School Council President’s Report – Term 3, 2019

Dear Fitzroy High School Community,

Over the last few weeks, School Council has been working closely with the regional office of the Department of Education to get the principal appointment process underway. One of the Senior Educational Improvement Leaders (SEIL) in the Northwest Region has presented to the School Council and the staff on the details of the process and worked with School Council to finalise the school profile information, the selection criteria and the selection panel. The advertisement for the role went up on the Department job board on Friday 26 July. Applications close on 10 August. Following the close of applications, the selection panel will meet to shortlist and conduct interviews before providing a recommendation to School Council for approval. School Council will then send its recommendation to the Department. Our aim is to have the process completed and the appointment made by the start of term 4. If you are interested in taking a look at the details of the role description and selection criteria, you will find it on the Department job board here.

In June, councillors and staff from Fitzroy High School and Collingwood College School Councils received an update from the Victorian School Building Authority and architects from GHD Woodhead and Grimshaw on progress on the Fitzroy Gasworks Senior Campus project. The design of the building is progressing well and the intention is to have the new campus open for students in the 2022 school year. We discussed a number of aspects of the design including: grounds-to-roof design, indoor-outdoor learning, massing concept and facade strategy, main circulation, large teaching spaces, flexible/operable learning spaces, dispersed staff workspaces and acoustic treatment. Following the presentation and discussion, the two school councils convened a special joint sitting to endorse the schematic design and approve progression to the design development phase.

Thank you again to all the families who have contributed to the school Scholarship Fund and other parent funds. So far this year, the school has provided nearly $7,000 from the Scholarship Fund to support students from less advantaged backgrounds to participate in the rich learning experiences of the school. If any families are experiencing financial hardship and need some help to ensure their kids are able to participate, please speak with your child’s team leader.

The school production, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is just a few weeks away from what promises to be a fabulous opening night. Tickets are on sale now on TryBooking. Performance dates: Thursday 5th, Friday 6th & Saturday 7th September, 7pm at Collingwood College. There will be a working bee on Sunday 18th August from 9am-4pm (TBC please check Compass for details) to make sets, paint, sew costumes and work on any other hands on things that need to be organised for the show. If you are able to offer your time or skills on this day that would be fantastic and greatly appreciated.

A reminder that School Council meetings and Education, Community and Buildings & Environments Subcommittee meetings are open meetings and parents are welcome to attend. You can find the schedule of meetings on Compass under School Documentation or in the school calendar.

If you have something you would like to raise with School Council or would like to know more about getting involved with subcommittees or other volunteering opportunities, please feel free to contact me at ralphs@fitzroyhs.vic.edu.au.

Cheers,
Ralph Saubern

School Council President Report – Term 2, 2019

Dear Fitzroy High School Community,

After 14 years association with Fitzroy High School, Pauline Rice has relinquished her role as Principal.  I spoke with Pauline last week and passed on all our thanks and best wishes.  As acting Senior Education Improvement Leader, Pauline is looking forward to a continuing role in supporting Fitzroy High School.  Pauline’s announcement means that we will now undertake a formal process to appoint a new principal.  As I wrote in my earlier message to you, there is an extensive process involved in principal appointment in Victoria, requiring significant input from the school community.  This will be a major focus for me and School Council in the coming weeks.  I will keep you informed on progress.  In the meantime, Linda Mitchell and Sandra Dickins will remain in the roles of Acting Principal and Acting Assistant Principal.  We are very fortunate to have such a strong leadership team at Fitzroy High School and confident in their capacity to lead the school.

One of the most important roles of School Council is to oversee fundraising and co-ordinate the use of parent donated funds.  In our May School Council meeting, we discussed fundraising, its role at the school and our general approach, vision and goals. You can find a summary of that discussion on Compass with the May School Council minutes. School Council confirmed that fundraising is an important way in which we seek to improve the quality of the Fitzroy High School program and support fair and equitable access for all students.  We talked about ways to improve our approach to fundraising, including by being more explicit about our aims and goals, improving our processes for managing fundraising and better communicating our successes.

And thanks to the generosity of the school community, there have been many recent successes to communicate about! 

Just a few:

  • School Council has allocated $5,000 from the school Building Fund to contribute to the development of the teachers’ bike shelter ($3,085) and the supply of electricity to the new kiln shed (approximately $2,000) and another $5,000 to contribute to the refurbishment of windows in the older part of the school.  The bike shed is now complete (including removal of the old, non-functioning water tank) and the concrete plinth for the shed has been laid.  The windows have been repaired and now await repainting.
  • A big thanks to families who have contributed to the school Scholarship Fund.  So far this year, the school has provided $4,500 to support students from less advantaged backgrounds to participate in the rich learning experiences of the school.  If any families are experiencing financial hardship and need some help to ensure their kids are able to participate, please speak with your child’s team leader.
  • School Council has approved $15,687.20 from the Performing Arts Fund for the purchase of two new projectors for use by the music and drama departments. Teachers and students are excited about the difference these will make to the quality of the music and drama programs.

Our Buildings and Environments committee has highlighted a number of additional major works we need to carry out in coming months and so now is the perfect time to remind you all that donations to the school Building Fund are fully tax deductible (as is the Library Fund). Please contact Ross McDonald in the school office to find out details of how to donate to any of the school funds.

Another important role for School Council is to review and approve school events and excursions, particularly through the perspective of risk or equity issues.  At the May meeting, School Council approved four new events: two outdoor education camps, the Feminist Collective camp and this year’s Y10 experience.  These activities look absolutely fantastic and I congratulate teachers and students for all their work on preparing and planning camps and excursions. 

Speaking of fantastic events, tickets for the 2019 Year 12 Theatre Studies production, The Awakening of Spring, and the Mid-Winter Recital are now on sale.  Tickets sell out every year so book early to avoid disappointment!  Details on Compass.

The next meeting of School Council will be a joint meeting with Collingwood College School Council to continue discussions about the Fitzroy Gasworks development.  We will have much more to say in coming weeks and months about this exciting new development – so stay tuned.

If you have something you would like to raise with School Council or would like to know more about getting involved with subcommittees or other volunteering opportunities, please feel free to contact me at ralphs@fitzroyhs.vic.edu.au.

Cheers,
Ralph Saubern
School Council President

School Council President Report – Term 1, 2019

Dear Fitzroy High School Community,

After four years serving as President of the School Council, Kath Boyer has “retired”.  Kath has done an amazing job as President and member of School Council.  We thank her for all of her commitment, energy and effort over many years.  Kath leaves an important legacy, including long term support for the great improvements we have seen in the school environment, the vibrant and high quality performance program and, of course, the improved canteen facilities!  Kath has also been tireless behind the scenes improving school council processes to allow it to focus more effectively on supporting school leadership, staff and students.  

At the recent March meeting of the School Council, I was elected to the role of President by the new School Council.  For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Ralph Saubern.  I have two kids, a boy and a girl, in Year 9.  I’ve worked in education for many years, originally as a teacher and now for an educational research institute.  I’ve valued the opportunity to make a contribution to the school as a School Council member over the last two years, including as Treasurer for the past 18 months. I have a particular interest in educational technology and last year I was asked by school leadership to lead a review into the use of digital technology at Fitzroy High School. 

Stepping into Kath’s shoes is a daunting task but one that I take on with the knowledge that we have a strong School Council and great school community to work with.  This year, as School Council President, I am hoping to focus on a few key areas.  One is to complete the three School Council working group reviews currently in process (languages education, digital technology and reporting) and hand those reports over to school leadership for consideration.  Another is to support school leadership as we step further along the process of establishing the new senior school campus at the Gasworks.  Fundraising is another area that I would like to focus on.  The Fitzroy High School community has been incredibly generous and engaged with fundraising and we have seen the many benefits to our students and community.  I am interested in ways that we can further improve and focus our fundraising efforts and outcomes.  Finally, I am hoping to continue work to streamline and improve processes in School Council and the subcommittees to ensure that we spend more time focusing on important issues relating to school facilities, education, health and wellbeing and fundraising.

Other positions that were decided at the March School Council meeting were as follows:

  • Vice-President:  David Huxtable
  • Treasurer: Sharon Cleaves
  • Convener of Education Subcommittee: Marina Henley
  • Convener of Buildings and Environment Subcommittee: Roger Smith
  • Convener of Community Subcommittee: Ian Taylor

The conveners of the subcommittees have particularly important roles.  The three subcommittees are where we discuss the details of issues that come to the School Council and make recommendations about the use of parent donated funds for buildings and grounds, health and wellbeing, library, performing arts and scholarships.  Subcommittee meetings are open to all parents to attend and contribute to, as are School Council meetings.  Details of when subcommittee meetings are held and the minutes of the meetings can be found under the documentation tab in Compass.

Apart from electing new School Council officers, at the March meeting, the School Council endorsed the school Annual Report prepared by Acting Principal Linda Mitchell, ratified the February school finances report and gave approval for the Great Victorian Bike Ride camp.  You can find the minutes for all School Council meetings in Compass a few days after each meeting.

If you have something you would like to raise with School Council or would like to know more about getting involved with subcommittees or other volunteering opportunities, please feel free to contact me at ralphs@fitzroyhs.vic.edu.au.

Cheers,

Ralph,
School Council President