Issue 5 2023

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Students of the Modbury High School community, welcome to Term 2. We are looking forward to sharing the many exciting activities that our students have participated in over the last few weeks.

Generations in Jazz

On Friday 5 May music students boarded a bus driven by Ms Woolford to travel to Mt Gambier for the Generations in Jazz Competition. What a fantastic experience for our students. As well as participating in the competition they were able to watch many other school bands perform and attend an amazing concert on Saturday night. A very big thank you to Mr Gareth Budd for his planning and organisation of the event and the many hours he worked with the students to get them ready for the competition. Thank you also to all the instrumental teachers who supported the students to learn their individual music parts. Thank you to Ms Woolford who drove the students to Mt Gambier and for all the administrative support she has provided to Mr Budd.

Parent Forum

On Wednesday 4 May, we hosted our first Parent Forum. The purpose of the forum was for parents to work with us and provide feedback on how we can further improve our school. Parents provided feedback on the following areas: Communication, Student learning, Parent Involvement and Connection to the school.

Chair of Governing Council, Martin Crabb, expertly facilitated the evening. These amazingly dedicated parents provided us with constructive feedback, which we have collated. We have divided the feedback into two areas, those that we can immediately address and those that are long term.

Thank you to the following parents, who despite their busy schedules joined us on the night and in doing so supporting us to make our school an even better place for our students and our school community.

Sonia Kastanos, Kristy Jolly, Matt Green, Pauline Huettenrauch, Susannah Dodd, Donna King, Amandeep Singh, Kimberly Stevenson, Marilou Capistrano, Maryann Cunanan, Tejas Shah and Renae Woodman.

You will find the feedback inside this edition of the newsletter.

Student Forums

As well as running Parent Forums, we have also started to hold Student Forums. For students we are mainly seeking feedback on teaching and learning and in particular areas of improvement that teachers and the school can make on pedagogical practice.

Ms Shelly Brown, Deputy Principal is facilitating the forums. The first one which consisted of year 7 and 10 students was held on Monday 15 May. Over the next few weeks students from each of the year levels will participate in the forums. Their responses will be summarised and shared with staff with the intention of identifying areas of improvement.

Year 11 Road Awareness Program (RAP) Presentation

On Monday 15 May, Year 11 students participated in the Road Awareness Program (RAP). The 90 minute presentation aims to show students the impact of road crashes and in doing so help students understand the importance of driving in a safe manner at all times.

Students and Ms Madeline O’Brien-Dent spoke of how valuable they found the presentation. The presenter congratulated our students on their participation and engagement with the presentation.

A big thank you to Ms O’Brien Dent for organising the event.

Farewell to Ms Emma Baulch

On Friday we farewelled Ms Emma Baulch who is taking leave for the reminder of the year. Ms Baulch seamlessly stepped in to the role as Counselling Coordinator and is a passionate, committed, and enthusiastic teacher. Her students always spoke of her engaging lessons and how she has supported them to improve their learning. She will be greatly missed by all her students and colleagues.

Ms Joanne Costa

antonio Loiacono

Parents may have read or heard of the passing of one of our old scholars, Antonio Loiacono. Antonio was an extremely talented sportsman. He was not only a gifted footballer, he excelled in Athletics, Touch Football, Basketball, Ultimate frisbee, pretty much any sport he turned his hand to. Apparently, he was even a junior Squash State Champion.

He won the outstanding athlete on Sports Day most years and travelled to USA with the school basketball trip where he was awarded the Most Valuable Player of the junior team.

Antonio was a unique character who was always positive, lived life to the fullest and made friends wherever he went. He related equally well with staff and other adults as he did with his peers, in many ways an old head on young shoulders. A very popular young man who will be greatly missed.

Mr Trueman
PE Teacher

Lara Somfai

Lara Somfai leads the u18 South Australia metro team at just 15 years of age, to Gold. Lara won the only award for the whole Australian National tournament and was named the footlocker MVP/defensive player of the tournament. 

In January 2023, Lara received a scholarship to the Australian Institution of Sport and she will be heading to Canberra later this year. The next step for her is also going to the u16 Asia cup selection camp where they will be heading to Aman Jordan mid July.

SACE Art show Excursion -6th april 2023

Visual Art students from years 11 and 12 visited the SACE Art Show and the Art Gallery of SA at the end of last term. Practical works and developmental folios were on display at the SACE show, including a work selected from our school created by Jayden Stephens. This excursion helps students to understand the wide range of possibilities in terms of media and techniques, how to structure and use language in folios and practitioners statements and the level of practical application skills that can be achieved by senior Art and Design students. It was great to visit Adelaide Railway Station to view a Flinders University Graduate Exhibition in costume design and art works in the space. We also admired the city architecture and showed our Japanese exchange students our wonderful Torrens riverbank precinct in the heart of the city and of course the Malls Balls! This excursion was just days before they returned to Japan, a fitting final experience for them.

Art Gallery of SA

Mrs Moeller
Arts Coordinator

Crystal Hurcombe - Anzac Dawn service

During the school holidays, Crystal Hurcombe undertook the prestigious task of playing for the Playford Council's ANZAC Day dawn service. It is a task that requires immense focus, and preparations, due to the size of Dawn service crowds and complete focus on what the musician is playing. MHS Music is pleased to share that Crystal performed to a very high standard and the council has asked her to return next year to reprise the performance. We are proud of what our MHS Music students continue to achieve with their craft and look forward to more great performances in the future.

Mr Budd
Music Teacher

Talk Money

This week we had a facilitator from Talk Money with Ecstra Foundation come and deliver the first of 2 workshops to our Year 8 and 9 students. 

Talk Money is a free financial education program, developed in collaboration with education experts and a financial education advisory group, that teaches young Australians money lessons for life and aims to help students be confident when talking about money and to make informed financial decisions. 

Our Year 8 students are experiencing workshops on spending and saving money, where they explore how spending and saving choices today can affect future finances. 

Our Year 9 students are experiencing workshops on making money work, where they discuss different ways to make money and learn some practical skills for navigating the world of work. 

If you’d like to know more, you can check out the Talk Money website  

Ms Freeth
Year 9/10 Leader & FLO Coordinator.

Jed De Koning

Jed De Koning was recently on the Gold Coast representing SA at the Australian National Gymnastics Championships. Jed won a Bronze in MAG Level 7 Vault.
Congratulations Jed!


Each term, the school acknowledges the students who achieve exceptional end-of-term results.

Outstanding Achievement awards are presented to students who obtained the maximum number of A grades for their year level (i.e. a GPA of 7). The academic achievement of these students were recognised at our Outstanding Achievers Recess in Week 2 this term.

High Achievement awards are presented to students who obtain one fewer A grade than the maximum for their year level.

Congratulations once again to these students!

Outstanding Achievement

Year 7Year 8Year 9Year 10Year 11Year 12
Armaan BabwaniDemi SniderAki SicoyRei CookOscar ElderVaughan Stonestreet
Liam HanlinIsha BaneChristopher KastanosAnton KastanosAngelina Hansen
Rania SaitovKaiwen HeJak Kastanos
Caitlyn ScottNyx Little
Liezel WongSienna Garstka
Emily Zhang
Keilah Haldane
Names of students who received Outstanding Achievement certificates.

High Achievement

Year 7Year 8Year 9Year 10Year 11Year 12
Eileen ZhangGargee VyasPeter McMillanLuke HaskardLara SomfaiTara Barrett
Samantha HewardKaitlyn SollisCharli HodsonBryce SandersQuinn DuncanTiffany Taylor
Payton RichardsonBrendan KeastSaarakshya Sharma        Soheil HaidariHana WongJeran Tiong
Sienna HutchinsonVivaan RajpalJess FreebairnDanika LowJasmin AndrewsBrianna Mesecke
Brea JijoTyler Gaskin-OsborneEmily TotaniAmber HaywardJazsmin SmithYalarasey Sooriyakumar
Fleur RoweAva HuettenrauchAriel LimCharlotte BlandJade PeltonLydia Wighton
Rachel WagenerHayley ByrneIsabelle CoxKanon SatoElla MartinVicki Rowe
Sibella KastanosEvan ZawadaElliot Webster-BrownJade KolmanAsha DuldigMatthew Maletto
Jack ClymaMatthew DoyleLeila SucheBreanne ButtonWilliam Wighton
Liam BairstowAvnoor KaurMia Ly
Angelica LizasoIsla McGraw
Tom WhistlerElise Harmer
Abi CavenettBelle Parrish
Amerson GreenMady Sharma
Nicholas DavieElla Turner
Hannah LockImogen McNamara
Maddison CarterJosh Stewart
Alex DinediosAbby Scott
Scarlett TaylorLara Murphy
Lily Grant-AllanDaniel Wagener
Ethan KingCooper Seaton
Kayla SkurrieKatelyn Fraser
Ricky Ditria
Siba Ghamrawi
Ethan Ingram
Imogen Janicki
Holly Manoel
Name of students who received High Achievements certificates.

Centacare resilience workshop

On the 5th of May, Susan and Steph from Centacare, an organisation which works with young people experiencing emerging mental health concerns, visited Miss Baulch’s year 11 psychology class to run an engaging workshop on resilience. The workshop was an engaging summary of the class’s recent wellbeing topic and involved identifying risk and protective factors for psychological wellbeing. The session also involved constructing a resilience tree, where students got creative with some arts and craft supplies to identify their supports, strengths and coping or protective strategies. Susan and Steph were impressed with the students’ active participation and knowledge of concepts learned so far this year, including the role of neurotransmitters, the fight or flight response, and various frameworks such as the biopsychosocial model.  

Ms Baulch

Importance of Sleep

Last term the Year 9 and 10 cohorts were surveyed mid-term and at the end of term on their overall Wellbeing. In both surveys, Year 9 and 10 students indicated lack of sleep as the biggest thing impacting their wellbeing.  

When a student is tired, they have decreased motivation to engage in the day and therefore their productivity will reduce. This will mean students aren’t completing their schoolwork to the best of their ability. Young people who are tired also are less resilient, more sensitive, less in control of their emotions (meaning we see more anger, giggles or tears) and have reduced impulse control. If you are noticing these things in your student or are hearing students aren’t completing work or are getting detentions, it is possible they aren’t getting enough sleep. 

Please talk to your student at home about the importance of sleep and assist them with some of the strategies below to improve their sleep.

Here's how to create ideal conditions for a healthy, restful sleep: 

1. Set a consistent sleep schedule.  

2. Create a relaxing bedtime/pre-bedtime routine.  

3. Keep your room cool and comfortable.  

4. Dim the lights after dark.  

5. ...unplug an hour before bed. 

6. Steer clear of stimulants late in the day.  

7. Avoid foods that can disrupt sleep.  

8. Get regular exercise.  

9. Only use your bed for sleep. Don’t do homework or play games on your bed. 

10. Limit or avoid naps during the day.

Click here to access the Headspace website for more information. 
Click here to access the Sleep fact sheet.

Ms Freeth
Year 9/10 Leader & FLO Coordinator.

Generations in jazz 2023

Generations In Jazz 2023

Friday of Week 1 saw MHS Stage Band students from Years 9-12 travel to Mt Gambier/Buandig Country to compete in the three-day Generations in Jazz Festival.

It has been four years of waiting to return in person to the Jazz ensemble competition with months of dedicated preparation that started before the end of the 2022 school year. MHS Stage Band students also had a chance to meet, and hear performances from, many other students not only from our state but around the nation.

We are all very proud of how our MHS Music students performed, conducted themselves, represented our school, and demonstrated what we have to offer as part of our school’s Music program. The extra time, dedication, and effort, by all students over weeks of rehearsal awarded them with an experience that has no comparison. Preparations for GIJ 2024 had started almost as soon as we returned from the trip.

Congratulations to our Year 12 soloists, Theo Kelesis and Shania Newstead, for stepping up and providing performances that earned special mentions from the adjudicator.

The Stage Band will be performing their GIJ music during our end of semester Music night later in the term and we encourage everyone’s attendance to experience the band.

Mr Budd
Music Teacher

Phillip gwynne

On the 8th of May, our school had an Australian award-winning author come and visit. Phillip Gwynne, best known for his novel “Deadly, Unna?”, spoke to a group of our students about his life and his work. It was a great opportunity for students to hear from an author and have the chance to ask him any questions they had about writing or being an author. 

After his presentation, there were two workshops for students. They were able to work with Mr. Gwynne as he took them through a couple different exercises to help develop their writing skills. Students were able to share their work with each other and Mr. Gwynne and learn some different techniques to use whist writing.  

Mr. Gwynne, afterwards, said that he was incredibly impressed with the work of the students and knew that there were a few aspiring authors in the group.  



What is working well?

  • The text and email messages are sufficient and a good source of updates. School keeps us well informed.
  • Newsletters (perhaps more regularly though, fortnightly or every 3 weeks)

What is not working well and needs improvement?

  • More communication for both parents and students about sports available with the school, not just carnivals.
  • Too many sms/emails
  • Another direct phone text number for absences.
  • Parents still receive absentee messages when students are at courses or school activities?
  • Daymap:
    • Parents having to use student log in’s to access information.
    • Can be a bit inconsistent or difficult to navigate – could group into different categories (ie whole school information, specific subject’s assignments - a parent and students perspective).
    • Difficult to re-access Daymap login without g to speak with the school.
    • Not all teachers/classes use Daymap consistently. More details needed, no homework listed or put on at the last minute.
    • Daymap not updated enough – true time

What can we do to make our communication with parents more effective?

  • Have a location on the site where all recent correspondence from the last week/month (letters/sms/emails) are saved, so that parents can look again if they misplace the information previously sent.
  • Intervention before template message goes out for work not handed in / absence when the reason is already known.
  • Email reports to parents, not on Daymap.
  • More detail on how students are progressing in all subjects and possible improvements.
  • Use Seesaw for school work, sports, any activity for parents to see (uploaded by teachers).
  • When a teacher is not available for parent/teacher interview can Teams, Email, or Phone call be arranged instead.
  • Communicate due dates in a more timely manner.
  • Not rely on Parent Handbook.

Connection to School:

As a parent, how do you engage and connect with the school?

  • Forums like this, sports events and music
  • Information Open Nights, Parent/Teacher Interviews, Assemblies
  • Emails and Phone Calls
  • Electronic Interaction – Email, Daymap
  • Reading Newsletters
  • Governing Council Member

Are the opportunities provided by the school for parents to connect and be involved with their students learning efficient?

  • Generally Yes – Kids are trying to be independent and y parents are busy.
  • Happy with current opportunities.
  • Yes – if Daymap was working and used more effectively.

As a school, what are some other ways that we could increase connections between school and home?

  • Parent Forum sent via SMS – perhaps needed to also be promoted on Facebook and Website
  • Other opportunities none sport/tech related ie the garden
  • Parents may need to see the benefit in participating in certain opportunities.
  • When a teacher is not available for parent/teacher interview Teams, Email, or Phone Call to be arranged instead.
  • If absent or child needs help, learning tips can be given to their parents.
  • Open Nights for different subjects and work on display.
  • More information relating to extracurricular opportunities such as sports, STEM Club. Kids don’t always know what they want.
  • Overview of school interactions for Year 7 and new parents ie: when parent/teacher interviews happen etc

Teaching and Learning:
What aspects of teaching and learning do you think we are doing well (teaching instruction, assessments, feedback, task design, homework etc)?

  • Appreciate the challenges the teachers have dealing with lack of respect and behaviour issues
  • Identifying a variety of ways to ensure the kids are learning, keeping up and making sure they get what they need in
  • order to succeed
  • Expectations of homework – what is stated vs reality (not neither good nor bad)
  • Some teachers communicate well and notify parents when work is due soon or not completed and give results of
  • progress and grades.
  • Use of Daymap is great with those that use it well
  • Getting information on grades when work handed in and parents can follow up, if needed.
  • Use of videos to compliment and provide an alternative explanation – supporting different learning style

What aspects of teaching and learning do you think need to be further developed?

  • Enhance learning through engagement of the kids in different ways – ie. Re-enact something historical
  • Some inconsistencies with how approachable the teacher might be and interactions
  • Teachers need to explain what is required to do tasks given – students just get homework without any explanation and
  • they haven’t done that work in class
  • Better communication if student needs help with school work instead of finding out when reports come out
  • When students are away can work automatically be sent to them and their parents? Can teachers be available for catch
  • up with student before next lesson *upload the work done that day when a child is absent
  • Some classes are double or triple – can they be spaced out?
  • Work overload – some teachers give assignments out all at once
  • Group work graded by each person’s involvement and group task not graded overall. Normally one person does the work wanting a good grade.
  • Consistent with teachers using Daymap (accurate for ALL teachers)
  • Scheduling extracurricular activities resulting in missed lessons (eg music lessons etc)
  • Reports need more comments not just grade and tick box
  • More communication from subject teachers.

Learning TIPS:

What Learning TIPS will assist you to support your child with their learning?

  • Subject specific – maths: how to show the workings out or reports: how to present an assignment
  • Provide alternative work if no homework set
  • When studying for exams; routine/planning to do, timeframes expected
  • Note taking – content relevant to answering the topic
  • Different learning styles
  • Preparing for Uni – what to expect after school
  • How to get kids to DO their homework
  • Plan of attack for work type (outline)
  • MAP outline of work assignments due
  • Peer Support for homework support ie Messenger

How learning TIPS would you like to be provided? Eg Newsletter

  • Links to examples or videos
  • Subject summary for the Semester
  • Flyers / Emails / Newsletters / Links to Websites
  • How to guides for Daymap for parents.
  • Day out at Uni (excursion)
  • Website Library of tips, videos and how to’s
  • Webinar of tricky subjects

Olympics Unleashed

Kristina Jenni Clonan attended Modbury High School on Friday 12 May as part of Olympics Unleashed and connecting with Years 7 & 8 students.

The students learnt from Kristina Jenni Clonan's Olympic journey how to build resilience, the importance of setting goals and how to find what you are passionate about.

Students heard firsthand from Kristina Jenni Clonan about how they overcame challenges to compete in their chosen sport at the very highest level, and how some lessons they’ve learned in sport can help students to be the best they can be – whether that’s in school, at home, on the sporting field or with friends.

We believe in a culture of achievement in a respectful and rigorous learning environment