Principal’s Message Week 5

Dear Parents and Carers

Science Week and Book Week

If only we could do everything every year … Science Week and Book Week occur very close together, and we therefore decided that we would celebrate Book Week one year and Science Week the next. This year we are focusing on National Science Week, which runs from 11 August – 19 August 2018. The theme for 2018 is Game Changers and Change Makers which could refer to individuals, teams, technologies or ideas. We have been exploring the impact science and scientists have, have had or may have in our daily lives. There is a fabulous display of children’s work in our library, some of which we will soon be placing on our school website in the gallery section.

Athletics Carnivals

As I mentioned in an earlier newsletter, we made the decision to run the cross country and athletic carnivals as two events; a Kindergarten to Year 2 and Years 3-6. This reflects the Phys Ed learning that has been a focus for each group. For example, the K-2 carnival will involve the Fundamental Movement Skills that these children have been developing throughout the year. For students in Years 3-6, Mrs Smith adopts a game-sense approach with more of a focus on team work and strategy. The Year 3-6 program is also closely aligned to interschool events involving our local schools. So this year we are trialling a much shorter carnival for younger students, which will involve considerably less ‘waiting’ and more ‘doing’. It will run from 1:00 – 3:00pm on Wednesday 5 September. The Year 3-6 carnival will run on one day (rather than the traditional two) on Friday 31 August with the Interschool Carnival at Woodlands PS on Wednesday 12 September. We hope many of you are able to join us.

Withdrawals from School

At last night’s School Board meeting, one of the matters we discussed within the context of a draft Attendance Policy, was that an increasing number of students are attending externally provided programs during the school day. The Department of Education’s position on this is clear, and is strongly supported by the School Board and staff – there are few acceptable reasons for student absences apart from illness or injury.

Student attendance is recorded in half days. You will have seen ‘days absent’ recorded as ‘half days absent’ on children’s semester reports. Children are recorded as attending provided they have been present at school for at least two hours of instruction within each half day. The only educational program endorsed by the Department is PEAC (for selected students in Years 5 and 6). Withdrawal from school to attend any other program is considered unauthorised and is recorded as such.

If you have concerns about your child’s learning or development please speak with your child’s teacher. The idea is that together we develop a shared understanding of an individual child’s needs and effective strategies to ensure he/she is moving forward. Very rarely, this may mean that a child attends therapies or a program which can only be accessed during the school day. This needs to be balanced with consideration of what the child is likely to miss in his/her absence; and should only be a temporary measure. This is true for ‘tutoring’ programs, therapy sessions and ongoing specialist appointments.

Families may realise how disruptive it can be for the student being withdrawn, particularly where this means repeatedly missing a weekly Science lesson, Art lesson, HaSS lesson etc. They may even be aware that this can impact learning in future years, where key knowledge and skills have been missed. However, some are unaware of the impact that these withdrawals have on the child’s class and the teacher’s capacity to teach effectively. When individual children come and go, lessons are interrupted and the class is impacted by teachers needing to help an individual or two to be given instructions and to catch up on what has been missed. We urge all families to work closely with us to maximise learning opportunities for all children.

Assembly

Thank you to the family members who joined us for assembly last week – some for the Year 2’s assembly, and some for the presentation of ICAS Science certificates and merit certificates. Congratulations to Mrs DeBrass’s class for hosting the assembly so capably and for entertaining us with their assembly item … and apologies to Charlotte S, who I had intended to acknowledge on the morning for her dramatic flair. Very importantly, everyone involved seemed to be having so much fun! Mrs Powell’s Year 4 class will host the next assembly on 24 August 2018.

Best wishes
Elizabeth Blackwell