Sydney Road Community School

A small government secondary school in Brunswick

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End of Year Activities

Our end of year activities program was extended to two weeks for the first time this year and what a wonderful way to end the year it was.

Students visited Bounce, Laser Tag, Bowling, Torquay beach and Highpoint. Students watched movies at school, had BBQs in the park, went bike riding, spent time in the art room and kitchen and generally helped out around the school.

In amongst all of this action staff had four curriculum afternoons and prepared for the new year and 2017 is definitely shaping up to be a very exciting year.

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2016 Awards night and Art show

On Thursday the 15th of December the SRCS community gathered to celebrate the end of a very busy and successful school year.

Guests mingled and enjoyed the art display offerings from students over the year including a sound installation “Deathly Echoes” created by the Re-engagement group.

The formal part of the event kicked off with a presentation form Amelia from WISHIN who presented student-printed T-shirts and congratulations to the middle students who participated in the Love Bites Program this term. Next up, a group of students who showed particular resilience in completing the 19km round trip Sealer’s Cove walk at Wilson’s Prom took to the stage to receive recognition of their physical and mental efforts.

Special awards were presented to students who had shown an exceptional level of participation, effort and attendance throughout the 2016 school year. Particular congratulations went to Max Peacock and Rebeca Nichols, our two VCE graduates in 2016.

Other awards included the Long Tan award and Caltex allrounder for school leadership and citizenship, awarded to Bec Nichols and Evan Kontovagios.


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Principals Report

Wow, 2016, what a year. From the perspective of a Principal, it was very satisfying. Looking back, it’s been another year of considerable change, but I think for the most part this has been really positive.

As soon as the year started some of these changes could already be seen. Over the holidays the electricians installed some ceiling fans in the upstairs rooms, we bought a brand new set of chairs for the meeting table, a VCE study room was set up and, thanks in large part to some hard graft by Shelley and Eliza, the “Good Room” was transformed into a room that is actually quite good.

New students were quickly made to feel welcome, as described by Will, a Year 11 student, below:

“There were a lot of new faces this year, and they were quickly and happily accepted into this community. It was a great example of one of my favorite things about Sydney Road, we’re a tight knit community, but not an exclusive one. We all get along, help each other and have fun, but we are also willing to happily accept more members.”

Our VCAL this year was set up quite differently, with the introduction of our Oxygen program. This saw teachers from SRCS working on a daily basis at Moreland City Council’s youth space next to Coburg Lake to support re-engaging senior students.

The Advance Program was also rejigged to include “Community” electives on Friday afternoons. These student action teams turned out be a real powerhouse around the school. Amongst their achievements they managed our worm farms and community compost hub, took part in several tree planting activities, waged a campaign for the correct disposal of cigarette butts, promoted healthy eating, wellbeing, inclusion and school pride, and helped organise the highly successful community camp in Term 3.

Another major project for the school this year was our School Wide Positive Behaviour Strategy. After a whole school vote and wide consultation we established our four school values as LEARNING, SAFETY, RESPECT and OPPORTUNITY. These have now become the cornerstone of our expected behaviours, which will underpin many of our conversations with students.

A quick look at our School Blog shows that throughout the year we have celebrated and commemorated many events and involved ourselves in heaps of activities.  We’ve had International Women’s Day, IDAHOT Day, World Environment Day, visits from Sea Shepherd and Safe Schools Coalition, an ANZAC Day performance, camps to Shoreham, Phillip Island and Wilson’s Prom, the junior tea party and sleepover, Arts Centre shows, VicSRC conference, a Push Down electronic music event, bike riding events, work experience and Real Industry Job Interviews, days out at Marist Youth Centre, the Love Bites program, a gym program and Inter school Olympics, Nelly Thomas as Principal for a Day, and a fantastic set of TED Talks.

Many of these have been accompanied by community feasts as part of our healthy eating program. My favourite of these is the newly established tradition of end of term lunches with staff and students. Now with the support of the Second Bite food program this healthy eating should continue for some time yet.

While all this was going on we still managed to make time for the important task of conducting a whole school self-evaluation and review. This set us up for a new Strategic Plan that maps our direction as a school for the next four years.

We’ve also maintained our support of indigenous students through membership of the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience. It’s been great to see so many brightly coloured AIME hoodies around the place. We were also lucky enough to be assigned a Koorie Engagement Support Officer in the second half of the year. Jasmin will continue to work with our students in Term 1 next year too.

As always music has been a big part of things here at Sydney Road. End of term concerts featured fantastic singers, junk band, beats with Dan and great bands. The VCE band stole the show at Lynall Hall’s Little Day Out and our “Computer Games” themed Big Night Out, which began with a traditional Koorie smoking ceremony, was a huge success in the church.

Speaking of the church, it’s looking better than it has in a long time since being reclaimed from the pigeons in a massive cleanup at the end of Term 2. At the same time Dawn was very pleased to see the office refurbished, which made a lot more room for her to work in and looks nice for visitors.

The other major facilities upgrade for this year was the purchase of our brand new Ford Transit twelve seater bus. It was very exciting and proved a big hit on the end of year camp at Wilson’s Prom. But also for me this was a little bit sad. Most years that I can remember at Sydney Rd have ended with a whole school camp and our youth worker, Peter Pipakis, has been front and centre in planning, organising and making these a great success. Pete passed away earlier this year. He was a good friend and a much loved member of our community. He would have really liked the new bus.

So I’ll leave you with another quote from Will, taken from his original draft of my report:

“When I first came to this school the word “community” seemed like a meaningless buzzword. One that was thrown about and with little meaning. But as I’ve been at this school, and as I approach my final year at this amazing school, “community” begins to make so much sense. Sydney Road is an amazing community, and an even more amazing school. Thank you for everything SRCS.”

Thanks for a great year.



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frankie magazine

frankie is a bi-monthly Australian magazine published by frankie press, that captures the attention and imagination of its readers with a smart, straight-shooting attitude (and darn nice looks, as well). frankie is known for funny articles, inspirational real-life stories, pretty fashion, delightful photography and beautiful design. It’s a magazine that makes you laugh, but also think.

frankie magazine recently launched a new online teaching resource for secondary schools in Victoria. The author of the first edition Augusta Zeeng spoke with Mel about the new English study design and acknowledges her contribution on page 4.



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Whole School Camp

Continuing the tradition of twenty years of school camps at Wilsons Prom we spent a sunny week enjoying the delights and challenges of camping in the great outdoors.

Everyone participated in all facets of the camp. Students planned the menu and activities, pre-cooked burgers and burrito mix, contributed to the cooking and cleaning rosters and the setting up and packing down of tents.

The weather was perfect every day and we had regular swims in the beach and the river, a number of moonlight and daylight walks, nearly all students walked the 3kms to Telegraph Saddle and most students walked the 9kms to Sealers Cove! Students learnt the finer skills of archery and worked together in small groups on a range of ropes courses and participated in a teamwork scavenger hunt. At the students request there was free time each day and the popular games of choice were Werewolf, Jigquiz and Klop. The group dynamics of this camp were really impressive, students were continually looking out for each other, helping each other and supporting each other in times of stress.

Traditionally on the way to and from camp students purchased lunch but this year we trialled a visit to Coal Creek to have a shared picnic lunch and it just so happened that we bumped into Gil and Meredith Freeman, the founders of Sydney Road Community School! They have been continuing their tradition of creating incredible community projects and were running a food co-op for local growers to sell local produce. Gil and Meredith were really happy to share with us the journey of our school and its humble beginnings and the students were captivated by hearing this first hand. A very beautiful end to a wonderful week.