Ave Maria College

Newsletter - Volume 97 No 1 • 21 February 2020


Loving God, we thank you for the gift of life. May we make the most of that gift every day so that we can show that true power is love.

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

Dear Ave Maria College Community, 

Welcome to the 2020 school year. We warmly welcome all new students, staff and families who join our wonderful community for the first time this year.  Congratulations to our Year 7 students who have settled into their new courses of study and programs at the College. It has been delightful to see them grow in confidence as they have settled in. 

On behalf of the College I would like to welcome the following new staff who were introduced to our community at the Opening School Mass held last week. 

  • Ms Marie-Claire Anastasiadis:  Teacher of Science 
  • Ms Odette Colbert:  Teacher of English and Humanities 
  • Miss Hayley Gossow:  Teacher of Health and Physical Education 
  • Mr Adam Hipwell:  Teacher of Humanities, Health and Physical Education 
  • Miss Cassandra Hutchison:  Teacher of English and Drama 
  • Mrs Poppy Ibrahim:  Careers Education Leader 
  • Mr Frank Liberatore:  Property and Maintenance 
  • Mrs Trisha Sullivan:  Teacher of Humanities and Careers and Pathways 
  • Mrs Chamarelle White:  Learning Support Officer 
  • Mr Mark Wood:  Teacher of Religious Education and Humanities 

As a new member of the Ave Maria College myself, I have been particularly impressed by both the staff and students of the College.  The staff are incredibly committed and dedicated to ensuring that they provide the best learning environment for our students so they can thrive and excel. The students have already settled into classes and are well on their way to managing the varying demands of their programs.  Greeting the students in the morning at the front gate and visiting lessons has been a pleasure. I can honestly say that Ave Maria College is a very welcoming, nurturing and supportive community that embraces its newest members as one of their own. 

As we commence 2020, I would also like to extend our best wishes to the following staff who will be moving into new Leadership roles: 

    • Mr Stuart Hensley:  Domain Leader: IT and STEM
    • Mrs Poppy Ibrahim:  Careers Education Leader 
      • Mr Craig Minty: Performing Arts Leader 
        • Ms Olivia Pearce: Domain Leader: English 
          • Mr James Vella: Director of Studies 

            Complementing the start of the year has seen the launch of the College theme: ‘True power is Love’.  Our College theme is particularly important in today’s world, especially given that we live in a world obsessed with gaining and wielding power whether it is political, economic or interpersonal. Jesus, Francis, Clare, Mary and Helene tell us something completely different and call us to be different.  It has been pleasing to see the Senior Student Leaders both embrace and then embed the theme within their leadership plans for this year. 

            Opening School Mass and VCE Awards Ceremony

            Last Tuesday we gathered as a faith community to celebrate the Opening School Mass and our first Eucharist for the year.  The Mass was celebrated by Fr. Tony Feeney.  As part of the Mass, Fr. Tony highlighted the College theme urging our students to continue to develop a love for their God and to find traces of beauty and love in the everyday. 

            Later the same day we held our VCE Awards Assembly for the graduating Class of 2019.  This assembly recognized the highest performing students from the cohort including the top performing student for each Unit 3/4 subject; students with 40+ scores; and, students with a 90+ ATAR.  It was wonderful to see so many students return to the College, so they could be acknowledged for their achievement.  Thank you also to the College Dux, Natalie Cierpisz who delivered an inspiring speech to our students. It was wonderful to hear her tips for success, the support received from her parents but also how she has drawn inspiration from them throughout her journey. Again, we congratulate the graduating Class of 2019 for their achievements and wish them future success and happiness. 

            As we travel through the 2020 school year together, I want to assure you that the young women of Ave Maria College, your daughter’s, are in good hands.  Our purpose and our passion remains the same, Learning, Success and Growth for every student. Our dedicated team of staff will continue to work in partnership with you to achieve this.  They will also nurture and support your daughters throughout this journey.  We are committed to delivering a curriculum that is rigorous and challenging, one that continues to see them thrive and grow.

            I look forward to our journey together, as we move forward in partnership for the education of your daughters. 

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

            Tanya Hutton

            Deputy Principal Staff, Learning and Teaching

            Our students and staff have had a very positive start to the 2020 school year! A reminder that if you have any concerns regarding your daughter’s learning program or general wellbeing, please contact her Mentor Teacher.

            The wearing of the school uniform correctly and with a sense of pride is paramount at Ave Maria College. It is the responsibility of parents/carers and students to ensure the uniform is worn in accordance with the regulations of the College. Any breach of the uniform regulations will result in the issuing of an incident.

            HPE Uniform Requirements 2020

            ·         The HPE uniform is only to be worn on a designated day each week/cycle, as communicated by the HPE teacher

            ·         The HPE uniform is not to be worn for Drama, Year 10 and 11 Sport and Recreation or Allied Health classes, unless advised in writing by the teacher.

            Concerns Regarding Being Late to School

            As communicated in the 2020 Student Planner, students are required to arrive at school by 8. 30am in order to be ready to commence Period One at 8.40am. Students who are arriving to school after the start of Period One are missing the valuable introduction to the learning intentions at the start of the lesson. We ask for your support in ensuring your daughter is arriving on time for school every day. If you are driving your daughter to school, please allow for potential traffic and disruptions when you are calculating your travel time to school. Please ensure you use the Drop-off Zone correctly, to ensure the safety of all students at the beginning and end of the school day.

            PTV – Ryans Bus Services

            The bus service to and from Ave Maria College are part of the PTV network and are not free services. Students must tap on with their Myki card when they enter the bus. Failure to do so may result in a loss of services, as viability is determined by the number of Myki touch-ons. If you daughter uses the Ryans bus service, please have a conversation regarding the importance of ‘tapping on’ for every journey. Please do not park or pull into the bus zone. This practice is very dangerous and also illegal.

            We look forward to working with you in partnership to support your daughter's learning and wellbeing in 2020. 

            Michelle Robertson

            Director of Studies

            Welcome back for what will be another inspirational and exciting year of learning at Ave Maria College. Being new to this role in 2020, I am looking forward to supporting the learning partnerships between the young women of Ave, yourselves as parents and carers, and their teachers. As such, I believe this to be an opportune time to reiterate some College academic expectations and protocols.

            Years 7 – 10: Minimum Achievement Standards

            Students in Years 7 – 10 are expected to achieve a minimum of 50% in all assessments undertaken as part of their studies. In setting the Minimum Achievement Standard, we aim to ensure that the young women of Ave Maria College are

            ·         demonstrating understanding,

            ·         striving for and achieving their very best,

            ·         building a wealth of knowledge and complex skills that will support them in future learning and life.

            Where students achieve less than 50% on a given task, they will be required to re-submit a part, or all of the task as an additional opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. Upon re-submission, students will receive further feedback, however the score of the original assessment task submission will remain.

            You will be notified of any instances where your daughter has not satisfied the Minimum Achievement Standard via an email that will direct you to a letter on the Parent Access Module (PAM).

            VCE: Assessments

            Students studying VCE subjects are also expected to uphold the Minimum Achievement Standard of at least 50% for all School-Assessed Coursework (SAC) tasks and School-Assessed Tasks (SAT). Students who do not meet this requirement may be at risk of achieving a Not Satisfactory (N) for a given outcome, and in turn, the Unit. If your daughter receives less than 50% in a SAC or SAT, a Level 1 Intervention will be recorded, and a redemption task must be completed in order to satisfy the outcome. This will be recorded via a letter on the Parent Access Module (PAM).

            Attendance for a SAC is compulsory. If your daughter is absent for a SAC both yourselves and your daughter will receive an email outlining her absence and details of the Re-scheduled SAC process. Absences from a SAC must be supported by a Medical Certificate or where a Medical Certificate cannot be sourced, a Statutory Declaration. Rescheduled SACs only occur on a Thursday afternoon and attendance must be a priority.

            Extended Leave

            We know that students learn best when they attend classes with minimal disruption. Within the course of the academic year, it is important that your daughter attends all her classes to ensure the successful development of concepts, knowledge and skills. We are also aware that at various times throughout the year, some families may plan holidays or extended trips.

            Families are discouraged from taking extended leave during the school term as doing so disrupts the learning process and creates gaps in essential knowledge and skills. Families of students studying VCE subjects are especially discouraged from such leave, as extended absences can result in these students being at risk of not meeting outcomes, achieving an N for a unit or multiple units, and potentially not being awarded their VCE.

            If a student and their family request an extended leave of absence (a time period of five or more school days), a formal application must be submitted to the relevant Year Level Leader at least one month prior to the requested time (except in extenuating circumstances). We ask that this is done by the completion of the Application for Extended Leave form, available from Knowledge Banks. This application form must be signed by each of your daughter’s teachers and Year Level Leader.

            Digital Resources

            After a brief delay in the implementation of the new platform, students in Years 7 through 9 should now have access to Campion MyConnect. This platform centralises four key digital platforms within the College (CambridgeGo, JacPlus, Oxford Digital and Pearson Places) and makes them more easily accessible to students. Should your daughter have any continuing issues, please have them contact myself to have these resolved.

            Access to Edrolo and Language Perfect will continue to be updated over the coming week to ensure student access moving forward.

            James Vella


            Director of Faith and Religious Education

            Opening School Mass

            On Tuesday, 11 February 2020, the College gathered in Francis Hall to celebrate the beginning of the school year with gratitude for all that God is doing for us. We were fortunate to have the head of our Canonical Administrators, Fr Tony Feeney, as our celebrant. Fr Tony commissioned Ms Tanya Hutton as Principal. Our Year 12 Leaders had their badges blessed and shared the reading of a pledge to be servant leaders in 2020. The new staff were introduced to the College community and given their Tau cross, a symbol of our shared Franciscan charism. The Year 7 cohort and other new students to the College were also given their Tau cross. Mr Craig Minty and the vocal ensemble ably led the singing.

            Franciscan Leaders

            In recent years there have been Faith and Social Justice Leaders and Environment Ambassadors. In 2020, those duties have been combined under the heading ‘Franciscan’. Thus Franciscan Leaders from Years 7 to 12 will have the responsibility of providing leadership in matters of faith, as well as justice and environmental activities. As Pope Francis observed in his encyclical Laudato si, there is a very close link between justice and the environment.

            Valentine’s Day

            The Year 12 Leaders covered the College on Friday, 14 February 2020 with post-it notes that were filled with messages of inspiration and positivity – as well as puns on staff names! It was very well done and an excellent embodiment of our College theme ‘True power is Love.

            Homework Club and Soup Van

            Students have been signing up for these two activities which will run again in 2020. All are to be commended for their enthusiasm and willingness to help.

            Patrick Jurd

            Director of Student Wellbeing

            Ave Maria College prioritizes the wellbeing of our students, understanding that emotional regulation skills and the ability to create and negotiate healthy relationships are great foundations for learning. We support the wellbeing of our students in a number of ways, from implementing Child Safe standards to easing the transition of Year 7 students to implementing a whole school social and emotional learning program, we aim to equip our students with the skills to succeed at each step of their secondary education.

            We have a holistic program to support the development of a Child Safe culture at Ave Maria, including our Mentor Teachers, Mentor Program, Student Leadership, Learner Attributes and Codes of Conduct. In 2019 Child Safe Standard 7: Empowering Children was emphasized. As part of this, all schools were required to implement Codes of Conduct for students, parents and staff. These Codes of Conduct outline the nature of our relationships with the College and each other, ensuring that respect and dignity are the foundation to these relationships. In addition to formal student leadership opportunities, we aim to educate our students about using their voices in a range of ways, expressing themselves and ensuring that they feel safe to do this.

            Key to this is the Mentor Program. This is a fortnightly lesson held in Mentor Groups and led by the Mentor Teacher. The basis of this program is the core competencies of self awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. Our program is developed with reference to the Victorian Curriculum Capabilities, Respectful Relationships and our Learning Charter and Attributes. This term our focus is on social awareness and responsible decision making. Students explore what it means to belong to our community, they work together to establish their expectations for the classroom and they examine the Learner Attributes in greater depth. Our aim is to give students the space to reflect on themselves and their contribution to the community and culture. 

            Natalie Meddis

            Careers and Pathways

            The Ave Maria College Careers team includes Mrs Trisha Sullivan and myself. We look forward to working with you to equip your daughters with career readiness and planning their future pathways.

            Year 12 Future Planning Appointments

            Year 12 Future Planning appointments will begin next week. These meetings are important to discuss plans and get information to assist with researching their future pathway. Parents are welcome to attend these meetings.

            Year 10 Work Experience

            Year 10 Work Experience dates are Monday, 13 to Friday, 17 July 2020, Week 1 of Term 3. Some exciting placements have already been organised at various hospitals, NGV, Victoria Police and the Magistrates Court. Should you require assistance to complete the Work Experience Arrangement Form, please contact Mrs Trisha Sullivan who is coordinating the program.

            Morrisby Profile Testing

            On Tuesday, 10 March 2020 all Year 10 students will be undertaking the Morrisby Online Profile Vocational testing. Follow up appointments with a Careers Advisor will occur in Term 2, to develop a personal Career Action Plan. 

            Our Ave Maria College Careers website can be easily accessed via our College website. It is a wonderful tool for students and families to explore important career information and resources. To view our Career Newsletter articles and our recent Parent Information Night presentations, click here. Topics this week include:

            • Upcoming events

            o   Nursing and Health Expo

            o   Victoria Police Information Session

            o   Australian Defence Force

            o   VCE and Careers Show, Flemington

            o   The Melbourne US & UK University Expo

            o   Hotel Careers Expo

            • Applying for medicine? Medicine at Monash University and sitting the UCAT
            • Criminology
            • Cosmetic Nursing
            • Quick student career quiz
            • University – Register for early entry programs (Year 12 students)
            • Gaming and animation work experience
            • STEM Careers 

            Poppy Ibrahim

            Counselling Services

            Ave Maria College provides a counselling service as part of its pastoral care program. Students are encouraged to make use of this service if they need assistance.  There are however several things that students and their parents/carers should know before using the service.

            1. Records will be made of counselling sessions and because the College Psychologist is an employee, those records belong to the College, not the Psychologist.
            2. The College is very conscious of the need for confidentiality between Psychologist and student.  However, at times it may be necessary for the Psychologist to divulge the contents of discussions or records to the Principal, if the Principal and/or the Psychologist considers it necessary for the student's welfare to discharge the College's duty of care to the student.
            3. It is also possible that the Principal may need to disclose aspects of discussions with the Psychologist to others in order to assist the student.
            4. Where a disclosure is made it would be limited to those who need to know, unless the students consents to some wider disclosure. 

            We emphasise that disclosures (if any) would be very limited.  However, if a student is not prepared to use the counselling services on the basis set out above the student will need to obtain counselling services from outside the College.

            Referrals to the counselling service can be made by parents and teachers, or, students can make an appointment themselves. Appointments can be made by phoning College Psychologist, Sue Hall, via College reception or emailing: susanne.hall@avemaria.vic.edu.au. Parents/ carers who do not want their daughter to access the  counselling service are advised to contact the College. 

            Susanne Hall, College Psychologist

            College Captains

            2020 is a year that we, as College Captains, see as an opportunity to make a difference. Even at the beginning of Term One, we can see lots of enthusiasm and eagerness for the new academic year and we are so prepared to maintain this energy until our time at the College comes to an end. We are so excited to explore our passions supported through our strong values through initiatives we hope to implement at the College this year. We will have a strong focus on sustainability. With our College theme in mind, we hope to establish the concepts of showing love to others and to the environment, as “one’s True power is Love”. This year we will strive for each student at Ave Maria College to feel as if they have a purpose in making our school community a positive and inclusive environment for everyone, through their involvement in these initiatives.

            We were especially motivated over the summer holidays when all 14 members of the 2020 Senior Leadership Team had the privilege of attending the annual yLead Conference, which was held at Melbourne University. yLead is an organisation that assists young leaders in becoming the best versions of themselves, inspiring them to create change in their communities. Surrounded by like-minded student leaders from around Victoria, we gained an insight into what it means to be a capable leader and how to work well in and amongst a group. We hope to introduce some of the strategies and activities that this conference taught us, as we believe that they encompassed our fundamental ideals of community, compassion and gratitude. The conference allowed us time to configure, as a group, possible strategies that could be implemented at the College, for all students to contribute in our initiatives, particularly those that encourage us to be eco-friendly and environmentally conscious. yLead taught us the importance of organisational skills and time-management, by demonstrating how to create action plans, fortnightly agendas and proposals that we will be making great use of in the weeks to come. In addition to this, yLead also gave each person on the leadership team an opportunity to consider their purpose as an individual, their strengths and weaknesses, as well as the steps they can take to grow as a person.  We believe that self-improvement is an essential part of being a leader and alongside our team, we are confident in our ability to bounce back and constantly learn throughout this experience of leadership.

            In terms of our vision for the upcoming year, we aspire to implement a different environmental focus each term. We wish to support each student’s involvement, by encouraging them to work alongside the canteen, bringing less plastic waste to school and forming more recyclable habits. We look forward to bringing these ideas to life and can’t wait to make 2020 a year to remember!

            Danielle Reed and Claudia Fox

            Around the College

            Year 12 Retreat

            At the end of our Year 12 retreat, the class of 2020 was no longer just one hundred and twenty-three Ave girls, but a united group of young women. I now finally understand the College Theme; ‘true power is love’.

            Instead of worrying about the overwhelming demands of Year 12 and being consumed with the pressures of society in today’s world, I was able to see the unfiltered beauty of girls embracing one another. We welcomed and strengthened friendships as well as developing a new sense of who we want to be, this year and in the future. Our three days spent at Grantville Lodge was filled with lots of mindfulness, dancing, tears, laughter and reflection – also, of course an unnecessary amount of lollies. From being immersed in the Survivor Challenge to reading letters from our Year Nine self, I will forever treasure the valuable and unique moments I got to spend with the girls that I have grown with over the last six years. Retreat has definitely started the year off on a high note and I am looking forward to finishing Year 12 with these amazing girls by my side. 

            Eliza Wilson, Year 12

            Thank you From Hope for Myanmar Children's Home

            Residents of the Hope for Myanmar Children’s Home Yangon, Thailand were exceptionally grateful when 2019 Faith and Social Justice Captain, Hannah Portelli visited delivering  first aid donations from the College.

            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.

            Community Events

            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.

            School Photos - Ready to Order

            Our annual school photos are now ready to order.

            Arthur Reed Photos uses an online ordering system where you can view your photos prior to ordering.

            All students have received a flyer which includes a code unique to them, enabling you to register online and view your photos.

            If you have already registered, you will receive an email or SMS from Arthur Reed Photos with a link to view your photos.

            If you have not yet registered, please go to order.arphotos.com.au and enter your unique code to complete your order.

            If you have misplaced your registration code, please contact the Arthur Reed Photos Customer Service Team directly on 5243 4390

            Please note that you will need to register online with your 2020 photo unique code to gain access to this year's images.

            There is a 10 day ordering period if you wish to receive free delivery back to the College. This ordering window closes on Monday, 2 March 2020.

            After this time, there will be a $9.95 postage and handling fee on all orders, as they will be sent directly to your nominated address.

            If you require any assistance ordering your photos, please contact Arthur Reed Photos directly on 5243 4390 or email