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Welcome - February 2016


It has been a delight to visit each of our Campuses today to attend the Commencement Assemblies to welcome students and to share the excitement surrounding the year ahead. This year 280 new students have commenced at Christian College. I extend a warm welcome to the new students and their families joining our community in 2016 and I look forward to meeting you all throughout the year ahead.

I am extremely grateful to the teaching and non-teaching staff for the work that has been undertaken to ensure that everything is in readiness for the arrival of our students today. A particularly welcome addition has been the provision of the new Uniform Shop that has opened in High St. Belmont. I have received a large number of favourable comments regarding the improved service and access that the new venue has provided.

Christmas Break
The College family was saddened by the death of our much loved colleague and friend Andrea Collins following a brave and inspirational battle with cancer. Andrea's family and friends gathered in the chapel at Highton in January to celebrate her life and to support her husband Neil and their children Joshua, Aaron and Zoe. Andrea will be fondly remembered for her zest for life, wonderful sense of humour and the incredible contribution that she made to our College community. Andrea was employed as the administrator of our Music Faculty and was a loyal, supportive College parent. We will miss her.

Our region has faced extreme climatic conditions over the Christmas break that have proved challenging for members of our community following the raging bush fires and recent torrential rain.

Our 'Back Creek' farm campus at Scotsburn was affected by the fires with over 1000 acres of pasture impacted. Thankfully the actions of our farm staff and the efforts of firefighters protected stock and buildings. We also offer our thoughts to the many families living on the Surf Coast who were impacted by the fires that continue to burn along the Great Ocean Road. 

Our College is grateful to the members of the CFA and other community service organisations who assist and protect our communities during these times. Indeed I acknowledge over 50 members of our staff and College community who volunteered their time and energy to attend a working bee to clean up at the farm following the fires.

Last week's heavy rain caused damage at each of our Campuses. I am grateful to our maintenance staff and other contractors for their efforts at the end of last week and over the weekend to attend to the classrooms and offices that were water damaged. As a result, classes have commenced today with minimal impact.

It is in these difficult times that we see the very best in people and our community is blessed to have so many supportive and generous members.

New Academic Year
I am always excited at the prospect of a new year, with the many opportunities that come from new beginnings. I have had the pleasure of welcoming the new teaching staff during their induction program as well as the privilege of meeting with the staff who are taking up new leadership positions. We welcome those colleagues who have joined us in 2016 and wish those embarking on new appointments well in their new role.

Last week the academic staff participated in the Annual Staff Conference aimed to introduce new initiatives throughout the coming months. As part of our focus of continuous self-improvement and growth, we participated in presentations and workshops to support our students in the following areas:

1. Differentiated Learning
Differentiation refers to a wide variety of teaching techniques and lesson adaptations that educators use to instruct a diverse group of students, with diverse learning needs, in the same course, classroom, or learning environment. 

2. An Introduction to MYTERN
In 2015 our Junior School classrooms and Williams House groups trialled MYTERN to gauge the benefits of the language and skills for our students. Following positive feedback, the College staff have all experienced introductory session with the creator of MYTERN, Dr. Jane Foster.

Based on neuroscience and positive psychology, MYTERN is a time and cost effective resilience building intervention designed to teach individuals how to build their own emotional intelligence and resilience; increasing mental, physical and emotional health; teaching them how to take control of their overall wellbeing. The concepts of resilience, positive emotions and mindfulness combine to form the powerful skill of MYTERN, which has proved empirically that it can positively impact an individual’s psychological wellbeing, life satisfaction, resilience and distress levels.

MYTERN has received overwhelming positive feedback from schools that have introduced this to their communities. I am extremely optimistic about the huge potential this provides for our College. All families are encouraged to visit the website and to keep an eye on the regular campus newsletters for details of how your child is experiencing the benefits from MYTERN.

3.  Restorative Practice
In 2015 a College Professional Learning Team worked to review and evaluate our College Student Management procedures. The result was a recommendation to see greater reflection of our Christian Faith through a more deliberate approach to Restorative Practice.

The most profound learning occurs when there is a healthy relationship between teacher and student. Restorative Practices assists teachers, students and parents to build, maintain and restore relationships. Restorative Practices will help build capacity to enable students to self-regulate behaviour and contributes to the improvement of learning outcomes.

Throughout the year staff will be implementing this approach to support students in taking responsibility and ownership for their contribution to our community. Of course, the need for sanctions remains, and the established discipline system will be utilised in conjunction with this practice.

Families will learn more about these initiatives throughout 2016 in the Campus Newsletters as well as at Information Sessions planned in Term One. Please take time to look out for these and make a commitment to attend. These will be of great benefit to both parents and students.

A Focus for 2016
Year 12 students commenced last Friday and I was privileged to speak with them in their Opening Assembly. I shared with them the benefit of making a hearty effort and encouraged them with the wisdom of Paul, who wrote to the Colossians 3:23 

'Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.'

It is a timely reminder to us all to make an honest and steadfast effort to do our very best to honour and serve God through our living. In sharing this message with our most senior students I encouraged and challenged them with the well known saying - 'If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well.'

What a great adage for us all at the commencement of the new College year - make the most of each opportunity as it arises and give it your wholehearted effort.

2015 VCE Results 
The 2015 VCE results are a strong indication of the continued development of the successful Teaching and Learning programs at the College.

I congratulate Gina MacLeod (Dux 2015) on an outstanding ATAR of 99.1.

Other significant results include Michael Chapman 96.65, Rochelle Fitzpatrick 95.35, name withheld 95.35, School Captain Jack Jordan-Hill 95.15, Sascha Milton 95.05, School Captain Elizabeth Lowe 94.75.

Highlights include 2 students achieving perfect Study Scores of 50:
  • Jack Jordan Hill in Outdoor and Environmental Studies.
  • Rochelle Fitzpatrick in Textiles.
As well as both of this year’s School Captains achieving top results and having generously served our College community in their leadership roles.

Christian College celebrates;
  • 15% of our students receiving an ATAR above 90 (compares with 10% Nationally)
  • 36% of our students receiving an ATAR above 80 (compares with 20% Nationally)
  • 88% of our students receiving an ATAR above 50 (compares with 50% Nationally)
This year, 73 students achieved Study Scores of 40 or above and all 153 students successfully completed VCE (100%) and their VCAL (100%).

I commend the students and the staff on the wonderful work achieved throughout the year. The 2015 results are our best on record, showing significant improvement in the number of students with an ATAR above 80 (up 13% from 2014) as well as those above 90, (up by 5.6% in 2014). We are particularly pleased that 88% of our students have achieved an ATAR above 50 compared with the national average of 50%.

Christian College is aware that our students are worth far more than the score or ranking allocated today. They are fine young men and women of great character who will no doubt make a positive difference to our world.

Tertiary Offers
134 students from the Class of 2015 have received Tertiary places with 102 given first or second preferences.
Offers included the following institutions:
  • Deakin University 
  • University of Melbourne
  • RMIT University
  • Federation University
  • Victoria University
  • Latrobe University
  • Swinburne University
  • Australian Catholic University
Others included - Gordon TAFE, Box Hill TAFE, Photography College, Deakin College, William Angliss TAFE, Monash College

Science, Health, Commerce, Arts/Humanities, Engineering/Building, Fine Arts, Law, Education and Music.

We wish them well in their continued studies.

Throughout 2015 we celebrated our 35th Anniversary looking at the many ways that a Christian College education provided 'an education worth having.' As we embark on another exciting year, I look forward to sharing the journey together with our students, my colleagues and our wider College family.

Glen McKeeman

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