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30-34 Toomuc Valley Rd, Pakenham VIC 3810
92 Kangan Dr, Berwick VIC 3806
Learning that Matters
Beaconhills College is committed to developing a much stronger learning culture around Indigenous education.
Our history did not begin with the settlement of white Australia. But the history I learned at school was very different from the learning we are now embedding in our curriculum – led by our Head of Indigenous Initiatives Lynette George – across all year levels. It’s a work in progress. And we still have much to learn.
The College has a small number of students who identify as Indigenous, but we recognise the big need for all students to learn more about the stories and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
I am delighted that Little Beacons recently received an $82,000 State Government grant over four years for Aboriginal language holders to deliver the Early Childhood Language Program. This means children in our kindergarten program will learn about the Woi wurrung language when they are out on Country as part of their Early Explorers program. It’s an exciting initiative.
We value our ongoing connections with Wurundjeri elder Murrundindi as well as Indigenous education provider Indigicate. Beaconhills also offers annual Wominjeka Indigenous scholarships to provide educational support to students of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent.
Pictured are some of our Junior School students at the Berwick Campus last Friday enjoying a range of activities for their Connecting to Country Day.
New Campus Principal appointed at Beaconhills College Berwick
Beaconhills College has announced Sam Watson as the new Berwick Campus Principal from 2020.
Mr Watson’s appointment marks the end of a successful era of leadership for Jenny Williams, who was the Berwick Campus’ founding Principal and has witnessed the enormous development of the campus and local community over the past 17 years.
Mr Watson is current Head of Senior School at the College’s Pakenham Campus. While Mrs Williams will step down from the Principal’s role, she will continue to work for the school in the area of staff development/key projects.
Describing himself as an “approachable leader” who enjoys being actively involved in the College community, Mr Watson said was incredibly proud to take on the new job.
He believes it’s important for educators to constantly evolve their practice, mindful of the skills most important for students now and into the future.
“Technology continues to develop at an incredible pace, which gives our students some amazing learning opportunities, however we must continue to educate our students about appropriate use of technology,” Mr Watson said.
“Mental health also continues to be a challenge for many members of our community. I hope to see us continue to have open conversations about wellbeing and provide both our staff and students with the necessary skills and confidence to enhance their wellbeing.”
Mr Watson has taught Physical Education to most year levels, helping him understand the importance of each section of the College and “what makes our school special”.
“I truly believe in Beaconhills College and I am excited by the opportunities we continue to provide our community.”
Beaconhills opened its Berwick Campus in 2003 with just 346 students. Now student numbers have reached nearly 1500 in what has become a thriving, modern Prep-Year 12 campus, with the Little Beacons Learning Centre due to open on the site in 2020.
Mrs Williams has seen huge change over that time, not just on the campus, but in the local community and educational landscape.
She takes pride in having witnessed the graduation of the foundation students after 13 years of education, and talks of the ongoing connectedness to families and foundation students 18 years later.
“Beaconhills is a caring community and families are always willing to support the College in many different ways, from the early days of fundraising for chairs and curtains for the Performing Arts Hall, to donating to global and community projects,” Mrs Williams said.
From the campus inception, Mrs Williams helped forge links with schools in the Hatolia district of East Timor and the Casey-based Friends of Ermera charity group, so that the Berwick Campus had global connection. This relationship is still strong today. Mrs Williams has accompanied a number of student tours to visit and volunteer in the East Timor schools.
Watching students leave the College as well-rounded, compassionate, respectful and ‘global’ young adults has been her great source of pride.
“It has been a pleasure to be a part of the growth and development of Beaconhills College’s second campus in Berwick,” she said.
Beaconhills College has two new furry staff members, therapy dogs Smudgee and Kai.
Dachshund Smudgee works with Berwick Campus Counsellor Jane Negus, while Kai – a pointer cross greyhound – is helping out Pakenham Campus Counsellor Amanda Harris.
Not surprisingly, the canine counsellors are in high demand for pats when they’re out in the school yard, but their work has a serious side.
Research has shown that therapy dogs have many positive benefits. Not only do they lift mood and lower anxiety, but can help boost confidence and self-esteem and lower children’s aggression and hyperactivity. Students can groom, dress the dogs and even brush their teeth.
Both dogs have graduated from professional therapy training and have good grades for subjects such as obedience, manners and socialisation.
The therapy dogs work in the counselling rooms but also visit classrooms if requested. For some children, it’s an opportunity to learn how to correctly approach and handle dogs.
The two counsellors are already observing the benefits the therapy dogs bring to counselling sessions and how the dogs can sense when a student is sad or upset.
“The children’s faces just light up when they see Kai,” Ms Harris said. “It’s the most amazing thing, he will just go straight over and sit with the student and stay there. It’s quite beautiful actually.”
Ms Negus agreed that the dogs had an uncanny ability to “pick up on children’s emotions” and their presence was an excellent ice-breaker to conversations.
“It’s an unconditional love. For children with more serious anxieties, even just being able to walk Smudgee from the car into the school can be helpful.”
Smudgee and Kai are currently working three days a week. They always wear their vests and have their working harnesses on whenever they’re out in the yard or working with children. They must have their licences renewed annually.
Students recently returned to the College after shredding Mt Hotham slopes on the annual Beaconhills snow sports development weekend. This was a fantastic opportunity for students practice skills and gain confidence in skiing and snow boarding, while meeting new people.
Beaconhills College adopted a new Constitution at its May 2019 Annual General Meeting – an important milestone in the school’s history.
The new Constitution provides a more suitable governance structure while retaining the College’s heritage and continuing Christian ethos.
As a community school, we have many families actively contributing to the rich and varied life of the College, from volunteering in classrooms through to participating in our many service programs.
This Constitutional change presents an opportunity for parents or members of the wider community to be involved in the strategic future direction of the College. We need members of governance with a varied range of skills and interests.
If you would like to learn more, you are invited to attend a Governance Information Seminar at the College’s Pakenham Campus (Global Beacons Centre) from 7-8pm on Tuesday 23 July. RSVP by COB Friday 19 July to Melanie.Thompson@beaconhills.vic.edu.au if you would like to attend.
Beaconhills College’s Equestrian Captain Shaylyn McNeill has won both the Medium and Advanced Dressage at the Horseland Interschool Combined Training and Dressage Day at Boneo Park last Friday. Great job Shaylyn!
That’s much how much pasta, tinned tomatoes and flour the Beaconhills community has donated to charity FareShare’s annual Feed Melbourne Appeal in May and June. Thank you! Your donation will help support those struggling to put food on the table this winter.
FareShare says the College community donations will now be made into meals for distribution, with children and teenagers now accounting for a quarter of those seeking help.
The campaign is not over yet. Beaconhills College’s Head of Citizenship and Service, Clare Tuohy, said more donations were still on the way early in term 3, so stay tuned for the final tally.
Three Beaconhills College students returned home with medals from the Oceania Athletics Championships held 25-28 June in Townsville.
Congratulations to Pakenham Campus students Sophie Coughlin (pictured) and Cam deBruin, as well as Berwick’s Amiru Chandrasena for their outstanding results:
Cam deBruin –1st Men’s U20 200m (21.50sec), 1st Men’s U20 4x100m and 2nd Men’s U20 100m (10.79sec).
Sophie Coughlin – 3rd Women’s U18 2000m Steeplechase (7:35mins)
Amiru Chandrasena – 1st Men’s U18 Long Jump (7.33m).
Beaconhills’ combined campus chess team played some competitive chess last term at the annual Association of Co-educational Schools (ACS) tournament held at Thomas Carr College in Tarneit.
The team finished a credible fourth, but were excited to win three out of six games against the eventual first-placed team, St Leonards.
Player of the day was Aryan Mittal, winning five games, while Sam Sail, Cooper Lambert and Taiji Ogawa all had three wins.
Alumni wins Australian Academy of Science award
Little Beacons Berwick completes Achievement Program
R U OK? Day
Zoe takes on the beanie challenge
Early Childhood Educators’ Day
ACS Chess Tournament 2020
Great Boarding House Bake Off
Seizure alert dog success for teacher’s family
100 days of school
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day
A sobering story for Year 9s
Beaconhills runs around Australia
7 key questions to ask when choosing a school
The importance of regular school attendance
Combatting racism starts with education
Get ready for a return to school
Supporting our community through crisis
Term 2, with a difference
Online Learning to continue into term 2
Support for health care workers
From humble beginnings
Welcome to 2020
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Gate C, Syme Rd, Pakenham VIC 3810