Please read this updated information for parents, carers and guardians on the NCCD provided by Catholic Educ...
Lent is a time of grace and encounter. We are invited to encounter God, our neighbour and ourselves more deeply and experience the grace of each. I share the following prayer which speaks of grace and encounter:
May we be open to the ease and comfort of God’s grace.
May we remember the quiet times when something shifted within us, and we grew in grace.
May we remember the moments of kindness when our hearts opened, and we grew in grace.
May we remember when we reached beyond ourselves to help another, and we grew in grace.
May we remember the times of darkness when inspiration arose, and we grew in grace.
May our world be filled with moments of grace.
May we bring grace to life through our daily actions.
May everyone live in grace, joy and peace.
May I embody grace this day.
Congratulations to all staff and students on the fine examples of a community at work over the last fortnight. Senior students have commenced a first cycle of assessment and all other classes are at work having established sound learning routines. I commend students on their embrace of the many opportunities available to them at Siena College. Congratulations to those students who participated in the GSV Triathlon on Sunday, the GSV Swim meet on Monday and all students involved in a highly successful Open Evening on Tuesday evening. Particular thanks to our wonderful musicians and singers, our Tour Leaders and student helpers, along with Student Captains who formed a wonderful panel in the final session of the night. Every student represented all that is great about Siena College; young women exemplifying our pillars of Study and Community in particular.
Last week we were delighted to welcome Dominican sisters Sr Marie Tom and Sr Teresa who shared with students the beauty and the challenges of life in the Solomon Islands. Their community is challenged by access to full education, adequate food and water supply and like so many islands is concerned about rising sea levels and further impacts of climate change. Each year the fundraising efforts of Fiesta on St Catherine’s Day is directed to our partnership with the Solomon Islands community. It was indeed wonderful that the visit of the sisters will enable us to ‘put a face’ to this fundraising and raise greater awareness amongst students.
Sophie Griffin (Class of 2019) has been awarded a Highly Recommended for her intricate artwork, to be exhibited at the upcoming Catholic Education Creative Art Exhibition. Taylor Wilkinson (Year 12) will also have her work exhibited, and we acknowledge Claire Garwoli (Class of 2019) who was invited to be interviewed about her work. Our congratulations to Sophie, Claire and Taylor. The exhibition is open to the public from 9.00am to 3.30pm on Monday, 16 March to Friday, 20 March and from 12.00pm to 4.00 pm on Saturday, 21 March at the Catholic Leadership Centre, 576 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne.
Marking Ash Wednesday
Here at Siena we marked the beginning of Lent with Liturgies of the Word and distribution of ashes in College House Groups – these were lead by students and focused on the 2020 Project Compassion theme: Go Further Together.
From dust to life
It is a centuries old tradition for the Pope to celebrate the Eucharist on Ash Wednesday at Santa Sabina in Rome – the headquarters of the Dominican Family. In his homily this year, Pope Francis reflected:
“We are dust in the universe…yet we are dust loved by God” and added that we are precious dust that is destined for eternal life.
“We are the dust of the earth, upon which God has poured out his heaven, the dust that contains his dreams,” he said. “We are God’s hope, his treasure and his glory.”
Pope Francis went on to describe ashes as a reminder of the direction of our existence: “a passage from dust to life.” But if we allow ourselves “to be shaped by the hands of God, we become something wonderous.”
He noted that the ashes on our foreheads should influence the thoughts passing through our minds. “What am I living for?” is the question we should ask ourselves.
If we live for fleeting, worldly realities, then we spend our lives chasing after dust, moving backwards from life to ashes. But, he said, if we live to love and make God’s dream a reality, then we allow the fire of love to be kindled in our hearts.
“Our earthly possessions will prove useless, dust that scatters, but the love we share – in our families, at work, in the Church and in the world – will save us, for it will endure forever.”
A reminder that Years 7 to 12 Activities will run in the final week of Term 1 and parents will receive individual year level notices next week. This program is well planned and supports the learning and wellbeing of our students. We ask for your support in student attendance.
Please note, the Year 9 Siena in the City program is a four day program, commencing on Tuesday 24, March and concluding on Friday, 27 March.
The Parent Teacher Interviews are now open for bookings via Siena Central. There are two sessions available, on Thursday, 12 March and Thursday, 19 March from 4.00pm to 7.30pm in the gym. We encourage you to review your daughter’s interim report beforehand, in order to address any questions you may have.
We look forward to meeting with you on Thursday.
The care and safety of our students is paramount at Siena College. Several students are arriving at school very early in the morning before supervision can be offered. Formal supervision by staff commences at 8.20am. Although many members of staff are at school before this time, they are engaged in class preparation or scheduled cocurricular activities. Once your daughter is at school, it is important that she remain on the premises and not leave the College for any reason. The College cannot be responsible for a student’s safety if she leaves the grounds. If your daughter arrives early and does not have a school activity scheduled, she should work in the Learning Centre and not be alone in other areas of the school. Likewise, in the afternoon, the College cannot offer supervision after normal working hours and all students are required to be off campus by 5:30pm unless under the supervision of a staff member.
Role of the College Counsellors
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.
What Services are Provided
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. You can contact the counsellors by emailing them on email@example.com
Alternatively, their individual emails are:
Millie Holmes: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
Gemma Morley: email@example.com
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday
Lisa Ellis: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday
Emma Yee (Class of 1999) was the guest speaker for this year’s International Women’s Day breakfast. Emma discussed her career journey spanning over twenty years in the hospitality industry, working with some of Australia’s biggest brands. She spoke frankly to our students about the challenges she has faced, her support network, and the absolute importance of women supporting other women and celebrating their achievements.
Thank you to Claire Moody and the Student Representative Council for their efforts in organising this hugely popular event, the proceeds of which support the Kopanang community in South Africa.
The following video was shown at the IWD event, featuring some of our younger student leaders who were asked to name an inspirational woman, and the messages they would give to other women. Their answers were insightful and passionate, and we wanted to share their words with the wider Siena community:
Year 7 students were lucky to have the opportunity to take part in a session with Joel McKerrow this week. Joel is a performance poet who travels the world sharing his poetry and talking about his craft. Joel has visited Siena for the past three years and we were thrilled he was able manage another visit before heading off to the United States and Canada on tour.
Having Joel perform is so beneficial to students who are currently studying poetry in English. In seeing the performance, students begin to understand that poetry is about more than just the words on the page – it is pace, rhythm, emotion and the gestures that come when it is performed. As Joel said himself, “When you perform poetry, it comes alive.”
The students were able to experience the joy and humour of Joel’s poetry as well as the seriousness – often all in the one poem! After Joel performed, students reflected on how they were able to get to know who he was through experiencing his poetry, and to feel inspired themselves.
Joel explained that poetry allows writers to put abstract ideas like love, fear, and pain into words by bringing imagery and stories together. By doing this, a poet can take their reader on a journey and give them an experience – two things that Joel always strives to do in his poetry.
Ultimately, Joel wanted students to embrace what makes them “weird” and his message for them was to shape their lives around what they love. We also hope that it inspired the girls to develop a deeper appreciation for poetry and to have a go at writing themselves.
Our Siena College 80th Anniversary Celebrations will be held on Wednesday, 29 April 2020.
We will commence with Mass at 10.30am at St Patrick’s Cathedral followed by the Alumnae lunch at the Park Hyatt at 12.00 noon. The cost of the lunch is $100 per head for two courses and a variety of beverages.
A bus will be available for those guests who would like to attend the Mass and lunch. The bus will depart Siena at 8.45am for St Patrick’s Cathedral, and following the lunch will depart the Park Hyatt at 2.30pm for an expected arrival back to the College by 3.30pm. There will be no charge for the bus.
Further details are available via the following TryBooking links:
We welcome all members of our Siena College community, past, present and future, to join us in celebrating our 80th anniversary. Please direct any queries to Liz Merrett at email@example.com or 03 9835 0217.
To coincide with our celebration of International Women’s Day, we are thrilled to launch our very first episode of SienaCast – our College Podcast! This Podcast is a collaboration between students and staff and aims to give voice to our College Community on issues of significance and importance to us all. At the heart of SienaCast is our motto, Veritas. Through the episodes we will endeavour to explore our collective and individual truths.
The theme for our first episode is “Women” and includes an interview with Mrs Hanney by Adrienne and Laura, our College Captains. Also featuring are Anna and Emma with their segment “Keeping it Greal” and Kayla and Emily with “Project Loud”. Carla and Emma have published an opinion piece and some poetry and share these powerful texts with the audience. This project has been enabled by the passion and technical skills of Anthony George, our Audio Visual Technician, and facilitated by the equipment in our podcasting studio.
To download SienaCast go to your Podcast app and subscribe!
In 2020 Siena College has committed to three of the Sustainable Development Goals – numbers 7, 11 and 13. These goals will guide and inform the choices, habits and practices of the College and will feature in some of the curriculum studied by students. Operating with these goals in mind reflects our Dominican charism by responding to the signs of the times and the Catholic Social Principle of Care for our Common Home.
7 ways to Climate Consciousness – Meat Free Mondays Update
Last newsletter we were proud to announce that, as part of Siena’s commitment to more sustainable living and commitment towards taking climate action, we were introducing Meat Free Mondays at the College Canteen. Our first Meat Free Monday was this week with students enjoying a range of delicious Vegetarian meal options. Here’s a sample of the Menu provided by the Canteen.
How does going meat free on Mondays make a difference?
Our planet’s resources are diminishing, and Westerners are significantly responsible for consuming much more than our fair share. It’s time we worked towards reducing our impact and dietary change is a great place to start!
For more information on how the environment benefits from reduced meat consumption go to:
“To turn the pages of a book means gaining a vocabulary. It means mastery of the English language and that means a job. For girls in the slums and villages of Africa, books are a passport to a better life”
Suzy Zail, author of “I am Change” and coordinator of #giveagirlabook
Our International Women's Day Initiative #giveagirlabook has been enthusiastically embraced by Siena students. Our students have donated large numbers of preloved books in House Groups and in other collection locations throughout the school. The books are destined for girls in Africa who don’t have easy access to books and for whom reading provides the hope of a better future.
During their Pastoral Period this week, students wrote individual letters to the recipients of the books. Our students connected with the future readers by sharing with them what they had enjoyed about the book they were donating, what they enjoyed about school and why celebrating International Women's Day was important to them as young women of the world. This activity was a powerful and meaningful way for our students to show empathy, compassion and connection to and solidarity with girls around the world.
Books will be sent off next week and donations will be accepted up until next Tuesday, 10 March.
Last Wednesday students interested in medicine and dentistry as a career were treated to an after school workshop on the UCAT, one of the three requirements for undergraduate Medicine and Dentistry courses in Australia. Students attending practiced some typical questions and received some practical tips on how to go about preparation for the test, which is sat when students are in Year 12.
Applications for the 2020 UCAT have opened and more information on local and interstate universities who require this test for medical school entry are featured in the latest newsletter.
Also, for budding journalists there is a writing and publishing opportunity not to be missed with the Youth Press Club.
For students interested in studying in the UK and USA, research is all important! Details of a UK/USA Tertiary Expo is in the Siena Career News this week.
Students interested in a career with Victoria Police will be happy to see an article that covers entry requirements and details on how to apply.
I am often asked about careers in Forensic Science and in this week’s edition of Siena Career news there are links to the Forensic Institute and information about a specific university degree in Forensic Science.
Gap years are popular and there are many organisations that offer a variety of Gap Year experiences, including teaching English in overseas schools, outdoor education roles in Canada, building projects in Cambodia to name a few. Check out some of the best GAP year projects in this edition of the Career News.
The Year 7 students had a wonderful opportunity to experience and participate in the annual chess incursion on Friday, 28 February, organised by the Learning Diversity Department. The guest coaches from Dark Horse Chess taught the girls how to play the game and some clever strategies to use.
After the initial welcome and introduction to the coaches, each student was placed into a group based on her level of experience and expertise in playing chess. All levels of ability were represented, from absolute first time beginners to advanced chess enthusiasts. In their groups, the students worked with one of the four Dark Horse staff to learn more about the game, to become familiar with and practise the different moves of each chess piece and to apply some clever strategies when playing.
The Year 7 students enjoyed the day immensely and after the sessions, many girls were able to say that they had learnt something new about how to play the game. Some of the skills that learning chess helps to develop are:
Siena also offers all students the opportunity to join the Chess Club, which meets every Wednesday at lunchtime in the Learning Centre. Club members benefit from the support of Denise, a staff member of Dark Horse Chess. Denise attends each week during the term, coaching and encouraging the students to build upon and practise their skills, regardless of level. It is also a wonderful opportunity to see the girls from all year levels enjoying each other’s company as they play against each other.
Those students who attend may have the opportunity to participate in chess tournaments at other schools to further enhance their chess skills and may qualify for State finals at the end of the year through Chess Australia.
This year, Siena Year 9 students have the opportunity to select an elective from four options for Semester 1 English:
The Year 9 classes have been busy over the first couple of weeks of term learning about their selected genre unit. Each class has explored different texts and students have had the chance to compare different approaches taken by different writers.
In The Pen is Mightier than the Sword students looked at how music has been produced over time to protest against injustice in society. Students were asked to compile a class playlist of great protest songs and write a brief description of what the song writer was hoping to achieve in producing their song. Students chose songs from a range of different genre styles and from different eras. Many of the songs were protesting against racism and discrimination based on race. Some also covered issues specific to Australia and the treatment of Indigenous Australians. Other songs were about gender based discrimination.
I am very pleased to share the students' Protest Playlist with you:
Home Learning Club (HLC) will run in Room E119 (adjacent to the Learning Centre) from 3.16pm to 4.16pm every Wednesday in 2020, commencing 4 March. Students will be expected to sign in and out and to study/work quietly in an environment where assistance will be available. To register interest in your daughter attending HLC please email firstname.lastname@example.org and a CareMonkey e-form will be sent to you
As we move past the halfway point of Term 1, students may begin to feel an increase in the amount of assessments and home learning they are receiving. It is inevitable that students will experience times throughout the school year that are busier than others. There are some simple ways in which students can be organised with their school work and due dates, avoiding increased feelings of stress or anxiety.
Year 7 students in particular may begin to feel a little overwhelmed by home learning and assessment tasks. In Skills for Learning, students have been having conversations about how to stay on top of home learning, what their study space at home looks like and the ways in which individuals reward themselves for hard work. This week students made timetables to show their after school commitments so they could physically see where they had time available to complete school work:
“Using my own after school timetable helps my learning because I’m not stressing in class about all of the things I have to do throughout my week. I check it each night to help me feel ready for the morning…this makes me feel excited to go to school. Being organised like this helps me get to sleep at night, which means the next day I feel present and focused in my classes.”
On Wednesday, 26 February and Thursday, 27 February , the Year 9 Semester 1 Geography classes travelled to Toolangi State Forest. The purpose of the field trip was to gather primary data to extend and support the Year 9 Geography Course and in particular, the topic of Biomes and Food Security.
The girls worked in groups, conducting field work, and collecting data at different sites for subsequent comparison. The sites studied were mountain ash forest, temperate rainforest and an area of forest that had been logged recently.
The students observed and measured the effects of timber harvesting on a variety of environmental factors. Using appropriate technology and equipment, they recorded data on soil temperature, soil pH, air temperature, wind velocity and light levels. All data collected was taken back to class for analysis.
The data collected by the girls suggests that logging in a temperate forest environment has significant impacts on the environmental factors we measured in this type of biome. In turn, this has broader consequences in terms of the intricacies of the Toolangi State Forest ecosystem, the region as a valuable water catchment, habitat for significant species and the viability of the logging industry.
The field trip days were very successful. Students gained valuable insights into a much debated example of interaction between humans and the natural environment. They also saw and measured, first hand, the impacts that timber harvesting can have on a temperate forest ecosystem.
Students were accompanied by Year 9 Geography teachers, Bernie Daly, Rosanna Merriweather, Neil Thomas and Alan Anderson. Many thanks to Gemma Di Bari, who also helped out on both days.
Year 9 SEPEP Volleyball
Year 9 students have been involved in a SEPEP Volleyball Unit for the first half of Term 1 in their Physical Education classes. The SEPEP model stands for “Sport Education in a Physical Education Program” and is a student-centred approach to Physical Education. The primary philosophy behind SEPEP is for students to experience a program which mirrors real life sport competitions.
The SEPEP approach promotes student participation and there is also a greater opportunity to develop game based skills, decision making and tactics. While all students are primarily players on their team, they are given the additional opportunity to develop leaderships skills through the experience of taking on roles such as a captain, coach, umpire, timekeeper and scorer. Teams take turns to be the duty team which organises the running of the competition.
One of the greatest benefits of SEPEP is that peer teaching becomes a feature as students want their team to do well and help other students to succeed. There are also many social benefits provided for students through working with others in a variety of situations.
The Year 9 students have engaged with the SEPEP Volleyball unit with much enthusiasm in Term 1. Congratulations on all your efforts and well done to all teams on the progress you have made across the unit!
Year 7 Invasion Games
Our Year 7 students have engaged with a new approach to the Physical Education curriculum in 2020, which is focusing on the Game Sense approach to teaching. This approach to teaching and learning emphasises the development of tactics and decision making. When engaging with Game Sense, students are presented with challenges to solve in structured games rather than having to practise technical skills in isolation.
The initial focus has been on Invasion Games and by using a range of small sided games, common characteristics and strategies to invasion games can be applied including:
The use of small sided games has also promoted the development of collaboration, teamwork and cooperation. In this team environment all students have had the opportunity to work with others to assist in developing new social connections, which has hopefully assisted in their transition to Siena College.
Across the Semester all students will continue to engage with Game Sense but across different domains, including striking and fielding, net and wall and target games. An exciting Semester of Year 7 Physical Education awaits!
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)
Last week the Year 12s and Year 7s got together for the Big Sister/Little Sister pyjama party. In 1990 the same year levels had a social with the theme of ‘Bad Taste’. Here is a snippet from the 1990 yearbook:
YEAR 7 AND YEAR 12 SOCIAL
On the evening of 14 March, one hundred and eighty girls from both Years 7 and 12 strolled into Siena's School Hall, dressed in the most distasteful clothes they could find. Many girls grabbed the most trendy outfit from mum's cupboard, knowing that they would be successfully dressed for the 'Bad Taste' theme.
During the course of the night, we participated in many 'getting to know you' activities, as well as a fashion parade exposing the most disgusting dress sense of all the girls.
Sooner than expected, the night came to a close. The Year 7 and Year 12 girls parted, but with the knowledge that they had just made a whole lot of new friends!
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 are a temporary foster parent and are 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 20 June 2020.
If you applied for the CSEF in 2019 at Siena College, you do not need to complete an application form in 2020 unless there has been a change in your family circumstances.
Siena College is pleased to offer an alternative payment option to assist families with managing their school fee payments.
Edstart helps make it easy for you to manage school fees by providing flexible payment plans. You can spread your school fees into weekly, fortnightly or monthly instalments, as well as extending payments over a longer period.
To find out more, visit edstart.com.au/siena.