Gippsland Grammar news: March 19, 2021

Mar 19, 2021 | Bairnsdale News, Community News, Garnsey News, Principal's News, St Anne's News

Being part of a community provides people with a true sense of belonging. Some people say it is central to human experience and there are many benefits for all involved. While relatively new to this wonderful School Community, I am enjoying (finally!) meeting more of our Community in person.

Last Thursday I was fortunate to attend two important community events. The first was an Old Scholars function at Portside in Sale where we were blessed to have a fabulous group of Old Scholars in attendance and many great stories were shared. I couldn’t help reflect on how there were Old Scholars from the 50s through to a 2020 graduate. Irrespective of the years that have passed, the feeling of School pride was strong. In case you haven’t heard, the Old Scholar functions have moved to Portside from this year, and I look forward to meeting more Old Scholars at our future meetings.

I then left the Old Scholar function to attend the centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force at the RAAF Base East Sale. Gippsland Grammar has a proud association with the RAAF; we have educated hundreds of RAAF families and had many RAAF parents work at the School. All these interactions have forged a wonderful sense of Community … one I hope continues for many more years. Congratulations to all at the RAAF Base on this celebration.

One of the positives of COVID-19 has been a renewed enthusiasm to take advantage of opportunities when they arise and these are just two examples of community in our local area. Next week, there are several more functions that will enable our community to come together and I hope you can join us.

Another significant event this week was the completion of an important step in the construction of the new Visual Arts & Technology Centre at our Garnsey Campus. The worksite was a flurry of high-vis and activity on Tuesday when 37 concrete trucks poured 268 cubic metres of concrete for the Woodwork and Materials Technology wing. Weather permitting, we are hopeful by more concrete being poured next week for the entry gallery and then the Arts and Media suites wing. I will continue to update you on the progress of this state-of-the-art Centre that will enhance the Visual Arts and Technology offerings at our School. With that in mind, I hope you enjoy this short time-lapse of Tuesday’s action:

Have a wonderful weekend,
Leisa Harper

Garnsey’s new Visual Arts & Technology Centre was a hive of activity earlier this week with construction progressing to schedule as the 1700sq-m building comes to life.

With each passing week, we can see how the children are developing in their confidence and self-identity. Over the past two weekends, the Early Learning Centre teachers at the Sale and Bairnsdale campuses have attended an inspiring professional training called Pathways to Resilience, which is based on current brain research and provides practical ideas for teachers to ensure the children in our care are developing protective factors to support their life-long mental health and wellbeing. We already had many of these practices in place at our ELCs however our team always strives to grow and learn professionally to ensure that we are delivering evidence-based best practice for your children and our Community.

Some of the areas covered in this training included:

  • Sense of identity
  • Connectedness and belonging
  • Feeling safe and secure
  • Sense of belonging
  • Relaxation, breathing and sensory awareness
  • Self-awareness/feelings and being brave
  • Social awareness – empathy and kindness
  • Learned optimism
  • Regulation
  • Friendship
  • Finding my support people

As a teaching group, we will be working together to build up our repertoire of activities, ideas, and resources to ensure that the children at the ELC are developing the tools to flourish and thrive. We hope to share some of these ideas and strategies with families to use at home as well.

Arabella Tonkin, Alfie Durning and Lennie Cordell working in the ELC garden (above left) and Will Brewer starts his day at the ELC by adding his picture to the ‘belonging tree’ (above right).

BAIRNSDALE NEWS, by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
Please remember that although the COVID-19 restrictions have eased it is essential we maintain a vigilance with our health precautions and we are committed to ensuring that our school Community can function in the best interest for all. If your child has cold/flu symptoms, they cannot be at School and with this in mind we will contact the families of any students who present with these symptoms so they can be collected from School.

At this week’s Leadership meeting I was asked to share my highlights of the School week. My reflections ranged from the simplest pleasure to a deep sense of gratitude. A cheery ‘good morning’ at the gate always brightens my day, working with our students to support their reading progress is rewarding and observing the commitment of our Community to our students through parent/teacher interviews is a sound reminder of the wonderful school I belong to.

Last week we welcomed to our campus a leading educator in literacy, Karen Starkiss. Karen will be working with both junior campuses and together our intention is to explore our current approach and strive for best practice. Last year our campus set our goals on providing quality reading time in our classrooms to build both the love of reading and reading stamina. We are aware as educators that technology can impact reading opportunities both at school and at home. As a result, I urge you to consider the time you allow your children to be on devices and encourage the richness of reading.

My role includes working with our Year 6’s to develop their leadership strengths. My intention is for each student to suggest a leadership project, plan it, implement it, and importantly learn from the process to encourage further actions. Next week Charlee and Charlotte are organising a shared picnic with the purpose being connection and social interaction.  Mia and Grace are currently writing a proposal to Clifton Waters village administration with suggestions for building a positive relationship that would see reciprocal benefits for our students and the residents. I am proud of their suggestions and enthusiasm in supporting our Community.

Several of our students entered the Kangourou Sans Frontieres International Maths competition under the guidance of Mrs Amanda Jenman. They were very keen to participate and to take up the challenge.

Students are provided with opportunities to enjoy reading time during class.

ST ANNE’S NEWS by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
Please remember that although the COVID-19 restrictions have eased it is essential we maintain a vigilance with our health precautions and we are committed to ensuring that our school Community can function in the best interest for all. If your child has cold/flu symptoms, they cannot be at School and with this in mind we will contact the families of any students who present with these symptoms so they can be collected from School.

Families are often looking for some lunchbox inspiration and it was with that in mind that Mrs Harper shared these links with us as examples of what she has found useful for healthy lunches:

  1. This is a lunchbox business run by a mother-of-two. She has a focus on recipes that can be made ahead of time and frozen.
  2. If you like preservative/additive-free cooking, the recipes on Shan Cooper’s My Food Religion website will appeal Quite a few gluten-free/dairy-free/nut free

This Wednesday morning, the Year 6 students were lucky to receive a visit from our two Gippsland Grammar school captains, Kate Finlay and Connor Hare. Kate and Connor spoke about their own experiences throughout their time at Gippsland Grammar and the many opportunities made available to them, including sport, public speaking, dancing, music, and drama. They shared what they considered to be the best qualities of a good leader and the importance of being role models within our School. The students had opportunities to ask lots of questions and became even more excited about the prospect of moving on to the BIG school. We want to thank our fantastic school captains for making the time to meet with our Year 6 and impart such great words of wisdom to our St. Anne’s leaders.

I hope that you are all looking forward to coming to the Easter picnic on Friday March 26 from 5.30pm-7pm. The St Anne’s community is looking forward to enjoying the opportunity to come together for this special family event. Please remember to bring your picnic dinner and picnic rug.

Next weekend’s Open Day on Saturday March 27 from 9-11am is another exciting opportunity for our Community to come together and to show the wider Gippsland community everything that our School has to offer. We will welcome all prospective ELC and St Anne’s families to our campus with coffees then myself, Principal, Mrs Leisa Harper and ELC Director, Mrs Lisa Burgess will welcome and guide our visitors with support from a team of teachers and student leaders.

Please encourage any families in your own networks who may be interested in learning more about coming to Gippsland Grammar. Our Open Day is the best way to do this, and we particularly appreciate being able to do so after the event was cancelled last year. We know this event is always particularly popular for families interested in the three and four-year-old kindergarten program at our Early Learning Centre, which we are proud to say has an ‘exceeding standard rating’. The Open Day is a great opportunity for families to see what makes our program, a leader in their field.

GARNSEY NEWS by Acting Head of Campus Kate Ray
Please remember that although the COVID-19 restrictions have eased it is essential we maintain a vigilance with our health precautions and we are committed to ensuring that our school Community can function in the best interest for all. If your child has cold/flu symptoms, they cannot be at School and with this in mind we will contact the families of any students who present with these symptoms so they can be collected from School.

For this week’s newsletter our Heads of Year have provided an update of their year levels. I encourage you to read their reflections from the term so far:

Our Year 7 group have had a busy start to the year with lots of great opportunities and new experiences on offer. They have settled in well and have impressed their teachers with their willingness to embrace new concepts and ways of thinking. The students were all very excited to receive their new computers and have wasted no time familiarising themselves with a range of new programs and the VOS features at Garnsey. Peer Support sessions with the Year 10 Peer Support Leaders have been a real highlight as students get to know students from other mentor groups and find out more about our school. The Courage to Care incursion focusing on discrimination and being an ‘Upstander’ rather than a ‘Bystander’ was also a powerful reminder to students of how they can make a difference through positive actions. An exciting upcoming event is the Project Rockit Cybersafety incursion. This will be a timely reminder to our Year 7 students on how to stay safe in our digital world. Amongst all this there has been a host of sporting events, musical and academic events with the much-anticipated Athletics Day still to come. What a fantastic start to the year by the Year 7s!

With changes to the homework arrangements this term, mentors have been busy supporting students in establishing a plan for how to manage their time and workload. This has included using the Elevate Study Skills materials, with students creating personalised homework timetables that help them acknowledge and place value on commitments they have beyond school. These timetables will be adjusted to reflect changing circumstances and set homework. With the groups taking part in the camps program over the past few weeks, time has also been invested in helping students with these arrangements and expectations. The schedule of lunchtime activities that are currently on offer have also been shared with the students.

The Year 9s have just returned happy and exhausted from their first week of two weeks on the Melbourne Experience. Throughout the journey the students pushed themselves outside their comfort zone to gain real life skills like using public transportation while also engaging in a variety of learning opportunities that the city offers. Here are a few samples of student voices on what they found was most interesting about the experience:
‘We learned a lot on the history of Melbourne like the important Aboriginal history of the area and the way that gold changed everything in the city.’Tali Oates

‘We learned lots of little practical things like how to travel around the city, how to buy things and all the careful decisions that need to stay safe. As well, I loved how the class grew close together, now I feel like I can happily work with anyone in the group.’
Isabella Goode

‘I thought the history of the streets was fun; it was interesting to be shown the stories about how the wealth of the city is right next to some of the poorest people.’ Rudy Wilson

As a new year level, we have spent some time in mentor group getting to know the students and getting to know the staff. We have set goals around hopes for the year and worked on time management, including managing homework and study schedules. Students had an initial talk about careers and completed the Morrisby test to later inform discussions with Career Advisor/VET & VCAL Coordinator Mr Henderson. They have also met with the Head of Information Services Centre Mrs Fleming to hear about the resources in the ISC and sign up for the State Library, to further assist their educational enquires. We are all looking forward to the Year 10 Wellbeing Day out at the end of term.

Year 11 began with an address from Miss Dyke, urging the Year 11 cohort to control their own destiny and to get maximum value out of their final years of secondary school. During Term1, Year 11 mentor sessions began with circle time to discuss how the year had started with a focus on subject selections, workloads and new demands and challenges of VCE. Students have also signed VCE forms to check their personal details and subject enrolments. Since the COVID lockdown, the Year 11 students have had presentations from the VCE Coordinator on VCE Matters and Special Provisions, from the Head of English on plagiarism and careers/tertiary information from Mr Henderson. Over the next two weeks, the Year 11 students will undertake dancing practice under the tutelage of Ms Hahn in preparation for the Year 11 Ball.

Our Year 12 students began the year with their Year 12 Camp where they had several guest speakers and workshops setting them up for a year of success. Students reacted positively to the session run by Jennifer Bullers who spoke to the group about developing their ‘mental armour’. The upcoming holidays will be a good chance for the Year 12s to reset and revise their learning and get on top of their organisation

It was a checkmate frenzy in the ISC on Friday when 15 students from across all year levels competed in an online chess competition against students from other schools across the state. The tournament was Swiss-style where the winners continued playing other winners at random, which meant the games got tougher as the day went on. Gippsland Grammar finished second in the tournament to Emmanuel College. Pictured are Year 12 chess captain Matt Roberts with Year 7 student Ryan Wain and Year 7 student Kate Edgar.

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