Principal’s Report August 2021

Dear students, staff, parents, guardians and carers

Amidst the turbulence of our times, I want to express a heartfelt appreciation of our school community. Many people, not least myself as the Principal, are realising the true value of schools, not only to provide education, but also to bring people together and to support individuals.

The UNESCO Report, Education in a Post Covid World: Nine Ideas for Action, makes nine points, but I want to particularly mention the first one, which speaks to the Education State’s objective to balance excellence and equity:

Commit to strengthen education as a common good. Education is a bulwark against inequalities. In education as in health, we are safe when everybody is safe; we flourish when everybody flourishes. 

I have also been reflecting on how apt the first paragraph of Fitzroy High School’s vision is:

Fitzroy High School values children as individual learners who are full of potential and capable of excellence. Our students will be lifelong learners, reflective and creative thinkers, responsible and active citizens, and resilient and adaptable problem solvers able to navigate through an uncertain and constantly changing future.

Bright Spots
Last week was Book Week, which ended on Friday with a wonderful collage of students and staff showcasing their attire for both Book Week and Wear it Purple day! Part of Book Week was the Senior Students Vs Staff Reading Challenge, which was a lot of fun. Some younger students also participated in the Write a Book in a Day challenge. They completed their book last Monday – all 4873 words of it – and have thus far raised $1030 for the Kids’ Cancer Project. If you would like to get behind them, head to this website. Thankyou to Imogen, Clare, Tim, Annie and many others for supporting these wonderful initiatives and creating opportunities for us all.

There has also been the Virtual Challenge (Run/Ride/Skate/Walk) which has kept many students and staff active. Thankyou to Shannon and the Health and Phys Ed team for sharing this with everyone.

Another bright spot has been the year 10 to 11 and the year 11 to 12 subject selection interviews. I was lucky enough to be a panel member for some of these interviews. Every year I enjoy being part of these interviews, where I often see the best in our students. This year in particular, I was impressed and humbled by the courage and honesty, as well as the level of deep self reflection, that students exhibited, as they talked about their hopes, their dreams, in some cases their fears. I was reminded of how impressive our advisory and careers program is, along with the recently redeveloped personal learning plan and the work done in year 10 Discover. Thankyou to Paul, Vanessa, Lucy, Louise, Tyson and the rest of Scarlet 10 and Scarlet teams.

Updated Dress Code Policy
After many months of consultation with various stakeholders and careful redrafting, School Council has completed work on the Dress Code policy. The school recognises that it is important to discuss elements of the policy with staff and students, so it will be communicated early next term when we hope to be back in person. Time will be spent in staff meetings and advisories going through the policy and ensuring its smooth and consistent implementation. Although the policy is based around free dress and no uniform, student focus groups have indicated that there is interest in the school offering some optional items of clothing that incorporate the school colours and logo, rather like the sports shirt. The senior student focus groups at both Fitzroy High School and Collingwood College have expressed that they would also like some optional garments that identify them with the newsenior campus. We will be calling on students early in  Term 4 to discuss possibilities so that we can order garments in time for purchase in 2022.

Student Achievements
The year 7 and 9 NAPLAN results have arrived at the school this week. All students who participated will be posted their results and certificates, including a year 9 certificate of achievement for eligible students, the first time that this has been provided by the VCAA. I will report on the results once we have gone through the data and analysed more precisely where we are at as a school, however I can say that I am very pleased with many of the results, which have  excellent learning growth.

The Tutor Learning Initiative is another area where I have seen terrific learning growth, whether it is from the students in the Quicksmart literacy program; the students being supported by an additional teacher in the Maths classroom; or the senior students receiving one on one or small group support for specific VCE and VCAL subjects and skills. Today I participated in a review of this important DET initiative, conducted by Deloitte. Schools are eagerly awaiting news of whether the initiative will continue next year; I will keep you updated. In the meantime, I would like to thank all of staff, as well as the participants in the Tutor Learning Initiative, and I wish them well.

I would also like to wish the year 12 students well as they embark on their final weeks of learning before exams. I know that they are supported by a hard-working and dedicated team of teachers, as well as by parents, guardians and carers who have often gone above and beyond. I would like to remind everyone that, as much as we want our students to do as well as possible in their year 12 endeavours, those results, those study scores, those ATARs are only one element of a much bigger picture of what every individual can achieve in life. It is very important to put year 12 into
perspective when we are dealing with as much turmoil as we are at the moment in the world.

Staff Appointments
The school has recently appointed Louie Dalzell as Science and Outdoor Education teacher; Sean Vah, physical education and health teacher; as well as Caleb Schultz, Humanities teacher. Maria Foster has moved on to other ventures and we thank her for her many years of service at Fitzroy High School.

Upcoming events
On Monday September 6, there will be an Indigo Creators and Makers Day, a chance for our Year 7 and 8 students, families and staff to engage in some creative time away from screens, devices and Google Meet, as well as an opportunity to foster wellbeing and community engagement. We want to remind our students that they are part of a vibrant creative community and we want to acknowledge the same of our staff. Thankyou to the Indigo team for organising this and I very much look forward to seeing what is created!

Three way conferences were held for the senior students earlier this term. Thankyou to those teachers and families that participated in this important feedback opportunity. We have decided to delay the three way conferences for year 7-10 students due to the situation we are currently in. We will proceed with these early next term and will let you know as soon as we have more certainty about the return to onsite learning. In the meantime, teachers have been completing feedback on student progress in the learning tasks on Compass, some of which have needed to be modified because of the recent lockdown and its impact on specific subject areas.

The year 9 camp, which was to happen just before we went into lockdown, has been rescheduled for the end of the year. We are unsure at this stage whether we will be able to hold a year 8 camp.

Another event to look forward to is the Arts Party in mid November. Students have signed up for various contributing Excels; Specialist and CRE8 classes will also be represented as part of the offerings. The Arts Party is in place of the school production which would normally have been held this year, as well as an acknowledgement that the school cabaret last year was an online event instead of a live one. We are very hopeful that this year we can have a festive, live event, which will showcase the creative work in all of the arts and from all year levels. This will be a wonderful
opportunity for people to get together and to celebrate, after what has been a difficult time for us.

As I sign off, I want to remind you of the many opportunities for wellbeing support that are available to you. Many of these are posted regularly on Compass and the website. Other supports are given through individual student-parent-teacher-wellbeing team contact, which I know lately has been even more of a focus than usual. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need to. Thankyou to all of the people who make this happen every day, especially Linda and Jamie.

Lastly I want to acknowledge the people who are onsite at school, supporting vulnerable students and children of authorised workers where this is allowed. Ross, Rachel, Ian, Melissa, Amanda, Molly, William, Bianca, the IT staff and our leadership team, all contribute to making Fitzroy High School a comfortable and welcoming space. We can all look forward to some spring sunshine and longer, warmer days.

Kind regards
Linda Mitchell, Principal

Principal’s Report June 2021

Dear school community

Firstly, thank you for your continued support and cooperation during recent weeks and months as we have all needed to act quickly and be flexible in response to the Covid lockdown. However, it is not only the recent lockdown that has been challenging. Recent research has shown that 2021 has already been a difficult year for the community, especially for young people. I recently heard Dr Rob Gordon speak at a principal network meeting. Dr Gordon is a clinical psychologist who has been working in the field of disaster recovery since the Ash Wednesday bushfires. He made a number of interesting points:

  • We can often expect a lag between a traumatic event(s) and their impact on health and wellbeing
  • The impact of lockdown on social connection (even where academic learning isn’t negatively affected) has been significant in relation to social development and maturation. This is especially important for teenagers.
  • Social connection is a key element of wellbeing and in an educational context might be considered ‘oxygen for learning’
  • Sharing our understanding and perspectives is an important part of making sense of our experience, even though there may be a limited number of things we can do to address the issues

There are several videos from Dr Gordon available on the internet. Here is one from September 2020 which, although created at a time when the context was somewhat different, is still pertinent. This is the link if you are interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNup_FZtr00

Victorian Certificate of Education Premier’s Award

Congratulations to Lana Knezevic, Fitzroy High School Class of 2020, who has been given a Premier’s VCE Award for her results in Croatian undertaken at the Victorian School of Languages as part of her Year 12 studies. We wish Lana all the best and will be there to help celebrate at the upcoming awards ceremony.

Volunteering

There has been a strong desire from the school community to contribute to the school through volunteering in different ways, some of which have been delayed due to Covid 19.  I would like to draw your attention to “The Shed” project which was communicated a couple of weeks ago through Compass. We have already had some great responses to that communication. The Garden Club has been running successfully for the past few months and I would like to congratulate James Hardie, as well as the parents who have been involved, for the fantastic work done in the kitchen garden as well as some of the indigenous gardens around the school. The latest request for volunteering in the canteen is another opportunity for parents, and we hope to see lots of responses to that. Please note that Volunteers Policy, under Our School-Policies, should be consulted before volunteering, especially with regard to a volunteer’s Working with Children’s Check.

Policies and communication

You will shortly see the Languages Policy being distributed through Compass. The school is also working on a Name Change Policy due to a large number of requests. School Council is continuing to revise the Dress Code Policy, which has included significant consultation with students, parents and teachers, and will be available soon. It is very important that families read these policies in order to streamline requests made to the school, as well as to avoid miscommunication. Teachers and leaders are finding that the volume of emails has increased in the past few months and are doing their best to respond in a timely manner. The Community Subcommittee of School Council, which includes parents and teachers, is working on processes for improving home-school communication for the benefit of everyone. One of the possibilities is to move to using more tailored forms for specific purposes, rather than relying on emails and phone calls. There will be more to come about this early next term. In the meantime, we all need to maintain respectful communication at all times.

Tram Time

We have decided to revamp our “Hands on Learning” program and change it to what we are calling “Tram Time”. This has been introduced to students in years 7-10 at the end of term, with a view to starting in Term 3. Following is the blub that has been given to students so that they can apply to be involved. We are not requesting parent permission for this program, however we encourage parents to discuss it with their children:

Tram Time is replacing Hands on Learning and is being offered to a wide range of students from Years 7 to 10. The school recognises that Tram Time can be a valuable opportunity for students, especially during 2021 when the impacts of Covid are being felt by everyone.

The activities in Tram Time are fun, creative and community spirited. They are designed to help build the four Rs, characteristics or dispositions which are ‘people’s predominant responses when they encounter difficulty, complexity and uncertainty’ (Guy Claxton).

  • Resilience – inquisitive, persistent, adventurous, focused
  • Resourcefulness – imaginative, connecting, crafting, capitalising
  • Reflectiveness – methodical, self-evaluative, self-aware, transferring
  • Relating – collaborative, open-minded, independent, empathic

Students who are interested in Tram Time are encouraged to think about how it might help them to develop these characteristics. With support from the Tram Time staff, they can then link it to a goal in their Personal Learning Plans.

Tram Time will start in Week 1 of Term 3. There will be sessions available for different year levels on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays. Students can sign up for one or two sessions per week for a three-week block. If they want to do another three-week block they can apply to do so, based on availability. A timetable of activities will be provided for each three-week block so that students know what is on offer.

It is important that students express interest for Tram Time to their Advisor who will then pass on to the Year Level Leader or Team Leader for approval to participate. Once students are approved, they will be timetabled to sessions and events made on Compass. Inquiries about the Tram Time program can be made to Penny Stray and Olie Balestra via Olie’s email address olieb@fitzroyhs.vic.edu.au.

Students will need to ensure that they know what work they are missing when they are participating in Tram Time and negotiate with their teachers to either catch up or complete alternative activities. Please note that Quick Smart, music lessons, in class assessments that can’t be changed and excursions take precedence over any particular Tram Time session.

Staff professional learning

On the student free day on May 24th, all FHS staff participated in two professional learning sessions.  The first session, delivered by Open Road Consultancy, supported staff to understand and apply conflict resolution skills in order to increase confidence when dealing with challenging conversations and situations.  The session was framed in the context of our School Wide Positive Behaviour matrix and aligned to our school values. The second session, led by Create Space Consultancy and Social Enterprise, focused on anti-racism and supported staff to enact anti-racism practices by building on our school values. The session included learning around the neuroscience of talking about racism, key terms, key reflections and areas for unlearning for anti-racism practice in school as well as repair processes for racism when it occurs. Feedback received from staff was very positive in terms of the learning gained from both sessions.

Building on the learning from the anti-racism professional learning, 10 staff members put up their hand to be involved in a series of Schools Stranding Up to Racism workshops.  Schools standing up to Racism is a collaboration between the Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) and the Victorian Department of Education and Training, providing a range of resources to support schools to address racism and discrimination within their school environment. The learning from these workshops will support us in the development of a specific anti-racism policy for Fitzroy High School. 

Gasworks Senior Secondary Campus (interim name) School Design Talk

The building of the new senior secondary campus of Collingwood College and Fitzroy High School is going very well. As already communicated on our websites, a flythrough of the campus can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qusFlk6slwQ

The Victorian School Building Authority website has authoritative updates on the building progress https://www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/schools/Pages/FitzroyGasworksSeniorCampus.aspx 

Shortly you will receive an invitation with an Eventbrite link to a virtual public event to be held on Thursday July 22nd at 5pm. This will give members of both school communities the opportunity to find out more about the campus and the educational programs being offered, and to ask questions of both the architects and the schools.

The Senior Programs information Evening for year 10s will be held the following Thursday on July 29th. This is an exciting time for both Collingwood College and Fitzroy High School as we move towards our new joint campus due to open in 2022.

Staff Appointments

The school has recently appointed Ellyce Wallace, art teacher; Mika Suwatan, Science Teacher; Tegan McCarthy, English and Literature teacher; Oliver Packard, Psychology teacher; and Melissa Boyden, our new Inclusion Leader. Nikkie Sallas, Riley Moloney, Jackson Muir and Duncan Hillier have taken up other opportunities and we wish them very well in their new ventures. We wish Miranda Jenkin all the best for her family leave. Lastly, I would also like to thank Andrea Thompson for taking over as Acting Principal while I was on leave for a medical procedure at the end of Term 1 and the beginning of Term 2.

Kind regards

Linda Mitchell, Principal

Transition Days – Update

Dear Parents/Carers/Guardians of new Year 7 students 2021,

I wanted to give you an update of our plans for Transition days. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we have needed to amend our plans that were outlined in our welcome letter. 

Our first Transition day that was scheduled for Friday, November 27 has been cancelled and will be rescheduled for Friday, January 29, the first day of Term 1 2021. This will hopefully allow us some more flexibility in our delivery of this Transition day.

The statewide Transition day scheduled for December 8 will go ahead in line with the following guidance from DHHS and DET.

  • Students will be allocated into a single class size group for the day and groups must not mix.
  • All students attending Orientation Day are required to wear face masks (some exceptions may apply). We understand that this will be a new experience for Grade 6 students, who are not required to wear face masks in primary school.

The Transition day on December 8 will start at 8.40 am and finish at 3 pm.  Students will take part in a 4 session rotation including an Advisory class, a Practical Science class, A Food Technology class and a session of  Literacy testing. Morning tea will be provided, as will all materials for the day. Students need to bring a packed lunch from home.

If there is anyone who feels they need additional transition time we’ll be offering some additional opportunities to a select few students on a date to be confirmed. We already have a small number of students listed for this.  Please contact the school to discuss this further.  

We look forward to welcoming you and your child into the Fitzroy High School community.

Linda Mitchell
Principal

Gasworks (Senior Campus) Update 23/11/2020

The Victorian Government committed to opening 100 new schools between 2019 and 2026.

This includes opening a new senior secondary campus for Collingwood College and Fitzroy High School in 2022 at Fitzroy Gasworks.

Collingwood College and Fitzroy High School have had a senior secondary program partnership, offering students a choice of VCE, VCAL and VET certificate courses along with a range of innovative senior programs, for over 10 years.

The campus will predominantly cater for Year 11 and 12 students from Collingwood College and Fitzroy High School. Year 10 students from both schools studying VCE, VET or VCAL subjects will also attend the Gasworks campus as required.

These new campus facilities will give students a greater choice of senior programs and subjects with a focus on building 21st century skills.

The campus will also help ease enrolment pressures from population growth in Melbourne’s inner north. Collingwood College and Fitzroy High School will be able to enrol extra Years 11-12 students at the new campus and more younger students at their existing sites.

Gasworks Site

The campus will be located at the old Fitzroy Gasworks site. The Fitzroy Gasworks is an important part of Fitzroy North’s industrial and social heritage, and the school is part of an important urban renewal project to re-energise the site.

This larger project by Development Victoria will rejuvenate an iconic inner-city site and create positive outcomes for the local community. The site is close to public transport, open space and established community facilities.

Campus Facilities

The striking, six-storey, stepped building design features a series of outdoor terraces, balconies and rooftop spaces. These outdoor areas will maximise opportunities for active sport, recreation, social connection, contemplation, learning, daylight and fresh air.

Diverse learning precincts throughout the campus will provide specialist settings for performing arts, art and design, technology, science, food, resources centre and sports. Connections between precincts and general learning hubs on each level will foster learning across different subjects and disciplines – known as ‘interdisciplinary learning’.

We have designed flexible facilities and learning environments that support the schools’ ‘futures-thinking’ curriculum and help prepare students for ’jobs not yet invented’.

Key features include the campus:

  • performing arts precinct with amphitheatre, music hub, adaptable project space, practice rooms, green room, drama and performing arts spaces
  • technology precinct with digital design and technologies laboratories, wood and metal workshops, fabrication studio, project exhibition space, small group spaces, breakout and individual study areas
  • food precinct with canteen, student dining area, food technology kitchen, food technology outdoor terrace, laundry and preparation facilities
  • resource centre (library) precinct with collaboration space, wall booths, quiet workspaces, breakout areas, IT support, wellbeing and careers
  • art and design precinct with outdoor terrace and covered learning area; 2D and 3D studios; wet art, sculpture, visual arts, textiles, visual communication and media studios; kiln and dark room; exhibition zone and an integrated arts learning space
  • science precinct with chemistry, physics and biology laboratories, preparation rooms, informal breakout space, covered outdoor science terrace and learning spaces
  • sports courts precincts for basketball and netball comprising an indoor ground level gymnasium for shared use with community; an indoor level three gymnasium and fitness studio and an outdoor rooftop court
  • learning hubs with learning studios, commons, maker space and adaptable conference/exam spaces
  • outdoor terraces integrated with indoor learning hubs.

Campus Principal

Collingwood College and Fitzroy High School are pleased to announce that Chris Millard is the successful candidate for the role of Campus Principal (Assistant Principal) for the new Fitzroy Gasworks (Senior Campus) – Collingwood College and Fitzroy High School.  His appointment follows a competitive recruitment and selection process, jointly managed by Sam Luck, Principal of Collingwood College and Linda Mitchell, Principal of Fitzroy High School. Chris’s role, which begins in Term 1 2021, will be to build on the collaboration and continuous improvement of both schools, and to oversee the continued joint provision of the senior secondary programs. From 2022, Chris will manage the new campus, along with continuing to build a culture of innovation and excellence that benefits all students.

Construction News

Term 4, 2020 key construction milestone activities include

  • Campus building – ‘out of the ground’
  • Structural foundations laid – steel and basement concrete slab pour
  • Ground floor slabs poured
  • Steel frame structure installed close to level two
  • Some level one concrete slabs placed.

Enrolments

The Designated Neighbourhood Zone (DNZ) for the Fitzroy Gasworks (Senior Campus) is the Collingwood College DNZ and the Fitzroy High School DNZ together.

Any student currently attending either of these schools or living in the Collingwood College DNZ or the Fitzroy High School DNZ, will be able to attend the senior campus.

Statewide school zone maps are available at findmyschool.vic.gov.au .

Policies on enrolmentplacement, and admission are available on the Department of Education and Training website.

Enrolment information for Collingwood College is available on the college’s website.

Enrolment information for Fitzroy High School is available on the school’s website.

Senior Secondary Program

Collingwood College

Download the 2021 Senior Program Guide here

View the transition to senior pathways virtual information session here

Fitzroy High School

Download the 2021 Senior Program Guide here

View the transition to senior pathways virtual information session here

Term 4 focus on Literacy, Numeracy and Wellbeing

1. Continued focus on Literacy

Fitzroy High School remains committed to focusing on literacy across the curriculum, and to adapt teaching and learning programs to respond to the literacy needs of students as they return to onsite learning in Term 4. 

This focus is evident in the following ways:

Whole school level

Allocation of time and continued support of staff with Professional Learning Communities to create literacy scaffolds and supports, drawing upon Literacy Professional Learning sessions delivered throughout 2020.

Planning time at the end of the year to consider the arrangement and makeup of units for 2021, with a focus on developing subject-specific literacy.

Year level


Adaptations of Term 4 unit outlines, to maintain the slower pace to allow a greater focus on explicit teaching of literacy.

Assessment of literacy in formative and/or summative assessments.

Individual level


QuickSmart program to commence for identified Year 7 and 8 students who require support in reading comprehension

Individualised support for Year 10 students identified by the Middle Years Literacy and Numeracy Strategy. 

Self-paced differentiation strategies such as Education Perfect Literacy modules are available for teachers to set for students requiring additional support to address gaps in their literacy learning.

2. Mathematics and Numeracy

For the remainder of Term 4 the focus across all Years 7-10 Mathematics classes will be on the practical strands Measurement & Geometry or Statistics & Probability. Mathematics teachers have been provided with progress estimates for all students in all their classes to help them plan differentiated learning activities to address the diversity of skills and knowledge within each class and enable them to address what students are ready to learn next, whatever their experience through remote learning. We have recently invested in Mathematics specific hands-on learning materials and have established a dedicated store for these to further support non-computer based learning activities, providing for a welcome antidote to the unusually high levels of screen time that was required to deliver remote learning.

Student achievement data, which has been collected in great detail over the last few years, including Maths Pathway history, is being analysed to identify students who have demonstrated less progress in Mathematics and Numeracy than expected during the period of remote learning in 2020. In particular, in 2021, students identified as being at or below the national minimum standards in Mathematics and Numeracy will be provided support through the Department’s Middle Years Literacy and Numeracy Support initiative. We are awaiting further details on the catch-up tutorial program announced recently by the Minister before we can make arrangements for how those resources can be managed effectively to further support student development.

Students in Years 8-10 have been transferred to the new online learning platform, Mathspace, which allows for more flexibility for teachers to target skills practice with instant feedback that are directly relevant to physical classroom activities. After a successful trial in 2020, Mathspace will be replacing Maths Pathway as our core interactive online platform after surveys of students and teachers clearly indicated a preference for Mathspace in terms of effectiveness, accessibility and relevance to face to face activities conducted in class. Year 7 students’ achievements on Maths Pathway in Term 4 will be recorded and transferred to teachers for the beginning of Year 8 to enable differentiated, relevant learning activities, including Mathspace, next year. A comprehensive student and parent guide to Mathspace will be distributed at the beginning of 2021.

3. Wellbeing

As part of Fitzroy high school’s approach to wellbeing and in anticipation of increased mental health issues, we have employed a new psychologist part time. Fitzroy High school now has a wellbeing team that consists of a Wellbeing Leader, two psychologists and one mental health practitioner. On top of that we will upskill our year level leaders and team leaders on how to support students who present with anxiety. All of our teachers will be given access to the Department of Education’s ‘Mental Health toolbox’ for them to refer to for their own wellbeing but also for information on how to best support our students following a significant event such as a pandemic and lock down. 

Upon return to face to face teaching, our junior years will have a strong focus on bonding and team building and throughout the school, as part of our advisory program, we will focus on the Rights, Resilience & Respectful Relationships curriculum. More specifically on activities that promote resilience, positive self-thoughts and problem solving.

Updated Term 4 arrangements

Dear students, parents, guardians and carers

On behalf of our school, I want to say a big thank you to all our students, parents and carers for your continued resilience and support throughout this year. I know remote and flexible learning has not always been easy, but through our collective efforts, our students have continued to make valuable progress in their learning. You can be confident that our school will support any student who has fallen behind to catch up.

Term 4 is important for every Victorian student, and our teachers will strive to deliver high-quality learning for everyone. Whether we’re teaching remotely or face-to-face, our focus for Term 4 is on making sure that every student is supported in their wellbeing, learning and transition needs.

The Victorian Government has outlined the staged return to on-site schooling for all students as part of its gradual roadmap towards reopening.Term 4 on-site schooling arrangements for students:

Following advice of the Victorian Chief Health Officer, the Victorian Government has released a staged approach for students to return to on-site schooling.

The purpose of the plan is to get students back in the classroom as soon and as safely as possible without putting at risk all that has been achieved through the period of restrictions to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

For our school, the following arrangements apply:

From 12 October (second week of Term 4)

·       students in Year 7 will return to on-site schooling. The existing remote learning program will not continue for these year levels

·       Students enrolled in years 11 and 12 (and students in any other year level undertaking VCAL or VCE studies) will attend on-site schooling

·       remote and flexible learning will continue for all students in Year 8 to Year 10 (except students in any other year level studying VCE and VCAL units)

·       on-site supervision will remain available for students in Year 8 to Year 10 who are the children of permitted workers and vulnerable students.

From 26 October (fourth week of Term 4)

·       students in Year 8 to Year 10 will return to on-site schooling. The existing remote learning program will not continue for these year levels

Health and safety measures

The Term 3 remote and flexible learning arrangements were put in place to significantly reduce the movement of more than one million students and their families across Victoria, to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Thanks to you and your family for contributing to this on behalf of our school community.
 

As on-site schooling resumes, we will continue to have in place strong measures to protect the health and safety of students, staff, families and the community. This includes staggering start and finish times, restricting parent access to school grounds and continued emphasis on hand hygiene and physical distancing where possible.
 

Please give particular attention to reducing the risks associated with congregation at school gates and taking steps to contribute to physical distancing within the school.
 

Whether your child is, or children are, returning to face-to-face learning or will be continuing with remote and flexible learning for a short period, please be assured we will be focused on three key priorities in Term 4:

Mental health and wellbeing

Our highest priority will be the wellbeing, particularly the mental health, of every student and member of staff. This means effectively mobilising all available resources to support our most vulnerable students and enabling staff to access the relevant support services.

Learning and excellence

Some of our students have thrived in the remote and flexible learning environment, others have maintained their learning progress, and some have fallen behind, despite their best efforts and those of their families and teachers. Our priority will be supporting both those who need it to catch up and those who have progressed to continue to extend their learning.

Transitions

We will make every effort to ensure successful transitions for children moving from kindergarten into Prep, the Grade 6s moving into Year 7, and the Year 12s moving into employment or further education and training.

We know some families are worried that their child may have to repeat a year due to the disruptions of coronavirus (COVID-19). There is little evidence to support the benefits of repeating a year to catch up. Instead, schools will use teaching strategies that draw on the best evidence available to help students meet their learning needs. 
 

Parents, families and carers can be confident that the best option for almost every child is to stay with their peer group, whether that is moving from kindergarten into Prep, moving from Grade 6 into Year 7 at secondary school, or students moving up any year level in between.
 

Our school, working with you, has shown it can be flexible and adaptable in responding to the challenges of coronavirus (COVID-19) and will continue to meet student needs as we look towards the end of the 2020 school year and ahead to 2021.

Kind regards


Linda Mitchell, Principal

Principal’s Report, August 2020

Dear families

I want to thank you all for your hard work these last few months. It has been a trying time for many people in many different ways. The Learning from Home surveys that students and parents completed in June gave the school some real insights into what was working and what could be improved, with the majority of feedback overwhelmingly positive. The staff has utilised the feedback to apply to the current round of remote learning, taking into account that it is somewhat more difficult at times this time around. I want to thank all of the students who have persisted in their efforts; reached out for help; and generally done very well, considering that they have spent more time in remote learning this year than face to face! Many of you will have received the green Compass posts acknowledging students’ efforts with regard to the School Wide Positive Behaviour remote learning matrix. It has been wonderful for me as Principal to open my Compass and see all of the positive posts about students doing their best. I also want to thank and acknowledge all of the staff who have done an incredible job this year. Many of them have been working from home with children of their own; many others have come into school to assist with operational tasks that cannot be completed from home or to support vulnerable students attending onsite.

School Council has been very busy this year and I also want to thank them for their amazing work, especially Ralph Saubern, the School Council president. I recommend his latest President’s Report to you; it can be found in the August newsletter and on the website. School Council was very involved in the school review in Term 1 and has subsequently worked with me on how the new Strategic Plan can be enacted through some of the sub committees and working parties. The DNA, if you like, of the Strategic Plan, is partnerships and collaboration: students and teachers, teachers and parents, students and parents, students and students, teachers and teachers, parents and parents. In order to achieve our goals we need to work together, especially in the current climate and the potentially challenging years ahead for our young people.

The 2019 Annual Report to the school community is on the website. I am planning to hold an open virtual meeting in the last week of term and will invite members of the school community to attend. This will give people the opportunity to discuss the Annual Report, the Strategic Plan and the future of the school. You will also see a separate article updating you on the Gasworks Senior Secondary Campus. This is the first of many newsletter articles to come, keeping the community updated on this exciting venture.

I would like to congratulate Jamie Bishop, who has been selected through an externally advertised process as the Mental Health Practitioner. This role is funded by the Department of Education at 0.5, meaning that Jamie can continue doing the great work he has been as a psychologist while also remaining on the teaching staff for the other part of his employment. We have also advertised an additional psychologist role at 0.4. Both of these roles will complement the rest of the wellbeing support that Fitzroy High School offers students, something that will be increasingly important during this time.

I will update you on the return to onsite learning once I have the information from the Department of Education, which I assume will be released after the Premier speaks on Sunday.

Kind regards,

Linda Mitchell (Principal)

2020 review of the Disability Standards for Education 2005

Dear staff, parents and carers,


The Disability Standards for Education 2005 are currently being reviewed by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

As part of the 2020 review, an extensive community consultation process is currently underway to seek feedback about whether the standards are effective or if any improvements can be made.

Current, former and prospective students with disability, their families and carers, advocates, educators, and other members of the public are invited to share their experiences, views and ideas to inform the review of the standards.


Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, engagement activities will mostly be held online via a dedicated 2020 review Consultation Hub. The hub offers a range of different ways that participants can share their views and ideas, and will be open until 11.59pm on Friday 25 September.

A series of webinars is also available for interested participants to share their experiences and opinions.

The webinars will be fully accessible, and will include Auslan translation and captioning. The webinars are open to the public, and each will have a different theme. These are:

For more information about the upcoming webinars visit the frequently asked questions page.

discussion paper has been developed with guiding questions to help interested participants have their say.

For more information email engage@thesocialdeck.comFind out more

For more information on how to get involved contact the Social Deck via:

Linda Mitchell
Principal

Update on FHS Dress Code Policy Review

June 2020

Background

In late 2019, the Fitzroy High School Feminist Collective wrote to the School Council to voice a number of concerns about the school dress code and request a review of the dress code policy.  The School Council considered the issues raised and agreed that it was timely to review the school dress code policy.  A working group was established to undertake a review of the dress code, consult with the school community and make recommendations to the School Council and leadership regarding any changes to the school dress code.  

Consultation Process

School councils are responsible for developing and reviewing school dress codes in close consultation with their school community to ensure the code reflects the values of the school community and that there is a balance between the rights of individual students and the best interests of the whole school community, which includes the community in which the school operates (e.g. local residents and businesses).  

The community consultation will be facilitated by the working group, including through:

  • Surveys
  • Public meetings
  • Student meetings
  • Focus groups

Key issues for consultation will include:

  • Purpose
  • Community expectations and values
  • Human rights and anti-discrimination requirements
  • Health and safety considerations
  • Exemptions
  • Communication
  • Implementation and enforcement

The review will be guided by the Department of Education policy on Developing and Reviewing Dress Codes.

Membership of the working group

The working group will be led by Sharlene Farrugia, parent and Community Subcommittee member.  FHS parents, teachers and students are invited to join the working group.

Please email sharlenef@fitzroyhs.vic.edu.au if you are interested in joining the working group. All members of the school community will be notified of opportunities for consultation early next term.

Term

The consultation  will be undertaken during Term 3, 2020 and finalised by the end of Term 4, 2020.

Outcomes

The working group will prepare a report and draft reviewed Dress Code Policy for School Council and school leadership summarising the outcomes of the community consultation and making recommendations regarding any changes to the school dress code.

School Council will then communicate the reviewed Dress Code Policy to the whole school community.

Linda Mitchell
Principal
Fitzroy High School

Principal’s Report April 2020

Dear students, staff and families

Thank you for your ongoing support and communication during these unprecedented times. I hope that, in general, you are traveling well, and enjoying time with each other, especially in this cold weather where working from home can provide warmth and comfort.

Remote Learning

As promised in the Compass post before the beginning of Term 2, after two weeks of remote learning, the school has reviewed how things are going with remote learning and adjusting how we manage a range of issues. We have begun with feedback from staff members, who have been regularly checking in with students. Based on this feedback, we are adjusting the content of the lessons, in recognition of how much extra time is required for both the teachers and the learners. We have provided a little more asynchronous time for students to work independently while maintaining the synchronous (live) contact that is so important for student engagement and learning. We have also continued to work through technical issues and provide assistance and devices to families who need them. We are in the process of tweaking our management and recording of attendance, in recognition of the fact that some students are struggling with remote learning or possibly having internet connection problems. The Year 7-9 and Year 9-10 Team Leaders will also be running a weekly Homework Club/Catch-up which will be open to students who require support in order to catch up work that they have missed or with which they are struggling. Anna P and Paul C will send communication about that via Compass.

Over the course of the past few weeks, we have been ensuring that our use of the G Suite (including Google classroom and Google Meet) meets the requirements for privacy and security according to the Department of Education guidelines and the ICT team has reviewed our Privacy Impact Assessment. We have also been learning as we go about best practice for teachers and students in order to avoid practices or behaviors that might impact negatively on classes or individuals. As a result, we have revised, and will continue to update, the Remote Learning Protocols (incorporating School Wide Positive Behaviors) to reflect what we have learned. We have recognized the desire for students to be able to use cameras within Google Meet, especially for one on one meetings between teachers and advisors, and to be able to show their work. Next week we are trialing this in Year 11 and 12 only. By no means is it obligatory for students to use cameras, as some are not comfortable doing so, but rather we are providing clear guidelines for students and teachers to do so should they wish. We will be collecting feedback the use of cameras in Years 11 and 12 next week with the intention of introducing the use of cameras in Years 7-10 soon afterwards.

Student and Parent Feedback and Support

So far the feedback from families and students has been very positive and encouraging. We would now like to gain a more holistic picture of how people are travelling and what suggestions people might have to improve our  understanding and practice. Therefore School Council representatives are assisting me in creating Student and Parent surveys which will be ready to send to families within the next week or so. This feedback will assist the school in reviewing the next two-week cycle and making any adjustments that are necessary. School Council has also created a post named “COVID-19: How can I help”. I have received several offers of assistance from parents with specific skills and expertise. This process invites the whole school community to consider whether there are things that they can offer, with School Council taking a lead in managing the process in order to support the school.

Wellbeing and Careers Support

Team and level leaders, as well as advisors, are working through any wellbeing concerns and I would like to remind you that referrals to the wellbeing team can be made through these leaders. As well as my Compass post about wellbeing on March 24, which contained some resources and contacts for support, I would like to draw your attention to some resources posted on the website and contained in this newsletter:

Wellbeing posted on website COVID-19: List of resources

Health – what teachers should look for (also good for parents)

Factsheet for parents: Sending nudes and sexting

If you have any wellbeing concerns please contact Linda Ekman, our Wellbeing Leader, directly on lindae@fitzroyhs.vic.edu.au

I would like to remind you that careers work still happening through conference calls and you are welcome to contact Tyson Day, our Careers Counsellor, directly on tysond@fitzroyhs.vic.edu.au

Activities and Opportunities

In order to keep our school community connected to each other and the rest of the world, I would like to draw your attention to some upcoming events.

Firstly, we have decided to have a Virtual House Cross Country from May 16-24, allowing students to participate and compete from home. Shannon G, our Sport Coordinator, will be sending more details and creating Compass events for consent. This consent will cover students being able to practice walking jogging or running outside the home without supervision. It is not compulsory but we hope that most of the school community will participate, including teachers and family members. We have included the weekends either side of the week to allow for more family participation.

I have also posted about two other events which families might like to get involved in, and which we will be following up as a school:

Hangout for the Homeless Saturday May 23

National Reconciliation Week May 27-June 3

Hands on Learning will be posting a range of weekly activities that can be done by anyone at home. This week there is the Owl Sculpture and the Environmental Art competition. Please contact Penny S if you are interested in the competition. We will be displaying the submitted work at school and sending photos to the community.

Last but not least, we are planning to have a Virtual Open Day for those families who want to learn more about the school, particularly for those making decisions about Year 7 2021. More information about this to follow in the next few weeks.

I would like to thank all of the staff for their wonderful work over the past few weeks and extend my best wishes to all students and families. As always, please feel free to contact me directly on lindam@fitzroyhs.vic.edu.au at any time.

Kind regards

Linda Mitchell (Principal)