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Gnurad-Gundidj Campus
Gnurad-Gundidj Campus - a unique residential education experience for Victorian year nine students in Victoria’s Western District.
Gnurad-Gundidj Campus - a unique residential education experience for Victorian year nine students in Victoria’s Western District.


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A Recap of Week 2 from CHINA
This past week has been very positive yet again. We have certainly been kept busy to say the least, as last Sunday we headed to Hong Kong. Getting there was an adventure in itself as this involved two separate bus trips, a border crossing through customs, followed by a ferry ride to a quiet little fishing bay off the coast of Hong Kong Island, then a 30 minute walk up and over a hill to reach a beautiful cliff lined valley with a sandy beach at the bottom. This was Pak Lap Wan, which means Pak Lap Bay. This was wonderful scenery.

...Russell Shem - Alpine School Campus Principal
Read the full Letter to Parents - Week 2 in CHINA
#CHINA   #VYLC   #DEECD   #schoolforstudentleadership   #alpineschool  

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School for Student Leadership - Victorian Young Leaders to China initiative
The Victorian Young Leaders to China Program
The Alpine School Campus of the School for Student Leadership is a Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) school specialising in leadership and personal development education for students in Year 9. 

This term we are a pilot program for the Victorian Young Leaders to China initiative. This means we are part of a state-wide program for young Victorians to participate in a new and dynamic cultural exchange.

The program for term 4, 2014 will consist of a week at The Alpine School at Dinner Plain to begin the program, then 4 weeks in China at Utahloy International School, Zheng Chen Campus, and then a final week back at The Alpine School, Dinner Plain Campus. The website is

The Victorian Young Leaders to China Program gives students, teachers and school leaders the opportunity to be part of a life-changing international education experience.  As part of Victoria as a Learning Community and the vision to internationalise our education system, 1500 Victorian Year 9 students will travel to China over five years from 2014. 

At the core, the Victorian Young Leaders to China Program is about students’ developing capabilities for modern ways of living, thinking and working. This includes global knowledge, intercultural understanding and developing thinking and relationship skills for engaging in a global context such as collaboration, communication and linguistic ability. Students will participate in a rich learning program that will help them develop and demonstrate leadership skills, and to empower them to make an active contribution to their schools and communities as young leaders. 

The program complements the Victorian Government’s Vision for Languages Education by supporting students to deepen their knowledge and understanding of another culture and language. It is designed to increase the number of students in all schools who include a language in addition to English in their senior secondary studies.

It is expected that all the rules and policies that apply the Alpine School, School for Student Leadership, will also apply when the students are in China.
#DEECD   #AlpineSchool   #victorianyoungleaderstochina   #youngleaders   #schoolforstudentleadership  
Visit: and

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Paddle power helps launch SS Teamwork for student leadership group.

School for Student Leadership’s Gnurad Gundidj campus students make a triumphant launch at Lake Pertobe for their self-built raft, despite being drenched from above.

#schoolforstudentleadership   #gnuradgundidj   #studentleadership   #SSL  

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"Give them responsibility and watch them fly"
IN his sixth year as principal of the Gnurad Gundidj Campus of the School for Student Leadership in Victoria’s Western District, Michael Castersen is in his dream job.

“I love it, I’m inspired it’s just a magnificent opportunity and I feel privileged,” he says.

Having been a primary and secondary teacher before becoming principal at Branxholme-Wallacedale Community School and then later Derrinallum Prep-12 College, the father of three young children saw first-hand the benefits of the program and was eager to be involved.

“I sent a number of teams to the School for Student Leadership in the past and when I saw intimately what they did, I thought ‘nah, this is me — this is exactly what I stand for’.

“I like being around situations where students are given lots and lots of responsibility, because without responsibility they usually act irresponsibly…”

Situated at Mt Noorat near Camperdown and one of three beautiful and diverse campuses – the others being the Alpine School Campus at Dinner Plain in the Victorian Alps and the Snowy River Campus at Marlo in east Gippsland – Gnurad Gundidj is part of a Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development initiative offering a unique residential education experience for Year 9 students over nine weeks.

It’s like a contemporary version of a right-of-passage.

“We provide students, boys and girls, from government schools with that unique opportunity to come and experience life away from their home and their communities in a very natural residential setting, where they are in charge of and responsible for literally everything,” Castersen says.

Schools are asked to express an interest in the program up to a year in advance, and part of the application process asks the students to think about a community learning project, whether existing or proposed, that addresses real and pertinent issues such as environmental concerns, social injustice, community safety, positive youth engagement etc.

Once they’re on-site, the focus is on personal development and peer skills, team building and leadership, community living and the enterprise development of their community learning project.

Castersen says watching the incredible growth in the students that can only really occur in these unique settings is what he loves most about his job.

“Because, we’re away from everything and we call it ‘ethical tension’, students don’t have a choice,” he says. “With the strategies we give them, they need to sort issues out and it’s just beautiful to watch these young adolescents work it out, and they do it so well.”

It’s a very different type of principalship and a world away from his previous leadership roles. “I think the biggest difference here is the ability to stand back a little bit,” he says.

“The program itself is over nine weeks and in the first three weeks we guide the students. In the second three-week block we step back and in the third three-week block we stay right away and observe what they’re doing.

“With that ability to shut up and allow students to take on responsibility and to fly, that’s the biggest difference.”

Students for the program are drawn from rural and metropolitan schools with focus on giving them exposure to a wide range of peers from a variety of different backgrounds and circumstances.

“No matter what a student’s background, whether they come to us with the notion of being academically brilliant or with a disadvantaged background, they all come here and they’re on an even playing field,” Castersen says.

So how does the prospect of going back to being a normal principal appeal?

“You can never say never, but I can’t imagine that,” Castersen says. “I can’t imagine being in mainstream schooling because quite frankly, I think I’d be too frustrated.

“This is magnificent, this is exactly how schooling should be.” #leadership   #leadershipdevelopment   #gnuradgundidj   #schoolforstudentleadership   #DEECD  

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School for Student Leadership - Video for Students
A life changing residential experience for Victorian Year 9 students.
Find out more ...
  #gnuradgundidj   #schoolforstudentleadership    #leadershipschool   #ssl   #year9   #DEECD  

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School for Student Leadership - Video for Teachers
A life changing experience for Year 9 students and schools.
Our vision: A community where people are passionate, informed and active global citizens.
Our mission: We are a Year 9 residential school for Victorian government students, which provides opportunities for personal, community and leadership development.
Three Campuses located at The Alpine School, Snowy River Campus and Gnurad-Gundidj Campus, Victoria.
#schoolforstudentleadership   #gnuradgundidj   #leadershipschool   #year9   #DEECD   #curriculum

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School for Student Leadership - Video - Application & Selection Process.
A life changing experience for Year 9 students and schools.
Find out more about application and expressions of interest:
#schoolforstudentleadership   #gnuradgundidj     #ssl   #leadershipschool   #year9   #DEECD

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Gnurad-Gundidj Campus - School for Student Leadership
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