2015 Wrap Up

Dear Parents / Guardians
Work on the oval has begun!

Oval upgradeAs we near the end of the 2015 school year, we couldn’t have asked for a better way to see the progress made this year. The fencing is up, the digger is in and the children are excited to see the start of this project. The grass will be much greener when we return in 2016.

On behalf of our whole school community, I would like to wish the following teachers all the very best as they take up new roles/schools in 2016.

  • Scott Clode accepted a substantive Assistant Principal position at Hillsmeade PS
  • Kelly Utting has accepted an Acting Principal role for Term 1 at Garfield PS
  • Bret Mottrom has been appointed as the Assistant Principal at Bayswater South PS
  • Clint Sezney has a two year contract teaching at Springvale Park Special Development School
  • Nick Sugrue has accepted a family leave position at Penders Grove PS (where he was this year)
  • Rob Kay has a one year teaching position at Berwick Chase PS
  • Kathy Symons and Bruce Kersey is heading off to enjoy retirement
  • Brooke Begovic has a teaching position at Oatlands PS
  • Kathy Hengel, Jolene Hazel, Sarah Jeffs, Steve Crook, James Corkill and Michelle Spellman have finished their contracts with Hillsmeade
  • Deman Wang (Chinese exchange teacher) heads back home on Sunday 20th. We have valued Deman’s contribution to our new Mandarin program
  • Kate Crilly from Out of School Hours Care starts her teaching career at Pakenham Consolidated PS.

Finally, Loretta & Tony, our cleaners for the past 12+ years are hanging up their brooms and mops and have decided to head off to enjoy retirement. We wish them both all the very best and hope they both find the time to relax and travel.

I recently received a letter from the Berwick RSL to thank Hillsmeade for the $107.45 raised in support of the Remembrance Day Appeal. The author wrote, ‘It is pleasing to know that the past efforts and sacrifices of our veterans continue to be recognised by the younger members of our community’.

The grade 6 children had their graduation on Monday evening celebrating their end of primary schooling at Hillsmeade. Today they are off to Geelong for their Big Day Out. A final assembly on Friday 1.45pm will see the whole school community farewell them for the last time. Good luck to the boys and girls as they go to their secondary school.

Don’t forget to come along to the Twilight Christmas Carols tomorrow evening. The children have been practising and will love to show you their singing talent.

Wishing all of our Hillsmeade community a safe, happy and relaxing holiday. We look forward to working with you all in 2016.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


New Grades, Twighlight Sports and VPA China Exchange

Dear Parents / Guardians

New Grades

Prep B children with their teacher Ms Turner
Prep B children with their teacher Ms Turner

Today we saw all children step up into their new grades with their new group of friends and their teacher. It is quite rare to have all teachers available for this session but we appreciate the new staff members taking the time to come into the school to meet the children. I would especially like to thank our new graduate teachers who volunteered their time to be here.

Prep D children with their teacher Ms Page
Prep D children with their teacher Ms Page

They were supported by one of our own teachers in the classroom today. Our new prep children were very excited and explored various areas around the junior playground.

Twilight Sports

On an extremely hot evening the Twilight Sports session showcased the talents of students, teachers and parents. Skipping, basketball, badminton, soccer and hula hooping were on offer. Here we have Alexandria and Deman (Chinese Exchange Teacher) having fun whilst getting a bit of exercise and sunshine. Next year, the event will be back on in term 1 (weather permitting) and I encourage more families to enjoy the event with us.

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 2.35.21 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 2.34.32 PM

VPA China Exchange 2016

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 2.34.42 PMThere is an opportunity for seven grade 5 or 6 children to participate in this exchange program from 11th – 24th October 2016. Last year, I travelled with four children and it is an exceptional opportunity for children to experience the Chinese culture, enhance the Mandarin language learned this year, attend classes in Jinling Primary School in Nanjing, meet children from other schools and perhaps undertake a side trip to visit our sister school in Chang-zhou. There are restrictions this time around – we must have a teacher to student ratio of 1:7 and there is an Expression of Interest process in place; meaning we might not
actually be accepted in the program. After two years of this exchange operating, it has become highly sought after
by schools. The cost has been set by the VPA (Victorian Principals Association) at $2,500 (under 12yrs) and $2,900 (over 12yrs). If your child is interested in this exchange and has your support, could you please let me know by Wednesday 16th December?


Recruitment, Transition, Welcome Sign, Books

Dear Parents / Guardians

Teacher Recruitment

As we continue the countdown until the last day of school on Friday 18th December, there are still many administrative matters to finalise before the holidays. As our student enrolments continue to increase, we are still in the process of recruiting new teachers to Hillsmeade PS. This process takes time due to the department’s recruiting guidelines. I am hopeful that we have all teachers assigned to our 38 grades for 2016 before the end of the year.


Wednesday 9th will see the whole school involved in a transition day where the children go to their new 2016 grades. Where possible, the teacher will be with them during this three hour event. As mentioned above, we are not able to have all of our teachers in place and I know that you will support us with this. The process to allocate students and teachers to grades in a school of this size is complex, time-consuming and thorough. Our teachers know the students; they know how they learn, how they interact with other children and how they will be best placed for their continued educational improvement journey. Although I have received letters from parents requesting friendships and/or teachers for 2016, this is not always possible, nor preferable for the child’s best interests whilst at school.

New Welcome Sign

New Welcome Sign provided by Berwick Woodworkers Club
New Welcome Sign provided by Berwick Woodworkers Club

Hillsmeade PS would like to say a big thank you to Jack Croucher from the Berwick Woodworkers Club for contributing his time and efforts in creating this new sign for our school. The ‘welcome’ sign recognises 24 languages spoken by our families. We would also like to thank Sue Causon for the design and her liaison with Jack to make this project a reality. Keep a lookout for our next exciting and creative initiative recognising our wonderful, multicultural school.

Reader Books

Returned Reader Books

Recently, a family returned school books accumulated over the years as part of the ‘take-home’ reading program. When we counted them, there were over 200 books at an approximate cost of over $2000. These are valuable resources that the school has not been able to use for other children’s reading program. Please, if you have books at home: under the bed, in the cupboard or on the bookshelf, I urge you to return them to the school.

Full End of Year Calendar

As you can see from the list of upcoming events on this page, we are in for a very busy end of year. We welcome all families to our Twilight Sports, the Twilight Christmas Carols and the End of Year Assembly. All students must be collected at 2.30pm on Friday 18th December. Please put this into your diaries.


HPV, Absent Students

Dear Parents / Guardians

I cannot believe it is only one month until Christmas Day. With only 17 more school days after today, we still have lots of exciting events on the calendar including Life Ed Van, Junior Cross Country, Grade 2 camp, MAD Day, Big Day Out (Grade 6), Little Day Out (Grade 5), Big Night In, Grade 6 Graduation, Choir Concert, Christmas Concert, prep transition sessions, our whole school transition morning and a family sports afternoon. Please keep your eyes on the Link and watch for the notices coming home for these events.

Human Powered Vehicles

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 3.47.01 PMI know there is a special page in today’s edition for our HPV group who travelled to Maryborough last week for the Energy Breakthrough Competition, however I couldn’t let it pass without congratulating all the children, their parents, our sponsors and of course, our wonderful teachers whose passion, commitment and enthusiasm ensured our children participated in this year’s event. Rob Kay, Toni Barker and our pre-service teacher Tegan Aoun deserve to be acknowledged. Well done guys, you made the front page of The Maryborough District Advertiser. (Photo courtesy of the paper).

Absent Students

As we start to collect data for the end of year reports, we have identified that quite a large number of children have been absent this year without explanation. These absences are recorded as Unexplained Absences on our system until an explanation from parents is received. The Department of Education’s policy states:

Parents/guardians are required to provide an explanation for their child’s absence from school.

If your child has unexplained absences on our system, you will shortly be receiving a letter outlining the dates and seeking an explanation for the absence. Please support us with following the correct procedure by ensuring you follow up with this request, and for future absences, you provide a note to the school outlining the reason.


Our enrolment numbers for 2016 are showing an increase in our total number of students across Prep-6. This year we were funded for 854.2 students and we are currently working on 875 with over 140 prep enrolments. As we plan for 38 grades, there will be some movement of classes and ongoing recruitment of teachers. Things don’t slow down here!


Basketball, HPV, Sahar’s Award & School Council

Senior Boys Basketball

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 10.16.13 PMHow awesome are the boys from the Senior Boys Basketball Team? On Monday they travelled with Mrs Bray and very supportive parents to compete in the state finals. After three victorious games, they played off in the Grand Final. With only seven points the difference, the boys celebrated as Runners Up. Huge effort guys! Well done and the Hillsmeade school community is so very proud of you all.

Human Powered Vehicles

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 10.16.32 PMToday the HPV team head off to Maryborough to compete in the RACV Energy Breakthrough 2015. Mr Kay, Ms Barker and our pre-service teacher Ms Aoun has spent many hours with the children and parents getting ready for this exciting and rewarding challenge. We thank all sponsors and parents who have contributed money, time and energy to ensure these two red, white and blue beauties are ready for the event. Good luck to all the team members and we wish you every success.

National Recycling Week

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 10.16.47 PMSahar from Grade 1 recently attended a City of Casey’s award ceremony where she received multiple copies of Casey’s National Recycling Week 2016 calendar as part of a competition she entered. Here is Sahar proudly displaying her winning entry which is the picture for December 2016. Ms Robinson (relief teacher for a short time) was delighted to support Sahar by entering her beautiful drawing into the competition.

School Council Update

It has been a busy time for our School Council members over the past few weeks. Last Tuesday night a number of members attended a Governance training session hosted by our school and facilitated by the department. On Monday night, we ratified 16 policies including Mandatory Reporting, Duty of Care, Head Lice Management, Enrolment and Attendance. With over 90 compliance policies, we will be developing a three year cycle of ratification to ensure we continue to remain up to date with our DET policies. We also approved our second VCOP PD day (pupil free day) on Monday 15th February, 2016. The school’s new website has finally been enabled with further updates to come. You’re looking at it right now!