Worawa Term 3 Newsletter 2020

Worawa Community Outreach

Whilst the students were back in their home communities during Stage 3 COVID-19 restrictions, Worawa introduced a meal delivery service to support Elders and vulnerable members of our community. The Meal Service operation consisted of 45 nutritious meals prepared three times per week by Chef Robin Sutcliffe which were delivered with contactless delivery by College staff.

At the commencement of Stage 4 restrictions the College re-commenced food delivery service with food prepared by local Chef Tim Campbell owner of the prestigious The Mabel Restaurant. Worawa students prepared Care Packages of sanitizer, masks, wipes, cards, reading material and handwritten messages from our students for distribution to the community. Worawa efforts have been warmly welcomed by Elders and community. We wish to acknowledge the support of the Department of Justice, Eastern Metropolitan Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee.

Health and Wellbeing

We are pleased to announce that Dr Emma Weiz has joined the Worawa healthcare team. Dr Emma is attached to the Monash Children’s Hospital and has a special interest in paediatrics and adolescent health. Our twice-weekly telehealth clinic with Dr Emma has contributed to providing a high standard of medical care for students.

The Nurses Clinic, now located in the College’s new building, provides a warm, friendly, safe environment that offers a balance of consultations, telehealth appointments, medical health check-ups and first aid.

The focus on this term has been obtaining and maintaining maximum health and fitness. We aim for this through educating girls to understand how a growing teenage body works, how to manage wellness through a holistic approach to nutrition, sleep hygiene, exercise, forming respectful relationships, and developing resilience.

In order to provide the students with the best possible health care, the College utilizes many services and supports. During this term, we have had emergency dental treatment organised through our partnership with Healesville Dental Clinic and hearing checks with Australian Hearing and some students had eye exams. Caraniche psychologist services continue teleconferencing as required and a partnership with the Get Well Clinic in Healesville provides a holistic approach to student health and wellbeing.

Wellbeing is an integral part of caring for the students at Worawa Aboriginal College and ongoing communication between teaching, boarding and wellbeing staff, ensuring any issues are addressed and then monitored.

Morning briefings between Wellbeing and teaching staff, allow the Wellbeing team to confer with teachers on students that may need extra support. Afternoon handover between wellbeing and boarding staff notifies the houseparent of any issues with students arising during that day which may affect the house during the evening.

The College COVID-19 Management Plan has required implementation of strict regimes across College operations. This has had some effect on student wellbeing due to restricted contact with other students and external activities. Whilst this has been challenging, girls have done very well in adapting to operations in a COVID-safe environment.

Boarding House Operations

The girls have done extremely well at adapting to boarding routines and online learning in the houses in accordance with the College’s COVID Management Protocols. Girls are showered and ready for breakfast, which is now served in the houses, by 8.15 am. Each girl is allocated a designated shower and toilet to use, and a seat around the dining table and the lounge. Temperature is taken and recorded and chores are completed following COVID Management Protocols.

Girls get ready for online learning at 9.15 am where they set up their tables in their rooms with the days learning resources and materials. A Day Supervisor is assigned to each house to assist the teachers and help the girls with their learning.

Meals are prepared in the kitchen and packed individually for students and delivered to the houses. Tables and other surfaces are disinfected between meals.

Girls remain in their house groups and do not physically interact with students in other house groups so as to keep them safe. Adults wear masks at all time when they are in or out of the houses. The girls are required to wear their masks when they leave their houses but do not have to do so when they are in their houses.

Additional measures are provided by contracted cleaners who undertake touch point cleaning throughout the day. To assist in preventing contamination and spread of infectious conditions all student washing is done by the College laundress every alternate day.

Girls are encouraged to go outdoors during their breaks in between lessons and Zumba classes have been introduced during lunchtimes. The girls are also rostered to go to the gym for a work out at least once a week after school.

Temperature is taken and recorded in the evening before dinner and the girls’ complete homework before getting their phones and having recreation time. Girls are in bed by 10 pm on a school night

On the weekends, girls continue with their morning routine of shower and chores and participate in organised creative and fun activities such as painting on boomerangs, clay modelling, sewing, baking and dessert making, walks, picnics, theme parties and dance-offs. All activities adhere to the College’s COVID protocols.

Caring for Country / Geography

This term in distance learning, years 7 and 8 Caring for Country students have undertaken a new Unit named Changing Nations. Students investigate the changing human geographies of countries around the globe. The distribution of populations is used to show students social change, they consider why people move from one place to another, also known as ‘push and pull factors’.

Students further understand how jobs, education, culture and family may influence where someone decides to live, as well as cases where people are forced to move from their homes such as war and natural disaster. Asia is used as a case study continent where students learn about shifts in population around megacities such as Tokyo and Mumbai.

The sinking megacity of Jakarta is researched and analysed as students make a risk assessment of moving the sinking city to a new location in the jungle island of Borneo, and what this may mean for local island residents. The skills of research, data interpretation, comparing, analysing and personal reflection are focused on throughout the Changing Nations Unit.

In years 9 and 10, Caring for Country students begin their new Unit of Geographies of Interconnection. Here students understand how the world around them is becoming ever more connected. Students explore connection through the process of globalisation and how they too are world citizens. Asia and Oceania are the case study continents for the Unit, where students investigate the effects of production and consumption of goods on people and environments.

Students reflect on ways in which they are interconnected with the world, the land, their culture, family and friends. The skills of comparing, analysing, communication, using evidence and giving opinion are focused on through the Geographies of Interconnection Unit.

All students have adjusted very well to their online learning, engaging and participating with interest and enthusiasm.

Science

During this term, we have investigated kinetic and heat energy through traditional fire starting methods with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge of energy. We have explored the concept that energy appears in different forms, including movement (kinetic energy), heat and potential energy, and energy transformations and transfers cause change within systems and in some situations can form a chain of this transfer and transformation process.

We have explored how our connection with fire has changed within society and how people use science understanding and skills in their occupations and these have influenced the development of practices in areas of human activity when Fire is involved such as Bushfires and Hazards within family households and the community.

Sports and Health

Learning at Worawa during Term 3 looked very different for our students. The Stage 4 lockdown saw all classes move online with onsite girls participating in their learning from the boarding houses. Both staff and students demonstrated a high level of resilience and agility as they navigated the challenges imposed by limited movement and working in a digital space.

Everyone is commended for their amazing achievements as they developed new skills, rapidly grew their digital literacy and worked together to problem-solve new challenges all while following the Worawa curriculum.

We are all looking forward to the return to some normality however we intend to take the growth and new skills we have gained through this experience into the new normal.

Students have participated in a wide range of sports and activities this term, including badminton, volleyball, tennis, basketball, and fitness and circuit training. Remote physical education has presented its challenges but with great leadership from the VCAL students and supervisors, who helped run the sports activities, they were able to have some successful classes.

The VCAL students organized a scavenger hunt as part of their Personal Development Skills class which required them to complete an activity. They were required to organize the event from conception to completion including the activities and resources. The whole school had a great time participating and it was a great way to get in some fitness.

A highlight of the term was having Australian and NBL player Mitch Creek, run a basketball session for the students on zoom. He ran the students through a number of skills and drills ending the session answering any questions they had.

In Health, students developed knowledge about preventative health practices and taking care of their own and others’ health and wellbeing as well as expanding their knowledge of the physical and emotional changes and transitions associated with puberty.

In Health and Human Development, VCAL students developed an understanding of the complex nature of health and wellbeing, and human development and regarded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives on health.

Reading Week, which was developed around the celebration of Indigenous Literacy Day, was also a highlight. These dates saw a number of English activities developed, focusing on giving students the opportunity to reflect and share thoughts, ideas and dreams for the future.

This was especially memorable during the challenges we are all currently facing and highlights the resilience of our students to continue to nurture their love of learning.

Shape Is More than Just Shapes

During the Term in Mathematics, the students have been working on topics related to Shape. As the term progressed, students developed their ability to use algebra equations and methods for finding unknown interior angles.

We soon discovered that the topic of Shape was more than just being able to name shapes according to their sides and angles. The topic also including developing a known repertoire of words and symbols that relate specifically to the topic. As such, there were times when we knew the size of an angle by reading the non-written information.

With the number-crunching of finding unknown angles sorted, we moved on to creating and drawing 3D objects. In the context of remote learning, this was quite a different experience as students worked with paper and scissors at their desks, working to create a net that would fold into a prism or pyramid without the use of a preprinted pattern to follow.

We had varying levels of success, which held with it the life lesson of trying and trying again in order to achieve the desired outcome.

To finish our unit, we worked on developing the ability to draw 3D shapes and to create 3D lettering. For letters such as S, O and D, this can be quite a challenge.

Our final lesson was on Tessellation as we sought to create a pattern using a 2D shape that had no gaps or overlaps. Our conclusion? Shape is much more than just shapes.

English and History

Term three began face-face in the classroom and quickly transitioned into distance learning from the boarding houses. Teachers really enjoyed the short time we had to welcome students back to school and into our new classrooms. Welcome banners, work displays, Vocabulary walls, NAIDOC posters and language maps provided a nurturing and inclusive environment.

To further develop English skills and expand upon historical understanding English and History were combined this term as students were provided with opportunities to develop their knowledge of key Aboriginal people and events; such as Pearl Gibbs, The Day of Mourning, the 1967 Referendum, Eddie Mabo and Vincent Lingiari and the Wave Hill Walk Off.

Following the changes to onsite teaching and learning, teachers quickly pivoted and developed a routine and learning experiences to best suit distance learning. Teachers were passionate and dedicated in their efforts to ensure distance learning for students was engaging, meaningful and a space to learn. This term, a range of digital literacy programs were utilized and included: Click View, Menti, Cars and Stars and Padlet.

These programs were used to continue to develop student skills in reading strategies; research; support students to identify and explore primary and secondary sources and provide a digital space to present understanding.

The interactive features of the programs also provided opportunities for students to share their thoughts and opinions in a variety of ways. Students continued the weekly spelling program and their reading skills development through daily Reading Fluency.

Choosing to incorporate the English and History curriculum saw the development of innovative learning materials that explored visual and written sources through an Aboriginal lens. Each week we focused on a key Aboriginal person or event.

Students examined their experience, contributions and efforts made by individuals and collective groups to bring about change and the ways in which events and stories can be shared through images, song and written texts. Reading to Learn strategies were embedded in the lessons, through Detailed Reading and Joint and Individual Construction, to expose students to higher-level texts and to develop their reading, writing and comprehensions skills.

Students were also engaged through learning experiences linked to key events that took place in Term 3. On National Aboriginal Children’s Day students reflected on what issues matter and what visions they see for future generations.

Students also enjoyed participating in activities linked to the AFL Sir Doug Nicholls Round and the football match in Darwin.

VCAL Business Certificate II

VCAL students have passed the first subject of the Business Certificate II ‘Contribute to the health and safety of others’ with great results. In class, we discussed hazards and risks both in various workplaces as well as in the home environment.

We reviewed the work of the Dhimurru Rangers in East Arnhem land and the tasks they have to carry out on a daily basis. As a class, we talked about the hazards and risks they need to be aware of as they carry out their work in isolation a long way from Nhulunbuy.

We now move on to our next subject, ‘Preparing for employment’. This involves looking at what we can bring to a workplace in the way of skills and attributes, what the interview process is like and how to present yourself in the best possible way at the interview and during your working life.

VCAL Numeracy

This term for Numeracy, the VCAL students have been planning, designing, and building a model of a bedroom for one of their classmates. They began by carefully considering what things they would need to have in a bedroom if they moved into a share house. The students then met with their client to discuss their colour preferences, desired furniture and other design constraints for the bedroom.

As part of the planning process, they researched award wages for different jobs and other potential incomes. After a lively discussion on how much it costs to rent and run a house, the students worked out a budget for their bedroom.

Based on their clients’ preferences, the students found furniture and other accessories online to include in their room. After careful consideration of the ideal placement of furniture and the best use of space, they drew a to-scale plan of the bedroom.

The last and longest stage of the plan was to create a 3D model of each item. This part involved the students using prior and new knowledge from a range of areas in Mathematics. After a few setbacks, the students persevered to create wonderful to scale model furniture.

Despite the changes and challenges of this term, the VCAL students have been enthusiastic and dedicated throughout this whole project.

A big congratulations to our budding architects and interior designers for the great work they completed this term.

VCAL Oral Communication

This term in VCAL Current Issue, year 11 and 12 students undertake an independent research project to present to the class.

Students were required to deliver a ten-minute oral presentation to the class via Zoom, detailing statistics, maps and graphs alongside their strong personal opinions on the matters.

Students chose topics such as the refugee crisis in Libya, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, racism in Australia, life inside North Korea and the different forms of personal identity.

Students have progressed immensely in their abilities to give their oral opinions, using evidence and articulating the facts and stats around current world issues.

Careers

During this term, we have taken time to develop a case study for the careers found within the Police Force both within State and Federal levels. This has allowed students to investigate a wide range of occupations, and the skills and personal qualities required in these fields both working directly with the community and within the organisations. At the start of the topic, we watched the documentary called “Our Law” about the Warakurna Police Station in WA that is entirely staffed by Aboriginal Police Officers. This was inspiring for many of the girls. By focusing on the job clusters explored through term one and two, we have taken a cluster focus to explore the Police force. This has included identifying types of workplace communication and the effect of context on the choice of communication, the need to explain the importance of teamwork and collaboration and the range of skills and attributes necessary to work effectively in the 21st century and in remote contexts.

Students have also explored the differences in the roles and their need for empathy and resilience to help identify the attitudes and skills required for self-directed and lifelong learning.

They have developed strategies to plan, implement and processes to improve their learning and therefore, enhance the potential to realize their aspirations and personal wellbeing and to become positive role models and leaders within and outside their communities.

Civics

During this term, students analyse features of Australian democracy and explain features of Australia’s democracy that enable active participation. They recognise different types of law in Australia and explain how laws are made. They identify the diverse belief systems in Australia and analyse issues about national identity and the factors that contribute to people’s sense of belonging.

When researching, students develop a range of questions to investigate Australia’s political and legal systems and critically analyse information gathered from different sources for relevance. They explain different points of view on civics and citizenship issues. When planning for action, students take into account multiple perspectives, use democratic processes, and develop solutions to an issue. Students develop and present reasoned arguments on civics and citizenship issues using appropriate texts, subject-specific language and concepts. They identify ways they can be active and informed citizens in different contexts.

Students have had the chance to explore the vital role that the public can have in the decision-making process for local, state and federal government. This has included the need to enrol for voting, petitions, and creating focus groups and panels to explore issues from a variety of perspectives.

Download Term 3 Newsletter 2020

2020 Indigenous Guernsey

Designed by proud Nyarinyin Pitjantjantjara and Yankuntjantjara woman Justine Ronberg.

 

Ronberg, a former Worawa Aboriginal College student, entered a school competition in early 2019, with hopes of creating a piece of artwork that would be forever be etched in Hawthorn’s history.

Her work was selected by Hawthorn Indigenous players Chad Wingard, Shaun Burgoyne, Jarman Impey and Mat Walker, who felt a strong connection to the stories represented in her design.

The design features symbols that represent the many different aspects of AFL. From footprints signifying the journey players embark on to achieve their AFL dreams, to a layer embodying the wider brown and gold family, members and supporters, the intricate design is stacked full of unique stories and symbolism.

 

 

Worawa Term 2 Newsletter 2020

Worawa’s Changing Landscape

At the end of Term 1, planned work on College buildings and grounds commenced. The works included removal of two portable buildings, completion of a new classroom complex to house classrooms, health and wellbeing and a staff room. Works included a facelift to the recreation room, landscaped gardens and new pathways. The next stage will see the development of the Worawa Heart and an outdoor fitness station. We are looking forward to seeing the students’ reaction to the new developments upon their return.

Artwork Opening Doors

We are delighted to present the amazing work by artists Khatija and Azeza Possum Ramzan, daughters of artist Michelle Possum Nungurrayi whose father was world-renowned artist, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri. Khatija and Azeza have clearly inherited the family talent and we are proud to share this story. In the tradition of Aboriginal storytelling, the doors of the new buildings are meaningful and reminiscent of the story of Elders of Papunya who, in the ’70s painted school doors to encourage Aboriginal involvement in the school to bridge the gap between Western and Aboriginal knowledge systems. This beautiful work is on permanent exhibition for all to enjoy.

Artwork Opening Doors

Steam at Home

During distance learning, students learnt that scientists seek to gather knowledge to help us understand our world and that they do so in a very structured way using observation and experimentation, keeping detailed records, making inferences and predictions and writing reports.

During our distance learning unit, students explored what Science is and how Scientists work. They did so by completing everyday tasks while thinking, acting, measuring, experimenting and reporting like a Scientist. The aim of this task was to support students when drawing links between traditional knowledge and school knowledge and to develop their confidence in using English and Scientific terminology when discussing these links.

It has been an amazing experience working with students while they are at home, seeing their botanical drawings and having discussions about the processes that have occurred while they cook their dinner. We are very much looking forward to having students back on campus for Term 3.

 

Art at a Distance

In Art, we focused on the Elements of Art: colour, texture, line, shading and more through set Tasks and Projects.

The Tasks varied from Photography, Drawing, compiling found objects to create jewellery designs. With drawing we first started with learning how to shade, how to draw a basic eye, how to draw cliffs, shading and drawing 3D water droplets.

Students also learnt how to draw a hyper-realistic 3D eye. The students then photographed their Drawings and Photographs and uploaded their completed tasks and projects to their Art folder within Class Dojo.

This is where I could comment on the submitted tasks and give one on one instruction on ways to further develop and improve the skills being used within specific Tasks.

As phone photography was used to take images of various art elements or finished work, photography tips helped students to improve their photography with outstanding results.

I’m sure we are all looking forward to getting back into our beloved Art Studio and getting creatively dirty hands once again.

History

During distance learning, students were challenged to reflect on the history of their surroundings. Students were asked to speak with relatives and Elders of their history and record the major events of their life thus far. Historical sites, landforms, landscapes and structures were investigated in order to report on the meaning, significance, location and possible date of creation.

Students were encouraged to record a story from a landform or landscape nearby, either sharing a Dreaming story, a positive experience they have had at the location, or a story about what may happen when they visit. Students were asked to focus on the skills of ordering information and sequencing events of what may exist around them.

Caring for Country

The Caring for Country online program for years 7 and 8 focused on the unit ‘Landforms and Landscapes’. Students examined the processes that shape individual landforms and the values and meanings placed on landforms and landscapes by diverse cultures.

Students explored landforms such as The Three Sisters, Uluru, Katherine Gorge and the Bungle Bungles. Students were directed to find similarities and differences between landscapes such as deserts, rainforests, coasts and grassland, locating the major landscapes in Australia and around the world.

Students shared the significance and connection to the land around them, giving examples of what their surroundings may look like, sound like and feel like.

In years 9 and 10, students have continued to explore the unit ‘Biomes and Food Security’ and were encouraged to discover the biomes found in Australia and around the world, investigating the different types of foods and fibres that can be grown in these environments.

Students reflected on their surroundings, describing the types of foods and fibres that can be grown around them and how these are used. The work culminated in a local case study to investigate the means of food insecurity and how access to foods and water sources could be improved.

Civics and Citizenship

Civics and Citizenship for the Year 9 and 10 students explored Treaty and the vocabulary used around why a Treaty is necessary. We looked at the impact of Peace, Alliances, Commerce, International Relations and Sovereignty. In doing so we also looked at how the Waitangi Treaty in New Zealand was formed, Self-Governance in the Yukon and how some countries manage to escape any form of war both within their borders and with other countries.

It gave the students the chance to form ideas and think about what the future could look like if a treaty were put in place in Australia, how it would impact the perception within and outside Australia if our country were to formally acknowledge First Nation’s people in a treaty, and how that might lead to other improvements. Looking forward to seeing all the activities from the students that have not been able to be online and hope our future leaders push for change.

Next Term we will explore the Australian Government System, this will include the levels, representation at the different levels of government and what they mean regarding the needs of all Australians.

Each student will create their own community profile and find their local representatives for all the levels of government. We will also look at the involvement of First Nations People becoming political representatives and giving their voice in Parliament.

VCAL – Current Issue

VCAL students explored current issues involving COVID-19, inequalities of social distancing and discriminatory thoughts and actions towards people from China due to the origins of the virus. Students held a facilitated pre-discussion on the given topic in order to establish their thoughts and opinions. This was followed by analysing a chosen text or video, recording points that are for or against the students’ initial thoughts and opinions. Students were then asked to hold a post-discussion in order to share gained knowledge on the topic, noting down their new opinions with evidence to back.

Distance Teaching and Learning – The New Normal for Term 2

Proving yet again how resilient and motivated Worawa students are, we all prepared for the new normal at the end of the last term in response to the COVID 19 pandemic. Students headed home early with education packs to last them for the weeks ahead as well as apps they would need for the weeks ahead.

Fortnightly education packs were then sent out and included work that was accessible to our students, even if they had to work alone. They were sent to students in the Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia. Teachers and Wellbeing staff worked to establish strong contacts at home and with those in the community who could support Worawa students. This term teaching happened via phone, Class Dojo, Zoom and all other methods available. We also had some amazing support from local community schools, youth centres and from families and friends.

A significant highlight was the self-motivation and commitment to learning that Worawa students displayed, even when faced with transport, weather and other challenges, the most significant being the need to work alone at times. It is a credit to their passion for learning and their desire to walk successfully in Two Worlds.

Well done to all Worawa students who have made the best of this most unusual of circumstances.

Worawa and Australian Girls’ Choir on Zoom

Every Tuesday afternoon during Distance Learning, staff and choristers from Australian Girls’ Choir and the Worawa Choir joined forces to sing together via Zoom.

Singers spent time practising and perfecting some school classics; Burra Ferra and Yellow Bird. This provided not only a connection for Worawa students with something they love doing but also gave all participants a sense of community and connection at this difficult time of isolation.

At 3 pm Victorian time, girls joined a Zoom breakout room to sing up a storm! It provided positive morale and something to look forward to in the week ahead.

English – Strong Women

Term Two has seen the English Team and students quickly adapt to a distance learning model. Students completed activities to develop and extend their reading, writing, spelling and grammar skills while exploring the stories of Cathy Freeman, Truganini and Rosa Parks.

When the realities of the COVID pandemic became apparent, the school moved to distance learning to keep our students safe, focused and engaged as they continued their learning journeys from home.

Worawa girls were amazingly adaptive and moved quickly to these new ways of learning.

English teachers engaged in extensive professional development to explore the most successful and engaging ways to support students remotely.

As students were returning home to family and community, teachers saw this as a valuable opportunity for learning on the country, sharing stories and reflecting on students’ passions and challenges.

Accordingly, an English Unit was developed around the theme of Sharing Our Stories. Through this, the students read and researched the journeys of previous students and girls heading off to boarding school around Australia.

They were encouraged to speak with family and share their stories exploring the challenges they have faced in their learning but also connecting with their passions as they grow and develop into young women learning to share their valuable thoughts, ideas, beliefs and stories.

Careers

While the students have been at home it has been a great way to explore the Job Clusters. These are skill-based clusters where jobs are linked by the tasks required and not the work setting. The students have looked at local employment opportunities and interviewed people in their family about the jobs that they do and the skills they might need to do those jobs.

We have combined our knowledge from the last term about Personality and our skills interests to see what clusters might appeal to the students for future consideration. Many of the students that have been online have found similarities and some have found contrasts between interests and what they imagine their future job to be which has been a great chance for each of the girls to think about what they might need to do, skills they could start to develop even at school, and for some, the chance to look at jobs they have never thought of before.

For our younger students, this has been a challenging term, but it has been wonderful to see them building interest and motivation with each term as they learn more about the world of work. Hoping to find some wonderful artistic interpretations of the job clusters when we return to Worawa. Next term we are doing a Job Skills Case Study with a focus on the Job Skills required to work as a Police Officer, a popular career choice amongst many of the girls.

Maths Mastery

During the term, students have been learning and practising their Mathematics skills in a variety of ways, including using an online program called Mathletics. Mathletics is an educational mathematics program that can be used on computer, tablet or phone. Before leaving for the term holiday in March, many students excitedly downloaded Mathletics onto their phones so they could complete tasks during their time at home.

Mathletics has levelled activities, tests and games for every area of Mathematics that directly align to the Australian Curriculum. Each student has their own login where they can customise their background and complete work that has been chosen specifically for them based on their prior knowledge. The students receive points for completing activities that contribute to the students achieving Bronze, Silver or Gold awards. When students have completed their set activities, they can choose to play educational games or spend time learning more about an area of mathematics of their choice.

This term, it was fantastic to see many students’ enthusiasm for growing their mathematics knowledge and skills, with some students on Mathletics for more than four hours in one week. Mathletics allows students to retry activities they have previously done to achieve better results. Some outstanding students demonstrated their rigour and responsibility to learning by attempting activities multiple times until they completely understood the new skills. Congratulations to all students who showed their dedication to their education this term by working online and challenging themselves to further develop their understanding of Mathematics.

National Reconciliation Week

27 May – 3 June 2020 ‘In this Together’

National Reconciliation Week is an important event on the Worawa school calendar. The 2020 theme, ‘In this together’ encourages all Australians to learn about shared histories, cultures and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia’.

Worawa normally marks this symbolic event with a Reconciliation Sports Carnival, bringing together Government, Catholic and Independent schools in the spirit of reconciliation to share sporting, cultural and social exchange.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year we’ve had to postpone the event but still wanted to mark this important time in our distance learning program. To give recognition we developed a unit of work where students could reflect, research and act on events that they felt strongly connected to. Students reflected on what Reconciliation meant to them, their families and their communities.

‘Our History, Our Story, Our Future’ provided students with a stimulus to consider and write about a change they would like to see in Australia. They also viewed ‘The Children Came Back’ – Briggs & Gurrumul and completed a task which involved researching Aboriginal heroes and finding out what they were known for.

Students welcomed a virtual visit from Hawthorn football star Chad Wingard who shared messages of commitment, resilience and hope.

These learning opportunities will lead onto our unit in Term 3, where students will research key Aboriginal heroes and significant recognition and reconciliation events.

Download Term 2 Newsletter 2020

Worawa Term 1 Newsletter 2020

Worawa Model of Wellbeing

Within a boarding education environment, the issue of relationships is fundamental and this has been a focus this term. Attachment theory suggests that it is within the relationships with other adults that young people learn how to best grow and develop.

It is within these relationships, the everyday interactions, where modelling and care are demonstrated in small units of exchange between adolescent and adult, that young people learn to be safe, calm and curious.  The relationships that are developed and formed between students and staff provide a predictable secure base where students feel seen, heard, safe and secure. This provides an environment where students feel safe when they are appropriately challenged; facilitating learning experiences to help them explore and learn.

Since its establishment, Worawa has recognised the importance of addressing the health and wellbeing of students to enable them to focus on education. In 2011 the College introduced a strong focus on wellbeing commencing with the engagement of Maria Ruberto, Director Psychologist of Salutegenics.

This commenced a process where increasing understanding responses to anxiety in the brain and body were first explored with staff and how stress affects functioning and learning.

As an educational institution, it is the responsibility of every staff member to ensure that they “work to role”, and not “work to save”. Core to this is Protective Interruption: an action taken by an adult to purposefully interrupt a student disclosure or narrative around trauma whilst holding the student in care with supportive and empathic presence and safety.

Confidential Behaviours are safety measures employed by staff to ensure that student trauma or conflict is neither re-experienced nor transferred in a non-clinical space. This is protective against the re-experience for the student and vicarious trauma for staff. Hand-Over is the real-time support of a student who requires immediate intervention or co-regulation until the student can return to their place of learning. Whilst maintaining a duty of care, staff are required to remain “in-role” and not spill over into areas outside of their role. Spillover behaviour is reactive and does not develop student competency; it works against the model of wellbeing.

Hand-Back protects the integrity of the student’s grievance, as well as the integrity of the relationship from where the rupture has occurred. Adults lead the student back with support and respect to the concerned staff member. The student may decide if they can do this alone or with another staff member’s support. It is important that Hand-Back is managed in a timely manner and in the best interests of the student.

Over a period of a decade, Worawa has evolved its wellbeing hub where research and evidence-based practices have led staff training to create a community of practice that can lead young Aboriginal women into their adult lives and beyond.

The College is in discussions with a university for a research proposal based on the four essential circles that form The Worawa Model of Wellbeing framework. Each Circle describes an element of social-emotional functioning that is imperative to the wellbeing and resilience development of both staff and students. A research proposal would focus on a set of measures that would align with the four circles of wellbeing that might include:

  • Relationships – measuring social competencies and social strengths
  • Balance – measuring the ability to de-escalate, down-regulate and respond to co-regulation – levels of self-soothing
  • Consistency – measuring the ability for social communication to develop problem-solving ability and apply and follow a stepped-care process
  • Social/Emotional Core – measure emotional intelligence in all areas

The research project will align these measures with academic achievement in order to assess how wellbeing informs learning. In addition, the project will incorporate investigating levels of resilience as well as levels of assertive communication and bullying.

Girls Head Home

Our girls have left Worawa to return home to their communities. We wish them all a safe and happy journey and hope to see them again soon. The school term ended early due to the Coronavirus pandemic. At the time of publication Term 2 will commence on Monday 14 April.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) ADVICE

On Sunday 22 March, the Premier announced additional steps to combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), including bringing forward the school holidays in Victoria to commence from Tuesday 24 March. Worawa will provide updates to the College community relating to government decisions on schools’ operation.

Building Progress

We are pleased to announce that the new building is near completion. This building will replace the portable classrooms that were donated to the College in the early 90’s. In years since the portables have been used for a staff room as well as classrooms. The new building will house classrooms, teacher’s staff room and offices for the delivery of the College health, wellbeing and pastoral care programs. A landscaped garden plan that compliments existing gardens will be put in place during the break.

Civics and Citizenship

In Civics and Citizenship for our year 9 and 10 students this term we took the opportunity to use the recent events to discuss how the Australian Identity has changed over time. This includes taking into account the influence of media, our history, and changing perspectives. We shared images, poetry, media clips and news stories to highlight what it is that makes us Australian.

We considered stereotypes used around the world such as ‘Do we own pet kangaroos?’ and ‘Do we all eat Vegemite on toast?’ We considered how the wording of poetry creates imagery of our vast landscape with Dorothea Mackellar’s ‘My Country’ and Hyllus Maris’ ‘Spiritual Song of the Aborigine.’

It was interesting to see the students react to advertising campaigns that were released prior to the fires for the British trying to understand ‘Brexit’ in December and how the tone of Australian tourism shifted to a recovery focus after the fires in January.

For our conclusion to the topic, we have started creating a timeline of people, places and events that have shaped our extended Worawa community over time. Each student has selected important moments of significance for them in Aboriginal history. Next term we are looking at the process currently underway for Treaty and the events that led up to Treaty becoming a priority amongst State governments.

‘Spiritual Song of the Aborigine’

I am a child of the Dreamtime People
Part of this Land, like the gnarled gumtree
I am the river softly singing
Chanting our songs on my way to the sea

My spirit is the dust-devils
Mirages, that dance on the plain
I’m the snow, the wind and the falling rain
I’m part of the rocks and the red desert earth

Red as the blood that flows in my veins
I am eagle, crow and snake that glides
Through the rain forest that clings to the mountainside
I awakened here when the earth was new

There was emu, wombat, kangaroo
No other man of a different hue
I am this land
And this land is me

I am Australia.

Hyllus Maris  1934-1986

The Worawa Economy and Maths

The term ended on a high with a Worawa Economy sale. Students had the chance to buy items such as books, jewellery, DVDs and activities to do at home. Throughout the term, students have been collecting Class Dojo points, which convert to Worawa Dollars for the sale. They earned points by showing positive behaviour and displaying the four key Worawa values of Relationship, Respect, Rigour and Responsibility. At other times, students lost points as a consequence for behaviour choices that have impacted negatively on them and other students. The Year 9 and 10 students practised their financial literacy and work place skills by acting as the shop assistants for the stalls. In groups, they considered how best to display their stock, set up their stall and to sell their items. In the midst of excited customers, they stayed calm and supported each other. The afternoon ended with the Year 9 & 10s calculating their stalls profits and taking the responsibility to pack up their stall. Thanks to the hard work of those students, the sale was a great success.

Times Table Self Help Guide

For the duration of Term 1, students have been working on Multiplication. As a topic for an article, it may not seem exciting or riveting. We didn’t go on any amazing excursion; we weren’t visited by any celebrity sport stars; we didn’t even get a T-Shirt. BUT…what the students have been learning, is that there are many ways to work out a problem by using what they already know. The students also learnt that there are two parts to working out a multiplication problem: The Calculation (that is the Times Table stuff) and the Process for using the Calculation (the Algorithm). The goal of this approach has been to make times tables accessible and achievable for all of our students. The motto for all of this has been, ‘Work Smarter and Not Harder’.

Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM)

This term in STEAM we focused on Physics in our Science lessons and started using Micro:bits in our 7/8 Technology class. Our 9/10 Technology Academy have begun applying the Design Thinking process to solve real world problems.

In our Physics focus we looked at forces and simple machines through an exploration of the Woomera (spear thrower). Our lessons were jam packed with practical activities including see saws and tug of war competitions to understand balanced and unbalanced forces. An experiment on ‘throwing style’ was carried out to look at direction of force and testing of the different lever classes to determine how levers help make work easier. We did not use actual spear throwers at school, instead replacing these with tennis ball throwers which could be used by all students, were safe and fun and worked on the same scientific principles as the spear thrower. Photographs and videos of these practical experiments have been uploaded to each student’s online Class Dojo accounts for them to look at and share with family and friends. (Michael photo of Woomera here P 8/9 of Eucalypt artefact book)

We continued our partnership with Melbourne University to run our 7/8 Technology class with each student receiving a ‘Micro:bit’. This is a pocket sized computer which students coded to spell out their name in lights, show a range of pictures, play scissors, paper, rock and many other digital activities.

Our Technology Academy was introduced to the Design Thinking process this term as a method for solving real world problems. The students focused on food for their introductory lessons using the process to develop their own healthy and delicious soft drink and to determine the best method for making jelly.

In Term 2 they’ll be applying the process to the development of wearable technologies.

Art News

It has been a great first term in Art this year. The students are progressing very well on their designs and or paintings and some of the returning students have completed pieces that they had not finished at the end of last year. The art room is once again full of works in progress and finished pieces. The creative energy within the art room is driving and inspiring all the students to not give up, keep trying and to do their very best. The proof of this is apparent when one enters the art room and is surrounded by the vast array of high quality student Art Work.

Caring for Country

This term during Caring for Country, years 7 and 8 have been focusing on the topic ‘Landforms and Landscapes.’ Students have engaged with the different types of landforms around Australia including Uluru, The Heart Reef, Katherine Gorge, The Three Sisters and Bungle Bungle.

Students have studied the different characteristics of Australian landscapes such as deserts, forests, rivers, coasts and built city environments, looking at the different plants, animals, people and pollution you may find there.

Additionally, students have reflected on, shared and noted the different personal values a landscape can hold relevant to their life and country, these values can include the emotional, historical and spiritual value of a landscape. (Michael use Dandenong Ranges image)

In years 9 and 10, students have been focusing on the unit ‘Biomes and Food Security’. This unit examines the biomes of the world, their need as a source of food and how humans change these environments to suit themselves.

Management solutions have been investigated as students research the means of Goat Aid, zero waste restaurants and the positives and negatives of increasing technology in farming. Students have practiced their data analysing and graph interpretation skills as they explore a chosen case study country to find out its levels of food security, population, economic status and potential reasons for why the country is in food insecurity or security.

Students display all of their gained knowledge on an informative infographic for other students.

First Term Special Afternoon Tea

In period six on Wednesday, 18th March we celebrated the successes of our top students with a special afternoon tea. We were pleased to have Aunty Lois as our special guest. After some words of encouragement from Aunty Lois, the girls’ choir entertained us with a beautiful song called ‘Never seen the rain’. Their music teacher, Sarah-Rose accompanied them on the piano. While we dined on cake and cups of tea, Miranda and Darnell played some pieces of music on the piano. The girls thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We look forward to our next special afternoon tea with more students who have reached their Worawa goals of responsibility, rigour, relationships and respect.

Cultural Mentor

My name is Talia Gulpilil-Bryan, I am a proud Yolngu, Wemba-Wemba, Yorta-Yorta and Dja Dja Wurrung woman. While working at Worawa with the girls I’ve been incredibly blessed to have made some great connections with the girls while teaching about weaving, cooking, yarning circles and ochre painting. The girls I have been lucky to work with, have shared the importance of their cultures and cultural practices. I’m looking forward to next term and continuing our shared love for our culture.

English Language

Students commenced the year recognising and honouring oral storytelling traditions, reflecting on their journey to Worawa: some for the first time, others returning to continue their educational journey. These stories were then recorded as students considered sentence and text structure and the use of descriptive language. Examining oral, visual and written persuasive texts, students explored how both as an individual and collectively they can use their voices and opinions to advocate for change on issues they connect with. Kombadik analysed Emma Watson’s “He For She” speech and considered the persuasive devices used to convey a powerful message. In response, they developed their own expositions linked to issues they felt strongly about. Other English classes looked at topics such as changing rules, the involvement of children in physical activity, the importance of learning how to cook and how to change the curriculum. Exploring how to consider both sides of an argument and identify and use a variety of persuasive devices when speaking and writing resulted in well informed and articulated opinions across the year levels.

During Term One students were also given the opportunity to select novels or texts that interested them and delve into these, either individually as or class groups. Titles selected included, Grace Beside Me, Cathy Freeman’s Born to Run, Wonder, Charlotte’s Web, Manga and beautiful pictures books that were often from students’ own communities.

It was wonderful to see students engage with the extensive literature selection available at Worawa. We are eagerly looking forward to the opening of our new library in Term 2 where students will continue to explore, expand and challenge their knowledge through written, visual and oral mediums.

Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL)

Our 2020 VCAL students have started their year 11 and 12 programs successfully this term. Not only have they commenced Certificate II in Business, they have also been kicking goals in the maths program by showing great improvement in all skill areas. As part of their VCAL Projects they have been Finding Their Voice by studying the leadership styles and approaches of past and present Aboriginal leaders of social, environmental and land rights change. A highlight this term was attending the Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee meeting (RAJAC) and seeing how a number of agencies and organisations work together to advocate and create change for Aboriginal communities. The students have also been learning a great deal about electronic presentation formats using websites and programs such as www.Canva.com

At year 11 and 12 it is vital that students find their voices and raise their voices in all aspects of their lives with confidence and certainty. Understanding their right to opinions and ideas about the world they live in and having the ability to express these ideas and opinions respectfully and with confidence is an important preparation for the next few steps in their lives and for a lifetime.

Sports Academy

The students in Sports Academy have been working hard on their fitness and health goals this term. They have spent the term participating in recreational activities as well as learning different ways to exercise and stay fit. In the gym they went through circuit and weight training and are on the way to earning their Sports Academy rugby tops. Last week students went to Healesville Lawn Bowls club and were taught by the members of the club the rules and techniques of the game. They really enjoyed the game and the strategy required to win. Understanding the importance of persistence and endurance as part of the rigour needed to be an athlete, coach or fitness instructor in the future has been an important value to develop.

Download Term 1 Newsletter 2020