Newsletter - February 2021
A LOOK AT SKYLINE
We welcome the strength and resilience demonstrated by students as they lean into the year ahead, and overcome the challenges again being presented by COVID-19 as it continues to leave a mark on our world.
One of the key foci of the Skyline Program is the piece about helping students survive, thrive and lead in an ever-changing landscape, and the beginning of 2021 is certainly already fast moving and changing. We look forward to again being with the students every step of the year ahead no matter what it heralds.
If you require any additional resources to support your online learning this week and into the future, please reach out to your Program Manager.
Skyline began the year with a bang, presenting an online version of the Residential program for the 134 Students from both year levels.
The Year 11 “Who am I?” themed year began with Launchpad, and Students experiencing 4 fantastic learning modules title: Unbelievable Me, Better Together, Mindset Matters, and Building Confidence, delivered by the Skyline Team, Alkimia Learning (Kaospilot) and Trinity College, and aided by the fabulous mentor alumni from Skyline, and Trinity.
A transition day between the Year 11 and 12 program brought both years together to experience a one-day McWhirter Conference experience around the theme “Australia’s population – do we go big? And if so, how big is big? What are the implications for the economy, the environment, our cities, our regions, and for us?’ Whilst seemingly a dry topic, it still led to a great many lively exchanges, during the plenary session.
The final two days of the week were exclusively for Year 12, and the joined in with much gusto.
The year’s program, themed “Who do I want to be,” started with Navigation Base, and was a mix of connection points, and sessions around Communication Skills, Future Me, The One-Year Plan and a panel led by alumna Holly Wu, about her Year 12 experience.
Students in Year 11 rated Skyline a 9/10 as a program they would recommend to friends and peers, and the Year 12s gave us a 10. Thank you to all who contributed an almighty effort.
As Students and Alumni consider their pathways, Program Manager Rachel Curtis is providing an immensely valuable service along with the rest of the Skyline Team, supporting our people to realise their dreams!
Despite the challenges 2020 threw at us – independent evaluation from I+J Management Services found that on average, in 2020 Students responses were even higher than from previous cohorts. That is, the proportion of students who rated Skyline Program components as having a ‘great’ or ‘large’ influence on the VCE experience was higher than in any of the past surveys.
Anecdotal survey feedback suggests that this is probably due to Skyline providing a point of stability and targeted support in what was otherwise a very challenging year. It is likely that the value of Skyline was more evident to students in 2020 when, having spent much of their school life coming from a point of relative disadvantage, they actually had the benefit of a supportive network around them as other students in their school had some of their usual supports stripped away due to COVID. (Extract 2020 Skyline Evaluation Update, February 2021).
Looking for VCE Tutoring? Skyline’s newest innovation and social enterprise – Skyline Hatch is employing our high ability Alumni, their peers and trusted colleagues in meaningful work as tutors, coaches and role models to deliver IQ and EQ services at a fee, to VCE students broadly, and to return surplus to enabling more students in our transformational two year VCE Skyline Program.
Kicking off from Wednesday 24th February, Skyline Hatch will be offering HeadStart and SAC preparation series for Math Methods, Further Maths, English, EAL, Specialist Maths, English Literature, and Chemistry. These 3-hour Masterclasses will equip students with tried-and-tested tips, tricks and strategies to help maximise SAC marks and achieve VCE success. In March, we will be offering 2-hour stress hack sessions to equip students with life skills to deal with stress. when working under pressure. SEE HERE FOR SERVICES!
FOCUS ON STUDENTS
2020, and let’s call it the ‘COVID’ year, was momentous for everyone. For students in the Skyline Program, the phrase “and then some” does not begin to adequately describe the additional issues they faced.
The key elements of the Skyline Program, aside from covering educational expenses and providing integral wrap- around support from the Skyline community (teachers, parents, Skyline stakeholders), is the delivery of a distinctive transformational student centred learning program that focuses on identifying and recognising life and learning, barriers and opportunities, and career counselling, all of which equip students of high potential to survive, thrive and lead in an ever-changing educational and economic landscape.
NEWS FROM THE CLASS OF 2020 IN THE GEELONG REGION
Despite the resilience needed for all during 2020, there have also been occasions to celebrate. For the first time since Skyline began working with schools and taking students from the Geelong region (2017), 98% of 2020 students who completed year 12, and 100% of students who attempted their VCE achieved a 50 plus ATAR ranking; 57% achieved an ATAR over 70. To our delight, and his shock, one of our students was named Dux of Northern Bay! This brings to three the number of Skyline students who have been named Dux of Northern Bay over the last three years, in 2018 Gypsy Akhyar, 2019 Roghayeh Sadeghi and 2020 Liam Jones.
By the end of 2020, thanks to the support of wonderful donors in the Geelong region, and the schools who nominated a record number of students, we welcomed the largest cohort of Geelong students into the Skyline Program for 2021- a total of 22, with the highest numbers coming from Northern Bay (9), North Geelong (7) and Geelong (4).This number more than doubles the intake from the previous year, and is the happiest ending to 2020 we could think of!
NEWS FROM THE CLASS OF 2020 IN THE NORTH-EAST REGION
We are extremely proud to share with you the achievements of our Skyline students in the North East Region. In 2020, all six Skyline students attending three secondary schools in Yea, Mansfield and Alexandra successfully completed Year 12. As graduates of the Skyline Program, they will be warmly invited to continue their involvement with Skyline as members of our talented alumni community.
Three students received ATAR scores in the 70s and three in the 60s – the highest scores were with Nick (Alexandra Secondary College), Heba (Yea High School) and Cece (Mansfield Secondary College.
Congratulations to all our students for such achievements during such a particularly difficult year.
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
One of the things that has become increasingly important to our Alumni community is how diversity and inclusion have been expressed in our organisation at every level. 2020 brought a new level of purpose with the global Black Lives Matter movement and our Alumni have had the courage to speak up about where they see the gaps in our diversity and inclusion.
With an inaugural Alumni Leadership Team, being elected at this month’s Alumni Team Meeting, we are excited to be part of this bigger discussion led by our proactive Alumni community. After dedicated time for discussion and planning amongst the Alumni, we will then gather for an externally facilitated deep-dive into the issues and commitments arising.
It has been inspiring to be part of a Team which has responded so quickly and has made filling this gap part of our intention for 2021 and we are excited for the progress possible with such forward thinking Alumni. See here a message from our CEO Jane Sydenham-Clarke prior to our conversations.
SKYLINE CONNECT LIVE
Our weekly online gatherings resume this week on Zoom! We have an awesome 6 week series we are doing DiSC! With the support of Leah, an internationally accredited DiSC® assessor we are able to benefit from this personal assessment tool used by more than one million people every year to help improve teamwork, communication, and productivity in the workplace.
We find that it has even more extraordinary impact on our ability to understand who we are, and what pathway really suits us and why. It is fundamental that we help people find work they genuinely love, work that is truly meaningful. And we’re doing it at CONNECT in term 1!
Gratitude is extended to our supporters – without you we are unable to continue our critical work.
Thanks again to our amazing donors Skyline has supported 399 Students to date with a 94% retention rate. Today we have approximately 260 Alumni and 134 Students in our transformational VCE Program!