Ave Maria College

Newsletter - Volume 97 No 3 • 8 May 2020


Loving God, may we regard this time apart as an opportunity to clarify what truly matters in life – faith, love and relationships – and so draw closer to each other and You.

We make this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Please refer to the College Calendar for all Upcoming Events and Dates of Importance

From the Principal

Update on Remote Online Learning

Over the last few weeks there have been a number of media reports regarding the return to face-to-face teaching. The Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) is following the advice of the Chief Health Officer and working with the Victorian Department of Education and Training on developing a state-wide process for all schools to transition back to in-person teaching. They will provide an update regarding these arrangements once an approach has been agreed upon. As this information becomes available to the College, we will be communicating this to families.

A reminder to families that you were recently emailed a letter regarding the following:

·         Friday, 15 May 2020 will now be a 'Wellness Day' for both students and staff. Details regarding arrangements and expectations of students on this day were included in the letter.

·         All parents have been invited to complete a survey related to the remote online learning experience of their daughters.  Responses to this survey will be used to make adjustments as required to the learning and teaching program being offered via this platform. A link to the survey was included in the letter.  Survey responses are due on Friday, 8 May 2020. 

On Thursday, 30 April 2020 the College received advice from the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) regarding VCE Units 1 to 4 study designs and assessment.  A letter has been sent to all parents/carers who have a daughter completing a VCE subject with the specific details related to this.  If you did not receive a copy of this letter, please email community@avemaria.vic.edu.au so a copy can be resent to you.

Art News

Congratulations to Katia Pietrolungo (Class of 2019) who has won the People’s Choice Award in the Secondary category of this year’s Creative Arts Exhibition, which was a part of Catholic Education Week.

Her series of A2 prints from her Year 12 Media folio presented the theme, women’s rights, working to empower the female audience and educate them of the rights they’re entitled to. The structure of each composition was designed to guide the audience on a journey, where they become informed but also gain the confidence to defend themselves in situations where they may be held back because of their gender. By combining visuals of a diverse group of women with the color element of pink, the product rejects the social conventions of femininity by reclaiming this girlish color as a symbol of power that comes with being a woman.

Congratulations also, to her teacher Ms Ellie Katsaouni who supported Katia during her Year 12 studies in Media.

Mother’s Day

I recently read an article online about St Francis’ devotion to Mary the mother of Jesus, and in particular, her role as mother and advocate, who during her lifetime faced many challenges in her role as a parent.  Mary is viewed as a model disciple who knew exactly who she was before God and lived according to God’s values.  Mary teaches us humility and strength even in the most difficult of times. This weekend in Australia we will celebrate Mother’s Day, a time for family and a time to recognise those that have cared, nurtured and guided us in our lives.  Being a parent or carer in these unprecedented and challenging times highlights the many faces of what it means to have and care for children.  It is a natural instinct to protect our children from anything that may harm them, yet we find ourselves in a situation with many unknowns, no known cure and no timeline for when things will return to normal.  Even in these unprecedented times the love, care and guidance of a parent/career to their child is critical to helping them navigate their way through this.  Mother’s Day this year will look and feel a little different. I continue to pray that we find within ourselves the inner strength of Mary and I hope Sunday will bring peace and happiness to the mother’s and carer’s who are part of our community. In a time where we find ourselves learning to let go of what was as we adjust to this new way of living, I would like to extended best wishes to all our mothers and carer’s this Sunday.  I hope that you are treated by family and even though you may not be able to gather together in the usual way that you make contact with those you love on this very special day.

Let us pray for all our mothers.

For those who are living that God will give them grace and strength.

And for those who have gone before us, that God will welcome them into His eternal, loving embrace.


Many thanks to the Ave community for your continued support.

God bless and as a community may we continue to strive for truth through love.

Tanya Hutton

Deputy Principal Staff, Learning and Teaching

Firstly, I wish to commend all students for the way in which they have willingly embraced and adapted to the online learning environment this term. We are very proud of the hard work that is being achieved by all students and teachers, especially the resilience displayed by our Year 12 students in these challenging times. Rest assured we are working closely with VCAA to provide SACs in the online learning environment for Unit 1 and Unit 3 to be supportive of our VCE students in their learning endeavours.  

As you are aware, it was necessary to cancel Parent/Student/Teacher Interviews for Year 7-10 students in Term 2. A reminder to all parents/carers that you are welcome to contact your daughters’ teachers at any time, if you would like some feedback on your daughter’s learning progress or you have any academic or wellbeing concerns. Please email teachers directly and request written feedback or a phone call as appropriate.  

Ave Maria Semester Reports 2020 

Characteristics of Effective Feedback: 

1. Feedback needs to be timely.

It needs to be given while there is still time for the learners to act on it and to monitor and adjust their own learning. 

2. Feedback is clear and focuses on improvement strategies 

Feedback on learning tasks also needs to be regular and provided as soon as possible after completion. Written, descriptive comments need to be in language that is accessible to the learners and should refer back to the preliminary discussion of learning goals and success criteria. Effective feedback provides specific guidance on how to improve learning outcomes and it enables the learner to think about the learning involved in the task and not just the activity of completing the task.  

3. ​Feedback encourages reflection 

The amount of feedback needs to be limited to what learners can reasonably accept. Effective feedback does not merely correct learner’s errors but actively requires them to reconsider their work and think about why, for example, spelling and punctuation may be incorrect, where a mistake has been made in mathematical workings or an ide​a or situation has been misunderstood or requires further development. 

Currently at Ave Maria College we provide feedback for formative and summative tasks via Ave Learning. There is variation in the type of feedback according to the task and the subject. We report twice a semester to parents/carers on student achievement (Assessment Tasks) and Learner Attributes. Through the implementation of Ave Learning, teachers have the opportunity of providing online feedback after each summative task. This can include comments that are specific to the task and areas for improvement. These comments will be instead of the current comments that appear on the Semester Report. This will provide timely feedback for both students and parents/carers which also provides further opportunity for parental engagement in learning conversations. The results that are entered into Ave Learning will be automatically carried over to Semester Reports. 

In response to conducting assessment tasks during COVID-19 restrictions in Term 2: 

  •  Year 7-11 Assessment Tasks will be assessed as 'S or N' on the Semester One Report 

  •  Any assessments in Unit 1 or Unit 3 that can not be conducted online in Term 2, may appear on the report as ‘Not Yet Assessed’. This is due to the nature of some practical/performance-based tasks that cannot be conducted online. These tasks will be assessed when classes resume onsite in Term 3. 

Semester One reports will be made available to all students, parents/carers on Friday, 26 June 2020 via the Parent Access Module (PAM). 

Michelle Robertson

Director of Studies

As has been previously mentioned by my colleagues, I must congratulate and applaud all of our staff, students and families for their courage, determination and resilience in shifting so quickly into our Online Learning Environment. The efforts our staff are putting in to deliver an engaging and relevant curriculum online are monumental and I can definitively say that I am proud to be a member of this great community. Whilst still being present onsite once per week for the first few weeks of Term 2, the grounds are not quite the same and are definitely missing the buzz that is typically heard in the hallways.

As a result of moving to the Online Learning Environment, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the following points to families about events originally scheduled for later this term:

  • Year 10 and Year 11 End of Semester examinations have been cancelled,
  • NAPLAN at Years 7 and 9 has been cancelled for 2020.
  • Semester 2 studies for all year levels will now commence on Tuesday, 14 July 2020. This has been pushed back to accommodate the shorter length of timetabled classes, and the shift by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) to move the Unit 4 start date to the same date.

VCE Matters

The VCAA has communicated a range of changes to the delivery of VCE and VCE Assessment, as a result of the shift to online learning in Term 2. These have been communicated directly with teachers, students and parents/carers to ensure that all necessary stakeholders are aware of changes to processes and procedures. Parents/carers can find more information at the VCAA COVID-19 web page.

SACs will continue to be conducted in the Online Learning Environment. The College has put in place a robust set of measures to deliver and authenticate student work, in line with requirements communicated by the VCAA and Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV). As part of these requirements, we will be seeking consent from parents to participate in SACs, as the students are required to have their webcams on (to ensure they are not referencing additional materials) and either the class teacher or myself may be required to contact them in relation to their submission.

The College has also invested in Turnitin, a plagiarism and similarity checker, to add an additional layer of authentication of students’ work. This tool is used extensively in tertiary education and allows the subject teachers to check student submissions against the work of other students, external sources and the Internet.

As indicated by the VCAA, we will be writing to each student and their parents/carers about specific work and assessment requirements for each study. This communication will be distributed over the coming weeks.

These are unprecedented and uncertain times for everyone, but what I am certain of is that we will all get through this together.

James Vella

Director of Faith and Religious Education

College Prayer

Mindful for our need to connect in prayer, especially at this time, students and staff will be able to join in prayer from 11.05am to 11.15am each Friday commencing Friday, 8 May 2020 in the College Community Team
Simply select the ‘Join’ button for the ‘College Prayer’ meeting.

Faith Response to COVDI-19

There is no doubt that this time of isolation presents challenges. It is easy to feel as though things have been taken away from us. We are so used to our response being an action. What if our response to this time was about our being? Below are some thoughts by Franciscan, Fr Richard Rohr:

Suffering, of course, can lead us in one of two directions. It can make us very bitter and close us down, or it can make us wise, compassionate, and utterly open. Our hearts open either because they have been softened, or perhaps because suffering makes us feel like we have nothing more to lose. It often takes us to the edge of our inner resources where we “fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

Let us all pray for the grace of this second path of softening and opening.

Patrick Jurd

Director of Student Wellbeing

As we enter the middle weeks of the term we are keenly aware of the impact that isolation can have on our students, as well as those around them. As discussed in our letter to families last week, our Mentor Program provides a great support for our students. Our Mentor Teachers are finding this is a valuable way of connecting with our students and providing support for them. Students engage in challenges each week that could be physical, cognitive, spiritual, social or personal. Our aim is to continue to support the flourishing of the whole person beyond the academic classroom, just as we do during onsite learning.

In addition to this, we have introduced Connect, Create, Contribute, which is a House based initiative. Led by our House Leaders, all students can complete different offline activities each week and post them to the chat in the House channel. Activities include planting in the garden, baking, book and movie suggestions, writing to a local senior citizens organization, Lego challenge or creating a video reading a book for children that we can share with our local primary schools. This chat will allow our students to connect with each other, offering support and encouragement.

We are aware that this new way of working provides particular challenges for teenagers. Sometimes young people will develop habits that lead to poor motivation and poor mental health. If students are sleeping in until the last minute, wearing the same clothes every day or working in messy, disorganized spaces they are likely to become dispirited, lethargic and lacking in motivation. When we feel lethargic it is harder to get out into fresh air (particularly when it is cold) but this is re-energizing and helps students refocus and recharge. Using the ten minutes between classes is also an important way of taking a quick break which helps students to work more consistently throughout the day.

We look forward to continuing to see how our students make the most of this situation. So far we have seen students creating quizzes and games for Mentor Group, completing the Mentor challenges  and engaging beautifully in Mentor Period. As challenging as this period can be, it has highlighted the strength of our community.

Natalie Meddis

Careers and Pathways

Many valuable careers events, such as Expos and Experience Days will occur online this term. This is an exciting opportunity for students to continue exploring careers and tertiary courses. Students and parents/carers are encouraged to explore occupations and careers using our Ave Maria Careers website, which can be easily accessed via our Ave Learning weblink.  

To replace our careers excursions this term, we have planned several online events. Year 12 students will have a presentation from RMIT and attend a Careers Expo. Year 11 students will participate in a Careers and Pathways session and the Year 10 cohort will have a Careers Day.

Year 10 Morrisby Profile Reports are now available to access, using student login details. All Year 10 students will develop an individual Career Action Plan. A 15 minute, 1:1 meeting with a Careers Adviser will occur this term via MS Teams. Parents/carers are welcome to attend these meetings and will receive a letter to provide consent for these online meetings. Appointments will be emailed to students in advance, with the date and time confirmed. In addition, notes from these individual meetings will be sent to students for further discussion at home before subject selection.

Parents are welcome to contact us via email careers@avemaria.vic.edu.au , or mobile 0436 609 278 if you have any queries.

To view our Career Newsletter articles, click here. Topics this week include:

  • Several University Early Entry Programs are now open: ACU,
    La Trobe, VU and ANU
  • Upcoming Virtual Careers Expos
  • Careers in Medicine & UCAT closing date
  • Webinars
      • Meet Melbourne Webinars
      • Stream Swinburne Series
      • Inside Monash Webinars
      • Careers in Maths and Data webinar

    • SEAS – Special Entry Access Scheme

        • Explore your global university options
        • Commerce versus Economics
        • National Youth Science Forum (Year 11)
        • Future of work predictor
        • Exciting STEM resources and weekly challenges
        • Photography Courses in Victoria in 2020
        • Dates for your diary

        Poppy Ibrahim

        College Counselling Services

        Counselling support continues to be available to students during the period of remote learning in Term 2. Appointments are via the College phone system (provided at the time the appointment), where students can speak with College Psychologist, Sue Hall. On the day of the scheduled appointment students will be asked to phone the direct line of the College Counselling Service to speak with Sue Hall. This process will replace the use of a College mobile phone. Appointments are available during regular College operating hours (8.40am – 3.25pm) and can be arranged via direct email request to susanne.hall@avemaria.vic.edu.au 

        In continuing to provide this service to our students I have included the following information for parents/carers which is to be read in conjunction with the newsletter article from 21 February 2020.

        • Remote wellbeing and health supports will only be provided to students during term dates and within usual school operating hours as outlined above.
        • Communication with your daughter regarding the booking and confirmation of appointments will only happen during term dates and within usual school operating hours via email, using the student’s College email account. Appointments will occur via phone, using the College phone system. There will be no communications via text message, web chat or videoconferencing.
        • Students will be required to phone the Counselling Service's direct line, which will be provided at the time the appointment is scheduled. It is recommended that the student make this call with No Caller ID activated on the device being used.
        • It is important that students have a quiet space, free from distractions for their sessions.
        • No third party is permitted to join the call when the session is being held, including a parent/carer, unless both the student and the College Psychologist have agreed to this in advance.
        • Each session will be time-limited as determined by the College Psychologist and will not exceed 50 minutes.
        • The information shared with the College Psychologist by your daughter in these sessions will be confidential. In the event the College Psychologist believes there is an immediate risk to your daughter's safety or the safety of others, they may disclose this information without your consent to ensure that your daughter and others remain safe.

        Further information regarding the College Counselling Service can be found in our Student Counselling Policy . Please notify the College if you prefer your daughter does not have access this service by emailing avemaria@avemaria.vic.edu.au.

        Sue Hall, College Psychologist

        Arts News

        Hi Ave!

        I hope you’re all doing well and hopefully harnessing your creativity during this period of isolation. To help, I’ve collated a few things you can do if you find yourself with a spark of creative genius!

        If you live on a particularly busy street, why not try drawing on your footpath with chalk! Pretty much everyone can get involved in this (provided you have some chalk lying around) and the best part is that it can help brighten the day of people walking by. Try making your drawings super bright and colourful and maybe add a positive message, things like rainbows, flowers and groovy shapes are always a good start.

        Put your design tech skills to good use and try making some scrunchies! If you happen to have any spare material or an old funky shirt that no one wears around the house then you can give this idea a go. There are online tutorials showing you how to create your own scrunchies, even without a sewing machine or sometimes without sewing at all! These are awesome to try to make yourself, especially if you don’t already have a black one to wear to school. 

        Photoshoot Anyone? Try thinking of fun inventive ways of capturing the things that are already in your house. This doesn’t have to be done on an expensive camera, your phone camera should do the trick! Apps like ‘Huji’ and ‘DAZE CAM’ can create an on trend film photography look, if that's what you’re going for. If you want to level it up, there are heaps of photoshoot ideas around social media platforms like Tik Tok (namely the spotlight photoshoot hack using your phone flash and a toilet roll). Get snapping!

        If you give any of these ideas above a try be sure to send pictures to my school email for a chance at being featured on the school Instagram page.

        Lastly, it’s important to remember that you don’t necessarily have to use this time to better yourself or become a master creator; We’re all just trying to benefit our community at the moment and that's really all we’re required to do. 

        These tips are here to help if you feel particularly inclined to get creative and take a break from reality.

        Remember, try to stay healthy, connected and, most of all CREATIVE!

        Mia Ranalletta, Arts Captain

        Around the College

        Inter-House Kahoot Extravaganza

        Friday, 24 April 2020 turned out to be an awesome day, especially for Clare House who took out the first ever online 'Inter-House Athletics Extravaganza'.

        With every Year Level involved in a school wide Kahoot, competition was going to be fierce. It was a matter of who was the quickest and most accurate to take out first place. It was a fantastic community event and all participants should be congratulated on the spirit they brought to the activity.

        Special mention to Year 12 students, your competitiveness was astounding and the banter amazing but your costumes were priceless. Well done Ave Maria. 

        Year 7

        1.    Sienna Morda (CLARE)

        2.    Sagana Mahendran (FRANCIS)

        3.    Sophie Watson (HELENE)

        4.    Andrea Evdokimou (MARY)

        Year 10

        1.    Janice Draim (FRANCIS)

        2.    Kiera Stavridis (CLARE)

        3.    Greer Tickle (MARY)

        4.    Emili Martic (FRANCIS)

        Year 8

        1.    Lindsay Cecil (CLARE)

        2.    Mackensie Wilson (FRANCIS)

        3.    Michaela Galle (CLARE)

        4.    Alyssa Stavridis (CLARE)

        Year 11

        1.    Lucy Turner (HELENE)

        2.    Mya Mollica (FRANCIS)

        3.    Monica Trang (CLARE)

        4.    Mia Sciberras (HELENE)

        Year 9

        1.    Amy Marazita (FRANCIS)

        2.    Kiara Di Matteo (CLARE)

        3.    Isabella Mingaars (CLARE)

        4.    Madeline Piccione (MARY)

        Year 12

        1.    Nadine Rabie (HELENE)

        2.    Emily Asta (CLARE)

        3.    Scarlett Bibby (MARY)

        4.    Simone Potter (CLARE)

        Garry Whicker, Co-curricular Leader

        Helene Library

        Where did YA come from, and how did it get so big?

        The popularity of YA Fiction may come as a surprise to some parents - why is YA fiction so popular? 

        Watch this YouTube clip to understand how “Young Adult” fiction differs to adult fiction.

        Hashtag #yafiction has over 300K posts on Instagram and has an enormous social media presence.  Teens everywhere are talking about books written just for them.

        Start a conversation with your daughter about reading. Check out ways to keep reading the latest YA releases by visiting one of the eBooks /Audio book collections below and encourage her to keep reading during Term 2.

        Wheelers ePlatform books from the Helene Library.  Access with Student ID and password. 

        Amazon Audible Audio Free

        Whilst schools are closed around the world Audible has free access for school students.

        Public Libraries

        Visit your local library website to check out their eBook and digital magazine collections.

        Moonee Valley




        Laura Pugliese, Helene Library Leader

        Wellness Day - Friday, 15 May 2020

        On Friday, 15 May 2020 the College has planned a 'Wellness Day'. This day is to be used by students for one of the following two purposes:

        1. Catch up on homework set by subject teachers

        2. Engage in wellbeing activities that are available on Ave Learning

        The wellbeing activities have been developed by the Wellbeing and Co-curricular teams and are designed for students to engage in learning activities away from their screens.

        Please note that on Friday, 15 May 2020 there will be no scheduled classes taking place.

        Community Events

        Moonee Valley COVID-19 Recovery Grants Program

        The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of our community life and will require a collective effort to adapt and recover. Council plays an important role in the support of local community groups and businesses within our municipality. We have committed to ensuring the health, safety and vitality of our community, and to support the community to adapt, respond and recover. The COVID-19 Recovery Grants Program has been introduced as part of our response to the pandemic situation, to help support the community through these unprecedented times. The new program will open on Wednesday 29 April 2020 and continue until June 30 2021, or until all funding has been expended.

        There is a brief overview of the new program below, but the full details within our new guidelines are now available for you to download on our website. If you have any questions or queries, please contact the Community Grants Officer on 9243 1664 or at grants@mvcc.vic.gov.au.

        Healthcare Card or other Concession Card

        If you currently hold a Health Care Card or another concession card which names your daughter, we strongly encourage you to complete the CSEF Application form and return to the College immediately. 

        Holders of concession cards may be eligible for funding for the Camp, Sports and Excursions Fund.

        Families who successfully applied for the CSEF Rebate for students attending the College in 2019 and have no changes to any details on the application, there is no need to complete a new form for 2020. 

        Please lodge a new application if you have a student entering the College in 2020. 

        Feel free to contact the Finance Office on 0436 692 433 should you have any queries or concerns. 

        Simon Everywhere

        Ave Maria College is proud to introduce Simon Everywhere, a smartphone app, designed to streamline the communication process for our families.

        Simon Everywhere allows you to conveniently access your daughter’s reports, grades and attendance, update medical information, notify student absences, give consent for excursions and communicate directly with teachers. Essentially it is your Parent Access Module (PAM) account in the convenience of an app.
        To utilise this facility simply download the Simon Everywhere app from your devices App Store, select Ave Maria College from the schools dropdown list and enter your previously supplied PAM account credentials.

        Click here to access the College Parent Access Module (PAM)
        The SkoolBag App is the easiest way to keep up with school events, last minute notices, newsletters and all school communications.

        CDFpay is an online payment platform families can use to pay for school services from your mobile, tablet or computer at any time.

        Families can:

        • place student online lunch orders.
        • add funds to student accounts to be used for over the counter canteen purchases.
        • add funds to student accounts to be used for Printing Credit.