Principal's report

25 August 2016

Dear ACK community,

A terrific Assumption Day

Last Monday the school gathered for a beautiful Assumption Day Mass, school fete and concert. I express my deep congratulations and thanks to the students for the spectacular way that they participated in the day. The Mass was prayerful and hope-filled, and demonstrated that our students are aware of the importance of attending to the spiritual part of their lives. Our fete was a festival of colour and joy, where young and old mingled easily and enjoyed each other’s company. It’s with great pride that I announce that in that one day alone, we raised $11,000 for the rebuilding of our sister school in East Timor!  And to cap it all off, the concert was a true celebration of the many and varied talents of our students. It was such a pleasure to see them shine so brightly in front of truly supportive and appreciative peers. We give thanks for the staff and student leaders who made the day possible – yet another example of what a fabulous community Assumption continues to be. (Click on the photos below.)

Assumption College and Old Collegians Family Day

If you’ve been under a rock, you might not be aware that this Sunday the College, in association with the Old Collegians, is hosting a family day. There will be fantastic activities and opportunities for people to connect with current and past students, and we look forward to welcoming you all to join in. There is specific information on the school website (times, sign-up, sport event information), as well as a final shout out from the P&F for help feeding the masses. See you Sunday! A reminder that this is an alcohol-free event.

Some changes underway

As you may recall, last year we underwent a process of strategic planning. In 2016, we have been busy planning for the changes that will allow Assumption College to enact this plan, so as to continue to adapt and respond to the changing needs of our students.  While Assumption College continues to receive sound results for its students, we can, and must, strive to do better. As the world expects more and more from our school graduates, it is our responsibility to ensure that we are developing programs and processes to help them be confident, creative and resourceful young adults who, (as our identity statement proclaims) ‘face the future with audacity and hope’.

The following points outline some of the key developments that we want to make you aware of.  A letter is about to be sent home with further information.

75-minute lessons

To better enable our staff and students to access the new Victorian Curriculum, from January, our school day will be restructured to accommodate 75-minute lessons. This change allows teachers to better accommodate several short learning experiences each lesson, or longer tasks for deeper learning. This is also closer to the experience of primary school students, making their transition more seamless. With only four lessons a day, students will be moving between learning spaces less frequently (which means less time lost "in transit"). This restructure also allows us to provide increased options for student subject selection in the senior years, and to build in time for VCE SACs to be undertaken without disruption. The start and finish time for each school day will remain the same.

Additional choice and subjects

The introduction of the new Victorian Curriculum has allowed us to revisit the subjects we offer at years 7-10, and to consider providing more choice for students.  This includes consolidation of "compulsory" subjects at years 9 and 10, so that students can more quickly access areas where they have particular skills and interests.

Among the changes, we will be introducing a Digital Technology subject at years 7-8, which will include coding and ICT management skills, and redesigning the Design Technology subjects to better align with the growing awareness of the need for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Maths (STEAM) career pathways. We have developed an acceleration program for high-performing students in years 7-9, which will begin in semester 2, 2017 (year 10 and 11 students can already accelerate their subjects). A letter from Vaughan Cleary, Deputy Principal Learning and Teaching, will be sent home this week with more information about subject selection for 2017.

Learning hubs

The current school arrangement of physically grouping classes by year level often prohibits interactions between like classes, and reduces the availability of specialised teachers to support particular learning activities. From next year, our school will be redesigned by learning areas (in a similar manner to the current use of the Fourvière Centre which is used for English classes at all year levels).  In this way, we will have (for example) a Maths Hub and a Humanities Hub, where students in similar classes are near to each other for shared resources and rooms, teachers can work together more proactively, and can also combine or fragment classes as necessary for the best learning experience for our students.

Restorative practices

When students have meaningful and positive relationships with adults, they are more likely to be engaged in learning, to participate in activities and to stay connected to school.  Restorative practices involve procedures and systems that recognise the importance of achieving optimal outcomes for student learning. They concentrate on repairing the harm caused and on restoring the relationships, using all parties involved to determine reasonable pathways to reconciliation and appropriate consequences. Most Catholic schools and many government schools have adapted their behaviour management programs to include restorative practices, and from 2017, Assumption College will join them!  There will be more information for parents, including a revised Behaviour Support Procedure provided prior to the beginning of the 2017 school year, as well as an opportunity to be trained in the processes of RP. A short clip to briefly explain the use of restorative practices at a secondary school in Sydney can be found here.

Humility in all things

In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus tells a story to underscore the importance of humility as a key Christian virtue.  At this time of year, many of our year 11 students apply for leadership roles in 2017.  One key idea that we promote with our student leaders is that of servant leadership.  Servant leadership is modelled on the teachings and actions of Jesus, understanding that leadership is not about getting to wear the shiny badge or standing up and making speeches.  Instead, it is about serving your community through continually asking the important question: What can I do for you?  This week, let’s all make a special effort to be servant leaders in our homes, our jobs and our communities. 

Loving God, let me be humble in my daily dealings, and demonstrate through my concern for the needs of others that I am a leader of all that is good and just.  Amen. 

Peace and blessings,

Kate Fogarty