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

High School Innovation Challenge

Fitzroy High School is being represented in this year’s High School Innovation Challenge on the 22nd – 24th November by the following five Year 10 students:

  • Kiki B
  • Zoja D
  • Lottie G
  • Mohammed A
  • Sholto M

All the best to our fabulous team! We’re looking forward to what will be a thrilling 3 days of STEM!

Thuy Linh Nguyen

VCAL Micro Enterprise Unit

Senior VCAL students are currently working with external business mentors to develop micro enterprise concepts. Students have formed concept teams and are developing business ideas from the ‘ground up’ including market research, branding, financials and product development. During remote learning, students have been meeting with mentors online, and working in teams to progress their business concepts. The unit is the result of a broader collaboration, the Youth Enterprise Hub, that Fitzroy High School has been involved in for some time. The school has been working with the Local Learning and Employment Network, local entrepreneurs, and other schools to design and trial an Enterprise Skills unit.The project also requires students to embed social and/or environmental connections in their business design, and will culminate in a business ‘pitch’ to school leadership and community representatives. 

Louise Speirs-Bridge | VCAL & VET Leader

CHCC looking for players!

Clifton Hill Cricket Club (CHCC) are looking for players to join our inclusive club. They currently have two women’s teams playing in Cricket Victoria’s Women’s Community Cricket Competition, as well as a junior program for the younger players.

They cater for all ages and abilities throughout the club and would welcome any students, parents or teachers who might be interested in playing cricket to contact the club.

Please see the attached flyer for further information. .

Happy Book Week!

Book Week has been a small but enthusiastic affair at Fitzroy High School in 2021. We have had a group of students compete in the Write a Book in a Day Competition, raising over $1000 for cancer research. We are also striding ahead with the Senior Students V Staff Reading Challenge (staff are currently in the lead!). Friday saw the wonderful confluence of Wear it Purple Day and Book Week Dress Ups. It was heartening to see many members of the FHS community donning their best purple and getting in the Book Week mood. We are also looking forward to holding another Character Day later in the year. Thanks to everyone who participated in Book Week activities – it was a great way to come together.


Services and support for students and their families

It can be challenging to process and manage changes to routines and the uncertainty that comes with COVID-19 and related restrictions – including moving to remote learning.  
To support our school community during this time, resources and support are available for parents, carers and families.  
These resources will help to support the mental health and wellbeing of our students and the young people in our care during this time.  
I encourage everyone in our community to access these resources and take care of themselves during this time.  

Services and support for students and their families  
Quick Guide to Student Mental Health and Wellbeing resources is available for students, parents and carers looking to access expert guidance and resources to support wellbeing. 
Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our students remains our priority this year, especially during the continued COVID-19 pandemic and while students are learning from home during the current circuit breaker restrictions.  
For students, the guide includes resources to support their own mental health and wellbeing. 

The guide also includes resources and supports for parents and carers to help them build their child’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. This includes: 

Wellbeing guidance for parents and carers is also available:  

Free Webinar: Supporting children during lockdown 6

Hi all,

Yarra Communities that Care, in partnership with By Five, Berry Street and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute are excited to invite parents to a FREE Webinar:

‘Free Webinar: Supporting children during lockdown 6 – a webinar for parents’

On: Thursday 2nd September,  2021. 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Register here:

This webinar is designed to provide practical support and ideas for parents during this challenging time.

Dr Billy Garvey (Paediatrician, Royal Children’s Hospital) and Dr Tom Brunzell (Director of Education at Berry Street) will talk about the importance of reducing pressure on ourselves and our kids, signs kids might be struggling, how to respond and where to get help if things are becoming overwhelming.

In addition, participants will have a chance to ask questions of a panel of early education and care, education and health specialists.

Book Week – Write a Book in a Day Competition

The ‘Write a Book in a Day’ competition is a fundraiser for the Kids’ Cancer Project. The aim of the project was to write a short story or picture book in 12 hours, in order to raise money to contribute to childhood cancer research. All of the completed stories around Australia are included in the Online Library, which is shared with hospitals around the country for families and children undergoing treatment to read. 

Each group that participates is given a set of parameters. Our group wrote a story about two girls, a cartoonist, Lydia, and a banker, Adira, who are unexpectedly locked in an amusement park overnight, but surprisingly become friends. The pair encounter what at first seems to be harmless accidents but as the night continues it turns out that there is something much more sinister at play.

It is an adventure and mystery book, but also has a touch of romance. 

It was an amazing experience and we got to work with people we had never worked with or met before. It was really nice to have everyone come together and work on this one project, with all of our efforts put into this book. It’s a really rewarding and interesting process and I would do it again if I had the chance. I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in participating next time.

I wanted to participate because I have had a close relative of mine pass away from cancer. Ever since then, I have wanted to help people with cancer as much as I can, and this was the perfect opportunity to do just that. 

As someone who has had people in my life battle with cancer, this is a really important cause to me. I wanted to do this to be able to contribute something to this cause that I believe in and support so much, and this was the perfect opportunity for me to go about it.

If you would like to support this cause by sponsoring our efforts, please use this link: 

Jasmine McCallum
On behalf of the team: 
Saskia, Amelia, Riley and Maddy

High School Innovation Challenge

  • Fitzroy High School is looking for five Year 9 and 10 participants to represent us in the High School Innovation Challenge.  This event is hosted over three days where students will work in teams of 4-5 and be mentored by scientists, academics or industry professionals in STEM to design, research and develop a real-world application. 

    The challenge will begin 8:30am Monday 22nd November 2021 and will run until 3:30pm Wednesday 24th November 2021. A registration fee of $105 per student, and $80 per teacher applies. This registration fee covers:
    • 2 nights subsidized accommodation at St Hilda’s College
    • Breakfast x 2, Dinner x 1 at St Hilda’s College 
    • Dinner x 1 provided by Engineers Without Borders
    • Morning tea x 3, Lunch x 3, program activities and materials
  • Winners of the Science Week Competition: 1st place – Wes (Year 7), 2nd place – Diesel  (Year 9), 3rd place – Stella (Year 9)

Live and Online this week: parent sessions

Just released from eSmart are new online PD sessions suitable for the parent community.
All sessions are fully funded by the Department of Education.

Parenting in the Digital World (Parents)
Wednesday 25 August   12pm – 1pm
Join a special online presentation of ‘Parenting in the Digital World’ hosted by an eSmart educational expert. Empower your children and family with skills and strategies to navigate negativity.

Parenting in the Digital World (Parents)
Wednesday 25 August    7:30pm – 8:30pm
Join a special online presentation of ‘Parenting in the Digital World’ hosted by an eSmart educational expert. Empower your children and family with skills and strategies to navigate negativity.
Book your tickets:

Coming in September
If you enjoy eSmart events, join in and register for National eSmart Week, 6-12 September
Specialist teacher, parent and student live sessions
are now open for bookings throughout the week.

We are delighted to be able to support Fitzroy High School parents with best-practice solutions that help reduce the incidence of online and offline bullying and increase student wellbeing.

If you need assistance or would like further information about the range of eSmart programs, please contact the eSmart Help Desk on 1300 668 056.