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Learning that Matters
After a very difficult week for Beaconhills College, I think it’s safe to say we are all looking forward to the weekend – and for many, the term 1 holidays.
I would like to thank our College staff for their dedication and hard work this term. During the last few days we have had many students taking part in Year 5 camps, sporting events such the House Athletics Carnival, Wizard of Oz production rehearsal and of course our Easter services across both campuses.
As we head into this important time in the Christian calendar, I would like to thank our College chaplaincy team for their role in our Easter services and the students who sang so beautifully in the choirs or took part in the services – including the children from Little Beacons. Easter teaches us the meaning of faith.
I look forward to seeing you all in term 2.
Beaconhills College’s international captains Coco Lam and Owen Lin recently attended the Victorian Government International Student Welcome Reception held at Government House.
The event was a formal welcome to all primary and secondary international students, to wish them the best for their studies and lives in Victoria. Head of International Education, Michael Johnson, said the students represented Beaconhills proudly.
In her speech to students, the Governor of Victoria, the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, said they were “amongst friends” and that Victoria was a melting pot of cultures and diversity.
“Your presence here adds to that terrific mixture,” the Governor said. “We are well aware that, whilst you come here to learn, you bring to us great learning too.
“While you are learning English and discovering our history and culture, our students, and others who meet you, are in turn learning of your language, history and culture.”
She said she hoped students would return to their families with an expanded view of the world, and a greater capacity to contribute to it.
Five Beaconhills College teams were premiers yesterday in the summer SEISA (South Eastern Independent Schools Association) sporting finals.
Berwick Campus had a win with the intermediate boys’ cricket team, while Pakenham’s senior boys’ tennis, senior boys’ basketball, intermediate boys’ basketball and senior boys’ cricket all won their matches.
Cricket team coach Peter Ashmore said the team made 9/94 off 20 overs and bowled out Gippsland Grammar in the last over for 83. Tusha Rana was ‘man of the match’ and was on a hat-trick in the third ball of the innings, bowling a maiden in the second last over.
It is quite astounding to see how many parents are keen to be involved in their child’s education as a volunteer for Beaconhills College.
Our volunteer base has always been strong, but the process of becoming a volunteer is now more formalised under the requirements of the new Child Safe Standards.
Yet the new requirements for school volunteers to obtain Working With Children checks and complete a short training module has not deterred our parents! I am pleased see we already have around 400 volunteers registered with the College following the implementation of the new standards. Our parents are working across a range of activities, from camps and sporting teams, to hosting students or supporting our Human Powered Vehicle program.
I believe this shows the strength of our community and the understanding our parents have of the benefits of being actively involved in their child’s education. Thank you to all of our volunteers.
HPV volunteers in action
Beaconhills College students are now part of an innovative project that will see solar powered lights delivered to children and families living in developing countries.
Through a program run by Australian charity SolarBuddy – and in partnership with national education not-for-profit organisation Cool Australia – students built a solar light in class and wrote a personal letter to go with it.
The lights will go to countries such as Myanmar, Uganda, Ghana, Ethiopia and Papua New Guinea to help children do their homework at night and avoid the use of dangerous kerosene lamps.
SolarBuddy’s aim is the end the cycle of energy poverty and at the same time educate Australian children about energy poverty, renewable energy and global citizenship.
CEO Simon Doble was at Beaconhills on Wednesday 22 March to help students build the lights and talk to them about the program – and how it began.
He described taking his original idea of a solar powered tent pole to the United Nations. It has since been used by UN agencies and NGOs to bring power to refugee camps and natural disaster victims.
He said SolarBuddy was trying to help children stay safe and have a better environment to live in.
“We are giving them a leg-up, not a hand-out,” he said. “It’s about getting lights in the houses of children who could not afford them.” He said the lights stayed charged for eight hours and children could tie them to their backpacks to charge up as they walked to and from school.
Once SolarBuddy deliver the lights, each Beaconhills student will receive a photo and message back from the recipient.
Beaconhills’ Head of Citizenship and Service, Clare Tuohy, said the project addressed all the College’s six Learning that Matters principles, including learning about citizenship and service, the environment and the world and other cultures. Wellbeing is also covered – and the intrinsic satisfaction of doing something for someone else.
“Research tells us that community service is one of the most effective ways to enhance personal wellbeing,” Ms Tuohy said, adding that students also learned about the personal responsibility we all have to our fellow human beings.
She said Year 8 students could also incorporate their work with SolarBuddy in their Certificates of Excellence.
While the first program has taken place at the Berwick Campus, Pakenham Campus students will also have the chance to join in next term.
SolarBuddy CEO Simon Doble (left) with student Jagvir
Beaconhills College’s Indigenous cultural learning program will feature as a case study in a ground-breaking guide for school leaders across the world, following a research study by the USA’s Harvard Graduate School of Education.
The guide will be the result of a four-year collaboration between Harvard researchers and 11 Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) principals, including Beaconhills’ Headmaster Tony Sheumack.
The Leading Learning that Matters Project is led by Harvard academics Flossie Chua, David Perkins, and Daniel Wilson. Dr Chua, who received her doctorate from Harvard University, recently returned to Beaconhills College to collect further data on the College’s leadership practices.
The Leading Learning that Matters project focuses on student learning that enables them to “grapple productively and insightfully with the learning that is going to be most useful and relevant for their future lives.” It also examines the kind of leadership practices in schools that best facilitate this.
Dr Chua has been impressed by how Beaconhills had come on board quickly with the Learning that Matters project, creating new leadership positions in the College.
In fact, Dr Chua noted that Mr Sheumack had “a very clear vision about the kind of learning that mattered for Beaconhills, a vision that he invited the teaching, administrative, and technical staff to weigh in on, so that they felt ownership of the project.”
“It may have started as `the principal’s project’,” she said, “but very quickly developed into everyone feeling strongly that it was`our project’.”
During her visits to Beaconhills, Dr Chua spent time with different year levels to document how the Learning that Matters was delivered at the ‘coalface’ and was particularly interested in how students were learning about Indigenous culture and history.
“For instance, instead of simply learning about historical events and people, the students participated in the Indigenous culture,” she said.
“During camping trips, Year 9 and 10 students learned and practised the Aboriginal tradition of deep reflection, shared learning, and storytelling.
“These senior students return to the College and their families with greater resilience and capacity for quiet reflection.”
She said in the Little Beacons Early Years program, children experienced the Aboriginal connection with the land. Teacher Lynette George introduced them to how rich resources from the land could be used to sustain human life, encouraging people to take only what is needed, instead of wasting natural resources.
Dr Chua said whatever the children became interested in during those sessions became topics for learning that were picked up in the classroom.
“By letting the children’s interests drive their learning,” Dr Chua points out, “they become empowered to follow their curiosity, and such emotional engagement will direct their cognition.”
Dr Chua explained that the Beaconhills example will be inspiring to show what the learning that matters looks like – and how leadership creates the structures for this learning to take place.
The Harvard team hopes that the guide will be a valuable tool for principals as they lead their schools into an increasingly dynamic and demanding world characterised by accelerated change.
Dr Flossie Chua with Little Beacons children during her recent visit
We have now opened applications for 2018 Beaconhills College scholarships.
Last week we welcomed our new academic, performing arts, general excellence and senior scholars to the College at a Scholars’ Tea at the Pakenham Campus.
As I told students and families during that afternoon, a scholarship is a partnership between each scholar and the College. It’s a reward for the talents that each successful applicant brings to the College and it can be an opportunity for students whose families may otherwise struggle to pay independent schooling fees. It enables students to build on their strengths and set standards to which other students can aspire.
Year 12 Performing Arts scholars Michaela Garvey (2012) and Hannah Mattingly (2014)
We had 172 applications in 2016 for academic, general excellence and performing arts scholarships, from which we offered 20 scholarship places in 2017.
Beaconhills continues to maintain a high level of integrity with our scholarship program. These are real scholarships, awarded only to the best and brightest.
Application dates for our Senior School scholarships, available only to non-Beaconhills students, will be announced later in the year, along with our new Indigenous scholarship program.
The Scholars’ Tea
The Beaconhills College community can proudly contribute around $40,000 to fighting cancer after an outstanding Relay for Life fundraising effort.
The latest tally from the Beacon of Hope team at the recent Casey Relay for Life event was more than $25,000, well in excess of the team’s $20,000 goal.
The College’s Head of Citizenship and Service, Clare Tuohy, said the combined total fundraising from the College teams at both the Cardinia and Casey events was about $40,000 – a wonderful result.
“Our Beaconhills community is passionate about giving back to the wider community and wants to be a part of a finding a cure for cancer – an illness that almost everyone has had some experience with through family, friends or the wider community,” Ms Tuohy said.
“We recognise the power of ‘team’ and how much can be achieved by a large group of people who are working together for the common good of others.”
Darcy O’Shannessy, Berwick Campus Middle School Captain, was a Relay for Life walker
Fair weather favoured the recent annual Pakenham Campus Picnic, with College families enjoying the musical entertainment, Prep ‘car race’, market stalls and sausage sizzle. The Parents and Friends Committee made a profit of nearly $500.
The sun was shining and team spirits were high at the Berwick Campus Years 5-12 House Athletics competition held this week at Casey Fields, Cranbourne.
Students turned out in a variety of imaginative costumes matched to their House colours, which added to the carnival atmosphere.
There were a number of standout achievements on the day: Amiru Chandrasena broke the triple jump record for Year 9 by 17cms – a record that stood for 17 years. And Caitlin McCormick also broke the two-year-old College discus record by four metres.
3D artwork makes Top Arts exhibition
Emergent Art Exhibition
Beaconhills celebrates its highest ATAR in 10 years
Soaking up Solar Power
Bonjour from the French Exchange
Traffic Lights for Toomuc Valley Rd
Car club gives the gift of light
Picnic celebrates health achievement
Hoop Time heroes
The devil’s in the detail
Getting smart about resources
Students on the map
Getting a HeadStart
Wellbeing in action
Importance of Child Safe legislation
New centre a celebration of original Year 9 vision
School funding model announced
Vale Nigel Creese, AM
Roger Lord awarded Life Membership
New school funding model a cause for concern
Parent input benefits BeaconNet
Welcome to term 3
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Gate C, Syme Rd, Pakenham VIC 3810