewel of the East’
Following the completion of the Asset Management Plan (AMP) 2, there are multiple stages involved with a project’s design and development:

  • Schematic Design - This stage focuses on the funded project and expands on its initial consideration as part of the Spatial Analysis Plan (Master plan) in the approved AMP 2. This stage will help the school develop space and floor plans, and a Cost Plan B estimate. The Project Control Group (PCG) works with the architect to develop the design of the buildings and facilities and must reconcile with the budget and scope of works approved in AMP 2.
  • Design Development - This stage relies on the approval of the Schematic Design stage. It focuses on details like materials and finishes, elevations and sections, the landscape plan, engineering, electrical and structural parts of a project. The PCG will work with the architect to refine the Schematic Design proposals and develop detailed designs of the proposed buildings and facilities. The architect will prepare a Design Development Report which needs to be endorsed by the school and approved by the VSBA to progress to tender documentation. Once the Design Development report is approved, it is not subject to any further changes.
  • Tender Documentation - The architect will develop detailed documentation fit for the invitation to tender from building contractors. The tender documentation needs to meet acceptable industry standards and be sufficiently detailed to assure the VSBA that the project can be constructed and commissioned within the approved budget. The architect will then submit a Tender Documentation Report.

On Tuesday 7 September 2021 the Victorian School Building Authority endorsed the Design Documentation phase of the Capital Works Program. We now move into the Tender Documentation phase. It is a very exciting time at Ashwood High School.

Term Break - Enhancing the Student Culture and Valuing Staff & Building Capacity
I would like to wish all members of the Ashwood High School community a safe and balanced Spring holiday (study break) period. Thank you to our Student Outcomes Leader Ms Lucy Rimmer and the VCAA Curriculum Services Coordinator Ms Julie Huggins and their hard working team of Year 12 VCE teachers who will be conducting classes and practice exams in the first week of the holidays. I know that over the years many students have benefited from this extra tuition. Increased application over the next couple of months on the part of students and staff will make a big difference to academic outcomes. I continue to feel optimistic about Term 4 and I hope it will be a rewarding term.

Stay safe, healthy and connected.

Brett Moore
Executive Principal
Friday 17 September 2021

Key Dates - Term 4 2021

Middle School Assistant Principal's Report

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

Student Recognition

  • School Colours
    Please be advised that School Colours successful recipients will be emailed by the end of Term 3, 2021. The Learning Task feedback on applications will also be released at this time. In advance, congratulations to our many students who applied for r School Colours in 2021. Thank you kindly to Ms Meg Brydon – Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Transitions Leader – and Ms Phoebe Lindsay – Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Pathways Leader for the highly successful executions of this process in 2021.
  • Student Leadership Applications Open for 2022 
    It is hard to believe it is that time of year again when our many aspirational students apply for a wealth of student leadership opportunities. Please be advised that the Senior School Executive applications closed on Tuesday 15 September 2021, Middle School Executive applications close on Monday 18 October 2021 and all remaining applications close on Friday 22 October 2021. For full details, please consult Ms Wraight’s Compass post dated Monday 30 August 2021 for full details of how to apply. Many thanks to Ms Matilda Wraight – Student Leadership, Voice and Agency Coordinator – for organising this process so competently on behalf of our school community.

I hope students and their loved ones enjoy a well-earned break in these upcoming school holidays. We look forward to further updates from the Premier with regards to the roadmap out of lockdown and students expected date for students return to onsite teaching and learning.

Meg McLellan
Middle School Assistant Principal

Middle School Engagement, Wellbeing and Transitions Report

Rather than focusing on the lockdown that has dominated Term 3, and more broadly, the media and our collective conscience, I’d like to focus on the amazing, positive and innovative things our Middle School students have been achieving, despite the many obstacles in their way.

In Tutor Group, students were excited to learn about how to apply for School Colours in the categories of Academic, Sport, Art, Music, Service and House. We spent a whole period talking about the process, with the more experienced students in each Tutor Group sharing their tips and tricks with those newer to the process. In addition to this information session, students were provided with a Twenty to guide them through the process, and a lunchtime help session run by our exceptional Student Leadership team, along with help from Ms Wraight and the Student Management Team. Students needed to show their consistent modelling of the CHOIR values, along with evidence participation and achievement in their chosen category. Each application needed to include a completed coversheet, a cover letter addressed to Mr Moore and evidence of their suitability including School Colour nominations from throughout the year. These were collated into one PDF document before being submitted to the relevant Learning Task on Compass.    

We were thrilled to receive nearly 600 applications across the six categories, and these will be assessed by the School Colours panels in Week 9. Each panel consists of two staff members and at least two students (typically one each from Middle and Senior School). This means that all of our wonderful teaching staff are involved, working with a range of students to make recommendations for the awarding of School Colours to Mr Moore. As Executive Principal, Mr Moore then reviews these recommendations and is proud to send a letter (via email this year) to successful recipients at the conclusion of the process, prior to the School Holidays. Thank you to all of the staff, students and Mr Moore who have been generous in giving of their time to ensure this year’s huge number of applications can be assessed. It certainly shows the Optimism of Ashwood High School students, even in these difficult times.

The next feather in many Middle School students’ caps will be challenging themselves by submitting an application for a Student Leadership position in 2022. Students listened actively and asked intelligent questions about the meaning and benefits of leadership, as well as the application process, during our Tutor Group session dedicated to this in Week 9. The Student Leadership Handbook, available in School Documentation on Compass, is the perfect source of information to support you in discussing this opportunity with your child. We hope that you will encourage them, as we have done, to take a chance and put themselves out there, for the benefits and potential learning far outweigh the risk.

Again, there is a Tutor Group Twenty to help students navigate the Student Leadership application process, as well as an Application Help Session on Monday 13 September at lunchtime – see Compass for more details! We wish all students the very best with their applications and look forward to inducting a brilliant team of student leaders for 2022.

The team in the Middle School, as ever, have been working diligently to ensure continued engagement of all students in Years 7 -9. I would like to sincerely thank each member of the team, for what has been a term full of unexpected twists and turns.

These staff members not only manage to give of themselves personally and professionally whilst juggling a global pandemic, but always manage to do so with a smile on their faces! Thanks goes to our Integration Team Mrs Jessie Coe, Mr Matthew Dexter, Mr Matthew Feeney, Ms June Ren, and ably led by Mrs Julie Clearwater, our School Psychologist Dr Elisa Jones-Arango, School Chaplain, Mr Long Nguyen, House Coordinators Mr Guy Driscoll, Mrs Vicky Dernikos, Mr Ned Hayward, Ms Harriet Cooper, Student Voice, Leadership and Agency Coordinator Ms Matilda Wraight and our Mini School Administration Officer extraordinaire Ms Laura Higgins. Thanks to each and every one of you for caring so deeply about our students and going the extra mile.

Meg Brydon
Middle School Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Transitions Leader

Cowan House Report

Whilst we have found ourselves locked down again, I am proud to say that Cowan has continued to impress in mirroring Ashwood High School’s lofty standards and values.

During Remote learning, Cowan students have continued to produce a fantastic level of participation in all co-curricular activities wherever possible. Continuing to impress with an ongoing desire to represent their House proudly, I am delighted to acknowledge the efforts in our house winning the Olympics Daily Trivia competition, and additionally for putting in significant strides to compete strongly in the ‘STEP-tember’ challenge.

The students of the House have also continued to do themselves proud in fulfilling their academic expectations with aplomb, regularly completing all work tasks and performing strongly in their Common Assessment Tasks.

The Tutor Group program, held on Tuesdays, continues to strongly ensure all Cowan members are maintaining their House comradery. With weekly wellbeing check ins, group events, productivity activities centred around mindfulness, and ongoing wellbeing support available, the program is proving as important as ever, especially now with these trivial times.

With further respect to the Tutor Group program, it would be prudent of me to make special mention to the team tasked with looking after the wellbeing of the Cowan Middle School students. All five staff members are doing a wonderful, understated and underrated job in ensuring the wellbeing of their Tutor Group members is one of their highest priorities. I would like to extend a significant thank you to those staff members involved.

I am extremely happy and proud with the way in which all Cowan students have implemented their fantastic approach to their schooling and have continued their strong academic year. All members of Cowan House have epitomised Ashwood High School’s High Expectations and values in an admirable manner. I ask all members to continue supporting one another wherever possible and progressing on in their strong manner.

I keenly look forward to the return to onsite learning, and to finish the year as strongly as we have started it.

Please be safe, and look out for one another.

Guy Driscoll
Cowan House Coordinator

Flynn House Report

As we approach the middle of the semester, we reflect on the rewards of our efforts throughout Term 3.   While we have been in Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning, our Flynn students continue to impress. Although there have been challenges, our students have continued to adapt to change and constantly show their optimism and connectedness to their learning and dedication to their House. Most recently, many Flynnians embraced the opportunity to apply for School Colours and submit well documented applications. I congratulate all students on demonstrating exceptional organisation and resilience to produce such high-quality portfolios.

Amongst the uncertainty and in the true spirit of our CHOIR values, I have witnessed our students respect for each other and incredible kindness with their support for each other in Tutor Groups and praises when hobbies, pets, families and creativity have been showcased. Also shared in Tutor Groups were acts of kindness our Flynnians have been spreading throughout lockdown, including cooking for their families, caring for neighbours and volunteering to do household chores. Terrific discussions have evolved from the Twenties completed in Tutor Groups, including showing gratitude for the great school of which we are all part.  Students have demonstrated how they have developed as individuals and how we have continued to work together as a proud community.

Whilst there have been few opportunities to work together as a House during online learning, many students should be extremely proud of their continual involvement in the Music program, academic competitions, celebrating small wins and finding things to be grateful for, which all contribute to shifting our mindset to a more positive and optimistic future.

I wish all students and their families a safe and restful break, away from the screens and enjoying some quality down time. I look forward to returning to a productive Term 4 where we Flynnians will again show our true House spirit!

Vicky Dernikos
Flynn House Coordinator

Melba House Report

Some say that history is cyclical. Certainly our recent history has been repetitive, revolving around repeated lockdowns. As has been the case each lockdown, I have been deeply impressed by the resilience and adaptability of our school community. Melba House, I say to you again: well done, and keep going! At a time of great isolation, the world came together this semester for the Olympics and Paralympics. In the accompanying House competition Melba secured bronze place, and I commend the contribution of proud Melburnian Yunal Lutfi in earning the most House points for Melba. In keeping with the sporting zeitgeist, we have been getting moving for STEP-tember, and I encourage you all to get involved. This term also saw applications for Student Leadership, and I urge any of you -whether your motives are dictatorial or democratic - to apply!

I wish the denizens of Melba a restful term break so that you may return reinvigorated in Term 4 for the work of turning Melba House into a Melba Mansion.

Ned Hayward
Melba House Coordinator

Paterson House Report

Paterson House has welcomed Semester 2 with great spirit, effort, resilience and flexibility. At the commencement of Term 3, 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 continued to develop a personal portfolio to display their ‘Twenties’ and how they have grown and developed over the course of the year.

All students have 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

From 1 September, all students, families and staff are invited to join the STEP-tember challenge to get up and get active. STEP-tember is a fun and inclusive virtual event that challenges you to walk, swim, wheel or spin your way to 10,000 steps per day during the month of September - all while helping to improve the lives of children and adults who live with cerebral palsy. 

Studies show that people who exercise regularly have a better mental health and emotional wellbeing, exercise boosts our mood, concentration and alertness, and encourages us to minimise our screen time on a daily basis. Just 30 minutes of exercise per day can make a big difference. 

Paterson students are invited to join Ashwood's STEP-tember challenge by documenting their daily movements in a shared excel document on Teams. Students will be awarded 1 House Point each day if they achieve 10,000 steps per day. However, if you are choosing to swim, wheel or spin, every kilometre equals 1,000 steps. 

Harriet Cooper
Paterson House Coordinator

Middle School Student Leadership & Agency Report

Applications for 2022 Student Leadership positions are now open! All students interested students are encouraged to read the 2022 Student Leadership Handbook carefully (found in School Documentation and in Tutor Group Resources) to determine which of the positions available to their year level they are interested in applying for. For more information and assistance, students may contact their Tutor Group teacher, their House Coordinator, Ms Brydon or myself.

Congratulations to all students who applied for School Colour Awards this year! It has been wonderful to see the optimism and enthusiasm that students have brought to all areas of school life during a challenging year. A special thank you to all students who served as student representatives on the School Colours panels. Your assistance, input and feedback was greatly appreciated by all staff involved.

Matilda Wraight
Student Voice, Leadership & Agency Coordinator

Middle School Captains Report

Hello Students and Guardians,

My name is Amber Balmer and I am the Middle School Captain for 2021.

At the moment, the applications are open for leadership positions. Whether it be a small leadership position or an executive, I think it is a great idea to apply for a leadership position. It has given me so many benefits and I think it was an amazing experience. One thing that it has really helped me with is my confidence. Throughout the year, my confidence has grown significantly and a part of this is public speaking. Getting up in front of people used to be very nerve-wracking for me, but after practice and experience, I am more confident in getting up in front of people and my public speaking skills have improved.

Something that I also found great about being in a leadership position is giving back to the school. Ashwood High School gives us many great opportunities and I found that it was a great way to give back to the school. I also was a voice for my peers, which I found very important. I think that everybody’s voice should be heard and I found that leadership was a great way to do that. Even just applying for a position was a great learning experience because it taught me skills to how to apply for a job.

Overall, I think that leadership is a great experience.

Thank you for your time,

Amber Balmer 

Hello, all students and staff of Ashwood High School.

It has been quite a term so far, but term holidays are right around the corner and I am sure that everybody is very excited and relieved to get a break from school. As you may know, student leadership applications are now open for 2022. Student leadership is a very beneficial and important part of our school community. As a proud student leader of Ashwood High School I can inform you with high amounts of confidence that applying and acting as a student leader will benefit you a lot. In the application process you will get to experience how it would be as if you were applying for an actual job which is for sure to help you in the future. Being a student leader comes with responsibilities and many perks as well. Being a student leader means that you are confident, and you always strive for the best. And we all have to agree that the badges are an extra advantage and look amazing. I would highly encourage all students to at least give it a go and apply. Even if you think that you will not get your desired role, trust me you might get it because I never thought I would get leadership role but here we are. Being a student leader means so much more than just a badge and a title and I want everyone to feel this amazing experience. So, I highly encourage our wonderful and strong community to put themselves forward and apply to be a student leader. 

Haris Shehzad

Accelerated Curriculum & Enrichment Program

The Victorian High-Ability Program is an initiative developed by the Department of Education and Training to support high-ability students to excel through structured learning extension programs. The program aims to stimulate students’ critical thinking, problem solving and creativity through enriching their understanding of English and Mathematics. Entrance to the program is by invitation and is based on the results of statewide testing. Ashwood High School is extremely proud of the 41 students from Years 7 and 8 who were selected to participate in the Victorian High Ability Program in 2021. We hope that they have enjoyed the opportunity to extend their literacy and numeracy skills and make new friends.

Families and friends of the school are reminded that a second round of ACE testing has been scheduled to take place onsite at Ashwood High School on Friday, 22 October 2021, allowing interested students 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.

Finally, this issue features a revival of the segment ‘Spotlight On’ which takes a closer look inside the classrooms of our ACE program. This month, we welcome 10ACE Advanced Science and their teacher Ms Matilda Wraight.

Caroline Servadei
Enrichment, Pedagogy Partnerships & Professional Learning Leader

This term the Year 10 ACE class have completed Student-Led Investigation projects as part of their Advanced Science subject. These inquiry projects required students to research an area of interest and use this background information to assist them in designing and carrying out a scientific investigation from start to finish.

This task required students to follow the Science inquiry process from designing their research questions and proposing hypotheses, to planning and conducting a fair experiment, then recording and processing accurate results. Students were then required to analyse these results, evaluate their experiment and communicate their findings in a comprehensive report.

I was delighted with the variety and quality of projects that the class completed and wish to congratulate the students on the exceptional scientific work that they produced.

Jamieson Adler - What is the Effect of Light Colour on Plant Growth?

Sebastian Millan - What Is the Effect of Different Filtration Materials on Water Clarity?

Stephanie Millan - What Is the Effect of Seed Size Variation on Plant Growth Rate?

Kirubel Tadesse - What Is the Difference Between Bacterial Growth on Different Surfaces?

Thibo Pereira-Leclerc - How Does Shoe Type and                           
Surface Affect Kicking Distance?

Rupesh Bankar - How Does Gravity Affect the Acceleration of a Falling Object?

Chai Couzens - What Is the Effect of Temperature on the Growth of Mould on Cheese?

Angela Wang - How Does Perceived Task Value Effect Completion Rate in Students?

Jack Christie - Do Different Demographics of People Find Different Types of Jokes Funny?

Daniel Cobelli - What Are the effects of pH on Plant Growth?

Kayli Kuoch - What Effect Does Colour Have On Image Recognition?


Senior School Assistant Principal's Report

Dear Ashwood High School Community,

Ashwood High School continues to be at the forefront of educational adaption with another COVID-19 lockdown. It has been a credit to our community of dedicated Ashwood High School staff and students for how they can adapt to the continuing changing educational landscapes with limited preparation. Our teaching staff have developed the curriculum to allow our students to remain engaged and challenged throughout these changing times.  Due to the continued COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, we have had to reschedule several events, including the GAT for Year 12 students (rescheduled for Tuesday 5 October 2021 Week 1 Term 4).

Our students in Senior School continue to develop high expectations and drive for excellence. The students have shown huge resilience and teamwork to improve all aspects of learning at Ashwood High School. Due to the extended lockdown, the school has now adapted to the moving times, and we are currently running online SACs and SATs for our Senior Students. In continuing to develop our student's skills for the upcoming exams, students that undertake a Units 3 and 4 subject will attend online practice Exams during Week 1 of the Term 3 holidays. The Units 3 and 4 VCE practise exam program will be led by our Student Outcomes Leader, Ms Lucy Rimmer. This will give our senior students the best possible practice for the upcoming VCE Units 3 and 4 exams commencing in October.

Innovation continues to be displayed at Ashwood High School despite several lockdowns. This was evident in the School Colours application process, with almost 600 students from both Middle and Senior schools being nominated for School Colours in 2021. This program was started by our Principal Mr Brett Moore in 2015 when arriving at the school. The School Colours process involved staff working with student representatives from both Middle and Senior schools to nominate which students would be awards with school colours for 2021.

The Senior School team is thrilled to announce that on Monday, 30 August, the applications for the Senior School Student Leadership Positions in 2022 opened. Applications for the Senior School Executive position consist of the School Captains, School Vice Captains, and the International Student Captain.  Applications for the Student Senior Executive Leadership position close at the end of Term 3.

Despite all our efforts the current evolving nature of COVID-19 and lockdowns, we have been advised that the Year 10 Work Experience had to be cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience or disappointment this has caused. Thank you for the communities understanding as we advance through these difficult times. Consequently, Year 10 students will continue to attend their academic classes through remote and flexible learning in Week 10. Thank you to our Careers and Pathway  Coordinator Ms Jodie Hechenberger, for her efforts in the organisation of the Work Experience program despite it not going ahead.

I want to thank our Principal, Mr Brett Moore, for his outstanding leadership and guidance through the government’s COVID-19 lockdowns and senior students vaccine rollout process at the end of Term 3. His leadership has allowed our school to continue moving forward and remain focused on our students' health, wellbeing, and learning. These lockdowns continue to change our teaching landscape from onsite to remote time and time again. Our staff and students continue to adapt with the limited timeframe and preparation, and this 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 into remote learning for both staff and students. This has reassured our community that all members' safety and wellbeing 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 holiday break and look forward to hopefully seeing our students back in onsite learning during Term 4.

Best regards

Tom O'Toole
Senior School Assistant Principal

Senior School Engagement, Wellbeing & Pathways Report

This term has marked the finalisation of subject selection for current Senior School students, with Course Confirmation letters being sent out on Friday 3 September. We are so pleased to be able to offer Units 1+2 Music Performance next year as a new subject in the VCE course offerings. We had many interested students take up the chance to study this new subject, as one of the core pillars of the school and it is exciting to have Music offered at the VCE level. I would like to acknowledge the work of Ms Kate Davis in formulating subject blockings to support the greatest variety of choice for our students. I would also like to thank Ms Laura Higgins for her support during the subject sele
ction process.

Thank you to Ms Julie Huggins, Ms Lucy Rimmer, and Ms Jessie Tian for running a remote VTAC, CED and End of Year Activities Information Session to parents and students of Year 12 on the topic of applying for further study. It is important that parents are aware of the busy times and processes coming up for our Year 12 so that they can provide support where needed.

For our Year 10 students, this term has introduced the Road Smart program preparing beginner drivers for a lifetime of safe driving. Funded by the Victorian Government, Road Smart supports and enhances Victoria’s Graduated Licensing System. We were fortunate to have an interactive online session with Road Smart facilitators who introduced the core rights and responsibilities when driving. Students have also been offered a free in car session with a qualified instructor which can be accessed once they have their L plates.

While this period of Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning has been challenging, we have been so impressed by our Senior School students support and encouragement of each other this term. Please see below messages from our amazing House Captains for their peers:

To my fellow Senior School students,

At the moment, I am sure there are many of you that may be feeling down, unmotivated, and sick of staring at your screens all day. I know exactly how you feel, but I want to remind you all that we are in this together as a team. We are strong and we can get through these hard times if we help each other out and give each other our support. Before we know it we will be back on campus and in the classroom without having to look at each other through a screen.  Just think about how amazing it will be on the day that we return to campus, seeing your friends for the first time in so long!  If you ever feel that you need someone to talk to or to help you, please reach out to a friend, a teacher or one of the house captains as we are always here to provide some love and support! I know that if we continue to show optimism and resilience, we will get through this.

Matilda Stanton
Flynn House Captain

Being a part of the Senior School has been an honour to work alongside such diligent and inspirational students. We as the house leaders are so incredibly proud of all your constant efforts and engagement in online learning. We value every endeavour you make as it motives others to continue working hard. The leadership team, your peers and the teachers are always here to provide you all with assistance and generate support. Thus, we highly encourage everyone to stay connected and reach out whenever you need. By learning from home, we hope that you have more time to participate and do the things you love – including sleeping, as we highly recommend you all to maintain your sleep schedules and take time off to rest.

Through working together as a team, we generate a support for one another and fundamentally work together to achieve our very best. “The truth is that teamwork is at the heart of great achievement” -John C. Maxwell.

Thank you all for being such an inspiration and encouraging your peers to continue striving for their best.

Elizabeth Tziafas
Paterson House Captain

Hello everyone,

Congratulations on making to the end of another term! This term was stressful to say the least, especially with extensive lockdowns and the unfortunate cancellation of many events we have been looking forward all year long. Despite these hurdles we have been faced with, you have shown resilience and remained positive, which is something to be proud of. The upcoming term will be another rigorous one, but I know we will all get through it as long as we remain positive and keep connected with one another. I encourage you to look out for one another and check up on your friends and family. Again, well done on all of your efforts for this term. I hope you enjoy a well-deserved break these holidays and are happy and safe. I hope to see everyone next term in person, face-to-face.

Dannah Casanova
Cowan House Captain

Hello lovely Senior School students,

It’s Melba House Captain here! I just wanted to say a huge well done to all of you for getting through this lockdown so far, and putting your best effort into everything, I am so proud of you! Keep striving to do the best you can in whatever that may be and make sure to prioritise yourself. I know that lockdowns can be so mentally draining so please make sure to take some time for selfcare, because you deserve to feel your best. I know you’ve heard it many times before but stay connected with those you love and bring you happiness, its times like these that we need to be there for each other more than anything. I want to remind you that you are doing so amazing! Continue to achieve your goals even in remote learning and look after yourself. If you need anything at all you can also always reach out to me. Once again I am so proud of you all, stay safe and take care.

Greer Van Rooyen
Melba House Captain

I wish everyone a restful break over the Term 3 break to recharge. I would also like to congratulate our Year 12 students on their ongoing preparation for the end of year exams and hope they can take this opportunity to consolidate their learning from Term 3.

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

Year 10 Coordinator's Report

As Term 3 is coming to an end, it is hard to believe that we find ourselves in lockdown yet again. Each stage of this pandemic has changed the way we live, learn, study work, and socialise. When people ask me how we as teachers and students are going during this time, I always find myself saying how proud I am of our school, but particularly how proud I am of our students.

I want to start by congratulating Year 10 students who yet again have continued to participate enthusiastically in their classes and continue to support each other to do their best. Remember to thank your amazing teachers for all they are doing to prepare and support you for your soon to be transition to Year 11!

Recently, Year 10 students participated in an online session with Vic Roads and have continued to learn about road safety in Form Group classes over the last few weeks.

Several Year 10 students have also been busy preparing their applications for School Colours. What an amazing opportunity to showcase your achievement and an excellent experience as the process of applying for an award is great practise for future life.

During this time, I know it can be hard to find the motivation to study and prepare in your own time for assessments and tests. While it is tough to eliminate this stress completely, there are some useful study apps that can help make it all a little more manageable and assist you to manage your time and wellbeing. Give one of these a go or set a goal to try one next term before exams kick in!

  • Flora: An app that assists with procrastination and the temptation to pick up your phone!
  • Atmosphere Relaxing Sounds: A free ambient noise app that offers a whole bunch of diverse sound categories to listen to whilst studying.
  • HabitBull: allows you to track and input good habits, even giving you a score based on how well you’re keeping up with routines. 
  • Smiling Mind: A mindfulness meditation app which has programs to help you manage stress.
  • 7 Minute Workout Fitness App: One of the best ways to send stress packing is by getting your sweat on. This free app offers daily workouts that are designed to get your heart rate up and clear the mind.

I want to congratulate all Year 10 students on your continued enthusiasm, resilience and maintaining positivity throughout this disappointing and challenging time.

To all Year 10 students and families, enjoy a very well-deserved school holiday break and students, I look forward to seeing you back in term 4 for an exciting last term of Year 10.

Sachael Miller
Year 10 Coordinator

Year 11 Coordinator's Report

While the impact of the coronavirus has continued to present challenges to their studies, our Year 11 students have shown great commitment to their learning during this time. They have continued to participate actively in online sessions and have shown maturity, positivity, and support for one another in these often-trying times.

Recently, Year 11 students participated in an online session with renowned motivational speaker, Andrew Jobling. Andrew was a St Kilda footballer and has since the end of his sporting career has gone on to be a well-regarded author and speaker. Students were highly engaged during Andrew’s session as he shared his own experience in relation to perseverance, self-belief and learning from failures when setting out to achieve any worthwhile goal.

Year 11 students also participated in a valuable online career’s session with Careers and Pathways Coordinator, Jodie Hechenberger where they were given instruction in further developing their on-line career portfolios. Thanks very much to Jodie for running this session and providing valuable information and direction to the students.  

As students continue to learn remotely, and when normality returns, it is important that they maintain motivation and remain dedicated to their routines around learning. In addition, the importance of practises outside of study time cannot be understated. Below are some simple common tips for remaining positive and committed during this time:

  • take a break from the news and social media
  • spend time with people who make you laugh and feel happy
  • do some exercise
  • try to eat healthily and keep the unhealthy snack foods and drinks as treats
  • get creative with some art, poetry or music
  • try meditation and mindfulness

As we near the school holiday period I would like to congratulate the Year 11 students for their resilience and on-going commitment to their learning and personal development and to wish them and their families a well-deserved school holiday.

John Sheehan
Year 11 Coordinator 

Year 12 Coordinator's Report

With another extension added onto the 6th lockdown, our Year 12s once again are once again forced to experience changes and modifications to their already busy schedule. Once again, though, our Year 12s demonstrate great adaptability, flexibility and perseverance. Stealing words from these young adults, ‘Miss, we just need to do it!’ Indeed, many of our Year 12s take on the ‘just do it’ and ‘get what needs to be completed done’ attitude. When faced with negative emotions posed by long-time ‘isolation’ due to all existing restrictions, our Year 12s seek support from each other, their guardians and teachers, and trial as many different approaches as need so they can make necessary adjustments.

Whilst it has only been five weeks since last newsletter, the schedule of our Year 12 students has been busy. Event after event take place in addition to the usual academic routine to prepare our soon-to-be graduates for their Senior school end game! In light of the extended screen time, please allow me to use a timeline to share the journey in the past few weeks.

Term 3 Week 6

August 17 2021
Pastoral session: ‘Racing Towards the Finishing Line’, featuring motivational talk by Andrew Jobling and student committees planning for End of Year Celebratory events

Term 3 Week 7

August 25 2021
Student-Led Conferences

August 27 2021
Year 12 Care Pack prepared and delivered

Thanks for the support and help from Mr Tom O’Toole, Ms Cecilia Tan, Ms Jodie Hechenberger and Ms Debbie Whitehouse

Term 3 Week 8

1 September 2021
‘The Finishing Line’ delivered by Elevate, featuring strategies to prepare for end-of-year exams

Thanks for the support and help from Mrs Julie Huggins

2 September 2021
VCE VCAL CED Process Meeting

Thanks for the support and help from Mrs Julie Huggins and Ms Lucy Rimmer

Term 3 Week 9

6 September 2021
Year 12 Parent, Guardian and Student VTAC and End of Year information session

Thanks for the support and help from Mrs Julie Huggins, Ms Lucy Rimmer, Ms Jodie Hechenberger and Ms Phoebe Lindsay 

As we come to an end to Term 3, I would like to use this opportunity to congratulate all Year 12s for your great efforts, adaptability and courage, in such time of change and unexpected adversities. Please know that, quite often it is not about always excelling or succeeding in one go, but about keeping trying. With a quote from American author and artist, Mary Anne Radmacher, I wish all members in Year 12 community a wonderful term break, be it you need time to rest and rejuvenate, or be it you are prepared to occupy the sixteen days with study plans. May all safe and well!

Courage doesn't always roar.

Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow’

--Mary Anne Radmacher, American author and artist

Jessie Tian
Year 12 Coordinator

Senior School Student Leadership & Agency

Congratulations to all of the current Year 11 students who have applied for Senior School Executive positions for 2022. Students shortlisted for the positions of School Captain, International Student Captain and School Vice Captain will receive notification at the end of Term 3 so that they may prepare to deliver their speeches to the school community and to complete their panel interviews. We wish all applicants the best during this exciting time. A special thank you to the current Senior School Executive team who have been very generous with their time and have offered their advice and assistance to 2022 applicants.

Applications for all other Senior School Student Leadership positions close on Friday 22 October and we encourage all students who are interested to participate in this exciting and rewarding opportunity.

Matilda Wraight
Student Voice, Leadership & Agency Coordinator

School Captains Report

Hi students,

Leadership is something that is so important not only for the school, but for your personal growth and development too. For me, the most rewarding thing about it is the sense of fulfilment that you achieve. It’s so incredible to be a representative of student voice, as you know that you’re contributing to a school climate where your peers’ needs and desires are prioritised. With leadership roles, there are so many benefits in terms of interpersonal growth. You are able to grow confidence, maturity, public speaking skills and time management skills. If you’re considering applying for a leadership role I really encourage you to put yourself out there! We have so many roles that cater to the needs of so many different people, and I’m certain there’s one for everybody’s interests. Leadership provides such a special schooling experience and you absolutely won’t regret it!

Lula Tadesse

Through a year of experience in the student leadership team, you will learn the meaning of responsibility, and understand the importance of being a role model as a member of this wonderful team as the optimism can accumulate and eventually influence your peers. Ultimately, learning to become mature is one of the most important reasons why youshould involve yourself in student leadership. Those of you who become members of the student leadership team will become skilled in time management; there will be plenty of work, however, no pain no gain, it is all worth it.

Beyond the learning and the knowledge from textbooks, there are more accomplishments waiting for you to achieve, and more challenges for you to conquer. The student leadership team at Ashwood High School appreciates and values student voice through providing students with platforms to demonstrate their talent, learn from their peers and refine important leadership skills in themselves. Participating in the student leadership program is a great way to develop your social and teamwork skills, refine your public speaking skills and gain courage and confidence in yourself.

Sivan Chen

VCE VCAL VET Curriculum Services

As Term 3 comes to a close I would like to commend the senior students on the manner in which they have continued to approach their studies in this online environment. In particular with the completion of SACs for the VCE students and continued submission of tasks for the VCAL students, which often involves a lot of group work requiring additional communication skills in the current environment.

These processes are all made possible due to the immense commitment and adaptability of our teachers and support staff, to enable these assessments to take place in an accessible and viable way. I am particularly grateful to the teachers for their very rapid responses to the ever-changing circumstances we find ourselves in, enabling our students to achieve positive outcomes.

On Wednesday 1 September 2021, the VCE Year 12 students all took part in an Elevate Education session: The Finishing Line. This program was broken into three areas: Exam Focused Study, Stress & Wellbeing and Holiday & Swotvac Study. Ms Tian and I were impressed with the students’ engagement and responsiveness and trust that they found this session useful. I encourage students to visit the Elevate website for further information and practice exams:

The VCAL students have been busy working on completion of the requirements for their subject outcomes and need to ensure that they have all of the required evidence ready for submission upon return to school. To assist with this, students should maintain ongoing contact with their teachers, seeking assistance and further clarification as needed. The VCAL students are also finalising their major community projects for PDS and WRS and are reminded to maintain contact with their group members over the coming break to ensure that the projects are ready for implementation, and presentation, upon our return to school.

An information session for Year 12 students, parents and guardians was held on the evening of Monday 6 September 2021 to outline the VTAC process.  This event also included a panel presentation from George Tziafas, Elena Doulgerakis and Jennifer Lu, alumni of 2020.  It was very helpful for our current Year 12 cohort to hear from these students about the VTAC process, Tertiary study and undertaking Year 12 in a COVID—19 environment.  The alumni were very generous with their time and responded to many questions from those present.  Additional information was also provided by Ms Rimmer and Ms Tian about the Consideration of Educational Disadvantage (CED) process and end of year events.

In order to assist students with any final questions prior to the VTAC application date of 5:00pm on Thursday 30 September 2021, I will be available on Webex on Friday 24 September 2021 from 12:00pm – 3:00pm.  This information will be available as an event on students’ individual schedules.

Finally, a reminder that the GAT will take place in Building E on Tuesday 5 October 2021.  This is the first week back at school.  All students have received further information about this via email, including the letter from the VCAA regarding health and safety protocols. With the additional emphasis on the already important GAT this year, due to the COVID -19 consideration of disadvantage, it is advised that all students refamiliarise themselves with the layout and style of questions included.  These may be found at:

As students complete their practice exams and final outcomes over coming weeks I encourage them to maintain their focus and ensure that they are in regular communication with their teachers to seek assistance and feedback.

As always if students have any questions about any of the information included above they are welcome to email me at any time:

Julie Huggins
VCAA Curriculum Services Coordinator

Careers & Pathways

What a busy time of year it is! 2022 seems so far in the distance, but before we know it, time would have gotten away from us.

Currently the Careers Department are working with the Senior School staff, students, and parents to set up students for VCE, VCAL, VET and post school study/employment. I am here to assist all students. I am available via phone (9807 1333) and email at I would love to hear from you.

Year 9 Morrisby Profiling – The Results!
The Morrisby Profiling Programing produced some interesting results, I am happy to share the highlights with you:

The above graph shows the top 20 career suggestions for all participating students.

The above graph shows the top 20 careers selected by students from the list of career suggestions in their Morrisby Online profile.

The above graph shows the top 20 degree suggestions for all participating students.

The above graph shows the top 20 post-secondary courses selected by students from the list of suggested options in their Morrisby Online profile.

Kind Regards,

Jodie Hechenberger
Careers and Pathways Coordinator

School Psychologist's Report

We hope that all families are keeping safe, well and connected. This term, students have demonstrated resilience in their work towards maintaining routines and setting reasonable expectations. Well done to students and their families.

In partnership with Monash University, this term we had the Time to Shine program. This program is grounded on social/emotional learning aimed to increase student engagement. Students and presenters adapted well to the online presentation. As the program comes to end, we are confident that participants learned skills to effectively manage challenges and made new connections with peers.

Promoting health and wellbeing has been an important aim of the Wellbeing Team. We had the opportunity to attend some Years 11 and Year 12 classes to introduce Mindfulness to students and complete a short mindfulness exercise.

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

Elisa Jones Arango
School Psychologist

Director of Studies Report

Study Well, Study Smart
The Ashwood High School students have been remarkable this term in dealing with the challenges of learning from home. Many have worked hard to maintain their standards and have shown great progress and achievement in their studies. But for all, it is always worth reflecting on the way we approach learning and study, and the effectiveness of our strategies.     

Below is a brief summary of some of the key principles for effective study.

Look after yourself
Eat healthy food, drink plenty of water, take rest and exercise breaks, have a good sleep routine, get away from all screens at least half an hour before bedtime. Then you can focus and concentrate and learn more effectively.

Pick a place and time to study and stick to it
Make a regular study timetable or routine. Create a well-organised study space, free from distractions, where everything you need is on hand.

Study every day
Reviewing your day’s lessons each night will help you remember and consolidate. Studying regularly helps build consistent habits and ‘study muscles’. A little bit, often, is far better than cramming at the last minute.

Plan your homework time
Many students find that study timetables help them stay organised and focussed. Others use their diaries to stay organised and make to-do lists. Some students set time limits and use alarms to remind them when to start and stop.

Use a range of study aids and techniques
It is good to reinforce understanding by using different methods. Flash cards, concept maps, summary notes are just the beginning, and teachers always provide students with a range of methods to learn and reflect. The more ways you see and learn something, the more ways you have to remember it.

Review and revise
Don’t just do the set homework, spend some time reviewing previous learning to ensure that you understand and remember it. Quiz yourself, make study groups with friends, go over your summary notes. The more often you review learning, the more likely it is to stick.

Ask for help and follow up
Any questions you are unable to answer is an opportunity to learn more. Never leave a question until you understand it. Speak with your classmates, family and friends, ask your teacher, and always make sure to find out the answer.

Take breaks
You can’t study effectively for too long in one sitting. Study in chunks of time, leave your desk and computer screen, get outside and get your body moving. But then go back to complete your study!

All these strategies become effective when they are used consistently enough to become routines. I encourage all students and families to use the above suggestions as a checklist for discussion and planning, and to continue working to embed these principles into your daily life.

Colin Shnier
Director of Studies

Student Outcomes Leader's Report

I am exceedingly proud of our school community. Through what has been a difficult term, there is much to celebrate, and I feel grateful to our staff and students for maintaining such resilience and optimism.

The NAPLAN results for our Years 7 and 9 students are phenomenal and demonstrate exceptional growth over the past two years of schooling for our Year 9 students. All students should be very proud of their learning and development.

Additionally, the School Colours process serves to highlight the positivity and achievements of our students; congratulations to all students who will receive a school colour across the various categories.

To our Year 12 students: you are so close to the end, and it’s time to really knuckle down and commence intensive preparations for your end of year exams! To support you, your teachers will be holding virtual practice exams over the holidays, and your exams have been printed and mailed to you at home so that you can simulate the exam experience as much as possible. Good luck in these exams, and congratulations on the resilience and ongoing commitment you have displayed in your studies this year.

The GAT is scheduled to take place in Week 1 of Term 4, after many rescheduled dates. Remember, you are well prepared for this, having sat a practice GAT earlier in the year. This is an important component of the Year 12 score, and all students are encouraged to do their best on this exam.

I wish everyone a safe and productive holiday break and look forward to seeing you in Term 4.

Lucy Rimmer
Acting Student Outcomes Leader

Data Analysis, Improvement & School Organisation Report

Individualised NAPLAN student reports for 2021 Year 7 and Year 9 students are due to be sent home in the coming days.  Please ensure your postal address on file at the school is up to date to ensure you receive this document.

This report will provide information on your student’s progress in the areas of reading, writing, grammar & punctuation, spelling and numeracy against a set of national scales or bands from 1 to 10.

While NAPLAN can provide valuable insights into the progress of students over time, it is only one of many assessment tasks that students complete throughout the year. Care should be taken to avoid interpreting NAPLAN results in isolation as performance on testing days can vary considerably.

NAPLAN results are valuable to teachers when looking at cohorts of students to identify strengths or weaknesses and develop appropriate learning programs.  In conjunction with classroom observations, NAPLAN data can also be used to identify those students who would benefit from extra support or extension work.

More information on student reports and how to interpret them, including an FAQ document and sample reports can be found at:

Australian Maths Trust Mathematics Competition
Congratulations to the over 160 students who participated in the Australian Maths Trust Mathematics Competition earlier in the term.  This is the highest participation rate in many years and it is fabulous to see so many of our students choosing to challenge themselves against students from all over the world.  Due to COVID lockdowns, the release date of the competition results has been delayed, but students – and their teachers - will be informed of their results as soon as possible.  All students who participated will receive a certificate.

If you are interested in participating next year, here is a practice question from a previous Australian Maths Trust Mathematics Competition paper.

Zac has three jackets, one black, one brown and one blue.  He has four shirts, one white, one blue, one red and one yellow. He has three pairs of trousers, one brown, one white and one yellow.  How many combinations of jacket, shirt and trousers are possible if no two items are of the same colour?

Kate Davis
Data Analysis, Improvement and School Organisation Leader

Enrichment, Pedagogy, Partnerships & Professional Learning

Term 3 has seen Ashwood High School host two highly successful collaborative projects in conjunction with the Deakin University School of Education.

The Embedded Unit ‘Literacy Teacher Researchers in New Times’ took place in Weeks 5-9 of Term 3 and involved over 30 pre-service teachers from Deakin University working with 44 of our Year 7 English students to investigate the inquiry question: how can the use of digital technologies support students to structure analytical texts in the Year 7 English classroom?

The Deakin pre-service teachers engaged with a broad range of digital learning technologies including jamboard, padlet and mentimeter, as well as the ever-popular Kahoot, to develop students’ understanding of persuasive writing techniques. Reflecting on the experience, our Year 7 students commented: “I feel that I have improved at identifying the author’s contention” and “I enjoyed the Kahoot because it helped me understand the persuasive techniques in a fun way”.

Thanks to Mr Dominic Holloway (English Learning Area Coordinator), Ms Jessie Tian, Ms Carmela Diaz (Year 7 English Teachers) and Ms Ondine Bradbury (Deakin University) for their support of the project. Pictures from Day 1 of the project can be seen below (the Deakin pre-service teachers are creating an ‘A’ for the Ashwood Alliance).

The Deakin Alliance Health and Wellbeing project took place in Weeks 9 and 10 of Term 3 and involved 17 first-year pre-service teachers from Deakin University and 16 students drawn from the school’s Mentor program. Under the supervision of their teacher mentors and Ashwood High School staff, the pre-service teachers and Ashwood High School students explored questions such as: “What does it mean to be a life-long learner?” and “What are the attributes of successful learners?” as part of a series of online focus groups. Thank you to the students and pre-service teachers involved in the project for so generously sharing their time and ideas in order to support our school to collect critical data around the construction of learner identity and its relationship with student health and wellbeing.

A highlight of the Term 3 professional learning calendar was our Curriculum Day which took place on Thursday 12 August. Commencing with a workshop that focused on refining teachers’ understanding of learning intentions and success criteria, the day culminated in the relaunch of the school’s instructional model, PIVOT. Curriculum development sessions held in the afternoon supported staff to apply a practical lens to the professional learning that had taken place during the morning. Thanks must go to the school’s leadership team, ably assisted by Ms Catherine Nelsson, for their passionate and unwavering support in the lead-up to the day. It was a truly collaborative effort that once again highlighted the collective efficacy of our school’s magnificent staff.

Caroline Servadei
Enrichment, Pedagogy Partnerships & Professional Learning Leader

Mathematics Learning Area Report

This term, Year 9 students have studied Linear Graphs from the Number and Algebra unit and Congruency, Similarity and Pythagoras' Theorem from the Geometry unit. It is a credit to all our fabulous Year 9 students that despite the challenges of learning remotely, they have stayed positive, remained motivated and worked to the best of their ability to complete their work.  While everyone is looking forward to being back in the classroom together, this week students took the time to reflect on their term of remote learning in Maths.

Kate Davis
Mathematics Learning Area Coordinator

Maths in lockdown is challenging, But I find that math is one of the easier subjects to find what you are doing as the work is clearly outlined for us.
Ella Selby

I found myself improving. It was easy to ask for help because of the online chat I also found more time to study and do the Maths work rather than getting distracted.
Bertie Mangan

I have been finding it easier to concentrate and not get as distracted because I am not around any of my friends. I feel like when you share your screen and demonstrate clearly how to solve a problem it really helps my understanding. Doing the tests online are different but overall it has not been too bad.
Charlie Pearson

'Maths during online learning has been a bit rough. It's always been struggle to stay focused during every lesson but I still manage to learn new things. From linear relations to congruence and similarity, Maths has been enjoyable during online learning even with the disruptions.
Taj Edwards

Working in remote learning on Maths has been an interesting experience that has taught me a lot of resilience and patience. I've learnt how to work more independently than I could when we were face-to-face and it's been fun managing resources and learning how to use new sites.
Abi Oh

Transformations and Tessellations

During Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning, our Year 8 Maths students investigated the effect of isometric transformations on points, lines and shapes as part of the Geometry Unit. They learned how rotation, reflection and translation could be used to generate tessellating patterns. Students were challenged with a ’10 minutes craft task’ to create tessellations using digital technology. While many students were not experienced in the use of drawing apps, they nonetheless responded to the challenge enthusiastically and produced some impressive examples.

Jay Chan
Mathematics/Science Teacher

Fatema Sajid: “I really liked that the test had real life examples as they helped me to visualise the problems in my head. I would like to explore how tessellation are used and what their purpose is in real life."

Alyssa Pettingill: “I really enjoyed the transformations and congruence topic because we got to make our own tessellations which was a lot of fun and gave us a different experience.”

Patrick Buehrig-Calkin: “Something I like about Transformation is that it can get challenging and I like getting challenged.”

Ida Baleisuva: “I liked how straight forward the transformations and congruence topic was. I would like to explore more about transformations using coordinate plane grids again.”

by Sienna Mina Perez-Reyes

by Issy Mitsios

by Alyssa Pettingill

by Justin Xu




Science Learning Area Report

During this period of Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning, our students and science teachers have continued to demonstrate optimism and innovation in their approach to learning in Science. Whilst we have been missing conducting practical investigations in the laboratory, our students have made the most of the learning opportunities provided to them. For example, Year 8 ACE Science students conducted an investigation into energy transformations at home. They demonstrated great adaptability, flexibility and creativity as they used their available resources to investigate the effect of the height of a ramp on the kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy of a rolling object. Here’s a picture of Leah Ried from 8Z conducting her investigation at home. Students made their measurements and collected their data using kitchen scales, stopwatches on their devices and even using slow-motion cameras they had at home. They then communicated all parts of their investigation in a formal scientific report.

To help students stay connected with their school community and to celebrate all things science, Ashwood High School celebrated Science Week during Week 9 of Term 3. The school theme for National Science Week 2021 was “Food: Different by Design”. This honours the United Nations International Year of Fruits and Vegetables and the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development. Throughout the week, students answered different science quiz questions to earn points for their house. The week concluded with a Virtual Escape Room in Stile. Students were briefed with the following mission:

“As young agricultural scientists in a rice biotechnology research centre, you and your teammates are developing a more weather-resistant type of rice. Suddenly, the rice fields begin to flood. It’s up to you to complete a series of food-themed challenges, find the hidden codes and save the research.”

It was fantastic to see students collaborating in teams to complete the challenges. Winners will be announced in the next newsletter.

Niesha Moorad
Science Learning Coordinator

Humanities Learning Area Report

Although we’ve been learning remotely, there has still been plenty happening in our Humanities classes. This month we have a focus on the Year 7 Geography classroom.

Year 7s began their introduction to Geography, giving them the opportunity to discover the nature and importance of the relationship between people and their environments. We kicked off Geography with a focus on Geographic Concepts and Skills, including learning about the art and science of cartography.

Students have learned how to represent a geographical area utilising different types of maps. They were able to construct their own map, using their imaginations to create a fantasy island. There were some truly amazing, visually inspiring, and creative pieces of work produced, which adhered to accurate cartographic conventions, including the acronym BOLTSS, to ensure their maps were precise and effective.

Lynette Yoshida – fantasy island

Following on from cartography, we have begun the unit of Water in the World. This unit focuses on water as an example of a renewable environmental resource. It develops students’ understanding of the concept of environment, including the idea that the environment is the product of a variety of processes, including the hydrologic or water cycle. ACE Humanities students were tasked with developing a creative representation of the hydrologic cycle, and they certainly met the creative brief (as demonstrated below).

Next term sees Year 7s focus on the unit of Liveability, where we delve into the world of sustainable living and explore innovations to support a cleaner and more energy efficient future. While 7 ACE will begin their existential exploration of Philosophy.

Emma Anderson-Weir

Irene Wang

Catherine Nelsson
Humanities Learning Area Coordinator

Creative Arts/Technologies Learning Area Report

As Term 3 closes, students are continuing learning from home, in learning from home they are continuing to embody the Ashwood CHOIR values, demonstrating Optimism and Innovation in their studies.

As teachers and family support, we can acknowledge it is a difficult time for students and families to be in lockdown, but we know that with minor adjustments in the classroom, co-curricular activities such as competitions listed on Compass, and keeping connected, remote leaning is that little bit smoother and easier for our classes.

In our Learning Area, we have found our students to be very resourceful at home, making  do with what materials and equipment have at home, and making the best to learn and grow.

We commend our students from Year 7 through to Year 12 on challenging themselves to think creatively and outside of the box, and to try new things.

All the best to our Year 12s, who are busily working through the last of their practical assessments and soon will have their exams, we wish you well.

As always,

Be creative whenever you have the chance.

Annalisa Buyks
Creative Arts and Technology Learning Area Leader

The Food Department launched the inaugural Great Ashwood Biscuit Bake-Off which ran in September.

There were many entries with a range of yummy biscuits to try and test!

We can still take some last-minute entries for those students who are wishing to take part,

See below for all the entries

Year 10 Food Studies students have been busy cooking during Remote Learning in Term 3.
Chocolate Cake - Jason Mavroudis and Chicken Sliders - Stephanie Mouzis

Chicken and mushroom pasta - Carol Yuan and Homemade Pizza - Emily Wilson
Pancakes - Waleed Hag and Coca Cola Chicken Wings - Harry Wu

Menu Designs
Year 10 students have been busy creating their own restaurants and menu designs during Remote Learning in Term 3. See below for some amazing creations.

‘Restaurant Asado’ Cruz Caffaro-Rossi

‘Snack Shack’- Jessica Lewis

‘Kirubel’s Kuisine’- Kirubel Tadesse

Year 8 Drama playing with props
Students were given a task to find a prop in their home that their character could use to survive social distancing in a funny way. They can either take a photo with their prop or film a 30 second video of them using it. Then write a short explanation of what their prop is and how their character would use it!

Phoebe Lindsay
English/Drama Teacher

Jefferey uses a giant spider on stick to stop people from encroaching on his precious 6 feet of space. If anyone doesn’t run away at the immediate sight of the spider and comes towards him he may just have to poke them with the stick.

This is freddo. He is my attack cat. He is very scary, and may purr loudly in your ear if you come too close, so stay away. He may also lick you, which is very dangerous.

Steven walks around with his proud trump supporter shirt so that people avoid him! The fire is for privacy reasons

This is the extraordinary shield that not only leads to social distancing, but also provides protection from any object aimed at the character’s face. The shield does have some downsides to it however, the biggest of which is that it is unbelievably heavy, and therefore the character must strain and use immense strength to carry the shield around all day.

Working from home has deterred students from completing wonderful work in the Arts and Technology subjects. In Year 7 Art, students have finished off a unit on ‘Modern Art’ movements and can now tell you all about Abstract Art, Surrealism, Pop Art and more! Year 8 Design Technology students have successfully navigated the design process in order to develop and refine a logo that represents their sense of self. Some took this a step further and conceptualised small businesses for their logos. In Year 9, students have had to take an intermission on completing their ceramics unit. However, they have developed and refined some interesting ‘Vessels with Character’ which we will hopefully get the chance to hand-build with clay, glaze and fire in the kiln in Term 4. Year 10 students have explored the work of Wassily Kandinsky in great detail and explored music and sound as a source of inspiration for creating abstract and automated art.

Moments of Beauty – a simply way to practice gratitude to enhance optimism and creativity
Inspired by a silly scene in a situational-comedy, the Year 10 Art students have been looking out for ‘Moments of Beauty’ in their surroundings. They have been noticing all things big and small that could be considered a Moment of Beauty. By acknowledging these unexpected or fleeting moments, we can increase our feelings of gratitude and optimism which may even improve our wellbeing. As a class, we have reflected on fascinating moments, like meeting a dog in the street with heterochromia, a particularly spectacular rainbow, the way the Spring sunlight streams in through windows during our morning classes, and the satisfaction and fulfilment that comes with learning something new or overcoming something challenging. Additionally, this is a powerful way to inspire meaningful, powerful art practices. As we begin to acknowledge moments of beauty, we tend to seek them out more and more, and suddenly the world becomes a lot more beautiful and inspiring. It can fuel our creativity and help us to know what is important to us, what things bring us little moments of joy, and the different subject-matter that we may feel particularly inspired by to explore in depth in our Art.

Jessica Lindholm
Visual Communications/Art/Design Teacher

A sunny moment of beauty

Year 10 Art, Portrait by Millie Taylor

Final Artwork inspired by Music, Jess Lewis, Year 10

Ava Lillywhite, Design Technologies, Year 8         

Logo Design folio page by Ava Lillywhite

Surreal Artwork demonstrating Juxtaposition by Kate McFarlane, Year 7

Photography Unit – The Year 10 Media class has just started to learn about photography. The images below are a collection of student work for their first practical activity. The task required students to select several concept ideas from a list provided and then design and photograph these concepts using what they have learned so far about visual composition elements.

Kath Robinson
Media/English/Humanities Teacher

Roy Hu and Tony Xu - Infinity and Joy

Jess Sterle
- Normal and Grief

Jack Christie - Infinity and Normal

Rupesh Bankar - Love and Infinity

Mel Saengyojarn - Love and Growth

Daniel Cobelli - Normal and Friendship

James Talbot and Millie Taylor - Truth and Infinity 

Jack Hoang and Rebecca Wang - Infinity and Friendship

Year 11 Visual Communication Design

As a part of the first assessment for Unit 2 in Year 11 Visual Communication Design, students explored Environmental Design and were challenged to design a house made from 3 shipping containers. They investigated existing shipping container houses on the market and even used Lego bricks to help envision different forms of the house when producing visualisation drawings. The crux of the project, however, was the creation of five technical drawings of their buildings applying the Australian Standard conventions. These drawings included Floor Plans, Site Plans, Elevation Drawings, Planometric Drawings and then, using the information from these drawings, they produced an accurate Two-Point Perspective depiction of the house. Below are some examples of the classroom environment, when we were on site, as well as the finished drawings.

Olson Ou, Selina Yang, Vivian Yan, and Yao Zhang working hard on their drawings

Daniel Butler being very pleased with his Planometric Drawing

Taylor Ignatiadis and Greer Van Rooyen concentrating on producing accurate lines

Vivian Yan’s detailed Brainstorming Page

Greer Van Rooyen’s precise Floor Plan drawing

Daniel Butler’s considered Site Plan drawing

Lucy Jordan’s meticulous Elevation Drawings

Carli Taranto’s on the mark Planometric Drawing

Taylor Ignatiadis’s elaborate Two-Point Perspective Drawing of her house

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






Instrumental Music Report

Celebration Music Concert Term 4

Please join us in celebrating in the best way we can, all things Music at Ashwood.

Submissions of video recorded items are invited from students and families to participate in our end of year ‘Celebration Music Concert’. To accommodate all potential performance platforms and scenarios please consider the following options, with submissions due Monday 11 October 2021;

  1. Student performance- submit an audio/visual recording (5 minutes maximum)
  • Solo (discuss accompaniment and performance space/backdrop options with your teacher)
  • Dress code- full school uniform
  • Format- video recording
  1. Family performance- submit an audio/visual recording (5 minutes maximum)
  • Students performing with family member/s
  • Dress code- performance blacks (preferably)
  • Format- video recording

*Members of the Concert Band, String Orchestra, Stage Band, Choir, Percussion Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble, Senior & Year 7 Jazz Ensembles and String Quartet, please confirm with your teachers the repertoire you are required to learn for your ensemble’s performance, so you are ready to play or record your parts/pieces at short notice.

Sheet music/lyrics and backing track for ‘The Believer Project’ will be posted to your Ensemble’s Teams shortly.

Please contact me directly with your expressions of interest and any queries via email


Wendy Anderson
Director of Music

Health & PE Learning Area Report

The Paralympics have just drawn to a close, and I hope families were able to watch the awe-inspiring talent of our Australian Athletes.

During the Olympics and Paralympics, we ran a daily quiz via Compass. Thank you to all students who took part to earn some valuable House points.

I am pleased to announce the winners:

1st Place: Cowan House with 107 points

2nd Place: Paterson with 70 Points

3rd Place: Melba with 61 points

4th Place: Flynn with 47 points.

Congratulations also to the following students who earned the most house points for their respective houses:

Cowan: Aj Battiato and Victoria Rushton                           
Paterson: Wesley Pryor
Melba: Yunal Lutfi                                                                
Flynn: Lachlan Schmidt

From 1 September 2021, all students, staff, and families are invited to join the STEP-tember challenge to get up and get active! STEP-tember is a fun and inclusive virtual event that challenges you to walk, swim, ride, wheel or spin your way to 10,000 steps per day during the month of September – all while helping to improve the lives of children and adults who live with cerebral palsy. 

In 2020, Leah Reid walked over 450,000 steps during September and achieved over 30 points for Melba House. People who exercise regularly have better mental health and emotional wellbeing. It can also boost our mood, concentration and alertness and encourages us to minimize our screen time on a daily basis. Just 30 minutes of exercise per day can make a big difference! 

If you are interested and would like to join the challenge, please sign up and start tracking your daily step count on the STEP-tember spreadsheet on Teams. Look out for Ms Cooper’s Compass posts for further details.

Wondering what we have been up to in our HPE classes, here is some news from some of our classes.

Year 10 HPE – Mr James Boarotto
“During Term 3, students have been introduced to multiple units of work that educate and prepare them for life beyond school. In PE, students participated in a fitness unit that showed them multiple types of fitness activities and the benefits of being physically active throughout their entire life. In Health, students engaged in a mental health unit that touched on the potential stressors of Years 11 & 12 and coping strategies as well as doing a nutrition unit learning about the different types of nutrients we consume and food labelling that encourages students to make healthier and more educated choices when it comes to their diet”.

Year 7 HPE: Mr Grbac
“Students have now completed their Licit Drugs unit with some fantastic newspaper article and TV news segments uploaded. Many students are now experts on the three licit drugs of alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine, with many warning their parents of the dangers of too many cups of coffee!! For the remainder of the term, students will be completing a variety of activities from the Activity Matrix. Something a bit different to keep the students engaged during the final weeks of a long term.”

Year 9 Sports Coaching: Mr Grbac
“Students have handed in their Open Letter Assessment Task detailing how they would introduce themselves to prospective parents and guardians of their new sporting club. Some terrific responses including one that said he would host a COVID safe virtual BBQ to welcome all new parents and associates of the club! Students have been busy during practical classes working hard in a variety of home workouts designed to keep them sharp and give them time away from the screen.”

Year 10 Sport Science – Ms Cooper
On Thursday 2 September during sessions 5 & 6, Year 10 Sports Science students participated in an online incursion conducted by the Victorian Institute of Sport. In this session students were introduced to many methods professionals use to assist them in the development of professional athletes. The topics of VO2max lab testing, Biomechanical Principles, Qualitative vs Quantitative Feedback and Performance Analysis were discussed. Students thoroughly enjoyed the session. Here are some of their thoughts:

Yufei Wang: “I learned from The Victorian Institute of Sport that sports can be combined with science links. Motion is related to Newton's laws. I like the way my guest taught me how to exercise properly, which can help me avoid injury.

National HPE Day – Wednesday 1 September
On Wednesday 1 September 2021 we celebrated National HPE Day. This is a nation-wide day designed to raise awareness of, and advocate for, a greater focus of HPE in our schools. Students were encouraged to take part in a variety of activities focussing on all dimensions of health and wellbeing. We know it is tough being at home at the moment during this lockdown. We encourage all members of our Ashwood Community to spend time away from our screens, do something you enjoy and spend time in the great outdoors.

Lastly, I would like to thank all of our Ashwood Community for their continued support during the current period of Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning. Our wonderful HPE teachers are continually adapting our curriculum to ensure it can be delivered online – no small feat for a practical subject. Well done to our parents who ensure students are attending our classes each day, and finally to our amazing student cohort. I know Term 3 has not been what we thought it would be but thank you from all your HPE teachers!  Enjoy your term holidays, and we look forward to seeing you in person (hopefully!) next term.

Take care and stay safe.

Allison Phillips
HPE Learning Area Coordinator

EAL Learning Area Report

How Year 10 EAL students maintain connections and high expectations during Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning

Despite the recent lockdown this term, our Year 10 EAL class is managing magnificently with the support of Ms Tian. Below is an article written by students in Ms Tian’s Year 10 EAL class.

Carmela Diaz
EAL Learning Area Coordinator

Victoria once again entered lockdown on August 4, and schools transitioned to an online mode, undertaking Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning. Despite the challenges posed, we as a whole school community have built great experience and skills to ensure a quality learning experience.

During this round of remote learning in EAL, we have been supported by three teachers. Our EAL teacher Ms Tian, International Student Program Assistant Ms Li and Ms Tian’s Pre-service teacher, Ms Chen.

During remote learning, WebEx breakout rooms are frequently used for independent discussions before exchanging ideas amongst the entire class. Other platforms such as Padlet and Miro are also utilised to provide a more engaging experience. We used Padlet to unpack themes in To Kill a Mockingbird and collaboratively build evidence as we read and discuss the text. We used the Miro mind map function to brainstorm and share our understanding of key events in the chapters. We established an improved understanding of the set text ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by building on the teachers’ and our peers’ understanding. 

As remote learning will continue for at least another two weeks, we have reflected on the past few weeks and realised that the following can help us stay engaged during online learning:

  • We can use the mind mapping platforms. This can show our understanding of the chapters and give us a good analysis of the text.
  • We can set up a shared document for our class. This can allow the students to put some important quotes and thinking when they are reading the text.
  • We can let the students be the teachers of EAL classes. This can allow the students to take the initiative and build a better understanding of the text. 

As Atticus from 'To Kill a Mockingbird' says

‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.’

Indeed, walking in the teachers’ skin can enable us to think and analyse the text as the teachers can!

We hope the lockdown can be lifted soon and students can return to face-to-face teaching. However, we realise that the EAL classes can be equally fun and meaningful during Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning. On behalf of students, we appreciate the teaching from Ms Tian and Ms Chen. Also, we appreciate the help from Ms Li, who always attends our class and gives positive feedback. We would like to also extend our gratitude to all other teachers and staff who support us throughout this challenging time.

Jason HOU and Carol YUAN (Year 10 EAL)

Digital Pedagogies Learning Area Report

­­­­­­One of our goals in Humanities is to ensure that students stay engaged with the diversity of topics we cover. From politics to geography to ancient history, we seek to ensure that students are performing at their best throughout the entirety of breadth of this subject. To achieve this goal, we have sought to implement multiple modes of interaction. Some of our students love discussions, others love debates, others respond well to independent work, while others thrive in competitions.

Göksün and Gürsoy (2019) found that the instant feedback offered by platforms like Quizizz helps increase student engagement. Other studies have reported students saying that Quizizz “helps [me] concentrate in class and reduces [my] anxiety” (Zhao, 2019, p. 42). In my class, we set collaborative learning goals. If the class could achieve over a specified accuracy threshold, every student would receive a prize. If the class as a whole does not meet this standard then no student would receive a prize.

This cooperation model where students worked together to compete against the ‘learning mountain’, cheering and mentoring each other on proved successful. The students worked well into recess to achieve their collaborative goal and improve their performance as a whole.

Year 8Z Students collaborating to achieve the set percentage target

Daniel Christiansz
Digital Pedagogies Coordinator

Göksün, O., & Gürsoy, G. (2019). Comparing success and engagement in gamified learning experiences via Kahoot and Quizizz. Computers & Education, 135.

Zhao, F. (2019). Using Quizizz to Integrate Fun Multiplayer Activity in the Accounting Classroom. International Journal of Higher Education, 8(1), 37.

Sport Coordinator's Report

Unfortunately there is not much to report on the sporting front so far in Semester 2. In my Sports Coordinators meeting recently, it was unanimously voted that there would be no interschool athletics carnivals in 2021. Whilst this is bitterly disappointing news, I am hopeful we can kick off 2022 with a full range of Interschool Sports days and House Sporting Carnivals.

With the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world, online/at home workouts have become very popular once again. I encourage all students and families to incorporate at least an hour of daily exercise into your routine. Not only will that keep you fit and healthy to sit in front of a screen all day, but it will boost your mental health, make you feel good and help you to get through these uncertain times.

Here is a link to 50 of the best online/at home workouts:

Furthermore, School Sport Victoria (SSV) is offering many virtual events. The basic idea behind this is that students can compete against one another in a virtual event. At this stage it is mostly limited to running/cross country events, but keep an eye on the SSV website for further virtual event and challenges.

Finally, it was my great privilege to award Sport School Colours to a number of students recently. Whilst the opportunities to participate in interschool sport has been very limited this year, it still did not stop 50 students from applying for a Sport School Colour. Congratulations to these recipients who will find out if they were successful shortly.

Stay connected, stay healthy and I look forward to the return of interschool sport in the near future.

Best wishes,

Tom Grbac
Sports Coordinator

Debating & Public Speaking Report

On Monday 9 August, a delegation of eight students from Ashwood High School represented various countries in the online Evatt Model United Nations competition held by UN Youth Victoria. Angela Hewerdine and Sebastian Millan represented India, Emma Hew and Cooper Senova-Tapp represented Ireland, Annais Lewis and Christos Giakoumatos represented the United States, and Torbjorn Christensen and Pranav Karthik represented Norway.

Dressed in our formal attire, we debated on a slew of politically charged topics, including the question of drug trafficking, threats to democracy, and the contested Russo-Japanese maritime border. We faced off against schools such as Haileybury, Camberwell Grammar, and Melbourne High School.

While frantically navigating between zoom speeches, writing amendments, negotiating with other delegates on Slack, and communicating with each other on teams, we continued to uphold our school’s CHOIR values with strong integrity. We also showed tremendous dedication and effort towards tackling these resolutions while working as a team despite representing different countries.

Thank you to Mr Ronald Lee for organising this very educational and competitive event that has allowed us to continue extending our negotiating and persuasive skills. This event further enabled us to challenge our perception of worldly issues by assessing the different governmental ideologies when building our own opinions, whilst also assisting with our time management and public speaking skills.

Angela Hewerdine 
Debating Prefect

International Student Program

Dear international students,

I hope you are well and safe learning from home. This is definitely a tough period for all of us, but I urge everyone to stay optimistic, resilient, and hard-working as you always have been.

Unfortunately, the Mid-Autumn Festival celebration event will be cancelled due to the current COVID-19 restriction, and we will not able to enjoy performance from our wonderful and talented international students. I would like us all to appreciate their effort and the time they spent preparing for the performances.

Upon return, more activities will be arranged and organised for international students at the end of Term 4. As always, Ms Williams, Ms Li, Jason and I will be working together to ensure students feel connected and supported during the year, even though most events were postponed or cancelled. It is really important to continue to stay focused and hardworking during this final period if you want to achieve a good learning outcome.

I am also very glad to have received your positive feedback and suggestions through the International Student Program Annual Survey, as it highlights the areas that we can improve to create a better learning environment for international students. Hopefully, we will be back to school soon and turn these ideas into actions.

I look forward to seeing you all onsite in Term 4. Stay safe, healthy, and connected!

Andy Kuok, International Student Captain

Hi all. I hope you are all holding up through lockdown. Personally, I’ve been holding up fine but if you aren't, here are a few things you could do if you feel bored and unmotivated: 

  • Have a vision of what you want to be in the future to motivate yourself 
  • Set realistic goals for yourself 
  • Stay in touch with your friends and family 
  • Make a schedule/list of things you have to do (It doesn’t have to physical, just make a mental schedule at least) 
  • Find a new hobby 
  • Exercising inside and outside (exercising is great for reducing negative emotions) 
  • Have projects to do outside of school 
  • Learn about the things that interest you 

I’m not going to lie and say that this period of Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning will all be over soon, but lockdown can’t last forever and it's in your power to make online learning more effective and less boring.

If you are feeling negative emotions, these tips will help you deal with them through online learning period. 

Jason Suryanata, Middle School International Student Captain

Thank you to all international students for completing the International Student Program Annual Survey. I am pleased to announce that the results are very positive. I really appreciated all the positive comments and the suggestions you made. Here is a snapshot of your comments and suggestions from International Student Program Annual Survey 2021.

Comments from students:

  • I am happy with current ISP.   
  • Everything is perfect.
  • All good, no suggestions at all.
  • Everything looks all right to me.

Suggestions from students:

  • Organise more activities for us, e.g, team building activities, outdoor picnic, or BBQ, day trip during school holiday.
  • Establish an international student basketball team and organise games with local students at school.
  • Have the table tennis table back, so we can play.
  • Improve homework club quality, it would be great if EAL teachers could help us once a week.

All your constructive suggestions have been followed up and forwarded to our school Leadership Team for consideration and approval.

Due to the extension of lockdown, unfortunately we will not be able to meet onsite to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in Term 3 Week 10. This will allow you more time to study, revise and prepare for your final exams.  We will organise some fun activities for you after the final exams to celebrate your great achievement this year.

Never underestimate your power and ability. Stay connected with your peers and always try your best.

I hope you enjoy your Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations with your family or homestay and enjoy your term break.

Yonghong Williams
International Student Program Manager

Education Resource Centre Report

The Education Resource Centre’s Infiniti online catalogue resides entirely on the internet, which means it is ideally suited to providing anywhere, anytime access to digital resources. This ensures that during periods of Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning the ERC continues to provide Ashwood High School staff and students with the information resources they need. Infiniti is not only the gateway to our online research databases, Britannica, LinksPlus, and Echo Online, it also provides easy online access to Clickview and to our own growing collection of eBooks and eAudiobooks.

Unfortunately, during periods of Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning, Infiniti cannot provide our learning community with access to our wonderful print collections. However, to fill this gap in their usual supply of reading materials many students are taking advantage of the online resources provided by Victorian public libraries. The discovery and use of these extensive public collections of eBooks and eAudiobooks by students has been a very positive outcome of the lockdowns. There is a quick link on the Infiniti homepage to all the Victorian public libraries. Membership is free and you can sign up online and access the resources straight away.

Also, on the Infiniti home page is the Read quick link which leads to our selection of the internet’s best sources of free eBooks and eAudiobooks.

Remember to find time to enjoy reading every day.

Matt Feeney
Education Resource Centre Coordinator

Parent and Community Partnerships - Parents & Friends Network