In January, the school bell rang at the commencement of the Year 7 Welcome Ceremony. Today, for only the second time this year, it rang again, at 3.25pm, to signify the final day of secondary schooling for our Year 12 students.
With courses, enhancement programs and trial exams completed, a number of oral and performance exams already done, our Year 12 students and teachers are fully focused on the final examination assessments. As staff, we feel very proud of the girls as they have worked consistently, collaboratively and with the goal of achieving their best throughout the year. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our Year 12 students for their leadership at CGGS, and on behalf of the community, wish them all the very best in their final examinations and for the new and exciting opportunities that lie ahead.
Last week I opened the VCE Art Exhibition in Robinson Hall, where our VCE Studio Arts and Visual Communication and Design students showcased their work including their folios that documented their journey. Thank you to Mrs Woodward and her team for bringing this exhibition together and for supporting the girls through many hours of portfolio development.
Last night our Year 10 – 12 Presentation Evening was a highlight, showcasing the incredible performing talents and contributions of our students and academic achievements, as we reflected on 2018. Today we also had time to share some fun together as the Year 12 girls celebrated and entertained us with more humorous reflections. Next week we look forward to our Leavers’ Service and Valedictory Dinner.
Throughout this time we must remember that this important milestone is not just about finishing school and receiving an ATAR ranking, it is about celebrating a young person’s journey and contributions to the world, as well as sharing in their hopes for the future. Schools are not just places to learn, they are places to grow as person. The first 13 years of schooling is fundamental to the holistic development of a young person. Whilst it is easy at the end of Year 12 to just focus on an ATAR result it does not define the overall development and growth of the young person.
As our Year 12 students complete their secondary education at CGGS, we will also be celebrating their contributions as leaders, as active compassionate citizens, as creators of music, art and theatre, as active participants in their local communities, as supportive mentors and role models. We celebrate our capable young women who are ready to embark upon new journeys to create a more just and sustainable world.
I would like to thank our 2018 School Captains for their strong and enthusiastic leadership. Lydia Baird, Molly Ewens and Sarah MacKinnon have led with great integrity, enthusiasm and sheer hard work. They have spent time alongside students in many year levels to provide support and encouragement when needed and have been focused on providing opportunities that will engage students to help them feel recognised and known. I would personally like to thank Lydia, Molly and Sarah, it has been a real privilege to work closely with them.
During the recent school holidays, we were informed of a number of significant achievements by our students involved in external competitions; many that celebrate deeper and more critical thinking as well as problem solving and design in social context. These significant achievements include:
> Winners of the National Plan Your Own Enterprise Competition
> Our Year 9 team including Eloise Webster and Olivia Pietralla won first prize in the group division of the National Plan Your Own Enterprise Competition! The competition is open to all secondary students throughout Australia and mainly receives entries from Years 10 – 12 students.
> 62% of our entries into the Science Talent Search this year have won bursaries.
> Five Year 8 students have advanced through to the State Finals in the National History Challenge.
> Our CGGS Chess team won second prize in the Victorian Secondary Schools Girls Championships, only half a point behind the winners. Emily Lin also won an individual medal.
I am pleased to be able to update you on some enhancements to the Senior School programs in 2019. During the last few years we have been creating opportunities for students to develop enterprise skills including financial literacy in Years 9 and 10. I am excited to let you know that in 2019 we are introducing a new core Year 8 Commerce subject called Markets, Magistrates, Money and Me.
This program has been designed to help students understand the influence of individual actions on the economy, the laws that shape our society in this regard and how individuals access relevant financial data and information. How they plan their own spending to be wise consumers as well as consumer rights and responsibilities. The students will also learn how to trade shares using the ASX Sharemarket Game and how Australia trades with its global economic partners. This subject is designed to lead into the Year 9 program that was introduced this year titled Power and Influence. To support these new initiatives, Mr James Henderson will be joining the Commerce Department in 2019. James is a VCE Business Management Assessor, has held many educational leadership positions at previous schools, has participated in our VCE Enhancement Programs for a number of years and will be a Year Level Coordinator at CGGS in 2019.
Another VCE assessor joining us in 2019 will be Mrs Kim Hepworth who has also worked with us in our VCE Enhancement Programs for a number of years. Mrs Hepworth has held a number of senior leadership roles in her previous schools and in addition to teaching VCE Chemistry and Biology will also be a Year Level Coordinator next year.
To further support our students in their Mathematics education, we will be introducing an additional class in each year level from Years 7-10 in 2019.
The structure and timetable at each year level will include groupings that, through ongoing assessment, will also enable movement between groups if and when applicable.
These groupings in each year level include:
> Mainstream Mathematics classes
> An Essential Mathematics class to ensure that students are given individual assistance and sufficient time to achieve and master core content
> An Extension Mathematics class to provide the opportunity to study core content at a faster pace, engage in a higher level of analysis and extend beyond core curriculum
> An Accelerated Mathematics Pathway (Years 9 and 10 only) to ensure that algebraic thinking and reasoning processes are established to provide the foundation for acceleration.
These developments will provide further support, flexibility and challenge for students in their Mathematics programs as they move towards VCE. To staff these new programs, I am delighted that Ms Paige Tan, a highly experienced teacher and Mr Alistair Shaw, a leader in Mathematics education in his current school, will be joining us in 2019.
Mr Brent Woodlock, our Head of Mathematics, will be providing students and families with more information on this new structure and groups through a written communication in early November.
In other staff news, I am also delighted to extend my congratulations to Lexie Joyce, CGGS Netball Program Coordinator, who is the recipient of the Boroondara Express Distinction Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Boroondara Netball Association. This award was given to Lexie for her contribution to grass roots netball at BNA, whilst playing for the Boroondara Express Victorian Netball League Division 1 team.
As I mentioned at the end of last term I was very fortunate to travel to the USA on the ‘Leading Learning that Matters’ study tour, concluding with a residential at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), where I worked directly with the Director and a number of key faculty members. During this time I attended a number of lectures particularly around leadership as well as working with researchers on how we are developing our programs to enhance the ‘learning that matters’ at CGGS. It was a very productive and affirming experience and I look forward to sharing my learning with you during the term as well as some exciting plans to continue to work with HGSE throughout 2019 at Camberwell Girls.