Last Week of Term 3

This last week of term 3 has proven to be a typical Victorian spring week. We had twenty-seven degrees and beautiful sunshine on Monday. As the grade 3 students, teachers and volunteer parents hopped on the bus to visit Melbourne Zoo today (Tuesday), raincoats, umbrellas and jackets were evident as we hoped for 15 degrees. Tomorrow when I travel with the grade 5’s up to Sovereign Hill in Ballarat, I’ll be prepared with the full ensemble of winter/spring attire. If you’ve visited Sovereign Hill before, you’ll know that a jacket, scarf and even gloves are in order.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 9.49.30 PMCongratulations to team Bull Rush, the overall winner of Survivor Day last Friday. The grade 5 & 6 children supported each other in their teams to get through the many and varied challenges set by the teachers. I think the team had an advantage given Ms Tierney has been part of this event for a number of years.

This week the Government and the Department of Education launched The Education State by announcing $747 million in extra funds to deliver great schools for every community and great teachers in every classroom. If you would like to read more about this, please have a look on the DET’s website.

Developing the Education State involved consultation with various stakeholders where six key themes emerged:

  1. Improving the quality of teaching;
  2. Ensure the overall wellbeing of children and young people;
  3. The need for all students to have access to quality education;
  4. The importance of ensuring students see clear learning and career pathways;
  5. Partnerships with communities; and
  6. The need to consistently monitor student learning progress and school improvement.

Five and ten year targets have been set to improve reading, maths, science, arts and critical and creative thinking results for all Victorian children. Other initiatives include a new Victorian Curriculum F-10 (incorporating AusVELS), a School Leadership initiative, additional Regional Services & Support, a Framework for improving Student Outcomes and a new Online Assessment Platform (Insight). Hillsmeade PS has already been advised that we will receive additional equity funding which has been calculated based on the levels of social disadvantage of our school. We will be afforded some exciting and challenging opportunities in the next few years of education and more particularly, as we develop our next Strategic Plan.
I wish you all a relaxing two week break with family and friends.

– Deborah

Second Last Week of Term

I love the work I do as I am fortunate enough to see children’s work and smiling faces when they come to proudly show off their latest achievements. Late last week, four children from a grade 3 class came to show me their artwork which they completed during their procedural writing session. Following the step-by-step instructions, these drawings were almost identical. Congratulations guys!
Well done.

One of the great things about being a KidsMatter school is the continued focus on building relationships in our school community. Our grade 6 school leaders finish their peer support training with the grade 5 children today. Once completed, the leaders are qualified to be in the yard as peer support leaders supporting our younger children with minor concerns at lunch time. This has been a 3 month program for the leaders and we are extremely proud of their enthusiasm and commitment for undertaking the training. The Breakfast Club and Happy Hub are popular places for the children where they can interact with different teachers and staff of our school. Last Thursday, we also saw a teacher versus student basketball match at lunch time. The crowd gathered and we saw a few bumps and falls, but on all accounts, I think all involved had a very competitive, but thrilling game. I’m not too sure who won though!

Each year, the children in Grades 5 & 6 complete the Student Attitudes to School Survey which provides us feedback from the children about teaching and learning and welfare related matters. We are able to follow trends in the data and also celebrate improvements but discuss areas where we can focus upon. This year, we have seen improvements in all elements of the Teaching & Learning sections from last year’s results (Teacher Empathy, Teacher Effectiveness, Student Motivation, Stimulating Learning, School Connectedness & Learning Confidence) and in the Student Relationships & Wellbeing sections (Student Morale, Student Distress, Student Safety, Connectedness to Peers and Classroom Behaviour). As with any data, we will discuss within our teams and identify ways to work with the children in focussed areas.

As you know, our school has been participating in the Woolworths Earn & Learn program. The program has now finished for this year, so a big thanks to everyone who supported our school. We’re now at the important stage of the program where the Sticker Sheets are collected and lodged as our Earn & Learn claim. We will then be able to get new educational equipment for our school. The more we collect, the more we can redeem. So this week, please send in your Woolworths Earn & Learn Sticker Sheets and any loose Earn & Learn stickers you may have. Remember to check your handbag, the car glove box or they maybe stuck on the fridge. Every little bit helps. Thanks again for all your support!

With only seven more days of school before the September holidays, I would like to remind parents that school finishes at 2.30pm and children must be collected by 2.45pm. Teachers are still required to be at school and we use this time for staff meetings and planning for the next term. Our final term 3 assembly will start at 1.45pm next Friday.

Deborah

Multicultural Day, Website, and School Grounds Maintenance

Multicultural Day

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Yesterday we celebrated the many cultures combined into one Hillsmeade school community. Did you know that we have 53 cultures in our school with 47 different languages being spoken in our children’s homes? This is surely something to celebrate. The celebrations included international songs, traditional dress, flag or photo, conversations around multiculturalism in the classroom, creating flags of our heritage and learning to say ‘hello’ in different languages.

Our assembly on Friday will showcase the cultures when the children wave their flag in unison. I’d like to thank the members of our KidsMatter Action Team, our Welfare Committee and particularly, Mitze and Sakina (student Social Worker) for organising this special day for us to reflect upon our own heritage and learn more about our community.

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Krystal and I both have Hungarian heritage.

School Website

We are currently working on upgrading our school website with the aim of providing our current and prospective parents updated information about Hillsmeade. Suggestions are most welcome as we believe our parents are the primary users of our website and the information needs to be able to answer the questions they may have about our school. Please drop any ideas into the office so we can take them into consideration.

School Grounds Maintenance

The School Council Buildings and Grounds sub-committee met recently to discuss what maintenance could be completed this year and within budget. The painting is ongoing, with the gym foyer being completed on Monday, the Library will start in a week or two and the children’s toilets will be painted during the holidays. We also agreed to spruce up the garden at the front entrance to the school, clean the shade sails and have the heaters/air- conditioners maintained. Most importantly, we also discussed the possibility of obtaining quotes for our much needed oval upgrade. As this is a major works project, we are required to follow the department’s guidelines around obtaining quotes, getting approval etc. However, we are very keen to start the discussions and with fingers crossed, we will see significant improvement with our oval in 2016. Very exciting news for our school.

After School Pickups

Families are reminded that students MUST be collected after school by 3.45pm. Recently we have had children here till 4.30pm and on occasion, 3.30pm on our last day of term. Our teachers can supervise for 15 mins after the bell but we have other commitments such as staff meetings. If you require after school care, please contact the ELC to see if there are vacancies.

Happy Fathers Day!

Finally, I would like to wish all our dads a special Father’s Day on Sunday. May you have a day filled with laughter, love and precious moments with your family.

Deborah