Things that can happen in a year….
Warrandyte High School has a lot to cheer!
It is almost twelve months, to the day, that I found out I had been appointed to the position of Principal at our wonderful school. I vividly recall the privilege I felt upon receiving the phone call from our School Council President, Simone Spence, to let me know the good news. Although the journey to Principalship carried its challenges, hard work and experiences in many different roles, it was a journey I always knew I was destined to take. How very lucky I feel twelve months on to have been given such the opportunity to lead our school – to work with our amazing and dedicated staff, our talented and compassionate students and be so well supported by our parents, and wider community. Within these past twelve months we have seen some significant changes to the school including our facilities, our work around improving school culture, new (and returning) staff and we have welcomed many new families. While much work has commenced, and been reported on in previous newsletters, there is always more to do, and I look forward to leading that journey with our staff, students and wider community for many years to come.
This newsletter will no doubt highlight all of the exciting events that have been happening across the school over the last half of Term 2. I would also like to share a few of my own highlights that have made me extremely proud to be the Principal at Warrandyte High School. As always, our students on the sporting field have been outstanding and I commend all of them for representing our school so well.
We’ve had a range of excursions and incursions, First Aid Training, Instrumental Music Tour, and several cross-age events with our Primary School students. I have also had the opportunity, on many occasions, to be in classrooms taking classes when we have been short on staff. I have loved every minute of being in our classrooms, getting to know our students, and supporting them with their learning.
The term sure has flown by, but we have achieved so much in such a short span of nine weeks. Our senior students have been extremely busy, most recently completing exams at Years 9, 10 and 11 and our Year 12 students sitting the GAT last week. All students have also been completing important assessments in class, which will be reported on using our continuous reporting on Compass, and our staff have been equally busy assessing students work and finalising results for students and parents to access through Compass and our Semester 2 reports.
These reports will be available to you at the end of this term.
Two of my favourite events from this term, in particular, have been our Italian Day and the brilliant production ‘Matilda the Musical’.
Italian Day at Warrandyte High School
Recently, Warrandyte High School was awash with green, white and red (the colours of the Italian Flag), as the whole school celebrated Italian Day! For a gold coin donation, students (and staff) were invited to come dressed in any combination of green, white and red. It was so wonderful seeing so many students, teachers and support staff getting in on the act.
The Student Voice Council organised this event and they did a magnificent job. A gelato truck was onsite throughout lunchtime which was a huge hit. Did you know that both gelato and soft serve ice cream originated in Italy!
Students had the option to challenge the teachers in a game of soccer. A pasta making and focaccia making master class was also on offer, hosted by one of our Food Teachers.
Student Voice Council members also organised a bocci (Italian lawn bowls) tournament where you could have a go playing a game or two.
Another Italian cooking class was also happening on the day: a Tiramisu making master class, hosted by one of our amazing Italian teachers. Isn’t tiramisu the best dessert this side of the solar system!!!
Speaking of food – the canteen served, on Italian Day, a plethora of delicious Italian meals. Everything from lasagna and ravioli to 4 different types of pizza! Cannoli and Italian doughnuts were also big sellers at the canteen on the day!
The colour! The soccer! The cooking! The bocci! The eating! The dressing up! An extended lunchtime enabled the students to fully immerse in the many activities.
Italian is indeed our LOTE subject. All students in Year 7 and 8 study Italian and it is then offered as an elective thereafter. With Covid-Normal now upon us, our biannual trip to Italy is on the horizon – this is where our students have the life changing opportunity to take a gondola ride in Venice! A gelato in Rome! A pizza in Florence! And so much more!
Congratulations to the Student Voice Council for organising this day! What will they organise next?
Theatre is Alive and Well at WHS
Following on from the huge success of ‘The Show Must Go On’ last year, it has been incredible to watch an even bigger and better show being put together this year with our production of ‘Matilda the Musical’. Months of rehearsals, late nights and holidays, our students have done a phenomenal job with this show and to have all four of our shows sell-outs was sensational.
I would like to personally thank Gavin Andrew – our Musical Director/Production Manager/human extraordinaire who has committed much of his life over the past four months to ensuring this production would be as great as it was. He is an incredible person and our whole school community thank him for all of the work, commitment, dedication and love he has put into the show.
Most importantly though – are our students. For those of you who were lucky enough to see the production, you will no doubt agree that it was simply incredible. The amazing talent that shone through each and every show is such a credit to them – to their dedication, to their love of theatre and they are all a credit to our school – well done to each and every cast and crew member. What a show!
Real Schools – Our School
Earlier this term, our Real Schools facilitator, Cassie Kitani, presented the ‘Parent Information Evening’ and we were extremely pleased to see many parents attending that evening. Cassie, with her wit and knowledge, informed parents about the Real Schools Program and what it means for the students at our school. From next term, I will be providing arrange of reading material for our parents so that you know what is happening at Warrandyte High School to build our culture of ‘High Expectations’.
Vision for a Vibrant VCE Centre
One thing I noticed when I started here at Warrandyte High School was that certain areas of the school were looking tired – and simply needed a facelift. While our Art/Technology Building has received a huge injection of money for our Capital Works Project (which is now nearing completion – and will be reported on in the next newsletter!), there were other areas of the school that needed a coat of paint and some new furniture. Starting with the main office, we have been able to transform that space into an inviting area for visitors. The second area to tackle was one of the most important in the school – the VCE Study Centre. Our VCE students deserve a space that is comfortable, inviting and conducive to excellent study practices. Over the past few weeks, we have managed to not only paint out the entire space, but also install new furniture – and the results speak for themselves! A great transformation.
Following extensive consultation with students, parents and staff, I am pleased to announce that from 2024 Warrandyte High School will be providing a changed teaching and learning schedule for our students. From the beginning of next year, students will study five periods a day, with each period being 60 minutes long. See the 2024 daily schedule below:
8:55 Period 1 Warning Bell
9:00 Period 1 (60 mins)
10:00 Period 2 (60 mins)
11:00 Recess (30 mins)
11:25 Period 3 Warning Bell
11:30 Period 3 (60 mins)
12:30 Period 4 (60 mins)
1:30 Lunch (40 mins)
2:05 Period 5 Warning Bell
2:10 Period 5 (60 mins)
3:10 End of Day
Your uniform, your say
One of my key priorities upon starting here at Warrandyte High School was to ensure each and every student felt comfortable and safe coming to school. It is also important to me that students who attend Warrandyte High School do so with pride. Wearing correct and school uniform is an important part of school identity – but pride in wearing uniform only comes when students are happy to wear it. This is the reason we have conducted our ‘WHS Uniform Review’ throughout this term.
Students, parents and staff were all provided the opportunity to share their views on our current uniform, and possibilities for change in 2024. We now have all of the data from those surveys and this will be presented at our June School Council meeting. From there, throughout Term 3, we will work with uniform suppliers and develop a proposal that will need to be endorsed by school council to enact several important uniform changes. Any changes that are made will be done so to enable families to purchase uniform that is affordable, while also incorporating the views from these surveys. As you can understand however, it will not be possible to provide each and every item on the ‘wish’ list, but we will endeavour to present a proposal to School Council which will ensure our uniform is comfortable, appropriate and something our students choose to wear with pride. More updates will be provided throughout next term.
Teaching & Learning: putting the students at the centre
You may have had your child come home this term to tell you that I have been coming around to classrooms to talk to students about ‘engagement in learning’.
One of our focus areas in teaching and learning this term has been to investigate what makes learning engaging for students – and what doesn’t. It has been great to collect a range of honest feedback from a range of students about this topic and they have provided us with a lot to reflect on. I recently presented this data – straight from the mouths of our students – to our staff. Throughout Semester 2, our staff will be investigating a range of strategies to make learning more engaging for our students.
As part of ensuring our school is one of ‘Teaching & Learning Excellence’ our staff have worked hard this semester to review and rejuvenate our ‘Instructional Model’.
An Instructional Model is basically a blueprint for what happens in a classroom – a guaranteed and viable way of ensuring the highest quality teaching and learning program. I am including the model for you, in this newsletter, so that you are aware of the way in which our teachers will be structuring their lessons over the coming terms. This model has only just been developed so there is still some professional learning planned for staff in Terms 3 and 4, but these posters will be in every classroom so that our students also know what their learning journey each lesson will look like.
Over the term break, I will be travelling overseas – to Vietnam and Cambodia. This trip is an extremely important aspect of our International Student Program which involves attending Education Fairs, meeting with recruitment agents and potential families to recruit international students to attend Warrandyte High School. Like all schools, our International Program has suffered since Covid hitting in 2020 so I am looking forward to travelling to these countries to build this program up again.
I will be away from June 30 – July 12 and Mr Caruana will be Acting Principal while I am away.
Finally, I would like to wish all of our students and staff a lovely Winter break – you have all worked extremely hard this term, and I am very proud of all that has been achieved in the space of nine weeks. Refresh, relax and unwind – we will see you all back, ready for Term 3 on Monday July 10.
Showcasing Student Success Stories in Design Technology
We showcase a selection of outstanding woodwork products created by students, each a testament to their talent and dedication. The year 9/10 Materials Technology students created stunning handcrafted book shelves, chopping boards and wall clocks that transforms living spaces to elegant wooden utensils that elevate everyday experiences. The year 11 Design Tech students had to redesign the existing desktop organizer following given criteria. They came up with very creative and interesting designs. These products exemplify the exceptional craftsmanship of these young students working under difficult conditions with limited tools and machines. We are all looking forward to moving into the newly renovated Art/Technology block next term.
Fitness Testing Incursion with the Year 12 VCE PE Student
On 30th May the Year 12 VCE PE students had an incursion with METS performance and during this time we had Josh Evans participate in a VO2 Max test and Ethan Spence perform a Wingate Anaerobic Capacity Test.
The rest of the VCE class were busy completing the fitness testing booklet in which they were looking at the energy systems and fatigue whilst at the same time getting behind Josh and Ethan on the bike. Nick from METS did a great job challenging students in their learning and providing them with first-hand experience of fitness tests that regularly feature in VCE exams and can only be performed with specialised equipment found in university labs and with elite fitness testing companies such as METs. Well done once again to Josh and Ethan for your great performances on the bike.
The library was the lucky recipient of a sparling new suite of furniture. Parked next to the Fiction collection, it is the perfect place to snuggle up with mates or a book during these colder months!
Warrandyte once again welcomed Diamond Valley to our beautiful ground to compete in an academy match. Conditions were perfect, and already having one match under their belt, WHS were ready to go.
The match was evenly contested from start to finish. DV pulled away to a 5-goal lead 6 minutes into the last quarter. But with the crowd behind them WHS rallied back and closed the margin to 1 point with a minute to go. But sadly, they ran out of time, with the final scores being WHS 10.11.71 to DV 10.12.72.
Next term we’ll be hosting Heathmont College, which looks to be an exciting match up.
Term 2 Sport Review
What a busy term it has been for Warrandyte High School and Interschool Sport. Sports days have included Senior Basketball, Senior Soccer, Girls AFL, Boys Netball, Senior Netball, Senior AFL, Intermediate Soccer, Intermediate AFL, Intermediate Netball, Division Cross Country, Regional Cross Country, Year 8 AFL, Year 8 Soccer, Year 8 Netball, Year 7 Soccer and Year 7 Netball. Congratulations to all students who have involved themselves in these days.
The first day out was for the Senior Basketball and Senior Soccer. All teams had a great day out a persisted hard All teams showed true sportsmanship and persistence throughout the day, which was truly appreciated by all staff. Representing our school at interschool competitions with such pride, is a true testament to the type of individuals you are.
10th May was a very busy day with our Girls AFL and Boys Netball teams’ competition and what a great day out it was. Both the junior girls and senior girls AFL teams came runners up in a very competitive competition. It was fantastic to see our year 9&10 students challenge themselves in the senior competition and for some of the junior girls it was their first competitive AFL game. In total 5 boys netball teams were entered, and all showed tremendous growth throughout the day in a sport some had little knowledge of. All teams played hard throughout the entire day, displaying excellent teamwork and sportsmanship. Well done to all students
It was a great final sports day for our seniors at AFL and Netball. All teams played their absolute best in some challenging conditions with no bench and persevering through fatigue. All teams showed tremendous teamwork and sportsmanship. The Warrandyte High School community is very proud of our senior students. A big thank you to those in year 12 who participated in their final interschool sports day and have represented the school for many years.
Battling the weather did not deter the year 9&10 Warrandyte High School students from participating in the interschool sports competition. With teams down players due to late illness and injury all teams gave 100% and represented the school with pride and determination. The boys AFL with only 16 players fought hard in every game finishing 3rd overall. The girls Netball had a tough day but at no stage did they give up continually looking at ways to improve. With only 8 players the mixed Soccer team ran their hearts out challenging every ball and applying pressure to the opposition and attacking the goals hard. All students should be very proud of their efforts.
It was a great day out at the division cross country. All Warrandyte High School students ran their best with Joel Denny winning the 14-year-old male event and Rafael Martini coming 3rd in the 20-year-old male event. 5 other students Arabella Bailey, Sierra West, Grace Myers, Dillon Vidanapathirana and Atalia Kelly will also progress with Joel and Rafael to the regional competition where we wish them the very best. I congratulate all students on their efforts and encouragement of each other. It was great to hear the Warrandyte chant being yelled around the track.
Another great sports day out for Warrandyte High School students was the year 8 interschool sports day where students in year 8 represented the school in soccer and netball and combined with some year 7’s in the year 8 AFL team. All teams did an exceptional job. The Soccer team tried hard all day with no subs chasing down every ball and defending under pressure. The 2 netball teams also played with no subs and with one team down a player challenged ever pass and made some great shots to finish 3rd and 2nd in their divisions. The combined AFL team improved in each game with some great tackling and teamwork just going down in a tightly contested grand final. Congratulations to all students involved.
I congratulate all students who have represented Warrandyte High School during the term 2 Interschool Sports program and thank senior students who have gone out and helped to coach, score and umpire the junior teams. I look forward to another busy and hopefully successful term 3.
VCE VET Sport and Recreation
It has been a busy term for the VCE VET Sport and Recreation students gaining valuable practical experience and obtaining industry qualifications. Whilst the unit 1&2 VET Sport and Recreation students completed their first aid certificate and responding to emergency situations the unit 3&4 VET Sport and Recreation students updated their CPR qualification. Whilst part of their course, it is also terrific for these students to gain this knowledge and experience for their family and local community. All students should be extremely proud of themselves and the maturity and leadership they demonstrated throughout the course.
For three weeks, as part of their course, the units 3&4 VET Sport and Recreation students visited Andersons Creek Primary School to coach the grade 6 students the skills of soccer and AFL. It was a fantastic opportunity for the VET REC students to put into practice the theory they had been learning about coaching beginner level participants and was great to see the students developing their coaching skills over the three weeks. It was also terrific to see the relationships that were developed between the VET REC students and the primary school students and how the VET REC students worked with the primary school students individually, in small groups and as a large group to ensure all the primary school students had a good experience and learnt something. Each week the VET REC students carefully planned sessions to enable students to develop the key skills in the games of Soccer and AFL. The feedback from the Andersons Creek PE teacher was that she was extremely impressed by the high school students. They were very professional and worked extremely well with all the grade 6 students.
Some feedback from the primary school students included:
“They were very helpful and we learnt a lot from them”
“They were excellent role models and they made it fun”
“I liked how we learnt something new”
“I enjoyed it because we got to meet new older kids, and I had fun”
“It was awesome”
As their teacher I was extremely impressed with the behaviour of all students and how much they developed over the sessions. All students took their roles seriously and were prepared for every session ensuring a positive outcome for all participants. Congratulations to all VET REC students as you represented yourselves and the school with full integrity, respect and excellence.
Thank you to these fabulous local business for sponsoring our School Production ‘Matilda’