I would like to welcome our school community to Fairhills this year. I hope everyone had a relaxing holiday with friends and families.
Welcome to the following staff who have made Fairhills their school.
Senior School Assistant Principal
Mental Health Practitioner
I am pleased to announce the 2023 School Improvement Team (SIT)
Ian Van Schie
Assistant Principal – Middle School
Silvana La Leggia
Assistant Principal – Senior School
Teaching and Learning Excellence – Middle School
Teaching and Learning Excellence – Senior School
Learning Inclusion Leader
School Enhancement Leader
We are also fortunate to have the Differentiated Support for School Improvement team (DSSI) with us every Monday, for at least 18 months. DSSI will be on SIT and provide additional support to improve learning growth for all students.
Nicole De Angelis
Our key foci this year is to implement:
the School-Wide Positives Behaviours matrix
high-quality Individual Education Plans
the LEARN Instructional Model in all classrooms
These strategies will ensure we are continuing to increase learning growth of all students.
As many of you will be aware we have begun the construction of a STEAM and Music Learning hub. There was a 6 week delay as the builders needed a permit to continue construction. Fortunately, the permit has now been granted and construction will recommence by Week 4. Progression photos will be available on the school’s website and the newsletter.
It was certainly a relief that the Compass timetable was available to the school community prior to the commencement of the school year. I thank Jenni Nansen-School Enhancement leader, and Paul Donaldson for ensuring this happened.
School Council Elections
Please head to the Council election page for all the information.
School Council term of office is for two years with half of members retiring each year but eligible for re-election.
I would like to thank the retiring School Council members:
Karen Dean – principal class
Silvana La Leggia – staff -will stay on as principal class
Caitlyn Griffiths – community member
Michaela Lutwyche – community member
I wish to thank these councillors for their contribution to the governance of Fairhills High School
The School Council plays an integral role in shaping the school’s future. If you want to be actively involved in making positive changes, I encourage you to nominate.
Call for nominations from Friday 17 February. Nomination forms can be obtained from the General Office or the school website.
Call for nominations close Friday 10 March 2023 at 4pm.
Monday 15 March Nominations displayed at Fairhills High School.
Election held if required. Friday 19 March close of ballot 4.00pm. Votes counted.
Wednesday 29 March School Council meeting with new members
What is a school council and what does it do?
All government schools in Victoria have a school council. They are legally formed bodies that are given powers to set the key directions of a school within centrally provided guidelines. In doing this, a school council is able to directly influence the quality of education that the school provides for its students.
Who is on the school council?
There are three possible categories of membership:
A mandated elected Parent category. More than one third of the total members must be from this category. Department of Education and Training (DET) employees can be Parent members at their child’s school as long as they are not employed at the school.
A mandated elected DET employee category. Members of this category may make up no more than one third of the total membership of school council. The principal of the school is automatically one of these members.
An optional Community member category. Its members are appointed by a decision of the council because of their special skills, interests or experiences. DET employees are not eligible to be Community members.
The term of office for all members is two years. Half the members must retire each year, creating vacancies for the annual school council elections.
Why is Parent membership so important?
Parents on school councils provide important viewpoints and have valuable skills that can help shape the direction of the school.
Those parents who become active on a school council find their involvement satisfying in itself and may also find that their children feel a greater sense of belonging.
How can you become involved?
The most obvious way is to vote in the elections, which are held in Term 1 each year. However, ballots are only held if more people nominate as candidates than there are positions vacant.
In view of this, you might seriously consider
standing for election as a member of the school council
encouraging another person to stand for election.
Do I need special experience to be on school council?
No. What you do need is an interest in your child’s school and the desire to work in partnership with others to help shape the school’s future.
Ask at the school for help if you would like to stand for election and not sure what to do
Consider standing for election to council this year
It has been a thriving start to the Middle School this year as we welcomed our new Year 7 students to the Fairhills High School community. Students engaged in a 3- day induction program delivering sessions on setting high expectations, anti-bullying, being an upstander, team building, mindfulness, organisational skills and time-management. The highlights included building a spaghetti marshmallow tower, and designing a future time capsule to open at the end of Year 12, in 2028.
Students in Year’s 8 and 9 participated in the return to school interviews, an opportunity to reinforce important information around key policies such as attendance and uniform, positive behaviour and learning expectations. It was great to see so many families attend.
We have also seen a resounding response to the call for performers to audition for this year’s State School Spectacular; an invaluable performing arts opportunity. Congratulations to all our successful middle school applicants.
Our focus this year in the middle school is our collective responsibility to improving student learning and outcomes to ensure all students fulfil their full potential. Our guiding principles are framed around our school values of acting responsibly, building relationships and showing respect.
Yet again I feel very privileged to lead the middle school this year and seek to assure you that the middle school team is committed to working together to create a learning environment in which all students are respected, where all students are safe and where all students have access to many engaging learning opportunities.
I very much look forward to working with all our middle school parents/carers, students and families.
Silvana La Leggia
Middle School Leader
Fairhills High School Time Capsule
To celebrate the beginning of their secondary school lives, the Year 7s recently participated in a Time- Capsule activity. Students were asked to write a piece about themselves outlining their personal characteristics, their likes and dislikes and what they want to be when they grow up. Importantly they also wrote a message to their future selves. These items were sealed in envelopes, some along with other personal mementos like photos, keepsakes and drawings and placed in a chest for safe keeping. These treasures will be unlocked when the students reach Year 12 in 2028. It is always fun to see how students have developed over the years and to give them a chance to reflect on their younger selves.
Year 7 – 3 Day Induction
Congratulations to our new Year 7 students on completing their first week of school. Kicking off with a 3 day induction program students and parents participated in a range of fun activities, focusing on team building, organisational skills and relaxation.
Year 7/8 Ready Steady Cook
Our year is off to a busy start in our Food Technology classes. The Year 7&8 ‘Ready, Steady Cook’ students have been learning all about safe kitchen practices made pita bread pizzas.
Year 9/10 Future Foods
Our Year 9&10 students have started their unit on Pastry, studying the history of Pastry and different types of Pastry. Yesterday they made spinach and fetta triangles, many trying filo pastry for the first time.
Welcome to all our Year 10, 11 and 12 students to the 2023 school year. It has been a great start to the term, with students settling into their new classes and programs. As a new member of staff to Fairhills, I have been particularly impressed with the way in which our senior students in year 10, 11 and 12 have conducted themselves, both in and outside the classroom. Of particular note was the return to school interviews conducted by staff on the first day of term. This is a concept I have not experienced in other schools, but I can certainly see the many benefits with starting off the school year in such a way. Importantly, students and parents/carers had the opportunity to speak face to face with teachers about the expectations for the year ahead and have any questions answered quickly and efficiently. To many, these interviews lessoned the ‘first day of term’ nerves and allowed students the time to get into the right headspace for a successful start to the school year.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the first few weeks at Fairhills and it is clear the staff at the school care greatly about the students’ learning and wellbeing. On my first day I had the privilege of meeting the student leadership team and discussing important matters, like the Year 12 Common Room and Dress up days! These young adults are a great asset to the school and I am looking forward to working with them for the remainder of 2023.
I am also looking forward to continuing to work with key teachers of the Senior School. Mr Stokes (Year 12), Ms Henderson (Year 11) and Mr Hitchman (Year 10) are all working hard to ensure our senior school students are on track with their start to the new school year.
I encourage families to keep the communication links open with their children! The following tips may be helpful:
Sleep – A good night’s sleep before school is always important in maintaining positive health and wellbeing.
Just a few notes from the Careers and pathways office.
Compass Careers News:
This information is published every fortnight on the Compass news feed.
I would encourage you to scan the document and follow up on anything that relates to you and your family.
The Compass News feed is also used to advertise / promote upcoming careers events and share any jobs opportunities that come across my desk.
All VET in school programs will have commenced as of February 8. It is critical that all students check their emails weekly for communication from their Trainers. Email and SMS is the preferred line of communication and it is up to the individual student to carefully check.
Students who are unhappy with their VET program and wish to withdraw MUST do so before the last week of February.
Year 12 Pathways Interviews will start as of week 4 term 1. These interviews will be used to discuss pathways and start the process of planning.
New VCE Vocational Major & Structured work placement learning
Both staff and students are excited about the opportunity to be part of this exciting new Senior Certificate.
As part of the program students require 1 day a week in the work place – Structured workplace Learning (Work Experience). If anyone in our school community is able to provide a work placement please contact me – Liz Rundle
The Thrive program which has replaced Tutorial is designed to provide Self exploration, career exploration and Career management, for all year levels. This program will provide students with the opportunity to develop Pathways skills and knowledge making them better prepared for lifelong learning.
2023 Year 9 students will have the opportunity to participate in Morrisby Career Insights program. This program provides a comprehensive aptitude and Career report which helps them to better understand their strengths and plan their future. This program is invaluable for pathways planning and is provided free of cost by the Department. It is an opt in program and Compass consent will open soon. Testing is scheduled for the end of March and with follow up interviews will be in term 2.
Year 10 students are encouraged to start planning 1 week of compulsory Work Experience for the final week of term 2, 19 – 23 June. There will be more information to follow but students are encouraged to start thinking and networking.
Year 11 & 12 students will be attending the VCE Careers expo in May at Caulfield racecourse on Friday 5 May. Details to follow.
Please don’t hesitate in contacting me any questions or concerns.
Parents/carers are provided with log in details. For any questions or trouble logging in please contact the office. Using Compass allows parents/carers to have access to up-to-date information and the following features:
Monitor attendance, and enter an explanation for absence or lateness
Communicate with teachers
Update contact details
View their child’s timetable and the school calendar
Monitor homework and assessment tasks
Download and view semester reports
Book parent-teacher-student interviews each semester
Pay and provide consent for events and school contributions
Compass Events / Payment Centre / Course Confirmation
Please check Events regularly as these need to be consented/paid by the due date for your child to attend. Also check out the Payment Centre and Course Confirmation sections.
Phone the absence hotline on 9758 5022. Leave a message after the prompt. The absence hotline is operational 24hrs a day, 7 days a week for your convenience.
Student’s arriving to school late should report to the General Office to receive a late pass.
If a student is required to leave school early for any reason they should bring a note from their parent/guardian and record this on Compass. All students are required to sign out from the General Office. If they need to call home, they should come to the office. Students should not use their mobiles.
If your child has COVID, please ring or email the school so we can record their absence accordingly.
Students who are family close contacts, must wear a mask whilst indoors and onsite and test regularly. If you require RAT tests, please contact the General Office.
Parent Carpark – pick up and drop off
If you drop/pick up your children please ensure you:
use the parent car park – not the staff/guest car park, except for those with a disability parking permit
pull into a parent parking spot to let your child out/pick them up
when exiting turn left onto Scoresby road (as per the sign)
The purchase of School Uniforms are now through Dandy Schoolwear in Dandenong.
Host Families for Japanese Students Needed Urgently!
We are in urgent need of host families for Japanese students. The students will attend school from Monday 27 March to Wednesday 29 March. They will go to classes with their host student. They will then go on independent excursions on Thursday 30 March and Friday 31 March.
If possible we would ask host families to host from Monday 27 March to Friday 31 March. There would be a payment of $235 per student to provide 3 meals a day and any transport to and from school.
All members of the host family 18 and above need to have a Working With Children Check. A copy needs to be provided to the office. If you don’t have a Working With Children Check you can apply for one here. Please apply as a volunteer in which case there is no fee – https://www.workingwithchildren.vic.gov.au/
The students range in age from 13 to 17. You don’t have to be studying Japanese to host. It’s a great opportunity to make a new friend and learn about cool Japanese culture.
Please consider hosting for this short time. The group was due to be hosted in New South Wales, but their stay was cancelled at short notice. Fairhills is helping them out. KSKK is the organisation we have organised our school trips to Japan through, so who knows; in the future maybe you can travel to Japan and meet the student you hosted!
Please contact Jessica Winstone the Languages Leader for more details and a hosting application form.
Fairhills High School Red Cross Lifeblood Team
Did you know that (thanks to our own Suzi Beasley) Fairhills High School has a Red Cross Lifeblood team?
This means that once you have registered as a member of this team, any blood, plasma, or platelet donation you make at any Red Cross Lifeblood Centre around Australia will not only save lives, but add one to our team tally. Anyone in our school community (over 18) can register to be a part of the Fairhills High School Lifeblood team.
Log on to your donor profile
Click on My Details, then Manage Preferences
This will bring up a screen where you can join the Fairhills High School Team
Alternatively, you can just ask to join our team the next time you go in to donate.
Saver Plus – helping take the stress out of back to school time
The Saver Plus community program has helped over 55,000 Australians take the stress out of back to school time. It’s free for eligible people to join.
At Saver Plus, we pair you with a savings coach while you budget and save over the next 10 months. You attend online workshops to learn tips, tricks and information to grow your budgeting and savings skills. Once you reach your agreed savings goal, ANZ matches your savings dollar-for-dollar, up to $500. You can use that money towards education costs such as uniforms, text books, laptops or extra-curricular activities such as sport or music.
You could be eligible to join Saver Plus if you:
have a Centrelink Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card
are at least 18 years old
have some regular income from work (you or your partner) including casual, part-time, full time or seasonal (we also accept child support and carer’s payment as income)
have a child at school or attend vocational education yourself.
If you’re eligible, start now and we’ll help take the stress out of next year’s back to school.
Congratulations to all students who have enrolled and begun music lessons at school.
Music lessons on guitar, drums, voice, violin, flute, trumpet, clarinet and saxophone are all scheduled on compass with the specialist music teachers.
The start of the year is a busy and exciting time, as students begin or continue their ‘musical journey’. See photos below of some Year 7 drum and clarinet students in their first lessons!
Congratulations to the following students for their successful participation in the Knox Rocks program. It’s wonderful to see our music students participating in local community music. It was a series of song writing workshops and musical sessions over several weeks where the young people wrote songs and music from their hearts. These songs are then recorded professionally and given to the young artists.
Students reviews of the program
“Knox Rocks was an amazing learning experience and really helped me grow my confidence. Sadie and Mark are both incredible artists and were really helpful throughout the whole process. I’m really happy with how my song came out and I can’t wait to write more in the future.”
“Knox Rocks was an amazing experience where we got to go out of our comfort zone and attempt to write music. We were handed different instruments (guitar, piano etc…) to try and write our hooks. Sadie and Mark were also a big help with formulating our song. Knox Rocks is something that should definitely be continued and I very much enjoyed it.”
Welcome back to all our students and families, and a very warm welcome to all the new families joining us this year, be that Year 7, or through the levels.
There have been some staff changes in the Wellbeing Team for 2023. We farewelled Amal Saleh-Zada, our amazing and much-loved Student Wellbeing Coordinator (SWC) at the end of last year after 3 years in the SWC role and a previous 6 years in the Integration Team before that. Whilst we were sad to see him leave, we wish him all the very best for his new appointment. You may recall my name – I have been in the Mental Health Practitioner (MHP) role at the school for the last 2 years and this year have stepped into the SWC role as Amal’s replacement. I am really excited to be taking a broader role in overseeing the wellbeing supports available to our students. We would like to welcome Mariani Lim our new MHP. We still have Gail, our incredible School Chaplain with us 2 days per week and will continue to have counselling interns with us on rotation throughout the year to provide extra support for our students.
The start of term saw us busy getting to know our Year 7 students and families. The Year 7 Induction program gave our students and parents an opportunity to get to know each other, some helpful hints for living with high schoolers and some reminders about healthy routines for successful learning. The day ended with a fun session of Zumba in the courtyard for students and parents as a reminder about the importance of keeping active for good physical and mental health.
As a team we look forward to supporting our students and families through 2023 through counselling, groups, in-class wellbeing and mental health education and whole school awareness raising and mental health promotion campaigns and activities. Watch the wellbeing space!
Please read on to learn about accessing wellbeing support and some of the wellbeing supports available in Term 1.
Peta Cartwright | Student Wellbeing Coordinator
Student Wellbeing Coordinator – Peta Cartwright/ Social Worker (3 days per week – Mon (Wk2), Tues Thurs, Fri)
School Chaplain – Gail Ackroyd/ Counsellor (2 days per week – Mon/Tues)
Mental Health Practitioner – Mariani Lim (2 days per week)
Counselling Intern – Eliza Wade (2 days per week- Tues, Thurs)
Counselling Intern – Sarah Ardiente (2 days per week – Tues, Fri)
Accessing support through Wellbeing: Students
The Wellbeing Team can support students to navigate challenges that may be impacting on their ability to engage in learning or general feelings of wellbeing. This can include: transitions and adjusting to change, family or relationship difficulties, grief and loss, mental health concerns, drug and alcohol concerns, and many other challenges that young people encounter.
An initial appointment with a member of the wellbeing team will be an assessment of need with the student or family which will help to decide the best support option for the student. Support options available through the Wellbeing Team are:
Individual short term counselling, psychoeducation and skills development
referrals to external support agencies.
students may also be encouraged to access self-help strategies or resources.
Referrals to see someone from the team are made through year level leaders. Parents, students or teachers with concerns are encouraged to speak to their year level leader. Students or parents can also make an appointment directly with someone from the Wellbeing Team by attending the Wellbeing Centre, calling the school office or contacting us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Year level leaders who are made aware of concerns by a teacher will always endeavour to make contact with parents before referring a student to the Wellbeing team.
All counselling sessions with students are confidential and information is only shared if a student is deemed to be at risk of harm.
If you or anyone you know needs immediate support, please contact kidshelpline or lifeline on the numbers at the bottom of this page.
What’s on in Wellbeing?
The Wellbeing Centre is open at recess and lunchtime for students who need a quiet, safe place to regulate or access support. The centre is also used for lunchtime group programs which are advertised through compass or on notice boards.
Q-Squad, our LBGTQIA+ group runs every Thursday lunchtime.
More groups to come!
Accessing Support: Families
Most families, at some stage, need a little extra support to manage the normal challenges of life as well as the more difficult situations that arise. If you are experiencing hardship, stress or circumstances that are impacting on the wellbeing of your family life or your ability to cope, the Wellbeing Team can help to connect you with community services that can provide support. Please contact the Wellbeing Team via the school phone number or via email at email@example.com
With the support of volunteers from local churches- Knox Baptist and Hillsong Church we are able to provide a breakfast club 5 days a week for our students, including a Pancake Breakfast every Thursday morning. All students are welcome.
Food Support for families in need
Each fortnight on a Tuesday after school from 2.48- 3.08pm we have food support available for families who may be in need, for whatever reason. We have a selection of frozen meals and pantry items that families can collect from the former school canteen area without question or judgement. We know that access to food can be a real challenge for some families and we feel strongly about supporting the basic needs of our students and families. Watch out for compass posts each fortnight.
Welcome back to the Resource Leaning Hub (Library and Connect Centre) for 2023. It’s been wonderful to catch up with students and to hear about their holidays as well as welcome all the new Year 7s to the School.
February 7 was Worldwide Safer Internet Day. This day has been established to raise awareness of the importance of staying safe online. Technology has evolved dramatically in the past two decades and the benefits have been huge. These developments have also exposed us to many risks with real-world impacts, making online safety awareness even more important. The Australian Government has created a webisite with many wonderful resources about internet safety. This has been set up so parents and students can get easy information about all aspects of internet safety.
Here are some key ways you can protect yourself whilst online.
In 2023, Fairhills High School Knoxfield celebrates 50 years of history-making, a significant achievement for any school or organization.
Our 50th anniversary will be a memory to hold for all current and former students, staff, parents, and the community. As an amazing school, we want to share our experiences of the last 50 years and look back to see how the school has changed from 1973 to now, 2023, and see just how far it has come.
Across Friday 6 and Saturday 7 October, Fairhills High School Knox is delighted to play host, and invite you to join us celebrating the people, the stories, and the growth of the school over the last half-century and looking ahead to the next 50 years…
Planning is underway on a terrific line-up of exciting events and activities across the two days for all members of the Fairhills High School family- and we hope that all our staff, students, parents and community members – both past and present – will be able to join us in celebrating our fantastic school!
The future is bright for Fairhills, be part of it!