Christmas is a magical time for children. For me it is time to reflect with gratitude on all the gifts in my life; family, friends, freedom and a great education. As a child, Christmas meant a long wait for Midnight Mass where my Dad played the organ. It was my Gran’s birthday on Christmas Eve, so we enjoyed many family gatherings that evening as well. Today, Christmas carols, gift exchanges and family feasts are just some of the enduring traditions that make the season one of the world’s favourite holidays. Amongst this, we remember the gift of a little baby who heralded hope for communities across the ages. Wishing you and your family a safe, relaxing and joyful Christmas.
It has been a fast paced and dynamic year and I am so proud of what our students have achieved. Equally, I am proud of the care and capacity of our teaching staff and the sense of team we’ve continued to build this past year. Officer Campus has a beautiful foundation for innovation that is unfolding and there is much more to come.
As my brilliant colleagues innovate across our diverse curriculum offerings, through new learning programs and collaborations, we are creating many enhanced learning experiences for our students. This means walking more closely alongside you in partnership.
I am so grateful for the parents and carers that have attended various College events and for those who have taken the time to provide us with feedback through surveys and other forums. Your feedback enables us to get better at what we do.
In this edition of the Officer Campus Newsletter, you will find evidence of our progress across many elements of Campus life. There are photos of the Year 8 City Experience, our faith in action through the St Vincent de Paul Christmas Hampers and the farewell to the Year 9 students.
Thank you to Megan Ball (Year 8 Learning Culture Leader) for her work in the preparation and implementation of a very positive experience for our students. The aims of the City Experience are:
Lisa Harkin – Head of Campus – Officer
Officer Campus has again experienced a few busy weeks as the students move towards the holidays. Students have been busy finishing off assignments and preparing for tests while the teachers have been working tirelessly on marking and preparing the Semester 2 reports. We hope these reports will give valuable insight into the academic progress of the students and guide their next steps for learning. Congratulations to all the students who participated in the expo nights for the STEM Academy, Visual Art Academy and the Year 9 Inquiry classes. The projects displayed were diverse and exciting, showcasing the various directions that the students chose to research. The evenings were enjoyed by parents, friends and teachers who came to support the students in their learning experience. Public exhibitions are a crucial element to authentic learning as the students experience real purpose behind their learning activity.
Several students got to experience our Hands on Learning program as a taster for 2020. Our Hands on Learning program is designed to support students who are struggling with mainstream learning styles. The philosophy of the program is to provide an engaging environment and, as the name suggests, hands on learning activities. The students involved thoroughly enjoyed their experience. 2019 is the first year that Hands on Learning has taken place at the Officer Campus. It has been a fantastic year where students have been engaged in planning, building and cooking, to name a few activities. Some of our students will remain with the program for 2020, and other students will transition back into the classroom fulltime. Congratulations to Melissa Angius and Warren Attwood for facilitating this excellent program.
The highlight of last week was the Year 8 City Experience. For five days the Year 8 students travelled independently into the CBD where they took part in activities such as Amazing Melbourne Discovery race and visited educational facilities such as:
The students have been busy this week preparing their projects ready for the City Experience Expo. It was amazing to see how, as the week progressed, the students grew in confidence, and they were able to work collaboratively in their project groups. Developing independent learners was an outcome of the City Experience that was achieved with great success. Congratulations to Megan Ball, the Year 8 Learning Culture Leader who facilitated the Year 8 City Experience for the Officer Campus, her hard work and diligence created an enriching experience for our Year 8 students.
We finished off the week with the Year 7 students travelling to Cardinia Life swimming pool for a water safety day. While it has been very busy at the Officer Campus, it has been a period full of exciting activities and opportunities for the students.
Wishing you all happy and safe Christmas holidays.
Lorinda Mutsaers – Director of Learning Culture – Officer Campus
This year was the first time we formally acknowledged individual student growth achievers as well as the usual high academic achievers. Now that all assessment tasks are based on a differentiated measuring scale, we can more accurately determine how much students have grown with their learning in each subject. We have also been able to better identify students who would benefit by being in smaller intervention classes designed to focus on specific literacy and numeracy skills.
We continually use data from NAPLAN and ACER (Australian Council for Education Research) testing to help validate the accuracy of school assessment practices. For example; data from this year’s NAPLAN results have indicated our Year 9 students have grown at a slightly higher rate in spelling than Year 9 students in Australia, while data from ACER PAT M (mathematics) testing has indicated our Year 9 students have grown at a faster rate than most other Year 9 students in the other schools that have also used this test. The use of this data helps us to prioritise where we should focus our efforts in helping our students move forward.
Vince Pezzanite – Director of Student Learning Analytics – Officer Campus
Making the transition from primary school to secondary school is a huge step and it is often filled with many emotions. Currently, Grade 6 students are preparing to finish their time at the school in which most of them would have spent seven years developing friendships and forming a strong foundation for their future studies, before embarking on their journey with us at St Francis Xavier College in 2020. We have been busy making sure that their transition will be as smooth as possible through the programs we have put in place at the end of this year and the beginning of next year.
At the end of Term 3, we invited many of the Grade 6 teachers of our feeder and surrounding primary schools to attend a Grade 6 Transition Meeting. Those who attended were able to discuss the challenges that our new Year 7 students can often experience when they move into secondary school, and together we came up with ways that both schools can do to help alleviate these challenges to better prepare them for the future.
Three of our Catholic feeder schools took up the opportunity for their Grade 6 students to participate in a Buddy Program, which offered the students two or three one-hour taster activities at the Officer Campus facilitated by a selected group of current Year 7 and 8 mentors. During these sessions they took part in a scavenger hunt, a STEM Challenge and an SFX Survivor Challenge. It was a great opportunity for them to become familiar with their new surroundings and meet older students who they could ask questions about secondary school life.
On Wednesday 4 December, there was a Year 7 2020 Parent Information Evening for parents/guardians to attend to learn more about the programs and specifics to starting at St Francis Xavier College. Parents and Guardians should have now received a letter from the College outlining important information and dates for the year ahead and how they are able to access the Parent Access Module (PAM) for their child. Here they will need to submit medical details and provide consent for their child to attend the Orientation Day. We look forward to meeting all the 2020 Year 7 students on Tuesday 10 December for an enjoyable Year 7 Orientation Day.
Laura Overdyk – Year 7 Learning Culture Leader – Officer Campus
Building community and connection is a central value at St Francis Xavier College. The House system is an instrumental part of the culture of the School. Every student and staff member are assigned to one of the eight Houses. This system is steeped in the tradition of St Francis Xavier College. The Houses are named after past important figures who have played a pivotal role in the history of our institution. Opportunities presented by the House system allow the students to develop the life skills of teamwork, leadership and commitment.
The focus of our House Times this year was to provide students with the opportunity to interact positively and develop connections with their peers and the staff. Throughout the year students have had an opportunity to engage in a wide variety of pursuits. House Time has occurred every term and activities have ranged from House Ten Pin Bowling, Colour Run, Minute to Win it games, Inter-House Sport, Activities Afternoon and most recently our Year 9 Farewell.
Our most unique House Time saw all students from each House (Berwick, Beaconsfield and Officer) head out to our local parishes to participate in a House Mass. There are not many occasions where the entire House gets to unite and celebrate as one. Students heard reflections from House Captains from the Berwick, Officer and Beaconsfield Campus.
A major focus for our Houses comes through the Inter-House sporting events including Athletics, Swimming and Cross country. These events allow for students to work as a team and show their House Spirit through participating or cheering on their House. This allows the House to gain points with the goal being to win the Carnival and ultimately the McGuigan Shield.
Students have also had an opportunity to meet regularly as a House and develop connection and build relationships with each other through weekly House Meetings. These House meetings allow the Heads of House to celebrate students’ achievements and successes, to develop a sense of gratitude in our students and strengthen bonds amongst the House.
House Captains and SRC members in each House have had an opportunity to develop their leadership skills through their involvement in their House. Many have been instrumental in their House Assembly and played an enormous role in encouraging their peers to show support in their House Fundraiser. We thank the students for their contributions to our House System and the staff that have facilitated opportunities and supported the students with their ideas and bringing them to life.
Finally, many thanks go to the Heads of House for the countless hours of work they put into their House. It is evident by the gratitude that the students show you that you are an invaluable support to them and their families.
Vicki Thompson – Director of Students – Officer Campus
As Christmas time approaches we would like to take this opportunity to remind you all about our efforts to assist Vinnie’s with their Christmas Hampers.
To assist them in this work and to allow our students to react to the words of Christ, Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.
There are people in our community who are in real need and Christmas time, and for some people this season can cause stress, difficulty, loneliness and depression. To support Vinnie’s in their amazing work we look to support them in our Christmas Hamper drive. This initiative is a fundamental way that we as a Catholic, Christian community can strive to make a difference. Please support us in this initiative if you can by supplying something from the list below. Help make Christmas a special time for families and children who are struggling.
The items which St Vincent de Paul requested to be in the Christmas hampers are:
Liam Doherty – Religious Education Coordinator – Officer Campus
The Positive Behaviour Team has been working hard this year toward developing a Positive Behaviour Expectations Matrix. At St Francis Xavier College we treat each other with Unconditional Respect, face challenges with a spirit of optimism and behave in a calm and just manner. As educators and students, we approach all that we do with these values at the forefront of our minds. For us to grow to our potential, we need a common understanding of what living by these values includes. Our Matrix outlines how we demonstrate respect, optimism and justice as members of the St Francis Xavier College in various settings, from within the boundaries of our school grounds to off-site activities, and everything in between.
Our Positive Behaviour Matrix was developed collaboratively, based on staff, student, parent and community consultation. To support staff with the implementation of the Matrix, we have developed and conducted professional learning sessions based on the work of Bill Rogers and other pioneers of the Positive Behaviour movement. We are blessed with an outstanding team of teachers and support staff at the Officer Campus, who are invested in growing as educators for the benefit of our students. At St Francis Xavier College, we understand that when we work together toward a common goal, we give ourselves the best opportunity to grow in all aspects of our lives.
In 2020, we will continue to embed the values of unconditional respect, optimism and justice further, with a focus on developing routines within our College that support this.
Jenna Dore – Positive Behaviour Team Member – Officer Campus
All students have continued to grow in Maths, with an average level increase of 0.78, compared to an expected growth of 0.5 for the general cohort. Eighty four percent of students from the original pilot group have reached a level in maths which predicts success in “real life” mathematics, whilst 53 per cent of students now have a pathway into VCE mathematics. This is an outstanding achievement. Additionally, the three students whom re-entered the mainstream with a different teacher, achieved an average growth in math level of 0.9, highlighted their independence and success as learners following the intervention program.
Results aside, the greatest success as their teacher has been watching these students grow in confidence. I have seen their attitude transform from “I can’t do maths” to “I like maths now”, and I am so thankful to have been a part of their development in maths. Students perception of their math ability is often distorted. It certainly was with this group of students. Now they know that they can achieve anything if they work hard toward it and believe in their worth. I have great confidence that these students will carry their improved work ethic, study habits and confidence into their classes next year.
Jenna Dore – Numeracy Intervention Leader – Officer Campus
We Grow Together was the phrase that gave us a credo to live by this year. My name is Santoro Kep, and this is Mary Wijewardene and we are the Officer Campus Captains.
This year, we were like little saplings that grew because we were nourished by our community. We were nurtured by deliberate acts of kindness during the Benefit Mindset Challenge. We were sustained through the support of our teachers and support staff. So many events within our community have acknowledged student achievement and academic growth. Broader extra curricula activities and guest speakers taught us new things and showed that if you put your mind to something, you can achieve greatness. Through the House Activities and through the challenge of our Camps, we have boldly taken on the challenge of this year’s theme.
This year, our service as Campus Captains has really focused on enabling growth within our community. We have tried to make a difference in the lives of others within our community by promoting the Positive Learning Partnerships. We are proud to promote the Positive Learning Partnerships because they give us an anchor when the seas get rough. Respect, communicating in a calm and just manner and working through challenges with a spirit of optimism means that our relationships with one another have grown too. I could name many, many examples of times when I saw the Positive Learning Partnerships in action. These actions supported and strengthened our relationships with one another. They often had a mix of accountability and care. They were the reason why I loved coming to school every day.
Thank you for all the life changing moments we have experienced this year. They have given us confidence, deepened our understanding of our faith and challenged us to contribute as leaders. Thank you for the support and guidance of our family, friends, staff and students. It has been an amazing year and it wouldn’t have been the same without you.
Mary Wijewardene and Santoro Kep – Campus Captains – Officer
Congratulations to our Year 9 students! The time has come for you to move to the Beaconsfield Campus and we have every confidence in you for the next part of your education experience. Thank you for all you have contributed in your time at the Officer Campus. We have had the pleasure of watching you grow into wonderful, kind and compassionate young men and women and you should be very proud of yourselves.
Find within Issue 3 of Student Corner a celebration of our Year 9 students and the year that was 2019! Enjoy the edition by clicking here.
Miss Amorosi and Mrs Dore – Officer Campus
Learning Resource Centre Committee Captain – Carline Tuazama
Learning Resource Centre Committee Vice Captain – Dehara Geekiyanage
There is always such a mix of emotions when it comes to saying goodbye. When I asked your Heads of House for one word to describe you as a year level they used words like: energetic, entertaining, explosive, spirited, vibrant, dynamic and incredible. They easily identified a long list of your character strengths, these being: resilience … kindness … humour … honesty … love … perseverance … teamwork … zest … and a love of learning. You make a great team and together I have come to consider you like a family. This is particularly the case for the Year 9 Student Leadership Executive Team I have had the pleasure of working with this year. The Year 9 Student Leadership Executive Team, the SRC and your House Captains regularly gave up their lunchtimes to organise activities and events for you.
As a member of our Officer family, I encourage you step out into the world with a sense of service. It is this spirit of service that Taleisha Bell displayed as she presented her student voice survey results. It was equally as present in others as they supported the World’s Greatest Shave. Ms Thompson and Ms Randle set you a target of raising $1,200 for the Ruben Centre. You exceeded this goal and raised $1,500 because of activities like the Colour Run and the Halloween inspired casual dress day. Ms Lubin summed it up best when she said to me, “It is the best feeling seeing the students laughing and smiling.” I hope that your time here at Officer Campus has been an absolute gift to you. I know that many of your teachers view you personally as a gift in their lives.
All you are called to do is what you are capable of and what you are capable of is probably infinitely more than you will realise. This is aligned with the Positive Learning Partnerships – expectations for us as a community to show respect for one another, to interact in a calm and just manner and to face our challenges with a spirit of optimism.
I hope that you remember to acknowledge others and appreciate the journey. I challenge you to find a teacher or a coach that said something to you that motivated you to do more or to be more. There will be so many people who have had conversations with you that have made you realise things about your pathway, about your aspiration and about your place here at Officer Campus. You may have been involved in incidents you now regret, said things that did not reflect our Positive Learning Partnerships. If so, try to make peace with anyone you need to before you leave Officer Campus so that you leave our community with your head held high.
I know that you will meet the challenge of moving to Beaconsfield Campus, with the same spirit and gratitude that I’ve seen today. I am overwhelmingly proud of you today. I am proud of the young men and women you are and the way in which you’ve approached your studies this year. I am proud of the support you’ve been given by your Care Group Teachers and your Heads of House. To our teachers and support staff here present, sometimes it is hard to recognise the impact you are having on the lives of the students in your care.
Beaconsfield is an opportunity for a fresh start, for growth. Some of you have faced challenges with your school work and home life that have required so much courage. Your year has been characterised by endurance and hard work. For many of you, this battle has been one that has only been recognised by a couple of people you trust. Even though it is very difficult to understand this, in time, you will come to realise that your journey will take you to the place that is exactly where you need to be. And right now, you need to be here, with us, celebrating your effort, your persistence and your hard work.
You matter to us. Best wishes for every success in the future.
Wishing all parents, carers and members of the broader St Francis Xavier College community a merry Christmas and a safe holiday.
Lisa Harkin – Head of Campus – Officer
On Thursday 21st of November, a group of our Instrumental and Classroom Music teachers across the College, participated in a Professional Development day with Dr Rob McWilliams from Yamaha Music. We discussed and workshopped many ideas in regards to our Instrumental Music program and Year 7 Classroom Music program as well as learning about improved ways to run rehearsals and different rehearsal techniques.
It was a very worthwhile day and we hope we will be able to continue working with Dr Rob over the next few years as we work to improve and increase the numbers in our music program.
One of the ideas which we are going to implement in 2020 is that some of our Music Ensembles across the College will move from lunchtime to before school rehearsals starting at 8.00am. These ensembles include:
Berwick Big Band
Officer Jazz Band
Beaconsfield Concert Band
Beaconsfield Jazz Band
If your child is currently involved in the following ensembles, or is interested in joining, more information will be made available at the start of the school year; however we wanted to give our students and their families enough notice so that arrangements can be made if required.
We are looking forward to an exciting year in the Performing Arts in 2020!