Principal’s Report, December 2019

Dear families

Timetable Changes

I am writing to let you know that we are implementing changes to the school timetable structure commencing in 2020. There are several reasons for the change which are outlined in this message.

The key changes are:

  • There will still be four periods per day.
  • Instead of 30 minutes of Advisory and three 90-minute subject sessions there will be four 75-minute sessions per day.
  • Advisory will no longer run every day – instead, students will have longer (75 minute) Advisory sessions, allowing more time to focus deeply on learning.
  • Recess will begin 30 minutes later (11.15-11.45) and lunch 15 minutes later (1-1.45).

What stays the same?

  • There is no change to the start and finish times of the day (8.45am to 3pm).
  • There is still two sessions before recess, one session between recess and lunch and one session after lunch.
  • The role of the Advisor as the key contact for students does not change. In years 7-10 the Advisors will continue to teach their Advisory for at least one other subject, as has been the practice.

Session Times for 2020

  • Session 1: 8.45-10am
  • Session 2: 10-11.15am
  • Recess: 11.15-11.45am
  • Session 3: 11.45am-1.00pm
  • Lunch: 1.00-1.45pm
  • Session 4: 1.45-3.00pm

Why are we changing?

The key reasons for the change are to benefit the languages, Health and Physical Education, and Advisory learning outcomes. We expect that these changes will not only give more time to the study of Languages and Health and Physical Education, but will also help the school to improve attendance and punctuality, as well as student engagement.

In my October Principal’s Report, I outlined the work of the Languages Working Group, which developed a vision for languages in the school and how to foster greater participation in the learning of Italian. The frequency of language classes was raised as an important component of engagement and sense of progress for students learning a language.

The school was also keen to enable more Health and Physical Education time for students, which will have the additional benefit of including the health curriculum in that subject, rather than in Advisory sessions. 

This will mean that Advisory teachers can use the Advisory time to focus on the student’s Personal Learning Plan and developing the strengths of individuals as well as the group as a whole.

Senior School Considerations

For years 11-12 the Advisors will also continue in their current role of being the key contact and will also focus on the Personal Learning Plan. Senior students will also have a weekly ‘Tutorial’ session, which will cover topics such as study skills, exam preparation, workshops on particular learning areas, and so on.

Our Senior Program is run in partnership with Collingwood College. Collingwood has also reviewed its times of the day and our timetables will now align which has benefits for Senior students travelling between Fitzroy High School and Collingwood College.

There will be no need to travel between sessions 1 and 2, just as there hasn’t been up until now. The bus will be provided as usual so that students who choose to travel this way and who purchase a bus pass will be able to move between campuses at recess and lunchtime.

Questions?

We have been talking to students about the changes and receiving feedback. School Council and Education sub-committee have also been considering the changes and their impacts. The response so far has been extremely encouraging. Parents are welcome to contact any member of School Council or the school leadership team with comments or questions. 

Other News

In Term 1 2020, the school will have a school review of its four-year Strategic Plan. This is part of the normal cycle of school improvement and all stakeholders will be given opportunities to reflect on the past four years and to contribute to future plans. At the beginning of the year we will be asking parents to become involved in focus groups.

Andrea Thompson will be continuing as Acting Assistant Principal next year and Paul Cahill as Acting Team Leader for Years 9 and 10. Congratulations to Chris Millard, Senior Programs Leading Teacher across Fitzroy High School and Collingwood College, who is now Acting Assistant Principal in that role. I would also like to thank Rainer Parker-Stebbing for his work in the role of Indigo Team Leader and John Hinman for his work in the role of Scarlet Team Leader for the past three years.

Congratulations to Neil McLean and the other staff for the highly successful Great Victorian Bike Ride, which had the greatest number of students ever, including year 12 students. Congratulations also to the Senior Arts team on the combined art show and media night. The quality of the work was astounding and we will be hearing early next year about students whose work was chosen for the VCE Season of Excellence. Congratulations to all year 12 students who have finished VCE exams or completed VCAL.

Thanks to all of the staff who have worked hard to see our students through to the end of the year and I wish all families a safe and happy festive season.

Kind regards

Linda Mitchell (Principal)

2020 Student Exchange Opportunities

 Dear Fitzroy High School community

Happy holidays from the WEP Australia team!

World Education Program (WEP) is an Australian not-for-profit student exchange organisation. In 2019, we sent over 200 high schoolers on exchange to countries including Austria, China, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway, Spain and our newest destination, South Korea!
We also welcomed overseas students to Australian communities from Victoria’s Portland to Trangie in New South Wales, up to Atherton in Far North Queensland.
Please share the attached flyer with your students to alert them to their 2020 student exchange opportunities. 

 All the best for the festive season! 
Annie
Annie Taylor
Communications
World Education Program Australia Limited

Mobile Phones Policy to be implemented

Dear parents, students and teachers,

On October 7, the Minister for Education released a new Students Using Mobile Phones Policy under section 5.2.1(2)(b) of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006, for implementation in all Victorian government schools.  Under this Ministerial Order, all schools are required to adopt a local school policy that implements this statewide policy in time for the start of the new school year.  While the Department recommended that School Council be consulted and the views of the school community taken into consideration in the implementation of the local school policy, the implementation of the policy itself was compulsory with only small areas of ‘localisation’ allowed. In addition, the policy was only communicated to schools a few weeks ago, allowing very little time for consultation.

Nevertheless, School Council and the school Leadership Team took the view that, while the details of the policy were not open for review, a consultation would be a useful way to understand the impact and implications of the new policy and provide an opportunity for the school to listen to the views, concerns and suggestions of the school community.  In that sense, the consultation was highly successful. We had nearly 300 responses to our survey in addition to those who attended the meeting on November 12. Thank you to everyone who provided feedback. Students, parents and teachers expressed their views on the policy and many made useful and constructive suggestions on implementation.

Andrea Thomson and I have prepared a full report on the community consultation which is available in Compass in the folder for the November 2019 School Council meeting.  I can summarise the feedback as follows:

  • There was a stark divide in opinion about the policy.
  • The majority of parents and teachers were very supportive of the policy.
  • The majority of students were very negative about the policy.
  • Some students (and some parents) were clearly angry about the policy, the way it was introduced and the implications of its implementation.
  • Those who were supportive of the policy were primarily supportive of the intention to reduce screen time, reduce dependence on phones, reduce distraction and increase face to face communication, physical activity and wellbeing.
  • Those who were concerned about the policy were primarily concerned about the way the policy has been announced and mandated, perceptions of unnecessary intrusion and overreach, loss of access to important phone functions like music for studying, navigation and communication when moving between campuses and on excursions, cameras and learning tools, loss of communication with family and friends during school hours, the need to supplement internet quality at school with phone hot-spotting.

While the implementation of the policy is compulsory in all Victorian government schools, the manner in which we implement it is our responsibility and should reflect the values and approaches that characterise our school community.  The stark divide in community attitudes on this policy provide us with the opportunity to demonstrate our Fitzroy High School values: Trust, Engage and Respect. For example, our values help us understand that we should not dismiss the concerns of some students,teachers and parents, even if others disagree with them.  Our values also help us understand that solutions to problems are best found by engaging, communicating, listening and learning. And, while rules are required in school in a variety of contexts for reasons of law, by direction of the Department or to define community standards, in implementing and enforcing those rules, we come from a place of trust and engagement rather than compliance and enforcement.

There were many positive and constructive suggestions in the feedback.  Some people made suggestions for how the policy could be modified, for example, by allowing students to use phones at lunchtime and recess.  Another suggestion was that senior students should be allowed phones. Unfortunately, these are not options allowed by the Department, and so cannot be considered.  Many people made suggestions about the importance of effective communication and clear and simple rules and consequences. Other suggestions considered ways that the goals of the policy might be more broadly supported, for example, by the school providing more opportunities for sport and physical activity at lunch and recess.  There were also useful suggestions about monitoring the impact and implementation of the policy and taking opportunities to reflect and improve. Finally, there were suggestions about ameliorating some of the negative impacts of the policy, for example, by improving internet quality so that students don’t need to hotspot, providing ways for students to listen to music through the school network and ensuring parents understand how students can be contacted through the office during school hours for health and emergency reasons.

After reviewing all the feedback, Andrea and I have made four recommendations to Leadership in respect of the policy:

  1. The policy should be implemented as part of a respectful, constructive and inclusive change process that acknowledges the significant concerns of many students and some parents and teachers about how the phone ban will impact their day to day lives, study habits and communication.  Through this respectful, constructive and inclusive change process, the school can co-design with students, parents and teachers ways to address and mitigate the perceived negative impacts of the phone ban and ensure it is implemented with a minimal impact on students, staff and parents. 
  2. The school needs to ensure that new expectations, behaviours and processes are clearly communicated and well understood across the school community.
  3. The school should strive to ensure that the expected behaviours of students, parents and teachers are clear, simple, consistent and easy to understand. 
  4. The school will need to identify how the policy will integrate and interact with other policies and practices at Fitzroy High School and Collingwood College.

It was recommended that the School Council adopt the policy in a minimal fashion using the basic policy document provided by the Department.  That policy document was considered and formally endorsed at the November School Council meeting. The policy can be summarised as follows:

  • Students who bring phones to school must keep them switched off and locked in their lockers at all times.
  • Students are not allowed to use phones at all on school grounds during school hours. That includes breaks, lunchtime and recess.
  • Students can use phones while travelling to and from school and while travelling between school campuses (e.g. between Fitzroy and Collingwood College). 
  • There are some exceptions allowed but these must be part of formally documented plans relating to learning, health or risk.

Having formally adopted the policy, we now have a lot of details to sort out over the next few weeks and months in preparation for next year when the policy comes into effect.  We hope that our recommendations for implementation will help ensure a positive and constructive approach across the school community.

I thank you all again for your input into this process.  

Cheers,

Ralph Saubern

President, School Council

Italian Update

Ciao a tutti!

Early in Term 3, the Fitzroy High School community launched an outstanding Italian week.
Students across all year levels participated in a wide range of activities celebrating the Italian language and culture.

A special thanks to Make A Scene theatre company for their engaging Commedia Dell’Arte performances, Monticello Pasticceria in Thornbury for their fresh cannoli and biscotti and staff members who helped with pizza making, gelato stalls and more. Funds raised will go towards purchasing resources for the Italian department.

We hope that our enthusiasm for Italian grows and look forward to what 2020 will bring for Italian at Fitzroy High.

Venice In Love

Last Friday, Make A Scene theatre group performed Venice in Love, a Commedia Dell’arte that entertained students from year 7 to 11.

Perhaps everyone thought this would be a serious rendition of the high renaissance themes of love, betrayal and death performed in Italian with maybe a bit of opera.

What we experienced instead was the timeless art of toilet humour and of audience participation. The former makes people laugh in any language, and the later instils a mix of fear of being picked and schadenfreude of those who are. The best is when the teachers themselves are drawn into the fun.

With puppetry, music and pantomime, the show had everything, and at one point, even the weather joined in with an earth-shattering thunder-clap that the performers integrated seamlessly into a fart joke. Classic.

At the end the students had time to ask a range of questions about a style of theatre that is as engaging now as it was in the 16th century.

Travis McKenzie

VCAL – Masina Taule’alo

Masina Taule’alo, one of our graduating Year 12 VCAL students, participated in a second work experience placement at the end of November. Masina, who has passion for digital media design, worked in a small video production team at Healthily, a producer of online health programs. As part of his VCAL Certificate and VCE Media Studies, Masina designed and produced a presentation and short film to raise awareness and acceptance of autism. The team at Healthily were so impressed with Masina’s work, that they offered him a work experience placement, with a view to possible ongoing work as a component of his future studies. During his work placement, Masina delivered his presentation to members of the Healthily team. Feedback suggests that the placement was a great learning experience both for Masina, and for Healthily staff who learned about common characteristics of autism and ways to support people with autism in the workplace.

Eco Youth Camp

YMCA (Geelong) Camp Wyuna, situated between Port Philip Bay and Swan Bay, surrounded by native bush and vegetation, has been supporting and inspiring youth for years, by creating a safe and encouraging environment, conducting wide range of outdoor activities and education programs. 

The purpose of this ECO YOUTH CAMP is for 13-16 yrs olds, (year 7-10) teenages to build knowledge of self-care, nutrition, being creative, (doing away with electronic gadgets), have fun and make friends and introducing plant based food to inspire for a sustainable, clean, healthy world.

If you know anyone could benefit with such experience, sign them up and support them to be there!!!

Spread the word and share it with family and friends, with your social network.

Limited space available.

YMCA Camp Wyuna also offers 5 sponsored FREE placements for aspiring youth – to apply, email: CampWyuna@ymca.org.au

The Place Debate 2020

Right Angle Studio, a urban strategy and creative agency located just a stone’s throw from Fitzroy High, on the other side of the park. For almost 15 years they have been working alongside local, state and federal government, as well as private developers, to help understand and improve lives in our cities.

Next year, as part of MPavilion’s 2019/20 program, they are presenting an event called the Place Debate, at which two three-a-side teams will engage in a lively and fun debate around the urban/suburban divide. They are in the process of putting together a panel of industry leaders but are really passionate about giving a voice to the next generation of thinkers.

They would like to allocate one place at the debate to a Victorian high school student. Attached below is all the information in a one page document.

VCAL Project

On 14th November we visited East West Child Care in Fitzroy to donate a large number of handmade teddy bears. One of our Year 12 VCAL students, Courtney Hildebrand, completed a work experience placement at the centre earlier this year, and has been working on the project as part of her Intermediate Certificate. She designed the pattern with assistance from Penny Stray, the school’s Hands On Learning Teacher, and has been meticulously crafting the bears alongside other Hands On Learning students. Staff and children at the centre were very excited to receive the bears, with the children eagerly choosing their favourites.

Italian Fashion Show

Buongiorno!

Last term the Year 8 cohort participated in a fashion show organised by Vanessa, Daniel and Chiara. We started the unit of work by learning about the importance of fashion to Italian culture and history some vocabulary to name clothing items and describe styles.

Our main project involved exploring a range of different Italian fashion designers including Prada, Gucci, Kappa and many more. Everyone got creative (some more than others) and, inspired by the chosen designers, we each had to come up with our own fashion outfit to wear on the runway.

Chairs were placed as if we were really in fashion show. The atmosphere as each person walked down the runway was exhilarating and people were super confident in presenting. Our hosts were Olivia Villanti and Zara Schaper and one member from each group described the outfit in Italian.

Each design brought a unique perspective on fashion itself. It was interesting learning about Italian fashion because Italy has always been a country leading the high fashion industry. Learning about different styles can inspire people to find their own personal style, no matter where they come from. Overall, it was such a fun day for everyone and a great way to finish the term.

Grazie e arrivederci,
Morena Walsh and Maddie K 8V

Principal’s Report – October 2019

Dear families

Firstly I want to thank you all for your warm response to my appointment as the substantive principal of the school after the selection process in September. I also want to acknowledge the work of my predecessor Pauline Rice, who remains in the role of Senior Education Improvement Leader for the network, including our school. School Council and leadership are working towards a farewell for Pauline which will allow staff, families and students to thank her in person and wish her well. I would also like to thank Andrea Thompson, who is continuing in the role of Acting Assistant Principal this term and Paul Cahill, who is continuing in the role of Acting Team Leader for Years 9 and 10. Sandra Dickins has been asked to stay in the central office of the Department of Education for another term.

It was fantastic last Wednesday to see the Year 12 students engage with their last day of classes with grace and good humour. The two assemblies, the first with the Year 12 students and staff from Collingwood College and the second with all students and staff of Fitzroy High School, demonstrated a sincere appreciation of the Year 12s’ time at school and the relationships that they have formed with their fellow students and teachers. The Valedictory Dinner that night was also a wonderful event where many students received recognition of their achievements, both in subject areas and across the school. Although the following list does not account for all of the awards given, they are the main areas awards presented on the night.

These awards are for students who have given to the area over time, have performed consistently or are deserving of such an award. The recipients are chosen by a consensus process – this includes the subject teachers and advisors. We have considered students who have achieved broadly and in some cases across two to three years of VCE, VCAL and VET study.


Art and Design – Camille Allen
The art and design award celebrates excellence in creativity, and innovation showcasing the technical skill, creative prowess and aesthetic qualities of a student’s work. This award is given to a student who excels across all aspects of art and design.


English and Literature – Atifa Holden-Jeffrey

The English and Literature award recognises the dedication and brilliance of an individual in the area of extensive textual analysis, communication skills and an advanced understanding of the literary world. This award celebrates creativity, precision and strength in crafting and shaping the written word.


Health, Sport & Physical Education – Billie Kennedy
The Health, Sport and Physical Education award recognises athletic ability, sportspersonship and leadership both on and off the field. This award recognises a consistent applied effort in the sporting and health arenas.

Humanities – Daimian Galbraith
The Humanities award recognises the strength and ability of a student to traverse the political, historical, social, geographical and sometimes spiritual and psychological realms. This award celebrates a sophisticated ability to critically reflect across these domains.


Mathematics – Massimo Codognotto-Parry 
The Mathematics award recognises great skill and the ability to see and understand the world through numerical means. This award celebrates logic and intuition, analysis and construction, generality and individuality.


Performing Arts – Cormac Alves-Perini
This award celebrates excellence in creativity, in organisation, direction and theatrical vision, using their body, voice and brain to an exemplary degree when treading the boards. This award is given to a student who excels across all aspects of the performing arts.


School Spirit: Nil Sine Labore – Jacob Stenson
The School Spirit award recognises a student who is the living embodiment of what it means to be an FHS graduate. Through deed and action, they have exemplified the values of the school and have acted with the interests of the community at heart.


Science – Lily Sinclair
The Science award celebrates the search for a possible truth, the purity of knowledge, and the ability to dissect things for fun. This award recognises a student who has consistently performed admirably across the chemical, biological and life sciences.  


Vocational Education Award – Zoe Coull
The recipient of this award is recognised as a leader in their cohort. They have consistently achieved outstanding results in their VET studies and secured long-term work experience placement at a prestigious state institution. They have been both a vocal and proud advocate for Vocational Education, and they have been instrumental in creating a positive and creative VCAL culture in the school.


Young Leader Award – Sam Dakin
This award celebrates a student who has brought people together, been a leader amongst their peer group, and brought about change via their positive social influence within the school.


The Principal’s award – Molly Blood
This award is given at the discretion of the school Principal to highlight excellence and provide opportunity. This award recognises a student who is accomplished, resilient, committed and mature. The principal’s award is bestowed upon a student who demonstrates achievement and maturity, and shows great promise stemming from a base of honesty, caring, respect, responsibility and hard work.


I would also like to acknowledge and thank Molly for being one of our first students on School Council as well as the Education Sub Committee.


I wish all of the year 12 students the very best with their exams and finishing their year safely and wisely.

Last week we had Italian week, where there was a celebration of all kinds, including performances, food and sport. I would like to thank the team, especially Vanessa Paciocco, the LOTE Professional Learning Community Leader. It was fantastic to see everyone involved. 


The Languages Working Group, a group of staff, parents and students, has worked towards a vision for languages in the school and fostering greater participation in the learning of Italian. As a result, there will be more time in the timetable dedicated to Italian and greater opportunities to continue the study into VCE. This, and other considerations, such as enabling more Health and Physical Education time, has caused the school to look at the timetable and the way that curriculum time is used across the week. At the moment, there is consultation and communication with staff about the changes and this will extend to families and students within the next week. You will be invited to participate in focus groups and will also be given more detailed information about the proposed changes.

Kind regards

Linda Mitchell

Principal