The energy of autumn and winter in our lives provides a time of transformation and reflection. Reflection requires courage. It’s thoughtful and deliberate. The brilliant colours of the leaves remind us of the wonder in our lives. Like the leaves falling away from their branches, with great grace, together we can let go and make way for new beginnings. In winter we appreciate the vibrant colours of fire and warmth that the leaves bring, the crispness of the air and the fresh clarity of the light.  It is also a time of taking in the crisp invigorating air of our surroundings, which brings a greater clarity to our thoughts and ideas. The school holidays offer a unique time to slow down and reorient ourselves. Being your best only comes when you extract from your past how to engage the future. I hope the mid-year break provides a time of reflection, clarity and renewed energy and focus for Term 3 for all our staff and students.

Semester 1 came to a close on Friday 21 June. I am so proud of the way our students have now embraced Semester 2, following a term filled with learning, performances, competitions, exhibitions and community activities and celebrations. It is inspiring to see students engaged in such a wonderful array of pursuits. Across the middle and senior years it has been a busy term and I thank students, staff and families for making Semester 1 such a great success.

As we approach the mid-year break, I challenge all students to find some space to review this semester. To ask themselves: What did I achieve, how did I grow? Have I made any choices to take action to improve in all areas of my life? What has been the outcome of my choices? By acknowledging the impact or outcomes of their decisions, it’s likely they are developing a more confident sense of control in their life and a clear direction by creating coherence in all aspects of their life. I often remind students that you become what your habits are. Begin with a thought, turn that thought into an action, turn that action into a habit and turn that habit into an outcome. I encourage all students to make this review of their choices and habits over the holidays.  The holiday break provides students with the opportunity to make a fresh start and shape the habits that will support them to achieve their dreams and aspirations. Stephen R. Covey describes a habit as being “the intersection of knowledge (what to do), skill (how to do), and desire (want to do).” Likewise, Charles Duhigg, author and business reporter adds, “A habit is a formula our brain automatically follows.” So ask yourself “Are these habits helping me to achieve my short term goals and my future aspirations?

“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” Colin Powell

Our Staff are here to support young people to develop their habits for success as our purpose is to develop graduates who are confident, reach for the stars and are globally competent.

Year 12 Students

For our Year 12 students the semester break should be a time when they have a break from the routine of attending school, but I encourage them to maintain their regular study routine during the holidays in preparation for assessment tasks and final year exams. The feedback from their mid-year examinations should inform their revision program to improve their knowledge, understanding and application of skills and concepts.

2024 Implementation Plan

The new Strategic Plan titled Towards 2030: Our Future, Our Place, Our Woodville outlines a clear vision for the school and is our anchor point to drive improvement, innovation, and renewal in each of our four aspirational constellations for excellence and equity, while holding tight on our core values and our purpose – our why. The four constellations are the patterns we are forming to provide a learning environment where every child’s needs, interests, capabilities and aspirations are valued and nurtured.

  • Future-focused Learning
  • A Vibrant and Collaborative Community
  • Improved Health and Wellbeing
  • Transformational Leadership and Governance

Our Woodville has developed a co-design team with students, educators, industry, parents, old scholars, and academia, including representation from the UniSA Education Futures, who led this courageous discourse to set a clear path for our school community against a rapidly changing societal landscape. As Principal, it was wonderful to see all stakeholders collectively engaging to honour the past and imagine the future of our school. We looked at possibilities, the progress we have made and our aspirations for the future of Woodville High School.

The strategic planning process created opportunities for teachers, students, parents, and other members of the school community to become leaders and decision makers as we worked together to build on the culture and purpose of our school. The development of our 2024 Implementation Plan converts our strategic plan at a conceptual level into actionable steps, activities, and tasks. It provides a framework for measuring progress towards the objectives and evaluating our impact and success. The development of our 2024 Implementation Plan and 2024-2026 Strategic Plan inspires and unites our school community, keeping focus on what matters while supporting teachers and students to shape the future they want as change agents in a rapidly changing world. We want the Graduates of Woodville High School to confidently and successfully celebrate diversity, elevate integrity and cultivate resilience in a world that is complex, volatile, and unpredictable.

Over three workshops led by teachers and students as a community we aligned the Strategic Plan and 2024 Implementation Plan with the DfE Public Education Strategy which will serve as a reference point for all in our community, providing them with a clear direction and purpose to guide ongoing decision making, planning and resource allocation. There are strong interconnections between WHS aspirations and the Department for Education’s purpose statement and areas of impact. Students, staff, and families have participated in aligning the Public Education Strategy with WHS’s Strategic Plan. This resulted in the development of a 2024 Implementation Plan that incorporates our schools commitment for 2024.

The co-design team and Governing Council have since met and ratified our 2024 Implementation Plan. Thank you to staff, students, families and old scholars for sharing their aspirations, knowledge and expertise to drive our success through the development of the school’s 2024 – 2026 Strategic Plan and 2024 Implementation Plan that values equity, excellence, diversity and inclusion. The level of engagement and contribution achieved is evidence of the school’s resolve to forge even stronger connections with its community as we develop a clear roadmap for our strategic vision.

Toward a Culturally Responsive School

WHS prides itself with an on-going commitment to its superdiversity. At Our Woodville, we value and celebrate the rich diversity of the cultures, genders, backgrounds, talents, and aspirations in our school community. We see students’ backgrounds and experiences as assets for learning and wellbeing, and we foster an inclusive culture that acknowledges and values a diverse array of perspectives. Diversity is the school’s first core value, and the school has a strong commitment toward fostering intercultural understanding through the Executive Team and Leadership Team. This commitment to Diversity is reflected with our partnership with University of SA in the Culturally Responsive Schooling (CRS) Project. Our school will feature on the CRS UniSA Website, as our work towards becoming a culturally responsive school, is captured in a case study by Associate Professor Nadeem Memon.

At Our Woodville, where we celebrate diversity, student voice helps to build cultural competency as young people are invited to express their ideas and opinions in a safe and welcoming space. By valuing the diversity of voices, we create a sense of belonging, positive school climate and advances equity. Young people have a far greater global reach than previous generations and they should shape their own impact, to not only benefit themselves, but to benefit others in the school and our community. Schools cannot thrive without partnerships with families, community, and industry.

Berry Street Training for Staff

The student-free day in Week 5 of Term 2 saw all staff involved in the second professional learning day of The Berry Street Education Model which we are implementing across the school. It provides a toolkit of strategies to support our students’ mental health and their overall wellbeing.

Our Wellbeing focus for the next two years is on the Berry Street Education Model (BSEM) aimed at supporting students’ self-regulation, relationships and overall wellbeing, which enhances student engagement, attendance and academic achievement. Strong relationships are crucial and it is essential for every student to experience daily success. Our goal is to assist and inspire all our students to thrive using the BSEM, and to cultivate a school environment characterised by a strong sense of belonging, support and encouragement for our students.

The Berry Street Educational model has been developed to support all students particularly those who have struggled with chronic or post-traumatic stress and draws upon trauma-informed classroom practices and positive psychology interventions. Over the next two years, we will be leading all staff through a series of training modules which will equip our staff with new skills and approaches, focussing on the five domains of Body, Relationships, Stamina, Engagement and Character.


As we move into the second semester of 2024, we are currently undertaking an evaluation of the programmes at Woodville High School. Learning Area leaders will audit subjects to ascertain the level at which teachers are engaging in the use of SEQTA. An example, showcasing expectations, will be used to guide conversations, ensuring a consistent approach to our LMS platform.

Following the success of the recent Multicultural Family night, the school is hosting three SEQTA skill building workshops. Running from Week 7 through to Week 9, these sessions aim at engaging families in our LMS and building the capacity of users. Bookings are available on the school website and via the broadcast sent out in Week 6.

Student Achievement Dashboard

Students and staff now have access to their Student Achievement Dashboard via the Welcome page on SEQTA. They can access their NAPLAN, PAT and A-E grades as well as their attendance, displayed as a percentage. The dashboard will allow students to monitor their progression and support conversations around subject counselling, goal setting and future pathways. A separate teacher dashboard is under construction and will be operational in the not-to-distant future. Professional development for staff will be delivered on the use of these dashboards during our Week 8 Differentiated PD program. Parents can view the Dashboard through their child’s SEQTA Page.

Dance Night and Candance

I thank the staff and students who delivered an outstanding performance, showcasing our Music, Dance and Drama programs and a heartfelt thank you to the families and education community who attended and supported the students and staff.

It was with great pride that I witnessed our students perform at The Parks Theatre for our Dance Night. It was a spectacular evening as our students displayed their talent, skills, and creativity.  I am already looking forward to the next one!

I offer my congratulations to all involved in the Dance show and Candance performance last weekend. All feedback has been overwhelmingly unanimous in its positivity, with much praise directed towards our very talented students and staff. Thank you to the staff who guided, nurtured, and inspired our students. Their tireless efforts behind the scenes, their belief in the potential of each student, and their commitment to fostering a love for the Arts have been invaluable in shaping our students’ success.  I thank Amy Patyi, Sarah Newman, Rebecca Sykes supported by Kim Dao, Megan Patman, Alicia Miller, John Katavatis, Milena Popov, Chelle Lee-Bryant, Jasmin Princi and Mary Oleschenko not only for coordinating such a fabulous evening of entertainment, but in taking the time and making the effort in motivating our students to take centre stage during Candance and have the confidence and resilience to shine in the spotlight. Both performances created a very strong sense of belonging and community. 

Music Showcase and Drama Performances

It was incredible to witness the performances, respect, discipline, Integrity and teamwork reflected throughout both evenings. Equally, I am impressed with the professionalism, dedication and passion of our Music and Drama staff. On such evenings our talented and passionate students share their love of music and theatre with family, friends and invited guests.

Both evenings highlighted the vibrant creativity where we witnessed the talents of our budding performers as they took the stage, delivering captivating performances. 

Thank you and congratulations to all involved under the leadership of Paul Monaghan, Ben Fuller and Bec Sykes. 

Reconciliation Week

This year’s Reconciliation Week theme, Now More Than Ever, is a reminder to all of us that no matter what, the fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will —and must —continue. That now more than ever, the work continues. In treaty making, in truth-telling, in understanding our history, in education, and in tackling racism.

Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds, and actions of all of us as we move forward, creating a community strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Our RAP that was launched in 2023 will be reviewed each year and the RAP Committee, chaired by Bronan Economou, will meet this term to review our progress and update our goals and actions.

Reconciliation Week Assembly

Reconciliation Week commences each year on the 27 May which is the anniversary of the 1967 referendum and concludes on the 3 June which is Mabo day. This year’s theme, Now more than Ever, is a reminder to all of us that no matter what, the fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will —and must —continue. We need respect. We need action. And we need change.  It is a time for all Australians to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation and create meaningful change in our lives, communities and workplaces. Reconciliation isn’t a single moment or just a week, it’s all the steps we take every day that come together, to make a great leap towards a more reconciled country.

As such in Reconciliation Week, Woodville High School and its community for the first time in its 109-year history last year, launched its first Reconciliation Action Plan – a formal statement of our commitment to ensuring that we continue to work to achieve a culturally inclusive school whose core value of diversity is reflected in our strategic plan and through the curriculum, community engagement and wellbeing services. In 2024, the Reconciliation Action Plan is being reviewed as we celebrate our achievements and identify new goals and innovative strategies to advance Reconciliation at Woodville High School. Our RAP committee is committed to strengthening relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders, and scoping where our school can best have impact in our sphere of influence. In our culturally diverse school, we will always strive to create an inclusive environment where everyone belongs, feels valued, is heard and respected, regardless of their background, gender or cultural identity. 

During our Week 6 assembly, we recognised the importance of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander spirituality, language, education and culture. We committed to working in partnership with parents, children and communities of the oldest living culture on earth, celebrating First Nations peoples’ wisdom and deep understanding of the spiritual connections to country, culture, heritage and sustainability. Our Reconciliation Action Plan signals our commitment to liberating and transforming voice, action and partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in our community.

Our student leadership structure will continue to elevate the voices of all our students and provide opportunities to participate in decision-making, and to understand their rights and responsibilities as active and informed citizens in their communities advocating for equity, justice and compassion. Truth and justice lives through us all and we must fight for it.

Reconciliation is not an act of charity on the part of non-Indigenous people, rather, it is an orientation to a world founded in justice, human dignity, love and compassion – it is good for all of us and essential for the identity of our communities, our school and this country. Reconciliation is about healing and righting the wrongs of the past. There is much to be learned about our history and the impact of colonisation on Aboriginal cultures and identities. Aboriginal stories have too often been ignored, hidden or avoided. For truth telling to be effective we need to practise deep listening, giving opportunity for Aboriginal voices to speak, and being open to sitting with discomfort and also hearing the call to action. As a school, we play an important role in this process. It is essential that we acknowledge and address the past injustices and support the ongoing efforts to achieve reconciliation. It is my firm belief and hope that we may transcend our broken history, to walk together towards a future where all can realise our fullest potential. We are a school that has a proud history and together we will continue to reach for the stars and leave our own unique legacy as we continue to work towards reconciliation.

We were privileged to have a special guest join us, Major Sumner. Major has dedicated his life to promoting the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and fostering a deep understanding and respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. We were honoured to have him join us and share his insights on the importance of reconciliation. His work is an inspiration to us all, and a reminder that we all have a role to play, now more than ever, in creating a better future for our nation and giving voice to future generations.

Clontarf Foundation

The Clontarf Foundation aims to enhance the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem, and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, thereby enabling them to contribute more effectively to society.

Academy Room Structure and Environment:

  • Clontarf academies are staffed by full-time mentors who provide guidance and support. These staff work alongside Woodville High School staff so that supports offered translate into the school environment.
  • Academy rooms are designed to be welcoming and inclusive, fostering positive learning and personal growth.
  • Each academy room is integrated into its host school and serves as a home base for Clontarf students before and after school, during recess and lunch, and during designated academy times.
  • The rooms are equipped with cooking and washing facilities, computers, and entertainment equipment, promoting self-reliance. These are selected based on the needs of each site.

Consistency and Familiarity:

  • While tailored to the needs of each community, Clontarf academy rooms maintain a consistent design, layout, and service across all locations. This uniformity ensures that students feel safe and familiar, even if they relocate.

Impact and Achievements:

  • Since 2000, Clontarf has supported over 6,357 young men in completing Year 12 and securing employment.
  • Many graduates have gone on to have successful careers, purchase property, start families, and lead healthy, fulfilling lives.

Graduates remain part of the Clontarf family, providing support and inspiration to current participants.

Refugee Week – “Finding Freedom” – Week 8

The 2024 Refugee Week theme is “Finding Freedom” – with a focus on family. It encapsulates the profound journey of resilience, strength, and unity that defines the refugee experience. This Refugee Week, the students are developing a podcast to highlight the transformative power of familial bonds as well as chosen bonds in the face of adversity. The podcast highlights the crucial role family’s play in providing solace, support, and a sense of belonging to those forced to flee their homes.

As part of our ongoing recognition of Refugee Week  in Week 8, 5 Woodville High School students were selected to “share their story” via podcast. The podcast, through student experiences, explores the stories of refugees who, despite the challenges they encounter, discover a source of freedom within the embrace of their families and friends, it is these connections that become a beacon of hope in times of uncertainty.

The resilience of families torn apart by conflict or persecution inspires us as a community to come together and extend a hand of solidarity and compassion to those seeking refuge. The students, representing the cultures of Syria, Sudan, Congo, Afghanistan & Uganda, were invited to visit ‘Studio Pod Booth’ in the City to record a Podcast together with staff Michael Grant, Maeve Cahsel and Milena Popov. 

Students were asked to consider what belonging means to them and agreed on the following guiding questions: 

  • What does family and safety mean to you?
  • Why did you leave your home country? 
  • What did you experience on your journey to Australia? 
  • Can you share a story about your settlement in Australia?
  • Are there any differences / similarities between your home country and Australia?
  • What are some of the cultural and religious differences you have noticed?
  • Can you talk about the most positive opportunity you have had since arriving in Australia?
  • What have you found to be the most difficult change?
  • Can you talk about the word “free” and what it means to you?
  • What qualities have you developed that have really helped you?


What are some of your hopes and dreams for your future?

Name 3 words that describe why you belong at Our Woodville?

Michael Grant: From my perspective, the experience was incredibly enriching and deeply moving. Listening to the students’ stories of hardship and hope, I was reminded of the immense courage and resilience that each one of them possesses. Their stories not only highlighted the struggles and challenges they faced but also showcased their remarkable strength and the power of the human spirit. It was inspiring to see how they have found a sense of belonging and purpose at Woodville and Australia. This podcast will serve as a powerful reminder of the importance of community, empathy, and support in fostering a welcoming environment for all.

I also want to congratulate Gabby Daniele whose two Year 9 Art students, Yangzom D and Ema who have had their posters accepted for the SA Refugee Week Student Poster 2024 Exhibition and Awards. The Student Poster Exhibition and Awards are a key event of the annual SA Refugee Week Calendar of Events and a major youth engagement project with 55 schools/educational institutions taking part in 2024.

Thank you

As we commence the mid-year break, I thank all families for your support of the School in what has been a busy Semester. I wish you and your family a restful break and I hope you have the opportunity to spend some valuable time with friends and loved ones. I look forward to seeing everyone back next term.

I trust and hope that all students return to the school with renewed energy and focus for another productive semester.  Term 3 for students commences on Monday 22 July 2024.