May 13, 2022

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Principal's Message


Notices from the Deputy Principal

Bionics Institute Girls in STEM Mentoring Program

Learning Japanese

Year 12 Biology

Year 9 Mock Interviews

Representing the SCSA in the VSAC Swimming Championship

Principal's Reading Challenge Pizza Lunch!

Year 7 Writing Competition

SEQTA Update for Families

Notification of Absences

Student Free and Independent Learning Days

Drop off and Pick up Safety

Academic Excellence Scholarships

Year 7 2024 Enrolment Dates

NCCD and Supporting Students with Disability

Principal's Message

Laudato Si Week

In Australia, Laudato Si week will be acknowledged from 16 May to 24 May. It encourages us to focus specifically on Pope Francis’ Encyclical and the seven goals that have been established as part of the Laudato Si Action Platform. There is a focus on head, heart and hand, as we consider what we must learn (head), and the transformation of heart necessary to support lasting action (hand) that will lead to change.

The seven goals that have been established as part of the Laudato Si Action Platform are:

Goal 1: The Cry of the Earth

Goal 2: The Cry of the Poor

Goal 3: Ecological Economics

Goal 4: Adoption of Sustainable Lifestyles

Goal 5: Ecological Education

Goal 6: Ecological Spirituality

Goal 7: Community Resilience and Empowerment

St Columba’s College has signed up to the Laudato Si Action Platform. We have completed our self-assessment, and are preparing to complete our self-reflection. We have a commitment to be a sustainable community because we understand that the Earth is a gift from God to be nurtured, that we are an integral element of this gift and we cannot separate ourselves from it. In caring for our common home, we have a care for all of humanity and we extend our values of love, justice, compassion and hope to living in right relationship with the planet and all of its inhabitants.

Reflections and activities over the week will encourage us to consider individual and collective actions that will support our contribution to meeting the Laudato Si Goals.

Staff Retreat Days

As we mark this very special year in the life of the College, the St Columba’s College staff will be on retreat next Thursday and Friday 19 and 20 May. Thursday 19 May will be an Independent Learning day; students will be able to access learning material online. We would encourage students to use Friday 20 May for revision and study, especially our Year 9 to 11 students who will soon be sitting their mid-year exams.

The focus of the retreat will be on sustaining and nurturing the connection to our Catholic identity and mission. Fr Michael Trainor will be our retreat facilitator as we explore the Gospel messages and how they are relevant to our work today. We will also hear from Sr Cathy Meese, a Sister of Charity currently working in prison ministry and Dr Dan Fleming, who works in ethics and formation with St Vincent’s Health Australia. We look forward to a wonderful staff community event, especially in light of the previous two years that have limited our opportunities for staff formation and community building.


Notices from the Deputy Principal

Mother’s Day High Tea

Our annual Mother’s Day High Tea was held on Saturday 7 May. Thank you to the 140 mothers and daughters who attended this special event. It was wonderful to acknowledge and celebrate the amazing women in our students’ lives.

We were thrilled to partner with Amazing Grace, who catered our event – the food was amazing! They also provided everything our students needed to create a beautiful posy for their mums.

Parent Education Program – Sharon Torpey from Drug Education Australia

As part of our Parent Education Program, we will be hosting a session entitled, “Providing Drug Education through a Safety Lens” on Tuesday 17 May. Sharon Torpey, our guest speaker, is the Founder and Director of Drug Education Australia which is a leading provider of high quality, factual drug education. We highly recommend this event to our parents.

The session will be held in the Theatrette. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP using this link:

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday.

St. Columba’s Day – Thursday 16 June

This year we have an amazing opportunity to celebrate St Columba’s Day as a whole school group. The Student Executive is working very hard with staff to organise a meaningful and fun-filled day for students and staff.

The structure of the day will be as follows:

8:35am – 10:20amStudents meet at the river near Aberfeldie Park

“Walking for the Margins”

(monies raised for Sisters of Charity)

10:20am – 10:30amHouse Group
10:30am – 11:00amSetting up stalls/food/activities
11:00am – 2:00pmCarnival

Our theme of going to the margins is being embraced by students and staff alike with a special walk on the morning of our celebration day. The first Sisters of Charity were walkers! They walked to meet people in their homes, work places, on the street and in prison. In this journeying with others they become more beloved among the community and have left us with a legacy that calls us to action.

We are asking families to donate what you can between $10 – $50 through the school shop with all money going to work inspired by the Sisters. Students are encouraged to seek sponsorship for this money or work for these funds if they are able.

In donating towards this event we can each participate in fundraising as ministry, as Henry Nouwen calls it. This act of financial support is investing in the good works of the Sisters through the resources that God has given you – your energy, your prayers and financial resources. In providing for others we hope to continue the legacy of Mary Aikenhead and the Sisters of Charity Australia.

If the weather is inclement, the community will be advised early on that morning. In the event of this, students will be advised to arrive at school by 10.15am in time for House Group. We understand that some students may not be able to complete the walk. If this is the case for your child, you will be provided with an exemption form to complete.

More details will follow in a letter home to families. The contents of the letter will also be shared with students via email.

We are looking forward to a wonderful celebration!

Parent Teacher Interviews

Thank you to the 187 parents who took the time to provide us with feedback about our recent two days of Virtual Interviews. Your feedback is invaluable to us as we strive to improve our engagement and communication with our parent partners.

Overwhelmingly, these parents were very positive in their feedback about their experiences. Here is a snapshot of the collated results:

Parents also provided us with additional feedback in the comment section which we will take into consideration in the planning of our future Parent Teacher Interview sessions.

Bionics Institute Girls in STEM Mentoring Program

The Bionics Institute is an internationally recognised, independent medical research institute that solves medical challenges with technology. The institute leads the world in the research and development of innovative medical devices and therapies to improve human health. The multidisciplinary team comprises world-class scientists, engineers and researchers. The laboratories are located in St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne.

The institute works to transform the lives of people with a range of conditions, including hearing impairment, vision loss, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.

The Bionics Institute has developed a Girls in STEM 2022 Mentoring Program for female secondary school students from year 10 to 11. During the program, students will get the opportunity to learn from 12 incredible mentors who work at either the Bionics Institute or Seer Medical. They will also get the opportunity to learn about STEM fields ranging from hearing research to software engineering. The students participating in the program this year are Cailey Finalyson, Jaz Davis, Alexia Kyriacou, Sarah Truccolo, Riley Firman and Emma Sheridan.

To begin the program, students were invited to meet their mentors at the Bionics Institute on Friday 6th May.

Student Reflection:

On Friday 6th May, we were given the opportunity to  visit the Bionics Institute for the opening of this year’s STEM Mentoring Program. This relatively new program includes students from other all-girls Colleges from around the state. On this day we met our mentors and explored the labs as well as areas that the scientists at the Bionics Institute research for the treatment of a number of conditions.

Introducing our mentors! 

Niki Gunawardene from the hearing therapeutics team is mentoring Jaz and Cailey. Victoria McLeod also from the hearing therapeutics team is mentoring Riley and Sarah. Mehrnaz Shoushtarian and Michelle Bravo from the tinnitus team are mentoring Alexia and Emma

Cailey Finlayson, Year 10

Learning Japanese

The Year 10 and 11 Japanese students have been learning about special events in Japan. During Term 1 they had the opportunity to wear a traditional Japanese summer kimono – called a yukata. This involved a lesson with our Language Assistant, Azusa, on how to wear the yukata correctly, and how to tie the obi (sash).

Year 12 Japanese students have been studying ‘Kawaii Culture’ (the culture of cute) and the relevance of Japanese traditions in modern society. They learnt about the cultural significance of ‘omotenashi’ – Japanese-style hospitality. As part of ‘omotenashi’, food samples are commonly displayed in many restaurant windows in Japan, making dining out accessible even for non-Japanese speakers. As part of an immersion lesson, the Year 12 students designed and create their own miniature food samples.

Year 12 Biology

This week students in Year 12 Biology undertook the challenge of Outcome 3.  This task requires students to work collaboratively to design and conduct a scientific investigation related to cellular processes.  In 2022 students undertook an investigation related to Cellular Respiration.

All students will present their aim, methodology and methods, results, discussion and a conclusion in a scientific poster. 

Representing the SCSA in the VSAC Swimming Championship

On Monday, 9 May, Emily Tulloch represented the Secondary Catholic Sports Association in the VSAC Swimming Championship at the Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre.  After representing the College in the SCSA Swimming Competition in term one Emily qualified to compete in 4 races at the VSAC Swimming Championship.  We congratulate Emily on coming 2nd in the 50m backstroke.
Congratulations Emily!

Principal's Reading Challenge Pizza Lunch!

After delays caused by Covid in 2021, the De Lacy house students who successfully completed the Principal’s Reading Challenge FINALLY got to enjoy the spoils of their success – a Pizza Lunch hosted by Library staff. Ava and Isabella Curran, Kiran Nasir and Reyziah Pama enjoyed their pizza selections. It was wonderful to finally be able to celebrate their success with their prize.
You too could be in the running for this prize – simply by signing up for this year’s Principal’s Reading Challenge! If you complete the Challenge, you go into the draw for a number of prizes – the main prize being said Pizza Lunch! What have you got to lose?
If you’ve already signed up for 2022 – great stuff…but if you haven’t yet and you also enjoy pizza (and hopefully reading!), pop in and see the Library staff, who can get you registered and into the Challenge! We hope to see you soon!

Year 7 Writing Competition

Thank you to the 18 Year 7 students who entered the competition this year, based on Term 1 experiences.
I look forward to wading through these shortly and will announce winners as soon as I can.

SEQTA Update for Families

SEQTA Engage is now up and running with many different features in place for our families. Teachers use SEQTA for all scored assessments, and a number of staff have started using it to track classwork and lessons. As the year progresses more of these will become available for students and families to view. Additionally, all past reports are now available to download, along with the most recent progress report for Term One.
We are currently working on how parents can view student attendance. One way is to go to the Timetable tab, select the date and click on the subjects. You will see either a tick for present, or other symbols depending on what happened during the day. Most  commonly used are:

If you hover over the symbol, it will often provide additional information.

Notification of Absences

If your daughter is absent, needs to leave early or attend a medical appointment, our preference is that you use the email below:

  • Email student reception before 9am on the day of absence using this email address:
    • include student full name, House Group, date of absence and reason for absence
    • Absentee Line on 9331 0648
Please note: If the absence email is sent after 9am, a notification of absence SMS may be received.

Student Free and Independent Learning Days

Please find below our Student Free Days and Independent Learning Days for the remainder of 2022:

Student free days are as follows:
20 May
10 June
31 October
21 November

Independent learning days where students will learn from home:
19 May
1 August
10 August

Academic Excellence Scholarships

St Columba’s College is offering Academic Excellence Scholarships for students entering Year 7 2024 as well as Year 9 and Year 11 in 2023. Students are encouraged to take up this opportunity and will receive a report of their achievement levels for each area tested. Further details and online registration are available on the College website.

Registration closing date is Friday15 July 2022

Scholarship testing date is Saturday 23 July 2022

Please note the College does not have practise papers for the testing as this is conducted by an external organisation, Academic Assessment Services.

Year 7 2024 Enrolment Dates

Do you have a daughter currently in Grade 5 and wish to enrol her at St Columba’s College? If so, please take note of the following enrolment dates for Year 7 2024:

  • Applications for Enrolment close Friday 19 August 2022
  • Offers of Enrolment will be mailed out Friday 21 October 2022
  • Offers of Enrolment to be accepted/declined by Friday 11 November 2022

Online applications are open for Year 7 2024 can be accessed here. Please ensure you submit an application form for your daughter even if you already have a daughter at the College.

NCCD and Supporting Students with Disability

The NCCD is an annual collection of information about Australian school students with disabilities. The NCCD enables schools, education authorities and governments to better understand the needs of students with disabilities and how they can be best supported at school.

As a parent, guardian or carer, what do I need to know?

The Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD) is a yearly count of students by all Australian schools across the country. The aim of the NCCD is to provide the Australian Government with information about the number of students with disability in Australian schools and the type of adjustments they need in order to access and participate in education on the same basis as other students. From 2018, the NCCD will be used by the Australian Government to inform funding for schools, known as the ‘student with disability loading’.

If you are a parent, guardian or carer of a child with disability who requires ongoing adjustments at school, a teacher or another school staff member will consult with you to understand your child’s needs. This collaborative approach ensures the most appropriate adjustments are chosen to support your child’s learning and participation at school. In some cases, an individual education plan (IEP) or personal learning plan (PLP) may be developed to document specific educational goals and to review your child’s progress over time.

Access the NCCD fact sheet here.