We celebrated Mother’s Day by showing appreciation for the achievements and contributions our mothers, and mother figures, make in our community. This is a special day for families and I hope that all our MGGS mothers enjoyed a special weekend; whether it was enjoying breakfast in bed, a picnic, a shared family meal or a handmade gift made with love. At MGGS we honored Mother’s Day with multiple breakfasts across the School that were well attended. I know our Grammarians thoroughly enjoyed sharing these special moments.
One of my weekly highlights is visiting Morris Hall and last week did not disappoint with the Morris Hall Science Fair in full swing. The Year 4 Grammarians carefully explained their projects to me and were able to answer my questions and suggest hypothesis for their thinking, reminding me of the sophistication of learning that we support at MGGS. Science literacy begins early and we begin to use the explicit language of scientific research from as young as three year old. By doing this we lay a strong foundation of understanding on which to build in our middle and senior years.
As part of our Centre for Educational Enterprise (CEE) Parent and Staff Education Series we welcomed Psychologist, Teacher, and Counsellor, Jocelyn Brewer on 29 April to speak to staff and parents. The presentation focussed on untangling our youth from technology and setting clear boundaries and realistic expectations. Jocelyn provided practical strategies for teaching and parenting in the digital age and answered a multitude of questions on video games, social media, and digital cultures. Furthermore, we have secured award-winning journalist, author and leader of public debate, Madonna King, as part of our CEE Parent Education Series. Madonna King will present on Thursday 25 May and will speak on her book, Ten-Ager and how we can best understand that interesting developmental age in girls that lies just before adolescence and what your daughter needs to know about the transition from child to teenager.
In 2020, we were unable to award the MGGS House Cup as there were not enough House events that were able to run. In 2021, we have been off to a flying start with the successful running of so many House events. We have recently held two significant House Events and I believe our appreciation is so much more heightened. On the most spectacular of autumn days, 30 April, we held our annual Cross-Country events for Year 4 through to Year 12. Our Grammarians donned their House Colours and set out running in Fawkner Park (for our youngest) and around the Tan (for our Merton Hall students). At MGGS we encourage participation above all else and it was wonderful to see almost every Grammarian involved. Congratulations to all Grammarians that participated, it was wonderful to see the display of sportsmanship and of House spirit and the results will be announced next week. Congratulations also to each of the House captains who supported their Houses with considerable efforts on the day. Our Merton Hall House Athletics was also held on 5 May with the same gusto of House spirit. I am always inspired by our Grammarians love for their Houses and their creativity around costumes and House chants – truly a heart-warming sight.
Our Careers Expo Evening on May 4 was well attended. At MGGS our VCE Senior Curriculum begins in Year 10 for some students and this evening was an opportunity to be introduced to the pathways and to listen to those with experience and wisdom. At MGGS we invite our students to select a personalized learning plan with subjects that will challenge and engage them in preparation for their future. Life in this century is fast paced; interconnected, globalized, and competitive graduates need to be future ready. This requires critical thinking skills, and an international perspective and Grammarians learn to understand this as soon as they are introduced to the culture of the school. Our VCE curriculum is designed to build on the foundations built from Prep to Year 10. The VCE Handbook has been designed to inform students and parents/guardians on the range, content and intended outcomes of the studies on offer to students in Years 11 and 12 in 2022.
Selecting subjects for the Senior Years is important and should start early and be a collaborative process between the student, the family, and the school. The subject selection should be approached carefully and thoughtfully. Subject counselling, advice and assistance are available, and students should seek advice and support. We reminded students that when choosing subjects for VCE that they:
- Focus on a personalized plan.
- Select studies that reflect personal tertiary/vocational aspirations.
- Not be in a hurry to finish Year 12.
- Select studies that they enjoy and that interest them. Consider subjects that they feel motivated in and that reflect their learning strengths.
- Plan for personal best and keep the journey about self and not be swayed by subjects that friends may want to do!
- Be aware of pre-requisite studies.
- Take studies that complement each other.
- Keep in mind that Language pathways have advantages in the VCE, and it is best to keep Language as an option.
Both MGGS and The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) have set course requirements that must be adhered to for satisfactory completion of the VCE and it is important students understand these. As a Year 10 student about to plan a study program that leads into a desirable career, we understand that the choices students are making can be overwhelming. It is important that choices made are informed ones by seeking the knowledge needed and therefore we spend considerable time and effort in our Course Counselling program.
Additionally, as part of preparing our Senior Grammarians for the ‘big wide world’, this term Years 11 and 12 will participate in workshops to develop their presenting and interview skills. After a 3 week Work Ready Skills Course held in house wellbeing time, they will each be given a 10-minute interview time to practice having an interview with a panel of experts. Students will select the type of interview: casual job, art folio, residential or university/medical. At the end of the 10-minute interview students will be given five minutes of feedback from the panel. The interview panels will consist of teaching staff, support staff and colleagues from MGGS as well as various retired academic friends and possibly some Old Grammarians.
Thank you to our Executive Director of Senior School, Mr Luke Francis, and our Career Coach, Ms Breeanna McGrath, our Student Enterprise Manager, Ms Renee Jackson, and their teams for carefully scaffolding our Grammarians in their career choices and subject selections for Senior School.
The recent Parent/Student/Teachers Interviews were well attended and a very important component of the feedback and communication essential for excellence in academic scholarship. I hope all parents and guardians found this opportunity to meet and discuss their daughter’s progress beneficial. At the conclusion of Semester 1 every Grammarian will receive a detailed Semester 1 report on their learning progress to date in 2021. These reports will be published privately online through EVi or each student. In reporting to the Victorian Curriculum and VCE our experienced teachers make an on-balance judgment about where each student sits on a developmental scale using the indicators prescribed by the VCAA as the basis for that judgment. Our subject teachers work diligently to ensure that their decisions against the standards are both on-balance and evidence-based. These conclusions are not a reward for effort, nor a punishment for lack of effort but hopefully a realistic and precise diagnosis as authentic feedback to provide our students and parents with invaluable information that is the basis for future learning. Thank you to our teaching staff who contribute hours of rigorous marking ensuring that our students receive honest and accurate feedback.
There are lots of exciting events in the next few weeks including the June Fowell Memorial Dinner for our Year 12 students, and the Dark Arts Winter Festival. Additionally, I hope to see you at our School Play, ‘Away’ on Thursday 10 and Friday 11 June. Please join me and support our talented Grammarians.
Following from what was for many of us an intense period of confinement with our families in 2020, it seemed timely to explore the classic Australian play ‘Away’. Written by the renowned author Michael Gow in 1986, the play explores the relevant themes of family and youth, and has since become a cornerstone of Drama education
‘Away’ is set in late 1960’s and examines generational divides and the formative experiences that influence our youth. Three families embark on three very different summer holidays, although find their journeys colliding through a fantastical storm. The narrative highlights the often-perceived mundane experiences that shape our childhood and become future points of nostalgia.
MGGS’ June Senior years production is led by students across years 9 -12, including cast members from Melbourne Grammar School. Work shopped scenes were showcased at the recent Celebration Day and provided an opportunity for the cast to experience audience reactions. I hope that you’ll join me.
Yours in learning
Dr Toni E. Meath