Our Year 9 campus on the corner of Bay Street and Rouse Street has become an impressive symphony of old and new. Albert Park College has utilised the original heritage buildings and accentuated them with a beautifully modern interior. The core focus of our school’s Year 9 campus is the Da Vinci program that operates beneath the three educational streams; Creative Endeavour, Environmental Inquiry and Community Engagement. The program itself is inspired by three key values:
• Overcoming Anthropocentrism
• Examining a human’s place in nature
• Redefining moral status
In addition to these values, the Da Vinci project is orientated around two student focused methods:
• Inquiry learning which enables students to be independent, creative and collaborative.
• Exploration of major environmental issues that we face today which prepares students to tackle the problems of our future.
These guiding principles have been perfectly captured in the architecture of the Bay St campus. The campus has been constructed from recycled timber and environmentally sustainable products. The heating has been designed in a way that reduces the amount of gas it uses. And the building itself, has been designed in a way that it naturally ventilates and cools to cut down on both costs and its environmental footprint.
The internal timber finishings and occasional metal highlights are simply pleasing to the eye. The interior walls have been stripped back to their original condition, blemishes and colour stains forming an unusual canvas of colour. Large aquariums with a variety of tropical fish line the hallways, each representing a specific area of the Great Barrier Reef. The hallways glow with a surreal and beautiful blue tint. From the exterior you can still see the maroon bricks of the Oz Circus building radiating through.
One shining aspect of this space that is unique to almost any other Victorian secondary school is the student run cafe The Whole Nine Yards. Every student is offered a chance to assist in this space where they will essentially undertake an intensive hospitality program. We experience cooking, cleaning and customer service all with the guidance of a talented and enthusiastic teacher and chef, Emma Hannah. This again highlights how our education has been structured in a way that emphasises independent learning.
Through the stream of Environmental Inquiry, each student is able to choose an Environmental topic to explore, research and critically respond to. To accompany this research we must produce a piece of work from a Creative Endeavour elective of our choosing. Students can choose from the Visual, Liberal and Performing Arts. This piece of artwork must represent the student’s area of study. For example, during my research into air quality I was able to write a Dystopian novella in my Literature elective. Other students were able to create feature films, paintings, theatre performances, interactive installations and even video games!
At the end of 2016, we hosted a Da Vinci Exhibition showcasing each student’s artwork and the process that they went through to create it. Each stream of arts was dedicated its own space that parents, students and the local community could access and admire. We were all incredibly excited to showcase all of our hard work and hopefully even inspire people to be more environmentally aware.
Even though this campus has amazing qualities that assist students in becoming more independent it would be nothing if the teachers did not engage with the students like they do. Our school has a team of teachers who engage with students and strive to help them learn in the way that best suits them. Each and every teacher is bright, enthusiastic and has a genuine love of their subject. They are always happy to assist students and help them find their passion.
Finishing Year 9, I not only felt prepared for VCE but I felt prepared to make environmental change in Australia and the wider world. Learning in this space has been a pleasure and a privilege. I am looking forward to seeing more students go through the program and watching the positive impact on our environment we can make together.
Former Year 9 Student
I believe opening a new campus for Albert Park College’s Year 9 students was a fantastic idea! Firstly, we picked a fantastic area, Port Melbourne. I think that it is a great advantage to be able to experience two campuses within the one school. They are both extremely different, yet similar in some ways. It’s nice having a break from the larger campus and moving into the smaller more intimate space on Bay Street. It is much quieter and relaxed here. There are many benefits that we enjoy, for example; our campus is very close to Port Melbourne beach and at lunch time we even get to go to the beach and enjoy our fifty minute break by the sea! Also, we are based in the fantastic area of Bay Street. There are numerous advantages being on Bay Street. There are a number of amazing cafes, shops and gyms. We are able to use these facilities before or even after school with our friends. Having the beach so close also means that we can help clean the beach to keep it healthy and safe for its visitors. Each morning we have students who travel down to the beach to do Beach Patrol which is a great way to help our community but also our local sea life.
Year 9 Student
The Bay Street campus is a change from the main campus of Albert Park College. There is only one year level at the campus which means there are far less students. The classrooms are very different to the ones on the main campus and feel more like a university campus than a school! In our science labs there are amazing fish tanks filled with different fish and coral from all over Australia. These are beautiful to look at but also help us learn about Australian sea life and the environmental threats facing them. We have an amazing student run canteen The Whole Nine Yards, where all the food is made from scratch - nothing is store bought! We get many great opportunities at this new and innovative campus. On a nice day during lunch time, we get to go down to Port Melbourne Beach or Lagoon Reserve to play ball games or just enjoy the sun. Overall, I’m really enjoying being at the Year 9 campus. I’ve made so many more friends in my year level who I wouldn’t have seen on the main campus because it was so big. I wish we didn’t have to go back to the main campus next year. I love this campus and it’s only Term 1!
Lucy De Gleria Cade
Year 9 Student
Life at the Bay Street campus is very different to the Danks Street campus but similar at the same time. For example it’s nice to be with just the Year 9 students in a small space where we can get to know each other much better. We have a cafe that we run ourselves which helps us get experience if we one day decide to work in hospitality. We get to learn how to use a coffee machine, interact with customers and even make recipes that we may not make at home. In Dance class we go to the local Goodlife Gym which is in a really good location because we get to interact with the local community. I think that it was a great idea to have a Year 9 campus and to have it on Bay Street! It’s pretty exciting being on Bay Street as there are lots of local beaches, cafes, restaurants and gyms to go to before or even after school!
Year 9 Student