Contact Excursions

Last week’s contact excursions were loads of fun and a huge success in terms of building positive peer and staff relationships. Having an outing so early in the term gave us all an entertaining and enjoyable opportunity to connect with each other outside the classroom.

Each contact group worked collaboratively to decide on the activities for the day. Collectively we visited The Melbourne Museum, Bounce, O’Brien Icehouse, Latitude, The Melbourne Star, Nova and we pincniced in various beautiful locations.

School day Structure 2021

Please see the 2021 school day key times set out in below:

9:30 – 10:20Period 1
10:20 – 11:10Period 2
11:10 -11:30Recess
11:30 – 12:20Period 3
12:20 – 1:10Period 4
1:10 – 1:40Lunch
1:40 – 2:25Period 5
2:25 – 3:10Period 6
3:10 – 3:30Contact/Circle Time

Please make contact with the school if you have queries.

Welcome to the 2021 school year

At SRCS we are really looking forward to welcoming you and your young people back to school the new school year. In many ways the 2021 school year will look the same as always, with the return of many of the school programs and structures that are familiar to you, however there will be a few important changes which we have outlined again below. We will also be staggering the return of students to ensure that the younger students who missed out on transition in 2020 have the opportunity to settle in. 

Start dates for Term 1:

  • Wednesday the 27th of January – Staff returning
  • Thursday the 28th of January  – Year 7 and 8 students returning
  • Friday the 29th January – Years 9-12 returning

Important changes for 2021:

Introduction of Circle time –  

Circle Time is a popular activity that’s used in many schools to help develop  positive relationships between young people. It aims to give them tools to engage with and listen to each  other. It’s often used as an opportunity to solve problems that are affecting the class, for example too much talking during lessons, or someone being picked on. 

The whole class takes part in Circle Time at the same time, usually led by their teacher, who sits in the  circle with their students. The circle encourages unity, respect, turn-taking and working together  towards a shared vision. It also helps young people work on five key skills, without which Circle Time  doesn’t work: thinking, listening, looking, speaking and concentrating. 

Changes to the school day start time

In 2021 we will be shifting the beginning of the school day form 9  am to 9:30 am. To achieve this we will be shortening lunch time and adjusting some of the class times.  The main driver behind this change is our desire to create the most appropriate learning environment for  young people. With research showing that teens not only need more sleep but that they need that sleep  later in the evening and then into the morning traditional school starts times are not always conducive to  this. 

Relocation – As previously announced we now have an exciting new location which will be fitted out for  us over the next two years.This year we will be engaging as a whole school community in the process of design and transition preparation. 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

Irene & Tessa

Volunteering During Covid

Typically, SRCS students have the opportunity to volunteer in a range of places and situations across the school year. Given that last year was incredibly atypical, we had to think really carefully about how we could volunteer in the community without leaving the school grounds. We Zoomed in some real life volunteers and then wrote letters to some of the hardest hit people during the pandemic, residents of an aged care facility.

During the Zoom volunteering session we heard from a volunteer with the SES, a lifelong volunteer with the CFA and local school council, and an engineer who organises the volunteer days for her organisation. Students not only heard about the value of volunteering within the community but about the personal rewards that come with volunteering time and skills to benefit others. We then partnered up with Aurrum Aged Care in Brunswick and students wrote a letter to each resident.

Building Community Through Art & Puzzles

Looking back on 2020 now, it seems amazing that we did what we did. The resilience and flexibility of our young people was so impressive and was displayed beautifully in our Community class.

As soon as the first lockdown hit we had to completely change the curriculum in Community, it went from exploring enterprise skills and planning camps, to building community in students neighbourhoods and homes. Once back onsite we focused in on building community in the classroom and recreated artworks, the students worked in groups or individually to choose and recreate a famous artwork. When the second lockdown hit we really concentrated on building community in the home and keeping students engaged in remote learning. Coming back to school again meant that we needed fun and plenty of opportunities for collaboration so we turned the recreated artworks into puzzles.

With each and every change, the students tried hard to adapt and work within the limited parameters of remote learning and multiple transitions. The recreated artworks and puzzles were a fabulous way to give the students an opportunity to have fun, work together and reflect on the year in a positive and collaborative way. We ended the year obsessing over the puzzles, some of them were really hard and needed a lot of people to put in a lot of hours!

School review preparation part 2.

During Semester two, in preparation for our school review, staff have been working in focus groups to look at a variety of priority areas for our school including, Literacy, Numeracy, Individual Learning Plans, School Wide Positive Behaviour Strategy, the Learning Spaces Program, Attendance and Curriculum documentation. Over the next few issues of our newsletter we will be sharing summaries form each of these focus groups highlighting their findings and their recommendation for improvement over the next 4 years. 

Individual Learning Plans (ILP) – Irene Savakis, 

Individual Learning Plans (ILP) are collaborative documents developed between students, staff and parents where SMART goals are set. SMART is an acronym for:

  • S= Specific
  • M= Measurable
  • A= Achievable
  • R= Realistic
  • T= Timebound

The aim of these documents is to improve the educational outcomes and experiences of all students. During the Review process we discovered the school did not meet the targets for students achieving their goals. We discovered a number of factors which contributed to this. Firstly not all staff knew where these documents were kept and as a consequence goals were not referred to and therefore students did not take them seriously. It was also discovered that students were not always being helped to write SMART goals and if we look at the acronym if each of the steps are adhered to, students with support should be able to achieve them.

It was recommended that all goals be collated into one spreadsheet with links to the ILP document, for easy access. Staff and students are provided with workshops in writing SMART goals, provide the time for this to be done and for reviews to be scheduled so adjustments and further support can be put in place. We should also consider writing goals with shorter time frames, writing them for the duration of the term may be too long for some students. Finally when goals are achieved they should be celebrated!

Learning Spaces

Literacy – Clea, Ollie, Dom, Nick, Eliza

Literacy is such an important skill to possess, on both a functional level, like reading, writing, spelling, and typing, and on a social level like being able to express ourselves adequately, understand the world around us and engage with it in constructive ways. As such we are always looking for better ways to ensure our students are getting the literacy support they need to succeed in life. 

The literacy review group determined that we need more effective ways of tracking where our students are at, so that we can support them with more relevant next steps in their learning. At present students participate in ARCOTS twice per year, which monitors their reading comprehension. The results show students are typically meeting the yearly school targets. However, what the results don’t provide is enough nuance in being able to effectively see what specific skills students are achieving and struggling with. Therefore our group sat through lots of different testing programs to experience what it is like from a student’s perspective, and to see which results provided us the best overall breakdown of student skills and capabilities. This was a highly informative experience and we are really excited to roll out some new ways to better test and track growth over time. Another key recommendation from our research is to ensure students are provided with regular and ongoing feedback from test results and class work, so they can monitor, track, and celebrate their growth in more formal ways.

School Review Preparation

During Semester two, in preparation for our school review, staff have been working in focus groups to look at a variety of priority areas for our school including, Literacy, Numeracy, Individual Learning Plans, School Wide Positive Behaviour Strategy, the Learning Spaces Program, Attendance and Curriculum documentation. Over the next few issues of our newsletter we will be sharing summaries form each of these focus groups highlighting their findings and their recommendation for improvement over the next 4 years. 

Curriculum Focus Group – Anton Christoff, Duane Dettering and Matt Ridgway 

We at SRCS have been working on digitally documenting a cross school curriculum. Our curriculum has always been a two year cycle to cater to composite year levels. Careful planning is required for our school because of this structure and the specific requirements of our student body. The aim of this document is that teachers can better collaborate on covering the Victorian curriculum. We have constructed a matrix that shows when and where specific knowledge and skills are covered in each subject as well as capabilities such personal and social, ethical and intercultural capabilities that are not tied to particular subjects. 

The purpose of this matrix is to streamline the curriculum so that there is less crossover between subjects. This resource would also help new staff to know what students have learnt previously and what the immediate learning requirements of the students are. As we continue to develop this resource, our aim is to better facilitate subjects working together on thematic topics. An example may be to work on, in multiple subjects, the history and technology of a specific country for a term.

Numeracy – Ben Waincymer, Joanne Van Zylekom and Stefan Grudza 

This year, Ben, Jo, and Stefan have been taking a close look at numeracy at our school. Their goal was to figure out what numeracy at our school looks like, what information we have about numeracy, and what changes we can make to the numeracy program to make it even better. 

What the team discovered when they dove in was that, on a whole, the maths teachers in our school do a good job of having a consistent language in the classroom, that they share resources in an effort to teach in a really consistent way, and they have made sure to map out everything they teach so as to not miss anything from the Victorian Curriculum. They also found that the number of students taking VCE Maths has steadily gone up over the last six years, from 3 students in 2015 to 10 students in 2020. 

While we were doing a good job in these areas, Ben, Jo, and Stefan found that we didn’t have heaps of data to show what level our students are at, and what level we help them achieve by the end of the year. We do use a test called ARCOTS to figure out what level students are in their numeracy, but that was really about all we had. The team also realised that the ARCOTS test didn’t allow teachers to figure out what specific skills students were struggling with, and, therefore, how best to tailor their teaching to meet the needs of individual students. 

From this, Ben, Jo, and Stefan made a HEAP of recommendations. They decided that we need to develop mini pre- and post-tests for each topic, so that the maths teachers can figure out how best to teach each student as an individual. They also suggested that we survey kids at the beginning of the year to find out how they were feeling, generally, about maths and their maths skills and maths class. The hope is that, at the end of the year, when they take this same survey again, they will be able to tell us that they are feeling better about all things maths related. Finally, Ben, Jo, and Stefan recommended that we try to find ways to connect numeracy to EVERY part of the curriculum. If the Art program is trying to teach kids to scale up a drawing to make a mural, the maths teachers should be teaching the kids how scaling works, so that they can make the connections between the art and the maths. This is just one of the TONS of suggested connections that the team came up with. 

Overall, from having a chance to really dig into numeracy at SRCS, Ben, Jo, and Stefan found that we are working hard to do a good job of teaching maths at our school, but that we could make a ton of changes that would have, hopefully, a big impact for all the young people at our school.

Attendance – Mel Alexander, Dawn Hinrichsen, Jules Lemke, Dan West and De’Ann Tierney

Attendance @ SRCS

At SRCS we currently have two ways of collecting attendance data. 

Compass

We use Compass, a commonly used web based management system that allows us to take twice daily attendance data for students (amongst a whole raft of other features). 

Here is an example of the Compass attendance data collection:

  • Green signifies present.
  • Orange signifies not present (reason given).
  • Blue signifies other educational activity.
  • Red signifies not present (no reason given).

Attendance & Effort

We also have an SRCS specific web based system that we call Attendance & Effort (A/E). This system was designed for SRCS to collect data on both attendance and engagement.  At SRCS we encourage students to come to school everyday and to try their best and we collect data to reflect this. This data is collected in the form of numbers. 

At the end of each class students rate themselves in collaboration with the teacher on how much effort they have put into the class, rating themselves from 0 – 4. 

  • A 4 reflects engagement and effort for the whole class. 
  • A 3 reflects engagement and effort for most of the class.
  • A 2 reflects engagement and effort for some of the class.
  • A 1 reflects engagement and effort for part of the class.
  • A 0 reflects no engagement or effort.

Here is an example of the A/E attendance data collection:

  • Green represents a 4.
  • Blue represents a 3.
  • Yellow represents a 2.
  • Orange represents a 1.
  • Red represents absent or a 0.
  • Pale orange represents a time out.

Both these data sets have strengths and constraints and we have come up with a number of recommendations for the review to increase the capacity of the data collection, giving us more opportunities to gather different and more targeted data.

Lunchtime Cricket

On Friday at lunchtime, an impromptu game of cricket started up and ended up including most of the school. Everyone was welcomed and encouraged to participate. There was no competition, just a lovely game of everyone having a go and enjoying each others company!

It was a really beautiful way to end our first week of being back at school all together.

VERY exciting news

It is with great pleasure that we were able to announce to our school community today that SRCS has a new home for 2023!

Today at concurrent onsite and remote whole school meetings we enthusiastically announced that SRCS will be relocating to the Anglican Church Hall at 8 Glenlyon Road in Brunswick. Literally around the corner from our current site.

As you will be aware we are currently housed in a leased premisses and have been searching for a new location since we learned the lease would not be renewed. This process has panned many years and involved an effort form school leader, school council, departmental staff and members of the broader school community in advocating for us to get a positive outcome.

The timeline for the move sees a design phase in 2021, building refurbishment in 2022 and the new location ready for us to move into and begin the 2023 school year. Over this period there will be numerous opportunities for parent/caregivers, studnets and staff to have input into the transition process and how the new site is set up.

Thanks to everyone who has worked so hard to get such a great outcome for SRCS. We are unbelievably excited to take this next step in our schools history.

Inside the new locations main hall.
Map showing the new location in relation to the current location at 350 Sydney Road.
The front entrance to the new location from Glenlyon Rd.

Welcome back to Term 4


On behalf of our school, we want to say a big thank you to all our students, parents and carers for your continued resilience and support throughout this year. We know remote and flexible learning has not always been easy, but through our collective efforts, our students have continued to make valuable progress in their learning. You can be confident that our school will support any student who has fallen behind to catch up.

Term 4 is important for every Victorian student, and our teachers will strive to deliver high-quality learning for everyone. Whether we’re teaching remotely or face-to-face, our focus for Term 4 is on making sure that every student is supported in their wellbeing, learning and transition needs.

The Victorian Government has outlined the staged return to on-site schooling for all students as part of its gradual roadmap towards reopening.Term 4 on-site schooling arrangements for studentsFollowing advice of the Victorian Chief Health Officer, the Victorian Government has released a staged approach for students to return to on-site schooling.

The purpose of the plan is to get students back in the classroom as soon and as safely as possible without putting at risk all that has been achieved through the period of restrictions to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
For our school, the following arrangements apply:

59 October (first week of Term 4)remote and flexible learning will continue for all studentsVCE and VCAL students can only attend on-site for essential assessments, including the General Achievement Test (GAT) on Wednesday 7 October

From 12 October (second week of Term 4)Monday 12 October students enrolled in years 11 and 12 (and students in any other year level undertaking VCAL or VCE studies) will attend on-site schoolingTuesday 13 October is a Curriculum Day, no classes except for Year 12 VCE onsiteWednesday 14 October students in Years 7 & 8 will return to on-site schooling remote and flexible learning will continue for all students in Years 9 & 10 (except students in any other year level studying VCE and VCAL units)we will continue to use the online timetable even when students are back at school 

From 26 October (fourth week of Term 4)students in Years 9 & 10 will return to on-site schooling. The existing remote learning program will not continue for these year levels.Health and safety measures
The Term 3 remote and flexible learning arrangements were put in place to significantly reduce the movement of more than one million students and their families across Victoria, to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Thanks to you and your family for contributing to this on behalf of our school community.
As on-site schooling resumes, we will continue to have in place strong measures to protect the health and safety of students, staff, families and the community. This includes continued emphasis on hand hygiene, the wearing of masks and physical distancing where possible.

Whether your child is, or children are, returning to face-to-face learning or will be continuing with remote and flexible learning for a short period, please be assured we will be focused on three key priorities in Term 4:

Mental health and wellbeing
Our highest priority will be the wellbeing, particularly the mental health, of every student and member of staff. This means effectively mobilising all available resources to support our most vulnerable students and enabling staff to access the relevant support services.
 
Learning and excellence
Some of our students have thrived in the remote and flexible learning environment, others have maintained their learning progress, and some have fallen behind, despite their best efforts and those of their families and teachers. Our priority will be supporting both those who need it to catch up and those who have progressed to continue to extend their learning.
 
Transitions
We will make every effort to ensure successful transitions for students moving from Grade 6 into Year 7, and the Year 12s moving into employment or further education and training.
We know some families are worried that their child may have to repeat a year due to the disruptions of coronavirus (COVID-19). There is little evidence to support the benefits of repeating a year to catch up. Instead, schools will use teaching strategies that draw on the best evidence available to help students meet their learning needs. 

Parents, families and carers can be confident that the best option for almost every child is to stay with their peer group, whether that is moving from kindergarten into Prep, moving from Grade 6 into Year 7 at secondary school, or students moving up any year level in between.

Our school, working with you, has shown it can be flexible and adaptable in responding to the challenges of coronavirus (COVID-19) and will continue to meet student needs as we look towards the end of the 2020 school year and ahead to 2021.