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Principal’s Report

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College Planning

Emerald Secondary College continues to thrive as a learning community. All our students are involved in their learning, their friendships, their whole school engagement and all the extracurricular programs that the College has to offer.

Students from Year 8 upwards will be entering their subject selections over the next couple of weeks that will assist with college planning for 2024! Where has the year gone?? Information nights have assisted students, together with their parents to make viable pathway decisions in their secondary schooling. Thus, the hard work of the team in Careers cannot be taken for granted, as well as the ongoing support of all our teaching staff and education support staff team.

In the light of the importance of this planning, if your son/daughter is NOT  returning to ESC next year, please notify the College office as soon as possible – 5968 5388

Year 12 – The Pointy End of the Year is Nigh

The Year 12 cohort are busy! busy! busy! The final weeks of a secondary education are nigh, and this time is so, so important in setting up study notes, working out what’s best for each individual student as a study routine and completing old VCAA exam papers. The best way forward here is that there should be a three-step method in exam prep:

  1. Attempt an old paper, untimed, open book.

      Check answers for accuracy and clarity with the VCAA examiners’ report at the same time.

      Focus on the language that the examiners use to give you information about their expectations – exams are no longer just a regurgitation of information, rather, the focus is more on analysis,          synthesis, high end vocabulary and depth of answers….focus specifically on this shift in expectations.

  1. Complete the same exam, closed book and untimed – this one goes to the teacher for a quick turnaround and feedback.
  2. Complete the same exam paper under timed conditions, closed book, as per the same conditions that will be stipulated in November – submit for raw score feedback.

This is not Barut’s ground-breaking study tip – this method has data and educational merit to support success in exams. Thousands of highly successful VCE students were surveyed and the two main defining factors to success was the above exam prep and teacher relationship/feedback. Please share this information with your son/daughter.

Attitudes to School Survey – Parent Opinion Survey

In the ensuing weeks, we will be seeking feedback from our ESC families, about how we are travelling as a college.

If you receive an email from DET, or from me, asking you to participate, we respectfully request that you spend about 20 minutes of your time completing the survey.

Parent participants are randomly selected by the administering contractor, via Cases21, and may involve some double ups – we only require one survey response per family please.

Thank you in anticipation.

The Building Grant Upgrade

After a successful AMP1 (Asset Management Plan) completion, we now move to AMP2, and this is where it really starts to get serious.

Next week, we will be hosting a walkaround with a VSBA (Victorian Schools Building Authority) representative and three shortlisted architecture/design companies. From here, each company will present to a panel, a series of drawings that captures the vision and feedback from our AMP1.

This is all part of the tendering process, and we look forward to what these creative minds have in store for our upgrade.

Keeping in Touch

The College always welcomes parents to communicate with year level leaders and teaching staff to best support the students in their learning.

Please be mindful that the College is working in a climate of positive psychology, school-wide positive behaviours, and respectful relationships. As such, we expect all interactions to be professional, respectful and solution/action focussed.

Professional Practice Day

Please don’t forget that there will be a whole school PPD on Friday, 1st of September.

Students are not required at school on this day, EXCEPT that all Year 12 VCE classes and Year 12 VCEVM classes will be running and timetabled as normal – students in Year 11 who are studying a Year 12 VCE subject must also attend their Year 12 class. The Year 11 students that are studying a Year 12, once their class has ended, may stay back at school and complete some private study, or they may go home. 

The rationale behind this decision is to mitigate further disruptions for all our students, as CRTs are still quite problematic and we’re working towards stabilising our workforce.
Details on the canteen’s availability on that day will follow shortly.

James Barut – College Principal



Assistant Principals’ Report

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Individual student reports for NAPLAN have been posted home to families this week for our Year 7 and 9 students.  The questions in NAPLAN are based mostly on the literacy and numeracy knowledge and skills students have learnt from previous years of schoolings.  There may have been some questions addressing content from the year of testing and even the following year.  These questions have been designed to allow students to use strategies they have learnt to answer the questions, allowing students of all abilities can show their capabilities.

In 2023 there have been new standards that were introduced to NAPLAN reporting, which have replaced the previous reporting bands.  The Individual student report information contains information about the proficiency bands and levels. What NAPLAN actually assess has not changed and this is also detailed on page four of the individual student report that is being sent home.  The four proficiency levels used in the NAPLAN reporting are now:

Exceeding: The student’s results exceeds expectations at the time of testing

Strong: The student’s results meets challenging but reasonable expectations at the time of testing.

Developing: The student’s result indicates that they are working towards expectations at the time of testing.

Needs Additional support: The student’s result indicates that they are not achieving the learning outcomes expected at the time of testing.  They are likely to need additional support to progress satisfactorily.

We congratulate all of our Year 7 and 9 students for their approach to their four short NAPLAN assessments undertaken in March. 

I would like to pay a particular shout out to Alex, Allana, April, Ava, Bradley, Elizabeth, Isabella, Jackson, Luca, Luke, Madison, Makenzie, Milla, Myra, Rhys, Ruby, Sienna, Spencer, Taesha, Ziggy, and Zoe in Year 9 who were recipients of a NAPLAN excellence award for either Literacy or Numeracy – or Literacy and Numeracy.  Well done to you all!

Building and Grounds Update

We are expecting another delivery of furniture on the weekend to complete the upgrades to tables and chairs to the classrooms in A block, the library classroom and the food tech dining room area.  New furniture in these spaces allows students to learn in a more comfortable setting.  Tables are of a suitable height and shape to allow flexibility with small group mini lessons to occur, with whiteboard tables.  The chairs have been chosen (which are research based), which allow a slight movement in the back of the chair to allow greater focus for our learners who struggle to sit for extended periods of time.  

Photos to come in the next newsletter!

Axel Update

Training continues with Axel.  He is ‘sitting’ and ‘staying’ like a champion.  He is practising walking on a lead and improving with every walk he goes on.  We are continuing to get Axel used to strange noises and unfamiliar people and things, eg. the sound of Puffing Billy.  He recently graduated from puppy school, where he enjoyed socialising with many people and puppies.  He is starting to visit onsite, and his first training onsite will be to learn to relax and stay calm, as he gets used to the sounds, people and spaces at Emerald Secondary College.


Model United Nations

ESC are submitting teams into the 2024 Model United Nations Event on 14th September.
A Model United Nations is a simulation of the UN General Assembly – it runs according to the UN protocols and procedures followed by the UN General Assembly.  You will be an assembly delegate – stepping into the shoes of a country ambassador  (Pakistan or Spain) to discuss global issues and the topic ‘Achieving Gender Equality – Empowering Women & Girls’. Participation involves supported preparation in the month preceding the full day event and you will develop your diplomacy and negotiation skills.

We will hold an information session here at school for those students interested in hearing more – if your child is in Year 9-12 Please access this form to express your interest – this is due on 5th August. 


Campfire Conversations

In Koorie culture, a campfire is a place where everyone has a spot to sit; to listen, share and connect with each other. It is a place for deep listening and storytelling.

The Department is supporting schools to bring Koorie communities, young people and school staff together to listen, share and connect about self-determination for Koorie people in education.

Emerald Secondary College is delighted to have been nominated to host a campfire conversation as part of the state-wide consultation process to develop reform options that progress Aboriginal self-determination in the education system. 

Our campfire, storytelling and deep listening event/s will provide agency for Koorie people in our community and in our school, and build and strengthen partnerships.

With targeted funding through a specific grant, we have just built our Campfire site, just behind the Senior Centre with a beautiful bush outlook into the trees surrounding our College.  The next step is to beautify the area and work with our Koorie and other students to plan and promote our first Campfire Conversations Event.  Anyone identifying as Koorie in our community will be welcomed – if this is you or someone you know, or you would like to contribute to the planning or have any contacts that could help us make these event/s a great success, please look out for our promotion or contact Assistant Principal Tanja Korsten on [email protected]


 Pyjama Day

Our College Captains are leading a fundraiser to support The Pyjama Foundation which raises much needed funds for children in foster care.  Students and staff were, on Friday 21st, encouraged to wear pyjamas/Oodies and donate to this cause.

Our fundraising for this event continues and we’d love for you to support this initiative.  You can donate here:

The Pyjama Foundation – Tanja Korsten. This link is also available through our social media posts.


Since our last Newsletter, students have engaged in:

Year 7 – What makes a good friendship?  Students reflect on their first friendships, long friendships and best friendships; how a good friend should make you feel and what it might mean if positive feelings aren’t there.  We looked at a range of different scenarios and statements and talked about whether they best represented a healthy or unhealthy friendship, and how to tell the difference, and finally, brainstormed tips on being a good friend.

Year 7s this week also listened to a guest speaker from the Ecstra Foundation.  Students are participataing in a module focusing on spending and saving choices, how decisions now can affect future finances and how conscious consumers can positively impact people and the planet.  This first of two workshops was called ‘Talk Money – Spending and Saving Money’ and students were supported to manage influences on saving, spending and payment options and how to align spending choices with their goals, values and beliefs. (This module has also been booked for Year 8 students). 


Years  8 & 9 – Students were entertained and educated by SMASHED performers – ‘Alcohol Education to empower a generation’.  Students observed, explored and reflected on vital underage drinking themes including the social and emotional causes, the impact on young lives, social influence and decision making and where and how to help yourself and others.  Students also engaged in Course Selection information – please check Compass for details and deadlines for Middle Years subject selection for 2024.


Year 10 – Year 10s also engaged in Course Selection information – again, please see Compass for details.  Year 10 students also explored job rejection and how we can use our strengths and qualities such as resilience and perseverance to navigate the world of work.  Students looked at strategies to cope with rejection, what we can learn from job rejection and how to make our strengths visible.


Year 11 – Year 11s reviewed their personal and academic progress and achievements from Semester 1 and worked on goal setting and time management.  These students are also moving towards course planning for 2024 – the Careers Hub and Compass are the places to go for more information.


Year 12 – Year 12s were afforded valuable valuable study time and this week the process for making University applications was discussed and explained.


Our new uniform tracksuit pants will be available to purchase as of Monday the 31st of July. PSW has informed the College 130 new items of stock will be ready. If you have placed an order online your order will be ready for pick up and PSW will be in contact with you soon. 

PSW currently has the unisex pants with reflective strip in the following sizes:

  • 3XS =4
  • 2XS = 9
  • 3XL = 1
  • 4XL = 3

This style of pant is being phased out hence the new tracksuit pant being available to purchase. 

The last of our ‘Soft Shell Jackets’ are also available at the College front office for $40, please come in to purchase if your son/daughter would like one of these. The Puffer Jacket is replacing the soft shell jacket as part of our uniform as previously communicated. Only sizes XXXS and XXS are left.

Our College is in the process of stocking a College scarf which will be available to purchase ready for the 2024 winter. 

As the winter cold snap continues this is a reminder that it is compulsory for students to wear the College uniform. Students should NOT be wearing black tracksuit pants, leggings, non-uniform hoodies/jumpers, non ESC beanies/hats or white shoesScarfs are allowed but they should be completely navy blue or black until our new scarf arrives.
If you require any support with uniform, please call the College on 59685388. Through the State School Relief Initiative, we can order some items of uniform for free for your son/daughter while all other uniform items have a voucher towards the cost at PSW. This significantly reduces the cost of uniform items including our new tracksuit pant and puffer jacket.

If your child is late to class.

If a student is late to class staff will issue the logical consequence of keeping them in for that amount of time at recess or lunch. If it occurs during period 1, 3 or 5 staff will issue the student to attend a lunchtime detention to make up the time that they were late. Every minutes counts and we expect all students to be organised and on time for every class.



Janine McMahon, Tanja Korsten, Jarrad Donders

Senior School

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On Friday 21st July we held a Pyjama Day to raise funds for disadvantaged children in foster care to provide them with the necessary tools to have an adequate education. Overall, it was a great success. Not only did we surpass the goal of $500 raised, but it was also awesome to see everyone getting involved and embracing the opportunity to support the cause.

We encouraged students to wear their Oodies as a part of a competition we were running in which they would be put into a draw to win a block of chocolate. We would like to congratulate Angus in Year 8 who won the competition and enjoyed his chocolate!

It was a nice treat for everyone to rug up in the cold weather. As school captains, it was rewarding to see that the hard work behind the scenes paid off and everyone enjoyed the day. Hopefully we can have more participation on days like this in the future.

Ethan Crosher and Caiti Ellis – on behalf of the College Captaincy Team

High Achievers’ Luncheon

Last Friday the Senior School hosted a High Achievers’ Luncheon. Parents, grandparents, and students were treated to a delicious lunch and a certificate ceremony to acknowledge and applaud the hard work of our top achieving students in Semester 1 from Years 10, 11, and 12.

Jack Talbot recognised students’ achievements and their capacity for resilience, hard work, development of their soft skills and widening their opportunities in life.

There was a wonderful energy in the room and many proud smiles from our onlooking guests. We are working hard to cement our culture of celebrating high achievement and citizenship at ESC and this was a great opportunity to do just that.

Thank you to our Senior School staff for organising: Emily Hay, Shane Closter, Sean Reid, Bec Holmes, Liam McManus, Grace Sleit and Meg Gogerly and to Sera Poe for organsing the excellent catering.

Congratulations to the following students:

Year 10 – Alice,  Angelika, Jayden, Miah, Caitlin, Liana, Emily, Jem, Elizabeth and Hailey

Year 11 – Lena, Savannah, Bradley, Darcy, Lucy, Levi, Harrison and Jack

Year 12 – Alex, Allanah, Briony, Caitlin, Christian, Daniel, Galaxy, Hayley, Jake, Kahlani, Kaylee, Keeley and Violet

Jack Talbot – Senior School Leader

Keeping up with Year 10!

Work in new electives

With the new Semester came some great new electives that students are completing. Students have been really engaged and it has been wonderful to hear the great feedback from teachers and the outstanding work that is being completed.

Please enjoy some photos of students and their work in the Pop, Paint, Print class! 

And in the Pursuit of Fitness!

Work Experience Reflections

As you will know, our Year 10s attended work experience in the last two weeks of Term 2. We have had really positive feedback from employers and the students were not only productive but had some great fun too.

We had Harry Loveridge complete this great reflection on his work experience at the cafe “Rich Man Pour Man” and he is now even working there twice a week.

Make sure to go get a coffee from him some time!

Extra-curricular Achievements

We would like to give a massive shout-out to Tahlia Blackwell who travelled to Adelaide for the Physipole Ignite Finals.  She came 1st runner up in her category of Advanced Aerials where she competed on hoop.

Keep up the amazing work Tahlia, we are proud to have you at ESC!

Grace Sleit – Year 10 Engagement Leader




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Wellbeing Welcome

Wellbeing would like to welcome new staff and introduce our new wellbeing team.

Wellbeing provides individual counselling and support to all students as needed.  We help families with support and referrals to specialised external agencies and we provide case management for students with ongoing issues.  Wellbeing organises and / or facilitates programs in response to the students needs. – some past programs have been on friendships and social skills, anger management, young women’s and young men’s groups. We offer breakfast club on Tuesdays and Fridays for all FREE.  We can support families in need with food and uniforms.  If you have any questions about how we can support you, please ring and have the conversation.


Felicity Wooden– Wellbeing coordinator – Every Day

Duties – To oversee the wellbeing department – liaise with families, provide individual support, whole school activities.




Jessica Hennig – Mental Health Practitioner – Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

Duties – Individual counselling with students, working with small groups of students on various programs – supporting the school with mental health promotion and prevention        activities.




Menallie Slusher – Chaplain – Tuesday and Friday

Duties – Whole school activities such as Breakfast Club and lunch time games – working with small groups of students on various programs.




Ash Bibby – Social Worker – Monday

Duties – Individual counselling with students, supporting the school with trauma informed practises




Emmy Alford – Social work placement student – Every Day (until week 3 of term 4)

Duties – Individual counselling with students, working with small groups of students on various programs.




Hannah Fitchet and Bhavana Sistla – psychologists Emerald Psychology – Monday and Friday

Duties – Individual psychological counselling – Free and confidential – To access psychologists, please get a Mental Health Care Plan from your doctor, return with paperwork to Felicity Wooden.


Introducing our new staff

Jessica Hennig

My name is Jess and I’m the new Mental Health Practitioner. I have a background in Social Work. I am looking forward to joining the Emerald Secondary College community and would love for you to say hi down in L block or if you see me wandering around the school grounds. You can find me on a Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. When I’m not at work you can find me spending time with my family exploring nature, reading a book, or watching an action movie.

As part of my role as the MHP, I can talk to you in a safe and confidential setting that is free and voluntary. In the short-term counselling sessions, I can support you with strategies and tools to help you manage your concerns. Other areas of my role include supporting the school with mental health promotion and prevention activities and coordinating supports internally and externally for students with complex needs.

Emmy Alford

Hi, my name is Emmy, and I am the new Master of Social Work student and am currently completing my placement down in the wellbeing team and am in the office Monday-Friday. I will be working with the team for all of Term 3 and some of Term 4. I am in my final year of my Masters and already have completed a Bachelor of Psychological Science and a Bachelor of Criminology.

I recently relocated up from Geelong and brought my two little cats with me for the journey although I don’t think they are a fan of the colder weather. I am an avid Richmond supporter for the entirety of my 24 years of life with a strong feeling we are on the road for a comeback this season. I look forward to meeting and working with all the wonderful students and parents here at Emerald and am so grateful to be receiving this opportunity to expand my knowledge and skills within such a supportive and amazing team.

Ash Bibby

G’day, Emerald. I’m Ash and I’ve been working as a social worker at ESC throughout 2023. I support the Wellbeing team on Mondays, providing counselling support for students, staff and families in the school community. I’ve worked in primary and secondary schools within the Outer East Melbourne area for the last decade focussing on mental health, behaviour support and crisis management, and my other working role at the moment supports students living in care, and building school capacity to understand and respond to trauma presenting in the school environment.

I listen to music near-constantly, and enthusiastically play the drums very poorly. Bulldogs, Kraken and Mustangs are the best sports teams in the AFL, NHL and AIHL respectively, and you can’t change my mind. My main man Dozer is the sweetest Dog x Horse imaginable.

Community Service Leaders

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Community Service Leaders Report

Olivia and I are the community service leaders at this school. We focus on bringing our school out into the community and collaborating with members and organisations in our local area. At the moment, we have organised something with Emerald Glades, a retirement home. A group of students will go down to the Glades every Friday to help out, whether that is doing craft with some of the elderly, teaching them how to better use technological devices, or just chatting.

As well as this, we are working out things we can do with the local library and nearby primary schools. We look forward to reaching out to the community and gathering students that are interested in participating in events for the near future.

Taesha – Year 9 Community Leader

Community News

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