Principal's Update Week 4
Posted: 31-Oct-2018

Our prayer today is for Year 12 VCE students across Victoria as they commence their exams with the VCE English paper this morning. We pray for wisdom in their approach and just rewards for their efforts. May all students who undertake exams over the coming weeks see them as an opportunity to reflect their learning and focus on their own individual improvement. We make this prayer of our loving God - Amen.

Right across the College, it is a time of important assessment and feedback. It has been great to see so many families come through to catch up with Teacher Advisors in preparation for these final weeks. These meetings are an important opportunity to build confidence or to look at refinements to the 2018 learning program. I thank families for your support.

There are a range of activities coming up for students over the coming weeks. From Monday 12th November, Year 9 students will attend their camp in the Strathbogie Ranges. During this same week, half of our Year 10 students will have their induction to the Christian Personal Development Award (CPDA) through their retreat and other activities. The other half of Year 10 will have work experience. Could I please implore families to support students in engaging with these different learning activities as they are all structured in a way to develop our young people holistically. If your student has not organised their work experience at this stage, could you please liaise with the Humanities teacher or Careers Coordinator, Jo Lawrence to meet this requirement. If there are concerns regarding Year 9 camp – Camps Coordinator David Myers works hard to accommodate individual needs to make the learning accessible.

One of the successes of Damascus College over recent years has been improved student retention as students move up the school. These improved rates of retention have seen our student population grow from our average enrolment of 1025 to over 1060 in 2018 with the likelihood of more significant growth in 2019. One of the underlying principles of the College’s Teacher Advisor Program has been to build strong relationships between the College, the student and their family to ensure that their learning opportunities are optimised and that students do not “fall through the cracks”. Currently, there are 15 Teacher Advisor groups in each House; we are looking to take this to 16 groups in 2018 to reduce the need to grow the numbers within individual TA’s. House Leaders are currently exploring with students if any students would be willing to join a new TA group. We realise that great relationships have been built up with TA’s, so it is by invitation only. If this conversation comes up at home and you would like to know more or have questions, please talk with your House Leader or Assistant Principal of Student Wellbeing, Jo Kennedy.

Last week the College received results for students who had been nominated by their teachers for the Australian Science Olympiad. I congratulate Year 11 students, Laura Gibson (Biology Credit) Finn Clonan (Chemistry Credit) and Mackenzie Yandell (Physics Credit) on their achievements within the program.

Year 8 student Jake Jans has been travelling interstate over recent weeks to compete in National BMX championships. I congratulate Jake on his recent 3rd placing in the National series and his 2nd placing in the South Australian championships.

Damascus College support of the people of Timor Leste was recognised this week with acknowledgement from the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation. Funds raised by Damascus College have supported the important work of this foundation in Timor and immersion students had the opportunity to hear first-hand the impact that their fundraising achieves. More information on the foundation and our relationship can be found here.

Our English Learning Area Leader Michael Bennett heads off on some well-deserved Long Service Leave from the end of the week, and we wish him well. Michael will be replaced by Stephanie Macdonald who will join the English and Humanities learning areas in 2019.

I don’t need to remind students, but it is important that I remind families that next Friday, 9th November is a Ballarat public holiday due to Ballarat Show Day. VCE exams will run as scheduled on that day with appropriate staff available here at school.

In our church tradition, throughout the month of November and especially as we approach All Soul’s Day on Friday we remember and celebrate those we have loved and lost. As we move through this period, we encourage you to visit the Commemorative Trail below the Mercy Administration wing. The commemorative trail is a reflective walk to assist past, current and future members of the College to remember and pray for those who had gone before us and created the opportunities that we enjoy today.

We remember all those who need our prayers at this time.

Until next week …

MATT

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