Thursday, 20 February is noted as World Day of Social Justice.
The United Nations writes, “Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability."
In the Dominican tradition, justice is Christ centred. It urges us to act as Jesus did, as Dominic and Catherine did, in being bearers of truth in our world. We act as they did when we read the signs of the times (the needs of the world), with the eyes of faith. Why? Because we believe that dignity and fullness of life is for all. In reflecting on this United Nations and Dominican theme I went looking for signs of this commitment within our community. This week and next, our students have opportunities to engage in justice advocacy and action in the following ways: sandwich making at St Dominic’s, Caritas Just Leadership Seminar, South African Immersion formation, Red Earth Indigenous Immersion opportunity, Big Sister Little Sister lunch, Project Compassion launch, Eco Warriors Action Group and the list continues. This is not Siena in a moment in time, nor is it Siena in self promotion mode. Rather, it is simply Siena living faith and belief, providing our students with opportunities to enact our spoken commitment to justice and service as part of the rhythm of our days.
This week was a significant one of celebration. How wonderful it was to gather with several Dominican sisters, trustees of Dominican Education Australia, students and families of Year 7 and student leaders from Years 8 to 12 to celebrate our Commencement Mass at St Dominic’s on Tuesday evening. Sincere appreciation is extended to Fr Peter Murnane OP, Jen Levett and Kerryn McGillen for leading our Eucharistic celebration. Thank you also to Chair of the Board, Kath McCarthy for leading my commissioning as Principal and to all staff for their presence. Our student leaders were similarly inducted and have already shown their commitment to service in their roles.
The following day saw the return of students from the Class of 2019 for our Celebration of Excellence whole school assembly. It was delightful to see their enthusiasm in returning to Siena to celebrate their achievements with family and friends. What fine examples these young women are to those who follow. We thank Emilee Molcik, the 2019 College Dux, for addressing the assembly, sharing her wisdom and practical tips for success. Emilee acknowledged the steadfast support of family, teachers and a wonderful 2019 cohort of peers. This assembly provided all present with the strong sense of Siena’s commitment to learning excellence and success in its many expressions for all students.
On the evening of Tuesday, 18 February, our Year 7 students, 2020 Student Leaders, staff and parents gathered at St Dominic’s Church to ask God’s blessing on the year ahead. In a real spirit of joy and community we welcomed our enthusiastic Year 7s and commissioned our new College Principal Elizabeth Hanney alongside our Student Leaders from Years 8 to 12. Heartfelt thanks to the choir members, musicians, students with roles, Eucharistic Ministers and all those who shaped or led an element of the Eucharist. We are also grateful Fr Peter Murnane OP for generously joining us to preside at our celebration.
Each Thursday at 8.00am Fr Peter celebrates Eucharist with us in our College Chapel. Students, staff, parents and members of the Siena community are all welcome. In coming weeks at this Eucharist we will also be blessing students and staff participating in the College’s South African Immersion and the USA Sport Experience.
As we approach Lent…
Shrove Tuesday (25 February) is an important day of understanding God’s lavish love for us (hence colourful parades, loads of lollies and festivities… as well as the ancient practice of emptying out cupboards of rich foods (milk, eggs, flour, sugar = pancakes) prior to an austere start to Lent.
Ash Wednesday (26 February) marks the beginning of the season of Lent – a time in our Church when we strive to renew our hearts and live as God wants us to live, in the Spirit of Jesus. We receive ashes on our forehead in the sign of a cross – this reminds us that God is with us always in the person of Jesus.
Years 7 to 12 Parent/Teacher Interviews will be held on Thursday, 12 March and Thursday, 19 March between 4.00pm and 7.30pm in the Latingata Morrom Gymnasium. Online Bookings will open for Year 12 parents on Wednesday, 4 March and for Year 7 to 11 parents, on Thursday, 5 March. Interim Reports will be available on Wednesday, 4 March and provide information regarding the subject, classroom learning indicators and number of days absent. Please download and print the report, as well as your interview schedule. There are no comments on formal reports as parents receive comments linked to assessment tasks throughout the semester.
As Parent/Teacher Interviews are an important opportunity to develop a working and supportive relationship between subject teachers, parents and students, we believe that it is essential that the student attend. This allows the student to share their learning experience and participate in the conversation about their subject expectations.
Every Tuesday from 2.45pm to 3.45pm, the teaching staff are involved in professional learning sessions. The professional learning sessions enhances our understanding of the four Dominican pillars, as we have a rotating focus on Learning, Wellbeing, Justice and Community.
As a result, all students will commence the day with Period 1 at 8.35am and will be dismissed at 2.30pm. The College buses depart from Siena around 2.35pm. If a student has a College commitment after school (such as the College Musical), they will be able to study in the Learning Centre. Year 12 students who complete private study in the St Catherine Centre may continue to use that space as usual, however, all other students are expected to return home.
Our staff are working really hard and with great enthusiasm and commitment to keep our learning and teaching fresh, dynamic and relevant and to most effectively engage our students.
This year the learning and teaching focus for teaching staff will be on formative assessment. Staff will be involved in eight professional practice sessions over the year. Our learning and teaching focus continues to emphasise ways to share our knowledge and skills to benefit student learning. The first session was led by our Pedagogy Team and staff fully engaged in robust discussion regarding differing perspectives and misconceptions around formative assessment.
Year 7 to 12 Activities week will take place from 25 March to 27 March. This program is well planned and supports the learning and wellbeing of our students. We ask for your support in student attendance. Year 7 students will attend their Year 7 Camp, Years 8, 10 and 11 students will be involved in a variety of activities at the College, and Year 12 students will be on retreat. The Year 9 Siena in the City program is a four day program, commencing on Tuesday, 24 March and concluding on Friday, 27 March.
Parents will receive individual year level notices in the weeks to follow.
Siena College is a Restorative Practices School
Restorative Practices is a whole school approach to promoting resilience and aims to contribute to the building of positive relationships in school communities. It is focused on helping young people become aware of the impact of their behaviour on others through personal accountability and learning from a conflict situation. An important component of restorative practices is the focus on restoring relationships after harm has been done, rather than applying punitive measures.
Restorative approaches provide schools with a range of practices which promote mutually respectful relationships and manage behaviour and conflict, address bullying and absences and build community cohesion. Restorative approaches are not new but offer a framework upon which to build on existing good practice. There is a wealth of evidence that shows how the use of restorative approaches alongside Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL), helps to develop more resilient and self regulating learners, thus creating positive learning environments. (Restorative Practices in School, Flannagan and Clark)
This practice values dialogue through an inclusive approach where everyone expects to be heard, and through this participatory process, students develop the capacity to learn in a practical way that emotions are an important and legitimate expression of healthy classroom conversations and dialogue. This assists students to resolve and understand conflict and tensions and difference in respectful ways that engenders trust, empathy, responsibility, and fosters healthy relationships. (David Vinegrad)
David Vinegrad is the Director of Behaviour Matters, a business dedicated to assisting schools get the best out of what they do. David believes that improving the way people relate to each other is vital because behaviour matters. We are delighted that David will be working with our staff during Professional Practice Time on the afternoon of Tuesday, 25 February. He will be working with us to explore restorative practices in our changing context.
This week the Wellbeing Team launched our inaugural Wellbeing Week. The aim of the week was to provide all members of our community with the tools and knowledge to help them manage their mental health. The activities were also a time to gather as a community sharing moments of reflection, connection and gratitude with one another.
On Monday we had our annual Big Sister Little Sister shared lunch. The Year 7 students had been looking forward to meeting their Big Sisters and it was pleasing to see our students engaged in such positive and meaningful conversations. On Tuesday at lunchtime we welcomed Bianca De Marco who guided staff and students through a meditation and yoga class. Both the students and staff members who participated felt rejuvenated after the session:
“The yoga class provided a way for me to calm down and reassess my priorities after a relatively stressful morning. It allowed me to really refresh my mind. I felt more present after the session and was more focused for the remainder of the day”.
Carla Goutzoulas (Year 11)
“Today’s yoga lunch time session was wonderful. The emphasis was on breathing and clearing your mind. I walked out of the session refreshed and in high spirits, ready to tackle the rest of the day.”
Verena Steiner (staff member)
In addition, dodgeball games, a lunchtime movie screening and giant mandala painting provided opportunities for participants to benefit from an overall increase in both individual and community wellbeing. There are many ways to improve our wellbeing: connecting with peers, being active, being mindful and giving to others are just some of the ways staff and students were able to integrate wellbeing into their daily lives this week.
on behalf of the Wellbeing Team
The landscape for making and sustaining friendships has changed dramatically as students continue to use technology as a tool of connectivity. Different students experience and use the internet in different ways. As such, it is important that students explore how they can safely use digital technologies to meet their information, communication and recreational needs. In Year 7, each student undertakes a subject called “Skills for Learning”, which in the first semester is designed to support students as they transition from a primary school to a secondary school environment. This week the classes have discussed the need for cyber safety when using online information systems and social media platforms.
Students discussed the importance of knowing their individual values before engaging in social media platforms and online communications, identified adults within their school and home environment that they could confide in if they needed to report an online issue and highlighted the importance of engaging online with people and organisations that have a positive impact on their headspace. Cyber safety and respectful online behaviour are also touched on throughout the Pastoral Program and comprise some of the curriculum covered in Health and Physical Education.
The Office of the eSafety Commissioner provides a wealth of knowledge on the six big issues that most commonly impact children: cyberbullying, online pornography, sending explicit and inappropriate photographs, time spent online, online gaming and unwanted contact and grooming. Targeted advice is also available for young people or adults who may be experiencing online harassment or abuse. We encourage parents and guardians to access the resources that are available to them by following the links below using them as a prompt to begin important conversations about e-Safety at home.
Furthermore, School TV also provides information on a wide range of topic pertaining to being safe on the internet in their Cybersafety Series.
Opportunity - a time or set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.
What can you do? What will you do? What are we called to do?
Daniel Carson from Red Earth addressed our College Assembly on Wednesday to launch our 2020 Indigenous Immersion to Arnhem Land. This experience is a new and exciting opportunity for our students to travel to traditional lands and to experience a very unique and contrasting lifestyle to that of their own.
Students in Years 9, 10 and 11 and their parents have received detailed information via email regarding this opportunity in September. This information includes our itinerary, information about Red Earth and about the lands we will be visiting and the rationale behind the program. All interested students are encouraged to attend an information session with their parents at the College on Wednesday, 4 March at 6.00pm. Any questions regarding this program should be addressed to Bronwyn Ilott at email@example.com
Preparation for our South African immersion in March is well underway. This week, students were involved in sessions exploring the History of South Africa, including Colonisation, the Apartheid movement and the AIDS epidemic. They celebrated the strength and courage of those who stood up and resisted oppression and fought for justice, as well as examining some of the broader social and political issues of relevance to South Africans today. This knowledge helps students to make sense of some of the daily struggles of the people with whom they will stay and will help them to understand ideas about justice, privilege and opportunity.
A reminder that all students are asked to donate a pre loved book to the #giveagirlabook campaign. Donations of fiction and non fiction texts suitable for girls aged five to fourteen will be collected in House Groups in the week commencing 2 March. Books are donated to Australian Books for Children of Africa and will then be sent on to girls in need. This campaign is one of our International Women’s Day events and will enable our students help to empower African girls through education.
In addition to launching our Nude Food Campaign, discouraging single use plastic in preference for reusable containers and packaging, our Eco Warriors are rolling out 7 Ways in 7 Days – 7 Steps to Climate Consciousness.
7 Ways in 7 Days recognises that people are creatures of habit, that the global climate crisis cannot be ignored, and that transformation of consciousness can be made easier with a framework to educate and support us. Consequently, the following guide has been developed to assist us make more conscious choices and reduce the impact we are having on the planet.
Starting from Monday, 2 March, all Mondays will be Meat Free at the Canteen. More information about how reducing Meat Consumption will have a positive impact on the planet can be found at climate7.com/meat-free-monday
Parents would be aware of the very busy streets surrounding our College and the limited drop off zones within the College gates.
I am asking everyone to be more mindful of road safety issues when they are driving on the school premises. In particular, all drivers MUST observe the rules pertaining to bus zone areas. Parents are parking both in the bus zones and to the right of the buses, which results in students crossing in front of vehicles in a dangerous manner. This also causes a disruption to the flow of traffic attempting to enter the College.
We request that parents obey the "No Right Turn" sign when exiting the College onto Riversdale Road and do not obstruct the driveway when parking. Speed limits must be observed at all times.
The safety of everyone on the campus is of paramount importance and we ask our community to comply with these rules.
We extend a warm welcome to you and your daughter to join us at our Open Evening and Twilight Fair on Tuesday, 3 March. There will be a rolling program of events, student led tours and interactive faculty displays from 4.00pm until 8.00pm.
Bring a picnic (please note no BYO alcohol) or grab an easy dinner from the food trucks and enjoy the live concert from our wonderful talented music ensembles. We also invite you to meet our principal, Mrs Elizabeth Hanney, who will present in the St Catherine’s Centre auditorium at 6.30pm.
To order a wine and cheese platter please click here. There is no need to register, just come along and join the fun!
Siena College Learning Centre is a vibrant and dynamic hub within the school. Students are encouraged to spend time at the Learning Centre before, during or after school as this environment offers students the opportunity to work independently on tasks or to collaborate with their peers.
Every day of the week, a variety of activities take place at lunch time ensuring that all students can find their place in their space. Gaming Club, Coding Club, Craft Club, Writer’s Club, Eco Warriors, Chess and our Junior Book Chat all take place throughout the week. Students are encouraged to check the schedule in the Learning Centre and look out for Siena Central news items to promote the details and days of various clubs and activities. We have a range of puzzles, board games and card games which prove to be popular amongst groups of friends at lunch, especially when the weather outside is not so appealing.
As lovers of reading, we celebrated 2020 Library Lover’s Day, also known as Valentine’s Day, embracing the theme “uncover something new”. Students were encouraged to go on a “blind date with a book” by borrowing books that were covered, with blurbs being the only clue as to what the books were about. This enticed students to borrow books that they may have previously overlooked or would not have otherwise selected to read. It was encouraging and fun to see the girls be adventurous with their borrowing last week.
We look forward to hosting a variety of authors throughout lunchtimes in the Learning Centre in 2020. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to meet with and chat to contemporary writers of Young Adult fiction and learn about what inspires their writing. Each member of the Learning Centre team are available to recommend fiction books to students throughout the day and during wider reading classes. New releases that are currently available for loan are:
In providing opportunities to grow all Siena College students, we continue to build upon our Dominican Ethos valuing study, with our ongoing focus of embedding our Culture of Learning for all staff and students. In 2019, the focus of staff learning during Professional Practice Time on Tuesday afternoons was the creation and implementation of the Siena Lesson Framework.
The Siena Lesson Framework provides the assurance that students will experience a consistency in lesson structure in all classrooms, for all lessons, for all subjects. It allows students to understand and move their learning forward within a familiar lesson flow.
The Siena Lesson Framework is based on educational research, that references leading Educational Researchers including Hattie, Robert Slavin and Barak Rosenshine.
Whilst the Siena Lesson Framework has been uniformly adopted by staff, the strategies used to deliver lesson components is guided by the Learning Framework, staff collaboration and the individual teacher.
Having a shared approach to lesson structure ensures that we are all working towards the same goal – ensuring growth for all students all the time.
Lesson Opening: Putting the learning in context
Review: Communicate Lesson Objectives and Success Criteria for this lesson
Middle (Heart of the lesson)
I Do: Introduction to new lesson material (the Explicit Explanation)
We Do: Guided practice of new lesson material
Review student learning
Review the learning and attainment of Success Criteria
Andrea Carter and Tina Di Camillo
Leaders of Pedagogy
We encourage all new students, especially Year 7 students, to learn a musical instrument at Siena. Our Instrumental Music Information Evening last week was an exciting night of music making and I would like to thank all students and staff who performed at the night including members of Wind Orchestra, Stage Band, St Cecilia Strings and Canti Dolce. Students are asked to return their blue enrolment forms as soon as possible so that lessons may commence. Students who missed the Information Evening are welcome to collect an enrolment form from the music office.
Students from Year 8-12 who would like to take up an instrument are asked to see Mrs McGillen or Ms Clark in the music office to collect an enrolment form and information letter.
The Twilight Open Evening will be an exciting night showcasing the College. The Music Department will be running three different performance opportunities for our students: The Twilight Concert, Jazz Workshop and a Soiree. The Twilight Concert (starting at 6.00pm) will feature many of our large and chamber ensembles on the lawn area at the front of the College. The Jazz Workshop (lower level ensemble room) will be a wonderful opportunity to observe our Stage Band and Sister of Swing groups as they rehearse with staff in preparation for upcoming events. The Soiree (Heritage Centre) will feature select music students performing solos and chamber music. Students preparing for music examinations who are interested in performing at the Soiree are asked to contact Mrs McGillen as soon as possible.
Music Key Dates - please download
With training and fixtures commencing in Week 1, we have had a busy start to GSV sport this term and have already recorded some excellent results in Indoor cricket, Tennis and Softball. In addition, students have been training twice a week for Swimming and Diving in preparation for the GSV Preliminary Swimming and Diving Carnival on Monday, 2 March. We wish the girls all the best and look forward to recognising their efforts later in the term.
It was terrific to see so many students participating at our recent House Athletics Carnival across several events in some testing conditions. In typical Melbourne weather we battled through the heat during the day and then had to contend with some rather dark looking clouds that threatened to rain down on us. I wish to thank all staff and students for their assistance and high spirits throughout the day. Congratulations to Dianella House for winning the 2020 House Athletics Carnival. We look forward to our House Swimming carnival on Friday, 6 March at Boroondara Sports Complex.
We have strength and conditioning sessions on offer in the weights room on Tuesday lunchtimes and Friday mornings. The Tuesday lunchtime sessions are open to all students and are tailored towards students who may not have had much experience lifting weights before. The Friday sessions (7.30am-8.15am) are open to all students but are designed to assist students who are participating in GSV or sport outside of school. We have hired qualified trainers from Nardelli Sports and believe this is a key opportunity for students to improve their strength and conditioning whilst preventing injuries.
We had trials for Aerobics this week it was pleasing to see around eighty students choose to participate. Our Aerobics program continues to go from strength to strength and we look forward to another excellent season in 2020. Training will be on Wednesday mornings (7.00am-8.30am) for girls in Years 7-9 and Thursday mornings (7.00-8.30am) for girls in Years 10-12.
Our School Captains (Laura Griss and Adrienne Duray) and Sport Captains (Julia Cabai and Alexandra Lasscock) attended the GSV Leaders breakfast at Our Lady of Sion College on Thursday, 13 February. It was an excellent event to officially commence the 2020 GSV Program and the girls were excited hear from Carol Fox. Carol was Australia’s first profession female lifesaver and is now an executive coach and masterclass facilitator.
We have our Twilight Open Evening on Tuesday, 3 March and the sport department will host a Students versus Parents Volleyball game from 6.00pm-7.00pm in the Siena College Gymnasium. The game is open to Year 12 students and parents and we look forward to some healthy rivalry!
We are looking forward to taking twenty-two students and three staff members on our first ever sports tour to the USA. The purpose of the tour is for students to partake in a number of sports education modules that focus on furthering their learning but also developing their leadership skills. Students will observe and hear from several sports professionals in their environment and by the end of the experience will have a better understanding of the concept of a ‘student athlete’. Students will also have an opportunity to see some superb cultural sites such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Santa Monica Beach and the Hollywood Boulevard. We have our final information evening for students and parents attending on Monday, 2 March from 6.30pm-7.30pm in the Susan Alberti Auditorium.
Home learning is an integral part of the learning process and the Dominican faith tradition and assists students by complementing and reinforcing classroom learning and provides a means by which students can take responsibility for their own learning. Home learning also provides an opportunity for parents to work in partnership with teachers and further participate in their daughter’s education.
The Purpose of Home Learning/Study
Students will be encouraged to appreciate that home learning/study:
Reinforces daily schoolwork
Extends learning beyond the classroom
Provides extension work for students
Facilitates good study skills and assists students in becoming independent learners
Develops good learning habits through planning, organisation and time management
Is an opportunity for them to reflect on their classroom learning and to determine what they know / do not know
Home Learning may commence for Year 7 students on Monday, 24 February 2020. This week, parents will receive a News Alert with details regarding the Year 7 Semester One Academic Calendar.
Years 7 and 9 NAPLAN Testing
Siena College is conducting NAPLAN Online from 13 to 15 May 2020, all Years 7 and 9 students will be offered the opportunity to participate.
To facilitate online testing, all students in Years 7 and 9 are required to supply the following to complete each test:
All BYODs must be fully charged at home prior to undertaking any NAPLAN tests
ACARA requires all students to install a Locked Down Browser (LDB) to complete NAPLAN online. Instructions will be sent via a News Alert to all Years 7 and 9 Parents and Students. All students must install the required ‘Locked Down Browser’ on their device at home prior to Monday, 23 March and installation will be checked during the week beginning 23 March 2020.
All Year 9 students will participate in a Practice Test on Monday, 23 March. Students must ensure they have all required hardware during this practice test, which will be of forty-five minutes duration.
All Year 7 Students will be taken through a familiarisation test prior to the testing period in May.
Further details regarding the opportunity to apply for student adjustments will be communicated in coming weeks. The NAPLAN Test Schedule will be communicated to parents and guardians in Term 2. If you have any further questions, please contact me at the College.
For more information about NAPLAN Online, including the public demonstration site, please visit the NAP website at https://www.nap.edu.au/online-assessment/public-demonstration-site or the parent support section https://nap.edu.au/naplan/parent-carer-support
Year 12 Programs
As the new Head of Senior Pathways, I am looking forward to meeting parents of our senior students throughout the year. Please make contact if you have questions or concerns – there is a dedicated team to help you and your daughter navigate the VCE years.
There is much happening for Year 12s in Term 1, and that does not even include enjoying their new privileges of a shared common room, study space, and private study periods. Whilst classes are in full swing, they are also experiencing the new Enrichment Program. There are three double period sessions of Enrichment per fortnight, aimed at fostering group and individual study skills. This has already included Elevate Education, who discussed mindset and motivation, memory and focus. We have reflected on how to live within our values, where students reflected on their core values and how aligned these were to their actions. Using the language of the four Thinking Styles of relational, inventive, practical, and factual, students identified how they tend to process information and work best. In these four groups, they discussed how to study in small groups – and these are also groupings that teachers and students can draw on when they want to work well together. It’s important to remember the motivations, processing, and interests of those around us, and how they might differ from our own.
Learning Conversations began this week for all Year 12 students. These are one-on-one coaching sessions with a teacher that aim to reflect on past learning behaviours and set new intentions. This activity aims to also use the student’s own Unit 2 data to predict a likely ATAR – but is an estimation only, with many variables involved. This gives students the opportunity to be realistic, and have time to adjust learning behaviours to best address their goals for the year and their post-school pathway. There will be a follow up conversation in Term 3 to chart progress and focus on perseverance.
The Enrichment Program will also include building literacy through the Writing Revolution program, careers and VTAC briefings, time for catch up SACs, retreat planning with Sister Sheila, the General Achievement Task, and private/small group study.
Siena College is committed to supporting students’ personal growth and their social and emotional wellbeing. Counselling services are provided by registered psychologists with extensive training in child and adolescent mental health. The counselling team provides assessment and treatment to students experiencing personal difficulties to encourage students to identify their strengths, enhance their sense of self-worth and develop critical thinking skills.
The counselling team also plays an integral role in the support services and student wellbeing initiatives in the College.
Counselling at Siena College aims to address any concerns and/or worries in a confidential and respectful way, so that our students can take maximum advantage of their learning opportunities and enjoy their time here at Siena College.
The Counsellors at Siena are available to support students and their families around issues relating to their wellbeing including emotional, behavioural and family issues, stress, social skills, grief and physical and mental health issues.
Confidentiality between the Counsellor and the student is very important. All information gathered remains confidential except in situations when a serious crime has been committed, there is serious risk of harm to self or others, or there has been a subpoena served to present documents to court (APS Code of Ethics, 1997).
How and where to seek support
The Counselling Hub is now located in the same building as the Finance and Development teams.
There is always at least one counsellor available every day.
You can contact the counsellors by emailing them on firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, their individual emails are:
Millie Holmes: email@example.com (Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays)
Gemma Morley: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays)
Lisa Ellis: email@example.com (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays)
Cultural Diversity in Language Classes
Our students are lucky to be living and studying in a diverse city such as Melbourne. According to the website Invest Victoria, Melbourne has a culturally diverse population, where fifty-eight percent of the population have either both or one parent born overseas. Approximately one third of all households speak two or more languages, with the top languages (outside of English) being Greek, Italian, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Cantonese. Diversity is all around us.
For our students, this means that they can constantly see, hear, and experience other languages and cultures around them.
Through the course of their studies, they have the opportunity to use their knowledge and skills of the language they learn in class without having to travel. They can enrol in language associations, attend film festivals, order food from around the world at cafes and restaurants, and experience contemporary and traditional cultures at events such as Chinese New Year, Bastille Day, the Melbourne Italian Fiesta, the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre to name but a few.
In that perspective, learning a language is not about the acquisition of skills that you may only use when travelling overseas - languages can be used here and now.
At the start of this year, Year 9 Language students were asked to discuss their understanding of cultural diversity around them.
They reflected on challenges and benefits of living in a multicultural society and discussed how cultural diversity is present at school and in their daily lives.
This culminated with a session where students brought an object of their choice that represents cultural diversity and shared it with their peers.
This student presented a bag from South Africa:
By learning a bit about another culture, you are opening your mind to a diverse society and closing the gap between our differences.
This student presented a cookbook:
Sometimes people are wary of other cultures and differences, but food is a way to break down those barriers. People are able to share their cultures through food, while experiencing other cultures.
This student presented a cross:
We might have different opinions and beliefs, but the cross is what brings us together.
This student presented a dreamcatcher:
It helps us understand that even though people came from different backgrounds we can still hold close relations and connections with one another.
This student presented two cooking spoons from two different cultures:
When I help cooking with my mum, we both feel that our great grandparents are with us as we cook just like when they were here.
It has been wonderful to commence the year chatting to so many senior students regarding pathways to their preferred career. The latest edition of Siena Career News contains information on opportunities and experiences that will assist students prepare for this next stage of their career journey.
Students and parents are welcome to make a Careers Appointment at any time.
Siena College is pleased to announce that we are offering students in 2020 the opportunity to join the CASE Space School International Study Program.
CASE Space School is an amazing opportunity for students seeking to pursue success in a STEAM career. Students will be immersed in enriched and exclusive space science activities to explore the multi-facets of STEAM. Students will also learn and engage in an inspiring personal and leadership development program to truly empower them for changing times.
Junior Space School is training for young explorers and is an engaging, hands-on adventure. Students learn about space travel, the development of space-related technologies and are led through several simulated missions. This program is focused on providing relevance to, and inspiring passion for STEAM through exposure to space and broader ‘earth’ science exploration.
Senior Space School is about high-level project management. Students design their own Mission to Mars with a $600 Million budget, build and test all their elements and then present their findings to a panel of NASA experts to receive critical feedback.
Every step of the way students are guided to build skills in goal setting, project planning, critical-thinking and problem-solving.
Students are meticulously cared for by dedicated Group Managers who are trained and certified by the California Association for STEAM Education. All Group Managers are Working with Children and Australian Federal Police checked, and hold current CPR, asthma and anaphylaxis certification.
Students return with big dreams and lasting confidence, inspired by the ultimate STEAM experience at NASA.
An information evening will be held on Tuesday, 10 March in the Senior Campus Lecture Theatre, Fintona Girls’ School where students and parents can learn more about the program. Click here to RSVP.
As last year was the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, it was wonderful to again have our Siena College students participating in the 2019 CASE Space School International Study Program at NASA. This opportunity is made possible through our partnership with the Alliance of Girls Schools Australasia. During December of the summer holidays, Antonietta Parry participated in the Senior Program in Houston, Texas and Piper Curry attended the Junior Program, which in addition to Houston, also took place in Huntsville, Alabama. Both students returned with exciting stories of their US adventure and enjoyed this STEM learning experience immensely. The following articles written by Antonietta and Piper give a brief insight into these valuable programs.
During the summer holidays in 2019, I was able to go on a two week trip to Houston, Texas where I learnt about space exploration and the behind the scenes actions of NASA and its facilities. Some skills I learnt were how to adapt and become resourceful during an emergency just as how an astronaut would, as well as how to collaboratively work with people I was just starting to know. I was surprised with how many companies there were around the world who communicate on a daily basis and work together to build a space craft, whilst it’s in space. My favourite activity was the scuba training that we got to experience which mimicked what astronauts in training must complete, as well as our rocket building and launch and rover models. I would recommend this experience because of all the amazing guest speakers that highlight how many diverse opportunities there are available at NASA in the future.
Antonietta Parry (Year 12)
At the end of 2019, I went on a two week trip to America on a NASA Space Camp program. During this program I learnt various things about space and how the tools that were needed to travel to space were taken from items used in our everyday lives. Scientists and engineers were able to modify these items and use them to build a rocket that could allow a human to travel to space.
My favourite activity during the program was to take part in space missions. We worked in teams and were given various tasks to see which team could have the smoothest mission. The competition was to see how effectively teams were able to solve challenges. The challenges presented included something going wrong with our rocket or trouble at mission control. Our team had to use the knowledge and skills we had learnt during the week to then fix the problem and continue our mission till another problem arose or we completed our mission.
Piper Curry (Year 10)
Siena Central is our online learning platform that allows students and parents to engage with classroom learning. Parents can log in to the Siena Central Parent Zone in order to access a range of important information.
Once logged in to Siena Central parents can click the link to their daughter’s student profile page in the left hand side column under ‘My Students’. The student profile page contains information relating to upcoming assessment tasks (due work), grades, student calendar and timetable.
Clicking on any of the class names under ‘Academic’ on the student profile page will navigate you to the subject class page. The class page contains information relating to classroom learning activities, home learning tasks, the learning framework and the Student Overview (semester outline of units studied and key dates).
Tip: The red bell icon in the top right hand corner of the Siena Central homepage indicates a notification has been published. Click the icon to view notifications relating to news items, student assessment task submission, grades and feedback from teachers.
If you have any difficulties accessing the Parent Zone, please contact IT help at the College on 9835 0200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new issue of Catholic Education Today features a reflection on the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) held in Perth at the end of last year, as well as articles on the significance of Lent, new governance arrangements and how Catholics from across the nation have come together to assist communities affected by the devastating bushfires. The centre pages comprise a handy calendar of events and key dates, with the regular sections highlighting ‘Educators in Profile’ and ‘Around the Archdiocese’ also included.
Please click here to view the online version.
2020 celebrates the fourth Italian Festa in Camberwell on March 14, 2020 at St Dominic’s Primary School. The Festa is a festival celebration of Italian culture, entertainment, food and wine. Visitors will enjoy authentic Italian cuisine – Italian donuts, crostoli, meatballs, pizza, cannoli and more. There will be Italian live entertainment, hand crafted foods, rides, games, an animal farm, dunk tank and photo booth for the children. Dish and Spoon will also be serving their famous Campos coffee! There will be a live and silent auction items too. We invite you to join us for a celebration of Italy from 2.00pm to 8.00pm.
Facebook - m.facebook.com/ItalianFestaCamberwell Instagram - @Italianfestacamberwell