Ashwood High School eNews

Issue 7 2021

Principal's Report

Remote & Flexible Teaching & Learning to a Return to Face-to-Face Teaching and Learning - ‘From Great to Exceptional’
It is wonderful to see our school alive with students once again. It has been a whirlwind year of lockdowns, a school closure, our highly effective Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning and staged return to Face-to-Face Teaching and Learning. Despite having a number of staff and students in quarantine last week, I am hopeful that the government’s plan for schools, which was introduced on Monday 1 November 2021, may offer the school and the community some predictability and consistency. Ashwood High School’s focus on keeping the community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic has built resilience and instilled hope as the school remains focused on the best possible outcomes for our students and school community.

Ashwood High School continues to provide clear, coherent and compassionate communication with members of the school community, instilling community confidence. Our School has continued to communicate the latest health advice, often at short notice. The following table reflects the school’s commitment to providing clear, concise and consistent communication to the community. The following eLetters and communications have been provided to parents since our last eNewsletter:

Thank you to the many parents and carers who took the time to write to me to thank me for communicating these events at short notice.  It is much appreciated.

There are three main priorities as all students return to Face-to-Face Teaching and Learning:

  • Attendance: Ensuring all students are optimistic, engaged and eager to return to school;
  • Wellbeing: Ensuring all students feel connected and supporting them to thrive;
  • Academic Learning Program: By re-establishing the existing routines and structures, ensuring all students maximise the value of our school’s vibrant, diverse and inclusive learning program.

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

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 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. 

Whole School Assembly – Enhancing the Student Culture
Good schools pivot and stretch to remain relevant within the pandemic.  Our Whole School Virtual Assembly was held on Tuesday 9 November 2021. This was broadcast as a Webex webinar event – a highly polished and professional tool – and was televised to students who were on-site and those who were quarantining at home.  I had the pleasure of hearing our prospective School Captains make their speeches.  I would like to thank all applicants for their inspiring speeches made to the school community. I would also like to thank the technical team, headed by Daniel Christiansz, supported by the principal to broadcast this assembly.

Remembrance Day Virtual Assembly – Enhancing the Student Culture
Ashwood High School commemorated Remembrance Day 2021 by holding a virtual whole school assembly at 11:00am on Thursday 11 November 2021. Our 2021 Middle School Captains, Amber Balmer and Haris Shehzad assisted with the assembly in what was their first official duty. Congratulations also to Jason Suryanata, Christos Giakoumatos and Emma Hew who presented in this event.  

Reflection on the 2021 School Council - ‘From Great to Exceptional’
The 2021 School Council embodies our school’s vision – a school of high trust. In a conversation with the School Council President Nicki Dear, I reflected on the unity and capacity of School Council. I am extremely pleased with the level of respect demonstrated at meetings and the quality of input and insights. The new School Council has an exciting ‘vibe’ with all members demonstrating a thirst for learning and commitment to improved school and student outcomes. I will continue to support School Councillors to ensure that we are ready and prepared for the School Review process set to take place in 2022.

Student Enrolments 2022 – Good to Great – Great to Exceptional
The enrolment increase for 2022 is extremely encouraging; a positive sign for the long-term success of our School.

House Crests  – Growing Pride and Achievement
I am pleased to reveal to the community the final design of our House Crests.  I have been working on these crests in consultation with students and staff utilising House Captains and aspiring student graphic artists:


Dannah Casanova – House Captain

Isaac Roder – House Vice-Captain

Torbjorn Christensen – Middle School House Captain

Anjali Rao – Middle School House Vice-Captain

Vivian Yan – Cowan Student Artist


Matilda Stanton – House Captain

Mikayla Van Dalen – House Vice-Captain

Oscar Morton – Middle School House Captain

Alyssa Pettingill – Middle School House Vice-Captain

Hugo Sharkey – Flynn Student Artist


Greer Van Rooyen – House Captain

Stephanie Millan – House Vice-Captain

Annais Lewis – Middle School House Captain

Leah Ried – Middle School House Vice-Captain

Lucas Leventakis – Melba Student Artist


Elizabeth Tziafas – House Captain

William Roache – House Vice-Captain

Freddie Thorpe – Middle School House Captain

Hayley Brinkworth – Middle School House Vice-Captain

Melody Kim – Paterson Student Artist

Staffing 2022 – Valuing Staff and Building Capacity
The Ashwood High School staff is exemplary. I take enormous pride in the quality of the workforce. A number of staffing positions have been advertised and filled for 2022. Ashwood High School continues to be a destination school for quality applicants. In addition, seven current staff members who were on fixed term contracts were offered ongoing employment. Newly appointed staff will be introduced to the community in the first newsletter of 2022 and to students at the first School Assembly of 2022.

Positions of Leadership and Responsibility 2022 - Valuing Staff and Building Capacity
Panel interviews for contested and newly designed Positions of Responsibility are currently in place.  I am fortunate to have a staff who strive for self and school improvement.  Ashwood High School is in a wonderful position for 2022 due, in part, to our enthusiastic and aspirational school staff culture.

Student Leadership Structure 2022 - Enhancing the Student Culture
Ashwood High School’s new Leadership Structure was unveiled in 2020 and put into practice in 2021. By all accounts it has been a resounding success, providing leadership opportunities to more students in a broader range of areas. Interviews for positions in 2022 were held on Friday 29 October 2021 (Senior School Captains) and Friday 19 November 2021 (Middle School Captains).  Ashwood High School’s beautiful Prefect badges, designed for our school with thought and care, were provided to our 2021 students by mail due to the extended lockdown. The school looks forward to being able to hold assemblies and awards in 2022, where a planned Prefect Investiture will occur in early 2022.

School Captains 2022 - Enhancing the Student Culture
The selection process for 2022 School Captains was delayed until students were back on-site on Tuesday 9 November 2021. It is particularly important that students and staff were all here together to witness the aspirational speeches of the Year 11 candidates on Tuesday 9 November 2021. The 2022 Captains will be announced and inducted at the Presentation and Awards Ceremony. Thank you to Lula Tadesse, Sivan Chen, Zac Aitken, Courtney Tulia and Andy Kuok for their outstanding service over 2021.

School eNews - Increasing Positive Parental and Community Engagement
At this time last year I raised the notion at School Council about transforming our Newsletter from a PDF style newsletter that I introduced in May 2015 to a contemporary eNews format that is mobile friendly in 2021. Feedback received from our community indicates that this change of format has been a great success.

School Strategic Plan 2019 – 2022 / Annual Implementation Plan 2022 – Great to Exceptional
Our school’s Strategic Plan for 2019 – 2022 sets out our strategic goals, priorities and targets. We are well on track to achieve and / or exceed the targets outlined in the Annual Implementation Plan (AIP) for 2021.

The major goals of the Strategic Plan are:

  1. COVID-19 (from 2020): To ensure that, by the end of the first semester, each and every student has returned to or enhanced their level of engagement as demonstrated by attendance data and interaction in class, including the submission of work. Using various data points (including PAT and OnDemand testing), assess and identify those students who need additional support to regain and enhance their learning outcomes.
  2. To raise achievement of all students through consistent implementation of a powerful approach to teaching and learning.
  3. Enhance active engagement in learning and motivation to learn, through implementation of approaches that empower students and develop voice, leadership (advocacy) and agency.
  4. 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.

The goals of the Strategic Plan will continue to inform the next level of our work as a unified school community.

It is expected that the 2022 AIP will be completed prior to the end of the year and will be signed off by the School Council President.

  • The implementation of a re-structuring of the school into two mini-schools: Middle School (Years 7 – 9) and Senior School (Years 10 – 12)
    The restructure of the school to Mini-Schools has been valuable in all respects, allowing students to better align with the appropriate age and stage of learning to support students’ wellbeing, engagement and academic progress. From a staff perspective, the ability to focus on specific year levels has enhanced and supported the engagement, learning and pathways of students, particularly in the Senior School.       
  • Implementation of an improved student learning and engagement program in the form of Tutor Groups (Years 7 – 9) and Form Groups (Year 10). This replaces the previous STAR system and better aligns with students stages of learning, development and growth.
    Tutor Groups (Years 7-9) and Form Groups (Year 10) were instigated in 2021. Teachers were engaged advocates of students, increasing learner agency. Skills such as organisation, planning, goal setting and research were built on our existing framework of Learning Characteristics. This was supported by technology, delivered on an online gamified platform.  Our Form Groups, made up of Year 10 students, has a more academic focus, to best support students with key knowledge and skills required for success in Year 11 and 12 studies.                                        
  • Continued implementation of PIVOT, the School’s Teaching and Learning Model including improved use of Compass as a tool for communication about student learning progress between teachers, students and families.
    The implementation of PIVOT has made considerable gains in 2021. The PIVOT Unit Plan Framework is now completed for all year levels and subjects. The PIVOT lesson plan framework has gone to a trial group comprised of teachers representing a spread of Learning Areas. Feedback on its benefits and areas for improvement will be provided to determine a final template ready for implementation. The Ashwood High School PIVOT Teaching and Learning model was developed in 2016.                                                                                                        
  • Implementation of a range of programs including, the continuation of Intensive English and Mathematics (tagged to DET Funding of the Middle Years Literacy and Numeracy Support – MYLNS) and a new Learning Mentor Program (tagged to DET funding – Tutor Learning Initiative).
    Both programs will proceed in 2022 to ensure students who did not make the expected learning gains during Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning are provided the necessary supports and enrichment to catch-up.

Annual Implementation Plan 2022 – Great to Exceptional        
Our school’s 2022 Annual Implementation Plan (AIP) will be submitted to the Department prior to the end of this year. The 2022 AIP is being developed as part of the final year of the School’s successful Strategic Plan which has seen the school grow and prosper.

The overarching goals of the AIP are the same as those of our current Strategic Plan (2019 – 2022). These are:

  • To raise the achievement of all students
  • Enhance active engagement in learning and motivation to learn
  • To enhance learning growth through building the capacity of all staff.

The AIP reflects the on-going journey of ‘The Path Forward at Ashwood High School’ and outlines some of the specific actions and milestones for 2022 that will ensure we become the exceptional school we all envision.

School Colours Awards – Growing Pride and Achievement
Due to the restrictions in place we were unable to hold a School Colours Ceremony at the usual time due to lockdowns and restrictions.  The event will now be held on Wednesday 24 November 2021 during the school day. This event will not be televised to families at home.  Successful applicants for School Colours will be celebrated in our next newsletter.

Year 12 Valedictory Presentation - Enhancing the Student Culture
In 2020, our COVID-19 safe ‘Valedictory Address’ was held at Ashwood High School and livestreamed to parents and I made the extraordinary, not to be repeated decision to speak about each child’s individual story, unlike previous years.  For 2021, the school had planned a similar event.  In fact, I went ahead and wrote some nice words about every student in Year 12. We are currently investigating the possibility of holding the event later in the term, after examinations on Monday 29 November 2021.

School Programs - Enhancing the Student Culture
The current restrictions have not allowed many of our usual co-curricular programs to run.  Behind the scenes we have been busy with the following:

  • Year 12 holiday classes over the term break
  • Booklists and information to our Year 7 cohort for 2022
  • Final ACE Testing of the year which was held online in students’ homes on Monday 25 October 2021
  • Preparations and the holding of COVID Safe exams for VCE students
  • Transition Programs throughout the school community maintaining and enhancing our primary school partnerships and outstanding reputation.

School Musical Production 2022 - Enhancing the Student Culture
The School Musical Production for 2022, ‘The Addams Family’, was ratified at the most recent School Council meeting.  This musical was planned for 2020 and 2021 and was unable to go ahead due to restrictions imposed because of the pandemic. This musical is ideal as it has a large, inclusive cast.  It is a fun musical but also looks at issues such as sibling relationships and celebrating differences. We are fortunate that the musical can go ahead with the original 2021 cast, as no Year 12 students were involved in the production this year.

Orientation Information Night and Day – Increasing Positive Parental and Community Engagement
Due to the number of expected participants (over 600 including parents and students) and the difficulties that arise with a COVID Safe event, we have made adjustments to our Year 7 2022 Information Evening, which will now be held via a Webinar on Monday 6 December 2021. Orientation Day is planned for Tuesday 7 December 2021 and in accordance with the latest advice received from the Department, I look forward to welcoming these Grade 6 students on-site for the day.

Presentation Awards Ceremony 2021- Growing Pride and Achievement
An essential part of tradition, ritual and ceremony at Ashwood High School is the Presentation Awards Ceremony.  The Presentation Awards Ceremony will be held on Friday 26 November, 2021 during the school day. This event will be held via Webinar and I am looking forward to ‘virtually’ attending this event and celebrating our magnificent students.

VCE Preparatory Program – Growing Pride and Achievement
The VCE Preparatory Program will commence on Monday 22 November 2021 and will run for two weeks (we changed to a two-week program from a one-week program in 2016; it was a two-day program in 2014). This has enabled students to be better prepared for the rigorous demands of senior school programs and pathways.

Internal Examinations Years 7 – 11 – Growing Pride and Achievement 
The rigour of our School’s examination program is impressive. Exam Week will commence on Monday 15 November 2021.  Year 11 students, will sit an exam in each of their 6 subjects, ensuring that our students are prepared for the high expectations and assessment conditions of Year 12.

Intensive English and Intensive Maths Program (MYLNS  - Literacy & Numeracy) – Growing Pride and Achievement
A small proportion of students in Years 7-10, identified through student learning data, will again benefit from additional support to improve their overall English and Maths skills in 2022. Qualified teachers in each of these Learning Areas will work with small groups of students to improve their knowledge, understanding and skills in English and in Maths. It is anticipated that this support will provide them a better overall foundation that will assist them to make improvements in their other areas of study. The longevity of this program will be determined by ongoing DET funding.

Learning Mentor Program (DET Tutor Learning Initiative) - Growing Pride and Achievement
This program has been provided by the DET to support students whose learning may have been disrupted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic throughout 2020 and 2021. We have a number of students who have been identified through student engagement and learning data that have not made the same progress in their education as we would anticipate in normal circumstances. These students come from a wide range of backgrounds, year levels and ability levels. It is important to acknowledge that Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning has had a positive impact for some students who have made extraordinary progress in learning, however for other students it has been an additional challenge. It is for these students that the School will again hold a Learning Mentor Program aligned to the DET’s Tutor initiative. Selected students from Years 7 through to Year 10 will participate in the Learning Mentor Program. This program has been tagged to DET funding specific to this period.

Capital Works Program – AMP Stage 2 - Great to Exceptional
As our Capital Works Program nears the end of our tender phase, I would like to reflect on the Capital Works journey so far.

Originally, the school was promised $52,000, this increased to $500,000 for works.  I worked with the Department to show that the school’s ‘built capacity’ was unrealistic. The ‘built capacity’ has been reduced from 975 to 695 students and signed off by the DET. With lobbying via our local member, we then received confirmation that the school would receive a further $5,000,000.00.  This was excellent news, but this amount of money would not take the school to the next level required for The Jewel of the East.  On Friday 20 November 2020 I met with Will Fowles MP Member for Burwood in the company of excited and proud Ashwood High School students. Mr Fowles announced further funding of $9.742 million for upgrades for the school including a new STEAM and Research Centre (Total Estimated Investment (TEI) of $10.3 million taking into account planning funding). Since then the school has progressed through the schematic design, design development, and tender documentation phases. The Project Control Group is currently in the process of selecting a builder.

Ashwood Revealed Campaign – 2022 – Increasing Parent and Community Engagement
A plan is being developed for our Ashwood Revealed Campaign for 2022. The Open Night is on Wednesday 4 May 2022.

Brett Moore
Executive Principal
Monday 15 November, 2021



Key Dates - Term 4 2021

Middle School Assistant Principal's Report

It has been so uplifting to encounter the school grounds abuzz with the return of students and staff to onsite teaching and learning.

Please see below for some summary highlights to date from the first half of Term 4, 2021  

Attitude to School Survey 2021
It has been my pleasure to administer the Attitude to School Survey (AtoSS) to our students upon their return to onsite learning in Term 4, 2021. AtoSS is an annual survey conducted by the Department of Education and Training and seeks to get students opinions and experiences of school. The data is highly informative and will assist the school with our evaluation of current practices, as well as future planning.

Whole School Assemblies
Tuesday 9 November 2021

It was a pleasure to listen to the delivery of speeches by our prospective 2022 Ashwood High School Captains, Vice Captains and International Student Captain at the Whole School Assembly on Tuesday 9 November 2021. I was thoroughly impressed with the quality of the speeches, as well as their delivery.

Thursday 11 November 2021

Ashwood High School’s annual Remembrance Day Assembly was held virtually again this year. As per protocols, the minute’s silence was observed at 11am. Whilst this was conducted remotely, Ashwood High School staff commented on the high level of respect our students demonstrated throughout the duration of the assembly. Our Middle School Student Leadership Executive are also to be commended for their contributions to the assembly.

Meg McLellan
Middle School Assistant

Middle School Engagement, Wellbeing and Transitions Report

As I write this article, I sit at home on a Sunday night, so excited to know that we will finally have all of our students back on site together tomorrow, Monday 1 November. Middle School students have been exceptional in their commitment to their learning during this Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning Period, but I know all of our teachers will agree that school is so much more fun when we can have our amazing students in the room with us.

Despite the interruptions, we have used our High Expectations and Optimism as a Middle School to ensure our students have remained focused on the future. Following the exciting uptake of the School Colours process, we introduced the Student Leadership Application process in Tutor Group as well. It was fantastic to hear from currently appointed leaders in most Tutor Groups who were able to talk about their experiences, and the benefits they have derived from their roles. In addition to this information session, students were provided with a Twenty to guide them through the process, and both a virtual and onsite lunchtime help session run by our exceptional Student Leadership team, along with help from Ms Wraight and the Student Management Team. Each application needed to include a completed coversheet including peer and staff endorsements and a letter of application addressed to Mr Moore.    

A team of dedicated staff and students who will make up the appointment panels are already looking forward to reviewing the applications against the rubrics, and I know that Mr Moore is particularly looking forward to interviewing the applicants for the Middle School Captain, Middle School International Student Captain and Middle School Vice Captain positions. A big congratulations to all of the students who have served in roles for 2021 and we hope to see many new and returning faces in 2022.

With the return to onsite learning comes the announcement of Exam Week in Week 7. All Ashwood High School students undertake an exam week each semester for a few important reasons. Firstly, exams provide a tried and tested means by which teachers can assess a student’s learning progress over a certain period. This is especially important following a period of remote learning, as it provides essential information to individual teachers and our staff as a whole about how to best support Middle School students moving forward into 2022. Furthermore, the exam process assists in establishing routines, protocols and high expectations for our students to best prepare them for future assessments in VCE or VCAL. Despite this rationale, we do understand that exams can be a source of stress for some students, so Tutor Groups will be focusing on exam preparation over a period of three weeks, with recognition of both emotional and academic preparation. If you would like to partner with us in preparing your child for exam week, please see their lesson plans and resources for Tutor Group sessions in Weeks 4 and 6.

The team in the Middle School, as ever, has been working diligently to ensure a smooth reintegration of Years 7 -9 into the physical school environment. I would like to sincerely thank the many staff who have given willingly of their lunch breaks to run additional structured activities at lunch times to ensure our students have time to connect and relax in a safe and structured way. This additional influx of lunch time activities has been coordinated by Ms Matilda Wraight (Student Voice, Leadership and Agency Coordinator) so thank you very much to her, also, for her hard work.

As always, I’d like to thank my amazing team in the Middle School for all that they do, every day and often well outside their rostered hours, to ensure our students are well supported. I’d also really like to thank you, the families, for your amazing work partnering with us whilst your students were learning from home. I hope that you have seen from your living rooms/offices/kitchen benches how deeply our teachers care for your children, but we know that you also had a big part to play in keeping the metaphorical ship on course. Thank you for all that you have done, and we look forward to continuing to partner with you as we transition back to learning onsite.

Meg Brydon
Middle School Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Transitions Leader

Cowan House Report

Hello Cowaners!

As this year comes to a close, I would like to congratulate you all for your efforts one last time. This year has been difficult to say the least, but each and every one of you pulled through, giving everything the best of your ability, in major house events, to the quick messages you sent to your friends whilst in lockdown. It’s clear to see that not even a global pandemic is enough to break your spirits, which is something I must commend you for. I encourage you to keep this outstanding charisma as you move into next year. 2022 will be full of memories to be made, both good and bad, but I am positive that you will enjoy the good with the people around you, and help each other through the bad. 

On behalf of Mr Driscoll, the House Team and I, we are proud of everyone, and wish you all the best for the rest of the year.

Dannah Casanova
Cowan House Captain

Flynn House Report

Dear Flynn House,

Can you believe it, the end of the school year is approaching! I guess we could say that this year was like no other, but I am beyond proud of all members of our amazing house for enduring and making the best out of a bad situation. Not only have you all been persistent, but you have shown resilience through every challenge you were put in. I commend you all on your efforts and congratulate you on finishing a tough year. It is very unfortunate that I was not able to run as many events and connect with my house as much as I had wanted to, but I hope that everyone got the most out of the few house events that we had. Now, we have the house shield announcement to look forward to and we all have to come together in hope that Flynn will take back the shield! Regardless of the outcome, we have put in our best efforts, and we should all give each other a pat on the back. I have loved being your House Captain and am grateful for all of the support from not only the students, but Mrs Dernikos also.

I would also like to wish the new Flynn captains of 2022 the best of luck leading our mighty house next year!

Matilda Stanton
Flynn House Captain

Melba House Report

Melba students,

Well done on another excellent year! It has been such a privilege to watch all of you kick your goals and take on the year with such optimism and resilience. Congratulations for getting through the year, I’m so proud of each and every one of you. Thank you for being such an amazing house to lead, I know that next year’s captains will continue to lead Melba to many more wins! Although this year was challenging due to the sudden lockdowns, everyone continued to put in 100% and I applaud you all for your continued effort. Keep reaching your goals and having high expectations for yourself, I know that you are all going to go far. I want to congratulate the new Melba captains for next year, I wish you all the best and I know you are going to do an outstanding job. Thank you again for another great year, I wish you the best of luck with your exams and I hope you have a restful holiday, it really has been a privilege working with you all. Now remember… gooo MELBA !!! 

Greer Van Rooyen
Melba House Captain 

Paterson House Report

Hello Paterson,

Our House team members are so incredibly proud of you all, for the efforts you have put into your studies and both the resilience and optimism you have shown whilst adapting to online learning. This year has allowed for us to grow and prosper as a house and improve upon our house spirit. We cannot wait to watch you all continue growing and learning as students. It has been an honour to be your House Captain and a part of the Paterson community. I know that the future house team and leadership executive will provide you all with support and encouragement in 2022. I wish you all the best for next year and anticipate that Paterson will continue working hard and inspiring others to do so.

Elizabeth Tziafas
Paterson House Captain

Middle School Student Leadership & Agency Report

Well done to the Middle School Student Leadership Executive members for expertly leading the school community in our Remembrance Day assembly on 11 November. Jason Suryanata presented ‘The Ode’ by Laurence Binyon, Emma Hew and Christos Giakoumatos presented ‘In Flanders Fields’ by John McCrae, and Amber Balmer and Haris Shehzad presented a Middle School Captains address to the school community. Thank you Middle School leaders!

Applications for 2022 Student Leadership positions have now closed and we look forward to announcing the appointments soon.

Matilda Wraight
Student Voice, Leadership & Agency Coordinator

Accelerated Curriculum & Enrichment Program

Despite a last minute change brought about by the early return to school, the second round of ACE testing took place online on Monday 25 October 2021. Families of applicants will be contacted in November with further information regarding the outcome of the application process.

In this issue, our ‘Spotlight On’ featurette will take a closer look inside the classroom of 8ACE Mathematics and their teacher Mr Colin Shnier.

Caroline Servadei
Enrichment, Pedagogy Partnerships & Professional Learning Leader

Spotlight on 8ACE Mathematics
In Year 8 ACE Maths we have been given many opportunities to deepen our understanding of multiple complex mathematical concepts. Some of these include Pythagoras’ theorem, trigonometry, extended algebra techniques and indices and surds. Working on these topics has helped increase our confidence in problem solving and has encouraged us to extend our thinking in new directions. Throughout the year we have all enjoyed participating in collaborative tasks. Another opportunity we were given was to participate in the AMT Junior Maths competition. This involved working with a partner to attempt to solve complex maths challenges over multiple weeks. Solving these challenges required us to use problem solving skills and find multiple patterns and formulas. Throughout the year, we have improved our abilities to build on each other’s ideas, producing high quality work and creating an inclusive environment for all students and teachers alike.

Maddisen Rado, Olivia Schwatschko, Ethan Mole, Leah Ried and Layla Swindells 


After School Study Hall

Senior School Assistant Principal's Report

Dear Ashwood High School Community,

The community of Ashwood High School continues to adapt to the current educational landscape. We are delighted that the school has returned to onsite learning, and our staff and students can continue to learn and grow within the normalities of an onsite school environment.

Our students in the Senior School have returned with a desire to improve their learning and socialise with their peers after several months in the remote learning environment. This has been evident through the way students have displayed a rigour to establish a highly accomplished academic achievement in their VCE Student Assessment Coursework (SACs) and SATs VCAL Outcomes and Common Assessment tasks (CAT) at Year 10. Our staff and students should be commended in the way they have transitioned back to onsite learning, displaying a strong emphasis on school pride and performance through work ethic and uniform expectations. Our principal, Mr Brett Moore, has emphasised the optimism demonstrated around the school upon the  school’s return to onsite learning.

As our students move back to an onsite learning environment, they remain optimistic about their work outcomes and the upcoming exam period for Years 7 to 11. Our students continue to work extremely hard to develop their exam and study skills in preparation for Week 7 (15 November to 19 November) exams. This exam period will focus on developing study skills and improved memory skills to improve students long-term knowledge base and best prepare our students for future endeavours.

As the end of the year comes near, our class of the 2021 Year 12 VCE and VCAL students prepare for the final chapter of their schooling life, the exam process and final project submissions. Our students and teachers in Year 12 have continued to put in an enormous effort over the past few months to do everything possible to create a dynamic learning environment with key focuses towards their final exams and project submissions. The consistently changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic has made for many difficult obstacles along the way. It has been a credit to our staff and students for the way they have planned, prepared and persisted throughout the year. The whole school community is very proud and excited for them as they head into completing their final hurdle of schooling. I would like to congratulate the Year 12 cohort of 2021 and our 2021 School Captains, Lula Tadaesse and Sivan Chen, on how they have conducted themselves throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and proudly display our school CHOIR values throughout the year.

As the Assistant Principal of the Senior School, I wish all Ashwood High School community members and students all the best in the upcoming exam process held in Week 7 of Term 4 (15 November to 19 November). I would also like to thank the parents and carers for their oncoming support of our students as we continue to grow, develop and navigate through the educational world of remote and onsite learning, which has been throughout Term 3 and 4.

Tom O'Toole
Senior School Assistant Principal

Senior School Engagement, Wellbeing & Pathways Report

Our Year 12 students have now begun their end of year exams with the full support of the school cheering them on. These students have been inspirational in the face of challenges this year. Their resilience and leadership are commendable - I have watched as they overcame every hurdle thrown at them with maturity and understanding far beyond their years.

Our VCE and VCAL students in their final years of schooling have met and surpassed the high expectations of our school and community. In particular, our Year 12 students have demonstrated great dedication to their education as they took up every available opportunity to extend themselves. Both Year 11 and 12 students have been courageous leaders in the second year of schooling interrupted by lockdowns.

Returning to onsite learning has brought excitement and connection back into our senior school. When reflecting on this year, our senior school students were asked: Why is being a student in the Senior School special? Below are some of the responses we received:

Being a student in the Senior School is special as it comes with so many privileges that we don’t have in our younger years! We’re given the opportunity to act as positive role models, and that in itself is a very rewarding experience. As older students, we can reflect on how much we’ve grown, both academically and personally, across our years of high school which is also very rewarding.  Lula Tadesse (Year 12)

Having spent the past 10 years looking up towards the senior students in all the schools I attended, I always admired their diligence, discipline and commitment especially in their studies. Being able to call myself one of them brings out our confidence as students but also provides us the duty to guide other younger students.  Adrian Tan (Year 11)

As a student in the Senior School, I get more freedom in making decisions for myself, including choosing the subjects that I am interested in undertaking especially now that VCE is approaching. As a student leader, I also have more opportunities to put ideas into action within the school community, in the form of extracurriculars such as the Student Newspaper Club.  Caitlyn Lim (Year 10)

Being a senior student is special as it is a stage where we explore our interests and develop skills before entering the adult world. What we learn in the Senior School is more challenging but also more rewarding. Through completing group assignments, we are able to develop our cooperation and communication skills, which will be helpful in university or in the workplace.   Andy Kuok (Year 12)

Being a student in senior school is like that step you never thought you'd be able to take. I feel as though I am closer than what I have ever been towards my future, and now being in senior school grants me more options to use my voice to benefit my peers and the Ashwood High School community.  Jessica Sterle (Year 10)

Being a student in the Senior School is more than exciting and fun! It is a worth the time and resources to be able to spend my Senior School years with my delightful peers and teachers! Every second is filled with wisdom, freedom, and jokes!  Stacy Chishaka (Year 11)

It’s special because after being in the education system for more than 10 years, we’re finally nearing the end of our schooling. As a result, we’re realising our full potential and looking into opportunities that we hadn’t considered before this because of thinking forward past high school.  Sam Harvison (Year 11)

I think being a student in the Senior School is special because you are reaching the end of your school education journey, after doing so you have created a path for another journey to take place. The thing I love the most about being a part of the Senior School is having more freedom and voice about your choices such as choosing your preferred subjects and the possibility of becoming a School Leader as well as the mutual respect between student-student and teacher-student. I have always had much respect toward Ashwood High School as well as beliefs that we stand for compared to other secondary schools, I believe this is due to our connectivity and strong community which provide various opportunity to express oneself.  Madeline Booker (Year 11)

I wish our students all the best for their end of year exams and look forward to our upcoming end of year program.

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

Year 10 Coordinator's Report

Year 10 students have had an excellent return to face-to-face teaching and learning. We are so proud of your efforts, the resilience you have shown and are so enjoying seeing your smiling faces back on campus.

It has been particularly enjoyable seeing students re connect with their peers, get back to an excellent school routine so quickly and just the overall happiness and excitement they have shown to be back in the classroom.

It is now the time of year that during classes where students are finishing off important assessments and preparing for their upcoming exams. This can be a stressful time, so it is important to look after yourself and to reach out if you need support.

Here are some strategies to try as you prepare for the last hurdle of Year 10:

  • Ask your teacher any clarifying questions regarding content and reach out for support if you need it!
  • Prioritise your wellbeing: maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly and ensure you are sleeping well.
  • Buddy up with a friend to study and test each other.
  • Ensure your revision/study schedule incorporates down time and that you also schedule in things that make you happy.
  • Create revision cards, sheets, or booklets to assist you in each subject.
  • Practise the way you are going to be assessed (so if it is English- write an essay to time!)

Remember to be proud of yourself and give everything your best shot- that is all anyone can ask of you.

Good luck to all Year 10s on your upcoming exams and congratulations on your excellent return to school!

Here are some things that have stood out to some of our Year 10 students this semester:

This year I have enjoyed being able to build stronger connections with my group of friends even while online.
Mel Saengyojarn

I have enjoyed how welcoming and understanding the teaches and students have been here at Ashwood High School. I am a new student to the school this year and started on Webex.
Mischa Powell

Throughout this semester, I have been able to expand my knowledge and connect more with both my teachers and my peers. The online learning has affected me a lot and it’s nice to be able to come to a class with a warm environment.
Taya Tu

The difficulty of online learning has not defeated me with the help of my teachers.
Angela Wang 

Year 10 in 2021, has been very difficult considering pandemic. Despite this, our principal Mr Moore and all our teachers have been beyond supportive for all of us students during this time, and have provided help for us when needed and given us strategies to cope.
Jessica Lewis

Thank you to parents, guardians, and families for your ongoing support of the school and the Year 10 program. I have enjoyed discussing the pathways and exciting opportunities that await students with you all.

Sachael Miller
Year 10 Coordinator


Year 11 Coordinator's Report

It has been fantastic to welcome back the Year 11 students to face-to-face Teaching and Learning this term after another extended period of home-schooling. While it was great to see the high level of commitment shown by students during remote learning, naturally there is no substitute for the ‘live’ classroom setting. The next major event on the calendar for Year 11 VCE students are the Semester 2 exams and these continue to be an excellent opportunity for senior students to further develop their exam taking skills in advance of their all-important end of Year 12 exams.

 Students are encouraged to begin their revision early and to ensure that they are thoroughly prepared. Students should set aside time for regular revision of the course content and be proactive in seeking teacher assistance when required. Keep working hard at your studies and the rewards will undoubtedly follow.

Below are some additional tips to guide your exam preparation.

  • Allow yourself enough time to thoroughly revise.
  • Organise your study space, well in advance.
  • Use flow charts and diagrams.
  • Practice using past tests and exams.
  • Explain your answers to others, including family and friends
  • Organise study groups with friends
  • Take regular breaks with your revision

I wish all Year 11 students the best with their studies and the end of semester exams.

John Sheehan
Year 11 Coordinator

Year 12 Coordinator's Report

For our Year 12 students, Term 4 commenced with the excitement and joy of finally being able to spend time in the classrooms with their lovely friends and teachers. Despite coming back for the three hour and fifteen minute long General Achievement Test (GAT), Year 12s were exhilarated to spend time together without the barrier of computer screens. Ms Huggins, Ms Rimmer, Ms McLellan, Mr O’Toole and I were equally, if not more, exhilarated to receive them on the day. This joy extended to all our Year 12 team, teachers, Integration Aids and supporting staff, when Year 12s resumed their onsite learning. For many of the team members, this meant that they needed to adopt a blended approach and additional travel time with all other year levels continued with Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning. However, nothing could stop them from doing all they could to support our Year 12s to finish the last bit of their race! BIG THANK YOU to ALL members of the amazing Year 12 TEAM!

By the time of this issue of the school newsletter, all of Year 12s will have already entered their respective battlefield. Our Year 12 VCAL students will have been finalising their academic study to obtain their VCAL certificates and doing their best to impress their employees for future employment. Our Year 12 VCE students will have been spending every single millisecond on exam preparation and sitting in their VCE external exams one after another. On behalf of all the teachers and supporting staff in our Year 12 team, I’d like to wish everyone of our precious Year 12s BEST of LUCK and may you all embrace and enjoy the last lap of your senior school race before you embark on the next chapter of your life!

Jessie Tian
Year 12 Coordinator

Senior School Student Leadership & Agency

Congratulations to the applicants for 2022 Senior School Student Leadership Executive positions for completing the panel interview and applicant address portions of the application process. This is a great achievement and you should all be immensely proud of yourselves as we are of you. The speeches that you presented to the school community were insightful and inspiring. As members of the 2022 Year 12 class you will all be leaders of the school and have proven your ability to be positive role models for younger students. We thank you for your efforts!

We also thank the 2021 Senior School Student Leadership Executive members for leading the school through the challenges of this year. Lula Tadesse, Sivan Chen, Andy Kuok, Courtney Tulia and Zachary Aitken have all demonstrated resilience, perseverance and optimism in the face of challenges. Their leadership has been appreciated by all students and staff, and we wish them well as they progress through the examination and results period. Good luck!

Matilda Wraight
Student Voice, Leadership & Agency Coordinator

VCE VCAL VET Curriculum Services

It was lovely to welcome our students undertaking a Unit 3/4 study back onsite on Tuesday October 5, as they arrived to undertake the General Achievement Test (GAT). The students were all pleased to be back and keen to catch up with each other. It was pleasing to see all students respectfully following the COVID-19 protocol, ensuring that everyone was able to complete the exam in a safe manner. A big thank you to Mr O’Toole, Ms McLellan, Ms Tian and Ms Rimmer for assisting me with this.

Our Year 12 VCAL and VCE students finished their classes in the week ending 22 October, with the final VCE exams starting on Wednesday 27 October. I would like to congratulate all of our Year 12 students on the manner in which they approached their studies this year, ensuring positive outcomes and strong finishes. This would not have been possible without the enormous dedication of our VCE and VCAL staff in the ever changing environment that has been 2021 (and 2020), and I would like to personally thank them all for their efforts on behalf of our students. In addition I would like to thank the wider school community for their assistance during the VCE exam period with maintaining quiet and respectful behaviour around the exam centre. With the requirement for open doors and windows to allow ventilation this was increasingly important this year.

With results release occurring at 7am on 16 December I want to remind Year 12 students that we will have supports in place to assist you should you wish to make changes to your VTAC applications, prior to the final cut off of 4pm 20 December  (12pm 17 December for International students with early round offers on 21 December ).  Local Students First offer round is 14 January 2022.

  • Mrs Huggins and Ms Hechenberger will be available to meet with you in person at school on 16 December or via phone call/email.
  • Assistance can be provided on 17 December, however an appointment will be required. Please email or
  • Ongoing assistance after this date will be available via email to Mrs Huggins

As our Year 12 VCE students finish their exams our Year 11s will be starting theirs. This exam week and the following two week preparation program is a good opportunity for students to consider their choices for 2022 and ensure that they set themselves up in the best possible manner for their final year.  The VCAL students will be utilising the preparation program to gain an understanding of the course requirements, develop team work and leadership skills. Students should also use this time to organise work placements to assist with their VET studies and their Work Related Skills subject.

The current Year 10 students will be beginning their VCE and VCAL journey on Monday November 22 with the start of the preparation program, and we look forward to welcoming them into these programs.

As our students all begin the next phase of their learning journey I encourage you to consider where your studies will take you and ensure that you make the most of the opportunities available in the coming weeks with exams and the preparation program, to set you up in the best possible manner. If you have any queries regarding how your current studies can assist with your future study plans or pathways please see Ms Hechenberger or myself for assistance.

Julie Huggins
VCAA Curriculum Services Coordinator

Careers & Pathways Report

As part of the Department’s Program Transforming Career Education students across all year levels are completing the My Career Portfolio program. The program is an online platform for government school students in Years 7 to 12 to develop and store their Career Action Plan (CAP), and other files related to their course and career planning throughout their secondary schooling. My Career Portfolio can also be used by students to store folios or compilations of school work from other learning areas, including while flexible and remote learning is in place.

With the main component of the program being the annual completion of a CAP, I would like to thank all students from Years 10 to 12 who embraced the process and completed their CAP. For those in Years 10 to 12 who have not completed their CAP, you are still welcome to do so. You will find the student user guide here – remember to click ‘Share with your Teacher’ and it will come through to me for feedback. Or I am happy for you to make contact with me via email at to set up a time to go through the CAP process.

Year 7 and 8 students are scheduled to complete their My Career Portfolio and CAP sessions in the last week of their Humanities classes and the Year 9 students completing their My Career Portfolio and CAP sessions in the last few weeks of their Challenge classes. From what I have seen of the older year levels CAPs I know they are going to be great!

Senior Career Sessions
Once Exam Week is completed on Friday 19 November 2021 the Year 11 students will participate in separate career sessions,

Jodie Hechenberger
Careers & Pathways Coordinator

Director of Studies Report

Dear students and families of Ashwood High School.

From November 15-19, exams will be held for all students in Years 7-11. This period will provide students with the opportunity to practise preparing for and sitting exams, in preparation for senior school. Class teachers, tutors and Form Group teachers have been working intensively with the students to develop concrete strategies to prepare for and sit exams successfully. These include developing a study timetable, monitoring and regulating emotions, and using reading time effectively. Students are encouraged to apply these strategies with rigour and discipline.

Exams have been uploaded to each student’s Compass timetable. For parents, the exam schedule is included below.

Middle School students (Years 7-9) will sit exams in English and Mathematics. When not sitting exams, students will attend their regularly scheduled classes. Year 9 students will sit exams in English, Maths, Science and Humanities. All exams will run for 90 minutes: ten minutes reading time and 80 minutes writing time.

Senior School students
Students in Years 10 and 11 will sit exams in all their subjects. This will provide them and their teachers with insight into their readiness for 2022.

Colin Shnier
Director of Studies

Data Analysis, Improvement & School Organisation Report

Congratulations to the following students who participated in the Australian Mathematics Competitions this year. Due to lockdowns around the country, the release of results was delayed, but they have now finally arrived. 

Students will receive their certificates and report during Week 6 of Term 4.  If you have not received these by the end of that week, please see your Maths teacher.

Kate Davis
Data Analysis, Improvement and School Organisation Leader

Enrichment, Pedagogy, Partnerships & Professional Learning

World Teachers’ Day was celebrated in Australia on October 29 this year. Ashwood High School is fortunate to have a passionate and dedicated teaching staff who are committed to supporting the learning of our students through their ongoing engagement with professional partnerships. From the Monash University Q Project through to the Ashwood Alliance Embedded Unit conducted in conjunction with Deakin University, the expertise of our exceptional teaching staff has been on prominent display in 2021.

Ms Meg Brydon (Student Engagement, Wellbeing & Transitions Leader) recently represented Ashwood High School at the Monash Q Project Leading and enabling quality use of research in schools webinar on 20 October. Using a range of football analogies to conceptualise the use of research in education as a ‘team sport’, Ms Brydon eloquently described how she utilised research evidence to design the Tutor Group curriculum, ‘Achieve’ at Ashwood High School. ‘Achieve’ launched in January this year for students in Years 7-9 and has been well-received by both staff and students.

In Term 3 this year, Mr Dominic Holloway (English Learning Area Coordinator), Ms Jessie Tian and Ms Carmela Diaz (Year 7 English Teachers) played a pivotal role in the success of the Ashwood Alliance Embedded Unit Literacy Teacher Researchers in New Times which investigated how the use of digital technologies can engage learners in the middle-years English classroom. The results of this program were showcased at a virtual symposium hosted by Deakin University on 5 and 6 October.

The school commends the efforts of our teaching staff as we work together, using research to build a transformative culture of teaching and learning. We look forward to another successful year in the partnerships space in 2022.

In other news, Ashwood High School extends a warm welcome to the eight pre-service teachers who will be joining us from Deakin University in Term 4. I would also like to acknowledge the support of their teacher mentors Ms Niesha Moorad, Ms Allison Phillips, Mr Daniel Christiansz, Ms Lucy Rimmer, Ms Caroline Servadei, Ms Jessie Tian and Mr Calvin Yin. Thank you for your support and encouragement of these teachers.

Caroline Servadei
Enrichment, Pedagogy Partnerships & Professional Learning Leader

Mathematics Learning Area Report

Welcome back onsite to all of our wonderful students!!

To kick off the welcome back to school party, a Rummikub round robin was held between some of the Year 7 classes. The Rummikub round robin was designed to rebuild the students’ connections to one another and to have a bit of fun.

The Year 7 students are fast approaching their very first exams at Ashwood High School. Whilst some of them are a little daunted, most of them are confident that the work they put in during Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning will hold them in good stead.

Year 7 students have been studying Algebra as their final topic before exams. This unit was started at the end of the remote teaching period and students have been glad to be back to learn the rigours of Algebra onsite.

Kate Davis
Mathematics Learning Area Coordinator

“I’m so happy and excited to be back and see all my friends and teachers”.
Lynette Yoshida

“I’m a really competitive person and I loved the Rummikub welcome back challenge”.
Chloe Bruford

“Remote learning was really hard at times, but I think I did enough work in Maths to get a good result in my exam”.
Amy Noy

“Algebra had been difficult to learn online, but now that we are back at school, I am beginning to understand terms, coefficients and expressions much more”.
Ruairi Keating

“It’s so weird to see other people again, but I’m so happy to be back at school. Maths was still fun online, but I like it much better in the classroom”.
Jacob Reid

“I’m nervous for my Maths exam, but all the work I’ve done during the semester gives me confidence I can get a good mark”.
Allegra Beadle


Science Learning Area Report

Students have been enjoying their practical work in their science classes after the return to face-to-face teaching and learning. Here are some photos to showcase just some of the exciting investigations that have provided students with hands-on opportunities to apply scientific theory to the real world.

Year 7 students in Ms Jowett’s class applied their understanding of forces as they undertook an engineering challenge to design, build and test a model parachute. Students were challenged to design a model parachute that would safely deliver an egg from a height. Students then evaluated whether or not their design was successful.
Year 8 students learned about the relationship between structure and function in biological systems as they dissected a cow’s eye. Students performed the dissection safely and practised using different scientific equipment in the laboratory.

Year 8 students also practised their dissection skills on flower. This allowed students to explore reproductive processes in flowers.

I am also pleased to announce the winners of our virtual escape room that was held during Science Week:

Years 7-8 First Place: Emma Anderson-Weir, Thomas Duckworth and Rishab Mitra
Years 9-10 First Place: Issy Vulis, Emma Hew, Quyen Tran
Year s7-8 Second Place: Kenan Wong, Rushillq Sadasivam and Oliver Holbeach
Years 9-10 Tied Second Place: James Talbot, Sebastian Millan and Daniel Cobelli. Leila Gonzalez, Rupesh Bankar and Ina Christensen

Congratulations to all students who got involved with the Science Week activities, including the Science Week quiz. It was fantastic to see students connecting with one another, even in the virtual environment, and celebrating all things science. Students appreciated the opportunities available to them during the period of remote and flexible teaching and learning, and it has been wonderful to welcome all students back into the science laboratory this term.

Niesha Moorad
Science Learning Coordinator

Humanities Learning Area Report

It has been such a joy seeing students back on-site since the staggered return to on-campus learning. The energy and excitement levels have been high, and it has been great to see students engaging with their learning back on campus and working collaboratively in person.

This term in Year 8, our focus has been on Changing Nations – we have been learning all about urbanisation, population density, population distribution and migration. Since our return to campus, we have been focussing on the urban growth of Melbourne over time, and the city’s urban sprawl patterns. To support students in their learning, our 8A class worked collaboratively with Lego to emulate a map of Melbourne’s urban growth since 1883. After choosing the colours to use for their own legend, students had to build Melbourne’s urban sprawl onto a base and then explain to the class how Melbourne has grown over time. Students were able to point out that some areas of metropolitan Melbourne have grown in patterns which follow major freeways and train lines, and were able to explain some of the pull factors that have caused Melbourne’s overall population to grow. Some students ‘built up’ the centre of their Lego maps to emulate Melbourne’s CBD, and also built up some of the inner and outer sections of their Lego maps to show that some of Melbourne’s suburbs are also dotted with large buildings owing to the city’s expansion of business areas.

To continue the study, groups of 8E students were provided with the completed Lego maps in their class and were asked if they could guess what data they were seeing. Each group guessed correctly, and students were able to explain what they were seeing using terminology from the unit.

Being back on site and completing hands-on activities like this one has been an exciting and valuable way to re-engage students in face-to-face learning. It has been great to see them working collaboratively, safely and excitedly together.

Catherine Nelsson
Humanities Learning Area Coordinator


Creative Arts/Technologies Learning Area Report

To finish off the unique semester of Unit 2 in VCD, our Year 11 students returned to the first SAC that they worked on to produce final renders of their shipping container houses. These renders were intended on celebrating and bringing to life their incredible designs by demonstrating tone, texture and colour. Please take a look at the class in action and some of the final renders.

Lucy Jordan
, Taylor Ignatiadis and Greer Van Rooyen working on their renders.

Daniel Butler
, James Lee and Jack Cheffers working on their renders.

Yao Zhang
, Vivian Yan, Olson Ou and Selina Yang working on their renders.

Daniel Butler
’s shipping container house fits appropriately within the quintessential Australian environment.

Olson Ou
’s vibrant shipping container house design.

Taylor Ignatiadis
’s warm and inviting holiday house near the beach.

The owners of Greer Van Rooyen’s holiday house will be staying cool with the pool and enjoying the beach vibes.

Lucy Jordan
’s shipping container house in the middle of a forest environment.

Vivian Yan
’s precise and contrasting cantilever shipping container house.

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

Instrumental Music Report

Welcome back to live instrumental music lessons, rehearsals and classroom music when and where we can!

Thank you to Instrumental Music students and families for submitting recorded music items for our virtual concert to be held on Thursday 2 December at 6:00pm. We look forward to sharing the concert with the Ashwood High School music community and details of how you can view the event will be sent closer to the date.

Classroom Music
Please see a selection of pics from the Year 7 Music classroom ‘Homemade Instrument Project’ and ‘Instruments of the Orchestra’ the Stage Musical Playbill Poster in Year 8 and the Year 8ACE Percussion team back in rehearsal mode.

Wendy Anderson
Director of Music

Health & PE Learning Area Report

We can’t believe it is half way through Term 4 already. We are so excited to be back onsite teaching face to face. As we move through the remainder of the term, we have some wonderful experiences for our students to enjoy.

Our new outdoor table tennis table has been set up outside the gym – already getting lots of use by students at lunchtime. If you would like to borrow equipment, please come to the HPE office with your ID card.

Our Year 9 students are about to being a 4-week self defence program , stay tuned for more news on this.

Congratulations to our Year 10 students who had to perform their practical assessment online over the past few weeks. Students have presented a 15-minute fitness class to a small group of peers. We acknowledge it can be a daunting task presenting to your peers and then doing this online. Well done to all involved!

Year 7 students are undertaking their SEPEP Downball competition currently. SEPEP is a student-centered approach to physical education. Students take on a variety of roles such as captain, coach, equipment officers, media/publicity, and governing body.
We also look forward to seeing our Year 8 students present their “teach a game” assessment task over the next few weeks.

Thank you to all students who throughout remote learning, continued to adapt and engage in our HPE curriculum.

Good luck to students in their upcoming HPE exams. Remember to seek assistance from your teacher if you need any further help.

Allison Phillips
HPE Learning Area Coordinator

EAL Learning Area Report

Text Reflection

This term, as part of the Reading and Comparing unit, Year 11 EAL students studied the novel Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. Kyrie Zhuang, a Year 11 EAL student, compares the ideas raised in the novel to our current global issues.

Carmela Diaz
EAL Learning Area Coordinator

I'm a Year 11 International student, and this term in EAL, we studied the text Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. It is my pleasure to share my perspectives and discuss how the big ideas in the novel relates to our current society.

Geraldine Brooks’ historical fiction Year of Wonders describes when the plague strikes a small, isolated Derbyshire village called Eyam in 1666.  Brooks explores the extraordinary life of Anna Frith during this time, and whilst fictionalised, it depicts the very real consequences of a community in crisis. In the novel, the villagers experience quarantine like the recent lockdowns in Melbourne. In both situations, people endured isolation to keep the disease from spreading. Whilst reading the novel, I could also see the imbalance between genders in both the characters in the text and our society. In our highly advanced and dramatically changing world, we are supposed to live in a diverse society. However, frustratingly, discrimination and gender equality continue today. If you are interested in reading about an independent woman and her plight to seek emancipation, this masterpiece should be on your booklist.
Kyrie Zhuang, Year 11

Digital Pedagogies Learning Area Report

Iivari, Sharma, and Ventä-Olkkonen (2020) wrote in their recent article that high education institutions now require schools to prepare a new kind of student; ‘digitalised students’ who are prepared for a society that has been digitally transformed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In just the first months of the pandemic, 1.2 billion children had their education interrupted, leading to an enormous growth in e-learning (Li & Lalani, 2020). The silver-lining surrounding the grey clouds of consistent uncertainty over the last two years has been the rapid acceleration technology adoption within the education sector.

1 - a screenshot of a Microsoft Sway website built by a Year 10 Humanities student

Recently in Year 10, students at Ashwood High School have been using technology to respond to tasks in a variety of ways. In response to their Geography of Wellbeing assessment task, students created presentations in Microsoft Sway, a platform that is becoming increasingly ubiquitous in post-secondary settings including universities, board rooms, and medical research (Day & Goswami, 2020). The mode of presentation of this task challenged students to become effective communicators in the context of the rise of knowledge work. This assessment, like many new assessments we are designing, symbolizes a shift from ‘call and response’ education engagement towards developing student capacity to communicate and pitch complex ideas, complemented by the affordances of emerging technologies.

Works Cited
Day, A., & Goswami, L. (2020). Driving change with evidence and knowledge: Transforming knowledge services for the NHS across England. Business Information Review, 37(1), 10–18.

Iivari, N., Sharma, S., & Ventä-Olkkonen, L. (2020). Digital transformation of everyday life – How COVID-19 pandemic transformed the basic education of the young generation and why information management research should care? International Journal of Information Management, 55, 102183.

Li, C., & Lalani, F. (2020). The COVID-19 pandemic has changed education forever. This is how. World Economic Forum.

Daniel Christiansz
Digital Pedagogies Coordinator

Sport Coordinator's Report

A big welcome back to all of our students for Term 4!!

We are all so excited to have our students back in the classrooms. To our wonderful Year 12 students, I wish you the best of luck for your exams and the future.

It has been a long and hard year for everyone, but we finally have some light at the end of the tunnel. In regards to interschool sport, please keep your eye on the Compass Newsfeed and the Newsletter for potential announcements and updates.

I am hoping that there may be an opportunity later this term for the Year 7 and 8 students to participate in an interschool sport gala day round robin. I will keep everyone posted about this.

With the coronavirus pandemic sweeping through Victoria yet again, 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, especially now that the state is looking at the lockdown in the rear-view mirror. 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.

Tom Grbac
Sports Coordinator

Camps Report

It has been sometime since Ashwood High School has been able to conduct a school camp for its students. During Term 3 our Year 8 students were a few days from attending their first camp with Ashwood High School, only to have it cancelled due to a lockdown. With the end of lockdown upon us, campa and excursions can resume. Currently, planning is underway for year level camps in Term 1 of 2022 with Year 11 & 12 camps scheduled for early February. Please stay tuned to Compass events for announcements and details regarding fees due in Term 4. It is my hope that Ashwood High School will be unhindered as we plan for resumption of our school camps program in 2022.

Jeff Newman
Camps Coordinator

Debating & Public Speaking Report

Reflections on 2021:

The 2021 Debating Prefect position has been an exploration of endless opportunities that has allowed me to grow as an individual and a leader through learning, competing and mentoring. Manoeuvring through the lockdowns of 2021, I have been happy to assist other students with improving their critical thinking, public speaking, and writing skills. This was especially the case at afterschool Debating Club, interschool debating competitions and even the international Model United Nations conferences. Being the head delegate of a school delegation that consisted of Year 9 and 10 students in the 2021 WFUNA international Model United Nations conference, I dedicated hours to helping my peers with their research, speeches and resolution writing, as well as lending an open ear for when they felt stressed or worried. In addition, I have learnt to refine my juggling skills in balancing my co-curricular, sporting, and social endeavours while adhering to my academic commitments. Through being offered an amazing learning environment in the Ashwood curriculum, I was able to continue growing as a leader and an individual, discovering more about my interest in global issues while also embracing my competitive spirit. I hope I have inspired others to do the same. Overall, this year was educational and fun; I have made many new friends while also working and learning with many amazing people.

Angela Hewerdine
Debating Prefect

International Student Program

A special congratulations to our Year 10 student -Jason Hou for winning First Place in the Victorian Voice competition hosted by UN Youth Australia in October 2021. We would like to encourage more students to get involved in such activities in the future to develop their overall skills.

Thumbs up to Homestay students
I would like to give a thumbs up to all our homestay students for their optimism and resilience demonstrated throughout the period of Remote and flexible Teaching and Learning. Being away from their family for nearly 2 years has been so hard for these young teenagers yet, with the support from our school and their homestay families, almost all homestay students have made pleasant progress during the COVID-19 pandemic

A Visit to Study Melbourne Hub in Shanghai
During Term 3 break, Ms Williams organised a visit to Study Melbourne Hub in Shanghai on 23 September for Year 10 offshore students in China, with the purpose of bringing all offshore International Students closer together and getting to know each other better.

Five of us students indeed had an amazing and fun experience in Shanghai. Ms Williams and Ms Fu from Study Melbourne Hub in Shanghai worked together to make this event meaningful and successful. Representatives from the University of Melbourne, Monash University and La Trobe University were invited to run workshops for us. We learned a lot of information about those university offerings and course entry requirements as well as future employment prospects. Three universities representatives and Ms Fu answered so many questions from us students. This event was very helpful in clearing our questions about our course selections in universities. Also, they brought many gifts to us which are very useful and appreciated, e.g., Passport bag, USB Disk, Water bottle and pens etc.
All of us really enjoyed the event and enjoyed the two days we spent together in Shanghai. On behalf of all online learners, I would like to thank Ms Williams, Study Melbourne Hub in Shanghai and the university representatives for their kind support to us.
Jason Hou, Year 10

Thanks to all international students who participated in Ashwood at Home during the Term 3 break. I am proud that you are making contributions to your House points. Here are a few screen shots from our students’ video submissions. 
    I have been attending Ashwood High School online for nearly one year. Even though I have never physically gone to Ashwood High School, I don't feel uncomfortable or disadvantaged because all my teachers and classmates at school help me when I have problems.  Although I am in China, I have a strong sense of belonging to Ashwood High School.

Because I am not in Melbourne, I missed a lot of interesting school activities, such as the Swimming Carnival, Cross Country and Interschool Sports. When Ashwood at Home was announced, I was so happy that I finally could participate in the event from China.

I decided to make a video of myself playing Guzheng at home. Guzheng is a traditional musical instrument with a history of more than 2,500 years. Being Chinese, I really would like Chinese classical musical instruments and culture to be known to more people. The song I played is called "A Laughter From The Sea" which is a very well-known piece in China.

I really enjoyed Ashwood at Home. It means a lot to me. I am happy that I have contributed to my Flynn House and showed Chinese culture to my school community.
Yufei Wang, Year 10

Yonghong Williams
International Student Program Manager


Education Resource Centre Report

The 2021 Premiers’ Reading Challenge has now closed. The Challenge is not a race or a competition but rather a personal challenge to students to read more and to read more broadly. That said, all participants are rewarded with house points. The final house point tally for this year’s Challenge was, Melba 15 points, Flynn 20 points, Cowan 30 points, and the clear leader was Paterson with 95 points. Congratulations to Paterson and to all of this year’s participants especially the four students who read fifteen books to successfully complete The Challenge. These four students will each receive a certificate of achievement signed by the Premier. The Challenge runs every year and is open to all Years 7-10 students.

During remote teaching and learning, all library loans were extended until the return to onsite learning. Now that we are all back at school, it is time to return our library books.  It is easy to forget books that we borrowed months ago, so all students are advised to check their current loans by logging on to their Infiniti Library Portal. Please place all returns in ERC Returns Box.

Remember to find time to enjoy reading every day.

Matt Feeney
Education Resource Centre Coordinator

Parent and Community Partnerships - Parents & Friends Network

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