Principal's Report

Welcome to Ashwood High School for 2024 – ‘The Jewel of The East’
We have enjoyed an outstanding start to the year.  I would like to extend a very warm welcome to new parents and existing parents of the school.

The academic program, which commenced on Wednesday 31 January 2024 was a positive experience for students and staff. We have inducted 21 new staff members and over 200 students into the school this year (Year 7 plus other levels). It is easy to learn your way on The Path Forward at Ashwood High School.

Staff Professional Development Conference – ‘Valuing Staff and Building Capacity’
The Professional Learning Conference for staff, held on Monday 29 January and Tuesday 30 January 2024 was most productive, focusing on the quality of teaching, learning, and wellbeing support. The focus of my principal key-note addresses on both days was ‘Ongoing Growth and Sustained Success’.  The Learning Intention was to ‘get us in the position to be a highly successful team of staff with high levels of goal congruence, role clarity, empathy, engagement, enjoyment and performance results’. Staff feel challenged and supported to perform at their best.

Dux for 2023 – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’

Congratulations to our 2023 Dux James Talbot who achieved an ATAR of 99.20. James achieved study scores of 45 for Physics and Mathematical Methods, and 43 for English. Congratulations to James and his appreciative and supportive parents.

Class of 2023 Results – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
Congratulations to the Class of 2023; there were some exceptional high-performance results.

  • Average Study Score of 32
  • A number of 40+ scores in Art Making and Exhibiting, Biology, Business Management, Chinese First Language, English, Health and Human Development, Legal Studies, Maths Methods, Media, Physics, Psychology
  • 20% of students with ATARS of 90 or above
  • 56% of students with ATARS 80 or above
  • 100% satisfactory VCE completion
  • 6 students achieved the VCE Baccalaureate.

Thank you and well done to the staff who have supported all our Year 12 students over the course of the year, and to all staff who in some way contributed to these fine young adults’ education in a positive way over their six years of formal schooling. I continue to be proud of the quality of Ashwood High School graduates.

School Captains 2024 – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
As is the tradition at Ashwood High School, the successful applicants for School Captaincy in 2024 were announced at the Year 12 Celebration Day Assembly on Wednesday 18 October 2023. At the time I acknowledged and congratulated all applicants for the quality of their applications, speeches, and interview presentations. Each applicant gave a passionate, kind, and inspiring speech and should be commended for their courage in putting themselves forward. I look forward to supporting and working with our School Captains for 2024.  Congratulations to the following five students Emma Hew (School Captain), Miles Guy (School Captain), Amber Balmer (Vice Captain), Noah Rostan (Vice Captain), and Jason Suryanata (International Student Captain). These students will serve our school with distinction.

Congratulations and thank you again to the 2023 School Captains – Jessica Sterle, Sebastian Millan, Stephanie Millan, Isaac Roder and Carol Yuan for their outstanding service over 2023. I wrote a letter of appreciation to the 2023 School Captains acknowledging their contribution and service to the Ashwood High School community.

Student Enrolment for 2024 – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
The graphic below shows that Ashwood High School’s current enrolment for 2024 is 944 students. This is unprecedented growth for a school that was on the brink of closure at the time of my appointment as Executive Principal. The Path Forward has delivered outstanding public-school education for the Ashwood High School community. I am incredibly proud of the school’s transformation and improvement.

School Strategic Plan 2023 – 2026 – ‘Ongoing Growth and Sustained Success’
The theme of the last Strategic Plan (2019 -2023) was From Great to Exceptional. The theme of our current Strategic Plan is ‘Ongoing Growth and Sustained Success’. The main goals for our current Strategic Plan are as follows:

  • Goal 1: To maximise achievement for all students
  • Goal 2: To enhance student agency in their learning
  • Goal 3: To improve student wellbeing and holistic learning growth for all students.

Ashwood High School is well primed to achieve the targets as defined in our School Strategic Plan. With a clear and strategic allocation of resources, staff and systems are aligned to build sustained success of our high performing school.

In 2024 the school will prioritise the following learning and wellbeing initiatives: Peer Observations and Learning Walks;  Continuous Reporting trial at Year 9 and Year 11 in English; improvements in holistic learning growth through the implementation of year level based Tutor Groups in the Middle School; continued staff collaboration to support curriculum development aligned with PIVOT (Lesson Plans, Unit Plans, and Scope and Sequence documentation), Middle Leader learning and development through engagement in the Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) initiative; improvements to student wellbeing through the roll out of the Wellbeing Model – CREATE, the introduction of the Disability Inclusion Model; and the implementation of the new STEAM curriculum Framework at Year 9.

Annual Implementation Plan (AIP) 2023 – ‘From Good to GREAT (2015 – 2018) – From GREAT to Exceptional (2019 – 2022) – Ongoing Growth and Sustained Success (2023 – 2026)
Following our final School Council meeting for 2023, the 2023 Annual Implementation Plan was reviewed and endorsed by the Department of Education. Feedback received from the Department is as follows: “End of Year Assessment:  2023 has been a wonderful year of learning at Ashwood High School.  The school has been assessed as “Influence” in NAPLAN and Senior Secondary outcomes.  Against statewide trends, the school also is “Influence” in School Climate where levels of staff endorsement of Academic Emphasis and Instructional leadership are very high.  The recent release of VCE summary data places the school above many schools that previously were known for their excellent VCE results.  Congratulations to all staff at Ashwood High School and a particular mention to the leadership team for their expert guidance and support around the AIP annual activities.” This complimentary review by the Department places Ashwood High School as a premier school in the Inner East of Melbourne; one in a hand full of the highest performing local entry high schools in Victoria.

New Recruits 2024 – ‘Valuing staff and building capacity’
At our Staff Learning Conference, the following new staff were presented:

The quality of the 2024 draft is outstanding.  Please be mindful that Victoria is experiencing significant workforce supply challenges. As part of delivering and managing the ‘Growing School Without the Growing Pains’, Ashwood High School has successfully hired and inducted 57 quality staff members over the past two years. School Council has noted that Ashwood High School students and families are extremely fortunate to belong to a school that is strategically resourced.

Leading Teacher Portfolios 2024 – ‘Valuing Staff and Building Capacity’
In the principal’s 2 keynote addresses at our 2-day Staff Professional Learning Conference, I emphasised the importance of school culture, structure, processes, and relationships. As part of The Path Forward at Ashwood High School, our leadership team has grown dramatically. In 2015, there was 1 substantive Assistant Principal and 3 substantive Leading Teachers. In 2024, there are 2 Assistant Principals and 9 Leading Teacher/Learning Specialists. Strategic resource allocation continues to be aligned with our school Vision and goals. Referencing the visual below, see our sophisticated leadership structure for 2024. I am confident that the leadership structure will continue to deliver the next phase of the school’s improvement, focused on enhancing the social and academic outcomes of students. Assistant Principals and Leading Teachers will continue to align their behaviours with the school values and align their practices with the intent of their position descriptions, demonstrating clarity, empathy, engagement, and a passion for learning. Ashwood High School is a school of leadership excellence.

Embedding the Mini-School Structure - Safe and Orderly Learning Environment – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’ and ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
Our Mini-School Structure, conceived in 2018, continues to provide a secure and conducive learning environment amid the significant surge in student enrolment. At the time of drafting the Mini-School Manifesto in 2018, we had 43 students in Year 12. Fast forward to 2024, our Year 12 cohort has tripled, now comprising 112 students. The foresight in designing the School Colours badges in 2017, which delineated Mini-Schools, was a symbolic strategy of anticipating and delivering on the implementation of the Mini-School Manifesto, effectively envisioning and accommodating the ongoing growth and sustained success of our school. This thoughtful planning, documented in the School Review of 2018 and Strategic Plan of 2019-2022, laid the groundwork for the implementation of the two Mini-Schools. The Manifesto, alongside meticulous budgeting, and resource allocation, reflected our commitment to accommodating the school's substantial enrolment growth, effectively attending to the stages of student learning. I am delighted with the successful implementation of the Mini-School structure, a testament to the school’s capacity for innovation, adaptability, and ingenuity.

Whole School Approach for Wellbeing - CREATE– ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
In 2023, CREATE ignited parent interest when it was presented and discussed at the Education Sub-Committee, (alongside our new STEAM Framework). As we carry this enthusiasm into 2024, our focus will be on investigating ways to effectively integrate CREATE within the pastoral care and wellbeing programs across the school. CREATE is an essential part of the way in which Ashwood High School will deliver on Goal 3 of the Strategic Plan: Improving student wellbeing and holistic learning growth of all students.

Department of Education Initiatives: Mental Health Fund and Disability Inclusion Tier 2 Funding – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’ and ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
Ashwood High School is currently accommodating the requirements of the Tier 2 Disability Inclusion Funding, a Department initiative to address policy foci relating to improved mental health and inclusivity. These policy and funding initiatives complement our school’s continued focus and capacity to cater to the diverse needs of students, building on our inclusive educational environment. There is a staff Disability Inclusion Working Party that has been charged to effectively accommodate the Department initiatives into school-based structures and processes. This Working Party of staff (which looks at implementation) has sought ways to actively enhance our wellbeing support structures, focusing on refining our tracking tools, optimising the effectiveness of Student Support Group structures and processes, and reviewing Compass systems for improved communications. Additionally, the school is gearing up to address the School Mental Health Fund and Mental Health Menu initiatives. A tailored Tier 1 Positive Mental Health Promotion program is under development, addressing both overall mental health and specific needs of students at each year level.

In 2024, House based Tutor Groups have been re-structed to align with year levels, ensuring a more targeted approach. The Student Wellbeing Team and Student Management Team are drafting a yearly schedule for implementing, monitoring, and reviewing mental health promotion activities, incorporating student feedback, enabled through collaborative structures being set up by the Director of Student Voice, Inclusion, and Agency.

Ms Sarah Reynolds, Senior School Assistant Principal, will oversee the introduction of the Mental Health Fund and Disability Inclusion Tier 2 Funding, further reinforcing our commitment to student wellbeing and holistic learning growth. These intentional steps reflect our dedication to providing a supportive learning environment, empowering students to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally (part of the school Vision statement). I have directed the Senior School Assistant Principal to include these Departmental initiatives for discussion on the next Education Sub-Committee Agenda.

Victorian Certificate of Education - VCE – Vocational Major (VM) – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
The Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) is Victoria’s senior secondary qualification. It opens pathways to university, higher-level TAFE or VET certificate courses, apprenticeships, traineeships, and the workforce.

Alongside the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), the Vocational Major (VM) program was introduced in 2023. Acknowledged for excellence, our approach to the two-year vocational and applied learning initiative has been highlighted in discussions at Education Subcommittee and School Council meetings. This program not only enhances personal and practical life skills but also effectively prepares our students for various pathways, including apprenticeships, further education, alternative university entry programs, and employment. Our continued success in VCE-VM exemplifies our commitment to inclusivity, providing students with a high-quality education that prepares them for a successful future.

The International Student Program Lunar New Year Celebration – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
I was thrilled to share the success of our Lunar New Year celebration held on Friday 9 February 2024. The vibrant event was marked by cultural richness and respectful participation. I immersed myself in the festivities, taking the time to learn Chinese names and distribute red packets to students, adding a personal touch to the celebration. The performances, ranging from calligraphy to music and dance, showcased the incredible talents of our students. It was heartening to witness such a display of cultural diversity and artistic flair. Thanks to Ms Williams and Mr Yin for organising this memorable event. Special thanks to all who attended for their active participation and support. Best wishes for a prosperous and joyous Year of the Dragon!

Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) / Communities of Practice (COPs) – ‘Valuing Staff and Building Capacity’
At Ashwood High School, we believe in fostering a collaborative environment that puts student success at the forefront. Our commitment to this principle is evident in the introduction of Communities of Practice (COPs), which the Department calls Professional Learning Communities (PLCs).

What are COPS / PLCs?
COPs / PLCs are small groups of teachers working together to enhance your child's learning and wellbeing. These groups follow structured improvement cycles, using data and research evidence to drive decisions and ensure continuous growth.

What is our Focus?
I introduced COPs to the school in 2019, as part of the Strategic Plan goal of 2019 – 2023 relating to building teacher capacity. The Department introduced the PLC Professional Development program in 2020 and it is a requirement that all schools complete the training.  Ashwood High School is already at a high level of maturation regarding the roll out of COPs (PLCs). Ashwood High School is part of Intake 7 and the final group of schools to participate. I am using the Department’s PLC program to build the capacity of Middle Level Leaders at the school.

Why does it matter?
COPs (PLCs) play a crucial role in our commitment to your child's education. COPs (PLCs) are aligned with a framework that ensures teachers are equipped to meet the diverse needs of all students. The learning architecture of COPs enhances the overall learning experience for all students. The roll out of COPs (PLCs) is part of ensuring the ongoing growth and sustained success of the well-established systems and processes at our school. Please refer to the infographic below for the characteristics of Communities of Practice at Ashwood High School in building professional capital.

Communities of Practice – Learning Architecture at Ashwood High School

House Performing Arts Festival (HPAF) 2024 - ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
I am delighted to announce the upcoming House Performing Arts Festival scheduled for later this year. Every second year, our school comes alive with the vibrant energy of students showcasing their talents in music, dance, acting, backstage and lighting, and costume making. In 2024, we eagerly anticipate an even more spectacular festival under the capable leadership of Ms Sachael Miller, Director of Student Voice, Inclusion and Agency. Her passion for the arts and commitment to student wellbeing and holistic learning growth promises to deliver an event that will not only entertain but also foster creativity, connectedness, and agency among our students. This festival is a fantastic opportunity for students to express themselves, compete for their House, and celebrate the diverse talents within our school community. I encourage all students to participate and make this event a memorable one. Stay tuned for more details as we prepare for a spectacular House Performing Arts Festival in 2024.

Student Leadership Profile 2024 – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
Developed in 2019 and effectively implemented in 2021, our Student Leadership Profile, featuring an extensive array of student leadership opportunities continues to play a vital role in fulfilling our commitment to enhancing student voice, inclusion, and agency. The Student Leadership Profile is an integral part of the school Vision, delivering on our proud school culture of empowerment and excellence based on mutual respect. The Student Leadership Profile was implemented under Goal 2 of the previous Strategic Plan (2019-2022) centred on increasing student engagement and empowerment. The annual Student Leadership Prefect Investiture will be held on Monday 26 February 2024, where 59 students will be officially appointed to their respective positions. Goal 2 of our new Strategic Plan (2023-2026) recognises the continued importance of student voice, inclusion, and agency, building on the significant groundwork laid by the previous strategic plan. Thank you for your ongoing support of the school’s traditions set up to enhance student pride, connectedness, and active engagement in the life of the school.

Student Scholarships Year 7 2024 – ‘Increasing Positive Parental & Community Engagement’ 
Applications for student scholarships for the year 2025 are now open. Scholarships are available in Academic Excellence, Leadership and Community Spirit, Sporting Excellence, and Performing Arts. The announcement of the 2024 scholarship recipients appeared in the final newsletter of 2023. I am proud to continue building positive relationships with local primary schools by showcasing our students' achievements in relevant primary school newsletters. Through your connections with primary school communities in the local area, I would please ask families to encourage eligible Grade 6 students to apply and be part of this proud tradition.

Class of 2024 Year 12 Study Advance – ‘Enhancing the Student Culture’, ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
The Year 12 Study Advance, held at Deakin University on Monday 5 February 2024, was a positive experience for students and staff. I enjoyed a wonderful dinner with Year 12 students which was a great start to Year 12 students’ commencement program. The commitment of Ashwood High School staff towards the holistic development of each student is outstanding.

Co-curricular Clubs‘Enhancing the Student Culture’
Ashwood High School is privileged to boast a remarkable array of Co-Curricular Clubs, a testament to the dedication and commitment of our staff who consistently go above and beyond expectations. These clubs, led by our passionate educators, play a pivotal role in enriching the student experience, fostering a vibrant and diverse school culture. The following list provides a glimpse into the extraordinary opportunities available for our students.

  • AshBook Club: Explore the world of books, literature lovers welcome. (Mr Franich and Ms Van Olst. All Year levels welcome).
  • Creative Writing Club: Hone writing skills, conquer writer's block, explore genres. (Ms Leane & English Teachers.)
  • French Club (Middle School & Senior School): Explore French language through games and activities. (Madam Marie & French Teachers).
  • Homework Club (International Students): Academic support for international students. Compulsory for specific year levels. (Yonghong Williams & Kai Yin).
  • Humanities Club: Explore history, geography, human expression, and our world. (Mr Hayward, Ms Van Olst & Ms Poland).
  • Maths Club: Improve maths skills in a supportive environment. (Mr Jay Chan & Maths Team).
  • Study Hall: Assistance with English, Humanities, Science, and Maths Homework. (Mr Cifra, Mr Williams, and Ms Robinson).
  • Aerobics Club: High-energy routines combining dance, cardio, and strength training. (Ms Schinina, Ms Cameron & Eirini Vilianioti).
  • Badminton Club: Friendly competition for all skill levels. (Dr Verity).
  • Running Club: Join a supportive community for runs at all paces and levels. (Mr Newman. All Year levels and staff welcome).
  • Volleyball Club: Experience exhilarating rallies and team spirit. (Mr Boarotto and PE staff).
  • Art Club: Unleash creativity with folio work and personalised projects. (Ms Hamilton & Ava Lillywhite).
  • Drama Club: Strengthen performance skills in a fun environment. (Ms Laffan, Leah Reid & Hamish Lee).
  • Open Studio (Senior Students): Practice and refine artistic projects. For Senior Students only. (Ms Edmiston. All senior students welcome).
  • Ashfeed Club: Student-run newsletter highlighting campus buzz and events. (Ms Miller & Daisy Harvison. All year levels welcome).
  • Breakfast Club: Wellbeing Initiative providing nutritious breakfast and fostering community engagement. (Mr Long Nguyen and wellbeing team. All students and staff welcome).
  • Chess Club: Learn, play, and socialise in a supportive chess environment. Tournaments throughout the year. (Mr Fahey, Ryan Lim, JayC Carter. All staff and year levels welcome).
  • Cross Cultures Club: Celebrate diverse cultures through activities and discussions. (Mr Kai Yin. All students and staff welcome).
  • Debating Club: Improve critical thinking and speaking skills through debates and conferences. (Ms Madan, Daisy Harvison, Cormac Morrin, Amy Russo & Hannah Williams).
  • eSports Club: Dive into the world of esports. (Mr Daniel McBride).
  • Interact Club: Contribute to community events and build leadership skills. Partnered with Rotary Club. (Ms Mooney. All students and staff welcome).
  • SRC Club: Formal positions advocating for student needs and organising fundraising events. (Ms Miller & Ms Van Olst, Barbra Campelo, Jake Bugeja, Alicia Joesph, Izzy Gullan, Laura Gosbell, Tom Houghton, Yunal Lutfi, Georgie Taylor, Amber Balmer & Noah Rostan).
  • Wellbeing Club: Engage in competitive spirits and gaming. (Ms Renee Callander).

I know I speak on behalf of our school community, when I acknowledge and thank my amazing staff for their discretionary effort. This co-curricular program enhances Ashwood High School’s proud profile as the ‘Private School in the Public System’.

School Camps –Enhancing the Student Culture’
Year 7 Camp

The Year 7 camp took place from Monday 12 February to Friday 16 February. Due to the high enrolment at Year 7, the camp was organised in two groups—7A to 7D from Monday to Wednesday and 7E to 7Z from Wednesday to Friday. Under the excellent coordination of Ms Harriet Cooper, the camp proved to be a tremendous success. The students had the opportunity to spend three days (two nights) at the Kinglake Forest Adventures Camp, engaging in a variety of structured and guided outdoor activities amid the picturesque natural surroundings. The primary objectives of the camp were to build resilience, strengthen student connections with both peers and the school, and foster teamwork skills. Throughout the duration of the camp, students actively participated in organised team-building activities, providing them with valuable experiences that contribute to their personal and social development. We extend our sincere gratitude to the dedicated staff members who accompanied the students and contributed to the success of the camp: Sachael Miller, Marnie Edmiston, Jeffrey Newman, Jarrod Cristaldi, Wing Chan, Emma Doorley, Charles Simondson, Shenae Dixon, Brian Lanigan, Ruby Cameron, Michelle Leane, Megan Mooney, Tom Grbac, Luke Goss, Angelina Panoussis, and Kia van der Vliet. Their commitment to providing a safe and enjoyable environment for our students was truly commendable.

Please note, our school’s capacity to run an outstanding camps program must be appreciated in the context of the challenges faced in accommodating the demands of the Department’s ‘Time In Lieu’ policy. Thank you to the contributors to the Camps Working Party for their consideration of these demands.

Alpine School for Student Leadership
In Term 1, there are 6 Year 9 students experiencing a kinaesthetic curriculum at the Don Valley Campus of the Alpine School for Student Leadership in the Yarra Ranges. School for Student Leadership is a Victorian Department of Education (DE) initiative offering a unique residential education experience for Year 9 students. The curriculum focuses on personal development and team learning projects sourced from students' home regions.

Year 10 Camp
From Monday, 19 February, to Wednesday, 21 February 2024, our Year 10 students embarked on an enriching adventure at YMCA Mt Evelyn Discovery Camp, nestled in the scenic Dandenong Ranges. The three-day camp was meticulously designed to blend curriculum-based activities with exciting excursions, fostering individual and team challenges. This approach aimed to enhance student wellbeing, promote appreciation for physical activities, and provide a unique outdoor learning experience. Situated in the heart of the Dandenong Ranges, Mt Evelyn Discovery Camp provided an ideal backdrop for a wildlife and environmental adventure. The students actively engaged in a variety of activities, embracing the opportunity to connect with nature while developing important life skills. Thank you to Katherine Klopsteins for her outstanding efforts in organising this camp. Special thanks also go to the dedicated staff members who attended the camp, contributing to its success: Katrina Ketsakidis, Rob Gray, Nicholas Gale, Khwaish Madan, James Boarotto, Nic McMahon, Michael Cifra, Kiera Bates, Jeff Newman and Sarah Reynolds. Overall, the Year 10 camp at YMCA Mt Evelyn was a resounding success, creating lasting memories and contributing positively to the personal and educational growth of our students.

Afterschool Homework Study Hall Program – Years 7 – 10 – ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
Our Afterschool Homework Study Hall Program for Years 7-10 has been relocated to the state-of-the-art STEAM and Research Centre, housed in our highly attractive and functional multi-million-dollar Library. Students attending the program will benefit from the cutting-edge resources and collaborative learning environment provided by the new centre. The homework club will continue to operate on Mondays and Thursdays from 3:15pm to 4:15pm.

Ashwood Revealed Campaign – 2024 – ‘School of First Choice’
A plan has been developed for our Ashwood Revealed Campaign for 2024. The Ashwood Revealed Campaign will involve three main elements:

  • Weekly Tours of Ashwood High School by the Principal held during Term 1.
  • Primary School Visits – Ashwood High School Roadshow – Meg McLellan / Harriet Cooper and student ambassadors.
  • Ashwood High School – Ashwood Revealed (Open Day & Night) Wednesday 24 April 2024.

School Council 2024 Elections – Sound Governance – ‘School of High Trust’
As the Executive of School Council, thank you to parent, student, and staff members for their commitment to sound governance of Ashwood High School and realising the Vision and ‘The Path Forward’ at Ashwood High School. The following table reflects constituency and terms prior to the 2024 election process:

2024 School Council Elections – ‘Increasing Positive Parental and Community Engagement’
Nominations closed for School Council on Monday 12 February 2024. We have one parent vacancy and two staff vacancies.

2024 School Council – List of Nominations

Parent Members:

  • Philip Connell (parent of Declan, Year 10 and Griffin, Year 8)
  • Nicki Dear (parent of William, Year 12, Samuel, Year 9 and Hamish, Year 9)
  • 2 non-Department vacancies remain.

Student Members:

  • Miles Guy
  • Emma Hew.

DE Members:

  • Nil staff nominations – 2 Department vacancies remain.

Inclusive Schools Fund and Minor Capital Works Fund – ‘Ongoing Growth and Sustained Success’
I would like to provide you with an update on our recent submission to the Inclusive Schools Fund and Minor Capital Works Fund, a matter I have mentioned in previous newsletter. Regrettably, I received news that our submission was not successful. While this is disappointing it is understandable given the generous government funding injected into the school in recent years. I remain committed to exploring alternative avenues and opportunities for ongoing growth and sustained success at Ashwood High School.

School Driveway – School Access Road – ‘Ongoing Growth and Sustained Success
I am providing a brief update on the School Driveway project for community awareness. As of now, there are no new developments to report since our last newsletter. The project has faced challenges, primarily due to construction cost escalations exceeding the allocated budget limit. While we do not have direct involvement with Monash City Council and Vic Roads on this matter, they are working behind the scenes with the VSBA to address the challenges and facilitate the project's progress. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will keep you nformed of any significant updates as they arise.

Schools Upgrade Fund – ‘Ongoing Growth and Sustained Success’
I am pleased to share that Carina Garland, Federal Member for Chisholm, has expressed her support for Ashwood High School's participation in Round 2 of the Schools Upgrade Fund. The Federal Member for Chisholm has graciously offered to provide a letter of support to enhance our application.

The fund focuses on capital works, enabling schools to secure funding for significant infrastructure projects exceeding $250,000. The Federal Member’s support adds valuable weight to our application, potentially increasing our chances of success.

The fund focuses on capital works, enabling schools to secure funding for significant infrastructure projects exceeding $250,000. The Federal Member’s support adds valuable weight to our application, potentially increasing our chances of success.

In 2024, with the support of School Council, I will be pursuing funding for the following two important focus areas of improvement, including:

  • Reconfiguration of Building B (as previously expressed and documented)
  • A long-term strategy for the restoration and maintenance of the Ashwood High School Wetlands linked to the Cross Curriculum Priority of Sustainability. This aspect of the curriculum was documented in the successful 2020 funding submission for the Capital Works Program, the building of our cutting-edge STEAM and Research Centre; and ultimately the resourcing of the new STEAM curriculum.

School Priority Expenditure in 2024 –  STEAM Curriculum - ‘Growing Pride and Achievement’
In previous years School Council has approved priority expenditure in the following areas: Musical Production, Instrumental Music, Sport equipment, Multi-media, PAC bio-box, ICT. As a result of this priority expenditure these areas have prospered at the school. School Council has now allocated $50,000 priority expenditure to strategically resource the STEAM and Research Centre. The STEAM electives at Year 9 currently include the following: STEAM Product Design, STEAM Engineering, and STEAM Medical Science.

Successful School–University Partnerships – ‘Increasing Positive Parent and Community Engagement’
This year I will continue my 2 positions as the Chair of Deakin University’s Committee of Management Teaching Academies for Professional Practice and lead principal for the Ashwood Alliance. This position has secured Ashwood High School as a destination school for quality teacher graduates and brought about broader acclaim in neighbouring primary schools about the quality of our school program.

In 2024, I will also continue my involvement with Monash University in 3 ways. I will be the school principal representative on the Steering Committee for the Monash Q Project. I will also continue with Department approved additional employment as a Teaching Associate in the Master of Education program. This year I have been approached by the Faculty of Education to be the investigator of an Australian Research Council (ARC) funded Monash University project relating to the Cross Curriculum Priority of Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia. This exciting project is a collaboration between Monash University Clayton Campus and Southeast University-Monash University Joint Graduate School (university in Suzhou, China). It will involve research in Australian government, independent and Catholic schools. Ashwood High School is well placed to be an integral part of this research project on studies of Australia’s engagement with Asia.

Dr Brett Moore
Executive Principal
Friday 23 February 2024


Upcoming Events

New Staff

I am so excited to join the community of Ashwood High School and I look forward to teaching many of you in Art or Design subjects this year and into the future. Prior to becoming a teacher in 2011, I worked as a designer creating logos and branding projects. I have also been lucky to have lived and worked as a designer and artist, in Port Vila, Vanuatu. I believe these real-life experiences add to my teaching practice and can enhance and extend students experiences in art and design. I have been so impressed with the enthusiasm, talent, and willingness to try new things of the students at Ashwood High School and I look forward to seeing where this takes us all.
Ms Caroline Hamilton

Hello! I am thrilled to join the Ashwood High School community and appreciate the warm welcome I have received. I love learning and all things wellbeing. I have completed a Bachelor of Learning and Development, a Master of Social Work, and lots of mental health related training. Having worked across different sectors, with people of all ages, and with diverse communities. I am excited and optimistic about all I can learn and contribute here. During my first weeks at Ashwood High School I’ve been so impressed by the care and professionalism of the teachers and staff, and I’m enjoying life on campus surrounded by trees, birds and young people. I know I need to look after my own wellbeing, so I do a daily dog walk, practice yoga and mindfulness, drink chai, eat veggies, be in nature, stay connected with family and friends, listen to music and podcasts, and get to the beach whenever I can. Let’s all take good care of ourselves and each other during the year ahead!
Ms Renee Callander

Hi, my name is Jessica Ye, and I am a Commerce teacher who graduated from Monash University. I am excited to be teaching VCE Business Management and Legal Studies at Ashwood High School. I have previously taught at The Grange P – 12 and Sandringham College. It has been lovely to meet the staff and students at Ashwood High School. I am so looking forward to working with all these wonderful people this year and beyond. It has been a positive start and I feel very welcomed by the community.
Ms Jessica Ye

Hi, my name is Angelina Panoussis, and I recently completed my studies at Deakin University, where I graduated with a Masters of Secondary Teaching. I'm thrilled to embark on my first year as an English and Humanities teacher!

Last year, I had the incredible opportunity to do my first two placements here at Ashwood High School. It was an amazing experience that allowed me to connect with the students, staff, and the school's commitment to the CHOIR values.

Aside from teaching you’ll find me outdoors whenever I get the chance soaking up the sun and spending time by the beach.

Thank you for your support, and I can't wait to make this year an incredible one for all of us!
Ms Angelina Panoussis

Hi, I am thrilled to introduce myself to this vibrant community. My name is Tianming (Lucy) Tu, and I am honoured to be a part of this dynamic group. I graduated from Monash University with a double degree of Education and Commerce, so I am passionate about teaching English, Humanities and Accounting this year at Ashwood High School. I believe in fostering a collaborative and inclusive environment where we can learn and grow together. I am eager to contribute my skills and ideas to the community and look forward getting to know each of you. Aside from teaching, I enjoy travelling, cooking, and spending time with my family and friends. Thank you for the warm welcome.
Ms Lucy Tu

Hello, my name is Kiera Bates. I am a teacher of Health, Physical Education and Home Economics. I graduated from Deakin University last year and was fortunate to have my final seven-week placement at Ashwood High School. It has been wonderful reconnecting with the Ashwood High School community this year. I will be teaching Food Studies and Health and Human Development. I have loved getting to know the staff and students at Ashwood High School and look forward to supporting all the students at Ashwood High School to reach their full potential and have a wonderful experience along the way. Outside of school hours, I love all water sports, including swimming, sailing, water polo and water skiing. I am looking forward to a fantastic year at Ashwood High School.
Ms Keira Bates 

My name is Luke Goss, I completed my Masters of Teaching at La Trobe University where I also completed my undergraduate degree majoring in Zoology. In my previous school I was in charge of caring for a range of lizards, snakes and invertebrates. So far, I am finding the Ashwood High School to be a very engaged community of learning which has made the first few weeks extremely pleasant. I am looking forward to continuing this for the duration of my time here.
Mr Luke Goss 

Greetings. My name is Kai Yin. I graduated from Deakin University and Australian Catholic University with Bachelor of Environmental Science and Graduate Diploma of Secondary Education. I am passionate about helping international students who are brave enough to study and make a living in a brand-new world at their young age. I was an international student, so I deeply know what they will encounter and the difficulties they need to overcome through the way to success. I sincerely love to give all my support to establish a safe, positive, and optimistic atmosphere for all international students, making sure they can achieve their goals and making their dreams come true.
Mr Kai Yin

Hi, my name is Anna Kipping and I am excited to start teaching at Ashwood High School. I graduated from Deakin University with a Bachelor of Health and Physical Education with a major in Science at the end of 2022. This year I am teaching Health, PE and Science. I have had a wonderful start to the year meeting all the students and staff, who have made me feel so welcome and supported. I am eager to support the students, helping them achieve their goals and expectations and continue the positive start we have had to the year. When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my family, following various sports, camping and travelling. Last year I was also lucky enough to spend some time in India and Europe.

Thank you all for the warm welcome to Ashwood High School!
Ms Anna Kipping

Hello everyone! My name is Gin Liu, and I'm thrilled to introduce myself as the new Maths and Science teacher at Ashwood High School. This marks my fifth year in teaching, and I couldn't be more excited to join the Ashwood High School community.

With Bachelor’s in Food Science from Deakin University and a Master’s in Teaching from Monash University, I'm excited to bring my passion for education to this vibrant community. One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching for me is witnessing the growth of my students, both academically and personally. I find great joy in seeing them progress in their studies and in life, and I am committed to supporting them every step of the way.

Outside of the classroom, I have a love for sports like tennis and boxing, finding them to be both exhilarating and invigorating. When I'm not on the court or in the ring, I enjoy playing the piano and catching up with friends over a cup of coffee. I'm eagerly looking forward to getting to know each of you and embarking on this educational journey together at Ashwood High School!
Mr Gin Lu

Hello! My name is Maya Williamson, and I am so excited to begin my teaching career at Ashwood High School. My recent graduation from Deakin University, where I studied Psychology and Drama, has led to me teaching Science and Drama this year. I’m feeling privileged to be a part of such an amazing and welcoming space and I’m looking forward to engaging further with the Ashwood High School community to support students in discovering their strengths and realising their goals. Outside of school, I enjoy live music and theatre, spoiling my dogs and going to the beach.
Ms Maya Williamson

Hi, my name is Tavsaran Kakkar and I’m a French teacher at Ashwood High School this year. I graduated with a Masters of Secondary Teaching from Monash University, and have previously taught both Mathematics and French. I’m incredibly excited about working at Ashwood High School and have been very warmly welcomed by all the staff and students. The first few weeks getting to know students have been wonderful and it’s been great to see their passion for learning French. I have a deep love for learning languages and building cross-cultural understanding so I’m looking forward to helping students develop a more profound understanding of languages and foreign cultures. Outside of school, I love doing calisthenics (dance), playing with my dog, Cujo, and spending time with my family and friends in the sunshine.’
Ms Tav Kakkar

Hello, my name is Jarrod Cristaldi and I am teacher of Humanities and Digital Technologies. My area of expertise stems from a real love of history and technology, particularly when studying the eras of humanity, from the Ancient Egyptians to the revolutions of the 18th century and beyond.  After 8 years of teaching, I left hot and sunny Queensland to travel to Victoria to teach at the esteemed Ashwood High School. Since arriving at Ashwood High School, I have seen the high values and expectations of which the students and staff hold and have had the honour to attend Year 7 camp which further demonstrated these values.  It has been my absolute privilege to join the Ashwood High School and I look forward to continuing my journey in this fantastic community.
Mr Jarrod Cristaldi

Hi, I'm Wing Chan, a Math and Science teacher at Ashwood High School. With a Bachelor of Science majoring in Chemistry and a Master of Teaching (Secondary), I bring expertise and enthusiasm to my role. It is my pleasure to be part of the supportive Ashwood High School family. My teaching philosophy is guided by our school's CHIOR values, emphasising Community, High Expectations, Optimism, Innovation, and Respect. I foster collaboration and support among students, setting high standards to nurture confidence and growth. Through a positive and adaptive approach, I create a welcoming environment where every student can thrive. I'm dedicated to inspiring a love for learning and empowering students to reach their full potential, shaping a brighter future through education.
Ms Wing Chan

Hello, my name is Charley Lethlean and I am a History, Media, Theatre and Drama teacher. I have recently graduated from Deakin University with a Master of Teaching (secondary) and a Bachelor of Arts with majors in History and Media, with a minor in Drama. As a new member of the Ashwood High School staff, I am excited to be teaching Humanities and Drama in the Middle School. From observation I am utterly impressed by the calibre and high expectations held and placed upon by staff and students alike. As a teacher, I love helping students reach their potential and rise in confidence. A little about me is that prior to Ashwood High School, I used to work in the disability sector as a programmer teaching drama, social and communication skills, as well as speech and voice lessons. I also love film, theatre, travel and volunteering. Thank you for my warm welcome, I look forward for the journey ahead.
Ms Charley Lethlean

Hi my name is Charlie Simondson and I am excited to be starting my teaching journey at Ashwood High School. I graduated last year from Deakin University after studying an Undergraduate Degree in Exercise Science, followed by a Master’s in Teaching. Exercise Science has me teaching in Physical Education and Science predominantly, however, I am also teaching Year 8 Mathematics as well. I have felt incredibly welcome at Ashwood High School so far, and it has been a pleasure to meet so many of the Years 7s and 8s so far this year. I have already had the opportunity to accompany the students on Year 7 camp at Kinglake, where I could support the students on their first high school camp. This was a great experience for me and helped me build relationships with some of the Year 7 students outside of the classroom.

Teaching aside, I have a love for sport, specifically I enjoy playing cricket and football in their respective seasons as well as swimming and running in my spare time. Ashwood High School has given me an opportunity to bring my experience in sport as well as the knowledge from my studies to help facilitate students becoming great members of the community. I look forward to my time at Ashwood, and to see where my teaching journey takes me!
Mr Charlie Simondson

Hi my name is Megan Mooney and I am very excited to be starting my teaching career at Ashwood High School. I completed my Bachelor of Arts majoring in children’s literature and history and a Masters in secondary teaching at Deakin University. I did one of my university placements at Ashwood High School and was extremely impressed by students, staff and school atmosphere. This year I am teaching Food Studies, Humanities and English. Being a part of three different facilities has allowed me to further gain understanding of the visions and values of the school. I feel so lucky to be apart of the Ashwood High School community.
Ms Megan Mooney

Congratulations to the Class of 2020

DUX 2020: 93.75




Middle School News

A warm welcome back to Year 8 & 9 students and a huge Ashwood High School welcome to our amazing new Year 7s and all our joining families! We're thrilled to have you aboard and can't wait to see you embrace all that Ashwood High School offers.

Get ready to spread your wings and embrace new challenges.

At Ashwood High School, you'll find more than just textbooks and tests. We have a vibrant community pulsating with opportunities to explore your passions, make new friends, and discover hidden talents. Here's a glimpse of what awaits:

  • Academic Excellence: Immerse yourself in our diverse curriculum, led by passionate teachers who support your learning journey.
  • Creative Expression: Dive into the arts with music, drama, visual arts, and more! Showcase your skills in our House Performing Arts Festival, concerts, and exhibitions.
  • Sporting Prowess: Join our thriving sports teams, from basketball and soccer to athletics and swimming. Represent Ashwood High School in interschool competitions and unleash your inner athlete!
  • Leadership Power: Develop your voice and make a difference! Apply for student council, join clubs and initiatives, and shape the future of Ashwood High School.

Celebrating New Leaders
We're excited to announce our newly appointed Middle School Captains, Hannah William and Ameer Bux, and Vice Captains, Alicia Joseph and Izzy Gullan. Please join us in congratulating them and applauding their commitment to our school community. We know they'll lead with inspiration and dedication.

In the Middle School, we have a newly appointed Student Management Team working with all the Middle School students.

Paterson House: Brian Lanigan and Zoe Schinina

Melba House: Emma Doorley and Steph Poland

Flynn House: Vicky Dernikos and Ruby Cameron

Cowan House: Georgia Kazis

Together, let's make 2024 a year of soaring achievements, lasting friendships, and unforgettable memories!

Harriet Cooper
Middle School Engagement, Wellbeing, and Transitions Leader


Cowan House
Greetings to all amazing members and families of Cowan House! After a very successful 2023, our House is still buzzing with energy and achievement!

My name is Georgia Kazis and I would like to take a moment to welcome you back to Ashwood High School, for a fun-filled yet rewarding academic year. I am very excited to work with you as the Cowan House Coordinator, in supporting our wonderful students and their families.

To begin, I would like to extend a warm welcome to our new Year 7 student cohort. It has been great getting to know all our new students and watch them blossom in their transition to our school. We wish them a prosperous journey with us at Ashwood High School and we congratulate them for being exceptional role models of our CHOIR values!

Every new year brings opportunities for our students to take initiative and demonstrate their leadership skills. Congratulations are in order for our 2024 Cowan House Vice-Captain, Gilbert (Gilly) McCann, with the Cowan House Captain to be announced soon.

We also welcome and congratulate our 2024 Middle School Cowan House Captain, Asha Ramirez-White and our Middle School Cowan House Vice-Captain, Jack Newton.

Your enthusiasm and tireless efforts have already had a positive impact and I look forward to witnessing the continued growth and success you bring to our community, as preparations are under way for our Swimming Carnival.

Congratulations to our Cowan House Student of the Week, Edison (Eddie) Ellis, for his exemplary demonstration of our High Expectations and for volunteering to assist both his teachers and peers throughout the school week.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Cowan House students for their on-going effort so far this year and for being an integral part of our community. Together, we create an environment where everyone can thrive and shine. I wish you a fantastic year ahead!

Georgia Kazis
Cowan House Coordinator

Flynn House
The supportive and welcoming community of Ashwood High School has embraced a great start to the school year, easing into a relaxed and well-organised school. Returning students have been hospitable and helpful to Year 7 students by showing them around our enormous grounds, navigating lockers and settling any unnecessary nerves. The empathy and kindness also shown to new enrolments in all year levels demonstrates the strong value of sustaining a nurturing environment.

A big welcome is extended to our new student leadership team for 2024. Maddy Rado as Flynn House Captain, Matilda Rostan as Flynn House Vice-Captain, Lily Wingate as Flynn House Middle School Captain and Kaiah Norton as Flynn House Middle School Vice-Captain. The dedication and excellent leadership skills shown by the team has been inspirational, as planning for this year and preparing for the upcoming Swimming Carnival is inspiring to observe.

A new and exciting addition to the Student Management Team in 2024 are the Assistant House Coordinators. With growing numbers and a continuing focus on student wellbeing, Ms Ruby Cameron, as Assistant Flynn Coordinator and Mrs Vicky Dernikos, as Flynn House Coordinator, will ensure Flynn students are well-supported in all aspects of their journey this year.

Congratulations go to our first recipient of Student of the Week for Flynn House, Troy Morton who has volunteered to assist teachers and has made concerted efforts in achieving excellence in the classroom.

We look forward to many successes and celebrating achievements throughout this year. We look to the future with great enthusiasm and positivity as we set and commit to new goals, build new relationships and aim to support our students in being valuable citizens of a great school.

Vicky Dernikos and Ruby Cameron
Flynn House Coordinators 


Melba House
Hi everyone, we are Elisabeth Oh and April Golz and we are thrilled to be the Middle School Melba House Captains for 2024.

With the grand reopening of Building G, students in Melba have their lockers located in Building C and Building G. So far, we’ve had a great start to the year and we’re looking forward to the rest of it.

This year is an exciting year for House events, and for Melba students to contribute and earn House points! Hopefully we will come out on top and give Melba a victorious 2024!

On Wednesday 28 February is our very first House event of the year, the Swimming Carnival, followed by our Cross Country on Monday 25 March 2024. Later in the year there is the Athletics Carnival and the House Performing Arts Festival. There will be heaps of opportunities for students in Melba to earn House points and have a lot of fun. Interschool Sport is also another opportunity for students to enjoy themselves and to earn School Colour nominations!

School Clubs are also kicking off and we encourage students to get involved and have some fun with the things they’re passionate about, whether it’s debating, sports or even chess.

We are looking forward to a victorious year for Melba students and all the opportunities to get House points and win!

Elisabeth Oh and April Golz – Middle School Melba House Captain and Vice-Captain

Greetings Ashwood High School community and welcome back after what was hopefully a restful Summer Holidays. We hope all students and staff are feeling refreshed and excited for a new year at Ashwood High School.

This year each House will have a House Coordinator, as well as an Assistant House Coordinator ,to help with the growing number of enrolments at Ashwood High School. Working with Ms Doorley this year will be Ms Poland – feel free to come and say hello to Ms Poland in her new role.

This year we also welcome Ryan Lim and Tom Houghton as the Senior School House and Vice-Captain and Elisabeth Oh and April Golz in the role of Middle School House Captain and Vice-Captain this year. We look forward to seeing how they take on the role and leave their mark on Melba House in 2024. If any students in Melba House, in both Middle and Senior School, want to get more involved in school events and are unsure on how to do this one of our wonderful House Captains will be happy to help.

Term 1 this year is jam-packed with lots of events – including academic, sporting and social opportunities for all students. Term One will feature both the Swimming and Cross-Country Carnivals and we encourage all students to step out of their comfort zones and give the events a go. This term we also have Student-Led Conferences in which students can reflect on their achievements so far, and set goals for the 2024 academic year.

We would like to welcome all the new Year 7s and Melba students and congratulate them on their smooth transition to Ashwood High School. It is exciting to meet all of the new students in our great house and see how they are adjusting to school life at Ashwood High School.

Lastly, a new initiative introduced by the Middle School Management Team is the introduction of Student of the Week where we will be recognising and celebrating the achievements of one student in each house. The first recipient for Student of the Week for Melba House is Tarik Srinivasan who has been awarded Student of the Week for taking initiative and assisting new Year 7s with their lockers on the first day back at school.

Good luck to all this year and hopefully a successful and enjoyable 2024.

Emma Doorley and Stephanie Poland
Melba House Coordinators

Paterson House
Dear Students and Families of Paterson House, I wish you all a warm welcome back to Ashwood High School after a well-deserved break. I hope you are ready for another great and successful year.

I am ecstatic to be joining Paterson House as your coordinator for the year 2024. Additionally, I am thrilled to introduce Zoe Schinina as our new assistant coordinator. Together, Ms Schinina and I are dedicated to supporting and guiding the Paterson House community towards a year filled with success and achievement.

We would like to congratulate Lachlan Bugeja and Tvishaa Viswanathan for being appointed as our Middle School Paterson House Captains. Along with Wesley Pryor as the Senior School Paterson Captain and Ava Morrin as the Senior School Paterson Vice- Captain, for the upcoming year. We anticipate a successful collaboration with them and wish them the very best in their roles.

We would like to extend our warmest congratulations and a heartfelt welcome to our new Year 7 cohort. The entire Paterson House community is brimming with excitement after the smooth transition of our Year 7 students to Ashwood High School. It's inspiring to see how seamlessly the Year 7 Paterson House students have embraced the CHOIR values, and we are confident they will enthusiastically engage in the diverse opportunities awaiting them at Ashwood High School.

Congratulations to Hamish Lee for being awarded Paterson House's first Student of the Week! Well done, Hamish!

We would like to express our gratitude to all the students and their families of Paterson House for their warm reception. We are eagerly looking forward to witnessing our students' ongoing dedication to excellence, both academically and personally, within and beyond the classroom.

Brian Lanigan and Zoe Schinina
Paterson House Coordinators   






Middle School Captains' Report

Welcome to 2024 at Ashwood High School! Our names are Hannah Williams and Ameer Bux, and we are your 2024 Middle School Captains.

We’d like to start by extending a warm welcome to our new Year 7s and their families for 2024! We hope you enjoy your first year at Ashwood High School, and if you need any help, feel free to chat to us.

Welcome back to all our other students, their families and all of the Ashwood High School Community. We hope you had a restful break and are ready for a wonderful year in 2024.

We are proud to be leading the Middle School here at Ashwood High School as we continue to grow and develop as a school. We aim to continue to create a safe and welcoming environment where all students feel more confident, and their wellbeing is boosted.

This year we are excited to be involved in Middle School Assemblies, School Tours, Sport Carnivals, boosting students voice and encouraging leadership within our middle school. We’re also excited to be working with so many great student leaders at our school. We’ll be working with Student Lead Clubs to provide the best possible experience for Ashwood High School students.

We look forward to helping build and boost the Middle School Student Voice here at Ashwood High School. We hope the year ahead is a great one for our growing Ashwood High School community!

Ameer Bux and Hannah Williams
2024 Middle School Captains

Greetings to our wonderful Ashwood High School community,

We are Izzy Gullan and Alicia Joseph, and we are pleased as Middle School Vice Captains of 2024 to inform you that we will be working in SRC meetings this means that our Middle School students will have a voice in improving our school community for the better. We are also excited for our mission in improving Middle School students' wellbeing, and even though we might have a lot of ideas up our sleeves, we are welcoming you to come find us around the school so that your ideas can be heard and come to life!

Thank you so much and we look forward for a cheerful and fruitful year ahead!

Alicia Joseph and Izzy Gullan
2024 Middle School Vice Captains

Senior School News

Dear Ashwood High School Community,

It has been a really warm welcome to Ashwood High School community for the start of 2024. I have had the privilege of getting to know many new staff and students through our co-curricular learning and outdoor educational environment with the Year 12 Study Advance within the first two weeks of being at the school.

During the first two staff Professional Development Days, Principal Dr Brett Moore presented the values, vision and goals of the school for 2024. As an educational community, we remain focused on continued growth; this is evident in our introduction over 20 new staff joining our community for the first time in 2024. Principal Dr Brett Moore explained that we as a team will continue to focus on, building and developing relational trust in our students, teachers and community.

In 2024, at Ashwood High School, I have been able to gather a real strong sense of pride and excitement while attending several events, including our Senior School Teacher meeting, where we had a professional learning session presented by Year 12 Teacher Mr Rory Fahey on the Use of AI in the classrooms. The presentations displayed the innovation, optimism and expectation set up at Ashwood High School to continue to develop our students in 2024 to achieve their best and move with the modern technologies.

As a Senior School, we have had a really positive start with a first day having a Senior School Assembly which involved introducing the Senior School expectations and understanding our students for 2024 with presentation from the three Year Level Coordinators: Year 12, Ms Edwina Nolan, Year 11, Ms Jordyn Bracegirdle, Year 10, Ms Kath Klopsteins. This allowed our students to have a clear understanding of the line of leadership. On Thursday 22 February, the Ashwood High School community will come together in a Whole School Assembly to celebrate the Year 12 cohort of and have our executive Principal Dr Brett Moore present the Year 12 badges to the Class of 2024 and formally welcome the new Year 7 students of 2024.

The innovation of the schools teaching and learning continues to grow and develop with the introduction of the PIVOT Lesson Plan Framework across the school to focus on consistent teaching and learning practices and strategies from Years 7-12 of Form Group in the Senior School at Year 10 level. This allows our Parents /Carers, Teachers, and Students to gain an improved understanding of the expectations in undertaking every class.

Senior School VCAA Process
Special Examination Provisions Applications:

Students undertaking a Unit 3/4 subject who require Special Provisions to enable them fair and equitable access to the exams MUST contact Mrs Julie Huggins as soon as possible to arrange an application.  These applications must be submitted to the VCAA by Friday 8 March 2024. The VCAA have advised that they will not accept late submissions for existing conditions.  To enable the applications to be submitted in a timely manner please ensure that all requested documentation is provided to Mrs Huggins by Wednesday 28 February 2024.

If you are unsure whether to apply for Special Provisions please contact Mrs Huggins (VCAA Coordinator) or Mr O’Toole (Head of Senior School), either in the Building E Office or via email:

As Senior School Leading Teacher, I look forward to meeting you all over the next year at the many upcoming Ashwood High School events in 2024.

Best Regards,

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


Wellbeing at Ashwood High School

A very warm welcome to all new and returning students and families from the Wellbeing Team!

Our Wellbeing Team is made up of Renee Callander (Wellbeing Manager), Daniel McBride (Mental Health Practitioner) and Long Nguyen (School Chaplain). We provide wellbeing and mental health support to enable students to enjoy their time at school, engage in learning, and reach their goals.

For any students and families looking for wellbeing support, please contact the House Coordinators for Middle School, or the Year Level Coordinators for Senior School. The Coordinators will be able to address some things directly and, where appropriate, will connect in with our Wellbeing Team.

Our Team are also excited to be facilitating some clubs and programs this year. Mr McBride is continuing with the very popular lunchtime Esports Club, and Ms Callander is starting a lunchtime Wellbeing Club. You can find more information about the amazing array of clubs elsewhere in the newsletter. Also, Mr Nguyen is continuing to coordinate the Friday morning Breakfast Club (providing a delicious free breakfast for students before school), and the school lunch program (providing lunch for students whose families are unable to).

Our Ashwood High School Wellbeing Framework, CREATE, starts with C for Curiosity. On that theme, we invite parents/carers to be curious about your young people, so you can understand and stay connected with their world and developing sense of self through this exciting time of adolescence. You can do this using gentle curiosity and listening, while avoiding interrogation or too much talking! As an example of being curious, here are some questions we can ask instead of ‘how was your day?’:

  • What was something that made you laugh today?
  • Did you have any good conversations today?
  • Tell me about something you learned today.
  • Is there anything you’re feeling worried about? Tell me more about that.
  • Were there any moments today when you felt proud of yourself?
  • What was challenging about your day?
  • What was the highlight and lowlight of your day?
  • What are you grateful for today?
  • What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
  • Is there anything you need help with?

With warm regards to the whole school community from us, let’s all take good care of ourselves and each other, and reach out for support where useful.

Renee Callander, on behalf of the Wellbeing Team
Student Wellbeing Manager

Accelerated Curriculum and Enrichment Program

A warm welcome back to the 103 students who will be part of the ACE program at Ashwood High School in 2024, and an especially warm welcome to the 27 students who will be joining us in Year 7 ACE this year.

I would also like to acknowledge the achievement of the 4 students in Year 8 who are participating in the Victorian High-Ability Maths and English programs through Virtual School Victoria in Term 1 this year. Congratulations to these students on their achievement in securing a place in this prestigious program. We wish you all the best with your studies.

Finally, back by popular demand in 2024, this issue will once again feature the segment ‘Spotlight On’ which takes a closer look inside the classrooms of our ACE program. This month, we welcome 9ACE Humanities and their teacher, Mrs Caroline Servadei.

Spotlight on 9ACE Humanities
In Year 9 ACE Humanities, students have been exploring the world’s biomes as part of our studies in Geography this semester. Students were asked to create an annotated visual display of the processes by which biomass accumulates in a biome. They were asked to evaluate the biodiversity and productivity of their chosen biome and explain how these characteristics were connected to the location and latitude of that biome. Some examples of student work have been included below.

Caroline Servadei
Enrichment and Professional Learning Leader

English Learning Area Report

Everyone can be a reader: a new initiative to restore a culture of bookworms
We are thrilled to share with you the exciting news of a new initiative in student’s literacy learning in our Middle School.

Reading for enjoyment has proven to be instrumental in enhancing academic performance and nurturing a lifelong love for learning. Promoting stronger comprehension skills, vocabulary acquisition, and critical thinking abilities among students, the more our children read, the better! We understand that with busy schedules, co-curricular commitments, as well as the lure of devices, internet, films, and games – it can be really challenging to ignite or re-ignite a habit of reading in our teenagers.   

Therefore, as part of our commitment to fostering a love for literature, we have introduced an in-class program that allows students to dedicate 20 minutes a week to read and discuss what they are reading with their peers. This may include the reading of the class text, or something they have borrowed from our amazing new library in the STEAM & Research Centre. We hope to create an environment that encourages students to explore diverse genres, broaden their horizons, and develop a lifelong reading habit.

In addition to the in-class reading program, we also encourage students to attend our fabulous Book Club and Creative Writing Club. This club, led by dedicated teachers and passionate student leaders, plays a crucial role in nurturing a vibrant literary community within our school. Through book discussions, creative writing workshops, and author visits, this club provides endless opportunities for students to engage with literature on a deeper level. We encourage interested parents to support their children's involvement in this club and engage in conversations surrounding their reading experiences.

As parents and carers, your role is pivotal in instilling a love for reading in our students.

You can support your child’s experience of reading by:

  • Taking time to discuss their reading choices, recommend books, and create a cozy reading nook at home – or even ‘family’ reading time
  • By showing your own enthusiasm for literature, you pave the way for your children to develop a lifelong love for reading
  • Positively encourage and celebrate a culture of reading by checking students’ reading logs and ensuring that they are logging their reading time at least once a week.  

The joy and pleasure derived from reading is vital to our students' academic success, personal growth, and mental well-being. With your support, we hope to empower students by providing them all an opportunity to have the identity of a reader – and to reap the benefits of being (or becoming) a bookworm, which in turn will help them to achieve in all facets of their schooling and beyond!   

Michelle Leane
English Learning Area Coordinator

Mathematics Learning Area Report

On behalf of the Maths Learning Area, I would first like to extend my heartfelt welcome to all of our returning and new students this year. I would also like to extend this welcome to teachers to have joined the Maths teaching team: Mr Gin Liu, Mr Luke Goss, and Ms Wing Chan.

There are many opportunities for students to further engage in Maths this year. The first is Maths Club, where students can come by twice a week to seek support from Maths teachers.

Dr Li has taken over the role of organising important events run by the Maths Learning Area. We will be running the Computational, and the highly popular Maths. In 2024, we will also be running Maths Challenge. Places are limited for Maths Challenge, if you are interested, keep an eye out on Compass Newsfeed. If you are interested in any events, come and speak to either Dr Li (Building H Office) or myself (Building G Office).

Curriculum 2.0 is being rolled out in 2025. The Maths Learning Team is hard at work developing an engaging course for students from Years 7 to 10 while we continue to support students to build strong mathematical and numeracy skills.

Jay Chan
Maths Learning Area Coordinator

Science Learning Area Report

The Science Learning Area would like to congratulate Ashwood High School’s new Year 7 students. These young minds have seamlessly settled into Ashwood High School, infusing our science classrooms with enthusiasm.

We're delighted to announce that the Year 7 students have earned their Bunsen Burner Licenses, showcasing their commitment to safety and active participation in hands-on learning experiences.

Our dedicated science educators are fostering an engaging environment, nurturing the curiosity of our Year 7s as they embark on their scientific journey.

Thanks to the entire community for the warm welcome and ongoing support. Let's celebrate the accomplishments of our Year 7s and look forward to their exciting scientific endeavours!

Stephanie Richards
Science Learning Area Coordinator

Humanities Learning Area Report

Dear Students, Parents, and Carers,

As we usher in a new academic year, the Humanities Department at Ashwood High School is thrilled to extend a warm welcome to all. With the start of 2024 comes a plethora of enriching opportunities and experiences awaiting our students, and we are excited to embark on this journey of exploration and discovery together.

First and foremost, we are delighted to introduce the newest members of our Humanities team: Mr Jarrod Cristaldi, Ms Charley Lethlean, Ms Lucy Tu, Ms Jessica Ye, and Ms Angelina Panoussis. With their diverse backgrounds and passion for education, they bring fresh perspectives and invaluable expertise to our Learning Area, enriching the learning experience for our students.

Looking ahead, we have some exciting excursions and fieldwork planned for our students. Our Year 9 cohort will have the chance to delve into the complexities of food security during an upcoming excursion to the bustling Queen Victoria Market. This hands-on experience will provide invaluable insights into sustainable food practices and equitable access to nutritious meals. Meanwhile, our Year 7 students will embark on a captivating journey to explore the rich tapestry of First Nations History in our local area. In the upcoming term, senior history students can look forward to hearing from veterans of the Vietnam War who will share their experiences and insights into wartime events. Their narratives will serve as powerful reminders of the importance of remembrance and reflection.

Last but not least, we are thrilled to announce the addition of ancient Greek History to our Year 7 Humanities curriculum. From the myths of gods and heroes to the birth of democracy, students will embark on an exciting voyage through the cradle of Western civilization.

As we embrace the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead, we look forward to fostering a love for learning, critical thinking, and empathy within our students.

Year 11 History Class doing a mock Treaty of Versailles

Ned Hayward
Humanities Learning Area Coordinator

Creative Arts and Technologies Learning Area Report

I am so impressed with the creativity and innovative thinking of the students at Ashwood High School. Our Year 7 artists have been exploring ‘Modern Art’ using watercolour to imitate Mark Rothko’s style. Years 11 and 12 Art Making and Exhibiting students are excited for their excursion to the ACCA and the NGV this week, to explore and dive deeply into the role of curators and how exhibitions are designed. They have also started their exploration of ideas and materials.

I look forward to developing deeper knowledge in computing as it seems intriguing, I also believe that it could play an important role in our futures as software continues to play a key role in developing and changing the world.” – Liam Calder, Year 10 Computing

With lots of opportunities and focus there are so many exciting things to come in the Creative Arts and Technology areas, and I am looking forward to sharing this with the Ashwood High School community in future newsletters.

Carolyn Hamilton
Creative Arts and Technology Learning Area Coordinator

Health & PE Learning Area Report

Dear Students and Families of Ashwood High School,

Welcome back to the 2024 academic year, it has already been a busy one in the Health/PE Department.

Year 7
The new Year 7s hit the ground running in HPE with eagerness and energy. In PE, students began learning the staple PE games at Ashwood High School such as ‘Benches & Boarotto Ball’ and have recently began participating in ‘Orienteering’ which mixed physical activity and effective communication with peers. In Health, students are learning about the ‘Benefits of Physical Activity’, understanding the importance of being physically active and what positive effects physical activity can have on our physical, social, and mental health.

Year 8
The Year 8s finally started the year as the ‘not new’ kids on the block. In Health/PE, students are learning about ‘Fitness Components’ and applying their knowledge practically. Students are completing various fitness tests/activities that focus on their Aerobic Capacity, Speed, Muscular Endurance, Agility, Muscular Power & Flexibility.

Year 9
The Year 9s have started the year with a new unit. In PE, students are focusing on a unit called ‘AFL 7s. This unit is taught through a Personalised System of Instruction (PSI) model, in which students are working through a booklet that includes instructions, rules, activities and diagrams that will set them up to play a competitive game of ‘AFL 7s’. This unit is student driven, as each student works at their own pace depending on their various skill level. It is an awesome way for everyone students to learn the skills of ‘AFL 7s’ in some capacity.

Year 10
The Year 10s enter the Senior School and have HPE as a semester based subject. In PE, students have learned a plethora of ‘Cultural Games’ that are aimed at students learning non-traditional sports. These include ‘Finska, Mer Kai, Blind Snake & Jianzi’. In Health, students have learned about Respectful Relationships. Students have been completing varying activities, discussions and assessments based on understanding various types of gender and sexuality, the laws of consent, the effects pornography can have on a relationship and one’s brain and domestic violence.

For the first time in years, our VCE subjects have seen full classes in all year levels and subjects. We are super excited to deliver both VCE HHD and PE to both Year 11 and 12 students. Our VCE students are in great hands.

Year 11 HHD: Zoe Schinina and Kiera Bates
Year 12 HHD: Katherine Klopsteins

Year 11PE: James Boarotto
Year 12PE: Harriet Cooper

New Staff  

We welcome three new team members on board for 2024. All three teachers have started tremendously with their enthusiasm and passion for teaching HPE. Fresh with ideas and graduate energy, all three will provide the Health/PE Department and students with a wealth of ideas and excellent teaching practice. Please welcome:

  • Kiera Bates
  • Anna Kipping
  • Charlie Simondson

James Boarotto
HPE Learning Area Coordinator

LOTE Learning Area Report

Bonjour et bonne année!

This year, we are thrilled to welcome two new members to the LOTE team: Ms Tavsaran Kakkar and Ms Kia Van Der Vlit.

The lovely  LOTE team for 2024
From left to right Ms Van Der Vlit, Ms Wang, Ms Marie, Ms Dernikos, Ms Kakkar and Ms Kazis

We are also delighted to announce that both French Study Hall and French Club will be running again this year.

French Study Hall sessions are offered on Tuesdays for students in Years 10 – 12. These sessions are designed to provide additional support to our learners who may require extra assistance with their French studies. Ms Marie and Ms Kakkar will be leading these sessions, and we encourage all senior students to bring their work and studious spirit to Building B after school from 3:30 to 4:30 pm.

French Club will also continue on Thursdays at lunchtime in classroom B05, with the support of Ms Kakkar and Ms Van Der Vlit. This session is specifically tailored for our Middle School students and will provide them with an opportunity to learn French through games or work on upcoming assessments for extra practice. We eagerly anticipate the participation of our students in this enriching activity.

The French Film Festival is scheduled to commence from Wednesday 6 to Thursday 28 March. This year, we are planning excursions in two groups: the first one will involve our Years 9 and 10 mid-term, while the second one will include our Years 11 and 12 at the end of the term. Please stay tuned for more information about these events in the near future. We also encourage our wider school community to consider attending some of the films on offer this year!

We have an exciting year ahead of us, and the LOTE Learning Area is eagerly anticipating the various events we have planned for our students and the entire school community.

Delphine Marie
LOTE Learning Area Coordinator


Director of Sport Report

Welcome back to another year of Ashwood High School Interschool Sport. We will be looking to produce some even better results this year, as we have been steadily growing (both in enrolments and winning teams) since 2016.

You may have noticed the event on Compass titled: Sports Carnivals 2024. This year once again, all 3 Major Whole School Sporting Carnivals, Swimming, Cross Country and Athletics have been bundled into one Compass event. This is to make it easy for families to make one payment of $40 which will cover the cost of running all three Sporting Carnivals.

Parents and carers are encouraged to do this as soon as possible as the first Major Sporting Carnival of the year, the Swimming Carnival is due to take place on Wednesday 28 February (Week 5).

Here is the list of upcoming interschool sports days in Term 1:

As always, if you have any questions, please email me at:

I look forward to another year in the helm as the Director of Sport and continuing to grow from a good to great sporting school.

Rhyannon Bergin – Lacrosse Superstar
It is with great pride and excitement that I am able to share with you the news, that after a gruelling 6-month selection process, Rhyannon has been selected to represent Australia in the U20 National Lacrosse team. The team will compete at the World Lacrosse Championship in Hong Kong during August this year. The World Lacrosse Championship takes place every four years and is contested by more than 20 nations.

The following link provides details of the team announcement from Lacrosse Australia:

NEXT STOP, HONG KONG! Australia name Women’s U20 team determined to continue ascension up U20 podium — Lacrosse Australia

Between now and August Rhyannon will continue a rigorous weekly training program, participate in two interstate training camps and a playing tour of Japan in the lead up to the tournament as well as, once again, representing Victoria in the U18 National Tournament at Easter.

Tom Grbac
Director of Sport

International Student Program

In Term 1 2024, we have 66 international students at Ashwood High School including 24 homestay students. Our students are from China, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, Cambodia, Philippines and USA. 

First of all, I would like to welcome 18 new international students. I am sure you will find Ashwood High School a warm family and a super supportive community.

I also would like to acknowledge the great achievements our international students made in 2023. We had so many award recipients of School Colours, Principal Awards and duxes for different VCE subjects.

In 2023, One Year 12 international student graduate received scholarship from the University of Melbourne and 3 international students received scholarship from Monash University.

And our International Student Captain, Jason Suryanata, has recently been announced the finalist for Victorian Global Learning Awards in 2023.

I am so pleased to be able to witness your growth and I am so proud of you.

In the Year of the Dragon, I sincerely wish everyone to achieve your goals. I look forward to receiving more good news in 2024.

I would like to welcome Kai Yin to join our International Student Program team. Mr Yin is a qualified teacher with Bachelor of Environmental Science from Deakin University and Diploma of Secondary Education from Australian Catholic University.

Mr Yin had experiences teaching at Blackburn English Language School and Mordialloc College before he joined our team at Ashwood High School.

Mr Yin came to Australia as an international student himself and he fully understands the challenges international student have to encounter. Mr Yin is enthusiastic to support international students to achieve their objectives and make their dreams come true.

Speech from Jason Suryanata, International Student Captain
Good afternoon, Dr Moore, staff and my fellow students,

My name is Jason Suryanata, International Student Captain for 2024.

On behalf of all international students here, I would like to thank Dr Moore, Ms McLellan, Ms Reynolds, Ms Cooper and Mr O’Toole for your efforts in supporting our international student community. I would also like to thank the student leadership team for your attendance and support for such a special event.

I would like to first acknowledge the 66 international students with 18 new additions at Ashwood High School. Not the world record by any means, certainly not the least, but quality over quantity - as they say. Each one of you represents something important in life: Courage. Coming to a foreign country - typically with the intent to achieve academic success is very challenging. But it is a wonderful opportunity for us all and a dream that with hard work, dedication and the support from our wonderful school, we can achieve!

This Lunar New Year celebration is not only to honour our culture, heritage, and traditions, but to remind us of our unifying bond as students at Ashwood High School. We are not alone in this journey; every single one of you provides value due to your personal experiences. And I’m sure everyone here is supportive of one another.

I have now been at Ashwood High School for 4 and a half years and it has been an extremely rewarding experience: meeting incredible people, incredible teachers, supportive peers, and a wealth of unforgettable opportunities. Never did I think I would be a part of such a vibrant community - like a colourful and beautiful painting. 

Again, this is only made possible by the support from Dr Moore and staff, particularly Ms Williams, and our newest edition, Mr Yin. A lot of planning has paid off as we attend an organised and wonderful event.

I wish you all the best in anything that you do in 2024, Year of the Dragon.  Happy New Year.

Message from Beli Ng, Middle School International Student Captain
Hi everyone, I am Beli Ng. I am honoured to be representing Ashwood High School’s international student community as the Middle School International Student Captain for 2024.

Last Friday, our school hosted a jubilant celebration of the Lunar New Year, and I had a great honour of being the MC for this auspicious event. The event commenced with an inspiring and blessing address from our principal, Dr Moore. After the principal’s address, Dr Moore distributed red packets to all the international students, these red packets symbolise good fortune and blessings for the year ahead.

The highlight of the celebration was undoubtedly the impressive variety of student performances that showcased the diverse talents within our community. From traditional dances to classical music, each performance reflects the cultural diversity within Ashwood High School.

We are also very pleased to have our School Captains, Emma Hew and Miles Guy, deliver their speech, along with our Middle School Captains, Hannah Williams and Ameer Bux joining us in the celebration.

In closing, I would like to extend my gratitude to all who contributed to our Lunar New Year celebration, especially Mrs. Williams and Mr Yin.

I am looking forward to work closely with the school leadership team and help international student integrate into our inclusive school community.

Best wishes for the Year of the Dragon.

Lunar New Year Celebration

Our annual Lunar New Year Celebration was held on Friday 9 February 2024. All international students attended and enjoyed the event.

A special thank you to Dr Moore and the school leadership team for supporting the event onsite. We would also like to thank our School Captains, Emma Hew, Miles Guy as well as our Middle School Captains Hannah Williams and Ameer Bux for their kind support.  

Dr Moore’s red packet presentation was indeed the highlight of the whole event. The event well demonstrated the care and support from our school, and it really made international students feel Ashwood High School is their home away from home.

Thank you to Jason Suryanata, our school International Student Captain and Beli Ng, Middle School International Student Captain for acting as MCs for the event. I also would like to thank two volunteer photographers, Lihe Wang and Mike Mao. Your effort is much appreciated.

Well done to all our amazing student performers, Zihan Shen, Felix Xu, Xinyan Guan, Yuanhao Lan, Anya Zhu, Rin Nishimura, Jiyun Zhong, Mingyao Huo, Lima Li, Aurora Wang, Harvey Cai and Yingtong Chen. Thank you for your effort and wonderful performance. 

The successful event not only strengthened international students’ belonging to our school community, but also supported the global learning and engagement at Ashwood High School.

Offshore International Student Activity in Shanghai China
Three of our enrolled students, Peihua Cai, Kexin (Keke) Liu and Ziqing Liu participated in the Pre-departure Seminar hosted by Study Melbourne for Victorian government school in Shanghai China during the school holidays. Our students had wonderful experiences at the event. Keke made an Ashwood High School T-shirt for herself. Here are some of the photos.

Yonghong Williams
International Student Manager

Careers & Pathways

It has been a great start to the year for careers! During the first week Ms. Hechenberger was lucky enough to be invited to attend the Year 12 Study Advance to deliver their last ever Career Action Plan session. From what has been seen so far, we have a very ambitious Class of 2024 Congratulations and stick with your plans. For the Year 12s who have not yet completed you still have time, if you need a refresher you will find the student user guide here – or contact Ms Hechenberger via email at to set up a time to go through the Career Action Plan (CAP) process.

For Years 7 to 11, you will also be completing your Career Action Plans throughout the year.

Structured Workplace Learning (SWL)
The 2024 VCE – Vocational Major class have started their search for industry related placements including Hospitality, Horticulture, Carpentry, Automotive – Mechanical, Cookery, Information Technology, Business, Allied Health Assistance, Early Childhood Education and Care, Electrotechnology (Electrician), Plumbing, Salon Assistant (Hair Dressing), Equine Studies, Sport & Recreation, and Dance.

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 Ms Robertson 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.

Year 10 – Work Experience
Following on from their information session last year the current Year 10 students are working to source Work Experience placements. During the information session the students learnt the basic of Work Experience:

  • When is Work Experience and the duration?
    • Monday 16 September 2024 – Friday 20 September 2024, one full working week – 5 days.
  • Who is responsible for finding my placement?
    • You are, however, Ms. Robertson is always here to help and offer guidance.
  • What is my deadline for securing placement?
    • Friday 28 June 2024

Year 10 students also received a Work Experience information packs which included a letter for parents and carers. If you missed out on a pack, please email Ms Robertson direct at, and Ms Robertson will organise one for you.

With the holidays just around the corner it is a great time for Year 10 students to source their Work Experience placement for September.

Some tips for sourcing placement include;

  • Local councils are quite good as they offer structured work experience programs for schools:
  • Also, use your connections!It’s not what you know but who you know. Ask your aunties, uncles, cousins, older siblings, friends, neighbours, and acquaintances if they can offer you a work experience position within their organisation.

Jodie Hechenberger
Careers and Pathways Coordinator

Kristin Robertson   
Jobs, Skills and Pathways Assistant Coordinator


giving back to the community.

The Ashwood High School Library

The Mission
The Library’s mission is to; promote information literacy, foster a love of reading, and support teaching and learning at Ashwood High School by providing students and staff with access to relevant, up to date, well-managed information resources.

Open Hours
The Library is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 4:30pm. All students are welcome to use the space for quiet reading and individual study before school, at recess and lunchtimes, and after school (No food or drinks please).

 A comfortable, quiet space for reading and study

Online Access
The library is currently transitioning from Infiniti to a more user-friendly Library management system, Accessit. Accessit will provide staff and students with anywhere anytime access to the Library’s catalogue, and online resources. The new library homepage will be found at Compass > School Favourites (star icon) > Library.

The Library aims to facilitate student research with access to up-to-date resources in a variety of formats. Our broad collection of non-fiction books is complemented by two excellent, online research databases: Links Plus. and Britannica School. These online resources will be searchable through the Library’s Accessit catalogue, and they are highly recommended as initial go-to sites for all student research.

Recreational Reading
Reading makes us happier and healthier. To support and broaden the reading culture at Ashwood High School, the Library has a wonderful, ever-growing, fiction collection full of classic novels, trending best sellers. and highly acclaimed graphic novels. All are available for loan and all loans must be registered before leaving the Library.

Premiers’ Reading Challenge
The Premiers’ Reading Challenge is opening soon. Ashwood High School Year 7-10 students are automatically registered and are invited to participate. It is not a competition, but a personal challenge for Victorian students to read more and to read more broadly. Every Ashwood High School student who participates will earn five House points and those who successfully complete the challenge will earn thirty house points and receive a certificate of achievement signed by the Victorian Premier. Check the library website for more details.

Remember to find time to enjoy reading every day.

Matt Feeney


Student Culture

It has been an exciting start to the year for me in my new portfolio as the Director of Student Voice, Inclusion and Agency this year at Ashwood High School.

Being a part of this school community for many years now, I have witnessed the vibrant student culture. The spirit of collaboration, respect and academic excellence that defines Ashwood High School today is a testament to our Principal Dr Brett Moore, the dedicated staff and of course the incredible students. With a priority of enhancing student voice and agency in learning, it is clear that Ashwood High School realises the importance of not only fostering academic success but providing students will the opportunities to have their say, have fun at school, try new things, develop their passions (or make new ones!) ready to make a positive impact on the world and their own lives.

Student Clubs at Ashwood High School is one way we provide students with these opportunities.

Rationale for 2024 Student Clubs at Ashwood High School:

Ashwood High School's educational philosophy emphasises nurturing critically aware, reflective, resilient, confident, and independent learners who will be positive contributors to the world. Student clubs serve as a vital extension of the classroom, providing fertile ground for students to cultivate these essential qualities beyond the traditional curriculum. ​

Amplifying CHOIR Values: Clubs provide a vibrant platform for students and staff to enact the CHOIR values in action.​

Expanding the Wellbeing Model: Aligning perfectly with the CREATE Wellbeing Model (Curiosity, Relatedness, Empathy, Thankfulness, and Exercise) each club relates to aspects of our wellbeing model.

Developing Well-Rounded Individuals: Clubs empower students to take ownership of their learning journey.

 Ashwood High School’s Student Clubs are reflective of the four pillars of our great school: Academic Excellence; Sporting Excellence; Creative Arts; Civics; Citizenship and Leadership.

I am excited to announce the 23 Student Clubs available at Ashwood High School in 2024:  

I wish to thank and acknowledge the work of our wonderful staff and student leaders who will oversee each of these clubs and encourage families to sign up for multiple clubs via the links provided on Compass Newsfeed.

Families and students can find more detail about what each club is about in the 2024 Student Clubs Handbook and reference the timetable which is available on Compass > Community Tab > School Documentation > Student Clubs.

I trust all of the Ashwood High School Community has had a positive start to the year and I look forward to working with the community on improving our student voice, agency and inclusion outcomes this year in 2024.

Sachael Miller
Director of Student Voice, Inclusion and Agency

Study Hall
To parents and carers of Middle School students, a note to  let you know that at Ashwood High School, we offer Study Hall to Middle School Students (Years 7-9). This is a time that students can use to catch up with homework etc. This will start on Thursday 15 February and operate each Thursday from 3.30-4.30pm in the Library (Building H). There will be a Maths/Science teacher supervising the sessions.

Michael Cifra
After School Homework Coordinator

Parents & Friends Network Committee

Fundraising, Revenue & Building Works

Parent Payments
Ashwood High School has introduced a new structure for parent payments.  It is a payment of $460.00 for Years 7 – 12 students. Years 9 and 10 students pay $460.00 and an additional $160.00 for electives.  Thank you to the families who made their payments prior to the end of the year and to families who have paid this year your contributions are greatly appreciated.

Information for parent payments has been added to the Compass Portal.  There are a variety of methods of payment available.

Ashwood High School values the high level of support it receives from families. Your contributions continue to assist us to broaden the educational experience of our students.  It has allowed us to provide: 

  • Student leadership and team building sessions
  • New classroom furniture
  • Award ceremonies
  • Education Resource Centre equipment – Library fund donations
  • New outdoor learning centre – Building Fund donations
  • Classroom resources
  • Gym equipment
  • Media equipment and resources
  • Art equipment and resources

Camps Sport Excursion Fund
CSEF applications can be submitted to reception by Friday 28 June 2024.  For secondary school students the amount received will be $250.00.  This funding must be spent on school camps or trips, swimming and school organised sport programs, outdoor education programs, excursions and incursions.

If you are eligible for the CSEF fund and haven’t submitted a form or your family situation has changed, please contact reception on 9807 1333.

Accident Insurance and Ambulance Cover
Parents/Carers are reminded that the Department does not provide personal accident insurance or ambulance cover for students. Parents and guardians of students, who do not have student accident insurance/ambulance cover, are responsible for paying the cost of medical treatment for injured students, including the cost of ambulance attendance or transport as well as any other transport costs.

As there is no whole-of-school policy for student accidents or ambulance cover, you are reminded that:

  • parents or guardians of students, who do not have student accident insurance, are responsible for paying the cost of medical treatment for injured students including the cost of ambulance attendance or transport as well as any other transport costs; and
  • parents or guardians can purchase insurance policies from commercial insurers.

Personal Property
Parents, carers and staff are reminded that the Department does not hold insurance for personal property brought to schools and it has no capacity to pay for any loss or damage to such property.

This can include mobile phones, calculators, toys, sporting equipment and cars parked on school premises.  Students and staff should be discouraged from bringing any unnecessary or particularly valuable items to school.

A warning to the school community to read parking restrictions signs outside the school.  The City of Monash frequents Vannam Drive during pick up and drop off times to ensure the safety of the school community on the roads.  Families have been booked in the past for stopping and letting their children out of the car in restricted areas.  A caution to students to use the attended crossing during drop off and pick up.  Vannam Drive is a busy thoroughfare during the day and student safety is of utmost importance. 

The Administration Car park (Gate B) is for visitors only and not for student drop off or pick up.

Annual privacy reminder for our school community
Our school collects, uses, discloses and stores student and parent personal information for standard school functions or where permitted by law, as stated in the Schools’ Privacy Policy.

We ask parents/carers to also review the guidance we provide on how we use Microsoft 365 safely at the school and what parents can do to further protect their child’s information. If after reviewing the guidance, you have any questions or concerns regarding your child using Microsoft 365, please contact the school.

For more information about privacy, refer to:  Schools’ Privacy Policy — information for parents.  This information is also available in ten community languages:

  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • Dari
  • Gujarati
  • Mandarin
  • Somali
  • Sudanese
  • Turkish
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese

Fundraising is a function of the School Council and Council must approve all school-related fundraising events or activities on behalf of our school.

Debbie Whitehouse
Director of Business

HPV Immunisation Resource for Schools, Parents and Students

Dear Parents/Carers,

The Cancer Council have developed a digital toolkit with information, content and resources on HPV and the HPV vaccine

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine used in Australia, Gardasil 9, is safe, effective, and protects against nine types of HPV that cause almost all cervical cancers, other HPV-related cancers and genital warts. 

However, in Victoria, repercussions of COVID-19 school lockdowns and other health related barriers associated with the pandemic has seen HPV vaccination coverage decline across the state, putting young Victorians at greater risk of cervical cancer, other HPV-related cancers and diseases in the future. 

To help support parents to protect their children against HPV-related cancers and diseases we are asking schools to include this information in their school newsletters and information to parents.

Our service will be coming out to your school to vaccinate the Year 7 cohort against HPV this year but all other students who have missed this vaccine, can access this vaccine at any of our community immunisation sessions.  Bookings for these sessions can be found here:

If you have any questions about any of the above please email

Kind regards,

City of Monash Immunisation Team