Welcome back to term 2. It has been positive to see all classes settle back into their routines and learning. A key focus for staff this term is continuing our work in a key strategic direction; increasing student achievement in Mathematics. Building staff capacity to differentiate student learning will be a focus strategy; our teachers strive to implement engaging and challenging learning for all students in Maths and our work in this area will strengthen the positive practices that are currently in place.
Along with this learning focus, many of our students will be participating in various extra-curricular opportunities this term. This includes school sport (basketball, soccer and football), the year 4 and 5 class camps (week 4), Chess Club and Code Club. We also have students participating in SAPSASA sport tryouts, including a team of students representing the school tomorrow in the district Cross Country running event; good luck to these students! Thank you to the teaching staff and parent volunteers who are enabling these great experiences for our students.
On behalf of the school community I would like to congratulate Brooke Jones and her husband Daniel on the arrival of their twin girls Charlee and Coco. In other staff news, this term we welcome Rosetta Williams to our staff. Rosetta has an extensive background in working with children who have special needs and will be working in our junior primary area.
Student use of ICT (Information and Communication Technology)
Children’s use of ICT devices and their engagement with various online platforms has significantly increased in the past decade. These experiences can provide many benefits for users, including the opportunity to:
· Support and enhance learning.
· Collaborate with others.
· Share their creativity.
· Connect with family and friends.
· Pursue their personal areas of interest.
· Develop and express their unique identity.
An important priority for our school, that I am sure is shared with parents and carers, is for children to become informed and responsible ‘digital’ citizens. Through the Child Protection Curriculum children are taught a range of protective practices, including staying safe online. Along with these elements of the curriculum, the school’s ICT devices are supported by the Department for Education’s web filtering and cyber welfare systems. For some platforms a ‘restricted mode’ is in place that prevents children from seeing potentially mature or inappropriate content. This filtering network will also block websites and alert the school if any inappropriate content has been searched on a device. If students do come across any inappropriate content it is expected that they report these issues to their teacher so that it can be resolved.
For parents and carers, you can also support your child through the following:
· Stay involved in your child’s digital world — keep up-to date with the sites, apps and online chat services they are using, and explore them together.
· Build an open trusting relationship — keep communication open and calm so they know they can come to you when someone is asking them to do something that does not feel right.
· Help your child to protect their privacy — encourage your child to use their privacy settings on social media sites to restrict their online information to known friends only.
· Teach your child to be alert to signs of inappropriate contact — help your child recognise signs that an online 'friend’ may be trying to develop an inappropriate relationship, such as asking lots of questions about personal information soon after meeting online, asking which room their computer is in, asking them for favours and doing things in return (abusers often use promises and gifts to gain trust).
· Establish safety guidelines for meeting online 'friends’ face-to-face — explain that it is safest to keep online 'friends’ online, but that if they do want to meet someone face-to-face they should let you know first. Let them know they should be accompanied by you or another trusted adult.
· What to do if something goes wrong — talk to them without being judgemental or angry and make them feel like they can come to you with anything, without fear of being punished or criticised. Find out what happened and decide the most appropriate course of action.
Supporting your child’s use of ICT devices and helping them manage potential risks means they can safely enjoy all the benefits the internet has to offer. The online world can change rapidly and it can be hard to keep track of what platforms are most popular with your child and their friends. A resource that has been established by the Australian Government to support families is the esafety website. This website has a large range of resources and information suitable for families and is a great starting point, the website can be found at: https://www.esafety.gov.au
Next week our year 3, 5 and 7 students will commence their participation in NAPLAN. The testing period occurs between Tuesday 11 May and Friday 21 May. All classes have had a testing schedule developed, including the allowance for catch up tests if a child is absent on the actual day. If you have any queries regarding this process please contact your child’s class teacher.
Through ongoing liaising with the Department for Education an outcome has been reached that will involve the department funding a replacement of the school’s perimeter fence. The new design will be 1.5m high (a standard design) and it is anticipated that this project will commence during term 2. This upgrade is a positive outcome for the school community and will contribute to our school being a safe environment. In conjunction with this, other department funded tasks have occurred during the recent holiday break, with the carpet in the Library being replaced and the timber decking between the upper primary classrooms being replenished.
Along with this work, the school has developed a draft master plan to self-fund the upgrade of identified areas within our grounds over the next 3-4 years. A copy of the plan has been provided for the school community to review and provide feedback. As a part of this this plan we will be also looking to install volleyball posts on the oval and re-locate the long jump pit.
School of Languages
Last term I met with the principal of the School of Languages which is a government school that specializes in languages education. The School of Languages provides the opportunity for students from Government, Catholic and Independent schools to come together (after regular school hours eg. 3.30-5.00pm) to learn a language. Lessons are held once a week, in an agreed learning space on the school grounds, for 1 ½ hours. Currently schools have access to 26 languages.
If there is sufficient interest in our school community, this is something that could be made available to our students next year. At this stage a language has not been decided, this will be determined through further consultation along while considering other relevant perspectives such as pathways beyond primary school (for example the language being taught at Henley High School, where the majority of our students transition to high school, is Japanese). Please complete the form provided with this week’s newsletter if you would like to provide feedback.
Our first assembly of the term will be held on Thursday 13 May from 2.20pm in the gym. Family members of presenting classes are welcome to attend (class teachers will communicate with families leading up to the assembly if they are presenting an item). From this date, assemblies will be held every fortnight.
Congratulations to all of our students on their efforts throughout our sports day. It was great to see the positive levels of participation, enthusiasm and encouragement they displayed. Thank you also to the many families who attended for your support and cheering.
Final results were: