Friday, 24 April 2020

From the Principal

Welcome to the end of week one of remote learning and congratulations on surviving so far! The first week was always going to be the most difficult as we all learned how to navigate this new and strange way of teaching, learning and parenting. It is encouraging to see the student’s remote learning skills developing. It is also pleasing to note the life skills the students are learning as they manage their remote studies. Like the adults in their lives, they are learning how to work from home. They are also learning how to work independently, take responsibility for their learning, manage their workload and meet deadlines. These are all important life skills which will make them more skilled learners when they eventually return to the classroom.

Feedback from the students tells us that most of them are enjoying their remote learning so far. Here are some comments from students about their first few days of remote learning;

Hetvi in Year 8 said;

It was very different, I think it went smoothly. It wasn't too bad hopefully we can all be back at school soon, miss seeing everyone. I think I got way more work done then I would have at school. It is more relaxing.

Tina in Year 8 said;

I like online school in my opinion its better doing my work in a area I don't have to get up and move classrooms every 50 min the only thing I miss about school is my friends but my friends and I went on google meet after our class discussion and worked together.

One of the reasons our remote learning program is running so smoothly is thanks to the efforts of the IT staff. They have been working extremely hard since remote schooling commenced, trouble shooting IT issues and supporting staff and families as they learn how to use the various learning platforms. The pace of their workload is starting to ease which suggests everyone is now well connected and using the technology more confidently. The IT staff have also been wonderful in selecting the best platforms for the school community to use and for offering training, support and handy hints to help us use the technology effectively. Thank you to Lucas Hartland, Shaun Minne, Simon Hall, Jess Burns, Kelly Elliott and Trent Holland.

In this time of social isolation, our student's social and emotional wellbeing is as important as the continuation of their academic progress. In Senior School the focus of Wellbeing lessons has been on;

1) Discovering Meaning and Purpose (through goal setting and review)

2) Relationships (through maintaining connections with teachers and classmates via Google Meets)

3) Building resilience through Gratitude (Keeping a Gratitude Journal) and Empathy (through random acts of kindness)

4) Encouraging all to be in an appropriate mindset through Mindset When Remote (see graphic below)

In Senior School the students are also completing a short wellbeing survey once a week. The survey helps us track and monitor the mental health of our students as they continue to live and work in social isolation. The results of this week's survey are very encouraging as 95% of Senior School students reported they were sitting at the higher ends of the wellbeing scale. House Heads have contacted students and parents of students who are finding the isolation difficult to manage and will continue to monitor them over the coming weeks. If you have any wellbeing concerns about your child, please contact their wellbeing teacher, House Head or Head of Year 7 to discuss further.

In Junior School the student's wellbeing is being monitered by classroom teachers working closely with the parents on a daily basis. 

To help parents navigate the shifting sands of living in isolation with teenagers and young children, I again commend the ISV (Independent Schools Victoria) parent portal to you. This week, two articles caught my eye and I share the links to them below with you;

For parents of teenagers, Andrew Fuller's article gives some great insight into the psychology of adolescents;

The article below is a great one for all parents to assist in organising the family and your home while in isolation;

One of the positives to come out of remote learning is that we are now recording school events so we can share them with our students. Today the students enjoyed an extraordinarily beautiful Anzac Day service created by our extraordinarily beautiful chaplain Monique Riviere-Pendle. I encourage you to sit down with your child tomorrow during Anzac Day to watch the service together. Your child can access the service through their remote learning classroom. There are more details below in the Chaplain's message.

At the start of this week, we were thrilled to receive the news of the safe arrival of baby Flynn Francis Driessen on 17 April 2020. Congratulations to Junior School teacher Emily Driessen and her husband Luke. Mum and baby are both doing really well.

Congratulations to Paul Butov in Year 10 who heard about some Year 7 and Year 8 students who were with struggling to manage their Google Classroom set up. Paul created a very clear set of step-by-step visuals for the students. His simple explanations and wonderful graphics helped the students gain confidence and better understand how to get the most out their Google classroom space. And Paul managed this while staying on top of his Year 10 studies! Thank you Paul. The staff and students are grateful for your assistance.

In closing, I would like to encourage you to watch the short video message to parents in the link below. Have a great week. 

Mrs Fiona Williams

Acting Principal

Video Message from the Principal


From the Head of Junior School

What a different start to this term we have had! After attending school each day last week, I must say there are many things that I missed. I missed seeing the students laughing and having fun on the playground outside my office window, catching up in person with my colleagues, all our extracurricular activities including assembly and seeing happy children learning all over the campus, whether it was learning to read, sing or even speak French. I missed it all, but for me, the thing I missed most was being able to welcome all of our wonderful 425 Junior School students and their families back to CGS after the holidays. It is always one of my favourite days of each term. To see the school filled with the excited chatter of friends catching up, to see how much some children have grown who look so smart in their newly acquired uniforms, to watch as our students enter their classrooms wide-eyed with such anticipation for what is to come, to almost be able to feel their sense of belonging and of course, to watch our students as they see their teacher for the first time after their break, always gets me choked up. It is such a wonderful day.

Sadly, given the circumstances, we are unable to learn onsite this term. That however, has not stopped our students from learning, from seeing their teacher’s face on screens and it certainly won’t stop them growing. We will be together again soon and until then I’d like to congratulate our students and their families for the huge effort they have put into ensuring their remote learning has been successful. It is different but it is necessary. I’m sure you would all like to join me in thanking our incredible Junior School teaching staff for everything they have done to provide your children with their Remote Learning experiences. Most of our staff spent long hours in their holidays reskilling at an unprecedented rate to be ready for this new way of learning. This was in addition to their normal holiday work they regularly undertake organising their curriculum and learning tasks for the following term. I personally, could not be prouder of our staff and it is your children who will benefit from all this hard work. Bravo to our teachers, our students and our families for ensuring our Remote Learning Program has started so positively.

That first day back and all the joy that it brings, will happen. When it does, what a huge celebration it will be for our entire CGS school community. I simply can’t wait!!

Until then, my hope is that together we will weather this storm and all remain safe and well.  

As always, sincere thanks for your continued support as we navigate through these unchartered waters.  

Mrs Melissa Roberton

Head of Junior School

Art at Home with 3R

While Art lessons have looked a little different this term, the talented students of 3R have drawn some very artistic and detailed creations involving the letters of their name. Each letter of their name needed to be drawn with an image that started with the same letter. It was great to hear that many of their parents also got involved and did this activity with their own name too. Here are some of the finished pieces for you to admire.  

Miss Bridgette Reale 

Year 3 Teacher/ Head of Trist House

My First Week of Online Learning

Term 2 has started very differently because of a terrible virus called Corona Virus or Covid 19. So now we are doing Online Learning so the virus doesn’t  spread around our school.   

This week I coloured in an Anzac picture and our class wrote our names on a piece of A4 paper and then we drew pictures on them to represent the letter. I thought that was very fun! Today I went on a live Google Meet with my friends and my teachers. We talked about what we have missed and what we have enjoyed. I said “I have missed friends and teachers and I have enjoyed riding my pony and sometimes sleeping in.”

This week we started to do specialist classes online, they are fun. Every morning I print off the daily timetable and follow it. If I get behind in my work, I do it as Homework. I have learnt how to work things out on my own and email teachers and go on Google Meets. I am looking forward to going back to school if we do and if we do projects this term, I am also looking forward to that. The thing I find challenging is when I try and get all my work done because I sometimes can't think of what to do. I wish that I could go back to school, hopefully we can soon! Georgia Williams - Year 3


From the Head Senior School

As we begin Term 2 in very different circumstances, I would like to congratulate all the Senior School students for their approach to our Remote Learning Program. As a school community, the teachers and students have all played a remarkable role in the smooth implementation of this program. 

I spoke to the VCE students in their meeting this week and reassured them that we are up to date with the latest VCAA directives and that they will be well placed once we return to on-campus learning. While remote, their learning and assessment will be continuous and we want them to concentrate on what they can control – their studies. If they follow their teacher’s guidance, they are assured of the delivery of a curriculum for success. I cannot emphasise enough the work the VCE teachers are doing to put the curriculum into place, the students are lucky to have such a dedicated group of teachers.

What we know about the 2020 VCE academic year so far is:

-          The Premier assured all Yr12 students that they will complete their VCE this year

-          Year 12 students will receive an ATAR or VCE Certificate in 2020

-          Tertiary institutes are flexible and will support the changes to VCE

-          There will be external exams – moved to at least December

-          GAT will go ahead – in either October or November

-          VET students will have extended dates that align with VCE

-          Some practical Unit 3 subjects can have limited on-campus classes this term and we are contacting those classes over the coming week

For the Year 7-10 students, the rollout of their remote curriculum has also been successful and I would like to thank and commend the teachers for the work they have put in to make this happen.  Of course, I want to also thank the students for their willingness to embrace this remote learning environment. The 7-10 learning and assessment will also be continuous and you too will be well placed once we return to on-campus learning.

As we enter Week 3 of the term, I would like to ask the student body to keep utilising the communication channels that have been working so well. Your subject and wellbeing teachers understand that this is a challenging learning environment and want to be able to support you so let us know how you are going. Just a little note on that though, as you can imagine, teachers are receiving a lot of SEQTA messages so please be patient as they try to manage replies.

One thing I can say after two weeks of remote learning is that connecting to the school community is such an important part of the school day. I always knew this but delivering the school day remotely has just driven home this point. I want to thank the IT Department and Mr James Duffy for making this happen so smoothly. To see the student and teacher’s faces during the on-line contact is helping to support our community connectedness that is so important and such an integral part of Casey Grammar.

One final thing I would like to add is that; I know why I am a teacher and not an actor, staring and talking to a PowerPoint on a screen is not one of my skill areas! However, I am enjoying embracing the learning of new skills and wondering how I can go on using them once back in our on-campus learning environment. 

Ms Cathy Marchmont

Acting Head of Senior School/VCE Coordinator

From the School Captains

Welcome back to Term 2 - a new way of learning, a new atmosphere and a unique time which we are living through. We'd like to commend everyone for their fantastic involvement in this unique way of schooling. This term, both of us would like to extend our gratitude to the School for the wonderful way that they've conducted Remote Learning and the parents who are taking the time to help their children adjust to this new style of education.

We know how difficult this time is for everyone, as most of us are confined to our homes, and others are out working to help the community thrive throughout this period. This, however, gives us the chance to reflect on ourselves, as well as of course binge-watch Brooklyn 99, even if you've already watched it, playing some games, but primarily studying of course, as well as finally starting our at home workouts, the ones we always say we will start, but never do. Try and get out of the house once a day, take the dog for a walk, ride your bikes or even just go for a short walk. Spend time with your family to try and take advantage of the new world we are living in and turn it into something positive, because we could all use some positive mentality right now.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have, or even just have a chat with you about anything, even Brooklyn 99. Feel free to message either, or both of us on SEQTA at any time.

We wish you all the best during this term,

Stay safe!

Mercedees Lynch and Max Murphy

School Captains

Remote Science

Science is a dynamic and exciting subject that involves plenty of hands-on practical activities. So, how will the Casey Grammar Science Department tackle remote teaching and learning to keep the spark alive?

Towards the end of Term One the Science Department have been very busy making every effort to support Casey Grammar students with remote learning resources via online programs. Year 7-10 students have the new Cambridge Science textbook and supporting digital resources. Students also have access to excellent electronic learning platforms such as Education Perfect, STILE and Edrolo. They are all very powerful learning tools that supplement learning through engagement and check for understand as students work their way through each module. Virtual and interactive laboratories are also being used.

Our Laboratory Technician Mr Paul Meehan has been making videos of experiments to support teachers deliver the Victorian Science curriculum. Many of our teachers have also been conducting live demonstrations for students to watch using Google Meet. I have used Google Meet to broadcast ox heart and rat dissections online. Also,  used plants and stud sheep from my farm in South Gippsland to explain the survival of organisms through adaptations to VCE Biology students.

Unfortunately all Science excursions have been postponed and some science competitions will not be running this year (RACI Titration Stakes and ANCQ). However, students with a keen interest in Science will still have the opportunity participate in the Science Talent Search, Sleek Geek Science Eureka Prize and The Big Science Competition and many others. Students will be sent a SEQTA regarding these competitions very soon.

Furthermore, there are plans for some of our Science staff to run an astronomy evening towards the end of Term 2 which will coincide with the Year 10 Universe unit. All Junior School and Senior School students and their families are welcome to participate using online videoconferencing (Google Meet) from home.

Remote teaching and learning may have its limitations. However, many positives are to be gained. It has opened many doors for our students and changed the way we teach Science at Casey Grammar. 

Mr Daniel Isgro

Head of Science

Library Resources

As we all adjust to the changes in our work and school life, reading is more important than ever. Some of the benefits include:

·       Exposure to oral language (when being read to)

·       Vocabulary building

·       Stress reduction

·       Increase in empathy

·       Development of critical thinking skills

·       Improved memory, focus and concentration

·       Tranquility

In a time of heightened stress for families, reading together can be a moment of peace in an overly busy and scheduled day and an opportunity to reconnect with each other.

If you would like some resources to share as a family, here are a few links to some child-safe videos of a selection of Eric Carle books:

The Very Quiet Cricket

The Mixed-Up Chameleon

The Very Lonely Firefly

The Grouchy Ladybug

The Very Busy Spider

Eric Carle is most famous for The Very Hungry Caterpillar but has written more than 70 children's books. His books are designed to be visually engaging through the unique use of Carle's artistic collage style. This link has a variety of different activities that can be used to help engage children in the world of Eric Carle.

Sora is an excellent resource for those students who enjoy eBooks and audiobooks. Currently, Year 3-12 students have access to Sora but parents of Prep, Year 1 and Year 2 students are encouraged to contact me at if they would like to have an account set up for their family.

Finally, well done to 6M and 6N who have been very busy completing Accelerated Reader quizzes. 6M have completed 19 quizzes, followed closely by 6N with 18 quizzes.

Happy reading!

Ms Jess Burns

Head of Library

The Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge

The Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge is now open and Casey Grammar School is excited to be participating. A new application is being used this year that offers a range of exciting features including:

  • access to a library catalogue (including book images and blurbs)
  • a modern, user-friendly interface
  • rewarding  students with badges as challenge milestones are achieved
  • the option for students to mark books as a favourite, give them a star rating or complete a book review

The Challenge is open to all Victorian children from birth to Year 10 in recognition of the importance of reading for literacy development. It is not a competition, but a personal challenge for children to read a set number of books by Friday 4 September 2020.

Children from Prep to Year 2 are encouraged to read or ‘experience’ 30 books with their parents and teachers. Children from Year 3 to Year 10 are challenged to read 15 books.

All children who meet the Challenge will receive a certificate of achievement signed by the Victorian Premier and former Premiers.

To read the Premier’s letter to parents, view the booklists and for more information about the Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge, visit:

The challenge is optional and will be open from Friday 8 May for any students in Years 3-10.

Years P-2 students will be able to join later in the term.

More details about the Challenge will be sent out shortly.

Ms Janine Hooper

Specialist Teacher

From the Head of Careers

Supporting your child with career planning – Part 2

In my role at CGS, I have the opportunity to meet with your children to discuss their career plans. I love this aspect of my job and feel inspired by the career and life goals our students are setting for themselves. Having a career plan provides direction and destination. It gives students something to aim for and direct their efforts.

A career goal (or plan) can similarly provide motivation; it can give you hope and something to aspire to.

There is no doubt that the pandemic is affecting our ability to forward plan. We are inundated with stories of unemployment in the media and our students are feeling increasingly anxious and concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market. With this in mind, I believe that having a goal and creating a career action plan is more important than ever.

In the last Discovery newsletter, I encouraged parents to consider the ever-evolving ‘world of work’ and the idea that ‘traditional, linear career trajectories are rapidly becoming an antiquated notion’. In this newsletter, I am encouraging parents/guardians to support their children by documenting some goals (career or otherwise).

With my own Primary aged child, the focus is less on ‘career goals’ and more on developing his understanding of the importance of goal setting.  To do this, we have identified (and written down) a short-term and medium-term goal for 2020. As an example, my child is very keen to join a BMX Club; this is his ‘medium term’ goal for the year. We have then set the short-term goal for him to do 30 minutes of bike riding each day during Term 2 in preparation for this. This goal follows the SMART principles for goal setting (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound).

For Secondary aged children, several useful resources exist to support the development of career and life goals. Your child might not know what career they want to pursue (which is OK), but it is important to consider what they can do to keep options open for themselves. As an example, a short-term goal could be to create and use a daily ‘To Do List’ (during Term 2) for their homework tasks to ensure they stay on top of their work or to incorporate a 20-minute Yoga routine into their study plan during the school week.

Goal setting/career planning resources include:

Career planning tips and tools: Youth Central, Casey Grammar Careers (‘for students’ section),

Career planning tools: Make a career plan, WA Jobs and Skills 

Career and course exploration: Job Outlook, Myfuture

Career Education and Support 2020 – Google Classroom (Year 11 & Year 12 students)

To support our current VCE students, I have created a Google Classroom: Career Education Support & Updates – 2020.

This Classroom will be regularly updated to include relevant information re changes to VTAC application date/s, SEAS & Scholarship applications and changes to University admission processes.

Please encourage your children to engage with this Classroom. Instructions to access this Classroom have been sent to all Year 11 & 12 students via SEQTA.

Support for the broader CGS Community (parents & guardians)

As we navigate through this challenging time, I am committed to sharing useful resources (bi-weekly) that may support any members of the Casey Grammar School community who have lost their job or are facing job uncertainty.

To begin with, please download the below document, which includes some useful websites.

Ms Sarah Blythman

Head of Careers and Student Pathways


Career Support Useful Websites


From the Chaplain

At the beginning of this year, in those nostalgic days when we could catch up with friends for coffee, visit grandparents at whim and play at local playgrounds, I led the staff commissioning service. In it, I shared part of an article I read about creativity and unexpected situations where the author quoted Tim Hartford, an economist. He wrote that ‘unexpected situations press us to be more present, to react to the moment and discover new solutions’. I look back at that service with a bit of a wry smile as there was absolutely no way anyone could have predicted how ironic it would become that I had chosen that quote. Little could we have foreseen how much we would be forced into an unexpected situation, how present and aware of our surroundings we would need to be, how imperative it has become to react to the moment and to find new solutions.

Yet, this is what we have all done, albeit with some challenging days along the way. Still, although our playgrounds at school are shut and we are not meeting together in person, Casey Grammar has found its own new solutions to retain our sense of community. Although we cannot gather in the PAC for an ANZAC Service, students have been involved in recording lines at home, drawing pictures and creating wreaths that have formed our virtual service. My sincere thanks to the students who have done readings or sent through pictures as well as to Mr Anthony Brown, who has shared his grandfather’s story. All Senior students have been sent the link to the Google Classroom so that families can watch it together any time. Junior School families with students in Year 3-6, can watch it on their Google Classroom page as well. For broader ways to mark this significant national day, the ABC is streaming during the morning on the 25th, including the 5:30am service at the National War Memorial in Canberra. Another community initiative is ‘Light up the Dawn’ at 6:00am where you can light a candle in your driveway and have a minute’s silence. This is being initiated by the RSL and more information can be found on their Facebook page. Of course, making ANZAC Biscuits or a poppy is another way to start a conversation about resilience, courage and creativity in the face of adversity.

In days of national challenge, whether it be war or the health and safety of our community, our choices are naturally limited. We perhaps more than ever appreciate the freedoms that we normally enjoy. One choice we do have is whether or not we give in to the fear that can so easily take hold. Many people do not know that one of the most frequent commands of Jesus is ‘Do not be afraid’. It is a challenge now, maybe more than ever to apply this in our lives. However, we are reminded that God has the capacity to bring good even from very challenging circumstances. Although of course, so many of our choices are limited, we still do have options. We can decide to retain our connection to one another; we can commit to continuing to be a community who care and we can choose to focus on the potential of each day, even amidst the unknown.

In unexpected challenges, may you also experience unexpected blessings. 

Mrs Monique Riviere-Pendle


From the School Psychologist

Keeping children safe from online predators

There are reports that online predators are targeting children who are "off school". In the wake of COVID-19 children are being homeschooled at the moment, so a large proportion of their time is spent online, for work and play. The new hunting ground for child sex predators is online, on social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Snapchat, Omegle (Omegle is a video chat site that allows you to connect to random people to chat with) and many others.

Paedophiles are sharing even more child sexual abuse material online during the coronavirus lockdown, with law enforcement warning the "worst in humanity" will exploit the pandemic. Europol's European Cybercrime Centre has also detected online conversations on the dark web, where predators have discussed how to target children no longer at school.

Unfortunately, children don't always understand the potential danger. Predators are experts at engaging with children, including teenagers. Overconfident teenagers are often exploited.

Please take the time to talk to your children and make sure they understand why it is important to follow these simple but incredibly important rules.

Conversation tips to have with your children to keep them safe online include.

1     You wouldn't walk up to a stranger on the street and tell them your name, where you live and other personal details. So why do it online?

2     Even if you have been playing online games with someone for a long time you don't know them, so don't share personal information with them. The fact is they simply don't need to know where you live for any reason.

3     If anyone is saying anything that makes you feel uncomfortable for any reason, tell mum or dad quickly. Block that person and do not engage them in anyway.

4     Don't send a picture of yourself to anyone you don't know and never place a FULL profile and photo anywhere on the internet.

5     Never give out your personal information, including name, home address, phone number or school, over the internet. First name and city are fine Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide etc. are specific enough. And this applies to personal information about friends and classmates.

6     Just remember you owe this person nothing, you don't need to tell them anything. This is super important because even if you're giving out what you might think is unimportant info; they can use it all to piece together where you are and how best to track you down.

7     Also if you post pictures be very careful of the information they contain, have you tagged in a location or is it geosynced? Remember that pressing 'send' is definite and final – you can't get it back or take it down. Once an image is on the internet, it can no longer be destroyed...

8     Is your school uniform emblem on display? Is there a street name visible? All of this info can be used by predators to track you down.

9     Never, ever, arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone you have only chatted with on the internet. This is another one that seems super obvious, but you can feel like you know someone very quickly when you are chatting online, especially if they are manipulating the conversation to make you feel that way.

10   Even if you have skyped, zoomed or phone called someone, you still literally have no idea who that person is. Fake profiles are VERY easy to make, and their stories can be made up to match their fake profiles just as easily.

A very useful site for parents is the Commonwealth Government eSafety site:

Another helpful site which provided some of this material is Fighters Against Child Abuse Australia (

Mr Alan Clarke

School Psychologist

Uniform Shop

Term 2 marks the transition from summer to winter uniform. 

The School Uniform Shop is currently closed. If you require any uniform items, the Dandy School Shop located at 8/169 Cheltenham Road, Dandenong is currently open the following hours:

Monday – Friday 9.00am-5.30pm and Saturday 9.30am-2.00pm

Their contact phone number is 9792 3187; it is advisable to call before visiting to ensure they are still open.