Dear Parent / Carer,
I again welcome all of our returning families to the 2022 school year, and hope the holiday period has been a pleasant one that has allowed all members of your family to recharge for 2022. I would like to especially welcome our new families who have a child commencing at the college for the first time in 2022. You can feel confident that your choice in joining the Lalor Secondary College community is a positive one for your child. The schools improvement journey has seen our student culture develop into a positive one that is supported by well-established and proven programs, our welcoming and supportive environment and our history of excellent results.
The last two Covid years have had a deep impact on our communities, including the staff and students of our college. 2021 required us to be resilient and anchor our community to routine and predictability. This was difficult considering the unpredictable circumstances we faced and the changing parameters in which we worked. As we move into the beginning of the school year we are still facing an uncertain future that will become clearer as we return to the classroom. The Victorian Government announced some strategies to address the concerns of staff, students and parents on Sunday the 23rd of January, however at the time of writing this letter no detail was yet provided on the finer details. I can inform all members of our community that we have received 53 air purifiers that will be placed in classrooms and staff areas prior to the commencement of the school year which will support the ventilation of classrooms. I will communicate more detail around the government announcements when I have the detail.
As a community there are a number of things we can do to keep everyone safe. These include:
- Wearing masks when directed and as required. For our school this will be a requirement for all students and staff when indoors.
- Remaining at home if any symptoms develop and are identified.
- Getting vaccinated.
Rapid Antigen Tests – when the school receives the RAT’s we will communicate to all parents the process of how to collect these from the college.
Face Mask Exemptions – any student who meets the criteria and has a lawful reason for not wearing a face mask including students who are unable to wear a face mask due to the nature of their disability, medical or mental health condition, must have a parent provide their approval in writing to the general office.
2022 will also offer our community many reasons to celebrate. Our school was allocated $26 million dollars at the end of 2020 to upgrade and modernise our facilities. This means you will see some substantial changes to the facilities in the school over the next two years. This also means that there will be some disruptions to the usual operations of the college while the construction takes place. This has already started with the following changes:
- The 100’s (multi-story building) demolition will be finished at the end of February. Construction on the redevelopment of this building will commence in April.
- Construction on the new double court gymnasium / Food technology building will commence this year, and will have little impact on the operations of the college as it will be built on the back oval separate to the existing buildings.
The construction of the new Performing Arts building and new Technology building will commence once the new gymnasium is complete. The college will see many of the existing buildings removed as the new buildings take shape and replaced by new green spaces around the college. More information will be provided to parents through the newsletter throughout the year.
The class of 2021 experienced a year that was full of challenges under extremely difficult circumstances. They worked hard, often in environments that made study difficult in already trying conditions. However, we are pleased to see the median study score return to the higher level of 28 which is more reflective of the efforts of our students. We were able to celebrate at the Graduation evening at the end of 2021 with the Year 12 students and their parents. We celebrated some fantastic results with more students receiving ATAR’s over 90 than for the past 6 years. The percentage of scores over 40 was 3.1% which means that Lalor Secondary College returned to achieving the best VCE results for any secondary school within the Whittlesea region. This is an amazing effort considering the challenges our Year 12 students faced over the past two years.
The 2021 school year proved to be challenging, again interrupted via the global pandemic. The school spent a lot of time in remote learning and many of our students were again asked to adapt and be flexible moving in and out of different learning models. After two years of delivering a teaching and learning program to students from Years 7 to 12 you can feel confident that no matter the circumstances faced throughout 2022 Lalor Secondary College will provide continuity of learning to your child as proven through the VCE results outlined above.
One of our priorities throughout 2022 is to ensure that any student who has not engaged with the school program or faced challenges with their learning program over the past two years is given the opportunity to catch up with their learning. This will be achieved through a number of targeted initiatives throughout 2022 that include:
- Tutor program – the school has employed a number of tutors to assist in the areas of Maths and English. The tutors will work in classrooms, and team teach with classroom teachers enabling more targeted assistance to those students who require it.
- Boost Program – the Boost program assists students with their literacy skills. These additional sessions that can be in student groups or individual students are used to boost student capacity to excel in English.
- Reading Program – Years 7 and 8 will undertake a targeted reading program that is tailored to the ability of every student. The Lexile program will determine each child’s reading level and will inform our English teachers of individual student reading ability within their classes. Students will then be provided the opportunity for targeted differentiated learning within classes.
- Year 7 Orientation Program – All Year 7 students at Lalor Secondary College will be involved in a week of Orientation for their first week of school. This is important for setting the culture of the school, and for providing an environment where the health and wellbeing of the students is the priority, as well as ensuring a smooth transition into secondary school after the past 2 years.
- Year 9 and 10 Orientation Program – The past two years have been difficult for our middle school students, As a result the school will run a two day return to school program to reinforce what Wellbeing means for every child and the important aspects that support strong a child to flourish.
2022 is the 4th year of the schools strategic plan, and follows two years that have made it difficult to embed the key improvement strategies into daily practice. This means 2022 will be a year of review that will determine the focus of the college for the next 4 years. This will involve a school reviewer assigned from the Department of Education who will then engage with staff, students and parents to assess the progress of the college. Parents will be invited to contribute to this process in Term 2 and I ask any parent interested to please get involved.
The schools focus remains on the Teaching and Learning Framework being implemented within the school which has seen more consistency in the delivery of key teaching strategies such as Learning Intentions, Success Criteria and Goal Reviews. In 2022 the Professional Learning Communities structure that has been in place allowing teachers to collaborate remains in place and will become embedded into teacher practice. The school will provide a significant amount of time for all staff to review assessment against the Victorian Curriculum and develop syllabus that focuses on skill development for all students.
Lalor Secondary College continues to highlight the importance of building strong relationships between teachers and students within the college. This is the fourth year that staff will focus on the content from the Berry Street Educational Model. The BSEM approach is through Trauma Informed Positive Education ™ (TIPE) lens that links; approaches addressed in trauma-informed classrooms (healing) with; proven positive psychology interventions (growth).
These five areas are pedagogical lenses with each domain reflecting our durable understandings and evidence based practice which inform daily classroom learning. The schools processes for teaching and learning, student management and our daily routines have been reviewed to incorporate these learnings. In 2020 the school implemented a pastoral care program delivered to students in Years Seven and Eight, based around the key ideas and themes for each domain. This is a key improvement strategy of the school moving forward and something parents and students will become more familiar with as the years progress.
In keeping with our commitment to the continuous improvement of student performance and learning outcomes, Lalor Secondary College continues with its Framework for Assessment and Reporting incorporating the provision of online continuous and end of semester reports in 2022. The school has now established the majority of communication onto Compass which is the schools primary source of communication. All parents must ensure that any change of contact details with regard to address, home phone numbers, mobile phone numbers and email addresses are provided to the school as soon as the changes occur. This will minimise the risk of important information being missed by families. It is also obviously important as we may need to contact parents or guardians at times to provide support, or in cases of possible emergencies. Hence, I ask that you keep the school informed, through Kayla Dugdale on 9463 7349, our student enrolment administrator, of any changes that occur to contact details.
The school takes the responsibility of providing a safe and secure environment for all students very seriously. Organisations providing services or facilities specifically for children in Victoria were required to meet Child Safe Standards from 1 January 2017. As part of meeting this requirement the school developed a Child Safe Policy in 2016 to ensure it clearly outlined how it meets the guidelines outlined in the legislation passed by the Victorian Government. This policy is available on the school’s website and are all of the schools policies. All of the policies are available on the school website found at the following link – http://www.lalorsc.vic.edu.au/ Two policies that I ask all parents to become familiar with are the Uniform Policy and the Student Code of Behaviour. These are working documents that are constantly referred to and consistently enforced across the school by all staff. I ask that all parents support the content of these documents, as these documents help provide a calm environment for all students and staff that allows the teaching and learning within the school to be delivered in the manner it was intended. I therefore ask parents to ensure their child is in full school uniform from day one of the school year and continue to support this aspect of the school throughout the year. If you are having difficulty meeting this expectation, please contact the school for assistance.
Over my time at the college I have built a narrative around the school’s values of Achievement, Caring, Cooperation, Honesty and Pride. It is my expectation that all members of our school community embrace these values and support the educational opportunities afforded to the students of Lalor Secondary College by working in partnership. Through working together we are confident that the school can provide successful educational outcomes for all students.
My staff and I are enthusiastically looking forward to the 2022 school year and encourage all parents to make contact with the relevant personnel if you have any queries or questions. A full list of staff and their positions of responsibility can be found on the school website.
I look forward to seeing you over the course of the year whether it be at Parent Teacher Conferences, Information Evenings, school events or in passing. I have no doubt that the ongoing success of the school will continue into future years and look forward to celebrating it with you and your children.