"He has a purpose, and his eyes are bright with it."
These words were written by the great poet John Keats, in a letter to a friend. In these uncertain times ecologically and politically, we may be asking ourselves how bright eyed with purpose we are feeling! Many would be aware that all schools are battling student and staff absence at this time. The ongoing impact of the pandemic is being felt in families, in business, operationally in so many industries, in energies. This is coupled with mounting agitation and advocacy in the lead up to a Federal election. With much at work in our world, we also know that much is at stake. Primary amongst these is surely our young people and the world into which they are becoming adults. Amidst the many questions, fears, hopes and energies, our young people are searching for meaning and purpose in their lives; for themselves and for all.
In the operational difficulties of recent weeks, we have once again seen the strength of Siena: staff and students doing whatever is necessary to offer stability, continuity and hope to one another. Parents, we affirm your obvious encouragement of your daughters which is supporting staff to prepare them for an assessment period. It has been quite inspiring to see just what has been able to be accomplished in the face of disruption and depletion. It seems to me this has only been possible as a result of collective efforts, a firm adherence to our vision, values and goals and of course, God’s good grace among us!
As students and staff enter the second half of term, may they remain ‘bright eyed with purpose’!
This week Year 8 students participated in their annual Reflection Day, held at Catholic Leadership Centre, East Melbourne. Our theme was Building Community, with the focus on the integral place of celebrating Eucharist at the heart of our tradition. As a community of faith we revisited how we begin any Liturgical celebration at Siena – by Acknowledging Country – and reflected on how this enables us to enter into the sacred. Fr Peter Murnane OP led us in an exploration of Eucharist before celebrating Mass with us in community; students brought along aspects of nature to contribute to our prayer space and also enthusiastically embraced the opportunity for song and movement.
These days are an important part of our Siena education and our commitment as members of the Dominican family. All Year 9 students will be participating in their reflection experience next week.
This week is a celebration of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’ and a call to action for Catholics around the world to care for our common home. In Australia, we celebrate this week earlier than in other countries in order to privilege National Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June).
“The signs of the times are clear –
we know that we human beings need a change of
heart, mind, and behaviour.”
During House Group and our contemplative time of Pause and Pray this week, students have engaged daily with words and images for reflection on this important encyclical from Pope Francis; Listening and journeying together during Laudato Si' Week is a reflection by Laudato Si’ Animators Melbourne Group member, Sr Caroline Vaitkunas RSM.
Last week, Year 7 and Year 9 students completed the online NAPLAN tests over the course of three days. This is the third year NAPLAN has conducted their testing online and we are happy to report that it went smoothly. Well done to our students for completing all tests and being present with required materials, and thank you to our IT Department, Administration Staff and Teaching Staff for assisting our students.
NAPLAN results will be emailed to parents later in the year, when made available by ACARA.
This year, the date of GAT has changed to Wednesday, 7 September. For further information, please visit the VCAA Assessment website here.
Year 9, 10 and 11 examinations will begin on Friday, 10 June and finish on Friday, 17 June.
The examination timetable and Siena College Student Expectations (in relation to student revision guide and examinations) can be found on Siena Central (under Examination Documents within the Examinations Tile). Please also take note of the dates and times that your daughter is expected to attend an examination. Students must arrive at the examination venue ten minutes before the scheduled start time. They are expected to remain at the College between their scheduled examinations each day. Private study rooms are available for use. Students may leave after their last exam of the day.
Students have to be in full school winter uniform and they are allowed to bring their Siena College school bag to the examination. Please ensure that your daughter does not bring her mobile phone, smart watch, or any other unauthorised digital device.
Preparing for Exams
Subject specific revision guides will be available on Siena Central Course Pages for each subject on Monday, 23 May. Students are encouraged to access the Examination Tile for further revision resources and activities for each subject.
They should be in the habit of regularly revising the work that has been completed at school as part of their home study program. Once students have completed their set homework in the evening and if time permits, they should organise their notes, summarise key concepts and revise the semester’s work. A study timetable is recommended. We encourage your daughter to discuss this further with her subject teachers.
Rescheduling of Examinations
Students are expected to sit for their examinations at the scheduled time; in the rare instance of a subject examination clash, students must complete the Exam Reschedule Form available here and email Dr Vadala.
Year 10 students completing a Unit 1/2 subject examination must check the Year 11 Timetable to determine their exam schedule.
Absence from Examinations
Please note that examinations will not be rescheduled if a student is absent. If your daughter cannot attend an examination, please notify Siena College via the standard Absence procedures. A parent note must be sent to the Head of House to explain the absence. As per our Learning and Teaching Procedures, unsanctioned absences from examinations such as family holidays, will result in an ‘NA’ (not assessed and a zero result) on their semester report.
Lifting of COVID restrictions has enabled us to continue our Staff Professional Learning on Tuesday afternoons. The focus of each session enables staff to develop their knowledge in areas of Faith, Wellbeing and Best Classroom Practice. This week, we focused on Effective Thinking Routines. Teachers discussed strategies to help students achieve visible thinking and to take greater ownership of their own learning. They then further explored the concept through colleague demonstration. The Project Zero MTV Strategies that formed part of the demonstrations can be accessed here. Teachers will incorporate these strategies into lessons in order to assist students with revision and application, as we head into the final period of assessment this semester.
As always, it is our constant endeavour to bring new and innovative strategies and skills to the learning environment.
Siena College is in the process of updating policies, documents and practices that are in line with the new Victorian Child Safe Standards and Ministerial Order No. 1359 (MO 1359), Implementing the Child Safe Standards – Managing the risk of child abuse in schools and school boarding premises. The latter provides a framework for how schools can action the eleven new Victorian Child Safe Standards which will come into effect from 1 July 2022. This is an opportunity to build on our existing child safety policies and practices to address the eleven Standards.
The central considerations of upholding the primacy of the safety and wellbeing of children and young people; empowering families, children, young people and staff to have a voice and raise concerns; and implementing rigorous risk management and employment practices, remain key considerations.
Updated and revised policies and guidelines will be shared with our community and updated on the College website.
As a result of the global pandemic, there has been a noticeable shift in the amount of time people spend on screen-based devices. Families are transitioning back to pre-COVID routines but many are still struggling to re-establish the boundaries and rules around screen use. Some continue to deal with digital conflict and tech-tantrums on a daily basis. The latest research found that seventy-seven percent of teenagers spend more than five hours on screens per day, but it is important to note that not all screen time is considered equal.
Parents play a crucial role in modelling a positive and healthy approach towards using screens and assisting children to navigate the content they watch. It is better to model and mentor screen use, rather than monitor it. Children tend to do more of what they see us do, and less of what we tell them to do. However, it is still important to outline the risks and highlight the benefits of screen use to ensure you keep a balanced attitude. Encourage discussions around the issues that people experience in monitoring their screen time and be honest about your own difficulties.
Parents need to remain firm in their approach to managing screen time. Excessive screen time can be detrimental to a child’s overall wellbeing. Ensuring the correct privacy settings are in place is vital to prevent children from being inadvertently exposed to inappropriate content or online predators. Parents need to also be mindful of the potential impact screen time can have on a child’s social, emotional, educational, behavioural, and even physical domains. Reminding your child that they should not be on phones whilst at school is also important in supporting the partnership between home and school.
In this edition of SchoolTV, parents and guardians will be provided with a range of guidelines and strategies to help manage screen time at home.
Steve Biddulph AM is one of the world’s best known parent educators. A psychologist for three decades, he is now retired but continues to write and teach. Steve’s live talks have had a remarkable public response, reaching 140,000 people to date. Many people express surprise at how moving and emotional these talks are, as well as how much fun.
If you are interested to attend one of his free online parenting workshops, click here for booking details.
“Stamina involves sustained effort, perseverance, and resilience. We never give up.”
Over the coming weeks, our Wellness program will focus on nurturing the academic stamina our students require, in order to experience success during periods of assessment, whilst effectively managing their wellbeing. By building an individual’s capacity for a growth mindset, emotional intelligence, resilience and independent learning, we can develop our students’ ability to persevere when they are experiencing stress. As educators, our daily practices around checking in with students, communicating the virtues of making mistakes, changing counterproductive thoughts into resilient ones and challenging beliefs, are all ways we can help our students develop their learning stamina.
This week we focussed on building stamina for independent learning. Our Year 9 and 10 students participated in a session on productive exam preparation, which took them through a range of ways they can continue to revise for their upcoming assessments. Our Year 11 students looked at the importance of wellbeing support whilst preparing for examinations. Sleep, organisation and time management were the three areas they looked at in detail. There were lots of discussion around procrastination and ways to combat distractions arising from devices and social media.
New research has shown that employing the ‘3-Minute Rule’ for procrastination can lead to enough momentum to see a task through to completion. As a start, give yourself a target of three minutes. This will help to break an avoidance mindset and once the initial three minutes has passed, chances are you will be continuing with your task!
See below for some helpful apps to help students manage their use of devices, particularly during times of assessment and revision.
For procrastination and distraction:
For planning and timetabling:
For sleep and wellbeing:
On Friday, 6 May, our Year 9 House Captains had the privilege of attending the Susan Alberti Mother’s Day Luncheon at Crown Palladium. During this event, there were many speeches delivered by various female medical researchers, as well as female leaders from different fields. These women shared their knowledge in relation to their chosen fields of research and outlined their vision for working towards creating a better future for women. In the later part of the event, we were able to enjoy a fashion parade featuring the Carla Zampatti collection.
Susan Alberti AC is a Siena College alumna (Class of 1964) and has been a very loyal member of the Siena community. Her passion for research is inspired by her determination to find a cure for diabetes and other significant illnesses. A driving force behind this stems from the passing of her eight year old daughter many years ago.
It was a wonderful opportunity to witness the support for Susan Alberti and her cause, as well as the endeavours of the many women who are ‘making a difference’.
In recent weeks, Siena students have been competing in various local public speaking competitions.
Year 8 students, Priya S and Jacinta B competed with great skill and flair in the Ainger-Peck Richmond Rotary public speaking competition whilst Charlotte L spoke passionately about constitutional recognition for Australian First Nations peoples.
Year 12 students, Helya E and Sasha S also had the VCAA Plain English Speaking Awards in sight until we unfortunately had to abandon our plans. Other exciting opportunities can be found on the Public Speaking page on Siena Central.
Selected students: Charlotte L, Ava B, Alyssia G, Hanna G and Irena K also took part in the recent Victorian Student Parliament Convention held in the Legislative Assembly Chamber of Victorian Parliament. Students debated on the topic: "Should the Victorian Government retain judge alone trials for indictable offences post COVID?"
Well done to these intrepid speakers!
On Friday, 13 May, Siena College held its annual House Athletics Carnival, at Bill Sewart athletics track. The weather just managed to hold out, allowing us to get through almost all of the events, except for high jump due to slippery surfaces.
All students who attended had a great day and enjoyed dressing up in their house colours.
Well done to Kurrajong who was the overall winner (918 points) of the day.
Other award recipients:
On Tuesday, 17 May, our Cross Country squad competed in their first race of the season at Yarra Bend trail. Twenty-five students competed in the event: Thirteen juniors, eight inters and four seniors.
Our first junior across the line was Nati S, finishing in second place. It was a tight battle with her twin sister from Fintona. Nati had also won both practice runs in her age group prior to the prelims. Congratulations Nati, what an outstanding effort and our highest place runner of the race! Our second junior across the line was Annabelle M (64th place) and our third junior was Katie Herson (66th place), out of nearly two hundred runners in this age group.
In inters, Beatrice Z was our first Siena student across the line (27th place), followed by Kara J (46th place) and Charlotte L (65th), out of a field of over hundred runners.
In seniors, Emily M was our first runner across the line (10th place), followed by Emmaline C (22nd place) and Chloe C (43rd), out of a field of over fifty runners.
Well done to all students who participated in the event and we are really looking forward to the Championships being held in Langwarrin on Friday, 27 May.
Students learned about and experienced the joys of working with the ancient and beautiful fabric of silk. Students researched, explored their own design concepts and implemented them onto a silk panel. The students have worked very hard to learn and use a gutta resist blocking method of applying dye to the silk, in order to create their very own masterpiece. Here are some examples of the wonderful work that the students have created this semester:
Students researched, designed and created their very own wool products. From this exercise, they learned about the wonderful fibre that is wool. In the beginning, students started off with some fibres of wool; they had to make felt material with wool fibres and then use it to create a self designed product. They should all be very proud of their wonderful creations, here are just a few examples:
It has been a very exciting and successful fortnight in the Music Department! Year 9 Music Performance students enjoyed the new musical, Driftwood this week at Chapel off Chapel, and our VCE and Wind Orchestra musicians were lucky to experience the sounds of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at Hamer Hall on Thursday.
On Saturday, Siena College was represented by three ensembles at the All-State Jazz Championships, hosted by St Leonard’s College. Canti Dolci won the Division A Jazz Choir section, with specific recognition given to their stagecraft and also to Alannah McCarthy, who received the Outstanding Soloist award. Congratulations to Canti Dolci’s director, Stephanie Hill, who also won the Premier Division with her choir from Ruyton Girls' School.
The wins didn’t stop there, however! Stage Band competed in Division B and won ‘Best Trombone Section’. Trombonists, Ashling O’Farrell and Bridget Nowland were selected to be in the honorary ‘All-Star Band’, comprising of the best individual instrumental performances from the overall division. Sisters of Swing performed in the Non-competitive Bands Division and received an on-stage workshop from renowned educator, Nick Mulder.
As a result of Canti Dolci’s win, they will be performing by invitation at this weekend’s All-State Jazz Gala Concert, alongside other winning schools and a number of world class professional musicians. This is Siena College’s second consecutive year with representation at the ASJ Gala, following the Stage Band’s performance in 2021.
Congratulations to all involved, and especially to our hardworking instrumental staff for guiding and supporting our girls to achieve their best.
On Monday, 23 May, the Wind Orchestra will return to De La Salle for their third and final combined rehearsal and workshop. The two schools will then present a concert featuring both their senior wind ensembles. Parents are encouraged to attend.
Wednesday, 1 June 2022: 5.00pm and 7.00pm | Susan Alberti Auditorium, Siena College
Siena’s Ensemble Program will be spread across two concerts and entry is free for families. We encourage you all to attend whichever concert your daughter is performing in. Program details will be published shortly on Siena Central.
On Friday, 6 May, the Year 12 Product Design and Technology class visited the Maton Guitar Factory in Box Hill, which has manufactured acoustic guitars for seventy-five years. Our guide, Sue Ellis, daughter of the founder, took the students on a comprehensive tour which included the design room, factory floor, the custom made shop, as well as the tuning and testing stations. It was an invaluable experience for the students as they grew in their understanding of the product design process from conceptualisation to completion. It also enabled them to witness how manual processes and emerging technologies, both work together to create a high quality musical instrument that is sold locally and globally.
Thank you to Maton Guitars for allowing the Year 12 students to experience this tour for many years.
Year 7 Science students headed to Melbourne Zoo on Wednesday, 18 May as an introduction to their new Classification unit. Students were able to observe a broad range of animal species and witness the true diversity that is found in nature. The students had a class with the Zoo educators, who brought the topic of classification to life with some help from some animal friends; our classes had the opportunity to observe meerkats, lemurs, otters and squirrel monkeys in action. The students got to see the behavioural and structural adaptations that enabled these species to live in their habitats. During the Zoo classes, the students also had the opportunity to identify various ‘biofacts’ (artefacts including bones, skulls and teeth from different animals) and to determine the animals based on their features. They did a wonderful job collaborating and sharing ideas to identify the different animal species.
"I had an amazing time at the Melbourne Zoo today. I was so happy I could go off with my group to see different animals that interest me. It was a great way to build up my independence. I really enjoyed learning about the primate lemur because I learned so many interesting new facts about this fascinating creature. Like how they are the oldest living primates, they open up their arms in the sun so they can warm up, and how they strangely like to out stink each other! Overall, I had a very fun and educational time at the Melbourne Zoo excursion."
Horizon’s Week provided many opportunities for Siena students to explore a wide range of activities. After two years of pandemic lockdown, the Year 10 students were delighted to go on a camping trip at Anglesea Valley Lodge. The camp experience provided students with the opportunity to experience an Outdoor Education model (one night of camping and one night of cabin accommodation).
Students had to set up their own tents, cook their own food and hike to and from camp grounds. It was a very enriching experience and many students showed great resilience, leadership and perseverance when faced with these challenges. Other notable activities that students enjoyed were canoeing and surfing. Our Year 10s were challenged in many ways and responded with much enthusiasm and enjoyment, which was great to see.
We commend our Year 10 students for their fantastic approach to the camp experience. Our thanks to the AusCamp staff and camp leaders who worked so well with our students, and the amazing Siena staff members who attended.
“Year 10 Camp was an exciting opportunity for our whole cohort. We were offered many fun activities such as surfing, canoeing and staying the night in a tent, all of which allowed us to push ourselves in ways we had never done before. It was an exciting opportunity that allowed us to forge closer connections with our peers, which was something that cannot be replicated in a classroom setting. Overall, it was a really positive experience and I am grateful for it!”
"Year 10 Camp was a fantastic opportunity for us to step outside of our comfort zones. Camping gave many of us a challenge as we got to try and experience new things. One of my favourite activities was surfing at Lorne Beach and cooking our own delicious vegetarian dinner. Camping was a great experience for us to spend time with our year level after the last few years of lockdown."
Applications for the Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF) are now open. If you hold a valid Health Care Card (HCC), Pensioner Concession Card (PCC), or you are a temporary foster parent or a first time applicant, you may be eligible for a $1,000 fee discount.
If you believe you are eligible, please fill out and return the CSEF Application Form before 24 June 2022.
If you applied for the CSEF in 2021 at Siena College, you do not need to complete an application form in 2022 unless there has been a change in your family circumstances.
The Careers Showcase taking place on Thursday, 9 June from 7.00pm to 9.00pm will feature panels of Siena alumnae speaking about their study and career pathways since leaving school. The event is open to Year 9 to 12 students and their parents.
Career categories include:
Click here to register.
In the coming months, universities and various tertiary institutes will be advertising course information sessions and holiday workshops for secondary school students. This is to assist them in making decisions regarding subjects and future study.
To keep abreast of new initiatives introduced, please read the latest edition of Siena Career News which includes information on:
Join our fun and dynamic team in servicing students and staff at Siena College Canteen. Your duties will include but not limited to food preparation, receiving/replenishing stock, coffee making, serving customers, and maintaining a clean and safe work environment.
The working hours are typically from 8.30am to 2.30 pm, one to three days per week, Monday to Friday during school terms.
Experience in food service and coffee making will be advantageous.
Successful applicants will require an employee working with children's check.
Please forward your resume to email@example.com.