by Josie Millard
As we come to the end of another remarkable term, I would like to most sincerely acknowledge the work of all staff, students and their parents and carers. There have been many highlights for Kew High School in Term 3. In fact, there have been so many highlights that I will need to limit my reflection to only a handful of them. I hope that you will see throughout this newsletter many of the other achievements of the students of Kew High School.
The Addams Family
This term saw the production of the musical, The Addams Family. Our students, divided into two casts, performed six shows over four days – and they were exemplary. The audiences widely commented vociferously that is was hard to believe that this was a school production. Their performances definitely reflected the many hours of dedicated rehearsal and preparation. The sets lighting and the costumes were breathtaking. The cast of actors, dancers and singers, the musicians and stage management students were simply amazing. It was one of the finest events I have attended in my time in education. Whilst I know that only a handful of the students will go on to professional careers in theatre, I also know that every single student who contributed to the amazing success of the Kew High School production in 2022 will never forget their experience. I wish, particularly to thank these extremely dedicated teachers; Michael Brandt, Stuart Crawford, Kylie Kollmorgen and Harry Arvanitis. Their support of the students was exceptional.
Over the past few weeks, families of students in Year 7 and Year 9 should have received in the mail hard copies of the 2022 NAPLAN tests. All parents should also be able to access these on Compass via the ‘Analytics’ tab. The school has spent some time analysing the results and determining where our learning and teaching program has been particularly successful, and where we have room for improvement. I am most proud to say that our results were outstanding. In Year 9, the percentage of students who achieved in the top two bands in Reading, Writing, and Numeracy not only increased significantly from 2021 but also Kew High School comfortably outperformed the state, and also outperformed similar schools. In addition, we also saw a significant decrease in students performing in the bottom two bands. We have more work to do in analysing – item by item – the skills and impact of the curriculum, but our overall results indicate that we are challenging our high achieving students and we are effectively supporting students across the continuum to access the curriculum and to progress in their learning.
Official opening of the STEM Centre
On Tuesday September 6, the Minister for Education, Natalie Hutchins MP officially opened the Kew High School STEM Centre. We were most proud to welcome a number of distinguished guests to our school for the occasion including Natalie Hutchins MP, Minister for Education and Minister for Women, Anthony Carbines MP, Member for Ivanhoe, Karen Money (Regional Director) Mark Flack Area Executive Director and Eva Mc Master and Erika Bienert Senior Education Improvement Leaders. On behalf of the school community I thanked those who had made such significant contributions to ensure that the hope and the vision for this learning facility was realised.
Thank you to our school community; to the members of our School Council, to members of our school alumni with whom we share the joy in bringing STEM education to our students. Thank you to Pete, Peggy, Tom and Mark, the Principals of our local primary schools for being with us today…I hope you see the possibilities for your students to thrive in their future secondary education.
Welcome to current staff, past staff members and our senior student leaders who represent the future of this building.
Thank you to the team that created this building; to Michael Taylor, the architect of this building (they love it Michael…teachers are moving classes in every single lesson). Welcome to Duncan, Hamish, Joe, Robin, Rick and the team from 2 Construct. I hope you think it looks magnificent as it is being used to in learning and teaching.
Thank you all for making the time to join us today to celebrate the opening of our building. Thank you particularly to the Minister for Education for coming to see our school and see the impact that a dedicated STEM Centre will have for the learning, and for the opportunity for the students of Kew High School.
I do wish to acknowledge two people who cannot be here today to share the day with us…both of whom were instrumental in ensuring that the hope and the vision for this learning facility was realised.
James Thyer, our School Council President, who is very disappointed that he is unable to be with us today, and Clare Entwisle, previous Principal of Kew High School, a long term passionate advocate for the students of this school. Clare was determined that students of Kew High School, both the students of today and the students of the future, would be able to access the best possible education at our school. She knew and she was determined that this would be reflected in an upgrade of our facilities – and in the opportunities a STEM Centre would bring to the critical thinking and creativity for our students. Thank you, Clare.
For government schools In Victoria, the Education State means building a system that provides every student with the knowledge, capabilities and attributes that will see them thrive throughout their lives, to have the skills that industry needs and that employers expect.
Kew High School is very proud to be a government school, committing to the Education State.
Our values – Accountability, Social Equity, Participation, Integrity, Respect and Excellence – are truly reflected in the lived experience of the students and the staff of the school on a daily basis.
We are very proud to be a school that is inclusive, that educates with a moral purpose and that respects, and indeed creates a community. We believe that, in our public school, we are the public. It is here in our school that society – our community – is created and each of us takes that responsibility extremely seriously, so that each student who leaves this school does so with the values of our public education and our school – that they ASPIRE.
But we are a school and, as well as living and building the personal values of our community, we build our purpose in learning – in being the best teachers and the best students we can be. As teachers, we know that in order to improve outcomes for every student, to prepare them for the unknown futures they face, they must learn to think in new and innovative ways – and that we must learn to guide their learning with the most responsive, evidence based pedagogies and curriculum designs.
STEM is more than the acronym of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The word, STEM, is shifting to become an adjective that is used to describe just about anything and everything that anyone is doing in science, mathematics and digital technologies. The challenge for us will be to ensure that all our curricular and our cross-curricular programs are relevant to each of the disciplines; that these are integrated and represented in the learning, the thinking and the creativity of our students – and that these skills and capabilities we wish to build in our students are supported by innovative and effective pedagogies in our teachers.
We thank each of you who have contributed to the idea and the commitment and the building of this magnificent STEM Centre – the students of Kew, and thus our community, will benefit for many years to come.