Principal

CamNews

Principal

Leading Learning that Matters
In his book Future Wise: Educating our Children for a Changing World, Professor David Perkins from Harvard’s Project Zero examines the issue of what’s worth learning.  It is a proposition that is continually at the fore of my thinking as we are challenged to design learning opportunities and curriculum that will engage our girls’ hearts and minds, enable them to achieve the academic standards required for their future pathways and help to prepare them for new professional landscapes in a highly connected world.

As a founding member of Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Co-Director for over 25 years with Howard Gardner, Professor Perkins has conducted long-term programs of research and development in the areas of teaching and learning for understanding, creativity, problem-solving and reasoning in the arts, sciences and everyday life. He has also spent time understanding the role of educational technology in teaching and learning.  Professor Perkins works with leading educational teams globally including schools in Australia.

As a school that is focused on worthwhile learning that will prepare girls for their future, I was delighted to be invited as one of 10 Principals from Victoria and one from South Australia to work with Professor Perkins and the team at Harvard’s Project Zero, in conjunction with Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) on a two-year project, ‘Leading Learning that Matters’.  The joint venture between Project Zero and ISV allows selected Principals to identify the leadership practices needed to plan and implement school innovations for 21st Century learning, enhancing leadership skills and the development of contemporary teaching and learning understandings and practices, whilst drawing on the expertise of world renowned experts in this area.

Through a series of workshops this year with the Project Zero and the ISV team, I have been able to bring some clarity to our vision for the ‘Learning that Matters at CGGS’ and explore what defines academic success at CGGS.  We have also been reviewing our principles for learning as we establish our new learning framework and I look forward to sharing more with you as our project progresses.

Within our strong culture of learning and achievement, we are also committed to developing the skillset, mindset and toolkit of every student to enhance curiosity and courage in learning and creating a more just and sustainable world.  Similarly, when we talk about academic success at CGGS, results are one part of the equation.  Our focus also revolves around an individual student’s:

  • growth and tenacity in their learning
  • ability to articulate their learning, and
  • ability to demonstrate and share their learning

Many of our programs are increasingly incorporating these factors and require teachers to not only reflect on their students as learners, but also what it means for themselves to be a learner.

As part of this initiative with the team of Principals, I will be travelling to the USA on a study tour during the last two weeks of term to learn about leadership in a number of key global organisations, concluding with a residential at the Harvard Graduate School of Education with Professor Perkins and his team.

I look forward to sharing my learning with you when I return.

 

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

 

Perkins, D 2014, Future Wise:  Educating our Children for a Changing World, Wiley Press, San Francisco

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Child Safe Standards

Child Safe Standards Update

At the start of the 2016 school year we communicated with all families, the introduction of the Victorian Government’s Ministerial Order No. 870 – Child Safe Standards – Managing the risk of child abuse in schools.

Our Camberwell Girls Child Safe policies promote child safety, reduce risk and develop and improve procedures for responding to allegations of abuse or suspected abuse.

Each year we will remind our community of the standards and give an update on our implementation of the standards at Camberwell Girls.  Our Heads of School, Cathy Poyser and Paul Donohue, work closely with the Student Counsellors, Paula Kolivas and Beth Sarlos, in implementing the standards.  They have provided an update below.

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

 

Educating and empowering students is another requirement of the Child Safe Standards and one that we have been actively working on since the Order’s inception. Organisations where children and young people feel free to question and speak up about both child abuse and behaviour that may lead to it, are organisations that are the most child safe.

As a consequence of our commitment and work in this area, Camberwell Girls has become a leading School in the Department of Education and Training’s Respectful Relationships initiative.  We have most recently held the inaugural meeting of the Inner East group of over 200 partner schools at Camberwell Girls and we are pleased to be working directly with ten partner schools as their Leading School.   The initiative addresses issues of Family and Domestic Violence and Child Safety, with the aim of educating and equipping young people with a clear understanding of what constitutes a respectful relationship and empowering them to have positive expectations for their own future relationships.  In this regard we are pleased to say that a number of independent boys’ schools are part of our cluster, as we feel that the education of young men is critical for this initiative to succeed.

The Year Level Coordinators, Health Teachers and Form Teachers have worked with the students on positive relationships, including discussion around positive communication, respectful behaviour, rights and responsibilities within relationships.  All students have taken part in discussions, scenarios and case studies around appropriate and inappropriate behaviour.

Throughout Semester One the School Counsellors presented to each Year Level in both Junior School and Senior School, addressing the following topics and affirming our commitment to our students’ education and wellbeing:

– Camberwell Girls cares about our students’ feelings and safety;
– We reminded students of our policy on child safety and provided examples of when it is necessary to disclose issues of concern;
– Encouraged discussion about experiences and feelings, with an aim to building student confidence and communication skills;
– Provided education on appropriate and inappropriate adult behaviour and how to respond to the signs of inappropriate behaviour; and
– Reminded students who to go for help if they have a question or concern and that there are a number of nominated staff (Child Protection Officers) they can go to.

The overall message delivered to students was that it is ok to speak up, with the Counsellors reinforcing to students that they will never get into trouble for speaking to trusted adults, they will be believed, they will be assisted and that nothing is ever too bad to talk about.

The information was presented in a sensitive and age appropriate manner, being mindful of the cognitive level of each age group.  If you have not already discussed this as a family, it may be worth asking your daughter what she learnt in the sessions.

The Child Safe Standards also require that organisations (staff, volunteers and contractors) have the skills and capability to follow the appropriate policies and procedures of the School.  Over the course of this year our Counsellors have provided further training to all our ELC, Junior School and Senior School staff to enhance staff confidence in identifying and responding to matters regarding suspicion or allegation of abuse.  For those of you who have volunteered at a function at Camberwell Girls, you will have been asked to complete your Working with Children’s Check, which forms part of our compliance with the Child Safe Standards and our commitment to Child Safety at Camberwell Girls.

In further engaging with our parents, our current Head of Health and Physical Education, Ms Kath Woolcock, has been instrumental in the establishment of our Parent Wellbeing Focus Group.  The aim of this group is to work collaboratively and to discuss and think creatively about how we can best work to promote positive wellbeing for the Camberwell Girls community. Our focus is always on the ongoing physical and emotional wellbeing of all our students.

If you have any concerns regarding your child’s safety or the safety of any other child in our community, please feel free to contact the Principal, Heads of School, or the Counsellors.

You can obtain further information regarding these matters via the following sites:

PROTECT Child Safe Standards

Ministerial Order No 870 – Child Safe Standards

You can also access the CGGS Child Safety Policy and Child Safety Code of Conduct Policy on our website.

 

Cathy Poyser                                                             Paul Donohue                             Beth Sarlos & Paula Kolivas
Deputy Principal / Head of Senior School                Head of Junior School                    Counsellors

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Principal

Software is the language of the world and is becoming a critical layer in our lives. At Camberwell Girls, we don’t just want our students to ‘use’ technology. We want them to be creators of it.

An important part of our STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) Program is ‘technology’… in particular, Digital Technologies. Digital Technologies also form an integral part of the Victorian Curriculum – allowing our students to develop computational thinking and problem solving skills.

In this edition of CamNews, Kim Perkins our Head of Digital Learning and Kathryn Brandt the Junior School Digital Learning Leader share some of the exciting initiatives that our girls are currently participating in.

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

STEM App Challenge
Girls in the upper years at Ormiston have been given the opportunity to participate in the Australian STEM Video Game Challenge. The purpose of the challenge is to engage students’ creativity and encourage their participation in learning vital skills such as designing, building and testing an original video game. We currently have 12 girls in Year 5 working in teams to create a video game based around the concept of ‘Reaction’. The girls had to initially start the challenge by investigating different types of reactions – ranging from chemical to emotional and even the idea of allergic reactions. They also worked through the process of coming up with a very detailed game design document that outlines the key elements and direction of the video game. This has proved highly insightful, as it has given the girls valuable insight into the life of a professional game designer.

The project reinforces collaboration but also allows a self-directed and peer-directed approach, as students have to manage some of their challenges at school and at home. It has been extremely beneficial to have the girls apply their coding skills from previous experiences and be able to find a place where they can take these skills to a new level. The challenge concludes at the end of August and we are looking forward to seeing their ideas come to fruition.

Coding and Robotics
With such an emphasis on technology in our world, it is imperative that we are providing our girls with a range of opportunities for digital creativity. Since 2016, we have offered Code Club as an after school activity and have continued to do so this year. It has been a huge success with students always showing great interest and enthusiasm.

Last semester our Year 3 students were introduced to coding by using the program ‘Scratch’. They were able to create greeting cards and dance projects that required them to learn and apply a variety of skills. They were given the opportunity to learn from one another whilst being faced with constant challenges, such as working out what part of their code was malfunctioning.

This Semester we have created an after school Robotics project for our Year 4 students where they will be looking at ‘Maker Challenges’. They will be participating in tasks that involve design briefs and applying creative thinking skills in order to create a robot.

With the completion of the MakerSpace, students now have access to a dedicated area where they can face challenges, design solutions and test their outcomes. This is particularly highlighted in two new subjects; ‘STEAM of Dance’ which combines coding, robotics and dance to produce a choreographed sequence performed by our humanoid robots Nao. The other new subject is the Years 8 & 9 ‘Robotics and Design’ elective, which requires students to solve problems using robotics. They analyse the task, design the robot to complete the task, build the robot and then test the results. This is an important shift from using pre-built robots to actually designing and building a solution. Lego robotics are used extensively in this subject.

In the Senior School coding and robotics continues as a co-curricular activity but has also been integrated into both elective and non-elective subjects. The new ‘Digital Literacy’ subject that operates from Years 7-10 combines a range of technology related skills including, robotics, coding, virtual reality, networking and computer security. Students at all year levels develop a deeper understanding of robotics and coding through the use of Nao our humanoid robot. Year 10 students complete the Cisco NetAcademy course on the ‘Internet of Everything’.  An externally offered, self-paced, fully online course, NetAcademy, not only offers student an insight into the future of the internet and how it will impact their lives, but also valuable experience in completing an online course.

Video Conferencing
Our students are provided with a variety of engaging learning experiences in their classrooms. Video conferencing is another means that is constantly adding an extra dimension to the girls’ experiences. Each term we are linking our learning to experts in their field and creating an interconnected and enriched program.

At Ormiston we have connected with organisations such as The Big Issue to enable our Year 6 students to discuss the Homelessness in Victoria. Our Year 4s have participated in video conferences with the State Library of New South Wales to complement their unit on Australian history. They were able to view original artefacts and listen to stories about the colonisation and European exploration of Australia.

In Geography Year 8 students participated in a video conference with scientists from GeoScience Australia, the government body charged with monitoring earthquakes and giving tsunami warnings.  This gave students an excellent insight into the operation of that agency, the manner in which seismic data is collected, how it is analysed and how warnings are issued. It also gave students a window into the working lives of these scientists and the important role they play in a globally connected endeavor.

Students from Years 5 through to Year 10 are also participating in the annual Virtual Debating Competition, involving students from schools across Australia. Utilising our Cisco video conferencing equipment and the TV studio, students’ debate on a range of topics and are evaluated by an external adjudicator. This program is proving to be highly successful and builds skills in collaboration, problem solving, research and computer and digital literacies.

Virtual Reality
Although students have been using virtual reality for some time now, we are now enabling them to be creators of virtual worlds through the use of the HTC Vive VR headsets and the Google Tilt Brush application.  Although in its early days, this initiative is gaining considerable interest from students with an aptitude in coding, design, art and digital multimedia.

 

 

Kim Perkins                                                     Kathryn Brandt
Head of Digital Learning                                Junior School Digital Learning Leader

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Principal

Welcome to Term 3 and CGGS Aquatic Centre

I would like to welcome back all students and families, including nine new students to Camberwell Girls this term.   I would also like to acknowledge a number of new staff, Ms Lilian Bishop who will be taking the part time EL4 class, Ms Xin Yang, a part time Ormiston and Senior School Chinese teacher and Ms Trudy Maxwell a part time Ormiston Physical Education teacher.  We also welcome back Ms Jess Huggett in her part time role in Ormiston as Music teacher.

Many students and staff were enjoying different tours and programs during the break.  Mark Corrie and Pamela Badoer took a group of VCE Physical Education students to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra to participate in a range of theory and practical sessions.

In addition, 63 students from Years 7-12 and 7 staff, participated in the European Music Tour, performing in many key locations. During the tour, the group visited Milan, Verona, Venice, Ljubljana, Salzberg, Vienna, Prague and Munich, participating in master classes and performing in a number of key locations and cathedrals. A highlight was the Summa Cum Laude festival in Vienna. The CGGS music groups had been rehearsing regularly since the beginning of the year and I would like to thank Jenny Meachem, Cathy Poyser, Rohan Mack, Mat Duniam, Penny Byrne, Helen Creed and Nareen Robinson for preparing the performers, organising and supporting the tour.  It was certainly a highlight for so many.

We were delighted to launch our Winter Edition of CamLife during the holidays that focuses on our sport programs and being active.  In our commitment to developing the whole person at Camberwell Girls, physical exercise, sport and connectedness to the outdoors all play a vital role.  In addition to developing physical and motivational skills, nurturing positive attitudes and valuing hard work, research also highlights important links between physical activity and improvement in academic performance.

During the last few years we have expanded our GSV sport offerings to include Diving, AFL Football and Triathlon.  We have also increased our sport coaching opportunities at Ormiston and have continued to build upon our very successful and extensive Saturday Netball program.  In recent weeks we have also engaged a new athletics coaching team led by Jo and Nick Bowden from Run Ready.  We are very excited to have these experienced coaches here at CGGS and working with our students.

As we witnessed our swimming training program expand rapidly in recent years, it became obvious that this was an area of sport and skill development that we could enhance further.  During the recent holidays we commenced our Stage 1 refurbishment of the pool and change rooms to open the CGGS Aquatic Centre at the end of this month.  The Centre will conduct learn to swim programs through the CGGS Swim School, and we have established a new competitive swimming club, CGGS Aquatic under the leadership of CGGS Aquatics Program Manager and Head Swim Coach, Mr Peter Kitney.

The CGGS Swim School will open this term with a full range of Learn to Swim programs as well as junior through to advanced squad levels.  We are also delighted that our competitive club, CGGS Aquatic has already commenced with over 40 members.  Peter is very pleased with the progress of the members so far.

Within the next three weeks the Stage 1 Refurbishment will be completed and we look forward to many students enjoying the upgraded facility and more opportunities for physical activity and development at Camberwell Girls.

 

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

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Principal

Each year our three School Captains, together with our School and House Leaders, endeavour to inspire and bring the Camberwell Girls student body closer together. This year Mia, Jacqueline and Meagan through their theme of GRIT are endeavouring to empower our students to persevere and work through challenges and obstacles to develop personally and contribute to a broader community. I am very pleased to include their report below, giving you an insight into their work and priorities this year.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

 

 

Themes
This year, we chose to strive towards encouraging our peers and the community to place focus on areas in their lives that are sometimes overlooked. The word GRIT was chosen as our overarching theme for the year, encompassing a singular focus for each term – Gratitude, Risk-Taking, Individuality and Trust. The notion of Grit itself became symbolic as it emphasises one’s inner strength and ability to show courage through personal growth and development.

Our Captain’s board this year is dubbed the ‘Wonder Wall’ – a place where we hope to inspire and challenge the ways our girls think. We’ve included a central question in the middle of the board, to encourage active participation from the girls as some may also get read out at assembly! Furthermore, girls are constantly prompted by amazing women in history, to endorse our belief that as girls, we are able to do anything. In addition, to boost positivity around the School, we have also placed some great jokes around the School (although great may be debateable!) We hope that they brought a smile to some faces! Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for more jokes in Term 3!

During Term 1, we challenged girls to display gratitude to themselves and people around them. This is something that we deem to be particularly important in day-to-day life, as we often take for granted many of the small things that others do for us every day – particularly in being grateful for the opportunities that we are given at the School.

As a way to conclude our theme of gratitude, we invited a special guest speaker, Sam Suke, to speak to the Year 11 and 12 girls and then address the whole School in an interactive presentation on how he has shown gratitude in his life; inspired by the idea of the Japanese story of the 1000 Paper Cranes. Sam introduced us to his Crane Blog and the theory of ‘Ikigai’, a Japanese concept which means ‘a reason for being’. This requires deep evaluation of self, and so it was something new for us to contemplate, especially for the older girls who are looking towards life after school. This will be further explored and taken into practice during our Mentoring sessions; allowing the girls to have the opportunity to create their own cranes and think about what makes them grateful.

Term 2 relates to the idea of risk-taking, with an emphasis on its benefits; such as to better one’s confidence through pushing yourself from your comfort zone, to your growth zone. This notion of risk-taking has always been reflected in girls during the House Dance and House Music competitions in the first and second terms – and this year was no different. We are lucky enough to witness the growth of our peers who completely immerse themselves in either their new leadership position, or devote themselves to their role in the competition, no matter how big or small that role may be. In Term 2 we tried to push girls to try something they haven’t, or to finally attempt that one thing they’ve always wanted to do, because we can never know until we try. Further, we hope to inspire girls with the question, “What would I say and what would I do if I had no fear?” and thus opening the notion of ‘Knowing fear’ and how it can be a blessing rather than a burden.

As Term 3 fast approaches and with individuality as our theme, we aim to encourage girls to appreciate the aspects of themselves that are different to those around them. Research tells us that only 0.06% of your DNA is different from everyone else, so we hope to help the girls acknowledge and embrace the 0.06% that makes them unique and valued. Heading into the final term of our time at Camberwell Girls, we will touch on the idea of Trust: something particularly important for our Year 12 girls who need to display trust in their teachers, classmates and their own abilities as exams grow nearer.

 

School Community
Social Justice and Service Learning has always been a huge part of the Camberwell Girls culture and we are passionate about change and awareness. In an effort to expand our community to help those in need, the School has worked on strengthening the bonds between specific charities so that our donations become more meaningful, and so the girls become familiar with where their donations are being sent. With the help of our fantastic Service Learning Team, we have been lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to touch the lives of many, both locally and overseas. It has become clear that activism through physical action and awareness is extremely powerful, and we hope that the girls realise how much of a difference they can make as individuals.

To kick the year off, we rounded up some of the captains to join with us in holding a Valentine’s Day Stall to raise money for the National Heart Foundation. This stall sold baked goods and provided a chocolate delivery service to those who purchased a chocolate for their friends. We found that this encouraged incredible generosity and gratitude from the girls who bought chocolate to be delivered alongside a note – a perfect way to kick off the first term with our theme of gratitude, prompting girls to thank those around them for the little things that they do.

 

Later in the term, we had several courageous young women participate in the Boroondara Relay for Life, sleeping out and running laps around an oval for 18 consecutive hours, to raise awareness for cancer and support the Cancer Council. Many girls also decided to support Breast Cancer Network Australia, taking part in the Pink Lady AFL match for Round 7 in early May; a cause which provides support, care and kindness for women and families everyday who are suffering from Breast Cancer.

More recently, we have hosted the annual CGGS vs. CGS Netball Match raising funds for Days for Girls. Combining a worthwhile cause and friendly competition (where we won, of course!) meant that lots of girls got involved and we were still able to do something positive. This was further followed up with the highly successful annual Winter Sleep-out where 35 students and teachers spent a night outside at school in support for the Salvation Army’s work combatting homelessness in our local community. It was an incredible night where we were luckily able to donate more than $700 worth of food and basic necessities, due to the amazing generosity of the girls. We cannot thank those enough who have supported these causes, and we feel humbled to be able to learn from so many dedicated and devoted girls in the School.

 

Our Goal
Something incredibly important to all three of us is ensuring that every girl in the community feels valued so that they know know just how much they’re worth. Self-love is something many girls struggle with, but it shouldn’t be: and this doesn‘t sit right with us. As young women ourselves, is it of course highly critical that we inspire the girls as young women, and empower those around us to be aware that they can do anything they set their minds to – no matter the barriers placed down by society. Empowering women and girls is endlessly important to us – we do make up 50% of the population after all! No one should be limited just because of their gender and we hope to come back to this as the year continues so that we can ensure our message is understood and to eliminate the label of ‘feminist‘ being an insult. We hope to inspire the girls around us to never consider themselves as lesser than anyone else, no matter their age, gender, race, or appearance.

We hope to hone in on this notion later in the year, and we are in the midst of planning some exciting events to inspire and encourage girls in our School and in the wider community, to be all that they can be.

 

Thank you
We have also been lucky enough to have surrounded ourselves by some dedicated girls who have helped with our many requests! To those who have helped make our lives easier, including the publicity captains for making various posters to go around the school and to all of the supporting staff – you have made our time as captains so much easier and we are so grateful for everything that you have done for us.

 

Mia Sieber                                         Jacqueline Gu                            Meagan Kollmorgen
School Captain                                Vice Captain                              Vice Captain

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You only have one more week to get your Early Bird Tickets to the event of the century!

Summer Spectacular

CamNews

Summer Spectacular

Schools are such important communities in our lives. We are all connected by the vision to enable the growth and development of our students so they experience success and develop the skills and mindset required to become responsible global citizens and compassionate leaders. Our work is in partnership together and we enjoy celebrating through key events.

Community celebrations are important. Whether they be House Competitions such as music, dance or drama, instrumental concerts or art shows – the concept of sharing our students’ learning by bringing the community together is vital.

In addition to the student-centred events that are held each term, the School also stages larger events throughout the year. Events such as A Night to Remember, the music concert held at the Recital Centre in 2015, the annual Twilight Picnic, Cabaret Evening, Carols @ Camberwell, CamArt, the Fair and Open Day all provide a tremendous opportunity to bring the community together, while showcasing our achievements and our fine School.

This year we have decided to combine the School Fair (normally held in March) with Carols @ Camberwell. The event has been renamed and I’m excited to announce that on the first Saturday in December, Camberwell Girls will be holding its inaugural, Summer Spectacular.

A family-friendly festival, the Summer Spectacular will be a fun-filled fiesta of food, music, art, carnival rides, market stalls, amusements and performances, all culminating with Carols @ Camberwell. The new model will look like this:

Saturday 2 December 2017
11.00am – 4.30pm / The Community Fair
6.00pm – 8.00pm / Carols @ Camberwell

A key fundraising event, the Summer Spectacular will be raising money to help keep our Camberwell girls active. Funds will go towards the development of new play spaces at both Ormiston and Senior School.

One of the highlights of the Summer Spectacular will be the stalls created by our own students from Years 4 – 11. At Senior School, each Form Class will be divided into two groups and each group will be responsible for developing a product, service, activity or amusement. At Junior School, each Years 4 – 6 classes will be responsible for creating one stall and every other year level from ELC – Year 3 will create works for display and sale.

All staff will guide and help the students through this Enterprise Project and time to work on the development of the project will be allocated during Terms 3 and 4.

In addition, the Foundation Office will be engaging parents to help on the day with other aspects of the event including food and drink stalls, set-up and pack down.

In the forthcoming months we will provide further updates to you via CamNews and I look forward to working with many parents and old grammarians on our Summer Spectacular as we develop a wonderful community event.

All I ask of you now is to SAVE THE DATE and to spread the word. The more people we have in attendance the better!

 

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody

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Principal

This week Mrs Dunwoody shares some exciting news about our Early Learning Centre.

Senior School

It has been a busy fortnight at Senior School with Year 7 Camp, lots of sporting success and the Winter Sleep Out.

Junior School

Our Year 5 & 6 students had some new classmates join them last week and our ELC students had a visit from Martin, our CGGS Gardener.

Community

You only have one more week to get your Early Bird Tickets to the event of the century!

National Reconciliation Week

CamNews

Principal

At Camberwell Girls we are committed to our development as an inclusive and caring community of students, families, staff, old grammarians and friends of the School and the importance of building these relationships.  This week we have recognised and celebrated National Reconciliation Week; focusing on reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and being united in our vision to succeed through strong relationships whilst walking together to develop a shared sense of what is fair and just.  In fact, the theme for National Reconciliation Week in 2017 is ‘Let’s Take the Next Steps’.

Each year National Reconciliation Week commences on 27 May, the date in 1967 when Australians voted to give the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recognise them in the National Census.  This year marks the 50th anniversary of that decision.

National Reconciliation week concludes on 3 June each year recognising the historic Mabo decision that was handed down legally recognising that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a special relationship to the land that existed prior to colonisation.  This has also paved the way for land rights for some indigenous people and 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of that decision.

This week we have had numerous events and activities at both Ormiston and Senior School to help us recognise and celebrate National Reconciliation Week. You will learn more about these in other sections of this newsletter.  Murrundindi, ngurungaeta of the Wurundjeri people, has been integral in assisting us to organise these special opportunities. One of the things that I have always admired about Murrundindi is his unwavering commitment in looking towards the future.  There have been many injustices that he has experienced as an indigenous person, and of course many that his people have experienced, yet he always looks forward and demonstrates his commitment to reconciliation and unity through the work that he does with young people.  I would like to, on behalf of Camberwell Girls community, acknowledge Murrundindi and give our thanks to him for including us in his life.

During Reconciliation Week we were also delighted to welcome to our Senior School Assembly ‘In Conversation’, John Batman Weire and Murrundindi, to talk about the theme of reconciliation and also the signing of the Batman Treaty on 6 June 1835 at a special ceremony that included aboriginal leaders from the Kulin Nation.  John, the great great great Grandson of John Batman, founder of Melbourne, and Murrundindi, the great great great nephew of William Barak, who at 11 years of age was also at the ceremony, shared their understanding of the event.

At the time the doctrine of terra nullius or the country being nobody’s land when white people settled Australia, meant that the Crown had rights to the land and the relationship between indigenous people and their land was not recognised by law.  At this event, John Batman, acknowledging aboriginal ownership of the land, negotiated with the Aboriginal leaders to use large packages of land in exchange for some basic items and also offered to pay an annual tribute or rent.  Batman’s Treaty was declared invalid by the Proclamation of Governor Burke in NSW on 6 August 1835, two months after it had been signed, as he declared that the British Government owned the land so Batman could not make such a deal.

In the broader community there have been questions as to whether John Batman was or was not a friend of aboriginal people, and this week’s discussion between descendants of some of the key figures of the time was able to give insights into understanding this important time in the formation of Melbourne.  Discussions also centred around the establishment of Coranderrk, a self-sufficient aboriginal community near Healesville in 1863 and how an older William Barak in 1874 worked tirelessly to ensure that it was not closed down and the residents relocated.

In fact, in a few weeks time a group of our Year 10 students will be hiking and canoeing to retrace William Barak’s journeys from Coranderrk to Parliament in both 1874 and 1881 to meet with government officials to stop the closure of Coranderrk Reserve.  This will be an important learning journey for our students and School, enabling us to gain a greater insight into our history.

William Barak’s influence can also be seen in the creation of our new labyrinth in the Amphitheatre.  During Term 1, with the permission of aboriginal elders including Murrundindi, students and staff created the images of some animals from William Barak’s paintings in the form of large mosaic images under the guidance of artist Simon Normand.  The images are of the wombat, emu and lyrebird.  In addition, a special image of Bunjil the eagle has also been incorporated.

For the first time a team of Camberwell Girls Grammar School netballers participated in the Worawa Aboriginal College Reconciliation Sports Carnival this week.  Teams from a number of schools participated in netball and football matches along with other special events including a traditional smoking ceremony.  The day is hosted by Worawa to encourage sport, cultural and social exchange between all participants.

At Camberwell Girls, we are so proud that the history of our Indigenous people, culture and heritage is strongly woven into our ethos and celebrations.  The history of our nation shapes who we are today and how we all need to take the next steps together.

 

Have a wonderful weekend.

With best wishes,
Debbie Dunwoody

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Principal

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Principal

Understanding Stress

There are many ways that we gain feedback from our students and one of those is to participate in the annual Mission Australia youth (15-19 year olds) survey. Students are able to comment on a broad range of issues including young people’s values and concerns. This information provides valuable insights not only to the work of Mission Australia and informing government initiatives, but also to us as we review and develop new initiatives and programs.

Adolescence is a time of significant change for many young people – physically, socially, emotionally and academically. As young people move through adolescence they are transitioning into adulthood, establishing their independence and identity. This is also a time when mental health issues may become evident.

A couple of weeks ago, Mission Australia and the Black Dog Institute released the Five Year Mental Health Youth Report; a psychological distress measurement tool to assess the responses of thousands of people aged 15 to 19 from around Australia.

Some key findings released in the report include:

  • the proportion of young people likely to have a serious mental health illness rose from 18.7% in 2012 to 22.8% in 2016, and this figure was higher, 31.6% for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth
  • over this five year period, women were twice as likely to be affected by mental health problems as males (in 2016, 28.6%of females compared to 14.1% of males)
  • older teens were at higher risk

In 2016 a number of issues of concern were identified, and the top three issues of personal concern for young people meeting the criteria for a probable serious mental illness were coping with stress, school or study problems and depression.

As we approach the middle of the year and school life becomes busier, it can be a time when students experience more stress in their day-to-day lives. One of our School Counsellors, Paula Kolivas has written a piece titled ‘A Reminder About Stress’ a piece to assist parents and teachers in supporting young people to manage stress in their lives in their lives.

 

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal


A Reminder About Stress

Stress is often described as our body’s reaction to any kind of demand or threat. It can be caused by both negative and positive experiences and is triggered when a person perceives that they do not have the resources or the ability to cope with a situation. The body’s reaction to stress is both physical and psychological in nature.

Some common physical responses to stress may include feeling dizzy, experiencing headaches, digestive problems, heart palpitations, muscle pain, skin irritations and feeling tired and exhausted.

In addition to the physical reactions, we will often experience changes to the way we behave, feel and think when experiencing stress.

Behavioural changes may include eating more or less, sleeping more or less, disrupted sleep, nightmares and changes to our tone of voice and facial expressions. Changes to our eating and sleeping habits are particularly concerning when we look at all the current research regarding the importance of these two factors in promoting good physical and mental health.

Our feelings and emotions are also impacted by stress. We may feel more irritable, short-tempered, moody, sad and more anxious. Sometimes when our children present as grumpy and angry, slamming doors, snapping at their siblings, or just out-rightly rude, this may actually be their reaction to stress. As parents and teachers, we should contemplate the source of these emotions rather than be reactive to the anger and possibly add to their stress levels.

Stress will often impact the way we think and makes our brain feel foggy. It affects our ability to concentrate and focus, our ability to recall information and promotes negative thinking. Our thoughts can easily turn to ‘I cant do this…. I’m going to fail … What’s the point?’

It is important for students and adults to be able to identify when we are feeling stressed. It is important for us to be in tune with our body’s reaction and our emotional reaction to stress in order to initiate our problem solving skills to deal and manage the situation. High levels of stress that are not being identified and addressed will impact our ability to remain calm, stay focussed on necessary tasks and may lead to illness.

Stress is not all bad. We need a certain level of stress in order to motivate us and keep us focused on our goals. However, getting the right balance is difficult to establish. Ideally, we need to be proactive about stress management and not wait until our physical and psychological reactions are overwhelming us. So what can we do?

Sleep
The importance of a good night’s sleep can never be overestimated. Getting enough sleep offers the body the opportunity to restore both its physical and emotional wellbeing. It allows for consolidation of learning and enhances memory. Many of us do not make sleep a priority and we have forgotten what being truly rested feels like. Are you and your children getting enough sleep?

Eating Well and Exercise
We have always known that eating well and exercise are good for us. Recent research has found evidence that eating fresh food, especially vegetables, promotes the release of dopamine. Dopamine is a natural chemical in our bodies that is associated with our feelings of pleasure and happiness and boosts our motivation and concentration. Keeping our dopamine levels naturally high helps us stay positive and feel confident that we can achieve our goals.

Being Organised and Prepared
The best way to unclutter a busy brain is to be organised and prepared for your tasks – whether this is getting homework done or getting dinner on the table. Being organised and prepared is critical to feeling in control and managing your stress levels. Writing lists, using a diary, a ‘work before pleasure’ attitude and planning ahead are all useful strategies.

Knowing your Distractions
These often stop us from getting the job done and prolong the stress associated with an unfinished task. Whether it’s the TV, a good book, all our electronic devices or the pantry full of chocolates and biscuits, we can be easily distracted when we are feeling stressed or when we are avoiding a task. Setting limits on our distractions is important.

Asking for Support
Seeking help and support from a friend, a teacher or a trusted adult is critical to accepting that we all have flaws and make the occasional mistake and experience some failure. Letting out your worries and talking to a support person helps to maintain good emotional health and reduces feelings of being overwhelmed.

Practising Relaxation Techniques
This can include going to yoga classes, meditating, breathing exercises, practising mindfulness or can be as simple as going for a walk, listening to our ‘feel good’ music, taking a bath or watching funny YouTube videos. If we make a regular time to consciously relax and reflect on our day, we will be able to manage the stressors that inevitably impact our lives.

We need to consciously listen to our body’s physical and psychological messages of stress. To the best of our ability, we should eat well, get adequate sleep, exercise, be organised and talk out our worries. We need to help our children problem solve difficult situations and to display healthy coping strategies when we are stressed. We need to do this in order to maintain our own health and more importantly to be a positive role model and support to our young people’s awareness and personal development in the area of maintaining their overall wellbeing.

 

Paula Kolivas
School Counselor

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PRINCIPAL

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Respectful Relationships Program 

At Camberwell Girls, respectful relationships are deeply embodied in our educational philosophy including our vision, mission and values. Through our vision, we recognise the significance of educating girls who are passionate learners and are dedicated to building a more just and sustainable world. This is achieved through the culture of our community, our commitment to service learning and development of the whole person through numerous programs including our Positive Education program and health and wellbeing programs.

In tackling the issue of family violence and gender equality, the Victorian Department of Education and Training is rolling out a Respectful Relationships Program for all year levels as a part of the Victorian Curriculum.  The statistics in Australia regarding violence against women are very alarming. This is an important initiative as evidence has shown that education can play a powerful role in changing culture for future generations.

Relevant statistics include:

From the age of fifteen, one in five women experience sexual violence including rape, one in four emotional violence and one in three women experience physical violence

One in four Australian women have experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner

Gender inequality contributes to the murder of almost one woman every week in Australia

In many cases young children witness this violence

The following clip provides a brief snapshot of the issue and has been produced by the Australian organisation, Our Watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLUVWZvVZXw

The purpose of Our Watch is to drive nationwide change in the culture, behaviours and power imbalances that lead to violence against women and their children.

After applying to the Department of Education and Training in November 2016, Camberwell Girls has been selected as one of the ‘Leading Schools’ in their statewide Respectful Relationships initiative. The application included a comprehensive analysis of CGGS’ capacity and readiness to participate in the initiative and the two year initiative involves a focus on six key areas:

A whole school approach to school-based primary prevention of gender based violence

Development of the school culture and environment

Professional learning to support school leaders, teachers and other school-based staff

Providing support and resources for staff and students

Building relationships with the community including responsive services, community groups and families

Support for a cluster of Partner Schools to implement this initiative.

We are delighted that seven schools (independent and government schools) have already agreed to partner with us and a number of others have indicated their interest. Throughout this term we will be focused on completing a Gender Audit and reviewing relevant data as well as consulting with student and staff groups.

I would like to acknowledge the team responsible for this initiative at Camberwell Girls – Cathy Poyser (Deputy Principal / Head of Senior School), Kath Woolcock (Head of Health and Physical Education), Craig Goodwin (Deputy Head of Junior School – Student Wellbeing) and Paula Kolivas and Beth Sarlos (School Counsellors). They have already begun work and training in earnest and our supervisors from the Department of Education and Training have already expressed their gratitude to me for being able to work with such a professional team.

We look forward to updating you as this project develops.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

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The tradition and deep commitment to social justice and service learning at Camberwell Girls has been evident since the School’s inception in 1920.

This is guided by our vision to be a leader and innovator in the education of girls, dedicated to fostering a passion for learning and building a more just and sustainable world and is framed by our school motto, Utilis in Ministerium (Usefulness in Service), which is grounded in an Anglican Christian worldview.  Our motto was chosen by The Reverend James Schofield, the second Vicar of St Marks and Chairman of our Council for 18 years.

During 2016 we undertook a review of our Social Justice program to document the key initiatives of the last 10 years, reviewed the existing aims and structure of the program and assessed whether they meet the goals outlined in the current strategic plan.  It was also an important time to benchmark our programs against those conducted by other schools nationally.  Mr Brett Stout and Mrs Liss Campbell, supported by other staff undertook the review and made a number of recommendations to refine our focus of the program.

In addition to recommending that we should continue to respond to service learning and social justice using the Christian tradition of the school and its Vision, Mission and Values, the report also recommended that our actions should move from a charity focus to more of a learning relationship.  In this context we also feel that it is more accurate to call our programs Service Learning programs rather than Social Justice Programs.

In the overview of our new Service Learning Framework, Mrs Liss Campbell, our new Head of Service Learning highlights that Service Learning begins with two premises.  One is about the nature of the person and the other the nature of power.  When we look at the nature of the person we know that a person is inseparable from community and when service happens in community and for community, both the community and the person are transformed.

Similarly when looking at the nature of power it is important to understand that every human exchange or encounter is framed within a dynamic of power.  Poverty is not just about the absence of shelter, food, health, water and work, but more about the absence of power to do anything about it.  In this light, power is at the centre of service through the empowerment of others and the community in which we exist.

Mrs Campbell concludes that Service is about being human with others in a way that enriches the other’s humanity; it is flourishing that leads to the flourishing of others.  Service must always increase the freedom, the autonomy, the dignity and the power of those being served.

Our new CGGS Service Model is comprised of four strands:

Strand 1:       Local Community Service

Strand 2:       Service to Indigenous Australians

Strand 3:       Global Service

Strand 4:       Environmental Stewardship

In addition to co-curricular opportunities for student engagement, some of these strands are also linked to the curriculum.  Strand 1 links with the Year 9 Service Learning curriculum with a focus on local disadvantage, especially Youth Homelessness.  Year 8 Service Learning curriculum is focused on Indigenous Australians and is linked to Strand 2.  In Strand 3, the Year 10 Learning curriculum is focused on global issues for women, with a particular emphasis on Cambodia through our relationship with the Green Gecko Project.  Environment Stewardship (Strand 4) forming part of the Year 7 curriculum and a number of co-curricular activities.

We are very proud of our relationships with a number of key organisations where Camberwell Girls are able to contribute in a meaningful way to their projects.  Through the River Nile Learning Centre, Dream Stitches, the Salvation Army, Hedley Sutton Aged Care, Ladder and The Green Gecko Project we are privileged to learn with those we serve.

Our girls also have incredible opportunities to engage with the community through events such as the Winter Sleep-out, Relay for Life, Pink Ribbon Day, Project 10, Cold Day, Reconciliation Week and the Anglicare Winter Warmth Appeal.

In serving others we learn about our global community and ourselves through commitment to our values through action.  We are clearly guided by the CGGS framework in establishing and building long lasting connections with others and honouring the most Christian ideal of service.

 

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody
Principal

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You only have one more week to get your Early Bird Tickets to the event of the century!