Principal's Report

Top State Schools for Getting into University – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
It is with pleasure and pride to highlight the recent news that Ashwood High School has emerged as a standout leader in university preparation and pathways, showcasing an impressive 86 percent of our survey respondents pursuing higher education after school. This outstanding achievement was announced in the Herald Sun on Sunday 13 August 2023, and reinforces our commitment to fostering academic excellence and Forging Successful Futures (Motto for the Senior School). Please refer to the excerpts below.

Update on the Capital Works Program - ‘The Jewel of the East’
I am brimming with excitement as we approach gaining the much-awaited Occupancy Permit for our new STEAM and Research Centre, (Building H). With the handover scheduled over the school break, this remarkable state-of-the-art facility is on the cusp of becoming a crowning jewel on The Jewel of the East. In the ensuing days that follow this term, we will embark on the exciting process of transitioning to our new building.

As we eagerly look towards a positive future, we prepare for the renovation of Building G, with the handover to the builders occurring on Saturday 16 September 2023. Building G is due for completion for the commencement of the 2024 academic year. I look forward to a whole school assembly on Monday 2 October 2023, where I will introduce the processes and protocols for the use of this building to staff and students.

Pupil Free Days 2024  - ‘Valuing Staff and Building Capacity’
School Council has approved the following four pupil free days for 2024, please mark these important dates in your calendar:

Term 1 2024: (First two days)
Monday 29 January 2024 – Pupil free day (statewide)
Tuesday 30 January 2024 – Pupil free day

Term 2 2023:
Friday 7 June 2024 – Report Writing Day

Term 3 2023:
Thursday 15 August 2024 – Curriculum Day

School Musical Production ‘Wizard of Oz’ ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
I was delighted to attend the evening performance of ‘The Wizard of Oz’  at the VIP Night that took place on Saturday, 9 September 2023. The evening was an absolute triumph, exceeding all expectations and leaving an indelible mark on everyone fortunate enough to attend. The highlight of the evening undoubtedly was our school's musical production of ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ It was nothing short of sensational, a testament to the exceptional creativity and hard work invested by all involved. The vibrancy of this timeless tale, brought to life on stage, captured the hearts of all in attendance and will be cherished in our memories for years to come.

This production not only showcased our school's theatrical prowess but also highlighted the unity and shared commitment that make Ashwood High School an exceptional government school. The collaborative spirit and dedication

exhibited by everyone involved truly set a high standard for future endeavours. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the following staff members, without whom this remarkable event would not have been possible: Michelle Leane, Emma Doorley, Sachael Miller, Liam Headland, Vivian Chen, Jessica Lindholm, Navin Gulavita, Garry Barcham, Ruby Cameron, Harsha Dias, Lahiru Lokuge, Bruce Verity, Stephanie Poland, Samuel Bugeja, Jackson Fumberger, Troy Rogan, Khwaish Madan and Nicole Gladman.

Student Led Conferences Term 3 – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’, Increasing Positive Parental Engagement’
The decision to transition to an online format over two days, Wednesday 23 August, and Friday 25 August 2023, proved to be instrumental in accommodating the growth of our school, while also prioritising the health and wellbeing of our staff. The shift to an online platform for both days of the conferences was met with overwhelming appreciation from parents, who found the accessibility of the virtual conferences to be exceptionally convenient. The streamlined approach, coupled with the use of Webex, not only catered to their busy schedules but also enhanced the overall conference experience. This approach was particularly fitting given the current context, and we have received numerous expressions of gratitude from parents.

Based on the overwhelmingly positive response and the clear benefits of the online format, it is expected that the school will continue with this approach into the near future. Given the growth in student numbers in the Senior School, Year 12 classes will not be running concurrently with Student Led Conferences in 2024. The school held 2492 conferences with each family booking 3.40 bookings per household. The success of these conferences is a clear indication of parent support of the school and parent / carer commitment to student engagement and success.

Morrisby Program – ‘Forgoing Successful Futures’ – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement
The Year 9 Morrisby Program was held Monday 14 – Friday 18 August 2023. Students begin with Morrisby program with an online discovery tool designed to help them learn more about themselves – their values, preferences, and skills – giving them a better understanding of where their strengths lie. These personal insights help open-up a variety of possible career pathways, specifically tailored to who they are. After delving into potential career options, interviews are held.  Thank you to Jodie Hechenberger, Careers Coordinator, for organising this insightful event.

Co-curricular Program 2023 - ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
The Year 8 Camp was held from Wednesday 16 August – Friday 18 August 2023, and our Year 8 students embarked on an enriching journey at the Roses Gap Recreation Centre. The camp proved to be a resounding success, fostering strong student connections while reinforcing their sense of belonging within our school community. The primary aim of the camp was to cultivate teamwork skills and resilience through a diverse range of structured outdoor activities set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Grampians. Guided by skilled instructors, our students engaged in a variety of outdoor pursuits, enhancing their collaboration abilities while embracing the wonders of the natural world. In addition to the enriching outdoor activities, the camp included team-building exercises that further strengthened the bonds among our students. Balancing adventure with relaxation, the students enjoyed moments of leisure and reflection, contributing to their holistic growth. I extend my gratitude to the dedicated staff who accompanied our students throughout this transformative experience: Andrew Padbury (Camp Leader), Meg McLellan (Assistant Principal), Matthew Feeney, Jessica Gao, Rob Gray, Jessica Kazis, Brian Lanigan, Christina Siomos, Zhen Hong Tan, Jacob Vitale, Meera Yadav and Peter Xia, our Pre-Service Teacher. The success of this camp reaffirms our commitment to nurturing not only academic growth but also the social and emotional development of our students. We look forward to the continued positive impact of such initiatives on their journey at Ashwood High School.

The Year 11 and 12 VCE VM Camp, held on Monday 4 September– Wednesday 6 September 2023 in Port Fairy, was an outstanding success, providing our students with a rich and immersive experience in a natural environment. Throughout this camp, students had the opportunity to explore and embrace their independence while engaging in an array of enriching activities, including optional surfing lessons expertly delivered by the Port Fairy Surfing School (Go Surf), wildlife walks, nature study, and a valuable tree planting program in collaboration with the local community council.

One of the camp's key objectives was to foster a sense of teamwork and environmental consciousness, encouraging students to appreciate the significance of cooperative efforts in achieving common goals. This holistic approach to learning, combined with engaging activities and interactions with the local community, made the VCE-VM camp a truly memorable and educational experience for all participants. I extend my appreciation to the dedicated staff members, Tom O'Toole, Ruby Cameron, and Jeffrey Newman, for their invaluable contributions in making this camp a resounding success. Their commitment to our students' growth and development is commendable and greatly appreciated.

Our Athletics Carnival on Tuesday 29 August 2023, held at the Bill Sewart Athletics Track, was a resounding success, exemplifying the vibrant spirit of camaraderie and sportsmanship that defines Ashwood High School. This memorable event showcased not only the physical prowess of our students but also their exemplary behaviour and support for their peers. Thank you to Tom Grbac, the orchestrator and team leader behind this occasion, and to all the staff members who contributed their dedication and effort. The collective involvement of nearly the entire staff in roles ranging from judging, starting, marshalling, timekeeping, ribbons, records, field responsibilities, supervision, and various other tasks underscored our commitment to creating a memorable experience for our students. Staff embraced their roles with enthusiasm, ensuring active supervision, House-specific duties, and upholding the Ashwood High School Student Code of Conduct. Their support and encouragement were evident as they guided students through events, cheering them on, and reinforcing the school's Vision and Values. A special mention goes to our students, who exhibited exceptional behaviour and participation. They demonstrated their respect for fellow competitors and embodied our values throughout the day. Their enthusiasm, determination, and teamwork exemplify the essence of Ashwood High School. Lastly, I am grateful for the assistance of the administrative team for their meticulous organisation, including the smooth operations of buses. This event stands as a testament to our commitment to fostering a vibrant school culture that values both physical activity and the bonds that unite our students. Congratulations to the following Houses:

  • Fourth Place: Melba House                  408 points
  • Third Place: Paterson House                567 points
  • Second Place: Flynn House                  716 points
  • First Place: Cowan House                    774 points

Other co-curricular Programs have included:

  • Sport:
    • Year 7 Interschool Sport – Friday 4 August 2023
    • Interschool Sport Years 9 and 10 - Friday 11 August 2023.
  • Student Leadership:                                                                                                                                               Student Led Clubs and societies, including:
  • Aerobics Zoe Schinina and Lenore Twist
  • Art Club Jessica Lindholm and Lily Robertson
  • A to Z Community Dr Elisa Jones-Arango and Harper Joyce
  • Badminton Club Dr Bruce Verity
  • Breakfast Club Dr Elisa Jones-Arango and Harper Joyce
  • Chess Club Rory Fahey and Ryan Lim, Lucas Leventakis and Sebastian Millan 
  • Debating Club Khwaish Madan and Leah Ried
  • Drama Club Michelle Leane and Kaitlin Adrian
  • eSports Daniel McBride and Tom Rao
  • French club Delphine Marie and Ryan Lim
  • Interact Club Stephanie Poland and Rhyannon Bergin
  • International Students Homework Club Yuhan Wang and Carol Yuan 
  • Maths Club Jay Chan and Ryan Lim
  • Newsletter Nicole Gladman and Daisy Harvison
  • Running Club Dom Holloway, Jeff Newman and Mikayla Van Dalen
  • SRC Jordyn Bracegirdle, Stephanie PolandStephanie Millan , Evelyn Chew and Samuel Bryan 
  • Student Newspaper Club Nicole Gladman, Daisy Harvison and Ryan Lim
  • Sustainability Club Christina Siomos, Marnie Edmiston and Lily Greaves         
  • Music:
    • Woodwind and Brass performance on Wednesday 9 August 2023  

Thank you to Liam Headland, Director of Music, and his team of Instrumental Music teachers for their expertise and passion.

School for Student Leadership  – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
The school formed a strong partnership with the ‘Alpine School’ School for Student Leadership in 2016, with Year 9 students enjoying the opportunities gained through this program over the years.  The School for Student Leadership initiative has expanded to four campuses, endorsed by the Victorian Department of Education (DE), and offers a unique residential education experience. This tailored curriculum prioritises personal growth and team-based learning projects inspired by students' local regions.  School Council has approved places for 6 students (3 male, 3 female) to attend the School for Student Leadership Don Valley Campus in the Yarra Ranges in Term 1 2024.

NAPLAN Results 2023 – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
This year, the National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) underwent a number of changes, shaping a new era of assessment and learning for all stakeholders. Changes to the NAPLAN Test in 2023 included:

  • Scheduling: NAPLAN was held much earlier this year, scheduled in March rather than in Term 2 as in previous years
  • Digital Tests: Embracing the digital age, 2023 marked the first year when all schools embraced online testing using digital adaptive tests. This contemporary approach allowed for a tailored assessment experience, adapting question difficulty based on students' responses
  • Achievements Standards: The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) introduced new proficiency standards this year with 4 levels of achievement replacing the previous 10-band structure aligned with the hardcopy NAPLAN test and the old national minimum standard set in 2008.

The new assessment scheme features four distinct levels of achievement: ‘Exceeding’, ‘Strong’, ‘Developing’ and ‘Needs Additional Support’ providing clearer and earlier information about student progress to all key stakeholders.

Ashwood High School continues as a school of influence in NAPLAN results with 82% of Year 7 students Exceeding or demonstrating Strong results in Reading and Writing and 83% of the Year 7 cohort Exceeding or demonstrating Strong achievement in Numeracy. Similarly, our Year 9 cohort have achieved excellent results across the NAPLAN tests with 69% of students Exceeding or demonstrating Strong results in relation to the expected standards in Reading and Writing and 76% of Year 9's Exceeding or demonstrating Strong results in Numeracy.

There has been some movement to Year 7 numbers over the past few weeks.  Primary schools have been collecting Year 7 Placements Slips, filled in by parents, stating that they ‘have’ or ‘have not’ accepted the ‘placement offer’. At this stage, our numbers look to be a manageable 195-200 students. However, these numbers will continue to fluctuate until the start of the 2024 academic year.  It is also interesting to note that, due to our enrolment restriction imposed by the Regional Office, approximately 50 students were not offered a place in 2024.

Families being offered a Year 7 place in 2024 have received an information pack (Pack 1) on Monday 21 August 2023.  This pack includes our handy information guide for Year 7 in 2024, including uniform, bell times and a timeline of events.  Families have also been asked to provide relevant information to our school ‘Transition Team’, enabling our school to follow up on pertinent details about 2024 student enrolments.  The graph below clearly symbolises the growth and future of our school. Based on the current information, the school’s overall enrolment in 2024 will be 929 students, an extra 94 students compared to 2023. Congratulations to Ashwood High School.

Projected Student Enrolments – ‘Good to GREAT, Great to Exceptional, Ongoing Growth and Sustained Success’
I am pleased to share that my enrolment projections, crafted in conjunction with the release of 'The Path Forward' New Direction at Ashwood in June 2015, have proven to be remarkably accurate. As depicted in the graphic below, the school is growing at a rapid but manageable rate. This outcome validates the foresight and strategic planning that underpinned 'The Path Forward’ and underscores our commitment to steering Ashwood towards a prosperous and sustainable future. I am grateful for the collaborative efforts and support that have contributed to this achievement. It reaffirms our shared commitment to fostering a thriving educational environment at Ashwood High School. Please see the table below for projected enrolments by the end of our current strategic plan.

ACE Program 2024 – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
Interest in our ACE Program continues to surge, as evidenced by the overwhelming number of registrations for Year 7 ACE 2024. The examination held on Saturday September 2, 2023, at Ashwood High School was well attended, with approximately 68 families in attendance. Having introduced the program in 2016, I am delighted by the enthusiastic response from prospective aspirational students (families) and look forward to notifying successful candidates after September 2023.

Staff Updates and Course Offerings – ‘Valuing Staff and Building Capacity’
As we progress through the latter part of 2023, our dedication to both our staff and student wellbeing and learning remains unwavering. Nick Franich has been employed as a classroom teacher at Ashwood High School, contributing expertise in English, English Literature and Humanities.

Looking ahead, I have collected staff intentions for 2024, shaping my workforce planning and decisions relating to enrolments, the August Census, and Senior School subjects and a fulfilling academic year for 2024. Excitingly, new subjects will be introduced in 2024:

  • Concurrent VCE Music Units 3 & 4 – Music Contemporary Performance and Music Repertoire Performance
  • VCE Geography Units 1 & 2
  • Year 10 Elective: Outdoor Education
  • VCE Physical Education Units 3 & 4.

Furthermore, I am delighted to announce that Year 11 Units 1 and 2 English Literature will be implemented for the first time at Ashwood High School in 2024.

Staff Workforce Planning 2024 – ‘Valuing Staff & Building Capacity’
Progress is well underway with our school’s recruitment campaign for 2024. Our school is a ‘destination club’ for exceptional graduate teachers and aspiring leaders, having established our school as a prime choice for talented individuals. As a high performing school, Ashwood High School is fully staffed in 2023. This is not the case in many government schools. In addition, I am pleased to share that I am already securing quality staff members (draft picks) for 2024. This period of unprecedented growth and prosperity provides us with a platform to fortify the strength of our workforce, a critical factor in realising our school strategic goals. This is an opportunity to strengthen and diversify the quality of our workforce in support of the school Vision.  These new staff members for 2024 will be announced in the first Newsletter of 2024. Ashwood High School currently boasts a dedicated team of 100 staff members who bring their expertise and passion to our educational community.

Induction Program - ‘Valuing Staff & Building Capacity’
Our school boasts a robust Induction Program that has been integral since its inception in 2016. Embracing one of the school’s four key priorities, ‘Valuing Staff & Building Capacity’, Ashwood High School places a premium on supporting our staff both personally and professionally. The hallmark of our performance and development culture shines through in the remarkable levels of staff engagement, clarity, and shared purpose. Satisfaction remains high, reflecting high levels of collective efficacy and responsibility. Our recent School Staff Survey underscores this positive sentiment, reflecting a significant positive rating for staff satisfaction, reinforcing our commitment to their wellbeing and professional growth.

An added dimension of our Induction Program is its role in fostering collaboration among staff members. By integrating new members seamlessly into our vibrant community, we facilitate the exchange of ideas, experiences, and best practices. This collaborative spirit contributes to a dynamic and innovative educational environment. The resilience demonstrated during the challenges of the past few years further underscores the strength and cohesion of our staff culture. It is indeed a source of pride to witness the synergy and shared dedication that defines Ashwood High School staff.

Curriculum Day – PIVOT Teaching and Learning Model – ‘Valuing Staff and Building Capacity’
The Curriculum Day held on Thursday 10 August 2023 focused on one key area:

  • Developing quality curriculum in alignment with our school Teaching and Learning Model - PIVOT.

On this day, I presented the principal’s keynote address. I clearly communicated the expectation that all staff to align their curriculum documentation and practices with PIVOT. The curriculum day focused on teacher collaboration and collective responsibility to student engagement and achievement.

Staff Wellbeing Week – ‘Valuing Staff and Building Capacity’
From Monday 28 August to Friday 1 September 2023, we hosted Staff Wellbeing Week—aligned with Priority 3: Valuing Staff and Building Capacity. The central focus of this year’s program was on self-care. Throughout the week we had curated a range of activities and workshops aimed to nurture staff mental health and wellbeing. Thank you to Dr Jones-Arango for orchestrating this rejuvenating week, a timely opportunity to energise the spirits of the Ashwood High School staff.

Financial Audit – ‘Growing School without the Growing Pains’
Congratulations to Debbie Whitehouse, Director of Business who returned another outstanding ‘report card’ for Ashwood High School’s Financial Audit which was finalised on Thursday 24 August 2023.

Policy Development Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) – From Great to Exceptional’
In 2023, Ashwood High School collaborated closely with the Department of Education (DE) to align with the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) standards for policy development and ratification. Our commitment to regulatory compliance is reflected in the quality of evidence and documentation submitted to the VRQA, garnering recognition and appreciation from DE personnel. The school is currently establishing a cycle of review to assist with school governance, policy development and compliance.

Student Leadership Structure and Processes for 2024 – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
At this time of the year, aspiring student leaders in Year 11 are preparing for speeches which are generally held at a Whole School Assembly in the first week of Term 4.  Along with the Student Leadership Executive, a suite of Student Leadership positions will continue in 2024:

This inclusive structure will give students further opportunities to develop and demonstrate leadership and student voice in 2024.

Whole School Approach for Wellbeing – ‘CREATE’ – ‘Ongoing Growth and Sustained Success’
We have a strong commitment to enhancing student wellbeing of Ashwood High School students. I am continuing my work with Dr Jones-Arango on developing an evidence informed whole school approach for wellbeing.  It is with pleasure to provide an update on our progress. The development of CREATE - Whole School Approach for Wellbeing, is in recognition of the other effective modelling that has been established at Ashwood High School - CHOIR (for values) and PIVOT (for teaching and learning). Please refer to the Wellbeing Framework and Wellbeing Model (below).

A Creative Framework and Whole School Approach for Wellbeing – The CREATE Model
As part of enhancing the holistic growth of each student, the school has developed the wellbeing framework and wellbeing model – CREATE. This demonstrates the school’s innovative and evidence informed approach to enhancing Curiosity, Relatedness, Empathy, Autonomy, Thankfulness, and Exercise. This framework, aligned with our school's creative ethos, empowers students, staff, and families to create positive wellbeing.

Curiosity and Learning Growth: Curiosity drives active learning, encouraging exploration and inquiry. With curiosity, challenges become learning opportunities for personal growth, fostering resilience and adaptability.

Relatedness and Connectedness / Belonging: Our commitment to creating a safe and inclusive learning environment fosters a shared sense of community and strong sense of belonging. Relatedness enhances student engagement, academic exploration, and overall wellbeing. Feeling connected and safe at school creates an environment for students to thrive.

Empathy and Emotional Intelligence: Empathy allows us to tackle challenges with low emotionality and high emotional intelligence. Developing empathy sharpens emotional and social awareness, enabling effective regulation of emotions. By embracing diverse perspectives, students collectively take responsibility for developing a culture of inclusivity, enriching relationships with others.

Autonomy and Lifelong Learning: Empowering students with autonomy propels intrinsic motivation and agency in learning. Autonomy ignites curiosity, creativity, and problem-solving skills, fuelling a lifelong passion for learning.

Thankfulness and Positive Focus: Practising gratitude nurtures optimism and appreciation, helping to create a pattern of focusing on the positive, contributing to enhanced sense of individual wellbeing. Thankfulness helps us recognise goodness in others and the world around us.

Exercise and Wellbeing Integration: Exercise teaches our brain that our behaviour matters. Incorporating exercise into routines and maintaining positive habits have a profound impact on physical / mental health and wellbeing. Exercise enhances focus, concentration, and cognitive function, aligned with holistic growth and wellbeing.

I am pleased to report on the growth of CREATE, reflecting Ashwood High School's progressive Vision. The emergence of CREATE reaffirms our school’s commitment to wellbeing, providing staff with a framework and common language around wellbeing to deepen their understanding of mental health.

Department of Education Centre for High Education Studies (CHES) – ‘Ongoing Growth and Sustained Success’
I am very pleased to announce that several of our students will once again be involved in the Department of Education Centre for Higher Education Studies (CHES) program for 2024. The Centre for Higher Education Studies (CHES) is a ground-breaking new centre of excellence that has been established for high-ability and high-achieving senior secondary school students. The CHES will provide first-year university subjects and are designed to extend high-achieving students.  I developed and implemented the Ashwood High School ACE program knowing that it would lead to cultivating the potential of high-ability students once they entered VCE. The CHES program allows high-achieving students to undertake first year university subjects. With the introduction of the CHES program in 2023 and continuing in 2024, this is now a reality for many of our high-achieving students who have been involved in the ACE program over many years.

The Year 12 students currently involved in Higher Education Studies are:

    • William Roache  - Law- The University of Melbourne (CHES)
    • Stephanie Millan - Human Bioscience - LaTrobe University (CHES)
    • Ina Christensen - History - The University of Melbourne (CHES)
    • Chai Couzens - Art History - The University of Melbourne
    • Kayli Kuoch - Law Business – Deakin University
    • Sasha Pearce - Arts and Design - Deakin University (CHES).

At present we are investigating CHES pathways for our high ability Year 11 students undertaking Year 12 in 2024.

The following students are exploring Higher Education Studies options for 2024:

    • Ved Karve (Year 11 in 2024) – Plans to undertake Units 1 and 2 English Language at CHES
    • Ariana Pashutina Plans to undertake Health Science at Deakin University
    • Emma Hew (currently exploring CHES options)
    • Manik Sharma (currently exploring CHES options).

International Student Program 2023 Annual Report Survey* – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
The results from the 2023 Annual Report Survey are outstanding, indicating a well-delivered program meeting the needs of our students. Congratulations to Yonghong Williams.

School Driveway – School Access Road – ‘Ongoing Growth and Sustained Success
No new developments have emerged regarding this project. This is considering the widespread escalation in construction expenses that led to the tenders surpassing our existing budget.

Efforts have been concentrated on collaborative discussions with the Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) and the Department of Transport and Planning to navigate the intricacies tied to the High Street Road cross over design and challenges. We are actively assessing the feasibility of re-tendering, contingent upon the availability of additional funding sources.

Working Parties of School Council – ‘Ensuring Ongoing Growth and Sustained Success’
The school has developed the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the Camps Working Party, marking a substantial first step towards improving our structures and processes, ensuring a quality program. The Working Party met on Tuesday 12 September 2023.  I want to extend my gratitude to each School Council member for the spirit of volunteerism and your contributions to sound school governance processes. As we continue to focus on our core priorities outlined in the School Strategic Plan, I appreciate your understanding and support. Amidst the demands of leading a growing school in an extremely challenging workforce supply context, I am channelling my energies into meeting the school’s main objectives in continuing to fulfil the Vision.

I am pleased to announce that Vicky Yao, a new addition to our team, will be overseeing camps administration. With Vicky's expertise, camp documentation will be thorough and polished, with attention to detail.

Internship Principal – Program 2 for 2023 – ‘Valuing Staff and Building Capacity’
Vivian Sipsas, Assistant Principal Craigieburn Secondary College and Intern Principal with the Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership will be shadowing me for four weeks, at a time to be determined this year. This is part of the ‘Unlocking Principal Potential Program’ at the Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership which places aspiring Principals with proven performers as interns. This is the seventh occasion that this program has been held at Ashwood High School. The program also ran at my previous school. I first worked with Monash University to co-develop the Unlocking Potential program in 2013.

Q Project – ‘Valuing Staff and Building Capacity’
I am thrilled to share that Ashwood High School had the privilege of hosting the Monash University Q Project academic staff and a dedicated film crew on Monday 21 August 2023. This exciting partnership between the school and Monash University allowed us to showcase our commitment to evidence-based education and its profound impact on our school’s teaching practices and student engagement.

During their time with us, the crew captured insightful moments, including an interview with myself and other school leaders. We also had the privilege of showcasing our teachers in action, demonstrating how research evidence translates into dynamic and engaging classroom experiences for students. Additionally, our students shared their perspectives, illustrating firsthand how evidence-based practices enhance student voice and agency. The Q Project's ethos aligns seamlessly with our approach at Ashwood High School:

  • Strengthening Teaching Practices: Research evidence empowers us to refine teacher collaboration, problem-solving, and preparation methods, leading to enhanced classroom experiences.
  • Foundation for Learning: Research-backed strategies form the foundation of our educational initiatives, influencing student literacy, numeracy, engagement, and wellbeing.

This visit underscored our shared commitment to evidence-informed education, reflecting our dedication to cultivating a culture of continuous improvement. As we eagerly anticipate the film's release, I remain cognisant of the pivotal role research plays in shaping our school's future and enriching the learning experiences of our students.

My involvement with the Q Project has been incredibly rewarding. Being part of the Q Project Steering Committee since its inception in 2019, has allowed me to see firsthand how collaboration between academics and practitioners can drive evidence-based practice and improvement in schools. Through Q, I have witnessed the power of strategic partnerships and how these contribute to creating practical tools that bridge the gap between theory and practice.

Term Break – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture and Valuing Staff & Building Capacity’
I would like to wish all members of the Ashwood High School community a safe and balanced Spring holiday (study break) period. Thank you to our Student Outcome Leader Mr Dom Holloway and the VCAA Coordinator Ms Julie Huggins and their hard-working team of Year 12 VCE teachers who will be conducting classes and practice exams in the first week of the holidays. I know that over the years many students have benefited from this extra tuition. Increased application over the next couple of months on the part of students and staff will make a big difference to academic outcomes. I continue to feel optimistic about Term 4 and I hope it will be a rewarding term.  I look forward to seeing all students back at school on Monday 2 October 2023.

Stay safe, healthy and connected.

Dr Brett Moore
Executive Principal
Friday 15 September 2023


Key Dates - Terms 4 2023

Middle School News


What a busy Term it has been here in the Middle School filled with lots of exciting opportunities for students to develop and showcase their skills through innovation and positivity.

Tutor Group this term has focused on Open Parachute: Self esteem and respect, practising inclusion and consent. Thank you to Tutor Group teachers for running these workshops with students and discussing important topics in these sessions, all to support the holistic learning growth of students in these important middle years.

We have been blown away with the number of applications at Middle School for the inaugural School Colours. Congratulations to all students on working so diligently to submit your applications including a cover letter and evidence folio. Feedback will be available via Learning Tasks in the coming weeks and followed by formal letters sent out by the school. A big thank you to students and staff who are working through the process of making recommendations to Dr Moore and for giving up your time to ensure this year’s huge number of applications can be assessed. If you have any questions regarding your applications, please see your relevant mini school leader.

Middle School students, we are so looking forward to be able to formally recognise your amazing contribution to your school and learning in a range of areas!

The School Colours application process involved writing a cover letter along with showing our achievements throughout the year. This is incredibly helpful as the cover letter helps us in future when we need to apply for jobs, and it helps us understand how applications work. School Colors are also a way to recognise student achievement in all areas of the school, which helps us feel recognised and united.’  Aayati Desai Year 8 student

From Wednesday 16 to Friday 18 of August, Year 8 students went on Camp to the Grampians. The camp was designed to develop strong student connections with peers and to the school, aiming to develop teamwork skills and resilience. Students spent the three days in the Grampians undertaking a wide range of structured and guided outdoor activities in the beautiful natural surrounds. They also participated in organised team building activities as well as opportunity for relaxation and leisure time. A big thank you to Mr Padbury in his outstanding preparation and running of the camp!

I trust that all Middle School students and families enjoyed the Student Led Conferences held in Week 7 and had valuable discussions regarding learning, achievement, and engagement. Thank you to all Middle School teachers for your preparation and support of our Middle School students and families.

I wish to acknowledge the fantastic work of the House Coordinators, Mrs Dernikos, Mr Padbury, Ms Doorley and Ms Cooper who go above and beyond to support students every day.  

I look forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming School Musical Production and I wish all students, families and the Ashwood High School community a happy, healthy and safe Term 3 holidays.

Sachael Miller
Middle School Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Transitions Leader

House Reports 

Flynn has had an excellent Term3! We recently just had our School Production 'The Wizard of Oz'. Both Matisse and I were part of the cast, and we couldn’t be prouder. It was great to see students getting involved in various aspects of the performance, whether it was on stage, backstage or in the pit. It was great to see the amount of participation, dedication and time students put into 'The Wizard of Oz'. It definitely showed through an amazing performance. Although, it was sad to see it come to an end, we know everyone had a great time. We would also like to thank all the teachers and members of the community for making the School Production possible, we could not have done it without you!

We also recently had the annual Athletics Carnival for the first time since 2019! We had an excellent day, seeing many students in Flynn participating in a wide variety of events. Although we did not win, it was great to see everyone just giving it a go.

Our recent Student Led Conferences were very successful. We are so proud of all of Flynn’s efforts so far this year inside and outside of Tutor Group. We encourage you to keep up the good work!

Well done to everyone who applied for School Colours this year! We cannot wait to see all students who were successful in their applications, as we know the amount of effort everyone put into their applications. If you were not successful in your application, there is always next year.

Leadership applications have also recently opened, and we cannot wait to see who the Middle School Flynn Captain and Vice-Captain will be for 2024! There are also other roles that students can apply for. If you are applying for a leadership position for 2024, we recommend getting in your application and your endorsements early. Good luck in your applications!

Matilda Rostan and Matisse Simpson
Flynn House Captain and Vice-Captain

This term has been an exciting one for all students with a variety of events being held at Ashwood High School. And though the term is almost over, there is still more to come. 


First of all, we would like to congratulate all Paterson students for their outstanding effort in the Athletics Carnival. Although we came third, as usual, our team spirit is what makes Paterson great! We would like to congratulate anyone who placed in an event, we really appreciate your contributions and house enthusiasm. 


Rehearsals for ‘The Wizard of Oz’ School Production have been running over this whole year and as cast members, we would like to thank Ms Leane and all the other teachers involved. This has been an amazing experience.


We hope everyone who wanted to, wrote a School Colours application and we wish to see you at the ceremony next term. School Colours are a great achievement that you should have pride in receiving and we hope you get the colours you applied for. 


We hope you are engaging in the activities in Tutor Group Program as there are many interesting things to learn about yourself to further grow as a person.


Ava Morrin, and Isla Minton 

Paterson Captain and Vice-Captain


Middle School Captains' Report

Recently we have had the School Colour applications close, and it was great for us Middle School Captains to see how excited and involved the Year 7s are. This process has been great fun as we got to help many people around the school and assist them along the way.  It was also great to see how many people applied for the numerous categories of School Colours. We are anticipating seeing those people getting their School Colour badges in Term 4.

As well as those fun activities, all of Ashwood High School got to attend the Athletics Carnival at the Burwood Reserve in support of their House and their peers! It was great to see how many people went out and had so much fun in the day, and to see the amount of people who got to the next round for their sport. We wish those students the best of luck in the Mullum division!

As this term comes to an end, we look forward to the new leadership positions opening and the Middle School being involved, there are lots of leadership positions available for those who are interested and there will be upcoming help sessions available for those who want help writing with their applications.

We look forward to the upcoming term and wish everyone the best of luck in the Leadership and School Colour applications!

Amy Noy, Gilly McCann, Evelyn Chew and Sam Bryan
Middle School Captains

Senior School News

Ashwood High School continues to be at the forefront of educational adaption with classroom teaching practice. It has been a credit to our community of dedicated Ashwood High School staff and students for how they can adapt to the continually changing educational landscapes with limited preparation. Our teaching staff have developed the curriculum to allow our students to remain engaged and challenged throughout these changing times. 

Our students in Senior School continue to develop high expectations and drive for excellence. The students have shown huge resilience and teamwork to improve all aspects of learning at Ashwood High School. In continuing to develop our student's skills for the upcoming exams, students that undertake Unit 3 and Unit 4 subjects will attend practice Exams during week one of the Term 3 holidays. The Unit 3 and 4 VCE Practice Exam Program will be led by our Student Outcome Leader, Mr Dom Holloway. This will give our senior students the best possible practice for the upcoming VCE Units 3 and Unit 4 exams commencing in October.

Innovation continues to be displayed at Ashwood High School. This was evident in the School Colours application process, with almost 700 students from both Senior and Middle Schools being nominated for School Colours in 2023. This program was started by Principal Dr Brett Moore in 2016 when he arrived at the school. The School Colours process involved staff working with student representatives from both Middle and Senior Schools to approve which students would be awarded with School Colours for 2023.

The School School Team is thrilled that the applications for the Senior School Student Leadership Positions in 2024 have opened. Applications for the Senior School Executive position consist of the School Captains x 2, the School Vice Captains x 2, and the International Captain.  Applications for the Senior Executive Leadership position closed in Week 10, Term 3 – Tuesday 12 September.

Our Year 10 Student Management Team, School Careers Coordinator, Ms Jodie Hechenburger and Year 10 students have been working to source meaningful Work Experience placements for Week 10, Term 3 (11 September to 15 September) over the last few months. We would like to thank all the members of these communities for helping and advancing our students through this meaningful program.  Thank you to our Careers Coordinator, Ms Jodie Hechenburger, for her efforts in the organisation of the Work Experience Program and for helping our students find meaningful work placements.

The Years 11 and 12 VCE-VM 3-Day Surf and Volunteering Camp provided students with a unique blend of adventure, education, and community service. The experience not only enhanced their knowledge of surfing and environmental conservation but also left a lasting impression on their personal growth and commitment to protecting our natural world. We look forward to future camps that continue to inspire our students to be responsible and environmentally conscious global citizens. Thank you to Ms Ruby Cameron and pre-service teacher Ms Megan Mooney for their efforts in support the programs on the camp.

I want to thank our Principal, Dr Brett Moore, for his outstanding leadership and guidance through the with our community as we head into the final weeks of Year 12. His leadership has allowed our school to culture to continue to move forward and remain focused on our students' health, well-being, and learning. The always changing landscape of education have continued to allow teaching staff to develop. Our staff and students continue to adapt with the limited timeframe and preparation, and this has been a testament to our school organisation and community communication with the moving of rooms as Building H is being prepared for move in day.

The multiple whole school Assemblies that our Principal, Dr Brett Moore has led, allowed for the smooth and safe transition into normal onsite learning patterns after many years of remote learning for both staff and students. Our assemblies have been a presentation of our student's leadership excellence and optimism to display how our community continues to develop and grow the well-being of our learning community.

As the Head of the Senior School, I wish all Ashwood High School community members a safe and happy Term 3-holiday break and look forward to seeing our students back in Term 4.

Tom O'Toole
Senior School Engagement, Wellbeing and Pathways Leader


School Captains' Report

We are already at the end of Term 3! As we move towards the end of the year it is paramount that we do our best to keep up our effort and support our peers to do the same. We are both so proud of the wholesome and connected community we have all fostered at our School and are eager to see everyone succeed at their goals towards the end of the year.

School Colours are important awards that recognise student achievement and effort in a range of different areas. School Colour applications closed on Friday 25 August, with the various selection panels being run recently to determine the lucky candidates. Well done to everyone who applied, and we hope you receive the colours you applied for!

On Monday 28 August Student Leadership applications officially opened. Leadership at Ashwood High School is a fantastic way of building confidence and increasing your skillset. We encourage all students to apply for leadership at all levels and really challenge yourself. Good luck to everyone who is applying!

The Tuesday 29 August saw Ashwood High School host the annual Athletics Carnival. This was the first time we have been able to enjoy this event since 2019, so it was a very exciting day for all. It was fantastic to see so many students participating and giving things a go regardless of ability level. The environment was one of healthy competition, but also encouragement. The Year 12 theme ‘Barbie and Ken’ brought with it many fun, pink costumes too. The Teachers vs Students Relay was a highlight as usual, with the Young Teachers team barely beating out the fastest student team. We would like to give our congratulations to Cowan House on their victory.

Also, on Thursday 7 September Mullum District Athletics Carnival was held. Well done to all students representing Ashwood High School.

The Ashwood High School Wizard of Oz Production ran from Thursday 7 to Saturday 9 of September, spanning four different shows. The work of all involved teachers and students has been nothing short of extraordinary! So much effort has been put in, and it was fantastic seeing so many students showing their skills and having fun, whilst representing this important pillar of our school. All of this hard work made for an absolutely incredible show!

At the end of Term 3, most Year 12 classes have finished all their SACs and are now preparing for the final exams. This is a very stressful and bittersweet period for us, but the support from our peers and teachers has been incredible, with all Year 12s supporting one another on the final stages of our High School lives. We want to wish everyone who will be sitting these exams good luck!

Jessica Sterle and Sebastian Millan
School Captain


Careers & Pathways

It has been an exciting two months in careers with the Years 7 – 9 participating in Careers Sessions, Year 9s completing their My Career Insights – Morrisby Profile Interview phase. The Year 10s Mock interviews, Year 11s and VCE Vocational Major students Excursion to the Victorian Careers and Employment Expo and the Year 11 VCE Vocational Major students participating in Speed X - this also equals lots of photos!

Years 7 - 9 Careers Sessions
On Tuesday 22 August all Years 7 - 9 students participated in a Careers Session. Years 7 – 9 completed year-level specific activities to help them recognise different jobs require different interests, skills, values, and beliefs. As well as what teamwork and problem solving are and how to work effectively in a group.

Year 9 Morrisby Profiling
Feedback from students regarding the Morrisby Profile Program included how accurate and enlightening it was. The test captured their skills and interests to a tee with students amazed of its accuracy. The interview process allowed students to explore the pathways their attributes could lead them.

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

Well done Year 9!

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

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

Year 11 and VCE – Vocational Major Excursion
On Thursday 17 August and Friday 18 August the Year 11 and  VCE Vocational Major students attended the Victorian Careers and Employment Expo. It was a fantastic day and an amazing event that showcased the very best of Australian skills excellence and career pathways. Students witnessed the country’s best trainees and apprentices go head-to-head in high-pressure skills competition, tried out skills for themselves at the Try’a Skill booths, and chatted to training organisations, employers and industry experts about the exciting opportunities vocational education and training can offer.

One of our Year 11 student was asked to be a model for the men’s hair cutting competition which was exiting for all to watch.

Year 11 VCE – Vocational Major Speed X
On Thursday 7 September the Year 11 VCE – Vocational major students attended Speed X Monash facilitated by the Gateway LLEN. Speed X is an industry immersion/SWL program for Year 11 students, providing with them the opportunity to connect with local employers, learn about occupations and practice interview techniques.

The students were thoroughly inspired and enjoyed this event with the Victorian Police, entrepreneurs and trades representatives having made the biggest impression on our students.

Jodie Hechenberger 
Careers & Pathways Coordinator

Kristin Robertson
Jobs, Skills & Pathways Assistant Coordinator   


Accelerated Curriculum and Enrichment Program

Congratulations to the 11 students (8 students in Year 8, and 3 students in Year 7) who have been selected to participate in the Victorian High-Ability Program in Term 4 this year. The Victorian High-Ability Program is an initiative developed by the Department of Education to support high-ability students to excel through structured learning extension programs. The program aims to stimulate students’ critical thinking, problem solving and creativity through enriching their understanding of English and Mathematics. Entrance to the program is by invitation and is based on the results of statewide testing. We hope our Years 7 and 8 students enjoy the opportunity to extend their literacy and numeracy skills and make new friends.

Edutest entrance testing for admission to the 2024 Year 7 ACE cohort took place onsite on Saturday 2 September. It was lovely to meet with so many enthusiastic Grade 6 students keen to join our ACE program. The school would like to acknowledge the efforts of the students’ families in supporting them to complete the testing, and for their work in providing a substantial amount of information in support of their child’s application.

Direct entry to the ACE program at Ashwood High School is a competitive process that is decided on the basis of educational testing, a student, teacher and parent assessment, and where indicated, an interview. In accordance with our ACE policy, all families will be notified of the outcome of their application in writing within 6 weeks of the testing (Monday 16 October). Families may be required to attend an interview as part of the application process. Unfortunately, due to the volume of applications received, the school is not able to provide individual feedback on each student’s application. This includes the results of any educational testing that a student may have completed as part of the application process.

Any inquiries about the ACE program can be directed to Mrs Caroline Servadei (Director of Enrichment, Partnerships and Professional Learning).

Our ‘Spotlight On’ feature for this month takes a closer look inside the classroom of our Year 7 ACE Humanities class and their teacher, Mr Ned Hayward.

7ACE Humanities
‘7Z Humanities has been a great experience for me as I have learnt about ancient Egypt, cartography, and geography in full detail this year.’ Aaryan Panchal

‘In Term 3, we commenced our study of Geography. Specifically, we did an extended unit exploring cartography and how to produce functional maps that illustrate topographical features accurately. For the majority of the term, we did another enriched unit into the Water Cycle and Water in the World, looking at how water continuously cycles throughout our planet. These topics were fascinating to engage with and I am excited to learn further about Geography next term.’ JayC Carter

‘This term in Humanities, we have been learning about water scarcity and the water cycle. I have really enjoyed learning about the different ways water is used and how it impacts different places, as well as ways to reduce water usage.’ Tilly Greich

Caroline Servadei
Director of Enrichment, Partnerships and Professional Learning

English Learning Area Report

There is a palpable sense of excitement around Ashwood High School, and none more so than in the English Department. With the much-anticipated unveiling of Building H, we cannot wait for the re-opening of our Ashwood High School library. A place for browsing and exploration, where we can meet old friends and discover new ideas – the library has long held a special place in my heart.

As an English teacher, I regularly meet parents who are concerned about their teen’s lack of interest in reading. It might surprise you to learn that researchers have been reporting on the declining reading rates of teenagers since late in the last century! Yes, even before the arrival of mobile phones, social media and TikTok; teenagers, especially those in Middle School, ranked recreational reading as their least favourite activity. Fortunately, this trend can, and often does reverse as students move into their senior years of school (Moffett and Wartella, 1992 and McCoy et al., 1991 cited in Cullinan, 2000).

At Ashwood High School, we strive to support all of our students to re-ignite and nurture their love for the written word. The benefits of a consistent reading practice are extensive! Some of the more obvious benefits relate to expanding our vocabulary, developing our background knowledge and improving our academic results (Staake, 2023). But not many people know that reading helps us to relax after a busy day and reading before bedtime promotes a high-quality, more restful sleep, not dissimilar to a meditation practice. Furthermore, regular reading makes us better writers and more effective communicators, and because books expose us to worlds different from our own, they broaden our worldview and help us to consider multiple perspectives. This helps us to be more informed on social issues, to cultivate more empathy and deepens our connections with others (Staake, 2023).

Any successful literacy program must include dedicated time for reading, choice in reading material, and the ability to respond to what has been read (Cullinan, 2000), therefore our English team have committed to providing students with protected time each week, to develop their reading practice. This means that every Ashwood High School student will receive 15 minutes a week to read a text of their choosing, followed by 5 minutes of written reflection.

What else can parents do to help?
Parents are the most important role models for their children. To continue to support your child’s reading development, we recommend the following:

  • Talk about what texts they have been reading during their independent reading time
  • Help them to select their next book
  • Try a different genre together – your child will be more likely to try something new if they see you taking a risk
  • Consider a book series such as Harry Potter, Percy Jackson or the Sisterhood Series – teens are more likely to pick up another book if they already know the character or setting
  • Explore the latest #BookTok recommendations together
  • Take regular trips to the library (librarians always have wonderful book recommendations)
  • Experiment with audiobooks at home; a great narrator tends to hook in even the most reluctant readers – we recommend anything by Stephen Fry
  • Watch any associated films or TV series based on the book and discuss the key similarities and differences (Author note: The book is always better than the movie!)

Happy Reading!

Cullinan, BE (2000) Independent Reading and School Achievement School Library Media Research, Volume 3 ISSN: 1523-4320.
Staake, J (2023) Benefits of Reading. Available at

Andrea Van Olst
English Teacher

Mathematics Learning Area Report

Hi I am Lazar Arapovic and I am a Year 9 student I am doing Year 10 Maths. I am doing very well with Year 10 Maths and I am not finding any trouble with completing work and excelling in my tests. I find Maths very straight forward and that has motivated me to take on the challenge and do Year 10 Maths.
Lazar Arapovic

Doing the Year 10 Maths Program as a Year 9 student has been a challenging but worthwhile experience. It has allowed me to further my understanding of concepts that we learn and provides with a unique perspective that you wouldn’t get otherwise. It is good preparation for VCE and allows you to get a head start on the course. I would recommend it for all those who are looking to accelerate Math or those students that want the extra challenge it provides and all the opportunities it opens. 
Josh Wilson

Science Learning Area Report

As part of the Active Earth Unit in 8ACE Science, students were challenged to design, build and test prototypes of earthquake- proof buildings out of plasticine and spaghetti!

Students first gained an understanding of what makes buildings more resistant to damage during an earthquake. In groups they then brainstormed ideas for designs. Students then consulted a design brief which contained their budget, minimum requirements (such as minimum building dimensions), restrictions and costs of materials.  Designs were the refined in accordance with the briefs.

The buildings were then tested with an ‘earthquake’ made by shaking the tray in which the prototypes were built. There was an opportunity to make adjustments and re-test to see if their iterations improved the earthquake resistance of their buildings.

Students thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of designing, building and testing their buildings and integrating a design process in their exploration of geology and how it affects the built environment.

Stephanie Richards
Science Learning Area Coordinator

Director of Music Report

As the curtains close on Term 3, the echoes of music still linger in the halls of Ashwood High School

In a recent project, the Middle School's Year 7 students displayed their creativity by crafting unique musical instruments. Among them, Jake Morrison, Lawrence Vo and Wesley Pike created the "Tong," a Gong ingeniously fashioned from a dinner plate. This inventive fusion of art and music symbolises their passion for exploration. Students Seen.

Our Year 10 students have been composing their own music and have had the opportunity to use the studio to professionally record these great compositions. One of the groups at created the catchy tune "Bee Keeping on (Goin)," recently took flight in the recording studio. These busy bees of creativity have buzzed with passion and produced a honey-sweet symphony.

Ashwood High School recently showcased its musical prowess with two unforgettable concerts: the Brass Concert and the Woodwind Concert. The Brass Concert resonated with bold and powerful melodies, as brass instruments took center stage, while the Woodwind Concert enchanted the audience with delicate and harmonious tunes. Both events celebrated the diverse talents of our students, leaving everyone eagerly anticipating the next crescendo of musical excellence. A massive shoutout to our two great hosts for the performances, Ms Clarke and Mr Woods. They presented in an eloquent yet friendly and calm way which inspired our students to perform at their best.

A huge shout-out to our production band for their enchanting performance in "The Wizard of Oz." Special thanks to Mr Gulavita for his invaluable work in bringing the Land of Oz to life through music. Your contributions made the show truly magical. Thank you!

Looking forward to seeing you all in Term 4 for our End of Year Concert!

Liam Headland
Director of Music

Health & PE Learning Area Report

It has been an action-packed Term 3 in the HPE Department at Ashwood High School.

Year 7 
Students have been looking at puberty in Health. This is always met with some hesitation from students, however, through the safe environment created inside each classroom, students have embraced the unit and have gathered an understanding of why puberty is a crucial unit to study at school. Through group discussions, interactive activities and question boxes, students have gathered the knowledge of the changes that their bodies and mind go through during Puberty.

Year 10
Term 3 saw a reset in the Year 10 curriculum due to the nature of it being a semester-based subject. Mirroring Term 1, students have been attending some fantastic Lawn Bowls excursions at the Mount Waverley Bowls Club which are designed to expose students of all ages to the game of bowls allowing students to work on their technique and tactics.

Year 11 HHD
Students in Year 11 HHD have started an assessment that focuses on caring for someone. The “someone” in question is an egg. Students are to take the egg everywhere, care for their egg as if it was their own child. This task focuses on giving students the responsibility of caring for someone else other than themselves whilst navigating their own lives with school and social commitments.

The HPE Department are looking forward to finishing the year off. There will be the following excursions running in Term 4:

Year 7 – Swimming
Year 8 – Swimming
Year 9 – Self Defence
Year 10 – Goalball Incursion (Disability Sport)

Please check Compass for updates.

James Boarotto
HPE Learning Area Coordinator

LOTE Learning Area Report

Term 3 has been very eventful for the LOTE Department as students of all year levels continued to discover the language through the various activities that were organised throughout the term.

On Friday 14 July, we celebrated Bastille Day, which is the French National Day. This event is a public holiday in France punctuated by military parade down the Champs Elysees, Fireman’s Ball and fireworks, our students also celebrated the event by preparing crepes which they made at lunchtime. Students from our school community had crepes with jam or with sugar and lemon whilst listening to some French music. A big thank you to our students of Years 10 and 12 who helped on the day and made this event a memorable one.

The Year 12 participated in the Model United Nations in French, this event was organised by the United Nations Association of Australia, Victoria (UNAAV) and the Languages Unit - Department of Education. They invited VCE French students to participate in the French Language Model United Nations being held on Friday 21 July.

A UNAAV Model UN simulates a full-day session of the United Nations General Assembly. The day is conducted entirely in the French language and through role-play and debate students have the opportunity to step into the shoes of country ambassadors and use their negotiation and diplomacy skills to express the views of their allocated country.

The topic debated at the assembly was “Combatting Climate Change: Committing to Global Action”. Our Year 12 students represented two countries, namely Madagascar and the Philippines and during the session they had to present their country’s position to the General Assembly, interact with other delegates during the caucus sessions, and move amendments to a Draft Resolution.

This is what our students had to say about the event:

‘On Friday the 21st of July the Year 12 French class participated in a Model United Nations entirely in French! Our group represented the Philippines in debating a draft resolution to combat Climate Change. Throughout the day we were able to work with other students to create alliances, debate points of action, and present our country’s perspective through speeches. We enjoyed proposing amendments and exploring the role of diplomats at the ‘Nations Unies’.’
Chai Couzens – Year 12

‘As someone who has participated in an English United Nations before, the French iteration brought just as much teamwork, diplomacy, consensus and of course drama between states of different ideological positions! Representing the Philippines with my peers, it was an excellent day, being able to practise French with other French learners as well as native speakers. Not only were we able to reinforce our writing skills but we had the chance to speak with spontaneity - coming up with arguments and rebuttals on the spot. I would like to thank Madame Marie, Mademoiselle Leclercq, my peers and other delegates as well as the United Nations Division of Victoria for organising such an excellent day for everyone!’
Alexei Bradley-Malcom – Year 12

Again, this year, our students at Ashwood High School rose to the occasion for the French Poetry Competition; Berthe Mouchette that took place on Wednesday 24 May for Years 7 to 10 and Thursday 17 August for Year 12. More than 130 students took part in the competition from Years 7 – 10. And we have 15 students who made it to the final.

Here is the list of our finalists:

The results for winners will be proclaimed on Wednesday 4 October. We wish all the best to our finalists!

Lastly, our Year 12 LOTE students in both Chinese and French are busy working on their oral presentation for their end of year exams. Students chose their own topic for their research projects, which they linked to a theme they have studied over the last two years. The oral exams will take place during the first week of Term 4 for both Chinese and French. We wish them well.

Delphine Marie
LOTE Learning Area Coordinator


Director of Sport Report

EMR Year 7 Badminton – Friday 4 August 2023
The Year 7 students achieved the rare double of winning both the boys and girls competition in the previous round. Zoe Allan, Shafa Anggoro, Tilly Greich, Lene Huang, Leo Liu, Jisan Park, Ashton Pearson, Najim Samad and Orlando Thea travelled to Kilsyth Badminton Stadium and were very competitive with the other schools. Ultimately they were unable to win, but they fought hard and it is such a massive effort just to get to Regionals, so well done Year 7s.

EMR Year 8 Boys Badminton and Year 9/10 Sport – Friday 11 August 2023
A massive day for the sporting students of Ashwood on this day. The Year 8 boys, consisting of True Drezner, Beli Ng, Cooper Peschke, Noah Sperryn-Jones and Nathan Thea battled hard against some really strong competition, but can hold their heads high with their achievements.

The story of the day however was the rise of the Year 9/10 Girls Basketball team, consisting of Halle Norton, Amy Noy, Abby Peschke, Alyssa Pettingill, Anjali Rao, Imogen Roder, Nati Stefanou and Layla Swindells who won the Mullum title and have now progressed to the Regional round for the first time in a Years 9/10 Basketball competition. Congratulations girls – what an outstanding achievement!

Ashwood High School Athletics Day – Tuesday 29 August 2023
Finally the Athletics Carnival returned! After a 4 year hiatus due to COVID-19 and inclement weather,  the entire school descended on the Bill Sewart Athletics Track and had a great day. It was wonderful to see huge amounts of participation as most events (both track and field) were choc full of competitors. Congratulations to Cowan House who won the day overall, narrowly defeating Flynn, Paterson and Melba. A further congratulations to our Age Group Champions – Amy Russo, Jack Newton, Halle Norton, Aidan Doyle, Anjali Rao, Mitchell Morton, Ariana Pashutina, Max Thompson, Ella Selby, Angus Cutfield, Angela Hewerdine and Isaac Roder. Below are a selection of some of the best photos from the day:

Year 8 Sport – Monday 4 September 2023
Plenty of Year 8 students showed up to represent Ashwood High School in the sports of Hockey, Basketball and Table Tennis. While there were some terrific individual players at all three sports, there were ultimately no winners that proceeded to the next round. Well done to all Year 8 students who participated in the day.

Tom Grbac
Director of Sport

Student Culture

PIVOT Lesson Plans
After feedback from the You and School Survey data, we have listed to and used Student Voice to streamline the current PIVOT Lesson Plan. This year, students have been getting frustrated with the lack of consistency and over writing of lesson plans across subjects. This has been addressed through the Teaching and Learning Committee and in Leadership meetings and moving forward all classes will have the same consistent lesson plan. The reason for this includes sustainability of practice, reducing the cognitive load of our students because we listen and act on our students’ feedback. The model will focus on:

P- Plan (purpose and context of the lesson)

I – Innovate (learning intensions and success criteria)

V- Voice (student voice in the classroom)

O – Optimise (personalised learning tasks for the lesson)

T – Transform (review learning, homework and due date)

Staff will focus on keeping the lesson plans concise, clear and simple to follow. Students should start to see this new consistent approach during Term 4 across all of their classes to better enhance the agency in their learning.

2024 Student Leadership Applications – now open

As we move to the end of Term 3 2023, we are already looking to plan for 2024. It is important to reflect on and recognise the successes of our current student leaders especially as the Senior School Executive move towards the end of their tenure and applications for their successors are upon us.

Student Leadership positions for 2024 are now open for application. Please see below for the list of positions offered at Ashwood High School in 2024:

  • Student Leadership Executive
  • Middle School Student Leadership Executive
  • Co-curricular Executive
  • House Executive
  • Prefects
  • Student Representative Council
  • Interact Club Executive

For information about these positions access the 2024 Student Leadership Handbook via Compass School Documentation>Student Leadership Applications for full details on each position description, how and when to apply by and all details on how the process works. You will need to download the Handbook and Application Forms to apply.
If you have any further questions please see: Senior School Leadership Coordinator: Ms Poland (Building C Staff Room) or Middle School Leadership Coordinator Ms Bracegirdle (Building B Staff Room).

In addition, as we move towards the end of the year, student leaders have been assisting in the School Colour Nomination process with the assistance of the entire teaching community at Ashwood High School. Not only is this a valuable accreditation of student success in six core areas (Academics, Arts, House, Music, Service and Sports), it is a great experience for our leaders to learn from the process in which these recognitions of hard work are awarded.

2023 Choir Magazine
The time has come where we are putting together the 2023 Choir Magazine. This process would not be possible without some very hard-working students who have volunteered to be on the 2023 Choir Magazine Student Committee. Their voice will have a huge input into the production of this magazine. A big thank you to:

Daisy Harvison- 2023 Choir Magazine Student Committee Coordinator

Yunal Lutfi- 2023 Choir Magazine Student Committee Assistant Coordinator

Ameer Bux - 2023 Choir Magazine Student Committee member

Emily Chew - 2023 Choir Magazine Student Committee member

Janny Su - 2023 Choir Magazine Student Committee member

Jennifer Nguyen - 2023 Choir Magazine Student Committee member

John Huang - 2023 Choir Magazine Student Committee member

Tilly Greich - 2023 Choir Magazine Student Committee member

Tvishaa Viswanathan - 2023 Choir Magazine Student Committee member

Zoe Allan - 2023 Choir Magazine Student Committee member

Each student will be responsible for collecting submissions from allocated staff members; collating them and assisting myself and Daisy to put the whole magazine together. This is a huge undertaking and their input is invaluable.

Student Led Conferences
During Week 7 of Term 3, Student Led Conferences were held. This was an excellent opportunity for parents to meet with the teachers of their children. These are student-led so that student are able to provide feedback on where they are going well and where they can improve on in class. This is an excellent way for students to have a voice and be agents of their learning. A big thank you to the parents who made the time to meet with the teachers.

Lenore Twist
Director of Student Voice, Inclusion and Agency

Our magnificent cast were busy at work as they approached opening night! They spent countless hours singing, playing instruments, dancing, singing again, some more dancing with lots of acting and a few giggles in between. The crew finalised sets and props, costume fittings added even more colour to our already vibrant vision for this timeless tale. As our lead characters stepped into their roles with vigour, our chorus worked to make their performance the best it could be. Watch this space to see what happened after opening night of Ashwood High School’s 2023 Production of ‘The Wizard of Oz’…

Michelle Leane
Musical Production 

The 2023 SRC team have been working hard over the course of the year on a number of different project proposals to make a positive change in the school. Fortnightly team meetings are facilitated and led wonderfully by the Senior School Vice Captains, Stephanie Milan, and Isaac Roder. The students chosen for these roles have demonstrated a passion and drive in making a positive change at Ashwood High School, and they regularly show up to these meetings genuinely excited about what could be accomplished. The most recent project proposal surrounding the purchase of outdoor Futsal goals for the school is in the process of being implemented. This project has been spearheaded by Wesley Pryor and Ethan Reedy, along with the other members of the SRC team. It has been pleasing to see the team collectively contributing towards the creation of a roster of student leaders to manage the process of looking after this equipment. Ms Poland and myself have been constantly impressed by the SRC team, and the power of student voice when valued within a school. We can't wait to see what they do next! 

Jordyn Bracegirdle
Student Voice, Leadership and Agency Coordinator (MS)

 Having faced a few interruptions throughout the year Interact Club has been busy brainstorming ideas for an upcoming activity to propose for the school. Earlier in the year Interact Club were visited by Ashwood alumni and a member of local Rotary to discuss how Ashwood High School can help raise awareness for a local and worthy organisation. Following this meeting, Interact Club got together and each member found an organisation that they were interested in raising awareness for. After many discussions about which organisation would be best to work alongside, Interact worked hard to brainstorm an activity to get the school involved. Interact Club is currently putting the final touches together for the proposal and look forward to putting their plan into action in Term 4.

Steph Poland
Interact Club

The students of the Ashfeed Newsletter Club have dedicated their efforts to reach the final stages of producing the newsletter for the school community. The newest edition of Ashfeed is now available via Compass newsfeed. They still eagerly extend a warm invitation to students not part of the club. The goal is to welcome articles from others, aiming to offer a diverse and engaging selection of content for the entire school community to enjoy.

Nicole Gladman
Ashfeed Club (Student Newsletter)

On Friday 28 July Ashwood High School competed in their first Aerobics competition. The competition was at state level conducted by Gymnastics Australia, as a school aerobics competition. We had two amazing teams one from the lower secondary years and one from the upper secondary years. Within our aerobics team we have 6 students who dedicated a large portion of their free time to ensure they improved their fitness, skills and rhythm. This included two to three sessions per week training extremely hard and as a fantastic team to put together two amazing aerobics performances ready for stage.

Both teams put on an amazing performance on competition day, showcasing some wonderful aerobic skill and fitness along with incredible teamwork, 

rhythm, timing and positions around the stage. The incredible dedication, effort, motivation and enjoyment the Aerobics Teams displayed was remarkable especially for some students who had never performed Infront of a live audience. We are all extremely excited to keep practicing for future competitions and to continue to grow our aerobics team in the upcoming year.

Zoe Schinina
Aerobics Club



International Student Program

Congratulations to our International Students who received the Principal’s Awards in 2023!

Beli Ng, Hoang Son Nguyen, Yen Anh (Yannie) Nguyen, Xuyen Kim Quach, Jason Phillip Suryanata, Kaisheng (Jason) Hou and Jingyi (Carol) Yuan, we are very proud of you!

You have indeed demonstrated our school CHOIR values and set a good example for other international students at Ashwood High School on their path to success. Keep up your good work and I hope all of you make further progress next year!

Well done to you and we look forward to seeing more International Students in the awards list next year.

Upcoming Special Program for Year 10 international students
In Week 10 Term 3, we will run a special program for Year 10 International Students on campus. In addition to guiding the international students to complete their virtual working experience, we will also provide additional English language support and cultural learning to enhance their learning experience at Ashwood High School.

In addition to some fun activities at school, an excursion including a BBQ is also organised for the International Students on Wednesday 13 September to explore the beautiful beach front suburb and learn about the history of one of Melbourne's most unique attractions, Brighton Bathing Boxes.

Orientation Program for new students commencing Term 4
An orientation program was successfully conducted on Thursday, 30 August for 7 new international students who are expected to join our school in Term 4 2023.

We will continue to complete the orientation program for this group of students at the beginning of Term 4.

International Student Survey results 2023
The International Student Program Annual Survey was conducted in August. 100% of international students participated in the survey and the survey results show our students are highly satisfied in the below 4 areas:

The student also provided their feedback on their learning at Ashwood High School and suggestions for the further improvement of the program.

Some feedback from students:

  • Favourite subject - Maths is top 1 favourite subject
  • Favourite activity - Badminton Club and school camp
  • Area to improve – work hard to improve English.
  • Best memory– Cultural celebrations, celebrating Lunar New Year and Mid-autumn Festival at school makes me feel being seen and valued and made me feel like home.
  • Best achievement - Performing at Hamer Hall, participating in Music Productions, receiving Principal’s Awards, joining the ACE Program, School Colours nominations.

 Some suggestions from students:

  • Improving Buddy Program for new students to include local student buddies
  • Organising more activities to enhance the connections between international students from different year levels and backgrounds, e.g., holding more events for all international students, organising day trips.

A copy of detailed report was submitted for School Council report.

Hope all students have a nice term break.

Yonghong Williams
International Student Program Manager

Education Resource Centre Report

Premiers’ Reading Challenge
The 2023 Premier’s Reading Challenge closed on 8 of September. Congratulations to everyone who participated. All participants have earned points for their Houses, and those who successfully met the challenge will be presented with certificates and badges next term.

ERC Closure
The ERC opened in 2018 when our current Year 12 students were starting in Year 7. From modest beginnings, the collection continually developed over the years to meet the information needs of our growing school community. However, as was anticipated, the school has now outgrown the ERC. The Centre is now closed and all resources have been placed in storage awaiting transfer to the new Ashwood High School Library in the STEAM and Research Centre. This major investment in a new, purpose-built library is a testament to the current leadership’s vision and commitment to the understanding that schools need libraries. Ashwood High School staff and students, for many years to come, will be very fortunate to have the benefit of such a marvellous facility.                                                                                              

Remember to find time to enjoy reading every day.

Matt Feeney
Education Resource Centre Coordinator

Parents & Friends Network Committee

Community Connections