Term 1 has come to an end, and we have mostly come through unscathed from a learning and teaching perspective. Apart from the small lockdown earlier in the year, we have maintained face-to-face learning, with students and staff returning to the classroom routine. As a community, we will build upon these patterns when we return in Term 2. The term finishes with the exciting news that our Stage 2a project has been completed, and we also reveal to our community the exciting next stage. There is a specific section in this Mini-Buzz on the build. I wish you and your families a safe and happy Easter, and I look forward to seeing you in Term 2.
See our College Calendar for the latest information regarding upcoming dates.
The Braemar College Parents and Friends annual bulb fundraiser will run for two more weeks, finishing on Friday 16 April. This popular fundraiser allows all families, extended families, and friends the opportunity to purchase bulbs for the spring season ahead, while also supporting our P&F Association’s fundraising efforts.
Click here to order your bulbs today.
This fundraiser is always a very popular one – among avid gardeners in our community, and otherwise – with 40% of the profit from all bulb sales comes back to the College.
Our College Cadets conducted their first activity last weekend. The bivouac, called ‘First Look’, was designed to introduce recruit cadets to the unit and for the cadet leaders and cadets to provide training in areas of navigation, general camp setup, and routine. The final parade was conducted in front of family and friends and provided a great culmination activity for the weekend. Thank you to the many staff and defence adult helpers who assisted.
Consul-General Shimada attended the College this week. The newly appointed Consul-General was visiting the Macedon Ranges Shire and his visit would usually coincide with the visit from Tokai City schools. The Consul-General met the College Captains, Prefects, and Middle School Captains, looked through our Woodend Campus, and discussed the educational advantages of exchange programs. We are looking forward to meeting our Tokai friends again both here at the College and in Japan.
As the College continues to grow in student numbers, the opportunities are many. The Stage 2a project was completed and handed over last week, providing additional space on the Woodend Campus.
Having more students in our Senior School has allowed us to expand the VCE offerings. In the last two years, the VCE subjects Economics and Global Politics have been added, and in 2021, we have our first cohort of VCE Outdoor Education students, which is a natural extension of the very popular Outdoor Education unit in Years 9 and 10.
We do also face challenges. We have spoken to staff, students, and parents about the infrastructure that will support their day-to-day operations. At the moment, our HPE and Sports program is impacted when the weather is not favourable for outdoor activity, with these classes often coming to the Mount Macedon Campus for access to undercover areas, which then creates challenges for the Senior School classes. Our Instrumental Music program has also been challenged by the limited spaces available for individual and group lessons, again coming to the Mount Macedon Campus for the majority of lessons, and finally, our Food Van is at capacity.
The College has lodged a planning permit for our Stage 2b project. This stage takes into account the requests from staff, students, and parents. This exciting project will provide space for instrumental music lessons; a large indoor area available for when the weather is poor; a large multipurpose space, which will accommodate and seat guests for larger gatherings and presentations; as well as change rooms, which will allow students to change onsite for their sport classes and activities, rather than having to wear their PE uniform to the College. The building will have a permeant canteen, and we are trialling sustainable energy sources.
The images below show the location and schematics for Stage 2b, and we look forward to providing updates as planning progresses.
On Wednesday, our Middle School and College Captains were joined by the Prefects and SCR Middle School Leaders to provide insight and voice as part of the development of the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan. The development of the Plan, placed on hold in 2020, has recommenced and student voice is an important component that adds to the voice of our Year Level Leaders and Instructional Leaders. The plan will be reviewed and tabled for our Board, and we anticipate the release date being towards the end of Term 2.
Our parent-teacher conferences for Semester 1 concluded on Tuesday evening. Across the group of sessions this term, there were over 3,300 bookings made with 99 teachers, which resulted in over 535 hours of Zoom meetings!
Initial feedback is that the Zoom meeting format allows parents to join from their home or office. This way of connecting mitigates physically travelling to the College, the car park hassles, and the potential of walking through poor weather to arrive at the venue, mind you, this is the first year in a while where we’ve had crisp and clear evenings for the Parent Teacher Conferences.
There is a second round of interviews later in the year. These are timed to provide feedback to parents on the Semester Reports and the opportunity to meet the new teachers for the semester electives.
We are mindful that the current evening’s format removes the opportunity to meet teachers face to face, catch up with other parents, and take a look around the College; however, we hope that the format of the interviews assists more parents and guardians in making a connection with their teachers.
As part of his usual parent engagement processes, Russell (College Principal) meets with parents in local townships. In 2020 this was not possible, but we are thrilled to share that they will be recommencing next term, in Term 2. The aim of the Coffee Shop Catchups is to meet with and hear from parents; there is no set agenda. Russell aims to visit the local townships, but will also hold one session via Zoom for parents who are unable to attend. Dates and times will be published in Term 2; he’s already looking forward to seeing you there.
The Easter break is now upon us, with our students finishing yesterday and our teaching staff finishing today. This break provides a time to reflect on the Christian traditions for death and resurrection. Easter’s timing is no coincidence, with the full moon and change of seasons both forming part of the stories and traditions of this time.
Whether you celebrate Easter through the church or other family traditions, it is a time to be with family. We are mindful of the many families both here and overseas who can’t be together due to the COVID restrictions; we wish those families, and all families within our community well at this time of year.
We hope that the break provides a time to reflect, relax, and rejuvenate.
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Braemar College acknowledges the Woi Wurrung people as the traditional owners of the land on which the College stands, and we pay our respects to their elders past, present, and future.