College Principal’s Report
We are currently in an exciting time of important milestones and transitions for many students at Mill Park Secondary College. We are about to see our current Year 9, 10 and 11 students commence their 2023 classes as part of the Headstart program. This provides them with two weeks of classes in their subjects, being taught by their 2023 teachers wherever possible. At their Awards Ceremony on Friday 25 November, I was able to congratulate our current Year 9 students and acknowledge that from the beginning of Headstart they would become our new ‘Year 10s’. As well as travelling to the Senior Campus, some of these students will be joining VCE classes for the first time and working alongside their peers in Year 11. I wish all the students the best over the next few weeks and encourage them to make the most of this opportunity.
Our Year 9 students celebrated the achievements of their peers in an excellent Awards Ceremony on Friday afternoon. It was a pleasure to be able to hear about the efforts and excellence of a wide range of students across all areas of academic and co-curricular school life. Our students were well-behaved and genuinely supportive of each other, and it was especially pleasing to be able to have a large group of parents present on the day to help mark the occasion. Achievement is one of our school values and we will have further opportunities to acknowledge the outstanding achievements of many more students at the upcoming Year 7, Year 8, Year 10, and Year 11 Awards Ceremonies; and of course importantly, at our Year 12 Graduation evening on Wednesday 14 December.
Our graduating Year 12 students have now come to the end of their exams and they should be very proud of reaching this milestone. It was marked by their Year 12 Formal at the San Remo Ballroom on Friday evening and I was pleased to attend this event and share in their celebrations. As well as looking fantastic in their ‘formal’ clothing, our students carried themselves very well throughout the evening. With a great performance from our Year 12 Band, there was also a DJ and it was a very positive experience to see our students out on the dance floor together with smiles on their faces. It has not been an easy path for many of our young people over recent years and they thoroughly deserve to celebrate at this point with a sense of joy and relief!
Our planning for 2023 is proceeding well and we expect to start the year fully staffed, with a wide range of programs and opportunities for students running smoothly. Given the challenges that have been created by staffing shortages during 2022, this is a good position to be in as a College. One change that is occurring for all students is a shift away from the current five-minute ‘Homegroup’ session at the beginning of each day. Instead of Homegroup students in all year levels will begin their school day directly in their first scheduled class. A warning bell will ring at 8:50am and students will be expected to be in class when it commences at 9:00am. Students will continue to be reminded of important information during their first session, and will be supported by their teachers to engage with the school day in an organised and positive way.
In 2023 we are also moving forward with a number of significant projects for the school. In coming weeks all families will receive information about our new Compass Portal, the new school management system to replace Sentral. We are currently finalising the transition and families will be provided with login details during December. We believe that the move to Compass will allow families to more easily monitor attendance, stay informed about upcoming events and provide consent where needed. In general this move will help families support their child’s learning in partnership with the school. As we roll out the platform across 2023 and beyond, additional functions will become available including the incorporations of school payments, assessment and reporting information, and the booking of Student Agency Conferences. For parents who are not familiar with Compass there will be training and support provided at the beginning of the 2023 school year. We look forward to your feedback as we begin using Compass.
Finally, I can inform you that the school is currently working closely with the Victorian School Building Authority to finalise the arrangements for our long-awaited $12.6m Performing Arts Centre project. Unfortunately costs are continuing to rise and this has made the approval of a tender within the allocated budget very challenging. Our School Council has approved the school to make a significant contribution to the project to ensure that our community gets the facility that it needs. Despite number of sacrifices have been required to be made, particularly in regards to the equipment provided for the theatre and surrounds. Whilst we are hoping to have a contract signed over coming days, the next steps for our school community will be to advocate to all levels of government for additional funding to ensure that the project is fitted out to the standard that was envisioned when the project was initially conceived of and designed in 2019. I look forward to reporting back on the status of the project in our final College Newsletter for the year in December.