Principal

CamNews

Principal

December 10, 2019

During recent weeks we have had some wonderful events to celebrate the conclusion of the 2019 school year and Christmas season. These have included our final assemblies, Blessing of the Gifts Service at Ormiston (prior to the gift collection from Anglicare), Carols at Camberwell, the Carols Service at St Marks and the Year 6 Graduation Ceremony and Lunch.  To finish off our celebrations we also have the Years 7-9 Presentation Evening tonight.

We have had so much to celebrate in 2019 across all of our year levels and as a community.  We have also experienced our ups and downs and it is our preparedness to work through these that enables us to learn, grow and embrace the new challenges that lie ahead.

It is at this time of year that we also farewell some staff who are leaving.

Mrs Maxine Ewens is leaving CGGS to pursue a career outside of the classroom as Child Link Policy & Practice Officer with the Department of Education & Training. Maxine joined CGGS in April 2012, as the Head of Learning Support and she also held the position of Year Level Coordinator from July 2012 to the end of 2017. Maxine was instrumental in the development of our Mentor program and worked alongside the School Mentor Captains. We wish her all the very best in her new role.

After six years at Ormiston Miss Michelle Kalus has resigned to travel to the UK to live next year. Since 2017 Michelle has coordinated many Service Learning projects such as the Winter Warmth Appeal, World Vision sponsorship of a child, and the Christmas Gift Giving Appeal. However, one new project that Michelle introduced was for the Year 2 students to visit Hedley Sutton, a local aged care centre. We wish Michelle safe travels.

We also farewell Mrs Jenine Caruso who came out of retirement for a term in 2016 and stayed for over 3 years. During her time at CGGS Jenine took on the position of Year Level Coordinator from the commencement of 2018. Jenine has made a significant contribution to the lives of our Year 7 students having made this area of transition her specialty. Her common sense approach, and her excellent communication with all the students and their parents has ensured she has been the perfect in the role. Since introducing drama club and theatre sports activities at Year 7, the number of students undertaking drama at both the House and School level as a co-curricular offering, has grown significantly. We wish Jenine every happiness as she settles into her own next chapter.

We also farewell Mr Brent Woodlock who commenced at CGGS in January 2018, initially as Acting Head of Mathematics and then as Head of Mathematics from the start of this year and has been a much-valued teacher of Mathematics in Years 7-10 and Maths Methods at VCE. We wish Brent all the best as he who continues his career back with educating boys at Scotch College.

During her short time at CGGS, Ms Kirsten Dunsby has enjoyed getting to know her students as Head of Taylor House and in the classroom. She has made a significant contribution to the English Department, however she has the opportunity to return to Brighton Grammar which is much closer to home in a leadership role.  We wish Kirsten all the best for the future.

Having commenced at CGGS this year Ms Emma Harrison has built a strong rapport with the students in her Tutor group, her Year 7 English class and her Language and Learning class as well as with the students she supported individually. Emma’s nurturing and kind nature made these connections easy to form and she was particularly concerned not to be able to see the full year out supporting each of these groups. We wish her all the best for the future.

I would also like to acknowledge Mrs Miranda Jackson who is now on Parental Leave and wish her well.

In addition, I thank the following staff who are concluding their contracts – Ms Stephanie Leslie – Music & Flute Teacher, Year 8 TG Teacher, Mrs Sabrina Zhu – Chinese Teacher, Year 8 TG Teacher, Ms Emily Hui – Y7 Maths teacher, Mrs Alma Tooke – Art Teacher, Ms Ginetta Chiodo – Art Teacher, Ms Annalise Gehling – RE Teacher. Our Deakin Associate teachers – Ms Sophie Brugliera, Ms Harriet Cooper and Ms Monica Clarke, Ms Kim Yeomans – JS Library Teacher, Ms Marianne Rigby-Black – JS Music Teacher and Ms Jeanette Acland – JS RE Teacher.

The theme of our Year 6 graduation this year was ‘The future belongs to those who are inspired by beauty in their dreams’. The Christmas season is a time we reflect on the things that are important to us, and maybe beauty is one of those things. Let me share with you an excerpt from my speech.

“Beauty inspires us to count our blessings, for blessings we have in abundance in this lucky country and school of ours. It’s important  to remember we only have one life to live and that we should cherish it and make of it the very best. As humans we may be different, but we have the same dream and aspiration… to find meaning and purpose in our lives. My hope is that in being deeply grateful and appreciative of what our school community has, and stands for, that we will all capture the desire to make a difference… to work as one… staff, parents and students… in helping to create the future, not being satisfied just by walking step by step towards it”.

On behalf of the Staff at Camberwell Girls Grammar School we wish you and your family the gifts of the Christmas Season – peace, hope, joy and love.

Have a very happy and safe holiday and we look forward to welcoming you back in 2020.

With best wishes,
Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

Principal

CamNews

Principal

November 29, 2019

With the festive season fast approaching and our Carols at Camberwell event happening tonight, it is my delight to welcome Head of Religious Education, Dr Rev Duncan Reid to share with you a Christmas reflection in this weeks CamNews.

The Prince of Peace: a Christmas Reflection

‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and on Earth – Peace’ (Luke 2:14). In these words, according to Luke, the angels greeted the shepherds on that hillside outside of Bethlehem, one cold night, a long time ago. Several hundred years earlier, Isaiah had predicted the coming of the Messiah as ‘Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6). So peaceseems to be a bit of a theme with this baby, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas time. In the time of Isaiah, and many centuries later, when his prediction finally comes true, peace was something people desperately longed for.

And for us, in our time – not a lot seems to have changed. We also find ourselves to be in need of peace. We hear of conflicts in the Middle East, and of great world powers jockeying for position in our part of the world, and the continued stockpiling of nuclear weapons around the world. Usually we think of peace, and our need for it, as peace between human beings. Everywhere we look we see lack of peace, between nations, between ethnic and religious communities, between political positions, between individuals. The Prince of Peace puts a question mark to all this.

In addition to these obvious instances of conflict and preparedness for conflict, we need to consider a more hidden scene of conflict, that between humankind and the Earth itself. Ever since the early modern scientist Francis Bacon (1561-1626), made explicit our human quest to interrogate nature, we human beings have been doing just this. We have forgotten that Bacon also said we ‘command nature by obeying nature’; or rather, we have tended to emphasize the commanding at the expense of the obeying. We have often resorted to the most invasive means of interrogation at our disposal, and we have been very efficient at what amounts to this attempt to command the Earth and its creatures, both human and non-human. We have been far less effective at sitting quietly and listening to what the Earth, and nature itself, have been trying to say to us.

Furthermore, this quest to interrogate and command Earth has been driven by the perception that conflict – the ‘law of the jungle’ as we sometimes call it – is the natural state of living things. We have presupposed that something other than peace is the default position for mutual human interaction, and human interaction with the Earth. Yet now we are slowly learning that maybe, just maybe, it is co-operation – between species of plants and animals, for example – that is nature’s preferred way of operating. The real law of the jungle may in fact be one of cooperation, and of symbiosis. Maybe this is what the Prince of Peace has been trying to tell us all along. And we are waking up to this reality far too late.

So what might the Prince of Peace be saying to us, now, after so long and so damaging an attempt to command nature? He may be saying, as he did at the start of his ministry: think again! we need to change our behaviour (Mark 1: 15). We are not meant to be in conflict with the Earth. It is time to start listening, quietly – to Earth itself.

Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann AM, a Christian Ngan’gi woman from Northern Australia, reminds us that Australian Aboriginal people have always known the value of listening, ‘an inner deep listening and quiet still awareness’, as she puts it. ‘We could not live good or useful lives unless we listened. This was the normal way for us to learn – not by asking questions.’ This includes listening to Earth and its creatures.

This is not so far from the wisdom Jesus would have listened to as he grew:

Four things on earth are small, yet they are exceedingly wise:
the ants are a people without strength, yet they provide their food in the summer;
the badgers are a people without power, yet they make their homes in the rocks;
the locusts have no king, yet all of them march in rank;
the lizard can be grasped in the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces.
(Proverbs 30: 24-28).

Maybe, we need to listen again to God’s advice to Job, and should stand in awe of the natural world:

Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of the deer?
Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars, and spreads its wings toward the south?
Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes its nest on high?
(Job 39: 1; 26-27).

Look and listen, and be aware. Jesus was to go on and offer this sort of wisdom himself: ‘Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap…. Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin’ (Luke 12: 24; 27). Look and listen, listen deeply, to what these creatures have to say to us, on their own terms. Maybe this is the Christmas message we need to hear, for our own times.

In the 19th century, the Jewish Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888) offered an interesting new interpretation of the ‘us’ in Genesis 1: 26, where the Lord says: ‘Let us make humankind in our image.’ Hirsch suggested we might think of it as God speaking to all the created beings that had already been brought into existence and given life. Because human beings, the late-comers on the scene, might develop the capacity to change and even endanger the Earth, God consults them, Earth and its living inhabitants, to ask if they approve of bringing such a creature into existence. God listens to their opinions.

For Christians, the Prince of Peace has come among us at Christmas, the child of God. But all creation still ‘waits with eager longing’ (Romans 8: 19) to see us living as the Prince of Peace would have us live, as real children of God, children who will live at peace with Earth. Let’s think of this as we contemplate the traditional Christmas crib this year, and notice not just the shepherds and wise men, but also the sheep, the oxen, the donkey, and all the other non-human creatures gathered so peacefully there.

Duncan Reid
Head of Religious Education

 

Chair of Council Report

Each year the Chair of Council presents a report at the Year 10-12 Presentation Evening.
Please find the 2019 report attached below for your information.

Kind regards

Debbie Dunwoody

Principal

CamNews

Principal

November 15, 2019

In August I enjoyed writing to you about the diversity of the CGGS community. I acknowledged that we have welcomed students born in other countries over many years. Through the arrival of Evelyn Douglas (South Africa), Bridget Allan (England) and Ong Yew Har (China) in 1961 and girls from nine different countries in 1962 including Elsie Paisawa from Papua New Guinea (pictured centre above), we were already valuing our global connections!

One of the recognised strengths of CGGS is the feeling of community and connectedness. In 2019 from our current families, 71% of our students were born in Australia, and 29% were born in 25 countries outside of Australia. As I mentioned in August, when we look at the birthplaces of our students and both parents, we have members of our families born in 59 countries outside of Australia compared to 46 countries in 2016. It seems that we have significantly expanded our global reach in the last three years!

At the same time we have also been building our commitment to our indigenous people and their rich culture. Indigenous students have attended CGGS for many years and in late 2014, we were also very honoured to welcome Murrundindi, the ngurungaeta of the Wurundjeri people to our school and he has since remained a close friend, teaching students and teachers about culture and ceremony throughout each year. 

At CGGS, at the commencement of any key event or assembly, we include an Acknowledgement of Country which is an opportunity for us to acknowledge and pay our respect to the traditional owners of the land – the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We also celebrate National Reconciliation Week each year, acknowledge key events and support the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

In 2016 the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School (MITS) first opened its doors to indigenous students from remote communities in Australia. This model was developed by Associate Professor Liz Tudor and her husband Ric Tudor OAM (former Headmaster of Trinity Grammar School) along with the MITS Board.  Twenty-two Year 7 students live in a boarding house on Richmond Hill and walk to school each day, located at the Richmond Football Club. At the end of Year 7 these students transfer into independent and government schools in Melbourne.

The vision of MITS is to create pathways to greater opportunity for indigenous students and their mission is the successful and confident transition of indigenous students from home communities into Melbourne schools.

I am very excited to let the CGGS community know that from next year MITS will be extending their boarding program to students beyond Year 7 and I am delighted that we will be welcoming two MITS graduates into Year 8. Ruby and Rumarlea have already spent a number of days in their transition program at CGGSand are very excited, as are we, about the year ahead. 

We have so much to celebrate at CGGS. Education is about learning, but it is also about relationships and valuing others. What an amazing opportunity we all have to engage with our incredibly rich and diverse community as we nurture the compassionate and intelligent young citizens who are and will continue to make our world a place where people feel cared for, respected and valued.

With best wishes, 

 

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

Principal

CamNews

Principal

November 1, 2019

In recent weeks we have hosted two amazing events at our school that were greatly influenced by some of our former students.

In our Shaping the Future event at 6.30pm on Wednesday 23 October 2019, the audience of students, staff, parents, old grammarians and members of the wider community were invited into a discussion with four members of The Outer Sanctum, an all-female group of women who host a weekly football podcast. The group included two old grammarians, Emma Race (1993) a broadcaster and writer and Lucy Race (1987) trainer at the SPJ Football club and business owner, along with fellow podcast members author Nicole Hayes and lawyer and academic Kate Seear.

Throughout the lively and engaging discussion, members of The Outer Sanctum discussed important conversation topics including the voices of women in the AFL, sports journalism and the power of a community of women. We have been so fortunate to have re-connected with Emma and Lucy this year. After seeing our social media posts of our GSV Football team, they came to watch our girls play a game and also joined us for our special presentation of the Reconciliation jumpers and netball bibs during National Reconciliation Week. What an incredible example of our former students supporting their school.

On Tuesday this week we hosted the annual Young Australian Best Book Awards Ceremony (YABBA)at CGGS. Former student and children’s fiction writer Alex Miles (2001) was instrumental in assisting us to be chosen as the hosting school this year. Alex is the author of the Olive Black and Geek Girls Series and has launched one of her books at the school in recent years. We feel very privileged to continue our connection with her.

We welcomed 33 authors and illustrators including Andy Lee (Alex’s brother), Sally Rippin and Terry Denton, along with over 400 students from a range of primary and secondary schools to our school. In addition to the formalities of the ceremony, students were able to meet the authors and speak with them about their books. Isabel Sootoh from Year 6 also received a special award for her invitation illustration.

Throughout the course of the year, Mrs Anne Devenish our Head of Library Information Services has worked tirelessly with the YABBA committee to organise the ceremony. Anne’s enthusiasm and her expertise in children’s literature and in organising large scale community events was invaluable. The President of YABBA, Mr David Linke spoke to me on a number of occasions throughout the day to re-iterate his thanks for all of Anne’s work.

Our Ormiston librarian, Ms Kim Yeomans has also written about the ceremony and the involvement of our CGGS and I share it with you below.

With best wishes

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

Young Australian Best Book Awards Ceremony (YABBA)

Barbara Sutton Hall was buzzing with bookish excitement on Tuesday when CGGS hosted the highly anticipated YABBA Awards Ceremony. It was a fabulous celebration of books and reading and an opportunity to acknowledge some of our favourite Australian children’s book creators.

The Year 5 and 6 VIPs warmly greeted and escorted the YABBA shortlisted authors who were welcomed like rock stars by 500 excited students as they entered the hall. The Vocal Express choir set the tone for a fun morning with their performance of  ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’. There were lots of laughs at the Opening Ceremony at Adam Wallace and James Hart’s crazy attempts to cut the red ribbon. During ‘Squiggle-ology’, talented illustrators, James Hart, Marjory Gardener, Heath McKenzie and the legendary Terry Denton each turned a student’s squiggle into a picture as we watched in amazement. Heath even managed to create a self-portrait from a dot and a squiggle! Budding authors listened carefully as Andy Lee, Sally Rippin, Jacqueline Harvey, Felice Arena and Tim Harris answered ‘Burning Questions’ about their writing. We were very proud of Isabel Sootoh when she was acknowledged for her winning YABBA illustration. Then author, Gabrielle Wang was awarded the Graham Davey Citation for her impact on Australian Children’s Literature and reminded us “Books open our eyes so our imaginations can fly.” 

Cheers erupted as the winning books were announced and there was great excitement as the ever-popular Aaron Blabey and Andy Griffiths appeared via video on the big screen. Congratulations to all of the shortlisted and winning authors and illustrators. These are the winners of the 2019 YABBA Awards:

Picture Story Book:

Seriously, Do Not Open This Book by Andy Lee and Heath McKenzie

Fiction for Younger Readers:

The Bad Guys: Do-You-Think-He-Saurus? by Aaron Blabey

Fiction for Years 7- 9:

The 104-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

Fiction for Older Readers:

Maybe by Morris Gleitzman

After the formal ceremony, the CGGS gymnasium was filled with readers eager to meet some of their favourite Australian literary idols and have their books signed. Those students who patiently waited in never ending lines to meet Terry Denton and Andy Lee demonstrated true commitment!

Thank you to the book creators who gave their time to attend and to the YABBA committee and our Head of Library, Mrs Devenish for an unforgettable YABBA Awards.

‘The greatest gift is a passion for reading’. (Elizabeth Hardwick)

Kim Yeomans
Ormiston Library Teacher

Principal

CamNews

Principal

October 18, 2019

The arrival of Term 4 always signifies commencement of the celebration of important milestones in education – from completing secondary education for our Year 12 students through to the orientation and transition programs for new and continuing students later in the term.

At 3.25pm today the school bell rang for only the second time this year (the first was at the commencement of the Year 7 Welcome Ceremony). Today it was to signify the final day of secondary schooling for our Year 12 students. Whilst some of our girls have already commenced their oral and performance exams, the rest are now preparing for the first of their final assessments. We are very proud of our 2019 Year 12 cohort as they have led with enthusiam and zest motivating teams of students in many areas, as well as working consistently in their academic programs thoughout the year. I would like to take this opportunity to wish them all the very best in their final examinations and for all the opportunities that lie ahead.

Last week, Jacqui Wagner who is a member of our School Council opened the VCE Art Show. Jacqui is an architect who has a great interest in Art, Design and Creative Thinking. As a member of the School Council, she also sits on the Property Sub-Committee. Jacqui acknowledged the quality of the work, variety of different media featured and the utilisation of sophisticated technology located in our MakerSpace such as the laser cutter and 3D printers. I am very grateful to our art team for bringing this exhibition together.

At our Years 10-12 Presentation Evening last night, we were able to showcase and celebrate many students and their work. Whilst we celebrated the significant academic achievements, we also highlighted the many citizenship, service, community and co-curricular contributions as well. This is very important as we are committed to the development of the whole person and we value the development of broader competencies, skills and ethical capacities – attributes that we know are integral to their future success.

Last night I was delighted to share that 25% of our 2019 Year 12 cohort have already received offers from the Australian National University (ANU) and LaTrobe University. Entrance requirements into ANU are not solely based on the ATAR but also on contribution to the community in service and other co-curricular interests. This is also common in international university applications and this part of the application has been already satisfied. Through the LaTrobe University ASPIRE program, students again have satisfied these requirements through avenues such as their community service, volunteering for groups, such as coaching sporting teams, participation in the Duke of Edinburgh Award and other co-curricular programs. At LaTrobe, students accepted into the ASPIRE program can gain entry into courses with a conditional offer ATAR. For example, for entry into Physiotherapy in 2019, the ATAR at LaTrobe was 97. The community engagement component makes up a large part of the selection criteria. For those accepted into the ASPIRE program the conditional offer ATAR was 92. All eleven of our Year 12 students who applied have been accepted into the ASPIRE program, so clearly the strength of their applications has been outstanding. Whilst the girls may still choose different courses, it is significant that they already have considerable options.Next week we look forward to our Leavers’ Service and Valedictory Dinner.

This year our students have been led by 3 incredible young women: Nikki Chen (School Captain), Stephanie Lysikatos (Vice Captain) and Ellie Zhou (Vice Captain). They have served our community with dedication and humility. Nikki, Steph and Ellie have worked in a truly collaborative way with all other captains and leaders, have been mindful of the needs and the desires of both the student body and the school, and have engaged others to create many inspiring and thought provoking activities, presentations and events. Nikki, Steph and Ellie have truly embraced our school values of integrity, commitment, respect, hope and courage in all of their work this year and we won’t forget the NES team’s zest for all they do! I thank them on behalf of our community for their service.

I am pleased to confirm that we will be finishing our Science Laboratory refurbishments over the Christmas break. The Chemistry and Biology Laboratories with associated preparation rooms will be completed ready for the beginning of the 2020 school year. This three year project will see the complete renovation of four Science Laboratories and the construction of a Robotics Laboratory and MakerSpace. I am very grateful to the many members of our community who have supported the important upgrade of these facilities.

 

With best wishes

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

Principal

CamNews

Principal

September 6, 2019

The Gift of Our Time

Being an educator is an incredible privilege and I delight in letting anyone who will listen know that it is the best job in the world.

Educators share with parents the wonderful responsibility of supporting young people to grow and become compassionate young citizens, that understand the responsibility to build a more just and sustainable world. One of the joys of my role is attending events where our students demonstrate their learning, and I particularly appreciate those events where parents are also present.

Our Father’s Day Breakfast each year is a real delight! After a quick breakfast there is the Ormiston Soccer and the Senior School Basketball match between girls and their fathers. There is no end of fun on the court and a perpetual cup to be won. Distractions are sometimes employed like hugging fathers and congratulatory ‘high fives’!

Recently our children loved showing their parents their artwork at the Ormiston Art Show and older girls were so proud when their parents attended the sporting matches and Celebration of Sport Dinner to also acknowledge achievements.

The quality of our music program is also outstanding – influenced by the number and range of abilities of students who participate and the expertise of the staff who enable the presentation of truly outstanding pieces. Our students practice every week to master their pieces for music events.  At our recent Festival of Music concert, all the parents I spoke to indicated that they would happily pay to attend such a high calibre performance and shared with me gratitude for the incredible work of staff.

So why focus on this in my editorial? On many of the occasions I have spoken of, many parents do not attend. Many drop their daughters off at events and return 1-2 hours later to pick them up.

Whilst I know we all lead busy lives, for those who do not engage with their daughters in these events, it is time to reconsider. As adults, one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the gift of our time. Our daughters regularly demonstrate their excellence, and in doing this demonstrate their commitment, their struggles and their growth. They show us who they are, and who they are becoming, and it is important as adults that we appreciate this.

As parents we can never get time back. We can never again experience that performance, or that moment that we missed. That sheer joy and connection.

These are the special times in our lives in this busy world. Where better to find joy and meaning in our lives than with our children?

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

 

CENTENARY CELEBRATION ANNOUNCEMENT

I am delighted to announce that the The Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria, accompanied by Mr Anthony Howard AM QC, has accepted our invitation to attend our Centenary Commencement Ceremony to be held on Tuesday 11 February 2020 commencing at 10.45am.  This special occasion will be a wonderful event to launch our celebrations.

All parents and guardians are most welcome to attend. Additional information regarding this event will be sent closer to the date.

Principal

CamNews

Principal

August 23, 2019

Senior School Student Wellbeing Curriculum and Programs

During this year, under the leadership of Ms Nirvana Watkins, Deputy Head of Senior School – Wellbeing Curriculum & Programs, we have enhanced a number of our student wellbeing programs, as well as continuing to integrate elements of wellbeing into our curriculum offerings.

The Development of the Whole Person is one of the pillars in our Strategic Plan. We define it as nurturing the spiritual, academic, physical, emotional and social character of each girl to prepare her to embrace opportunities with confidence, resilience and a sense of responsibility for others. We also know that wellbeing and academic achievement are linked, so it is important that if we aim to maximise the potential of each individual, that a focus on wellbeing is also an important component of a holistic education.

A summary of a number of the key programs and approaches offered at each year level is detailed below to give you an understanding of the breadth of some of our programs.

Year 7

In the transition to Year 7, a key facet of the Wellbeing curriculum is to build a “Connected Community”.  In addition to the extensive Transition Program undertaken at the beginning of the year, connectedness is achieved through explicit teaching of friendship strategies, teamwork and inclusion. Additionally, the tutor group model allows Year 7 students to build close connections with their peers and their tutor with a ratio of 12 students to each tutor teacher.

During Term 3, Year 7 students are delving into personal values and connecting these to the CGGS values of Integrity, Commitment, Respect, Hope and Courage. This inquiry culminates in a Poetry Slam competition in which students express their values through the form of spoken word poetry. It is quite amazing to see the development of the somewhat shy and possibly overwhelmed students that walk through the school gates at the start of the year, to the confident, articulate and values-driven presentations that we see at the end of Term 3!

In addition to this school-based curriculum, Year 7 students also benefit from a number of wellbeing incursions throughout the year, such as Project Rockit. Students also develop their personal skills and connections through the Education Outdoors program and their year level camp, which provides age-appropriate challenges in a safe environment, encouraging risk-taking and a growth mindset.

Year 8 Healthy Minds

The Healthy Minds Program was developed by an award-winning clinical psychologist Dr Tom Nehmy from Adelaide in South Australia. After working as a clinical psychologist in government, corporate and private practice, Dr Nehmy became concerned about the number of clients (both children and adult) who exhibited signs of unhelpful thinking and behavior that could have been prevented.

Dr Nehmy’s observations developed into his PhD research project at Flinders University that has subsequently given rise to the Healthy Minds Program. Published in the prestigious international peer-reviewed journal Behaviour Research and Therapy, Healthy Minds teaches the skills of effective emotion regulation, helpful decision making and balanced thinking. Healthy Minds was awarded the Flinders University Vice-Chancellor’s Prize and is developing an international reputation in health and education as a highly effective program.

This year CGGS partnered with Dr Nehmy who conducted this program in Year 8 during Term 2, where he trained staff and students and provided information evenings for parents accompanied by weekly parent modules.

We were delighted to be the first school in Victoria to undertake the Healthy Minds Program and we were very grateful to the Parents and Friends Association for providing the funds to undertake this program and accreditation in our pilot year.

Year 9: Pop-Up Learning, Cognizance Project, Enlighten Education

Year 9 Wellbeing has a focus on ‘Personal Growth’ as the underpinning theme for the year. The three key elements of the wellbeing program are:

Pop-Up Learning

Pop-up learning opportunities have allowed students to explore their passions, their future, and the enriching experience of service through a series of two-day special programs. They focused on blending personal communication and collaboration skills with key thematic explorations.

The Pop-Up Learning opportunities have included:

> Service Learning Dignity Conference

> AI for Good Design Thinking Challenge

> Me, You, Us City Experience and Community Exploration

Cognizance Project

The Cognizance Project is a research program in metacognition, undertaken in partnership with Jared Cooney Horvath (University of Melbourne) and Independent Schools Victoria.
More than 200 parents and students attended an introductory session A Tour Through the Teenage Brain with Jared in July. This term students are undertaking 4×90 minute seminars with Jared, focused on ‘Hacking the Brain’ (the metaphor of the brain as a computer is used):

> Get Your Mind Right (Stories and Errors)

> Master the Hardware

> Gaming the System

> Own your Learning

Cognizance aims to build students’ self-awareness of the process of learning and how they can master thinking dispositions and neuroscience to optimize their learning. Our girls were very enthusiastic after their first session with Jared, in which he challenged their perceptions and bent their brains with optical illusions.

Enlighten Education

For the past six years, CGGS has engaged Enlighten Education to deliver their full-day workshops to Year 9 students. The bespoke workshops are tailored to meet the needs of the cohort and focus on building self esteem, interpersonal skills and resilience. At the end of the workshop one of the students commented in her reflection,“I now know to not feel uncomfortable in my own skin, that we can do anything we put our minds to, to take time for myself, how to be safe and assertive and the value of friendship. I loved everything!”

Year 10: Stress, Study, Success

Wellbeing programs in Year 10 are focussed on preparing students for the challenges of Year 10 and their VCE studies. Form groups have delved into the concept of stress and dealing with the negative outcomes of an increased workload. Students have investigated various strategies in order to overcome pessimistic thoughts as well as developing coping strategies. To compliment the focus on managing stress there has been the focus on building a sustainable range of study skills. As students approached the mid-year examinations, they were presented with a number of techniques to assist in their preparation for assessment. An emphasis on individualisation was a key component as we know that students learn, retain and apply information in a range of different ways.

Term 3 has seen a focus on goal setting and the importance of having a growth mindset. Through the use of vision boards students have had the opportunity to develop, set and visualise their goals for the remainder of this year and into the future. With an emphasis on image, colour and slogans, goals have come alive in a form that relates to each individual student. In addition, pop-up learning opportunities have included a session on the importance of inclusion as well as a collaboration to develop a short-film relating to a significant social issue.

Year 11 and 12 Mental Fitness Training – Study Skills

A series of Mental Fitness Training university-style lectures have been provided to students to cultivate healthy dispositions and proactive approaches to learning. These have been the focus of Mental Fitness Training in Year 11 and 12.

The lectures have been tailored to the context and challenges encountered by VCE studentswith themes such asMaximising Study Potentialand Getting Grit and Being Successful. Topics have included:

> Success Scripts

> Sleep, Devices and Study apps

> Feedback and assertive help seeking

> Effort counts twice

> Passion and Skills

Year 11 and 12 Mentoring and Year 10 Big Sister Little Sister Program

House Mentoring occurs fortnightly with the Year 11 and 12 Captains and Leaders taking on the role as mentors. A preparation session takes place each fortnight and there is also a focus on the development of leadership skills for the student facilitators.

A new initiative led by the School Captains this year was the Big Sister Little Sister Programthat commenced in Term 2 and included 1-2 sessions each term.

In this program, Year 10 students mentored Year 7 students. As the program develops it is intended that student connections will be sustained throughout the older students’ VCE years to ensure every student in every year level has a connection to a big sister or little sister.

In addition, Camberwell Girls Grammar School and Camberwell Grammar School have conducted a number of parent education seminars held between both schools. They have included:

> February: Paul Dillon
Risk Taking:  Why do teens do the things they do?  What can parents do to keep them as safe as possible?

> March: Andrew Fuller
Creating Healthy Families

> April: Robyn Treyvaud
The Parent’s Survival Guide to Children, Technology and the Internet

> June: Maree Crabbe
Pornography, Young People and Sexuality Today

> August:  Michael Gordon
Building Resilient Teachers

This seminar series is run annually, and we will advertise the 2020 series early next year.

 

With best wishes

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

PARENT SURVEY

As part of our ongoing commitment to continuously improving the school, we believe it is critical to seek each parent and guardian’s opinion on a range of issues relating to Camberwell Girls Grammar School. Your feedback is very important to us as we continue to build a successful school and strengthen our reputation as an ‘educator of choice’.

As such, we have again engaged the professional services of MYP Corporation (MYPCorp) to undertake a strictly private and confidential School Results Survey on our behalf. The survey should take approximately 10 – 15 minutes and will need to be completed online between Monday 26 August 2019 and Friday 6 September 2019.

At the beginning of next week you will receive survey instructions and a personalised login to complete the survey. While we encourage you to participate, the survey is not compulsory. If you decide that you do not want to complete the survey, simply click ‘unsubscribe’ in the instruction or reminder email. Thank you for your assistance in helping to shape the future direction of Camberwell Girls Grammar School.

Principal

CamNews

Principal

August 9, 2019

Our Global Community

During CamberWELL Week, our girls enjoyed a range of activities across both Ormiston and Senior School. One of the events that I attended was the International Concert at lunchtime on Wednesday.

I enjoyed the variety of vocal and dance performances from different cultures and was pleasantly surprised by the range of students who were familiar with many of the pieces.

The Global Citizenship pillar of our Strategic Plan acknowledges the interconnectedness of our world and the need for our girls to develop intercultural competency skills. Whilst these types of performances only provide a glimpse into other cultures, sharing them in such a connected community provides a very valuable experience to understand and share both our differences and our similarities.

Recently, I have been thinking quite a lot about the richness of diverse communities. On my mother’s side of the family, I am in the first generation born in Australia.  At home we speak English, however on a recent family holiday, we were very fortunate for the first time to spend time with my mother in her native homeland, Estonia.

Our family trip to Estonia gave me a much greater insight into, and appreciation of, my mother. I was amazed at the fluency of her first language, familiarity with customs and love of the food. We visited the church where her parents were married, stayed in the hotel that used to be the Telegraph Station where her father worked, and as we roamed the beautiful old medieval city of Tallinn heard many stories of her childhood. Whilst it was my first visit to Estonia, interestingly I too, experienced a sense of familiarity.

I was appreciative of the opportunity to travel in a country where English is not the most common language spoken. A quick Google search told me that there are 109 languages spoken in Estonia with the majority being Estonian and Russian. I certainly heard people speaking in many different languages and noted the influence of many different cultures throughout the city.  It was a fascinating snapshot of diversity in a European location.

By comparison, the 2016 Census data (Population and Housing) from the Australian Bureau of Statistics highlights that we are a nation of people from over 190 different countries and over 300 identifiable languages spoken at home. Nearly half (49%) of all Australians were born overseas or had at least one parent who was born overseas. The four most commonly reported countries of birth for those born overseas were England (14.7%), New Zealand (8.4%), China (8.3%) and India (7.4%) and 21% of Australians spoke a language other than English at home.

Keen to understand our Camberwell Girls Grammar School community, I looked at our current student and family information. It was interesting to see that 71% of our students were born in Australia, and 29% were born in 25 countries outside of Australia.  In addition, when we look at the birthplaces of our students and both parents, we have members of our families born in 59 countries outside of Australia.  In 2016 we looked at similar data that also included staff and found that our community originated from 46 countries.  It seems that we have significantly expanded our global reach in the last three years!

For us as a school, we have welcomed students born in other countries for many years. Our school history book, In Deeds Not Years, highlights the arrival of Evelyn Douglas from South Africa, Bridget Allan from England and Ong Yew Har from China in 1961. By 1962 our Principal, Miss Hall reported that one of the interesting features of the school was the inclusion of girls from England, Thailand, Hong Kong, Hungary, Malaysia, South Africa, Switzerland, Japan and Papua. We were already valuing our global connections!

One of the recognised strengths of CGGS is the feeling of community and connectedness. During events such as our International Concert we enjoy the unique talents of students, and at the same time experience and appreciate our similarities as well as our differences.

Our diversity at CGGS strongly reflects the world in which our students will live and work and through our inclusive community we provide opportunities for richer and more relevant learning.

 

With best wishes

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

Principal

CamNews

Principal

July 26, 2019

Effortless Perfectionism 

In essence, what educators and parents seek for today’s young people is that they engage the whole gamut of school and life’s learning opportunities, to become the best they can be. With the ultimate aim, that as adults they are people of worth and valued contributors to society. With this ideal guiding educational programs and parenting practices, research advises us to be careful about how we communicate this desire and goal. We want our daughters and students to be high achievers, but without them gravitating to the excesses of perfectionism.

In 2003 at Duke University, the phrase ‘effortless perfectionism’ was coined to describe the immense pressure students felt in relentlessly having to meet unduly high marks. Sixteen years later and now known from well documented research is that while males can fall prey to this predicament, females are more susceptible. For girls and young women, effortless perfectionism encompasses the need to make achievement look effortless, to be high achievers maintaining excellent grades while remaining well-rounded, well-liked, attractive, polite and nice… and to accomplish all this without any visible effort. However, at its’ core, effortless perfectionism is not just doing something perfectly, “it is a complex psychological phenomenon involving extreme self-pressure to meet excessively high standards which is powerfully connected to the judgement of self-worth” (Dr Alix Vann, clinical psychologist).

We need to be acutely aware of the widespread increasing trend towards perfectionism, to understand what drives it as a social construct and how to divert the consequences which can follow in its’ wake.

In defining a perfect life, society subtly celebrates successful lives, with wealth, status and possessions.  Social media amplifies this yet in reality ‘perfect lives’ are a myth. Girls who are constantly connected on social media platforms are inundated with often photoshopped images of the ‘ideal woman’. These are seen on social media, television advertisements, in magazines, highly visible billboards in the street, computer games and online videos. The pressure to look good all the time is taxing and the breeding ground for a loss of self-confidence.

Females are socialised to aspire to perfection and often to be more cautious than males. Parents can unwittingly place pressure on their children by sending conditional expectations regarding high achievement or withholding praise on less than perfect performances. Within schools there lies the danger of girls comparing themselves with others, to the extent that some discern their own high achievements as imperfect efforts. This drives them to perform more perfectly next time so as not to be seen as a failure and to be valued as a person of worth in the eyes of others. The peril of perfectionism gives rise to dissatisfaction and leads to thinking that work is never done; there is always something to improve. As a consequence, it becomes burdensome and sometimes paralysing when perfectionists relentlessly strive for unreachable standards, no matter how much effort is expended.

There are numerous characteristics and behaviours which are warning signs resulting from the unhealthy excesses of perfectionism, some of which include:

> Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself
> Unwarranted self-criticism which inhibits high achievement and hampers intellectual and creative growth
> A fear of taking risks
> Procrastination to the point of the incompletion of tasks
> The avoidance of tasks
> Constantly seeking reassurance
> Excessive checking of work
> Difficulty in making decisions or an obsessive focus on failures
> Extreme competitiveness
> Stress which impacts clear thinking
> The diminishing of self-esteem and the increase of self-doubt
> The onset of emotional and mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, self-harm and eating disorders

To steer girls away from effortless perfectionism, so they remain balanced while aspiring for excellence, requires mindful and proactive measures on the part of parents and educators. Ultimately, it is imperative our young people develop a sense of their own self worth, not to believe that ‘almost perfect’ is an imperfection. In addition, the girls need to hear encouraging and supportive messages from adults such as:

> To develop a growth mindset and see that learning is not finite; that it can be developed through effort and trial
> To thrive on challenges and see failure not as evidence of un-intelligence but welcome opportunities for growth and for stretching existing abilities
> To adopt good study habits; to learn for the sake of learning, not just for outcomes
> To set personal goals, minimising comparisons to others and to work towards personal bests
> To see that tests are only a measure of their mastery on any one day; that they do not determine future performances, or how much teacher likes them, or how much parents value them
> To understand the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism
> That mistakes are part of learning and it is okay to make them; that they are part of the process

It is natural to want to help young people by preventing them from making mistakes. However, adults are encouraged not to step in with their assistance, rather to be a supportive presence, unless it becomes evident that the child is feeling frustrated. It is vitally important that children learn from adults that they themselves make mistakes, experience disappointments and setbacks. Crucially children should be taught that from setbacks recovery is possible. Even the most successful and talented people make errors and experience difficulties. No-one is immune. It’s how people deal with setbacks and failure that counts.

If adults reward behaviours such as effort, giving things a go and risk taking in children’s learning, not just achievements, this will help develop academic resilience and perseverance, regardless of the achievements.

It is imperative we listen without judgement to our daughters and students; to validate their feelings and communicate our understanding of their points of view. We must champion them to feel worthy, so they have the courage to be imperfect and true to themselves, and very importantly to be comfortable with this feeling.

It is also important to provide them with opportunities to reflect on how to be kind to themselves, to grow in self-respect and confidence and to nurture their sense of adventure and fun, to be brave in their thinking and actions.

In the first session of the Year 8 Healthy Minds program last term, the topic of perfectionism was explored. After an initial presentation, students completed tasks including one where they highlighted the failures of famous people such as JK Rowling and Anh Do. They also interviewed family members detailing the failures or mistakes they had made on their pathway to success.

Psychologist Thomas Curran from the University of Bath says that “perfectionism is at its root about perfecting the imperfect.” Telling children to be more resilient is not the answer, as important as resilience is to overcomes obstacles and to be more robust. It is the task of parents and educators to help children “to live and learn bravely and to celebrate the joys and beauties of imperfection as a natural part of everyday living.”

With best wishes

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

Principal

CamNews

Principal

June 28, 2019

Setting the tone for this event were Summer Howarth, from the Eventful Learning Company and Jeanette Cheah, Melbourne-based co-founder and CEO of The Hacker Exchange, whose ‘In Conversation’ looked at the power of blending brains to make a difference to the world. The Hacker Exchange is a company that exists to change the face of business, by creating a generation of leaders who are global citizens, who never stop learning, and who take action to create the world they want. For Jeanette, diversity in teams is essential; the hacker, the hipster and the hustler are the perfect blend!

From here, the Year 9s delved deep into Artificial Intelligence, what it is, how it works, where it’s going with sessions titled ‘Robots…So what?’ and ‘You, Me and AI’. Students began to think about how AI might be used to innovate solutions for the environment, accessibility or humanitarian action. Our resident NAO robot had a starring role alongside Year 9 student Bethany Orme, who spotlighted her experience of the Year 8/9 Robotics Elective, sharing how facial recognition technology can be adapted in robots to help blind people with object recognition.

The final session of Day One of thisdeep dive learning experience had students attend an AI Expo in the CGGS Maker Space, designed specifically to enable students to experience a variety of AI technology from Spheros, Makey Makeys, Make It Coding, Hour of Code, and EV3s, all in readiness for their design sprint on Day Two.

The Challenge kickoff on Day Two had students considering the problems that they find unacceptable in the world today. They learnt about the design thinking process and the rules of ideation to help them consider ethical applications of AI. The AI For Good Challenge engages students in generating solutions to real world problems. When given the opportunity to share their own knowledge, diversify their thinking and take responsibility by creating new value, CGGS girls are bursting with imagination and potential.

Kate Manners (Deputy Head of Senior School – Teaching and Learning)
Nirvana Watkins (Deputy Head of Senior School – Wellbeing Curriculum and Programs).

As the term draws to a close, I would like to thank students, staff and families for their contribution and support of all our programs during Semester 1. Each edition of CamNews highlights the many opportunities afforded to our students, as we focus on their academic progress and personal development. There have certainly been many stories to share so far this year.

In recent weeks a team of staff created and ran a conference on Artificial Intelligence (AI) called ‘AI for Good’ to enable our girls to explore the exciting world of AI through multiple perspectives. At the end of my editorial I have included an article by Kate Manners (Deputy Head of Senior School – Teaching and Learning) and Nirvana Watkins (Deputy Head of Senior School – Wellbeing Curriculum and Programs).

There is no doubt that our students have access to a wide range of learning and co-curricular opportunities that develop their knowledge, understanding, skills development, attitudes and values. We also know that the ability to transfer knowledge and skills (including transferrable skills) to new or emerging contexts is also very important for our students, as is the mindset for such engagement. Our education programs are focussed on these types of learning opportunities and many examples have been shared throughout the term.

There have been numerous opportunities for students to develop their learning. From the Foundation students visiting Healesville Sanctuary and Year 1’s learning about how living things change and grow at the Melbourne Zoo. Year 5 students examining how perspective influences our ideas of Australia’s past at the State Library, through to the Year 7 excursion to the Werribee Treatment Plant. Year 9 Enlighten Education Day and their Dignity and Artificial Intelligence Conferences. Years 8 and 9 German Film Festival and Year 9 Model United Nations Convention. Year 10s examining the development of green spaces in an urban context and visiting the Holocaust Centre as part of their work on World War II. The OGA Public Speaking Competition and the student led House Music. The list is endless.

We have showcased learning to our families through the Year 3 ANZAC Assembly, Year 5 Mars Colony gallery, Year 6 sustainable energy investigations, Year 7 Girls Invent Fair,  VCE Theatre Studies performance of Antigone and Cabaret Night.

Our Service Learning commitment has been evident through visits to the Hedley Sutton Residential Aged Care Centre by Year 2 students, and through students and staff providing weekly assistance at both River Nile and Dream Stitches programs. We celebrated National Reconciliation Week and during this time participated in the Worawa Sports Competition. We hosted a grandparents and special friends presentation by Murrundindi for Years 3 and 4 families, and a group of students and staff were honoured to participate in the Mungo Youth Festival. A highlight was our annual Service Learning Soiree where we acknowledged programs and raised money for the Green Gecko Project in Cambodia and the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

It has been wonderful to see the growing participation in sporting programs across both schools. Increased participation was seen in our new Years 2 and 3 Netball program and the House and GSV Cross-Country carnivals, with students progressing to district, division, regional and state carnivals in Junior School and our Junior Secondary team winning their division. The Senior GSV Football team won their division for the third consecutive year and our Saturday Netball teams have been performing very well in the Boroondara competition.

In addition, students and staff participated in the UK Literature Tour last holidays and the popular Music Camp at Mt Eliza earlier in the term. Throughout the term Years 5, 6, 7 and 8 students have all attended camp. We held the Year 11 Soiree where girls and their partners enjoyed this important social occasion and our school Chess Team won an open zone chess tournament against both girls and boys teams. We also celebrated two of our students receiving Premier’s VCE Awards for their results in 2018.

From a community perspective we enjoyed the Mother’s Day breakfast and reunions for students who completed their education at CGGS 10, 30 and 40 years ago. Two parent seminars were also held on the important topics of ‘Adolescent Use of Technology and the Internet’ and ‘Pornography, Young People and Sexuality’.

Whilst this is not an exhaustive list of all the learning opportunities in Term 2, it certainly provides an overview of the richness of the learning and experiences offered at CGGS. I am very grateful to our enthusiastic and dedicated staff who enable all of these opportunities – we are so fortunate.

In concluding the term, I would also like to wish Mrs Emily Pandya all the very best as she will be taking parental leave for the remainder of the year with her second child.  We are delighted to welcome Ms Christa Cook who will be replacing her for Semester 2.

Next term I will also be sharing information with you about the development of our next strategic plan and the opportunity for you to provide input.

Finally, I would like to wish you all a relaxing and safe holiday and I look forward to welcoming you back for a very exciting Term 3!

 

Warm regards

Debbie Dunwoody

 

Year 9 Artificial Intelligence (AI) For Good Conference

“Creativity is the power to reject the past, to change the status quo and to seek new potential. Simply put, aside from using one’s imagination – perhaps more importantly – creativity is the power to act.” – Ai Weiwei

Intentional harnessing of human creativity was at the core of the Year 9 CGGS AI For Good Conference which took place on Thursday 13 and Friday 14  June. This two-day event was expressly designed to enable our Year 9 students to explore the exciting world of Artificial Intelligence through multiple lenses, culminating in the completion of the AI For Good Challenge, a joint partnership project of Australia’s Education Changemakers and Microsoft.