Principal's Report

Final Message from the Principal’s Office 2021
Dear Parents and Members of the Ashwood High School Community,

I would like to welcome you to the final Newsletter of the school year.  What a year 2021 has been. You will find some reasons to celebrate, some administrative matters and our best wishes for a safe and connected Christmas holiday period.

VCE Results 2021 – Growing Pride and Achievement
Our engaging and rigorous academic program at Ashwood High School continues to deliver excellent VCE results, enabling our students to embark on a variety of highly significant and aspirational tertiary courses. I am very happy with our results overall, with some significant improvements shown. I hope that our students will be pleased with their efforts under very difficult circumstances. As a school community we should be very proud of the Class of 2021.

I would like to acknowledge and thank all staff who assisted these students achieve these outcomes. I am a particularly proud principal, as this is the first group of students to have completed 6 years of secondary education at Ashwood High School (it was known as Ashwood College 1987 – 2015).

Congratulations to our 2021 Dux Andy Kuok who achieved an ATAR of 98.50. Andy achieved study scores of 47 for Physics and 45 for Mathematical Methods. Congratulations to Andy and his family. Of course, well done to all staff who supported Andy to achieve these exemplary results.

There were many outstanding results including:

  • Average Study Score of 32
  • A number of 40+ scores in English, Health and Human Development, Legal Studies, Maths Methods, Physics and Psychology
  • 25% of students with ATARS of 90 or above
  • 60% of students with ATARS 80 or above
  • 10% of Study Scores of 40 or above
  • 1 perfect score of 50 (Further Mathematics)
  • 100% satisfactory VCE completion

VTAC change of preferences will close Monday 20 December 2021 at 4:00pm.  We are continuing to provide careers advice and counselling for the students of the Class of 2021.  Please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Julie Huggins (VCAA Curriculum Coordinator) or Jodie Hechenberger (Careers and Pathways Coordinator) for advice regarding the transition to further study, employment or ongoing training.

Closures, Openings, Remote & Flexible Teaching & Learning and a Return to Face-to-Face Teaching and Learning - ‘From Great to Exceptional’
It has been wonderful to see our school filled with students once again. It has been a whirlwind year of lockdowns, returning to school, school closures and re-openings.  My role as a school principal during the pandemic has involved interpreting government policy guidelines in establishing conditions, including prevention and intervention for the safety, health and wellbeing of students, families, staff, and self. As a state government principal, I have become part of the public health effort to prevent the spread of disease in our local context. Changes in the structure of schooling during the pandemic turned my attention to online learning and leading my school virtually. This abrupt structural change posed many questions about leading and supporting learning in a digital learning and working environment. As an instructional leader, I am responsible for supporting effective pedagogical practices in ensuring the wellbeing and learning progress of Ashwood High School students. Our challenge has been to scale-up educational technology to deliver curriculum and instruction during the pandemic, ensuring access to and equitable learning opportunities for all students.

During the COVID-19 pandemic most people have survived through making adjustments. Ashwood High School’s response to Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning affirmed the strength of our collective responsibility and efficacy as a school community. We have captured it, celebrated it and will continue to grow it.

Ashwood High School will continue 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 have been provided to parents since my last newsletter:

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. 

Capital Works Program - ‘From Great to Exceptional’
As our Capital Works Program moves from the tender phase to the commencement of the build in 2022, let us celebrate as a school community what has been achieved in 2020 and 2021.

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’ was 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 the Deputy Premier, The Honourable James Merlino, and Will Fowles MP Member for Burwood in the company of excited and proud Ashwood High School students. It was announced that the school would receive further funding of $9.742 million for upgrades 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.

During these phases it became apparent that the school would need to inject some funds into the Capital Works Program to ensure that Ashwood High School would continue to offer the best facilities in the east of Melbourne.  The school, which was in deficit in 2015, was able to provide funding for a portion of the Capital Works Program due to the careful budgeting that has occurred over the past six year journey of ‘The Path Forward at Ashwood High School’.  I am immensely proud that the school can supply what will be an incredibly valuable asset for both our students and the community at large.

In 2022, Ashwood High School will undertake a $12 million Capital Works Program based on a master plan and projected enrolment of 1050 students, delivering outstanding social and academic outcomes for all students. A purpose-built STEAM and Research Centre will offer ‘high-tech’ facilities, providing students with a depth and breadth of studies in environmental education (linked to the school wetlands), information technology, robotics, engineering, art, design and mathematics. This prominent facility with futuristic resources will enable students to develop knowledge, skills and dispositions for imminent industries focused on innovation and sustainability.

Presentation Awards Ceremony 2021Enhancing the Student Culture
Unfortunately, due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic and the school closure, the school was unable to hold its annual Presentation Awards Ceremony this year. However, all award winners have been provided with trophies, medals, prizes and certificates in a COVID safe manner, and names of the award winners are provided within this newsletter.  I would like to congratulate these students for their fine achievements.

School Captains 2022Enhancing the Student Culture
The 2022 School Captains have been announced. Congratulations to Elizabeth Tziafas and Sam Harvison who were appointed as School Captains in 2022. Abby Helm and Jake Larking were appointed Vice Captains and Anthony Zhu was appointed as International Student Captain.

Middle School Captains 2022 - Enhancing the Student Culture
With our great school’s focus on student voice and agency, I am pleased to announce the Middle School Captains, Middle School Vice Captains and the Middle School International Student Captain for 2022. Congratulations to Daisy Harvison and Connor Russo who were appointed Middle School Captains, Georgia Taylor and Yunal Lutfi who were appointed as Middle School Vice Captains and Fatema Sajid who was appointed Middle School International Captain.

Kwong Lee Dow Scholarship – Growing Pride and Achievement
Congratulations to Chai Couzens who has received a prestigious Kwong Lee Dow Scholarship through The University of Melbourne for 2022.  The Kwong Lee Dow Scholarship program is part of growing pride and achievement and improving students’ future life options and aspirations.

Student Scholarships Year 7, 2022 – Increasing Positive Parental & Community Engagement 
I am pleased to announce the names of the Scholarship award winners for 2022. The Grade 6 students came from the following five schools in the five respective scholarship categories:

  • Academic Excellence Scholarship: Nathan Thea – Parkhill PS
  • Leaders and Community Spirit Scholarship: Milan Tulia - Parkhill PS
  • Sporting Excellence Scholarship: Jurgen Brooks – Burwood Heights PS
  • Instrumental Music Scholarship: Isla Minton – Hughesdale PS
  • Performing Arts Scholarship: Asha Ramirez-White – Glen Iris PS

It is anticipated that the recipients of these scholarships (as well as successful applicants to the ACE Program) will be publicised in local primary school newsletters. This is part of continuing to build on our positive professional relationships with primary schools.

Grade 6 Orientation Evening and Day - Enhancing the Student Culture
Grade 6 Orientation Evening for parents and students was livestreamed to over 150 families on Monday 6 December 2021. It was a pleasure to welcome our new families, albeit in a virtual environment. Families were pleased with the inclusion of an interactive question and answer session; parents and future students were asked to provide their questions prior to the meeting which were then answered by students and staff.  I would also like to congratulate our Year 7 students Lynette Yoshida and Samuel Bryan for their speech on the evening. Thank you also to Meg Brydon and her team.

I was elated to hold our Orientation Day on Tuesday 7 December, 2021 in a slightly different format due to coronavirus restrictions.  The day was well received by our incoming students who enjoyed the activities, tours and an introduction to student life at Ashwood High School.

School Yearbook – ‘The Ashwood CHOIR’ 2021 – Enhancing the Student Culture
The 2021 Yearbook ‘CHOIR,’ as a showcase of student and staff excellence will be delivered to the school in early 2022.. It encompasses the year, both on-site and at home, celebrating one of the most interesting years in recent history. Congratulations to all members of the School community who made a positive contribution. In particular, thank you to Calvin Yin and his team for coordinating this fine quality publication.

VCE Preparatory Program – Growing Pride and Achievement
The VCE Preparatory Program started on Monday 22 November 2021 and ran for two weeks. This has enabled students to be better prepared for the rigorous demands of senior school programs and pathways. The attendance and engagement of students was unsurprisingly positive.

Internal Examinations Years 7 – 11 – Growing Pride and Achievement
The rigour of our School’s examination program is impressive. Exam Week commenced on Monday 15 November 2021 for Years 7- 11 students, 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 percentage of students in Years 7-10, identified through student learning data, will 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.

Annual Implementation Plan 2022 – Great to Exceptional    
The 2022 AIP has recently been approved by School Council. The AIP is a road map of our school’s improvement priorities and initiatives. In recent times we have surpassed all goals and priorities outlined in the Strategic Plan. It will be available on our website to view.

The overarching goals of the AIP are the same as those of our current Strategic Plan (2019 – 2022); plus the additional Goal 0 that was added to address the challenges of COVID-19. These are:

  • Goal 0: Learning, catch-up and extension, health and wellbeing
  • Goal 1: To raise the achievement of all students
  • Goal 2: Enhance active engagement in learning and motivation to learn
  • Goal 3: To enhance learning growth through building the capacity of all staff.

The AIP reflects the ongoing 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.

The main focus areas for 2022 are:

  • Continue to embed the Mini-School Structure that was introduced in 2021 - Middle School (Years 7 – 9) and Senior School (Years 10 – 12);
  • Continue to embed the pastoral (engagement and wellbeing) structure and programs that were introduced in 2021 in the form of Tutor Groups (Years 7 – 9) and Form Groups (Year 10).
  • 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 Learning Walks and refinements to the Peer Observation process to support staff to receive feedback on their pedagogical practice;
  • Amendments to the Communities of Practice (COPs) to group teachers into their primary Learning Areas, to offer targeted support on subject-specific strategies to improve student learning through the use of High Impact Teaching Strategies;
  • Continue to support student engagement, wellbeing and learning growth through two specific initiatives: Intensive English and Intensive Maths (DET: MYLNS) and the Learning Mentor Program (DET: Tutor Learning Initiative); ensuring students who did not make the expected learning gains during Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning are provided with the necessary supports and enrichment to catch-up.

School Staff Survey 2021 - Valuing Staff and Building Capacity
School Staff Survey data is extremely positive.  Staff opinion demonstrates high staff satisfaction, collective responsibility and efficacy. This is a good sign for improved student learning engagement and wellbeing. The staff of Ashwood High School is of a high calibre. The consistency of high staff opinion over the past few years is a testament to the positive learning culture at our school, the adaptability and professionalism of staff during this particularly challenging period of potential uncertainty.

Enrolments, Staffing and Allotments – Valuing Staff and Building Capacity
The projected enrolment for 2022 is 778 (635 in 2021). Workforce arrangements for 2022 are almost finalised with a minimum of 12 new staff members who will be introduced in the first newsletter of 2022.

Staff Movements, Acknowledgements and Farewells - Valuing Staff and Building Capacity
At the end of 2021 we will farewell Colin Shnier,  Annalisa Buyks, Carmela Diaz, Reece Frith-Belvedere and Brendan Williams.

Annalisa Buyks
Ms Buyks joined Ashwood High School in March 2019 as a Visual Arts and Technology Teacher.  Ms Buyks coordinated the Creative Arts and Technology and has been a dedicated teacher of students across a range of year levels including VCE. We wish Ms Buyks well as she takes up a position at Box Hill High School in 2022.

Carmela Diaz
Ms Diaz joined us in 2018 as an EAL Teacher. Ms Diaz has been a dedicated, composed and highly dedicated staff member who has developed authentic relationships with staff, students and families. Ms Diaz has also been the EAL coordinator. We wish Ms Diaz well as she takes up a position at De La Salle College in 2022.

Reece Frith-Belvedere
Reece joined us in 2019 as an IT Technician employed by Compass. Reece has been a friendly face and a great help to staff and students over the time he has spent with us at Ashwood High School.  We wish Reece well as he moves into a role with Compass in which he will liaise with a range of schools.

Colin Shnier
Mr Shnier joined us at the beginning of 2019 as a member of the Leadership Team. For the most time, Mr Shnier has been the Director of Studies. Mr Shnier has consistently been one of the first staff members to arrive each school day. He is a dedicated teacher and thrives on collaborative learning and problem solving. Mr Shnier has also taught students across a range of year levels including Mathematics at Year 12. We wish Mr Shnier well as he takes up the position of Learning Specialist at Glen Eira College in 2022.

Brendan Williams
Mr Williams joined Ashwood High School at the beginning of 2018 as a Graduate English teacher after an earlier appearance at Ashwood High School as a pre-service teacher. Mr Williams is highly respected by colleagues, students and families. We wish Mr Williams well as he takes up a position at McKinnon Secondary College in 2022.

Communities of Practice - Valuing Staff and Building Capacity
Collaborative professional practice heightens the impact individual teachers, even the most accomplished, have on student learning. The collective appetite for professional practice is the difference between good and great teaching. The rate of student learning increases when teachers in collaborative teams support one another to develop their skills in specific teaching strategies. Students learn even faster when highly skilled teachers lead collaborative teams focused on understanding what is working and why. They then proactively intervene with evidence based approaches when students are behind the expected level to ensure that they make progress. Ashwood High School recently polished its collective practice at the recent Leadership Conference held on Wednesday 8 December 2021.

Organisational Matters - Increasing Positive Parental and Community Engagement
The following information will provide parents and carers with some key information about getting ready for the 2022 academic year at Ashwood High School:

General Office Hours during Christmas Holidays 2021 / 2022
The General Office will be closed on Friday 17 December 2021. The General Office will be open from: 8:30am – 4:00pm Wednesday 19 January 2022 to Friday 21 January 2022. The office will then re-open normal hours (8:00am to 4:15pm) from Friday 28 January 2022.

Dates for 2022 – Increasing Positive Parental and Community Engagement
It is timely to inform parents of the term and curriculum days for 2022. The first two pupil free days will be taken at the beginning of the school year. Teachers will commence on Friday 28 January 2022. All students Year 7 – 12 will commence the 2022 academic year on Tuesday 1 February 2022. Term dates for 2022 are:

Term 1: Tuesday 1 February 2022 (students commence) to Friday 8 April 2022

Term 2: Tuesday 26 April 2022 to Friday 24 June 2022

Term 3: Monday 11 July 2022 to Friday 16 September 2022

Term 4: Monday 3 October 2022 to Tuesday 20 December 2022

Pupil Free Days 2022  - Valuing Staff and Building Capacity
The following pupil free days for 2022 were approved by School Council on September 2 2021:

  • 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.

Uniform Shop at Dobsons
Dobsons 667 Glenferrie Road, HAWTHORN VIC 3122 Phone: 9819 1122 Fax: 9819 2854

Normal Opening Hours: 8:30am – 5:30pm Monday – Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm Saturday

Camps Program 2022 - Enhancing the Student Culture – All camps have been approved.
Camps/ International Field Trips [dates to be confirmed in some cases]

Season’s Greetings – Increasing Positive Parental and Community Engagement
2021 has been a year of enormous challenge, support, opportunity and improvement, a year of connectedness and high trust as we collectively polished ‘The Jewel of the East’. I would like to pass on my sincere appreciation to members of the school community for your enormous support. The strength of our school’s culture has been significant during COVID-19, particularly in the context of the school’s rapid growth and expansion. In 2021, we welcomed an additional 150 Year 7 students and families into the school, aided by our vibrant and inclusive school culture with embedded norms and protocols to instil respect and discipline. An additional 12 staff joined the school this year. The ‘Draft of 2021’ has been significant in number, consistency and high quality. Ashwood High School is clearly a destination school for quality graduates and aspirational school leaders. I am also excited to welcome a further twelve staff to the school in 2022.

‘The Path Forward’ and Vision for Ashwood High School presented to the school community in 2015 has transformed the school, delivering outstanding results and continuous improvement. I am enthused about our prospects and further growth in 2022. In the space of six academic years, our overall student enrolment will have increased from 267 to over 770 students. With this, I remain committed to a quality education for all members of the school community. In 2022, Ashwood High School will start its Capital Works Program, bringing the entire school community additional state-of-the-art facilities on unparalleled and spacious grounds.

There is plenty to celebrate.

We look forward to building on our successes with you in 2022 and beyond. I look forward to welcoming you back to Ashwood High School.

Stay safe, healthy and well connected to Ashwood High School.

Brett Moore
Executive Principal
Friday 17 December 2021

Key Dates - Term 1 2022

Presentation Awards

Years 7-10 Awards for Academic Excellence

Year 7 Academic Excellence: Lynette Yoshida

Year 7 Academic Excellence: Bourne Jin

Year 7 ACE Academic Excellence: Melody Kim

Year 7 ACE Academic Excellence: Thomas Duckworth

Year 8 Academic Excellence: Fatema Sajid

Year 8 Academic Excellence: Max Arthur

Year 8 ACE Academic Excellence: Daisy Harvison

Year 8 ACE Academic Excellence: Ethan Mole

Year 9 Academic Excellence: Abigail Oh

Year 9 Academic Excellence: Tian Qi (Tom) Rao

Year 9 ACE Academic Excellence: Isabel Vulis

Year 9 ACE Academic Excellence: Jason Suryanata

Year 10 Academic Excellence: Jessica Sterle

Year 10 Academic Excellence: Saad Alam

Year 10 ACE Academic Excellence: Ina Christensen

Year 10 ACE Academic Excellence: Rupesh Bankar

Years 7-10 Awards for Academic Endeavour

Year 7 Academic Endeavour: Amy Noy

Year 7 Academic Endeavour: Thomas Houghton

Year 7 ACE Academic Endeavour: Irene Wang

Year 7 ACE Academic Endeavour: Oliver Holbeach

Year 8 Academic Endeavour: Naysa (Finela) Alves

Year 8 Academic Endeavour: Wesley Pryor

Year 8 ACE Academic Endeavour: Leah Ried

Year 8 ACE Academic Endeavour: Oscar Barke

Year 9 Academic Endeavour: Ariana Pashutina

Year 9 Academic Endeavour: Aiden Jarvis-Stewart

Year 9 ACE Academic Endeavour: Quyen Tran

Year 9 ACE Academic Endeavour: Noah Rostan

Year 10 Academic Endeavour: Angela Hewerdine

Year 10 Academic Endeavour: Kaisheng (Jason) Hou

Year 10 ACE Academic Endeavour: Chai Couzens

Year 10 ACE Academic Endeavour: James Talbot

Year 11 & 12 Awards for Academic Endeavour

Year 11 Academic Endeavour: Abby Helm

Year 11 Academic Endeavour: Adrian Tan

Year 12 Academic Endeavour: Srishti Sareen

Year 12 Academic Endeavour: Louis Nguyen

Year 11 Subject Awards
One Subject:

Accounting: Xi Wen Huang Li

Chemistry: Hamna Sajid

Chinese First Language: Ziming (Kyrie) Zhuang

English as an Additional Language: Tina Hung

French: Yousef Samad

Food Studies: Dannah Casanova

Global Politics: Ina Christensen

Legal Studies: Ramzi Bardel

General Mathematics: Mile Trifunovic

Studio Arts: Madeline Booker

Business Management: Elizabeth Tziafas

Two Subjects:

History: Daisy Jones

Psychology: Daisy Jones

Biology: Krupa (Elsa) Kurian

Physics: Krupa (Elsa) Kurian

Health and Human Development: Taylor Ignatiadis

Visual Communication & Design: Taylor Ignatiadis

English: Sam Harvison

Media Studies: Sam Harvison

Three Subjects:

Further Mathematics: Mary Giannopoulos

Mathematical Methods: Mary Giannopoulos

Specialist Mathematics: Mary Giannopoulos

One Subject:

Numeracy: Rachael Brown           

Three Subjects:

Literacy: Cassandra (Cassie) Paleologos

Work Related Skills: Cassandra (Cassie) Paleologos

Personal Development Skills: Cassandra (Cassie) Paleologos          

Year 12 Subject Awards
One Subject:

Biology: Dylan Matthews

Food Studies: Joseph (Joey) Pryor

Legal Studies: Elizabeth Tziafas

Visual Communication & Design: Courtney Tulia

Business Management: Thi (Elly) Dang

Health and Human Development: Nyapal Giek

Two Subjects:

Media Studies: Kasra Babaei

Studio Arts: Kasra Babaei

Three Subjects:

Psychology: Claire Watkins

English: Claire Watkins

Further Mathematics: Claire Watkins

Five Subjects:

English as an Additional Language: Chi Lap (Andy) Kuok

Physics: Chi Lap (Andy) Kuok

Chemistry: Chi Lap (Andy) Kuok

Mathematical Methods: Chi Lap (Andy) Kuok

Specialist Mathematics: Chi Lap (Andy) Kuok

Two Subjects:

Numeracy: Jadrien Noel          

Literacy: Jadrien Noel

Two Subjects:

Work Related Skills: Aidan Chan

Personal Development Skills: Aidan Chan

VCAL Overall Excellence Award
Awarded to: Aidan Chan

Year 11 Dux
Awarded to: Elizabeth Tziafas

Ashwood High School Dux 2020
Awarded to: George Tziafas

State Championship Representatives 2021
Awarded to: Olivia Schwatschko (Gymnastics)  

                      Cameron Voigt (Gymnastics)

                      Ariana Pashutina (Race Walking)

                      Daniel Pashutin (Cross Country)

Peter Rice Memorial Award
Awarded to: Matthew Ry’dell

Neil Burgess Award
Awarded to: Zachary Aitken

International Student of the Year Award
Awarded to: Sivan Chan and Chi Lap (Andy) Kuok

Campion Achievement Award
Awarded to: Daisy Jones

Neighbourhood Watch Awards
Awarded to: Courtney Tulia (Senior) and Christos Giakoumatos (Middle)

Chadstone/East Malvern Rotary Club Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts
Awarded to: Kasra Babaei

Audrey Healy Rotary Club Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music
Awarded to: Lucy Jordan  

Bert Healy Rotary Club Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dramatic Arts
Awarded to: Anandawuth (Mel) Saengyojarn

Year 7 Outstanding Ambassador
Awarded to: Gilbert (Gilly) McCann and Teghan Rado

Lions Club Community Service Award
Awarded to: Jamieson Adler

The Zonta Club of Melbourne’s East – Education Encouragement Award
Awarded to: Dannah Casanova

Long Tan Award
Awarded to: Caitlyn Lim (Year 10) and Kasra Babaei (Year 12)

ADF Young Innovators Award
Awarded to: Rupesh Bankar (Year 10) and Kelly Martin (Year 12)

Kwong Lee Dow Young Scholars Program
Awarded to: Chai Couzens

Vicki Howard Award
Awarded to: Chi Lap (Andy) Kuok

Ian Riseborough Memorial Debating Award
Awarded to: Angela Hewerdine

Ampol Best All-Rounder 
Awarded to: Thi (Elly) Dang

Spirit of Ashwood

Nominees: Year 7              -             Lynette Yoshida

                   Year 8              -             Ben Booker

                   Year 9              -             Ella Selby

                   Year 10            -            Sebastian Millan

                   Year 11             -             Sam Harvison

                   Year 12            -             Lula Tadesse

Awarded to: Lula Tadesse

John Currie Award

Nominees: Cowan             -           Jason Suryanata

                   Flynn               -           Emma Hew

                   Melba              -           Leah Ried

                   Paterson          -           Daisy Harvison

Awarded to: Jason Suryanata

House Champion Trophy
Awarded to: Cowan House






Middle School Assistant Principal's Report

Prior to the embarking on the reflections contained within this Newsletter relevant to the second half of Term 4, 2021, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the successes of 2021. An enduring fact about Ashwood High School are the quality of its people. It is a pleasure to look forward to coming to my place of work every day. I am so very appreciative of our wonderful students, talented and passionate staff, and supportive parents.

I would also like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Mr Moore, our principal, for his ongoing leadership, guidance and experience in ‘steering the ship’ through 2021.  

Please see below for a few summary highlights from the end of Term 4, 2021.

School Colours Awards
It was a pleasure to celebrate our many deserving recipients of School Colours Awards in 2021. Holding this event allowed us to celebrate the successes and reflect upon the engagement and achievements of our students. Congratulations to all who received their badges in 2021.

Presentation Awards
Whilst the Presentation Awards Ceremony was unable to proceed as planned on Friday 26 November 2021, Ashwood High School staff were pleased to be able to orchestrate the collection of awards, including certificates, medals, and trophies, to our many deserving recipients of awards via the Front Office.

Year 7 2022 Parent Information Evening and State-wide Orientation Day
Many thanks to our future Year 7 students, parents and families for their engagement to our virtual event held on the evening of Monday 6 December 2021. Whilst we were unable to meet face-to-face, we hope that this event was evidence of our collective sense of pride, commitment, and dedication to  Ashwood High School and its students.

We were fortunate to be able to welcome our future Year 7 2022 students onsite on Tuesday 7 December 2021. The Ashwood High School staff involved in the program on the day commented on the kind, bubbly and courteous students. We look forward to welcoming our new Year 7 students formally in 2022.

To our wonderful students, parents and families, I wish you a safe and restful holiday break. We look forward to welcoming you back refreshed at the commencement of 2022.

Meg McLellan
Middle School Assistant Principal

Middle School Engagement, Wellbeing and Transitions Report

For the last newsletter article for the year, I am keen to reframe a year that could easily be seen through a deficit mindset, and instead, highlight all the amazing opportunities that the Middle School students at Ashwood High School have embraced.

Term 1 kicked off with the opportunity for Year 8 and Year 9 Tutor Group students to give a warm welcome by being amazing mentors to our new Year 7 students. They settled in quickly with the help of their older buddies and were soon able to sign up for events at House Swimming.

The first event on the House calendar was taken out by Mighty Melba, with some seriously impressive efforts in the pool. Congratulations to age group champions Conrad Ineson, Rhyannon Bergin, Ryan Thach, Leah Ried, Luke Noy, Chai Couzens, Isaac Roder, Greer Van Rooyen, Sam Harvison, Freya Boulton-Rogers and Ben Seers. To cap off Term 1, the mighty Cowanites took out the Cross Country Carnival with some Spartan-esque performances!

As the crowning jewel of Term 1, Year 7s went on their amazing camp to Kinglake Forest Adventures and enjoyed everything from high ropes, to hiking, to camping and a Survivor-style tribal council. Our students exemplified the CHOIR values and tested their resilience.

In Term 2, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to show off our wonderful school to the community and prospective students and their families during Ashwood Revealed. There were an exceptional number of Middle School students who volunteered their time and expertise to represent their school with pride on this occasion.

Middle School students were also enthusiastic about auditioning for the School Musical – The Addams Family. Many were successful in being appointed to a role and began rehearsing in earnest under the expert guidance of Ms Miller and her team. Although the production was not able to go ahead in 2021, we look forward to seeing the fruits of these labours in 2022.

Although we were plunged into lockdown again in Term 3, Middle School students did not let that dampen their spirits! We had an overwhelming number of applications for School Colours through our online process. Similarly, students willingly gave of their time to serve on the Panels that assessed the applications. Successful students were thrilled to receive their pins and certificates in Term 4. Our staff also showed their Innovation and Optimism by devising ways to run both Health and PE Week and Science Week festivities during Term 3, which were well attended by Middle School students.

Later in Term 3, students used their learning from the School Colours process, and with the support of a targeted Twenty in Tutor Group, were able to make remote applications for Student Leadership. A very heartfelt thank you to Ms Wraight and her team of 2021 student leaders who facilitated remote help sessions and mentored new applicants. The 2022 student leaders have recently been announced to the school community and we are extremely proud of both the students who have been appointed and those who showed confidence in applying regardless of the outcome.

In Term 4, Middle School students had their first taste of Exam Week in a modified format and were supported by extensive preparation through Tutor Group, receiving rave reviews from students during their Tutor Group reflection time.

Speaking of reflection, the end of the year is a time for us to reflect on the many amazing staff who work with you, the students and families, to make a year in the Middle School possible. I would like to thank all staff who have taught a Middle School class in 2021, particularly Tutor Group teachers who have navigated the launch of a new program in a highly unusual year with great aplomb. I would also like to thank all of the Education Support staff, including our wonderful team of integration aides, led by Julie Clearwater, our expert wellbeing team, led by Elisa Jones Arango, our exceptional Reception team who are the engine that keeps the school running, and our amazing IT and Facilities teams.

Further to this, it is essential to acknowledge the dedication and optimism demonstrated by our Middle School team to ensure there was continuity in the care experienced by Middle School students, regardless of whether students were learning on or off site. Please join with me in thanking our Mini-School Administration Officer, Laura Higgins, Student Leadership, Voice and Agency Coordinator Matilda Wraight and our four superb House Coordinators: Guy Driscoll (Cowan), Vicky Dernikos (Flynn), Ned Hayward (Melba) and Harriet Cooper (Paterson). I have had the pleasure of supporting these amazing staff for the past two years in my role, under the leadership of Meg McLellan (Middle School Assistant Principal) and would like to thank each of them for their amazing work. I wish Sachael Miller all the best as she takes on this exciting role!   

Meg Brydon
Middle School Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Transitions Leader

Cowan House Report

A special, challenging, yet compelling year comes to an end!

Cowan House impressed from the first day of Term One, up until the concluding day of Term Four, displaying Ashwood’s values throughout.

Cowan continued to produce a fantastic level of participation in all co-curricular activities when possible, impressing with a fulsome desire to represent their House proudly.

I am delighted to acknowledge the efforts of all students in our esteemed House winning numerous other events towards the back end of the year, but most importantly the coveted House Shield!! In which we were able to stem the challenge of the other three Houses to take the Shield for the first time in many years. Congratulations to all members for their ongoing contribution, as it was truly an effort that was only achieved through the endeavours of many.

One of my proudest moments in my first year as House Coordinator, was the generosity displayed by the members of our House. The abundance of donations that were offered towards the Blessing Bag Charity, showcased the fantastic kindness of members from our House towards those more needing.

In regards to academics, the students of Cowan have also continued to do themselves proud in fulfilling their expectations with aplomb, with students receiving fantastic results within their reports and obtaining generous comments from their teachers.

I would like to take the time to also congratulate the new student leaders of our illustrious House for 2022, Gilly McCann (Middle School Vice House Captain), Anjali Rao (Middle School House Captain), Miles Guy (Senior School Vice House Captain), and Isaac Roder (Senior School House Captain). Having worked closely with all four students previously, I am extremely excited and have complete faith that they will perform a dutiful and exceptional service, representing Cowan House.

I am extremely happy and proud with the way in which all Cowan students have implemented their fantastic approach to their schooling and compiled a strong academic year. All members of the House have epitomised Ashwood High School’s High Expectations and values in an admirable manner.

I wish all members of Cowan and their families a fantastic and restful break, hoping your time with loved ones and friends allow for cherished memories to be formed.

As always, I ask all to please be safe, and look out for one another.

Guy Driscoll
Cowan House Coordinator


Flynn House Report

As another interrupted year comes to an end, it is important to show our gratitude to the entire Ashwood High School community that has shown optimism, great resilience and the determination to adapt to difficult situations. The support and guidance given to the Student Management Team this year has ensured that students within our Houses have been well-supported and encouraged to attain their potential.

I am extremely proud of our Flynnians as they rose to many challenges throughout the last semester. Our students have been able to utilise the valuable tools attained from the viable Twenties modules in Tutor Groups, to demonstrate great rigour and preparation for the end of year exams. I would like to congratulate Year 7 students in particular, who have impressively completed and reflected upon feedback after their first exam period at high school. Sincere thanks also go to the Flynn House Student Executive team, Matilda Stanton, Oscar Morton, Micky Van Dalen and Alyssa Pettingill who served our House very well throughout 2021 and were excellent role-models as student leaders.

Flynn students are to be congratulated for preparing outstanding applications and pursuing School Colour badges this semester. The calibre of the applications was high and certainly adhered to the school’s high expectations.

Similarly, despite the disruptions encountered throughout this semester, a large number of our Flynn students have excelled in their academic pursuits and endeavours, and hence have been recognised with specific awards at the end of the year. Although due to COVID-19 restrictions, we were not able to celebrate as a school community, we do acknowledge the tremendous efforts by all students.

As we farewelled our exceptional Year 12 Flynnians and wished them well on their future endeavours, we also welcomed our new Flynnians for 2022 from the huge number of primary schools on the State Wide Orientation Day. There was a lot of excitement in the air, as our newest cohort explored the size and wonder of our exceptional school and experienced many of the subjects they will be doing next year.

Upon reflection of a year that we leave behind, I wish all members of our outstanding community a wonderful and well-deserved break. I look forward to a new year of exciting and new ventures for our Flynnians as we navigate the road to success for another year!

Vicky Dernikos
Flynn House Coordinator

Melba House Report

As 2021 comes to a close, we of Melba bid farewell to another challenging year of restrictions and lockdowns. As has been the case each term, and as I am sure will be the case with every future challenge, the students and families of Melba have proven themselves to be resilient and adaptable.

We congratulate our returning Student Leaders for 2022; Stephanie Millan, Annais Lewis, and Leah Reid. We also welcome a new student leader, Tom Houghton.

Whilst Melba did not claim 1st place in this year's house points competition, as we did last year, we take solace in defeating Flynn and pay homage to Leah Reid who scored the most House points of any student at Ashwood High School. I wish you all a restful and enjoyable summer break and look forward to seeing you all in 2022.

Ned Hayward
Melba House Coordinator

Paterson House Report

Paterson House has finished the 2021 year with great spirit and endeavor. Students have actively been involved in many co-curricular opportunities available at Ashwood High School to peruse individual interests and connect with other students. Many Paterson House students have involved themselves in these opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge and passion for debating, art, music and sport.

Our Tutor Group program has further empowered Paterson House students to get to know each other and build positive relationships within the Middle School. Students have actively shared knowledge and experiences with others to strengthen their ability to communicate with their peers, develop a sense a belonging and analyse their own personal attributes and values. Tutor groups teachers facilitate the learning of our Paterson House students and guide them to continue to build positive learning experiences and develop lifelong skills.

I would like to introduce you to our new Paterson House leaders for 2021 – William Roache (House Captain), Themis Tziafas (House Vice Captain), Cormac Morrin (Middle School House Captain), and Amy Noy (Middle School House Vice Captain). I would like to congratulate all students who applied for these positions and am looking forward to leading Paterson House again in 2022.

Congratulations to our student leaders of 2021, whose commitment and efforts have allowed all students to engage in the opportunities available at Ashwood High School.

I hope you all stay safe and healthy in your Christmas Holidays and I am looking forward to seeing you all again in 2022.

Harriet Cooper
Paterson House Coordinator

Middle School Student Leadership & Agency Report

Congratulations to all the newly appointed Student Leaders for 2022!

Thank you to all students and staff who helped to facilitate the application process; it is the community’s ongoing support of the Student Leadership program that allows it to continue to grow and thrive.

A big thank you as well to the outgoing Student Leaders of 2021; your ongoing optimism, resilience and dedication during what has been a very challenging time will be appreciated and admired for years to come.

Matilda Wraight
Student Voice, Leadership & Agency Coordinator




Accelerated Curriculum & Enrichment Program

Term 4 has seen the finalisation of the ACE enrolments process for 2022 as well as the completion of the first ACE promotions process.

ACE Promotions is a new process in 2021, the purpose of which is to promote the engagement and challenge of high ability students through talent development opportunities, to ensure that their specific learning and wellbeing needs are met. Whilst entry to the ACE Program in Year 7 is determined by a select entry test and application, admission to the ACE Program in Years 8-10 is by invitation only. To support this process, Ashwood High School reviews students’ academic progress on a six-monthly basis in order to identify and refer high ability students currently in Years 7-9 for promotion to our ACE program.

In order to determine whether a student would benefit from the ACE Program, the school collects information about the capabilities of its students from a range of sources. These include: NAPLAN results (where available), the results of school-based educational testing, school reports, and teacher nominations. The promotions panel then meets annually to consider the data that has been collected about each student. Due to the limited number of spaces that become available in the program each year, promotions are decided on the basis of merit. Parents and guardians with further questions about the progressions process are encouraged to contact Mrs Caroline Servadei (Enrichment, Pedagogy, Partnerships and Professional Learning Leader) for more information.

Whilst our CelebrACEtion showcase was unable to proceed due to logistical challenges posed by the transition to a blended learning environment, our ACE students have nonetheless been hard at work in the classroom, as evidenced by the reflections of 8ACE Humanities and their teacher Mr Daniel Christiansz, who are featured in the final ‘Spotlight On’ for 2021.

Caroline Servadei
Enrichment, Pedagogy Partnerships & Professional Learning Leader

Spotlight on 8ACE Humanities
This year in the Year 8 ACE Humanities classroom, students have been challenged to think deeply, critically, and creatively. Recently students presented on key issues in migration. Year 8 Student Leah Ried writes about how this method of learning functions in the classroom:

What I like about Humanities is that we learn a lot about a topic, and then from this, we can choose a sub-topic to research depending on what we are most interested in. In Humanities, I have learnt a lot about how to best conduct research for a project and how to draw conclusions from multiple perspectives on an issue.

One of the more challenging issues that we tackled this year was environmental philosophy. From a moral philosophy perspective, it’s a challenging subject because it deals with not only the past, present and future, but also humans, non-human animals, and plant life.

Students engaged in canonical thought experiments that underpin the field of study, from Faking Nature to Tragedy of the Commons. Each one of these thought experiments delivered robust debate and engagement in the classroom. As part of the classwork for this section of the course, students were required to make an argument for or against sentientism. Sentientism refers to the act of assigning value to a subject based on its awareness of itself and others (how sentient it is). Year 8 ACE student Daisy Harvison contrasts sentientism and anthropocentrism in her argument below:

Sentientism is more morally just than anthropocentrism. Despite the fact that other species are not as evolved as humans, it doesn’t undermine their value in the natural world. This idea of human exceptionalism ignores the fact that humans evolved from the animals we view as ‘inferior’, and it ignores our dependence on other species for our survival. The thing is though, these other species do not only have instrumental value to humans, but they have intrinsic value in their ecosystems. The fact that we need to eat some of these species does not give them value, it simply adds instrumental value to intrinsic value. Our dependence on these species doesn’t determine their value. Humans have evolved to promote our own survival, which used to mean killing other creatures to assert dominance and provide sustenance, but these creatures are not only valuable for their utility to us.

I’m grateful to be able to teach students tools for thinking that can be applied in wide-ranging scenarios and disciplines.

Daniel Christiansz
Year 8 ACE Humanities / Philosophy teacher


Senior School Assistant Principal's Report

Dear Ashwood High School Community,

The community of Ashwood High School must be commended on its continuous adaptation to the current educational landscape. We are proud and delighted that our staff, students, and community have moved and worked within the Department guidelines to continue learning and growing within the normalities of an ever-changing school environment.

At Ashwood High School, our students continue to strive for improved learning outcomes, including developing sociability after several months in the remote learning environment. This has been displayed in the way the students from Years 10 and 11 moved into the Prep Program in preparation for Years 11 and 12 in 2022. This involved both cohorts having introduction meetings to their new 2022 coordinators the expectations of the year to come.

Our staff and students should be commended on continuing to adapt the program from onsite to Remote and Flexible Learning. They continue to display a strong sense of school pride, belonging and performance through work ethic and the CHOIR Values. Our Principal, Mr Brett Moore, has emphasised the continued positive atmosphere around the School in morning briefings upon the whole school’s progressively changing landscape.

The application process for the 2022 Student Leadership Executive has been completed. The interview panel, comprising our Principal Mr Brett Moore, Student Engagement, Pathways and Transitions Leader Ms Phoebe Lindsay and myself interviewed prospective 2022 Year 12 students. The School is thrilled that on Friday, 10 December, the successful applicants for the Senior School Student Leadership Executive Positions were announced to the school community. This included the School Captains, the School Vice Captains, and the International Captain for 2022.

As the end of the year comes near, our class of 2021, including Year 12 VCE and VCAL students, prepare for life after school. In celebration of finishing, we held a Year 12 Valedictory where all the Year 12 students returned to have a luncheon in celebration of completing their final year of schooling. During this event Principal, Mr Brett Moore gave an inspiring speech about what each and every student had achieved and how they had grown throughout their journey at Ashwood High School.

As the Assistant Principal of the Senior School, I wish all Ashwood High School community members all the best in the upcoming holidays and wish you a safe and happy break. We look forward to seeing you back at the start of 2022. For members of our community in their final year at the School, we wish you all the best in your future endeavours and stay connected to our Ashwood High School community.

Best regards

Tom O'Toole
Senior School Assistant Principal

Senior School Engagement, Wellbeing & Pathways Report

In this final Newsletter of the year, I would like to express my admiration for the senior students of this wonderful school. When faced with fairly extreme circumstances and challenges, across the board we have risen to the occasion, remained connected and continued to implement a strong, successful program of teaching and learning. Congratulations to all Senior School students for your continued engagement in rigorous learning and your commitments to personal and community wellbeing this year.

Empowering student voice is of great importance at Ashwood High School. Therefore, I would like to use this Newsletter to share the perspectives of our Senior School students on our camps and Form Group program from 2021.

When reflecting on this year, our Year 10 students were asked: What was the highlight of Year 10 Form Group? Below are some of the responses we received:

Despite missing camp this year, Year 10 Form Group helped in broadening our year's perspectives of many prominent topics relative to our age, such as Work Experience and Job Search, as well as Road Regulations and Safety. I particularly enjoyed the sessions we had on Wellbeing, as it really helped with coping during this continuous year of difficulty. – Caitlyn Lim (Year 10)

Our school's Year 10 Form Groups have assisted in helping me adapt to these changes of growing up as it provided me with resources in surviving the real world: for example, Road Safety Lessons or career orientation days. – Angela Hewerdine (Year 10)

My highlights from Year 10 Form Group were that this class was an escape from school, we had discussions that wouldn’t have in other classes, we played games to take our mind off things and we prepared for our future. All things combined made a really enjoyable class to have every week. – Micky Van Dalen (Year 10)

When reflecting on this year, our Year 10 students were asked: What was the highlight of Year 11 Camp? Below are some of the responses we received:

The game nights my group had, and the designated room provided to us by the teachers was definitely one of the highlights. We had great laughs and smiles, creating stronger bonds with our friends, and even uncovering some of our secrets. However, the main highlight was the bond we developed with some of our teachers and new classmates. Having established a close relationship with our teachers and peers new to the school and Australia allowed us to adapt well with each other throughout the year. – Adrian Tan (Year 11)

At Year 11 camp, we went on a bike ride to the Port Lonsdale Lighthouse. Whilst on the bike ride, we rode through the town and along the beach, experiencing parts of Geelong. This was a highlight as it was refreshing and peacefully riding across the beach. – Elizabeth Tziafas (Year 11)

The highlight of Year 11 Camp would have to be the opportunity to spend time with friends and have fun. As we had been in lockdown for most of Year 10 and missed out on our camp and excursions, it was nice to leave school behind for a few days and just relax. – Jake Larking (Year 11)

The highlight of Year 11 camp was probably being in a place outside of school with everyone in the year level because there’s an indescribable feeling that comes with a large group of people coming together after having known each other for such a long time. – Sam Harvison (Year 11)

When reflecting on this year, our Year 10 students were asked: What was the highlight of Year 12 Camp? Below are some of the responses we received:

The Year 12 Camp is quite fun and informative overall. Even though it is relatively short in length, I have learned a lot from the sessions about VCE with our teachers and presenters. For the dinner, I was both nervous and excited because the Senior Captains including me, had the opportunity to be sitting with our school principals. I also enjoyed playing board games with my friends during our free time before going to bed. – Andy Kuok (Year 12)

The highlight for me was the dinner with the teachers. It was such a special moment as we could spend time with the teachers in a completely different environment to what is typical. We all shared many laughs and it was a very enjoyable night. – Lula Tadesse (Year 12)

The highlight of Year 12 would probably have to be the dinner with all the Year 12 students and teachers. It was such a good night to be talking and laughing with teachers outside of school. These really are the memories that we will remember forever. – Courtney Tulia (Year 12)

On a personal note, it has been a privilege to work with the Senior School students during these steps of their education at Ashwood High School. As a collective, they have demonstrated the values of fairness, honesty, generosity, creativity, compassion, high expectations, commitment, resilience and courage. Thank you for sharing this part of your journey with me.

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

Year 10 Coordinator's Report

I am so proud of the Year 10 cohort and for all their incredible achievements this year. During these last few weeks of Year 10, I have been so impressed by the enthusiasm, diligence and maturity of students completing the prep program and the exceptional academic and practical work completed by the students transitioning to VCAL. I know for some, the academic rigour and high expectations associated with Year 11 came as quite a shock, but it was wonderful to see students doing their best, reaching out to support each other and being so grateful for the exceptional program run by staff, all to prepare students for the demands of VCE and VCAL.

Below is a photograph of Saad Alam from Year 10 running a revision session for exams with his peers. This photograph symbolises the wonderful bonds that the Year 10 students have made this year and the way they have supported each other through the challenges faced by the pandemic. There are so many exciting opportunities coming your way Year 10s, so go forth and enjoy what the future has in store.

Thank you to all of the Senior School teachers and well done to all Year 10 students of 2021.

It is now time for you to take a break, recharge, do the things you enjoy the most, stay connected and of course… complete all your holiday homework!!

Thank you for a wonderful year. Congratulations on your achievements. Be proud of your efforts and who you are.

 It was a privilege to manage such an exceptional cohort. I wish you all the very best in Year 11.

Sachael Miller
Year 10 Coordinator

Year 11 Coordinator's Report

Congratulations to the Year 11 cohort on a successful year of learning and growth in 2022. The ‘jump’ from Year 10 to Year 11 is always big one, with increased workloads and expectations. With the additional impact of COVID-19 lockdowns and remote learning, the challenge has been even greater for this group. Despite this, students have approached the year with calmness and maturity and showed impressive resilience. This was reflected in their attendance at online sessions, which remained high, with quality work completed and excellent progress demonstrated. Throughout this period formal assessments were conducted, and very strong results have been achieved. This is a testament to this groups’ independence and optimism and their mature handling of the situation. It was great to have the students back face-to-face for much of the last term, culminating in the exam week, an important preparation for Year 12.

In addition to having a well-earned break I encourage students to use their time productively to complete the set preparatory tasks and begin to engage themselves with the material that will be covered next year in both Year 12 VCE and VCAL.

Thanks again to all the Year 11s this year for their efforts. I have been proud to be your coordinator and have always enjoyed our polite and respectful interactions. It has been incredibly pleasing to see the progress made across so many areas by this group of students in 2021 and I am really looking forward to seeing their further development and success next year, the sky is the limit!

All the best over the festive season and once again congratulations,

John Sheehan
Year 11 Coordinator

Year 12 Coordinator's Report

October and November have been such busy but also super fruitful months for your Year 12 students. All our students have completed their assignment, assessments, and work placements for their senior school studies, VCE and VCAL alike.

Despite the current climate and the on and off nature of COVID-19 restrictions, we were over the cloud to be able to put our very own Year 12 Valedictory back on the calendar and celebrate the Senior School and Year 12 journey for and with all our Year 12 students, Ashwood High School, class of 2021! Words could hardly describe the challenges our Year 12s have been forced to face; words could hardly delineate the kind of commitment, adaptability, and resilience that our Year 12s have adopted and developed; words could hardly depict how proud all members of our Year 12 team and Ashwood High School community are of our precious Year 12 young adults.

In this last newsletter, please allow me to take us back into the memory lane with this photo collage, with some and only some of the memory moments we created together in these past few months. As always, leave room for more adventure and for continuous growth to fill the empty frames with more of your experience in the upcoming future! With pride and joy, wishing all beloved members of Ashwood High School Class of 2021 continue to embrace and enjoy what future brings your way! With pride and joy, wishing every beloved member of Ashwood High School Class of 2021 find your identities in the new community and find your way to your own happiness!

Jessie Tian
Year 12 Coordinator

Senior School Student Leadership & Agency

Congratulations to all the newly appointed Student Leaders for 2022!

Thank you to all students and staff who helped to facilitate the application process; it is the community’s ongoing support of the Student Leadership program that allows it to continue to grow and thrive.

A big thank you as well to the outgoing Student Leaders of 2021; your ongoing optimism, resilience and dedication during what has been a very challenging time will be appreciated and admired for years to come.

Matilda Wraight
Student Voice, Leadership & Agency Coordinator

VCE VCAL VET Curriculum Services

By the time you are reading this report our Year 12 students will have received their results and be finalising their plans for 2022.  This group of resilient young people should be very proud of their efforts, over two difficult years, to enable the achievement of their VCE or VCAL certificate. I look forward to meeting with many of the students in the coming days to discuss their next steps and assist them with their applications and change of preference where required.

As one group of students are finishing their senior years of high school, we have had our new Year 11 students start on their VCE and VCAL journeys. The past couple of weeks have seen the 2022 Year 11 and 12 students complete their preparation program. This has involved a lot of work from both the students, the teachers and support staff, ensuring that our students will be well prepared for the year ahead. The students are to be congratulated for their enthusiastic involvement in this program and the manner in which they approached their classes and the associated homework.

Students are reminded to maintain contact with their teachers as they complete the preparation tasks in the coming weeks. This will allow them to start their 2022 studies in the best way possible.

Students are also reminded to consider the need for Special Provisions for their coursework and exams, and to be in touch with me should they require further clarification on the process involved.

I wish all of our students, staff and families a safe and happy Christmas and holiday period and look forward to a great year in 2022.

Julie Huggins
VCAA Curriculum Services Coordinator


Careers & Pathways

What a great year it has been! Yes I am being serious, we may have missed out on some of the regular career events, however all in all I would like to deem the year a success. Why, you ask? Well, we had the Year 13 Virtual Careers Expo in place of our Ashwood High School Annual Careers Expo, Morrisby ran amazingly – thank you Year 9, the praise received was beyond excellent!

Senior School - Structured Workplace Learning (SWL)

The 2021 VCAL class have started their search for industry related placements including Hospitality, Horticulture, Carpentry, Automotive – Mechanical, Animal Studies, Information, Digital Media & Technology – Gaming, Business, Allied Health Assistance, Early Childhood Education and Care, Furniture Making, and Design Fundamentals – Visual Arts, as well as their volunteer placements. Some students have been successful in securing placement, however some industries are more challenging than others especially at this time. If you or someone you know could offer a student one day per week placement on a term by term basis – you are not locked in for a full year – please make contact with me on 9807 1333 or your support is greatly appreciated. Offering a student work placement is very rewarding and a great way of giving back to the community.
Jodie Hechenberger
Careers & Pathways Coordinator

School Psychologist's Report

Both myself and the school Chaplain, Mr Long Nguyen, commenced our roles this year, and what a year it has been! This year the wellbeing team has supported our school community in different ways. We have worked with individual students and their families, to provide tools and strategies for navigating different challenges. We had the opportunity to teach students stress management skills across Year 10 and Year 12 cohorts. We established a partnership with Monash University to provide early small group intervention support to students. Additionally, we continue to foster our partnership with the Ashburton Baptist Church group, whose volunteers run the Breakfast Club. During this year, it has been our privilege to support students and staff, and we are proud of the hard work that we witnessed from our students, their families, and staff. As a community we have a lot to celebrate and be proud of.

The wellbeing team is looking forward to 2022, to continue to provide our students with different opportunities to build skills of resilience, optimism, and community pride. From the Wellbeing Team, we wish you all a safe and happy holiday!

Elisa Jones Arango
School Psychologist

Enrichment, Pedagogy, Partnerships & Professional Learning

The end of the school year offers the opportunity for reflection and an invitation to engage in preparations for new learning. In the previous newsletter I reflected on some of the opportunities for growth that have been afforded by our professional partnerships with Deakin and Monash Universities in 2021. In this issue I would like to foreshadow a number of exciting developments in the school’s professional learning program for 2022.

The 2022 Professional Learning Program will focus on three key improvement strategies: Building Practice Excellence, Curriculum Planning and Assessment, and Empowering Students and Building School Pride. As has been the case in previous years, our Communities of Practice will continue to be the focal point for staff professional learning in 2022, however, a new and exciting development will be the involvement of Learning Area teams. By aligning the membership of our Communities of Practice with our faculty-based Learning Areas in 2022, the school seeks to embed a whole-school approach to teaching and learning through the consistent implementation of evidence-based teaching strategies.

Four pedagogical priorities have been identified for 2022 based on the High Impact Teaching Strategies (Department of Education, 2017). Structuring the Lesson, Setting Goals, Feedback, and Worked Examples will be the focus of teachers’ professional learning in their Communities of Practice, Teaching and Learning Committee meetings and Learning Area meetings. These priority areas will also provide a pedagogical foundation for peer observations and learning walks. By building the instructional practice of every teacher, the school seeks to raise the achievement of all students through the consistent implementation of a powerful approach to teaching and learning.

In closing, I would like to acknowledge the outstanding work of the staff at Ashwood High School. Their dedication, professionalism, energy and expertise are a constant source of inspiration and delight. I look forward to another year of learning in 2022.

Caroline Servadei
Enrichment, Pedagogy Partnerships & Professional Learning Leader

Mathematics Learning Area Report

Fun with Mathematics
For the last class of the year, the Year 7s played various games that involved some underlying maths skills. Many different games were played, including Monopoly, Sequence, Spoons, Rummikub, Yahtzee, Battleship and more.

Lazar Arapovic, Cooper Harper, Tom Houghton and Louis Vo – 7C
Today we played the game Monopoly. It was a lot of fun competing trying to be the richest! We also learnt many different skills that we didn’t even know were part of the game originally. We learnt about:

  • Profit and loss when trying to trade properties with each other
  • The value of different properties and how that affects the amount of money they bring in
  • How the more money you spend on a property (buying apartments and hotels), the more you get out of them (rent increases)
  • How to save your money up to buy something in the future
  • We also recapped the basic addition and subtraction skills involved with exchanging physical money

Alyssa Gonzalez, Kate McFarlane, Dwobet Medi, Halle Norton, Victoria Rushton and Abbey Sheehan – 7C 
The 6 of us played Spoons, which is a card game where you have to try to get 4 of a kind very quickly. We managed to play a few rounds and over the period we got better and the game got more intense. Before playing most of us didn’t even know there were 52 cards in a deck but now we do. We also learnt how there are only 4 of each number in a deck, that there are 2 jokers, and that an Ace can be the lowest or the highest card. It also involved some probability as we had to weight up our chances of being able to get 4 of a kind each time.

The 7 ACE class had a mini race of answering 18 problem solving questions as quick as we could. The winners got an award and everyone had loads of fun. It was very tight but the team GCSE (Gilly, Chriswin, Sam, Elliott) was victorious. It was a very fun activity that got all students involved. Can’t wait until Year 8 ACE!
Elliott Sturrock – 7Z

Maths was lots of fun, especially all the different problem-solving activities we did throughout the year, mixed with a lot of challenging but rewarding work. The tests were hard but when I had worked hard on the part of maths I got rewarding results.
Gilly McCann – 7Z





Science Learning Area Report

After a challenging year with extended periods of Remote and Flexible Teaching and Learning, our students have been thrilled to be back in the science laboratories undertaking practical work. During Term 3, Year 8 ACE and Year 9 Science students completed a unit of work on Biology wherein they learned about the relationship between structure and function in a range of biological systems. In the last few weeks of Term 4, these students returned to return to this content with hands-on learning experiences as they completed dissections. Year 9 students had the opportunity to dissect a sheep brain and a cow eye, whilst Year 8 ACE students dissected lamb hearts. Students who were learning remotely had the opportunity to complete the dissection virtually through interactive PowerPoints and videos. Here are a few photos taken whilst students were safely performing the dissections collaboratively with their peers and practising their lab skills. There are lots of smiling faces under the masks as students were making the most of the learning opportunity!


We wish all students a safe and happy break, and the science team is looking forward to seeing students back in the science lab next year.

Niesha Moorad
Science Learning Coordinator

Humanities Learning Area Report

This month, we will take a look inside the classroom of Year 9 Humanities teacher, Mr John Sheehan.

As part of the study of economics in Humanities, Year 9 students were involved in a ‘Shark Tank’ style activity to help develop their entrepreneurial skills and understanding of foundation business concepts. Working in groups they were tasked with generating an innovative product or service idea and then seeking potential investors for it. As part of the preparation, students were required to consider such concepts as target markets, unit costs, revenue, expenses, and profit. They then ‘pitched’ their ideas to a panel of possible investors, seeking their investment for a percentage of equity in their businesses. The ‘sharks’ (Mr Shnier, Ms Miller and I) were then called on to consider whether they would invest in the concept and negotiate the amount and percentage of equity sought. Some of the excellent student ideas included services to assist in online clothing purchases, a computer platform for connecting customers with providers in the beauty and make up industry, a product for making picking up objects, a self-heating mattress and a new computer game console. The teachers involved were very impressed by the students’ level of preparation, the excellent business ideas, and the confidence in which they were able to present and respond to impromptu questions from the panel. There are certainly some budding young entrepreneurs in Year 9 and they are encouraged to continue to foster this in-demand skillset wherever possible.  


John Sheehan
Year 9 Humanities Teacher  

Creative Arts/Technologies Learning Area Report

As our busy year ends, we can all appreciate the hard work, creativity, and products the students have created over the academic year.

Personally, I would like to thank my amazing team for all their incredible work in the classroom and behind the scenes, and I wish them the very best in their future careers in education.

To the students at Ashwood High School, have a restful and enjoyable summer. It has been a privilege getting to know you and teaching you in my classes, you will be missed.

Have a happy holiday period, and enjoyable summer.

Annalisa Buyks
Creative Arts and Technology Learning Area Leader

Design Masters
Year 9 Visual Communication Design struck fire with their second assessment where they designed a Matchbox packaging net for Redheads. Running for the majority of Term 3, students were introduced many key ideas associated with this subject such as the Design Process, Materials, Media and Methods and One-Point Perspective Drawing. They worked diligently to apply the theme of nature, as required by the Brief. Whilst working remotely, students were also able to submit folios and create digital versions of their final packaging nets. Please take a look at some of the awesome work below.

Hava Samad (9D) One Point Perspective Matchboxes

Kezia Leow (9B) Refinement

Tahia McPherson (9D) Matchbox Packaging Net

Amber Balmer (9B) Matchbox Packaging Net

Cam Voigt (9D) Matchbox Packaging Net


Grand Designs
Taking inspiration from the classic British Architectural show, Grand Designs, Year 9 Visual Communication Design students were challenged to conceptualise an inner-city house for Melbourne in Term 4. Working with the constraints that the house could not be taller than three stories and had to implement some form of colour inspired by the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), students were able to develop and depict many creative ideas. Students were also introduced to the Drawing Method of Two-Point Perspective drawing. This enabled the students to draw their houses close to how we would see them with our own eyes. Please take a look at some of the visually stimulating work below.

Annais Lewis (9B)

Kezia Leow (9B)

Ariana Pashutina (9C)

Lily Robertson (9D)

Cam Voigt (9D)

Yuumei Castrillo (9A)

Tahia McPherson (9D)

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


Health & PE Learning Area Report

We made it!

The last few weeks have seen our Year 7 students finish their SEPEP Downball unit. For those of you who don’t know what SEPEP is, it is a student led unit where students take on different roles within their team. Roles include Coach, Team Captain, Equipment Officers, Media, and Results Coordinators. Each role has its own responsibilities and our Year 7 classes have risen to the occasion and delivered a wonderful unit.

Most Year 8 students have been able to deliver their “Teach a Game” presentation to their peers. It has been wonderful to see a variety of new games, with some even being added to our repertoire of games to use!

Our Year 9 students unfortunately were only able to take part in one Self Defence session due to our closure and remote learning. Despite this, students have expressed their enjoyment of this session.

On behalf of the Ashwood HPE Team, I would like to thank all of our students and parents for their ongoing support during these times. HPE is a challenging subject to teach online for a variety of reasons, however, students continue to amaze us with their willingness to try and adapt to new things.

I would like to thank my amazing HPE teaching team, they are the most flexible and supportive group of teachers – but I know I am biased!

We wish our Ashwood Community a well-deserved break, and we hope you are able to spend it with loved ones, and perhaps even get away somewhere.

We look forward to seeing everyone in 2022.

Take care.

Allison Phillips
HPE Learning Area Coordinator

EAL Learning Area Report

Even within our current challenges, students continued to show remarkable resilience to make the most out of their learning opportunities both onsite and during remote learning. During the VCE EAL Prep Program, students demonstrated this great optimism and dedication towards their studies. The prep program gave students an insight into the expectations and pacing of VCE, and during the sessions, students successfully completed the assigned course work. They also collaborated effectively in groups and shared positive study habits. 

Thanks to the Year 11 EAL students who reflected on their experience of the VCE EAL Prep Program.

I really enjoyed the learning atmosphere in the EAL class, which allowed me to communicate well with my classmates about the tasks led by the teacher. I’m looking forward to learning different knowledge and strengthening my writing skills. 
Harry Wu 

I’m looking forward to learning about creative writing. Also, next year, I will try my best to let my English skills grow to my highest level.
Felix Su 

I like to read books, analyse the relationships between characters, and study the deep meaning of themes. Studying this can increase my life experience. I look forward to learning more analytical essay writing skills. 
Eric Liu

I hope to learn some persuasive skills and methods in EAL classes to enhance my writing ability.
Mary Jin

The two-week EAL prep program made me better understand what we will learn about in Year 11 EAL and homework we need to complete. I am looking forward to learning about creative devices and learning more about the novels we will study. 
Jason Hou

As Term 4 draws to a close, I would like to wish all our EAL students a restful break and congratulate them on their efforts throughout the semester. I also want to thank our EAL teaching staff, Ms Tian and Ms Brydon, for going above and beyond to support our EAL students. 

Carmela Diaz
EAL Learning Area Coordinator

Digital Pedagogies Learning Area Report

One key component of 21st century digital literacy that cannot be understated is efficient and accurate touch typing. Improved typing offers students efficiency gains that are transferable across nearly every contemporary profession. One study of 234 students in the Netherlands found that touch typing training not only improves typing speeds, but also students’ narrative writing and spelling (van Weerdenburg et al., 2019).

Recently in Digital Technologies, students had the opportunity to engage in typing training sessions and competitions. At the beginning of each class, students spend 10 minutes working to improve their scores. We also have typing races where students are able to learn from a ‘worked example’ about the importance of correct technique and finger placement in achieving better speeds and higher accuracy.

Congratulations to Grace Lee of Year 7 who typed 50 words at 94 words per minute with 100% accuracy. If you think you can type faster than a seventh grader (or even if you are going to set more modest goals), head to for initial training, then to to test your speed.

Daniel Christiansz
Digital Pedagogies Coordinator

Works Cited
van Weerdenburg, M., Tesselhof, M., & van der Meijden, H. (2019). Touch-typing for better spelling and narrative-writing skills on the computer. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 35(1), 143–152.

Sport Coordinator's Report

2022 is set to be a big year on the interschool sports front. The Department of Education has recently given the green light for interschool sport to commence again (in a COVID safe way of course). Unfortunately there has been no interschool sport to report upon in Term 4, as all of our interschool sporting days would’ve been finished by now in a normal year anyway.

Pleasingly, the Sport Captain and Sport Vice Captain were selected recently for 2022. This is the second year of this position of leadership and responsbility. Congratulations to both Dannah Casanova and Max Thompson respectively. I look forward to working closely with these two students in 2022 to continue to grow the pillar of sport at Ashwood High School.

In further good news, I can confirm the interschool sport dates for Term 1, 2022 are as follows:

I look forward in earnest to the return of Ashwood High School students at an interschool and division sporting level in 2022. I wish all families and the community a safe and restful break and congratulate them on getting each other through the most difficult schooling year ever.

Enjoy your summer by the beach, camping or relaxing with family. I will see you all in 2022 and as always Go Tigers!

Tom Grbac
Sport Coordinator

Camps Report

With the 2021 school year coming to a close Ashwood High School is looking forward to 2022, during which we plan to have students resume enjoying our School Camps program. To begin Term 1, Years 11 and 12 students have camps scheduled in Week 2. Years 11 and 12 students are kindly reminded to ensure that medical forms for their respective camps have been completed then emailed or handed in to Reception, please check Compass Events for further details.

Jeff Newman
Camps Coordinator

Debating & Public Speaking Report

As we move on from a highly successful year in Debating Club, we begin to plan for our continued success in 2022. Even without knowing what the next generation of Year 7s will be capable of, we welcomed new debaters from within our current students on our last session for the year. Students viewed Julia Gillard’s striking 2012 “Misogyny Speech” and analysed the type of rhetorical and persuasive devices used that made the speech so effective. There is no doubt that students will take forth the lessons learned from their training sessions this year and employ them in future competitions. Next year, we hope to continue our involvement in Model United Nations evens run by the World Federation of United Nations Associations, as well as UN Youth Australia. We also plan to take part in the regular interschool competition organised by Debaters Association Victoria. As always, passionate new students are encouraged to attend any of the sessions either in preparation for competitions or just to participate and build their own skills.

Congratulations to all students who took part this year, and I look forward to 2022!

Ronald Lee
Debating Coordinator

International Student Program

Filming Project for Victorian Global Learning Awards
The filming project for Andy Kuok, our proud Victorian Global Learning Awards winner was finally completed on Thursday 9 December after a few delays. Thanks to Mr Brett Moore for his support and approval of the project and thank you to Mr Tom O’Toole for his participation. I also would like to thank Matilda Wraight, Michelle Leane, Caroline Servadei, Dom Holloway, Matthew Feeney, Calvin Yin for accommodating my last-minute requests. Your kind help really made me feel this is a great school with wonderful staff.

As a part of the filming project, Andy Kuok shared his VCE learning experience with our VCE international students for 2022. A lot of questions were asked, and Andy’s presentation was very well received.

It is exciting to see that an Ashwood High School student video will be on the DET website soon. We would like to see more Ashwood High School student ambassadors present these big stages in the future.

Message for Homestay families
2021 is again a challenging year for all of us, especially our homestay students. I am pleased that all our homestay students have done well this year with exceptional support from their homestay parents.

On behalf of Ashwood High School International Student Program, I would like to thank all our homestay families. Your kind support and high level of care is so much appreciated by the students, their parents and our school. I have received so much positive feedback from homestay students, and they understand you are a part of their family. I am so proud that our homestay families really are exceeding my expectations.

Our annual homestay meeting will be at 3:30pm on Tuesday 14 December. I look forward to meeting you online and discussing how we can better support each other in the future.

We hope you have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Message for all international students
Congratulations on your successful completion of your study in 2021. I am proud of what you have achieved this year!

I hope you enjoy your school holiday and I am sure you will get all your holiday work done!

Stay safe and stay positive. And most importantly, have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Student Reflection on 2021
2021 is a successful year for me. I am pleased that I have successfully completed my Year 10 study and started my holiday, even though I have plenty of homestay to do. Reflecting on 2021, I have to admit, Remote and Flexible Learning was challenging but I tried very hard, and I am satisfied with my exam results. I have made great improvements in some subjects, but sadly I didn’t reach the scores I expected for a few subjects.

2021 has been a great year. I received School Colours Awards in both Academic and Services as well as Principal’s Awards. My biggest excitement this year is I have been appointed VCE Prefect for 2022. I am a proud member of the Senior School Student Leadership Team.

I am looking forward to more challenges and excitements in 2022.
Carol Yuan, Year 10

Yonghong Williams
International Student Program Manager



Education Resource Centre Report

During this year’s lengthy lockdowns, student use of the Education Resource Centre was limited to the remote access of our digital resources. However, despite these periods of restricted access, 2021’s library loan statistics have stayed on-trend and surpassed previous years’ totals. The increase follows growing student appreciation of the collection and indicates a strengthening of the reading culture within our school.

The experience of lockdown reminded many of us of the importance of recreational reading for wellbeing, personal development, and learning. We all need to find time, every day, for some enjoyable reading. It is a very rewarding habit to cultivate and maintain whether we are at school, locked down at home, or on holidays.

If you are looking for something to read over the holidays check out the free online resources linked to the “ERC Online” section of our webpage, visit your local library, or maybe let Santa know what you would like to read.

A safe and happy holiday to all. And remember to find time to enjoy reading every day.

Matt Feeney
Education Resource Centre Coordinator

Parent and Community Partnerships - Parents & Friends Network