It was a delight to welcome students back to school and to hold our first Term 3 College Assembly since 2019. During the Assembly, we celebrated student voice as the key feature of College life. Respectful Relationships and Child Safe Ambassadors highlighted the various initiatives that took place since the 2021 student survey.
We also introduced the inaugural STEAM Careers Breakfast series that will take place next week, which aims to encourage students to embark on a career in the Science and Engineering fields. The 2022 theme, Breaking the Glass Ceiling provides students with the opportunity to examine why women are underrepresented in STEAM careers. Celebrating 2022 as UN International Year of Glass, this intimate event is a golden opportunity to not only understand that glass enables innumerable cultural and scientific advancements, but also to explore the metaphor of breaking the glass ceiling.
The annual Premier’s VCE Awards recognise students who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). We had the pleasure of celebrating two Siena College award recipients at the ceremony on Wednesday, 20 July. Hayley Di Stefano was presented with the Premier’s Study Award for Business Management and Liv Swift received the award for Global Politics. A very fitting recognition for our two Siena alumnae (Class of 2021) who were and continue to be so dedicated to their studies.
Congratulations to Hayley and Liv, and to Business Management Teacher, Bernie Daly, Global Politics Teacher, Catherine Judd, and all teachers who have contributed to helping these students achieve this significant honour.
It is during these moments of recognition in achievement that we are made aware of the coalescence of learning and the many elements that contribute to the final achievement.
We congratulate Hayley and Liv on clinching these prestigious awards.
I am also pleased to advise that Year 10 students, Gabrielle Gibbin, Grace Jobling and Sophie Phommasone, have been offered a place in the Monash Scholars Program (Class of 2022 to 2024). This is a prestigious Program for high achieving secondary school students based in Victoria. The program is offered by Monash University to give students a unique head start into university life. It provides opportunities for personal and academic development, as well as the knowledge, skills and confidence to make informed study choices. It is also excellent for expanding their network of like-minded peers.
Work has continued on the new Child Safe Standards and a tile containing updated policies has been added to the Siena Central Parent Portal. We will continue to add to these as policies are ratified by the College Board. Your feedback is always welcomed.
I shared Meister Eckhart’s quote at the recent assembly, as it also resonates with me in my work as Acting Principal. It has been a privilege to lead the College during Mrs Hanney’s period of Enrichment Leave. We look forward to welcoming her back in August when we celebrate the Feast of St Dominic.
“Wisdom consists in doing the next thing you have to do, doing it with your whole heart, and finding delight in doing it.”
In the lead up to our celebration of the Feast of St Dominic, it is important for us to reflect on the richness of our tradition and the ways in which we continue to live it authentically 'in Truth and Action'. Student Leaders are preparing to facilitate House Assemblies where they will focus on the life of Dominic, his remarkable vision and how this underpins all that takes place in our College.
Referring to Catholic international weekly review, The Tablet, former Master of the Dominican Order, Timothy Radcliffe OP, shares some wise words that resonate strongly with our Siena story:
"Every school is a sacrament of hope. Teaching recognizes the dignity of the young as truth seekers…it embodies our hope for their future. Hope means that I live now, whatever may happen tomorrow."
Through the Annual Action Plan, the collated data will be used to inform policies, pedagogies and practices at Siena: MACSSIS provides an opportunity to gather and engage with such data.
This is a low-impact and high-return set of tools for creating, collecting, analysing, interpreting and using data to inform school improvement.
MACSSIS produces perception data which tells us what different groups in our community think and feel about their learning environment; all Siena students, staff and families will complete MACSSIS online between Friday, 29 August and Friday, 16 September.
As Dominicans, we are always drawn to places with the greatest potential. We thank you for your partnership in sustaining and growing our culture of continuous school improvement.
Students have commenced Semester 2 with enthusiasm and a willingness to focus on new learning opportunities. All Semester 1 exams have been returned and students have been given the opportunity to recalibrate their goals for each subject. They are encouraged to track their progress towards attaining their goal in the coming weeks to ensure success.
Apart from new learning opportunities, this term will also involve lots of important decision making as we begin to think about learning possibilities in 2023. Whilst this can be daunting for some students, there are plenty of resources provided to ensure students can make an informed decision while navigating the Subject Selection process.
The 2023 Subject Selection process has commenced. The Subject Selection Tile is now available on the Student and Parent Dashboards via Siena Central. It contains all the relevant information regarding the Subject Selection process including videos, PowerPoint presentations and Subject Handbooks. Consideration of future directions requires planning and research, so students are encouraged to discuss their options with their Subject Teacher or the relevant Head of Learning. Students moving into Years 9 to 12 should consult the Subject Handbooks, as they outline course requirements, planning documents and subject specific information.
Year 9 and 10 students and their parents are invited to attend our Senior Pathways webinar on Thursday, 28 July, 6.00pm to 8.00pm. The webinar will be recorded and made available on the Subject Selection Tile. Students and parents from other year levels may attend, however, please note the information presented will be targeted towards current Year 9 and 10 students.
Please note that the Subject Selection Form must be completed with all required signatures prior to the Transition Interviews (Years 9 to 11). Parents are also invited to attend this interview. Please see below for key dates as relevant to each year level:
The Term 3 Learning Conversations dates have been changed due to the amended VCE GAT date. Further details will be published later in the term:
Years 12 and 11 students undertaking VCE Units 3 and 4 studies in 2022 are required to participate in the VCE Trial Exams scheduled for Monday, 26 to Friday, 30 September. The trial exams will be conducted under the same conditions as official Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) VCE. Please note, trial exams take precedence over any external revision lectures and seminars and will not be rescheduled for students who do not attend. The exam schedule will be published in coming weeks.
Wishing all students an engaging and enriching learning experience this semester.
All students completing one or more Unit 3/4 (Year 12) subjects need to sit for GAT on Wednesday, 7 September 2022. As per previous years, there will be no VCE classes on this day for Year 11 and 12 students. Year 11 students who do not study an accelerated subject do not need to attend. However, all Unit 3/4 students, including those who study dance and languages externally, are required to attend. The GAT does not contribute to subject study scores nor the final ATAR. However, it is used by VCAA in moderation and also for any student who may need a derived exam score, if they cannot attend a final exam.
The exam format and duration have also changed, as it will now include all VCAL students in the first section, apart from the VCE students. Section A will assess Literacy and Numeracy; and Section B will assess skills in Mathematics, Science, Technology, and the Arts and Humanities, with an increased focus on critical and creative thinking skills. A dictionary and a scientific calculator can also be used.
We will run an information session and a trial writing task in the middle of Term 3. Please find sample questions and other information here.
Our first Parent Support webinar of Term 3 is taking place in just a few days. All parents are welcome.
Here is what Elevate will be covering:
✅ What impact does praise and reassurance have on motivation?
✅ What are the best types of goals to be setting with young people?
✅ How can you help to create meaningful and lasting motivation?
Please register here.
This term, our students have a calendar filled with activities that they will engage with to foster positive social behaviour and improve academic outcomes.
Our Term 3 Wellness Program has a variety of offerings; goal setting and personal strength sessions, opportunities for investigating positive coping and stress management skills and year level based sessions to respond to priority needs. We are lucky to be welcoming both Susan McLean and Sonia Karras to the College this term, who will be working closely with our Year 7, 10 and 11 students:
We continue to be committed to our whole school approach to Respectful Relationships and at our most recent College assembly, our Respectful Relationships Ambassadors shared their work with students and staff. Next week, the second Respectful Relationships Student Forum will take place and our ambassadors will travel to Avila College to represent our student body.
The Kind Mind Club will continue to run this Semester for Year 7 students. The aim of the club is to provide a structured environment for our students to build connections and friendships. The group is run by myself and one of our College Counsellors, Lisa Ellis. We meet in the Learning Centre every Friday fortnight at 1.00pm. Our first meeting will be on Friday, 29 July. All Year 7 students are welcome.
Lastly, the Big Sister Little Sister Program continues to run this term. Year 7 and 12 students will have the opportunity to enjoy the company of each other during Wellness sessions.
We are looking forward to continuing to embed healthy wellbeing practices into our students' daily activities, knowing that they are all working towards becoming the best possible versions of themselves.
"There can be purpose in every small step we take, no matter how insignificant it seems at the time.”
This term, the Siena community is encouraged to support Vinnies' work. As many of you already know, Vinnies is a lay Catholic organisation that aspires to live out the gospel message by serving the poor with love, respect, justice, hope and joy, and by working towards a just and compassionate society. The Catholic social teaching principle, 'Preferential Option for the Poor and Vulnerable' reminds us that we are required to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first. So how will we respond to those in need?
Siena families have been supporting Vinnies' work through the following practical measures:
The Student Representative Council (SRC) is currently developing a range of school based initiatives which will run throughout Term 3. Students are encouraged to look for opportunities to show their support for Vinnies' work.
This term, the Eco Warriors are spotlighting Fast Fashion, a trend known to exploit workers and have devastating impacts on the environment. Through a lunchtime meeting series, we hope to educate students about the Fast Fashion issue by screening short documentaries. To help promote a behavioural change, we will also be holding another Clothes Swap in Week 8. Students are encouraged to bring in items they no longer wear but are still in good condition, to swap with other students. We are hoping this will promote a 'Swap, Don’t Shop' culture to our community.
This Recycling Program accepts any brand of used/empty toothpaste tubes and caps, manual toothbrushes, electric toothbrush heads, toothbrush/toothpaste tube plastic packaging, floss containers and interdental brushes.
This program enables you to recycle any kind of writing instrument.
Items can be placed in boxes outside the Justice Education Office.
"May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace."
Term 3 is going to be a very exciting and action packed time for the Music Department! We have annual music events taking place and many learning opportunities for all our ensembles and soloists.
On Monday, 18 July, the Siena Wind Orchestra went to De La Salle College to participate in the final combined band rehearsal before the concert later in the evening. It was exciting for the combined band to perform symphonic band pieces arranged and composed by the students themselves. Each band performed their own set and several VCE Music Performance students also had the opportunity to perform one of their recital pieces in public. Both bands completed final sound checks and got ready for the concert before enjoying a pizza dinner together. It was fantastic for the students to perform to a full house theatre consisting of families, past students and staff members.
Congratulations to all students and staff involved in the concert and special thanks to the De La Salle staff for hosting this year’s concert. We look forward to performing together again next year at Siena.
The Term 3 Lunchtime Soiree will be held on Monday, 25 July in the Susan Alberti Auditorium. We have student performers across all year levels performing pieces across most instruments. We would like to encourage all students to come and support our musicians.
On Tuesday, 26 July, we will be asking all students to bring their instruments to school as we will be taking official photographs of all ensembles for our Yearbook. Students are asked to wear full winter uniform, including College blazer and black cross-over tie. Further details will be provided soon.
Our Junior and Intermediate Ensembles will soon be loading the buses and heading off to Blampied, Victoria for the annual Music Camp at Rutherford Park Retreat. This three-day Music Camp includes ensemble rehearsals, sectionals with specialist music teachers and opportunities for students to connect during the trivia and movie nights. During this time, the Combined Super Band will also rehearse their finale item for the Annual Concert and polish up pieces for upcoming events happening this term. On the last day of the camp, we will be making our way to Caroline Springs Regional College to perform for their Year 7 students. It will be a great opportunity to share our love for music before returning to Siena.
Our Wind Orchestra and Symphonic Band will be performing at the Victorian School Music Festival at the Hawthorn Arts Centre during August. This is a great opportunity for our ensembles to perform a set of pieces, listen to other school ensembles perform and take part in an on-stage workshop with the chief adjudicator. The bands are not competing against each other, instead they will receive feedback on their performances and a shield reflecting their performance standard. Parents are invited to attend the performances to support the bands. Information about these excursions will be sent out shortly.
Siena’s Annual Music Concert will be held at Monash University’s Robert Blackwood Hall on Wednesday, 31 August at 7.30pm. It will be a wonderful showcase of our Symphonic and Jazz Bands, Choirs, Stringed and Chamber Ensembles. This is the first Annual Concert in three years, and we are excited to be performing at an amazing venue this year. We encourage all families to save the date in your calendars and to encourage all extended families to attend as well. All students and ensembles will be involved in Rehearsal Day at the Hall in preparation for the concert. The EdSmart permission form will be sent out to parents soon, including information on the Rehearsal Day and Annual Concert. Tickets will go on sale in early August.
Last Semester, our Year 9 Fashion and Product Design students partook in the study of Australian wool.
Students made felt panels from wool tops and manufactured products such as purses, stuffed toys and a beret. First, they designed and produced a pattern for each item, and then cut, embroidered, beaded, and sewed the products together.
Well done to the Year 9 students for their sensational work.
During this time of the year, students from Years 7 to 11 have been involved in the Subject Selection process. As part of their discussions, the Year 10 Italian class has been exploring the value of language study at a VCE level.
Below is an Italian speech written by Year 10 Italian student, Melina K, about the opportunities that studying Italian at VCE can provide for students:
Oggi vi parlerò del perché dovreste a scegliere di studiare l’italiano al VCE.
Studiare l’italiano dà agli studenti la capacità di comprendere e utilizzare una lingua parlata in Italia, nella città del Vaticano, e a San Marino.
L’italiano è parlato anche a Svizzera, Malta, Albania, Croazia, Slovenia, e Libia, ed è parlato da comunità di lingua italiana che sono emigrate in paesi come Australia, Argentina, Brasile, Canada, e Stati Uniti.
Imparare l’italiano espone gli studenti a diverse esperienze sociali, economiche, e di viaggio. L’apprendimento di una seconda lingua migliora le capacità analitiche e riflessive e il pensiero critico e creativo. Vi aiuterà anche con l’inglese.
In futuro, avrete anche più opportunità di lavoro perché essere in grado di comunicare e negoziare in un’altra lingua vi fa risaltare e mette in mostra le vostre abilità.
Grazie per avermi ascoltata, e spero che il mio discorso sia stato informativo."
Today I will be talking to you about why you should choose to study Italian at VCE.
Studying Italian gives students the ability to understand and use a language spoken in Italy, Vatican City, and San Marino.
Italian is also spoken in Switzerland, Malta, Albania, Croatia, Slovenia, and Libya, and is spoken by Italian-speaking communities that have emigrated to countries such as Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and the United States.
Learning Italian exposes students to different social, economic, and travel experiences. Learning a second language improves analytical and reflective skills and critical and creative thinking. It will also help you with English.
In the future, you will also have more job opportunities because being able to communicate and negotiate in another language makes you stand out and showcases your skills.
Thank you for listening to me, and I hope my speech was informative."
Siena College has partnered with Edstart to make it easier for you to manage your school fee payments. Edstart Plus offers a flexible and zero-cost way for you to pay for your daughter’s education in periodic instalments that suit your family budget, with no credit checks.
You can package all items appearing on your College fee statement into one easy payment, including tuition fees, instrumental music charges, VET charges, fees for national or overseas trips and amounts in arrears.
With Edstart's simple online process, your application to set up an account can be completed within minutes. Once approved, Edstart will pay the school termly on your behalf before the invoice due date, and you can make regular monthly, fortnightly or weekly payments to your Edstart account. You will have access to a secure online portal to track your payments and account balance. To sign up, click here.
Please note, in providing information about Edstart, we do not provide any recommendations, brokering or advice services. We do not receive referral fees, commissions or other remuneration from Edstart.
If you would like to chat with me personally, please feel free to contact me at the College on 9835 0200.
We are thrilled to announce the recent appointment of Vanessa Barcellona, as the Deputy Chair of the Siena College Board. Vanessa joined the Board in July 2018 and has served as a member of the Finance Committee since 2017. Between 2014 and 2015, she was also the Alumnae Association President. With over eighteen years' experience in management and strategy roles in professional services, technology and financial services across Australia, New Zealand and Asia Pacific, Vanessa has been a valuable asset to the College. Her qualifications include an Executive Master of Business Administration, a Bachelor's Degree in Professional Communication and the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). Vanessa is an alumna and graduated from Siena College in 2001.
We are delighted to welcome Imma Boubouras to Siena College, who joined the Development Team this month as the Alumnae Coordinator. Imma has extensive Corporate Marketing experience working across various industries including Entertainment, Finance and IT. In 2010, she stepped out of the corporate world to focus on her family and during this time, she founded an online pet apparel store and a consulting business. A firm believer of giving back to the school community, Imma is motivated by people from all walks of life working together in partnership to further a child's growth. As a mother of three daughters, she is passionate about being a positive role model to them, in particular the importance of adapting to change and demonstrating flexibility in the working world. Inspired by Siena’s strong philosophy of creating a nurturing culture of lifelong learning, Imma is excited to strengthen the connection between past students and the College.
Please keep an eye out for upcoming news items over the next few weeks, as they may be helpful to your decision making process regarding tertiary education.
Items in this edition of Siena Career News include: