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The Calwell High School newsletter - Week 9, Term 2 2019

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Principal's Report - So long!

Dear parents and carers

This is my last newsletter message as Principal of Calwell High School. As you know, I will be retiring at the end of the term after almost 39 years working in education. As I reflect on my career working in NSW and the ACT, I have had many wonderful opportunities afforded me. The last 15 years in the ACT have been the highlight. When I made the decision in 2003 to leave NSW and seek employment in the ACT, my colleagues laughingly commented I was ‘crossing over to the dark side.’ Throughout my years in the ACT nothing could have been further from the truth. There has never been a day I have regretted since making the change.

The ACT public education system is an excellent, high performing and well-resourced system which other states and territories look to with envy. I know families can have confidence in public education in the ACT and I speak from, not only the Calwell High School perspective, but from my broad experience working in different settings across the ACT.

As I reflect on my six and a half years at Calwell, I am filled with gratitude to our students, staff, and families. Being Principal of Calwell has been the high point of my career and I want to thank you all for your support and advocacy for the school. My mantra has been to see every student thrive and succeed because every student matters. This has been quite a challenge at times and is only achieved through a strong and respectful partnership between school and families. I want to thank all our families over the years who have worked with us, supported and encouraged their children as learners and good citizens and have supported our staff in their role nurturing and educating the young people who come through the door each day.

I particularly want to thank our School Board for their guidance over the years. It has always been so affirming having your input into the direction and priorities of the school. I want to acknowledge Louise Wilson, our current Board Chair for her generosity and personal support over the last two years. Our P&C has been a wonderful group of people who have not only contributed to the resources of the school through fundraising activities over many years but have also been a valuable sounding board for ideas and feedback on how we are travelling. I will miss our meetings and thank you for your confidence in and support for our students and staff.

Most importantly, I need to acknowledge with deep and sincere gratitude, our amazing staff. There have been many achievements and positive steps taken over my time at Calwell. I know that a school is often judged by its leadership, but I equally know that, as a leader, you can achieve nothing if your staff are not with you. We have outstanding staff - teachers, admin and support staff, who consistently go the extra distance for our students – every day, every week, every year, year after year. These are the people who really deliver on our commitment that every student matters. I am regularly impressed by the care, compassion, and skill our staff demonstrate to our students, which is why I am so proud to have led the school.

Change can be difficult and choosing the ‘right’ time to retire has been a very difficult decision because I understood the impact this would have on the school and community. I have received many kind wishes from families and colleagues, but I am leaving feeling very confident about the direction of the school. We have a new school plan developed that charts the direction for the next five years. We have great staff who are very committed to our plan and our students, so, if there is a ‘best’ time to leave, it is now.

Thank you all for your contribution over time to making Calwell a great school. We can all be proud of our progress and achievements over time and I sincerely wish you all continued success in the future.

Best wishes

Bruce McCourt


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Semester 1 Reports

By the end of the term, you will receive the semester 1 report for your child. The report provides detailed information about your child’s effort and achievement throughout the semester, but importantly, it also outlined strategies for students to further enhance their achievement over the balance of the year to maximise their learning. Now is a good time for your child to revisit those strategies and continue to seek assistance from staff.

Student achievement in all subjects will continue to be reported using an A-E scale. All subjects are assessed using the nationally agreed Achievement Standard for each year group and reports will be clearly marked as Australian Curriculum subjects. Students who meet the Achievement Standard in these subjects will receive a ‘C’. Students who exceed the Achievement Standard will receive either an ‘A’ or a ‘B’.

Please contact your child's teacher if you have any concern about your child's progress and we will also have an opportunity to discuss progress further in our next Parent/Teacher meeting which will take place next term.

The great roofing project

Starting on the first day of the school holidays, a 12 month project to replace the roof at Calwell High School will begin.

The works will start at the Gym and move their way around the school. When they are working on an area of the roof, the space underneath will be off limits for staff and students. We will let students know when this affects an area they learn in and will rearrange teaching spaces and corridors accordingly. Elissa East (Business Manager) will be in daily contact with the builders. If you have any concerns or questions during the period of the roof works you are to approach Elissa and not the builders.

The workers will have their own site office which will be the old PE staff room near the Gym. The old PE staff room and the carpark near the gym will be considered the area of the builders for parking, storing tools and materials and preparing materials for the roof. Starting in the first week of the holidays this area will be out of bounds for all parking. There will be a space for Stephen (BSO) to park his car and for the canteen staff to make and take deliveries only.

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Calwell Showcase 2019

Our students are already busy rehearsing for our 2019 Arts Showcase where their skills in drama, music, and dance will be on display again!

This event is the cultural highlight of Calwell High School and tickets will go fast. Details are below!

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2019 Arts Showcase!

Wednesday, June 26th, 6:30-7:30pm

111 Casey Crescent

Calwell, ACT

It's time to dance those winter blues away by reveling in the skills of our amazing students. The Arts Showcase is a chance for our amazing students to demonstrate their learning, creativity, and passion.
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Visual Arts!

In the art room this term, Year 7 have been looking at the Elements of Art. One of our projects has been printmaking, specifically monoprinting. We used colour to guide our explorations using a simple printing press. Then using the prints we made, we used the principle of composition to make a collage.

Year 8’s have been creating Terracotta Warriors out of clay. First, they made 2 simple pinch pots for the body. They then connected legs, arms, and head. The finishing touches included armour, hats and even swords.

Year 9/10 sculpture have been busily working on a large scale installation piece which will be going up in the school in the coming weeks.

9/10 Foundation art have been working on their independent project on identity which is due in week 8. I am looking forward to seeing all their hard work in a finished piece.

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Chicago Excursion reminder

There are only 20 places left for our upcoming Arts Excursion to see Chicago in Sydney. Notes and payment are due by Wednesday 3rd July. The excursion is Wednesday 28th August and costs $100. Please contact Elissa East if you require a payment plan. Permission notes are available from the Arts staffroom. Get in quick to make sure you don’t miss out!
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As we approach the half-way mark of the year, it becomes an exciting but anxious time as the students see their first set of grades for Mathematics. This is a great time to reflect and strategise on how we can improve for next semester. As a faculty, we have seen some amazing stuff happening across all years which gives us great pride and joy. Year 7s have been working hard and have adapted well to life at high school. They participated enthusiastically in NAPLAN and we expect to see some solid improvement there. Y8s have followed on well from last year and are progressing well with the curriculum. Y9s have also been working hard in tackling some tricky algebraic concepts before stepping up to the demands of next year’s curriculum. Y10s have had a tough semester which has been heavily focussed on algebra to meet the demands of the Y10 Australian Curriculum. This is designed to set them up for their lead into college next year.

As a faculty, we urge all parents/carers to read the comments on the report cards to see where your child can improve. As a whole, it is important to devise strategies that will help them retain the knowledge well beyond just that unit of work as it will be built upon year after year. Our teachers will be setting the same focus in classrooms around the retention of knowledge and mastery of skills throughout the next semester.

So we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate those students who have been working hard and will see the fruits of their labour in their semester grade. We would also like to wish you all a safe and happy break and look forward to working with you all again in semester 2.

Please be reminded that all our teachers are happy to work with parents/carers to provide the best outcomes for your child. Please don’t hesitate to contact the maths staff by email or phone which can be found on the website. Thank you for reading and we all look forward to fostering strong partnerships with you this year.

Mr. Steven Deans

Executive of Mathematics


We are again in the process of rounding up interest in the 2019 Australian Mathematics Competition which is taking place on Thursday 1 August Notes will be distributed this week to all students interested and will also be available on the school website and linked to our Facebook page. The cost of the competition is $6.50 and can be paid at the front office payment desk. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to compete against other students from not only Australia but over 40 other countries as well. There is prize money up for grabs to those students who really excel. As they say “you got to be in it to win it”. For further information please contact Dr. Low in the Mathematics staffroom.

IT in mathematics – Mathletics and google classroom

Mathematics has a large emphasis on digital technology within the classroom which will be further enhanced with the regular use of students Chromebooks. All students will continue to have access to Mathletics. This is a fantastic program that has many great resources and questions built into the program which will be used in class and can also be used at home. All students have been issued with log-in details for access at school and home. If you would like your child’s access log-ins, please contact their class teacher for further information.

All staff have set up a Google Classroom page for every class this year. We would like to invite all parents to sign up to the class page to keep up to date with the classroom happenings and upcoming assessments. Please contact your child’s teacher for the specific class code.

Mathematics Tutoring

Free tutoring is available to all students throughout the year. This is offered during homework club on Thursday afternoons in the library from 3:05 to 4/4:30pm. This is a great opportunity for students to further consolidate work from class, catch up on homework, fill in foundation gaps and work on assignments/Mathletics etc. Alternatively, the Maths staff are always approachable for questions during break times, so students please feel free to drop by and say hi.

Maths quote of the day:

“We will always have STEM with us. Some things will drop out of the public eye and will go away, but there will always be science, engineering, and technology. And there will always, always be mathematics.” - Katherine Johnson

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The first STUDENT with the correct answer to Mr. Deans in the Maths Staffroom will have access to their amazing lolly jar!
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Science, Digital Technologies and Food Technologies

Each newsletter we would like to introduce a member of the Science and Technologies team. In this newsletter we are starting off with Courteney Rosenfeld. Courteney came to us in 2017 as the Food Technologies and Catering teacher. She had previously worked at St Clare’s College and in the hospitality industry. As our Catering and Hospitality teacher Courteney delivers our VET certificates and also teaches Digital Tech. Many of you would know Courteney as Ms May, however at the end of term one she married her (now) lovely husband and is now Courteney Rosenfeld. Her new email is Courteney.rosenfeld@ed.act.edu.au.

We have quite a number of upcoming events and opportunities in the Science and Technologies (Digital and Food) area.

Science and Technologies Extension Program

We have sent acceptance emails to our applicants for the STEx Program (the Science and Technologies Extension Program). If your child applied and you have not yet received an email, please check the account you gave on the application form or contact Stacey.griffiths@ed.act.edu.au. The first major event will be happening on Friday week 7. Students are participating in a full day of Science and Digital Technologies activities at school. We have a visit from the Reptile Zoo, will be exploding Gummy Bears, titrating rainbow acid and base reactions, growing chemical gardens, building Raspberry Pis, playing with Sphero robots and will starting planning the students CREST awards. We may even be dissecting a rat or two (by opt in only).

Students will then be working with the SciTech team once a week to continue working on their CREST project and to explore more extension topics of their interest in the coming weeks.

In Term 3 and 4 we will be heading out on a number of excursions including;

  • National Zoo and Aquarium
  • Science Week challenges
  • Chemistry and Physics competitions
  • RoboGals
  • 3M Young Scientist Challenge
  • Australian STEM Video Game Challenge
  • Brain Break
  • Luna Park OR Jamberoo (Extension Program students only)
  • Chisholm STEM Centre (Virtual Reality and Robotics challenges)

If your child did not apply and is wanting a place in the program, please email Stacey.griffiths@ed.act.edu.au and your child can be placed on the waitlist.

Food Technologies

Our amazing senior Food Technologies classes continue to wow us all with their incredible catering skills. They provided the delicious food at Open Night, Parent/Teacher night and at weekly breakfast cafes (for staff). If your child is interested in an incredible opportunity to attain a Certificate I or II in Catering and Hospitality please see Ms Rosenfeld to talk about Semester 2 course selections. Calwell High School is the only school in the Tuggeranong Network where students can work towards both certificates.

Digital Technologies – eSports

In Semester 2 students who have successfully completed eSports (in 2018 or S1 2019) may choose eSports 2 as a course option. Students who are successful in getting a position in this course will organise and participate in an eSports league across the Tuggeranong Network. They will work collaboratively and competitively to build this league whilst playing in a league (and trial games) against schools offering similar courses in Norway, Sweden, and South Korea. If you have any questions please contact Stacey.griffiths@ed.act.edu.au.

There’s been a murder…… kind of

Some students may have come home talking about the murder crime scene that was being investigated in the library. It’s that time of year again when our Senior Science students who are taking the Forensics course are putting their skills to the test as they solve the murder of our beloved Principal, Mr. McCourt. You may still see him from time to time at the front office, but we have assured students that this is Ghost McCourt and he cannot give them any clues in determining who killed him! This is a fun event that students are excited to be taking part in. We will keep you informed of any progress in the case.

Science Electives - an important reminder!

A reminder that Science elective choices are now closed (as of Monday week 8 @ 9 am). Students will be able to check what class they have been placed into and may request a change in line with the dates below.

Tuesday week 7: Handbook handed out and process explained in Science classes and Assembly

Online selection opens

Monday week 8 (9am) Online selection link closes

Tuesday week 8: Classes created by Science team (every effort is made to give students 1st preferences)

Wednesday week 8: Class lists published and posted in the Science corridor for checking

Monday week 9: All class change requests must be received by Ms. Griffiths*

Monday week 10: Finalised class lists are placed onto rolls ready for Semester 2. No changes can be made after this point.

*Students who wish to change need to see Ms. Griffiths in the Science and Technologies staff room. They will be required to complete a Science class change form which needs to be signed by their parent/carer. Alternatively, parents/carers may email stacey.griffiths@ed.act.edu.au with the information below.

Student name:

Year group:

Class they wish to change into:

Reason for the request:

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Once again we have had a very busy term with a number of sports heading out for various competitions. Although we have not seen any silverware this term, all teams have had some great success stories and had an even better time at these events.

In the HPE classes, we have some wonderful participation and enthusiasm for the curriculum. We would like to encourage all students to continue to show this level of commitment into next semester. As always we encourage students to make movement and healthy living a part of their everyday lives and instill in them that healthy living is a lifestyle and lifetime choice, not exclusive to HPE classes or the sporting field.

Next semester we have a number of sporting opportunities coming up with teams in Netball, Football (Soccer), Touch Football, Regional Athletics, Ultimate Frisbee, Cricket and AFL. Please see Mr. Jones or sign up on the sheets on the notice board outside the HPE staffroom.

So until next semester we wish you all a safe and well-earned break and look forward to more sporting prowess in term 3.

Warm regards,

Steven Deans

Executive of Health and Physical Education

Calwell Cross Country

On Friday the 3rd of May, Calwell held its Cross Country Carnival for 2019. The day was a success, with many participants either walking and running the track. The course was three kilometres in distance and covered the surrounds of the school and playing fields in the Calwell suburb. We had great times recorded in for each age group who later went onto represent the school at the Southside Cross Country. The fastest in each age group were announced as age champions in assembly this term.

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Girls 9s Rugby League

On Thursday 20th June, 14 girls represented Calwell High School at the NRL Girls Rugby League 9’s day at Phillip Park. The girls’ represented the school with pride; playing with heart and determination. The day started with a dominant performance against Amaroo; winning 5-1. With only 3 teams in our pool, the team needed to win their next game against Kingsford Smith School. It was an incredibly hard-fought match, with big hits left, right and centre. We went try for try with them, until they scored in the last minute and we went down by one. With no semi-finals being played, we met Campbell High School in the third-place play-off. Again, an intense game, with repeat tackles and plenty of line breaks. With each team going try for try, the game resulted in a draw.

Well done to all the girls who participated and represented the school with dignity and determination. I’d also like to acknowledge Will Byers who came along on the day and coached the girls through their games. His effort and knowledge was greatly appreciated.

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Boys 9s Rugby League

Thursday, 13th June, twelve year 9 and 10 boys made their way out to Phillip to play in the ACT Schools Rugby League 9’s competition. Several of our Calwell students had prior experience in playing a contact sport, with four of our players giving Rugby League ago for the first time.

The boys played St Edmund’s in their first game and played well. With defence our biggest aspect of training, the Calwell boys were able to bring down the Eddies boys in the middle of the field. Unfortunately, St Edmund’s had quick outside backs that caused us trouble out wide. The boys ended up losing four tries to nil. Ethan Carter needed special attention by the first aid officer after coping an accidental boot to the face, cutting down the game clock.

We went on to play John Paul, Amaroo, and Wanniassa where injuries were the common theme of the day. By our last game went down to nine players where the boy’s fitness would be tested. We weren’t able to come away from the day with a win but the spirit the boys displayed was the highlight of the day.

The boys showed great determination and sportsmanship throughout each game and all enjoyed the team environment. Manoah Billerwell, Heka Ulberg and Lachlan Kennedy were fantastic in each game; making their tackles, scoring tries and playing tough.

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Digital Technologies team are after old Smartphones - can you help?

Our Digital Technologies junior classes are running Sphero robots at the moment and into Semester 2. Unfortunately, they require an app to run and not all our students have a mobile phone. If you have an old smartphone sitting in a drawer at home, or one that you were thinking of putting in the recycling boxes at a phone store, we would love to borrow it for our class. We are happy to return it at the end of the year or to recycle it for you if you don’t want it back. We can use any kind of phone as long as it can install apps.

Support is still available from the Smith Family

Could you benefit from a saving plan that matches your investment dollar for dollar if it is going to be used for educational purposes? See the ad below for more details.
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Road Ready

In the last week of this term, our Year 10 students have been invited to take part in their Road Ready training. Road Ready is an ACT Government program designed to give all potential road users the shared knowledge and understanding required to be responsible and respectful drivers and is a prerequisite for gaining a learners permit.

Our trained teachers will take the students through the program (which is now online) over Wednesday and Thursday with Friday dedicated to taking the required test. Good luck Year 10!

Mid Winter Nights @ Questacon

Questacon is opening its doors again this winter for special nighttime attendance. If you haven't been, it's not just Questacon at night, it is food stalls, performances and special tours of the complex!
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Help the school and have a great dinner!

The Southern Cross Club at Tuggeranong has a great program where club members can link their membership cards to a non-profit and community organisation. Any time a member spends money at the club, they will pass a percentage of that cost on.

Our amazing P&C has negotiated that our school is listed as one of the deserving non-profit organisations. So if you are a member, or thinking about becoming one have your card linked to our school and you can enjoy a great meal and know that you are supporting our wonderful school. All you need to do is go to the front counter and ask the team at the club and it will be automatic from that point on.

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