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Principal’s Report

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Welcome to the 2024 school year!

Welcome back and Happy New Year. The students have hit the ground running and there have been a lot of positive signs throughout all the year levels.

Year 12s completed their study camp; holiday homework is being chased up and our newest Year 7s have settled in well.

At this year’s whole school assembly, the theme was about being the best possible version of yourself and to bring your A game to school every day. Connections are vital, friends are vital, EFFORT is vital and looking after each other is vital.

We have already completed our swimming sports carnival and all the students who attended had a fabulous time. It was great to be part of the vibe of the day – students who chose not to attend, need to make more of an effort to attend these whole school days as it builds connections and culture.

Please allow me to introduce our Student Management team to you – the structure has not changed from last year, except for Year 11, where Ms Sleit will be the only Learning Engagement Leader.


Junior School: Sub – School leader and Acting Assistant Principal – Ms Mel Findlay

                       Year 7 LELs – Mr Matthew Morris and Ms Samantha McLean

                       Year 8 LELs – Ms Taylor Turton and Mr Anthony Craig

                       Year 9 LELs – Ms Meredith Savage and Mr Steven McCrae

Senior School: Sub – School leader, Ms Emily Hay

                       Year 10 LELs – Mr Tony Taylor and Mr Anthony Gale

                       Year 11 LEL – Ms Grace Sleit

                       Year 12 LELs – Ms Rebecca Holmes and Mr Sean Reid

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.

 Staffing in 2024

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

Ms Prue Bon – Literature and Eng

Mr Anthony Craig Year 8 LEL, Health and PE

Ms Lana Nunis – Director of Mathematics

Ms Katrina Owen – Music and Instrumental Music

Mr Eythan Sendeckyj – Maths and Science

Mr Tim Watson – Maths

Ms Kiara Flavel – Outdoor Ed and Sports assistant

We are still short an English teacher and we hope to fill that position as soon as possible.

‘School Fit’, MYLNs and TLI in 2024

With continued funding from the Department of Education in 2023/4, the Tutor Learning Initiative (TLI) will continue, as will the Middle Years Literacy and Numeracy program. (MYLNS is targeted at Year 10 students whose data from their Year 9 NAPLAN show that they require additional support)). 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 this 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. There will be teacher follow-up for those students who did not complete the task.

Building Upgrade

 The work continues behind the scenes, to start a new classroom building as soon as possible. The build is not like a household renovation or new home build. The DE and the VSBA work towards a set of criteria that must include sustainable materials, a workforce that hires a certain percentage of apprentices, IT and climate regulations and very stringent child safe standards.

As stipulated in previous newsletters, G block will stay in commission until the new educational facility is built. Once that happens, G block will be demolished, and some new sporting facilities will be built on the site.

James Barut – Principal

Assistant Principals’ Report

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Welcome to the 2024 school year. As a community, we are delighted to commence the 2024 school year and look forward to the challenges and achievements that lay ahead.


The Emerald Village Association is seeking student voice – student feedback and contribution – at a ‘Community Round Table’ meeting to discuss how we can make Emerald and the surrounding community the best it can be, especially for young people.  Students will join with local primary school students at the Emerald Community Hub from 10.30am on Thursday March 14th for this guided discussion and opportunity to have their say.  Open to students in Years 7 – Year 12 – limited numbers.  Please see Mrs Korsten, add your name to the list at the front office or email [email protected] to register your interest or find out more.


A big welcome back to our Year 12 cohort who kicked off the year on their Study Camp last week.                   

Our College Captains Charlotte, Keilah, Mitchell and Lily are already scheduled to meet regularly, guide and model student leadership across the College and represent the student body at upcoming events such as the Whole School Assembly Thursday 8th February, the GRIP Leadership Conference 13th February, and Emerald Village Association events through March.  Look out for mentoring, leadership and voice opportunities through our BEST program and on Compass very soon.


Children starting secondary school (Year 7)

Moving from primary school to secondary school is a major step. It’s a time of big changes in your child’s life.

Talking about the changes with your child will help make the move positive.

What’s different?

Some of the main differences between primary and secondary school are:

  • more subjects and teachers
  • more homework
  • more challenging school work
  • the responsibility of getting to classes in different rooms on time
  • the need to manage themselves, their learning and their equipment
  • using lockers and carrying books between classes
  • adapting to different teaching styles

Tips to prepare throughout the term

  1. Be positive and enthusiastic. Your child is more likely to look forward to their secondary college journey if you’re positive about it.
  2. Organise the correct school uniform.  Contact us if you need support.
  3. Get books and stationery according to the booklist on the website.
  4. Learn about school routines. What time does school start and finish, what time is recess and lunchtime?
  5. Ensure your child is familiar with the bus timetable/travel arrangements, and support the College’s drop off/pick up procedures.
  6. Talk to your child about their timetable. It will list subjects and classrooms. It’s good to make a few copies of the timetable to keep in different places.
  7. Create a comfortable place for your child to study. This should be a quiet place away from distractions.
  8. Remind your child that is normal to feel nervous about starting secondary college. These nerves may last past the first day. Encourage your child to talk about what they might be worried about.
  9. Encourage your child to keep in touch with their primary school friends.
  10. Have an emergency safety plan. Be clear about who your child should contact and what you expect them to do in an emergency.
  11. Get involved – contact the school if you’d like to hear more about opportunities for parent involvement
  12. Encourage your child to get involved – alert your child to Compass posts inviting them to sign up for activities and encourage them to get involved in extra-curricular events and sports

For students in their final years of secondary school

The final years of secondary school are a busy time for students. Good study habits are more important than ever as students balance exam preparation, extra-curricular activities and social activities.

At this time, students are also making important choices about what they’d like to do after secondary school and their future career. 

Parents and families can support students by offering to talk about their concerns, helping them get organised, and encouraging a balance of study, rest and play.

Tips for parents and families

  1. Encourage your child to speak to the school careers adviser early if you or they have questions
  2. Encourage good organisation by having a calendar with key dates at home.
  3. Talk with them about how school is going and any concerns they have – let them know you’re there to help while respecting their space.
  4. Encourage out of school activities, such as sport and music.
  5. Help your child develop good study habits – this includes making time for regular breaks.
  6. A balanced diet and ample rest are important.
  7. Ensure your child knows where they can go for support if they feel overwhelmed – for example, the school’s health and wellbeing team, the Senior Subschool, Kids Helpline, LifeLine, Headspace and Beyond Blue.
  8. If your child is anxious about study or exams, try to stay calm for them and listen to their concerns.
  9. Encourage them to visit open days for universities and TAFEs. They don’t have to be in Year 12 to attend.

What to expect at school

There is a range of information for parents and carers on the ESC website to help you – school policies, requirements and expectations, as well as support services available.

Remind parents and carers and students of our attendance expectations, that going to school every day is important for student learning, wellbeing and relationships, and that you are looking forward to seeing them.

A reminder that mobile phones brought to school must be switched off and stored securely in lockers during the school day.

Academic emphasis – focus for 2024

As a new school year commences, our thoughts naturally turn towards setting goals and determining the direction for the academic journey ahead. This year, our primary emphasis is on fostering academic excellence among our students. We are dedicated to providing the necessary encouragement and support for our students to concentrate on our core value of ‘excellence,’ empowering them to unlock their full potential.

By placing a focus on academic pursuits, we aim to broaden the horizons of our students, enabling them to explore a myriad of opportunities and open doors to future career paths. The emphasis on academic excellence serves as a guiding principle, motivating students to strive for the highest standards in their studies. We believe that this commitment to excellence not only enhances their educational experience but also equips them with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in various aspects of life.

As we embark on this academic journey together, we are confident that our collective focus on academic excellence will not only shape the current school year but also lay a solid foundation for the future success of our students. Together, we aspire to create an environment where each student can reach their full potential, setting the stage for a lifetime of learning and achievement

PAT Testing

To begin the academic year, ESC is implementing a comprehensive approach to student assessment by introducing PAT testing for all students in years 7-10. These tests consist of a reading, writing and numeracy assessment. This initiative is designed not only to gauge the current academic capabilities of our students but also to provide valuable insights for our dedicated staff to tailor their teaching methods accordingly. The primary goal is to gain a thorough understanding of each student’s strengths, areas for improvement, and unique learning styles.

The PAT testing process serves as a powerful tool for educators, offering a nuanced perspective on the diverse abilities and potential within our student body. By examining the results, our teaching staff will be equipped with a comprehensive overview of the academic landscape, allowing them to identify students who may benefit from additional challenges and those who may require extra support.

School Fit Task

As we embark on a new academic year, we are excited to continue our proactive approach to nurturing your child’s academic journey. Commencing the school year, we are continuing to implement a unique initiative – a formative task for all students across every subject within the first three weeks.

This formative task serves as more than just an academic exercise; it establishes a diagnostic baseline for our dedicated teaching staff. Simultaneously, it sets clear expectations for the academic emphasis we are placing on our students in 2024.

We are thrilled to share that this approach aligns with the research-backed insights of educational expert John Hattie, who identifies feedback as a powerhouse in the learning process, boasting an impressive effect size of 0.73. This places feedback among the most impactful strategies for student achievement.

Understanding the pivotal role of feedback in enhancing learning outcomes, we are committed to integrating this “high-impact strategy” into the early formative tasks that your child will undertake. By doing so, we aim to leverage evidence-based practices, creating an environment where students are not only academically prepared but also poised to thrive throughout the year.

We appreciate your continued support as we work together to provide the best educational experience for your child. Here’s to a successful and academically enriching year ahead!

Annual privacy reminder for our school community

Our school collects, uses, discloses and stores student and parent personal information for standard school functions or where permitted by law, as stated in the Schools’ Privacy Policy.

Please take time to read our school’s collection notice, found on our website Emerald Secondary College Website.

We ask parents to also review the guidance we provide on how we use [Microsoft 365] safely at the school and what parents can do to further protect their child’s information. If after reviewing the guidance, you have any questions or concerns regarding your child using [Microsoft 365] please contact the school.

For more information about privacy, refer to: Schools’ Privacy Policy — information for parents. This information is also available in ten community languages:

  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • Dari
  • Gujarati
  • Mandarin
  • Somali
  • Sudanese
  • Turkish
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese


Student Accident Insurance and Ambulance Cover

The department of education does not provide student accident insurance or ambulance cover. Parents may wish to obtain student accident insurance from a commercial insurer and/or ambulance cover, depending on their health insurance arrangements and any other personal considerations.

Year 7 Transition Week

We were thrilled to welcome our new Year 7s for their first week where 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 Friday afternoon. It was great to see the students buzzing with excitement and enthusiasm as we welcomed them to Emerald Secondary College for 2024.

Year 7 Parent Information Night & BBQ

The Year 7 Parent Information Night begun with a BBQ with students, parents and college staff. Parents and students were introduced to the Year 7 teams for 2024 and were 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 Wednesday February 21. Orders can now be made through our Compass portal via your email link or under the community tab. A catch up day is scheduled for Friday March 15. 

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 to together to celebrate the start of the 2024 school year. Our College Captains Charlotte Scott, Lily Cochrane, Mitchell Blackwell and Keilah Dewar 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 Keilah Dewar and Ralph Amoguis. The Principal Mr Barut welcomed our students by reinforcing our College values and our direction of Excellence for 2024. Ms Korsten spoke about leadership opportunities our students can be apart of to enhance student voice and agency at our college. Ms Clayworth discussed doing our best every day and aiming high before students were provided with information on wellbeing programs, school production and key sports days. 

Tanja Korsten, Melissa Findlay & Tiana Clayworth – 

Assistant Principals



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Interschool Sports Term 1 – 2024

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.


On the 9th February the whole school headed down to Doveton Pool, the weather was perfect, not to hot or cold. With the waterslide, splash park up and running and free sausages for all it was a great day.

The winning house for the day was Geysen, just out scoring O’Neil.

House Standings:

Geysen – 225 Points

O’Neil – 210 Points

Jeffreys – 206 Points

Greetham – 179 Points

Hawley – 145 Points

Hobbs – 64 Points

Age Group Champions

 12/13 Girls

Georgia McKinnon

12/13 Boys

Xavier Collard

14 Girls

Alana Bach

14 Boy

Tolya Huerta-Nguyen

15 Girls

Jasmine Cochrane

15 Boys

Daniel Beardshaw

16 Girls

Miah Beardshaw

16 Boys

Jonathan Malseed

17 Girls

Kiana Logiudice

17 Boys

Aaron Silversten

Yvonne Mauger – Sports Co-ordinator

Senior School

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Senior School

Welcome to our 2024 Senior School students and their families. In Senior School we are really excited about the year ahead. There is a genuine buzz around the College, and we are proud of the positive efforts the senior students have made thus far contributing to their final years of education.

Some introductions to Senior School and point of contacts to take note of are as follows:

Head of Senior School: Emily Hay

Year 12 Learning and Engagement Leaders: Rebecca Holmes and Sean Reid

Year 11 Learning and Engagement Leader: Grace Sleit

Year 10 Learning and Engagement Leaders: Tony Taylor and Anthony Gale

Senior School and VCE Administration: Annie Gesthuizen

Careers and Pathways / VET coordinator: Sarah Kennedy

In 2024 we have created visions and goals for our sub school and cohorts with the main emphasis, ‘raising the bar’. This encompasses things like; academic excellence, cohort cohesion, positive transitions and providing outstanding pastoral care in line with our school values. Our focus is to support all our students and create opportunities for everyone to succeed and connect to their commitment of their future pathways post-secondary school.

Parent / Guardian Information

By the end of week 3 there will be a VCE / VCE VM / VPC Parent information recording and presentation sent out explaining our expectations of VCE / VCE VM / VPC students. We ask all families to download and work through this presentation. Following this we will welcome questions to be sent in, where a further ‘Q and A’ recording will be provided supporting questions received.

Level of Achievement

For our VCE students we have adapted a new level of achievement and grading scale as outlined in our student handbook that was recently pinned to Compass, raising the level of achievement on all SAC / SAT outcomes to 50% which is aligned with a new VCE grading scale. Please familiarise yourselves with this change.

SAC Calendars

The VCE SAC Calendars have been pinned to Compass. It is important to note that some SACs may be scheduled for after school when there is more than one class occurring for a subject area.


For each Unit (VCE and VM), students must maintain a VCE % Attendance of at least 90%.
At the conclusion of a Unit (VCE, VCE-VM or VPC), if a student has less than 90% attendance for a Unit, then this will lead to an ‘N’ result for that Unit.
Family holidays, part time work, license tests, illnesses without a certificate and other similar causes for absence are not acceptable School Approved absences.
Note: More information will be available in the Parent Information presentation as mentioned above.

I encourage everyone to actively participate in and support each other through the exciting times that present our Senior Students this year and beyond.

I look forward to getting to know our school community more and working collaboratively with our students, staff and families.

Emily Hay – Senior School Leader


Year 12 Camp

2024 started with a bang for the Year 12s as we headed off for a camp at the CYC in Melbourne. The camp was filled with activities that were designed to build a strong relationship among the group, set goals and to look at life beyond school.

On the first day, we went for a session at the REACH Foundation in Collingwood. The students were able to share experiences and learn a lot about themselves and others in their year level. In the evening, we had a trivia night that saw students pit their knowledge of music, sport and other categories against the rest of their classmates. The first day’s activities were a fitting way to introduce our key focus for the year of SUCCESS and CONNECTION.

The second day of the camp started with an Amazing Race around the city that ended up at Melbourne University where we did a tour. We finished off the day with a presentation from Success Integrated that no doubt inspired the students to achieve their best this year. After that, it was time for some Uno and MarioKart before lights out.

The final day of the camp saw us pack up and head to Swinburne Hawthorn for an information session and campus tour. The students were able to see what university life was all about.

Overall, this camp was a great success that allowed the students to grow closer as a group and set themselves up for a successful year. 

Rebecca Holmes & Sean Reid – Yr 12 Learning & Engagement Leaders


Student News

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Summer Music Program

Declan Angus, one of our Year 8 students, attended a music summer program over the holidays. This was run by Kate Ceberano’s brother, Phil Ceberano.

There were about 65 young people, with the age range of 12-18 years old, attending. They performed at the Le Bella Hotel in Richmond.

What a great experience that must have been Declan!



Axel – ESC Wellbeing dog

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Our Year 8-12 students will already be aware that our college is fortunate enough to have a Wellbeing Dog on staff.  We are so excited to be introducing Axel the Cobber Dog to our Year 7 students – some of you may have seen him on Transition Day next year.  We will be re-commencing Axel’s induction to the College this week.

So for new families – what is a Wellbeing Dog?  Emerald Secondary College has partnered with Dogs Connect to be able to have Axel as part of our community.  Axel is still only very young and learning all about daily life at ESC, but Term 1 will see him gradually onsite more and more often.  We encourage anyone who would like to know more about this program to look through the website link below:

The work of a Wellbeing Dog has a really positive impact on students, staff and classrooms in general.  Axel will be based between our Admin and Wellbeing/Inclusion buildings and, when ready, will be available to join classrooms up to approx. three periods a day, a few days each week.  Having Axel in the classroom supports our work with School Wide Positive Behaviour Support and helps to ensure calm and orderly classrooms.  Axel helps to build students’ confidence and make them more comfortable.  We see students able to better regulate their emotions and behaviour, stay engaged in their classes and meet learning goals.  A Wellbeing Dog can encourage students to have deeper conversations about concerns or issues, and help reduce anxiety.                                 

Year 7 students will be taught the 3 Expectations through BEST lessons but all students are reminded of these to ensure Axel is relaxed, comfortable, and best able to support everyone at ESC – these expectations are reiterated in the poster below.

There are ways your child can be involved in the Dogs Connect program even if they are scared of dogs, or allergic (though Axel is hypoallergenic and does not shed).  If you have any information that may be relevant to your child specifically and our program, please fill in and return the Family Considerations Checklist provided within this newsletter and return to the front office or to Mrs. Korsten.

Dear New ESC Families, 

 We are excited to be continuing working with a wellbeing dog around your children this year.We ask you to provide any information that may be relevant to your child and our program. We are aware of the range of considerations that we need to make so that our work is inclusive and successful. Below is a list of common considerations we like to be aware of. 

Please tick any boxes below to indicate considerations for program facilitators to be aware of.  (If you/your child do not have any concerns this form does not need to be completed). If extra information needs to be supplied, please use the space provided on the second page of this document and return to the College front office or to  [email protected]

    My child has a dog at home

☐    My child has been around domestic animals frequently

☐    My child has an allergy to some dogs

☐    My child’s traditional culture does not allow interaction with dogs

☐    My child’s religion does not allow interaction with dogs

☐    My child has some degree of fear of dogs

☐    My child has been through trauma related to an incident with an animal

☐    My child has not yet experienced interaction with a dog









Signed: __________________________                                           Printed Name: ________________________________

Date: ___________________________

Name of Child: ___________________________________


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Welcome back to another school year – this year is going to be very exciting.  If you have any questions, want to ask about uniform support or counselling support, please call and I can go through everything with you.   Felicity Wooden, Wellbeing coordinator

What Wellbeing offer:


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. 

  • MHP
    • Our Mental Health Practitioner is Jess Hennig – She is at school Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays. To access counselling with Jess, parental permission is needed.
  • Student placements
    • We have a social work placement, Emma, and a Counselling placement, Victoria. Both will be here on varying days for the first semester and both available for counselling.
  • Psychologists
    • We are lucky to have 2 psychologists from Emerald Psychology.
      • Hannah on Friday, to see her you will need a MHCP from your GP
      • Rebecca on Tuesday, Rebecca is a provisional psychologist and as such cannot claim Medicare – To access Rebecca, there will be an out of pocket fee of $50 (paid to Emerald Psychology) there is no waiting list for Rebecca.


  • Breakfast Club – FREE every Tuesday and Friday morning (lunches available for student in need)
  • Gay / Straight Alliance – Open to everyone – Monday lunch time
  • Lunch time fun
  • Small groups coming soon – some past groups have been on friendships and social skills, anger management, young women’s and young men’s groups.
  • Whole school events (more information close to the date)
    • World’s greatest Shave in March (Looking for student and staff volunteers)
    • RU OK day
    • IDAHOBIT Day

Support with uniforms –

  • For families in need, I can access ……
    • School shoes – Free
    • School shorts and trousers – Free
    • All other uniforms pieces I can get a voucher to help ease the cost

Felicity Wooden, Wellbeing Co-ordinator


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Community News

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