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GSSC Newsletter - Issue Three
Welcome to the latest edition of the Greater Shepparton Secondary College school newsletter!
In this edition you will find profiles on our Student Council president and vice-president, profiles on our House leaders, student activities, upcoming events and more.
If you prefer to read this newsletter in a language other than English, scroll down on the cover page to "Google Translate" and select your preferred language.
Past presidents step up to lead new school
Tanya McKenzie-Sleeth and Adam Glasson share a motivation to improve secondary education in Greater Shepparton shaped by their own experiences as students, parents and now community leaders.
Tanya, as the new President of Greater Shepparton Secondary College School Council, and Adam, as Vice-President, will help provide oversight and governance for the new school in its first year of operation.
It is familiar territory for both. Adam, a product of Shepparton’s North Tech before its closure, returned to education as a school council member in recent years – serving as President of the Mooroopna Secondary College School Council for the last two years.
Tanya’s old high school has also closed its doors. Tanya’s children were third generation students at the former Shepparton High School, where she served on its school council before also stepping up as President for the last two years.
"I stepped up to contribute and support school council because I saw gaps in engagement in education when I was going to school," Tanya said. "Back in my day paretns weren't really part of the child's education journy and the schools didn;t really encourage them to get involved.
"I want that to change and while it has been challenging, this community is now more engaged in education than ever before, which is a great thing."
With children in Years 1, 3, twins in Year 12 and two others having graduated, Tanya is more than familiar with the Shepparton education system. As a parent who attended discussions about possible school mergers in 2010, and the development of the Better Together Alliance of Greater Shepparton’s secondary schools, Tanya saw improvements in education delivery but not the extent of change she felt was needed.
Adam’s inspiration to join school council stemmed from his Fairley Community Leadership Program experience in 2016 and having a daughter at Mooroopna Secondary College.
“I’ve been a CFA volunteer for many years and when the opportunity came up to join the school council, I thought I could contribute a little more,” Adam said.
Both Tanya and Adam say being part of the Greater Shepparton Secondary College development and its innovation and investment is a unique and historic opportunity.
For Adam, a major bonus will be replacing the tired buildings and outdated facilities of all the existing campuses with a state-of-the-art development. “The students will see an amazing difference and so will the staff, who’ve put up with the old for too long.”
For Tanya, it’s not so much the “bright and shiny” facilities she is looking forward but the learning and development opportunities the merged model will bring.
“I went into hairdressing at 16 and you know what? You could use a $45 pair of scissors or a $2,000 pair of scissors but what mattered most is what you learnt to do with them,” she said.
“What will change with Greater Shepparton Secondary College? It’s the broader curriculum and teaching methods the school will be able to deliver and the support, encouragement and diverse opportunities for our students to get the better outcomes they deserve.
“We’re already seeing excitement without the new facilities,” she said. “The kids are engaged, they look great, they’re arriving on time – I haven’t seen such bright, enthusiastic kids at all the campuses until this year.”
The inaugural Greater Shepparton Secondary College School Council will serve the school community until elections are held for the next council in 2021.
Electives to enlighten and engage
Teacher Kylie Hoskin and My 2040 students Brodie and Drew with household items that have been up-cycled as a bird feeder and mobile phone holder.
Year 9 classes at Greater Shepparton Secondary College (GSSC) have never been so creative with a record 80 elective subjects being taught this year at the school’s Mooroopna campus.
For students, it’s a case of being spoilt for choice with subjects as wide-ranging as Criminology to Lego Robotics to the role of women in war.
All of the subjects aid students in core subject areas like Health, Humanities, Science and Mathematics. The Fantasy AFL elective, for example, allows students to apply mathematics and problem-solving to analyse sporting statistics, deal with injuries and conduct trades to become a successful team manager.
For teachers, the focus on delivering a diverse range of Year 9 electives has allowed them to develop courses around their personal interests and areas of expertise.
Megan Michalaidis, Associate Principal of Teaching and Learning at GSSC, said she was impressed by the dedication, passion and creative ideas teachers had in developing the electives throughout last year.
“Now that the electives are under way at the Mooroopna campus, I’m impressed by how students are enjoying the variety of subjects and some of the amazing activities going on in our classrooms, outdoors and on field trips.”
Megan said finding new and innovative ways to inspire children in their education had particular importance around Year 9, an age where students can often disengage from the traditional classroom routine.
Elective case study one – My 2040: Saving the Planet
The elective developed by experienced science teacher Kylie Hoskin challenges students to imagine life in 2040 if we were able to apply the best solutions now available to improve the health of our planet.
“I was inspired by Damon Gameau, who produced the documentary 2040,” Kylie said. “I wanted to develop a subject that was hopeful and helpful amid all the concern around Climate Change.”
Through a combination of hands-on investigation and learning, My 2040 explores the differences between weather and climate, studies alternative energy solutions and looks at ways we can be ethical consumers, reduce waste and improve farming sustainability.
Kylie, who studied zoology in university, is “a dairy farmer’s daughter” and has taught science for 16 years, said she was able to combine her interests and personal experience in developing the elective.
As part of their studies, students will learn to upcycle – creating a new use for a redundant product that might otherwise end up in landfill.
“In partnership with Australian charity SolarBuddy, we will also assemble solar light kits and write to students who live in countries that lack safe and reliable lighting,” Kylie said.
My 2040 will also take the students into their own backyard, with field trips to farms and Dookie College where soil science and composting methods are being used to rehabilitate the land and improve yields.
Elective case study two – Café Culture
Learning has never tasted so good at Mooroopna Campus with a range of electives on food preparation, presentation and understanding how we get from paddock to plate.
One of the more unique is Café Culture, where students gain hospitality skills while serving up fresh fast food, brunches, lunches and barista-quality coffee.
Teacher and qualified chef Damian Townsend said the elective was first offered last year and is about building confidence and skills.
“We had a young student last year who was lacking in confidence and now she has a job in hospitality,” Damian said.
Café Culture is applied learning in action, with students examining global trends, the emergence of fair trade certification and the impact food miles have on the environment.
At the same time, the course involves students running a school café, with students operating several espresso machines.
“It’s self-directed learning,” Damian said. “The students have to manage the café and they make up rosters.”
Damian said initially, gourmet coffee was provided free to staff. However now, with the students gaining very good barista skills, teachers are purchasing coffee cards allowing them 10 coffees for $25.
Students completing the course also receive an immediate practical benefit: a record of attainment from TAFE on espresso coffee preparation and food hygiene and safety.
Students and mobile phones
Greater Shepparton Secondary College and all public school students in Victoria are no longer allowed to have mobile phones with them during the school day.
This policy came into effect at the start of the 2020 school year.
In summary, it means that students sould leave their mobile phone at home or, if phones are brought to school:
Students must lock their mobile phones in their lockers before school commences at 8:52am each morning;
Mobile phones are not to be taken out of lockers at any time during the school day.
Secure locks have been provided, free of charge, to all students of Greater Shepparton Secondary College.
The school is providing security for students' property by supplying each student with the free padlock. Parents should note that, while all care is taken, student property is not insured by the school. Students who bring valuable items to school do so at their own risk. For more infromation, please refer to our pdf
Mobile Phone Policy
Australian Ballet partnership returns to centre stage
The Australian Ballet will partner with Greater Shepparton Secondary College in 2020 to deliver workshops, student performances and special tours to Melbourne productions.
The partnership, supported by the Sir Andrew and Fairley Foundation, marks the fifth year The Australian Ballet has delivered professional mentoring and creative opportunities to Shepparton secondary students.
Since 2016 the partnership has resulted in more than 800 children taking part in the ballet company’s In School Program, which culminates in a performance at Riverlinks Venues, among other benefits.
Hundreds more students are set to take part with a three-year La Trobe University research project to measure the arts program’s success – guaranteeing the partnership will continue until at least 2022.
“The Australian Ballet’s education programs aim to improve outcomes and the overall wellbeing of students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds,” Fairley Foundation Executive Officer Amanda McCulloch said.
“This aligns strongly with the Fairley Foundation’s goals of having fewer students disengaged from school and supporting a thriving arts community in Greater Shepparton.”
Key features of the 2020 partnership include:
In school classes in the weeks of April 20 and 27th for 200 students from Years 7 and above;
Students to present an April 30 performance courtesy venue partner Riverlinks Venues and Greater Shepparton City Council. They will experience a new piece created by Ella Havelka, the first Indigenous dancer in The Australian Ballet;
Thirty students to attend a performance of the Australian Ballet in Melbourne;
A remote leaders’ mentoring program, to help staff, senior students and community leaders use The Australian Ballet’s digital education resources.
“We’re grateful to The Australian Ballet, the Fairley Foundation and Riverlinks Venues for committing to this valuable partnership for years to come,” Greater Shepparton Secondary School Executive Principal Genevieve Simson said.
“This is a watershed year for the College and the partnership will help forge ties among our students and teachers through dance and artistic learning.”
Katy McKeown, Head of Education at The Australian Ballet said the free program was delivered courtesy of generous donors and partners.
“We hope to continue to inspire young people across Australia to explore the joy of movement and the educational benefits that one gains through dance,” she said.
The Australian Ballet has been inspiring and delighting audiences across the country and overseas for almost 60 years. The Fairley Foundation has served Greater Shepparton for almost as long with a bequest set up by founder and philanthropist Sir Andrew Fairley in 1965.
Day One - Frequently Asked Questions
When will I receive information about arrangements for the start of 2020?
Where do I get booklist information?
How will my child get to school? What are the transport options?
All GSSC students will receive free travel during the transition phase which starts this year. If you would like your child to travel on a bus, there are two options available depending on your location. Both options require the completion of an application form for individual students:
The School Bus Program is for students who live outside of the Shepparton and Mooroopna townships, and who travel into town for school. Students who applied for travel using the School Bus Program were sent a letter with their bus allocation and travel details in Term 4, 2019. For assistance with the School Bus Program, contact Melissa Kemp on 5891 2076.
Students who live in Shepparton and Mooroopna can access the School Town Special buses to travel to and from their school campus. To plan your journey, please visit the Transport and Bus routes page here.
When will my child get their Shepparton Transit Pass?
Students who have applied for the Conveyance Allowance program, to use the School Town Special buses, will be issued a Shepparton Transit Pass. Students can pick up their Shepparton Transit Pass from their allocated 2020 GSSC campus from 21 January 2020, until school opens (noting Monday 27 January is a public holiday).
Alternatively, students can collect their Shepparton Transit Pass at their GSSC campus when they start their first week of school. Bus operators will allow students a one-week only grace period to allow for collection of their Shepparton Transit Pass.
Does my child need a Shepparton Transit Pass if they use the School Bus Program?
Students using the School Bus Program will be issued with a School Bus Program Pass in the first weeks of Term 1. Students on the School Bus Program should have already received information with their bus allocation and travel details in December 2019.
What bus services does GSSC look after?
GSSC manages the School Bus Program and for this reason it is important that students use the bus service allocated to them, as they are recorded on the bus service as an approved traveller.
When do classes start in 2020?
GSSC students will return to school during the last week of January. There are different start dates for year levels and campuses. Please visit the Back to School Dates 2020 page here for specific year levels and campus return-to-school dates.
What time does school start?
School will begin at 8:52 am each day at all campuses.
What time does school end?
School will finish at 3:15 pm each day at all campuses.
How will I receive updates as a parent?
In 2020 GSSC’s formal communication with parents and carers will be via a system called Compass. Instructions on how to access the system, including login details, will be provided to families early in Term 1, regarding access to Compass. Attendance notifications, student alerts, homework instructions, student reports and a calendar of events will all be communicated via Compass. The school will publish a fortnightly e-newsletter through Compass as well. We encourage you to check the Greater Shepparton Secondary College website for further information www.gssc.vic.edu.au.
When will the breakfast program be available?
The Schools Breakfast Program will be available to GSSC students mid Term 1 providing a range of healthy breakfast items every morning for any student wanting to participate. GSSC will notify students, parents, carers and families when the School Breakfast Program is up and running.
How will the breakfast program work at the school?
The school will shortly appoint a coordinator to roll-out the program across the three campuses. The coordinator will work with each campus in communicating times the breakfast program will be available for students, which will be before school starts at 8.52 am.
What will day one look like?
On the first day of Term 1, Year 7 and 12 students at McGuire Campus, should attend the School Gym at 8:52am on Thursday 30 January 2020 for a welcome assembly.
Year 8, 10 and 11 students at McGuire Campus, should attend the School Gym at 8:52am on Friday 31 January 2020 for a welcome assembly.
Year 9 students at Mooroopna Campus, should attend the Westside Performing Arts Centre (immediate left from the Mooroopna Campus administration area) at 8.52am on Thursday 30th January. We ask students to check their name against the form list displayed at the front of the Centre. Students will be seated in their form rows.
Year 8 students at Wanganui Campus, should attend the Visy Centre at 8.52am on Thursday 30 January.
Year 12 students at Wanganui Campus, should attend their Learning Mentor homerooms as outlined in their welcome letter at 8.52am on Thursday 30 January.
Year 10 and 11 students at Wanganui Campus, should attend their Learning Mentor homerooms as outlined in their welcome letter at 8.52am on Friday 31 January.
From there, students will:
Meet their learning mentor, and provided with information about their House and Neighbourhood
Be introduced to their timetable
Be allocated their locker
Receive an orientation to the school
Hear about the Positive Behaviour Support System that will be utilised at the College
Learn about their Student Binders (Year 7) and student planners (other year levels)
Students may bring their own lunch or purchase lunch at canteens at each of the campuses.
What if my child is struggling on day one? How will they get support?
Starting school or going to a new campus can be a difficult time for some students, so support is available. All students will be spending time with their learning mentors and will have opportunities to gain additional support if required. Each campus also has house leaders and neighbourhood leaders to provide additional support to students, and our wellbeing team is also available to connect with students if required. If you have any concerns regarding your child’s wellbeing, please get in touch with their learning mentor.
What if my child wants to change their house allocation?
To request a change of house allocation, GSSC students should first talk to their learning mentor for support before meeting with their House Leader to talk through options.
I wasn't able to purchase a uniform item for my child before day one. What are my options?
The uniform shops have a shortage in some uniforms. GSSC is working closely with suppliers to get those sizes back in stock and will have more updates on timeframes for students, parents and carers shortly.
For those students still waiting for some uniform items, if they have their PE uniform, they are able to wear that. Other items that are as similar as possible to the uniform, such as a white shirt (no logo), dark pants, shorts or skirt can also be worn.
Dookie camp builds skills, relationships
Students on the Dookie camp drop a line at Casey's Weir
Yabby racing, scaling Mount Major and Indigenous games came together for a group of incoming Year 9 students who took part in a special transition camp at Dookie recently.
About 55 current Year 8 students from Shepparton’s secondary schools of Mooroopna, Wanganui Park, Shepparton High and McGuire College were selected for the December camp to develop their leadership and team-building skills.
The Leadership and Regional Careers Camp expanded on an annual agricultural camp that takes advantage of the accommodation and teaching resources of the University of Melbourne’s Dookie College.
“It is about building resilience and leadership among our young people along with more practical life and work-ready skills,” Wanganui Park Assistant Principal Karen Utber said.
This year was particularly special. The careers focus went beyond farming skills and the event marked an important opportunity for a large contingent of incoming Year 9 students to build relationships before they all come together at Mooroopna next year as part of the new Greater Shepparton Secondary College.
The camp was co-designed by the Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project and the University of Melbourne, with funding from the Victorian Department of Education and Training.
“The camp activities ranged from nutrition and healthy eating, yoga, career sessions with local employers to more active outdoor activities,” Lighthouse Executive Officer Lisa McKenzie said.
Students were able to try their hand at sheep drafting at local farm Toland Merino, mix with calves at the University of Melbourne’s robotic dairy, drop a fishing line at Casey’s Weir, watch an outdoor movie and more.
“The children chose from career sessions in areas like the environment, health, agriculture and transport and all took part in a ‘Bully Zero’ workshop and an orienteering exercise to teach problem-solving skills,” Ms McKenzie said.
“We know this experience has delivered great results past participants,” Ms Utber said. “We are confident it will also help forge important friendships going into Greater Shepparton Secondary College.”
Goods going to good cause
Fiona Smolenaars (left) and Kim Merkel take stock at Shepparton High School
Charities, not-for-profit groups and other schools recently descended on Shepparton High School to ensure leftover goods go to a good cause.
Shepparton and Mooroopna Vinnies, the Salvation Army and niche community groups were invited to the school to fill boxes with books, pots, pans, cutlery and other kitchenware before the site is closed to make way for construction of a new state-of-the-art high school.
Business machines, sporting equipment and valuable school resources needed for the new school have already gone to the campuses of Mooroopna, Wanganui Park and McGuire, which combine next year as Greater Shepparton Secondary College (GSSC).
Important memorabilia and historical items from Shepparton High School have been placed in storage and will be returned to the site when the new college buildings open.
Marilyn Mancini, the school’s business manager, said that still left a lot of surplus goods, like library books and kitchenware from the school’s food technology rooms.
She said the region’s state primary schools had first pickings of the goods and after they took what they needed, the doors were opened to community groups in December.
For Fiona Smolenaars of Greater Shepparton Lighthouse, the timing was perfect for the Family Haven at Mooroopna.
“The Haven is a safe, supportive space for isolated families wanting to connect with the community,” Ms Smolenaars said.
“We start operating in January and we’ve just set up a kitchen, because families cooking together really breaks down barriers. Lighthouse is really appreciative of the school sharing its resources – it really will make a big difference for our facility.”
Kim Merkel, of St Anne’s College, said the new school at Kialla Lakes had a project room with a kitchen and was also looking to boost its library resources.
“We started operating this year with a lot of empty cupboards and we’ve been buying resources as we go,” she said. “It’s fantastic how Shepparton High School has opened up their school to help out other organisations.”
In the school’s final week of operation, the Salvation Army sent a truck to collect remaining goods for eventual re-sale or donation.
Back to School Dates 2020
Greater Shepparton Secondary College students will return to school during the last week of January, 2020. There are different start times for year levels and campuses. See below for specific year levels and campus return-to-school dates. All classes at all campuses commence at 8.52am and finish at 3.15pm.
Transition Day 2019 – information and travel arrangements
2020 Year 7 - transition day
Tuesday, 10 December 2019 is transition day at all government secondary schools across Victoria. This allows current Year 6 students to spend a day experiencing their new surroundings and meeting their teachers and future classmates before starting Year 7 proper in Term 1, 2020.
In 2020, all Year 7 students in Greater Shepparton will be taught at the McGuire Campus of Greater Shepparton Secondary College.
The McGuire Campus transition day begins at 9am in the school gymnasium.
How to get there
Option 1: Parents or carers may wish to bring their child direct to McGuire College for the 9am transition day start. They can collect their child from McGuire College at 3.25pm.
Option 2: Parents or carers can bring their child to the closest and most convenient secondary school school at either Shepparton High School, Wanganui Park Secondary College or Mooroopna Secondary College. Each school will have a shuttle bus service to McGuire College, supervised by school staff. Please ensure your child arrives before the shuttle buses depart from each school at 8.35am.
At 3:25pm, these supervised shuttle bus services will return the Year 6 Transition students to each of the secondary schools - Shepparton High School, Wanganui Park Secondary College or Mooroopna Secondary College.
Option 3: We understand some parents or carers may require public transport for their children to access the shuttle bus service and attend transition day.
Parents and carers who rely on public transport within Shepparton and Mooroopna are asked to plan ahead and use a service that ensures a timely student arrival for the 8:35am school shuttle bus services from Shepparton High School, Wanganui Park Secondary College or Mooroopna Secondary College - or for the 9am McGuire College start.
For further public transport information, please call providers Dysons Bus Service on (03) 5831 2150 or Jacobsons on (03) 5820 3700.
Option 4: Students outside of the Shepparton-Mooroopna metropolitan area can access the School Bus Program providing they have already applied to use this program. Parents and carers who have applied will receive a letter via Australia Post confirming their bus stop time and location prior to the transition day.
Note: If you live outside the metropolitan area with a child attending Greater Shepparton Secondary College next year, and have not applied for the School Bus Program, you can do so by calling Melissa Kemp, Bus Coordinator - Mooroopna Secondary College, on (03) 5825 2344.
2020 Year 9 - transition day
There is no change to the normal routine for parents, families and carers.
Students arrive as usual at either Shepparton High School, Wanganui Park Secondary College or McGuire College. Each school will have free and supervised shuttle bus services to Mooroopna Secondary College. Please ensure your child arrives before the shuttle buses depart from each school at 8.50am.
At 2:45pm, these supervised shuttle bus services will return students to their schools for their normal pick-up arrangements at the end of the school day.
Note: Students should come prepared as they would for a normal school day. Fruit and sausage sandwiches (halal) will be available to students for morning tea and lunch.