Edition 1 | 04 February 2022

Welcome back to all our families, students and staff.

Judith Weir

We had a wonderful start to the year. Students and staff were able to enjoy all our new facilities and experience the long walk on our new raised walkway. Everyone appreciates the ease with which we can all make our way around the school without congestion. Due to the impacts of COVID, our canteen will not open until Monday but we are all waiting in eager anticipation. Thank you to our new providers Eureka for all their preparations.

Tuesday, we welcomed the Year 7 students who spent a day getting to know the school, their teachers and each other. They are very lucky to be the first group of students to begin with the new facilities. They all received their computers and now they are logged in and have access to all that they need for class. They are now truly OLMC young people.

Year 12 students also began on the same day with a specific program aimed at supporting them to begin their VCE journey well. Wednesday, the school year began in full. It is always wonderful to watch the excitement of the new school year as all the students arrive full of anticipation for the year ahead. We are hopeful that this year we will not need to be engaged in remote learning. We wish all students the very best for the year and look forward to sharing in new challenges and successes.

Our Gospel Theme this year is:

Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide,
do not hold back;
lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.
Isaiah 54:2

As I outlined in the booklet you received last week, this text challenges us to live our Mercy heritage, welcoming all and opening our lives to the needs of others, especially those who suffer. Catherine McAuley challenges us to put our whole confidence in God so that we can be Mercy, as she challenges us to be. We strive to make OLMC a place of welcome. Students each year commit themselves in so many ways to try to meet the needs of others, and we know that they will continue to do so.

All families should now have a box of five Rapid Antigen Tests for each child at OLMC. These are provided by the Victorian Government as part of the surveillance program in schools. We recommend that students complete a test on Monday and Wednesday mornings. A second box is due to be provided at the beginning of Week Three. If your child tests positive please remember to not only contact the College on 9455 7549 or covidresponse@olmc.vic.edu.au but to also report the result to the Department of Health via the COVID-19 Positive Rapid Antigen Test Self-Reporting Form or call centre on 1800 675 398. Email notifications will be sent to parents and caregivers if there is a positive case onsite.

While we are hopeful that this year will be different to the last two; it will continue to be impacted by COVID-19. We have learnt a great deal over the last two years, as have the young people with whom we work. The students of OLMC have demonstrated that they are becoming resilient learners who are resourceful and able to manage their learning no matter how it is delivered. We wish everyone all the very best for this year as we all strive to continue to grow in faith, knowledge, tolerance and understanding.

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. Isaiah 54:2

Shane Taylor
Head of Faith and Mission

Our 2022 scriptural theme is taken from Third Isaiah and was written for the Israelites focusing upon their return to the promised land after 70 years in exile in Babylon. This was a time of renewal, rebuilding and seeking to be God’s people once again.

So as we begin our academic year once more, how might we begin again? How might we strengthen our relationship with God, like the strengthening of our tent, so that we might be a place of hospitality, compassion, justice, courage and joy for others?

So we pray…
God of Mercy and Blessing
Support and strengthen us as we begin this new school year,
As we live your love and action in our world.
May our place be one of welcome, hospitality, justice and compassion for all we encounter. We make this prayer through Christ, our Lord.
Andrew Gibson
Curriculum Coordinator

An exciting development at OLMC this year is the introduction of a new Learning Management System (LMS) – CANVAS – for many subjects. Currently at the College students and teachers use a combination of SIMON, Teacher Dashboard and Google Classroom for learning and the sharing of resources. The shift to CANVAS in 2022, with full implementation in 2023, will provide a more unified and consistent platform for learning, for both students and teachers. CANVAS is an LMS that is currently used by a number of universities and schools.

SIMON and PAM will still be used in 2022 and in subsequent years. SIMON and PAM are primarily our Student Management System (SMS) and they will continue to play an important role online for us. This includes such things as recording student attendance, providing permissions for excursions, as well as providing assessment feedback and results. End of semester reports will still be accessed through SIMON and PAM.

CANVAS is an LMS that will contribute in a meaningful way to student learning. In our Learning and Teaching Charter, one of the principles we uphold for our students is that they are active learners, taking responsibility for their own learning and contributing to the learning of others. The move towards CANVAS supports this principle.

CANVAS will more easily allow for students to be independent learners, as it will provide opportunities for self-paced learning as well undertaking consolidation if more time is needed on a topic or concept.

It also improves the transparency of access to resources for students, as well as the sequence of their learning in a subject. It will make it easier for students to locate lessons for their revision. Similarly, if a student is away, they will easily be able find out what they have missed. CANVAS will also provide ease of access to resources as everything will be in one location, for both students and teachers.

For our teachers, while the move to the new platform will require learning a new system, what will be gained will be significant. CANVAS will facilitate a greater collaboration in the planning of curriculum, and the construction of learning outcomes, assessments and learning activities. CANVAS allows this to occur more easily and more transparently than other platforms.

One of the other benefits of CANVAS is that it integrates with a number of platforms that the College already uses, such as Edrolo, Education Perfect and Clickview. It also works with the Google suite, while providing more features than are currently offered by Google Classroom.

Some classes in 2021 were part of a pilot group using CANVAS. Students and teachers involved in the pilot provided feedback so that this year’s staggered rollout of CANVAS is not only smooth, but that we maximise the tools available to improve student learning.

From the surveys over the year in 2021 of staff and students using CANVAS, one theme emerged clearly, and that was the greater ease of use after the initial learning curve. In ways that may be familiar to us as we move from an Apple phone to an android, or vice versa, it does take a little time and practice to know how it functions, how tasks can be submitted and how discussion boards contributed to. To support this move, students can access instructions and tips on using CANVAS via the Student Backpack – link on SIMON.

We have been looking forward to moving to CANVAS for some time and we are excited with the opportunities for learning that it will bring.

If you have any question then please contact Di Casey, ICT Coordinator, dcasey@olmc.vic.edu.au or Andrew Gibson, Curriculum Coordinator, agibson@olmc.vic.edu.au

Simon Conlan
Leader of Learning Development

This topic may appear a disappointingly pragmatic one to include in the first newsletter of the year but it is one of those elements of school communication that is really very important.

Activities, tasks, deadlines and assessment come from all directions in secondary school and even senior students can have difficulty keeping track of all that is required of them. Re-adjusting to the work rate is a challenge for all students when they commence each year at a school and losing track of due work or not really understanding something that has been taught in class can be a source of great stress for students.

If a student is unclear about what is expected of them in a subject, especially in these first few weeks of school, the most effective thing they can do to clarify matters is to contact their subject teacher. Whilst Pastoral Leaders, Year Level Coordinators and House Coordinators can provide support for students in a range of ways, students are encouraged to contact their subject teachers directly if worried about work because:

  • Direct communication with the subject teacher avoids ‘double handling’ that will inevitably occur if a message comes to them via another teacher and which can cause delay and confusion

  • The subject teacher will understand the nature of the question or concern more readily if the student emails or talks to them directly and will be in a good position to respond to the specific concern.

All teachers at OLMC can be contacted via email and students are encouraged to use this approach, particularly if they are very concerned or unclear about something. Obviously, teachers are available in class time but talking to a teacher immediately after a class can be difficult if the teacher needs to go to their next class or move to yard duty. It is generally better to email the teacher and either clarify the concern that way or arrange a time to meet.

Parents should feel welcome to contact subject teachers but we encourage students to initiate the contact as it is their learning needs that are being addressed.

Megan Edwards
Head of Student Wellbeing

It has been wonderful to see the students return to campus. Schools are an odd place without the buzz of students filling the classrooms and corridors. It has been inspiring to see them chat about their ideas and plans for the year as they find their way around all the new spaces. Already the students are focused on making the most of the opportunities available to them in not only their classes but also music, sport, social justice, leadership and all the cocurricular groups available to them.

On Tuesday February 1, it was a pleasure to welcome new Year 7 students to the College. The first day of school is always filled with a sense of apprehension and nervous energy. For many students, at the forefront of their thoughts are the questions, "Will I fit in?", "Can I be myself" or "Am I able to cope with all that is expected of me?" Some parents might even be questioning if OLMC will be the right fit for their child. These questions are normal as one transitions from the familiar to the less known environment.

Good transitions take time and patience whether one is new to the school or moving up a level. Parents should feel confident that they and their daughters are part of a learning community that is supportive, welcoming and inclusive. We encourage students to ask for help when they need and to talk to their Pastoral Leader or coordinator if they are unsure of processes, expectations or need help developing their skills or managing life.

The Student Wellbeing Team is keen to form strong partnerships with parents, guardians and caregivers so please contact a staff member should you have wellbeing concerns about your daughter. Queries regarding progress in a particular subject are best addressed to the subject teacher.

Year 7 Coordinator - Ms Stephanie Boemo
Year 8 Coordinator - Mrs Rowena Thomson
Year 9 Coordinator - Ms Sarah Nash

McAuley House Coordinator - Mrs Kathryn Williams
Loreto House Coordinator - Ms Hayley Gamble-Curran
Mercy House Coordinator - Mrs Deb Daly
Carmel House Coordinator - Ms Jemma Banfield

Student Leadership Coordinator - Ms Anna De Rosa

College Counsellors:
Ms Laurie Gunn - Counselling Coordinator (available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday)
Ms Amanda Hawker - Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
Ms Cara Small - Thursday
Ms Elizabeth Marchi - Monday – Friday

College Nurses:
Ms Nadia Cutinelli - Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
Ms Janine Daniel - Wednesday

Uniform expectations
We ask for parents’ support in regards to the uniform and especially with the increasing number of students coming to school with eyelash extensions or piercings in the top of the ear or nose. The College has never allowed these and the expectations are the same for senior students as they are for our juniors. Students will be expected to remove these in a very short time frame.

We know how much research there is linking uniform as a visible expression of student engagement and sense of belonging, and in turn their success in learning.

Your support in helping your daughter meet these expectations will be much appreciated and will enable the teaching staff to concentrate their efforts on teaching and learning, and supporting your daughter’s wellbeing.

Change of address, contact number or health concern?
Please ensure that we have your most up to date contact details and that you have supplied the College with an emergency contact number of someone who can come to the College to pick up your daughter. If your daughter has had a change of living arrangements or in her health, please ensure that you update PAM or relevant staff as soon as possible. We want to be proactive in caring for your daughter and can only do this if we have the correct information.

    Useful Sources of Information
    The Parents’ Website has new articles and tips each fortnight related to young people. They provide ideas about starting conversations with your young person to sustain open discussion, ways to manage anxiety or other worries, ideas for professional help and more.

    You can also subscribe for fortnightly updates https://theparentswebsite.com.au/

    In our local area, Banyule Council are very open to working with families and young people and provide many opportunities, as well as supports. https://www.banyuleyouth.com/

    Reachout also provide many resources for parents and young people around friendships, social and emotional learning, and mental health. https://au.reachout.com/

    After careful consideration and rigorous debate our final Caldow collection artists have been selected for our 2022 exhibition. The Caldow Collection is an annual exhibition of exemplary, creative student work from the previous Year. This year 41 outstanding Visual Artworks, Media Projects and Graphic Presentations are on display in the Administration Corridor.

    Staff and visitors have immediately been drawn to the images on display, perhaps none more so than Ebony Rose’s striking portrait of her English Springer Spaniel Nessie, which sadly passed away earlier last year. Ebony created her painting in spite of numerous COVID-related disruptions. The painting is replete with vivid details and lifelike textures.

    Once current COVID restrictions ease we hope to invite the community to come and celebrate the outstanding work of these talented artists and creators. We are so proud of their talents and hard work.

    Mark Jenkinson
    Design, Art and Technology Learning Leader
    Adrian Stojkovich
    Design, Art and Technology Assistant

    We understand that some students may wish to purchase food at some of the nearby supermarkets and cafes before they arrive at OLMC in the morning and this is quite okay and understandable. It is most important, however, that students make these purchases before they enter the school grounds; they cannot enter the school, drop off their bags and then go to the shops.

    Once students arrive at OLMC they cannot leave the grounds of the school unless given written permission by a parent or guardian to attend an off-site engagement, such as a medical appointment. This is an element of the duty of care all schools have for their students and is obviously of the highest priority for OLMC.

    Ms Brooke Kilborn, Head of Student Wellbeing
    Mr Simon Conlan, Leader of Learning Development

    As a Catholic community, we strive to extend the opportunities for students and staff to walk with others, in our Mercy Tradition, where we act and speak for those who voice is not heard.

    In the next few weeks, students will learn about the many clubs and programs on offer and will have the opportunity to sign up.

    The lunchtime clubs include Eco Justice, the Feminist Collective, Fire Carriers and Faith Animation.

    We are still working out what is possible with regards to COVID restrictions for our participation in off-site programs. COVID has changed the way we seek to be in relationships with others and whilst barriers were placed before us, students and staff have constantly sought new ways to connect and we will continue to do so.

    Students can contact Ms Lauren Marquet : lmarquet@olmc.vic.edu.au with any questions.

    Lauren Marquet
    Social Justice Coordinator

    It was an impressive team effort by staff and students that led to the organisation of a memorable Exodus Christmas Dinner with our friends in Heidelberg West.

    A formidable team of volunteers, lead by our Community Department Coordinator, Marie Jenkins, shopped, prepped, cooked and served a delicious 3 course Christmas Dinner for our guests that may not always have the opportunity to dine together in this way. We were warmly welcomed and hosted by Brother Harry Prout and look forward to our continued work with the Exodus Community.

    A highlight of the evening was the handing out of the Christmas hampers. Every student pastoral group at OLMC donated products for “Baskets of Joy” that were given out to individuals and families on the night. The boxes were beautifully decorated, and included wooden Christmas decorations, handmade by the VCAL students and paint-it-yourself “Santa stop here” signs.

    There were gasps of joy as the hampers were passed along. We thank all students, pastoral leaders and Helen Hamblin and the VCAL girls for their wonderful contributions.

    Lauren Marquet
    Social Justice Coordinator

    A new year, a new adventure and many new paths to travel. This week we have welcomed the 2022 Year 7 students back to OLMC.

    It was great to welcome them to the school and have an opportunity for them to get their bearings on Tuesday, before the remaining students arrived back at school. The start of a school year is both an exciting and anxious time for our students, and the girls will be well supported by their Pastoral Leaders, myself and other students in their pastoral group. Week 1 is complete, and your daughters will have met most if not all of their subject teachers, trialed for GSV sporting teams, and experienced their first whole school livestreamed Assembly. It sure has been a big week, and I hope they’ve enjoyed it and shared their stories with you all.

    One of the biggest concerns for Year 7 students is making new friends and connections at school. We will continue to support the students at school and within the classroom and hope that at home you can help too. Please take the time to remind them that friendships take time to build, and won’t form overnight. Having conversation about who they spoke to at school today, rather than asking if they have made a friend can be helpful too. OLMC offers a range of co-curricular activities both during lunchtimes and after school, which are additional ways for students to find connections with like-minded peers. The students will hear more about these opportunities through the pastoral program and many are advertised through SIMON notices.

    As the students begin their secondary school journeys, each day is different. They will need to spend time establishing routines that work for them. The volume of information provided to them over these first few weeks can be overwhelming, but please encourage them to ask questions as the Year 7 Pastoral Team and I are here to help. We are also looking forward to meeting many of the Year 7 families at Pastoral Interviews next Thursday 10 February. Year 7 is an exciting year of transition, and growth, and I look forward to working alongside you in supporting your daughters this year.

    Stephanie Boemo
    Year 7 Level Coordinator

    On Tuesday 1 February we were excited to welcome our 2022 Year 12 cohort back to school.

    It was a day filled with valuable information to help students settle into their final year at the College. One of these information sessions included a panel of our wonderful class of 2021 Year 12s returning to the College and as they shared their journeys it became clear how diverse their experiences had been, yet they had similar tips and advice to give our current cohort. With an opportunity to ask questions and seek advice our 2022 Year 12’s left with beneficial tips to help manage the challenges often felt balancing work, study and extracurricular activities.

    To support our students in their transition back to school over the coming weeks is our wonderful senior pastoral team. All Pastoral Teachers across the four Houses have been working collaboratively over the past week to ensure consistent messages are given to students and we are all very much looking forward to students sharing their own journey with others whilst we engage with this year's theme “We are all different, but we are EQUAL”. It is our diversity that makes us uniquely special and we want our students to recognise what attributes make them who they are.

    We know that there are a number of issues that young people are facing, particularly with the challenges we have faced across the last two years. Our wellbeing program targets these issues and aims to provide our students with opportunities to develop their social and emotional skills, make informed decisions, take informed risks in their learning, develop respectful relationships and plan for their future beyond OLMC. If you have any concerns about your child's wellbeing, we have a wonderful wellbeing team that can provide them support.

    Brooke Kilborn - Head of Student Wellbeing
    Laurie Gunn - Student Counselling Coordinator
    Amanda Hawker - Student Counsellor
    Cara Small - Student Counsellor
    Jemma Banfield - Carmel House Coordinator
    Hayley Gamble-Curran - Loreto House Coordinator
    Kathryn Williams - McAuley House Coordinator
    Deb Daly - Mercy House Coordinator

    We place high priority on building strong partnerships with families and we ask for your help and support to reinforce our uniform expectations which can be found in the College diary. Setting high expectations around uniform positively benefits the school culture as it fosters an environment of professionalism where the focus can be on learning and academic success. It also allows subject teachers to immediately focus on teaching, wellbeing and establishing connections with students, rather than having to follow-up on their uniform.

    Last year in December, the week after all of the students finished up at school, a little bit of magic happened in the Mercedes Hogan Theatre. After an incredibly short rehearsal season, the wonderful students from Year 7, 8 and 9 from OLMC and Marcellin brought to life the production of Mary Poppins.

    In July last year, Melbourne once again plunged back into lockdown. We did not know if we would get back on to the stage in 2021. But we forged ahead with the production hoping that we would be able to get some sort of performance opportunity up for the students, although at that stage we were not 100% what it would look like.

    With a glimmer of hope in their eyes, students eagerly sent in their Mary Poppins audition videos, unsure of whether or not they would actually get to fly a kite.

    This was certainly a Junior Production like no other. We looked at each other many times and thought ‘Will it happen?’... (whilst we crossed all of our fingers and toes). What a year to put on a show! But in the end it happened! A real, on stage performance with an audience. And we could not have been more proud of “A Sprinkle of Sugar”, an abridged version of our original Mary Poppins plan.

    The resilience, positivity and the ability to pivot at a moment's notice that the cast and crew showed throughout the entire process was remarkable.

    It all started with online auditions and then a series of online rehearsals. Our Tuesday afternoons were filled with eager students, logging on after a day of online learning and participating, chatting and enjoying themselves. It was honestly such a beautiful little community.

    At the start of November, we returned to the theatre to resume our rehearsal season in real life. Although it was incredibly brief and filled with starts, stops and challenges, it was also full of amazing moments where we got to see students shining and finding their place with the M2 family. This cast is truly remarkable, and they have reminded us about why this little theatre company is so special.

    We were also supported by so many amazing people to help bring to life this production. Last year’s Year 10 Live Production class and our theatre technician Gavin Hocking have worked tirelessly on all of the different aspects required to put on a live performance.

    Thanks must go to Mrs Deb Butterworth and Ms Stephanie Boemo for their ability to create and change choreography at a moment’s notice! Our Community Development Coordinator Marie Jenkins went above and beyond, helping to organise everything from fairy lights to umbrellas, and our incredible maintenance team have worked with us every step of the way to help us build a set in record time. Many other staff and students also helped along the way, and we are so grateful.

    We would also like to thank Judith Weir and Marco DiCesare for all of their support of the M2 Productions.

    Thank you to the wonderful cast and crew for everything they did to put on, what ended up being a very impressive show.

    As Ms Poppins herself says, “Anything can happen if you let it!”.

    We are now looking forward to our next adventure for the M2 Production Company which will be Matilda! Auditions are open now for students in Year 10 – 12.

    Ms Felicia Taine & Ms Hayley Gamble-Curran

    On Wednesday 9 February School Pix will be at the College to take school photos.

    Order forms with instructions will be distributed to all students via their Pastoral before the end of this week.

    OLMC College Tours

    Families are invited on a tour of the OLMC facilities followed by an information session with Principal Judith Weir, Transition Coordinator Rowena Thomson and two students.