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Principal’s Comments

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Welcome to the 2023 school year!

It is with great excitement that I, and all the staff at Emerald Secondary College, welcome you all to what has been an energetic and enthusiastic start to the year. A warm welcome is extended to the newest members of our wonderful ESC community, our Year 7 families and students.

There was so much high energy and nervousness (and that was only from the parents!) as drop offs were completed and last pics were taken for the socials.

We saw shiny new uniforms, massive backpacks, excitement, and wonderings. Things settled quickly as we are now into Week 3, and our Year 7s are starting to negotiate their way around the College, using Compass and familiarising themselves with their new teachers and learning environment.

Thank you to the Junior School team and all the staff that assisted with our settled start.

All the other Year Levels ran assemblies as well, where expectations of our students as learners was clearly outlined – student attention to their studies, attendance and respectful interactions with staff and their peers, was high on the agenda. Year 12s attended a study camp at the start of the year and had a fabulous time! Thank you to all the staff involved in the running of that camp.

Everybody has a role to play in 2023, after a very disruptive time – teachers have the responsibility to prepare lessons that are stimulating and engaging, and students have the responsibility to display positive learning behaviours of collaboration, enquiry and focus…these goals are real and need to be part of a community learning environment.

As per last year’s final newsletter, please remember that there are TWO Sub-schools now…Years 7-9 and Years 10-12. Thus, the structure and personnel is as follows:

Junior School: Year 7-9 Sub School Leader – Ms Melissa Findlay

                       Year 7 Year Level Engagement Leader – Mr Matthew Morris

                       Year 7 Year Level Engagement Leader – Ms Samantha McLean

                       Year 8 Year Level Engagement Leader – Ms Sema Yildirim

                       Year 8 Year Level Engagement Leader – Mr Steven McRae

                       Year 9 Year Level Engagement Leader – Mr Dale Fyfe

                       Year 9 Year Level Engagement Leader – Ms Taylor Turton

Senior School: Year 10-12 Sub – School leader, Mr Jack Talbot

                       Year 10 Year Level Engagement Leader – Mr Sean Reid

                       Year 10 Year Level Engagement Leader – Ms Grace Sleit

                       Year 11 Year Level Engagement Leader – Ms Rebecca Holmes

                       Year 11 Year Level Engagement Leader – Mr Liam McManus

                       Year 12 Year Level Engagement Leader – Ms Emily Hay

                       Year 12 Year Level Engagement Leader – Mr Shane Closter

Please contact the relevant Sub-School with any query you may have, and they will happily assist you with most matters. Of course, as a community, we have an obligation to each other to ensure that all our conversations are professional, respectful and solution focussed – we want everyone to flourish.


‘School Fit’, MYLNs and TLI in 2023

With continued funding from the Department of Education in 2023, the Tutor Learning Initiative (TLI) will continue, as will the Middle Years Literacy and Numeracy program (MYLNS). The latter is only for students in Year 10 this year. Both programs are aligned in assisting selected students in achieving their personal best.

To that end, teachers are setting students a ‘School Fit’ Learning Task that requires completion by the end of next week. Staff will provide feedback on Compass and parents are encouraged to read that feedback and set some achievement goals that reflect the learning continuum.


Staffing in 2023

We welcome the following new staff into our college community and wish them all the best.

Mr Geordie Atkin – Maths/PE

Mr Andrew Bonollo – IT/Art

Ms Meredith Savage – Maths/PE/Health

Mr Steven McRae – Humanities

Mr Matthew Powell – Legal/Humanities

Mr Damon Key – Music and is now teaching Maths as well

Ms Tanya Hough – Social Worker

Ms Shelley Cunningham – ILA (Inclusion Learning Assistant)

Ms Anna Thomsen – ILA

Ms Samantha Broda – ILA

We are still searching for some more teachers and positions are advertised on the DET portal as I pen this missive. Hopefully, we will fill these positions as soon as possible. In the interim, we are employing CRTs with subject specific expertise that will assist our students with their classwork. As always, lessons plans are on Compass and students have a responsibility to access the lesson plan and the relevant work therein.

Building Upgrade

 ….is now complete and our newest Year 7s have moved into A block. This concludes the initial first stage of our school refurbishment. We look forward to more government funding to continue upgrading our college.

James Barut – Principal

Assistant Principals’ Report

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We were delighted to have our students back on-site for the 2023 school year. I trust that students, parents, carers, and families were able to enjoy a refreshing and well-deserved break.

Welcome Back & Important School Policies
We are writing to inform you of some important College requirements and policies as we begin our 2023 school year. 

Emerald Secondary College continues to provide all students with ‘Access to Excellence’ and in doing so our school community must maintain high expectations for attendance, uniform, behaviour, equipment, and learning. To match these high expectations, it is our priority to equip all students and their families with a high level of support. The partnership between staff, students and parents is valuable and together we can continue to achieve the goals our college and school community is striving for.

Thank you for being a part of our community and contributing to a positive environment for our young people.

Year 7 Induction Week

It was a super exciting first week for our new Year 7’s as they had the opportunity to form new relationships with staff and peers, undertake team building activities, learn Compass and organisational skills, participate in a wellbeing session, and celebrate their first week with a year level assembly on Friday afternoon. The students got to experience each of their new subjects while learning in the brand new Year 7 learning hub. It was great to see the students buzzing with excitement and enthusiasm as we welcomed them to Emerald Secondary College for 2023.

Year 7 Parent Information Night & BBQ

The Year 7 parent information night began with a BBQ for students, parents and College staff. We were delighted to have Jacob Hennig entertain us with his music and singing to set a nice atmosphere as conversations were flowing. Parents and students were introduced to the key Year 7 teams for 2023 and addressed by the College Principal, Mr James Barut. Our Year 7 team provided information regarding Year 7 camp and parent access to Compass outlining how to use the portal. We look forward to the partnerships we create between students, parents, and staff.

School Photos

Our College school photo day is on Tuesday 14th February. Orders can now be made through our Compass portal via your email link or under the community tab.

Place your order now to ensure you get the best price through MSP. Family/siblings photos are available for students attending school. Orders must be placed by 11.59pm the day before photo day. 

Whole School Assembly

What an amazing opportunity it was for the whole school community to come together to celebrate the start of the 2023 school year. Our College Captains, Ethan Crosher, Caitlin Ellis, Jackson Acott and Hayley Marshall, led the whole school assembly with exemplary leadership. We were welcomed by Dustan Rosevear and Hayden Walker with an outstanding Acknowledgment of Country and entertained by the College Jazz Band. The Principal, Mr Barut, welcomed back our students explaining the brand new programs and structures such as the middle years curriculum, BEST, timetable structure and expansion of the student management team to support our students. Ms Korsten introduced all of the leadership opportunities our students can be a part of to enhance student voice and agency at our college, and finally students were provided with information on wellbeing programs, school production and key sports days.

Student Leadership

This week our Student Leadership and Voice Model was launched.  We are incredibly excited to present this model to students and the school community and are eager to see what we expect to be a large number of our student population getting involved in some way.  Our model includes opportunities for students that are:

  • Educational – Students develop skills in areas such as representation, communication and organisation
  • Democratic – All students have a voice and are listened to
  • Responsible and trusted – students have responsibility for real issues; they are trusted to solve real problems and make real decisions
  • Collaborative – Students are partners in decision-making with the school leadership team, teachers, parents and the school community
  • Respectful – Mutual respect develops between students and all members of the school community
  • Caring – Students are committed to their school and care about what happens to it and in it; students care for each other
  • Rewarding – Participation is enjoyable and delivers successful outcomes
  • Allowing them to be a team player – Students will develop teamwork skills through working with other students, teachers and the community
  • Developing emerging leaders – Students will develop leadership skills and may work with the College Student Representative Council

Our Model includes:

The ESC Student Parliament

Student Parliament has 5 responsibilities:

  • Empowering student leadership and voice
  • Making decisions for the betterment of the ESC community
  • Actioning proposals for positive change
  • Driving student initiatives
  • Communicating with the College Council

The ESC Student Representative Council

The SRC has 5 responsibilities:

  • Empowering student leadership and voice
  • Working democratically to represent the student body
  • Representing students’ interests and needs
  • Raising issues of concern, questions of relevance and purposeful suggestions
  • Communicating with the Student Parliament

The ESC Student Portfolio Representatives

These representatives work as a team in interest-based areas of the school.  Their work may include:

  • Leadership of clubs and groups of interest
  • Positions of responsibility linked to domains, learning and curriculum areas or operations
  • Positions that represent specific programs that require student representation as part of the College commitment to student voice

I have spoken with students at length about these opportunities at year level assemblies and the whole school assembly.  Students can express an interest in any of these positions via Compass under the ‘Star’ – Student Leadership Application Form.  Most positions are available to students Years 7-12, students can apply for more than one position and for the representative positions, teams of students are encouraged.  Expressions of Interest close Thursday 16th February and an Investiture Ceremony will follow the awarding of positions.


 BEST stands for Build, Engage, Succeed, Thrive and is part of the College’s commitment to providing a Positive Education Program.  BEST is built around the Positive Education Framework focusing the explicit teaching and living of Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment and Health.

You will have noticed that your child – whether in Year 7 through to Year 12 – has on their timetable one period per week of BEST. 

BEST takes the place of homegroup – your child’s BEST teacher can still be contacted for support (as can your child’s Subschool Team).  During BEST time, lessons encapsulate the key messages of Positive Education and also provide a time and opportunity for your child to be taught, modelled and engage in shared discussion, activities and tasks around, for example

  • Character Strengths
  • Values such as respect, compassion, gratitude, resilience and empathy
  • Respectful Relationships
  • Life and College-specific skills such as organisational skills, study skills, goal-setting, careers planning, road safety, financial awareness and positive citizenship
  • Celebrations of student achievement and the sharing of accomplishments

We’ve had a great start with BEST with teachers enjoying engaging relationship and team building activities with their groups.  We look forward to this evolving program as we incorporate students’ ideas and suggestions.

Extra Support for our Learners at Emerald Secondary College in 2023

Additional to our Teaching and Learning program we have three specific programs that can offer additional support to identified learners in 2023:

  • The Tutor Learning Initiative (TLI) – designed to provide additional targeted small group learning support to students who need it most. TLI enables schools to provide targeted teaching by a tutor teacher to students identified as needing the most support in literacy and numeracy.  For example, students who are falling behind or are below National minimum standards in NAPLAN.  Emerald Secondary College are in the process of prioritising students identified by available data as requiring additional support.
  • The Middle Years Literacy and Numeracy Support program (MYLNS) is a program to support students in their learning like TLI, however, in 2023 will prioritise students identified as requiring additional support in Year 10 only.
  • The Student Excellence Program. Students are also identified as requiring additional support through the student excellence program.  Students can engage in the Victorian High Achievers program and are also encouraged to undertake activities and classes virtually in the Enrichment series.  The Enrichment series contains a varied number of topics to build engage and stretch higher order thinking and a love of learning for our high ability learners.

Many thanks again for your ongoing support of the College.

Jarrad Donders, Tanja Korsten & Janine McMahon – Assistant Principals

Senior School

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Welcome Back for 2023

A warm welcome back to school for 2023 to our Senior School Students. The Senior Sub-School is now inclusive of the Year 10 cohort and so we extend a special acknowledgement to those students.

For our Year 12s the year began in excitement and opportunity with a 3-day long “City Experience” in Melbourne’s CBD. We stayed in the heart of the city and from this home base explored both The University of Melbourne and Swinburne University, completed an Amazing Race to enhance teamwork, a workshop with the Reach Foundation to build students’ empathy and emotional resilience, and a seminar with Success Integrated to build students’ motivation and improve study habits. Here’s what some of our Year 12s had to say about the experience:

“I learnt how psychology impact your results.” – Allanah

I gained an idea on how to control my stress and self-doubt heading into 12.”– Violet

I feel a lot more confident in what I can achieve in year 12!” – Ethan

I gained more knowledge on how to best prepare myself for this year and how to benefit from my classmates.”– Hayley

I learned how to use positive self-talk to better my effort and motivation in schooling.”– Caiti

Our focus for Year 12 is “collective efficacy” – we want this cohort to be a great team, in which everyone is working toward the common goal of outstanding achievement in their final year of schooling.

We would like to extend sincere gratitude to the Rotary Club of Emerald for their ongoing support of our students. Rotary generously donated funds toward the camp, enabling us to increase the opportunities that the camp offered and decrease the cost for families.

Other important announcements and information from the Senior Sub-School:

  • The VCE and VCE-VM information night is taking place in EPAC next Wednesday night (February 15th). All families and students are welcome, but the evening is targeted at students and families/carers in Years 10 and up. We will cover key VCE and VM policies and procedures and also promote the key drivers of success in senior schooling.
  • There are many new student leadership positions now open for application. We strongly encourage our Senior Sub-School students to apply to these! Taking on a leadership role is great for building students’ soft-skills and will look fantastic on a student’s application for a job or tertiary schooling. The Expression of Interest form can be found on Compass Newsfeed.
  • The VCE SAC schedules for Years 11 and 12 have been published to Compass Newsfeed. These are very important documents for students to assist in their planning and preparation for major assessment tasks. Students should review the relevant calendar carefully and make a note of all of their upcoming assessment dates. Please be aware that the dates are subject to change. Any changes will be communicated through Compass Newsfeed.
  • The Senior School Student Policy and Handbook have also been published to Compass Newsfeed and the school’s website. Please read and save these documents for your own records.

Jack Talbot – Senior School Leader

Year 12 Camp

The Year 12 Class of 2023 started off 2023 with the Inaugural Year 12 Camp.

Monday 30th January 74 students of the cohort met at Belgrave Station and made their way in to the City. The camp was an opportunity to get together and create a positive culture to start their final year of school by getting to know each other, participating in workshops, breaking down barriers, setting up successful study techniques, visiting tertiary institutions and having some fun along the way. 

On Monday we went to the REACH home base, REACH is the Jim Stynes Foundation which is all about unlocking the power of young people to inspire them to believe in themselves and get the most out of life. Our group were amazing in their approach to this workshop and concluded the session with the following messages as a group, that we will continue to reflect on in 2023:

  • Be yourself
  • We’re all in this together
  • We all have our own difficulties
  • Acceptance

In the evening after dinner all together we had a Trivia Night, where our Principal Mr Barut attended and joined in the fun. There were lots of laughs and fun had, with some bonus point challenges that included drawing Mr Barut blindfolded and eating an Oreo that was stuck on your forehead without using hands. In what we could say was a close finish, team “Chillybin” came away with the win.

Tuesday started with some team building activities before heading to Melbourne University for a tour and chat about all things uni. The Vocational Major students in this time went to Vic Market with Mrs Hay where they created a tik tok and taste tested a variety of food in which they may never have tried before, only one student tried everything on offer!

Tuesday afternoon was the “Amazing Race” which  Mr Closter had put in a huge effort creating this. 14 teams started off with only 4 successfully finishing in the allocated time. Eating whole cans of spaghetti and dancing the Nutbush on the banks of the Yarra River were required to finish the race.

Tuesday night we had a session with “Success Integrated”. Darren and his DJ were entertaining all while providing a really clear message to the group.

Wednesday was pack up and reflect before partaking in our last activity at Swinburne Uni. It was really engaging and created a lot of interest for a lot of students. Cementing the importance of a positive start to this year and creating interest and eagerness for what lies ahead after school life.

The following are some statements from students after being asked “what was something you enjoyed on camp”:

“I enjoyed getting to know people in my year level better”

“The end challenge of the amazing race (doing the Nutbush for 30 seconds) with entire group”

“Camp allowed us to build trust and support as a group and helped us to build a stronger understanding of each other”

I am so proud of the way the cohort have started the year and am excited to continue to work with the group in 2023. Together Everyone Achieves More.
Emily Hay – Year 12 Engagement Leader



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Swimming Sports & Athletics

Emerald Secondary College starts the sporting year with the swimming sports at Doveton Pool on Friday 17th February.

The wholes school Athletics Day is also in Term 1 on Friday 31st March at Knox Athletics Track.

Students are reminded to be prepared for warm weather and to be Sun Smart.

Consent for swimming sports and Athletics is up on compass, can I ask all parents and guardians to please consent as soon as possible.

To view the details of upcoming events please click here:


Interschool Sports Term 1 – 2023

Sports sign up for Term 1 sports is now up in the gym foyer for Year 7- 10 and in S block for Year 11- 12.

Sports in term 1 are Tennis, Cricket and Volleyball, if you are interested please put your name on the list.

Yvonne Mauger – Sport Co-Ordinator


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Wellbeing & Disability Inclusion

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Welcome back to school.

It is going to be a wonderful year in Wellbeing.

 Access to our wellbeing supports or any programs are FREE

Wellbeing provides support to students and families as the need arises.  We provide case management to individual students with ongoing concerns and work closely with external agencies to assist with that support when required.   We offer individual counselling, specialised programs and we can help students in need with uniforms, books, food and referrals to external support / agencies.  

Breakfast club

 FREE every Tuesday and Friday mornings 8.15am – 8.55am – ALL Welcome

We have toast, cereals, fruit, hot milo, baked beans, spaghetti  and more.


We have psychologists from Emerald Psychology come to support our students – FREE with a Mental Health Care Plan from your GP.


We will be running some amazing programs this year – Watch this space.

Lunch time fun

Monday  – The Gay Straight Alliance

Wednesday – Magic the Gathering

We currently have a drop-in centre the other days but are very open to ideas – tell me what you want and we might be able to make it happen.

New staff – Tanya Hough

I am very happy to introduce Tanya Hough as our new Mental Health Practitioner – Tanya will be at school on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.   Tanya comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and experience and is a fantastic new member of the team.

Watch this space for many more wonderful things happening in wellbeing this year.

Please contact me if you have any concerns about your child or any ideas you think may benefit the wellbeing at our school or want to know what we offer. 

Felicity Wooden – Wellbeing Coordinator

Community Notices

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