Mothers Day, Welcome Karen, Camps & more

Dear Parents/Guardians –

Mothers Day Stall

What a fantastic day the children had yesterday thanks to our wonderful Hillsmeade Fundraising Club parents. The Mother’s Day stalls were full of goodies for mums and grandmothers. Children had money in their hands, excitement on their faces and the atmosphere in the room was full of jubilation. I wish all of our mothers and grandmothers a very happy Mother’s Day on Sunday.

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Welcome Karen Kenny

I’d like to welcome Karen Kenny to our front office. Karen was our successful applicant for the recently advertised Office Administration position and has over 13 years’ experience working in schools. Starting on Monday, Karen has settled in very quickly. Please say hello to her if you are in the office.

Giving & Receiving Feedback

This week our professional learning sessions after school have included a session on ‘Giving and Receiving Feedback’ and another on Module 2 of the KidsMatter Framework. Our staff meetings are no longer just administrative detail but rather focus on providing opportunities for our teachers to improve on their professional practice. Other sessions this term have included: ‘What does our hour of reading look like?’ and using the Hillsmeade Instructional Model in a writing session. Over the remainder of this term, we will share knowledge and skills for teaching mathematics and using ICT in the classroom.

Grade 4 & Grade 6 Camps

Preparations are underway for the Grade 4 and Grade 6 camp, both of which occur later this year. By organising them earlier, we are providing time for families to pay off the camp to allow children the opportunity to participate in these experiences. The planning for our Study Tour to China in October is also well underway with all passports finalised.

Elective Programs

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 8.18.34 PMOur page 3 of the Link this week highlights on our Grade 3 -6 Elective Program. The aims of this program are to improve student connectedness and engagement, to provide opportunities for children to develop their resilience and to provide opportunities for teachers and students across the year levels to develop relationships with children other than those in their class. I particularly loved this shot of Ms Ashneigh Hughes with the children in the gardening project.

Have a fantastic weekend and I’ll see you all when I return from my holiday.

– Deborah

School Captains, Annual Report, Car Boot Sale & Pyjama Day

Dear Parents / Guardians

School Captains

On Friday afternoon at our assembly, Judith Graley MP presented our School Captains, Stefanie Stan and Joel Vigilante and their fellow school leaders with their badges. Three of our leaders recently attended the City of Casey Youth Services Planning for the Future Summit. We congratulate all twenty leaders as they continue to develop their skills supporting our school community.
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Annual Report 2015

School Council is inviting parents to a half hour information session to present our 2015 Annual Report on Thursday 28th April @ 7pm-7.30pm in the Library. Our Annual Report showcases an overview of how the school is contributing to the objectives of the Education State and how it compares to other Victorian government schools. Following this session, the members of School Council will be undertaking a 2 hour Strategic Planning workshop to deepen their understanding in three areas:

  • How to work with the leadership team to develop key documents in the 4 plan strategic cycle;
  • How to use data to identify what the school is doing well and what needs to be done to further improve student outcomes;
  • How to fulfil the governance role by ensuring the school’s planning and practices reflect Departmental guidelines and community expectations.

Car Boot Sale

On Sunday morning, the HFC held their first Car Boot Sale. On a beautiful, sunny morning, the sausages sizzled (provided by the HPV fundraising team), hot coffee was consumed and goods were sold. Thank you to our dedicated group of parents who organised this day!

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Wear your PJ’s day

Yesterday, many children and teachers wore their PJ’s as part of our Book Donation day. A very quick tally shows that we received 928 books. A special thank you to Meg Yates for organising this day and we thank all children for donating their pre-loved readers.
Have a wonderful week.


Term 2 Welcome

Dear Parents / Guardians


Welcome to term 2, an eleven week, busy term filled with lots of explicit teaching and learning, student assessment (including NAPLAN for grade 3 & 5 children) and reporting, excursions, incursions, sporting activities and fundraising events. I encourage all parents/guardians to check the events list on this page and keep an eye on the letters coming home from the children. Our website also has a calendar for you to look at. If you register to subscribe on the website, you will automatically receive email notification of changes.

Staffing Changes

In the last week of term 1 and over the holidays there have been some staffing changes:

  • Sharon Whiting’s last day was Friday 8th March and she spent time over the break ensuring everything was ready for our new Business Manager, Julie Hale.
  • Di Leeming (Office Administration) has finished work at Hillsmeade PS after 11 years in both the office and working as an Integration Aide.
  • Four Integration Aide staff members have been contracted until the end of the 2016 school year. Please welcome Michelle Spellman, Louise Chaplin, Belinda Lane and Cheryl Zubcic to our school. These experienced and/or Certificate III qualified staff members will be providing support for children through our PSDMS program. Integration Aides already on staff will be working with the Grade 1 classes.
  • We have been fortunate to recruit Karen Kenny, an experienced office administrator, currently working at Timbarra Prep-9 to join our office team. Karen will start on Monday 2nd May.

Easter Egg Hunt

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 4.06.26 PMAfter the assembly on the last day of term 1, the HFC organised a huge Easter Egg Hunt for children with eggs donated by LJ Hooker. Many of us on staff thought this would be a difficult event to manage, however we were very excited and pleased to see the children having so much fun collecting their eggs off our new sporting field. Thank you to all volunteer parents and community members who helped with this hunt. I believe our HFC President, Inez Crowe is already planning next year’s event to be bigger and better.

Enrolment Data

Yesterday we received notification that our enrolment data will be audited for this year. On Census Day we provided information to the department that we had 903 students enrolled at the school. An audit confirms our attendance records for all children and determines whether funding received correlates to the number of children regularly attending school. It is therefore vital for students to be at school to secure the funding which we use to operate the school.

Deborah on Leave

I will be taking three weeks long service leave from 9th—27th May to travel to South Africa. Mrs Jodie Bray will be acting as principal during this time with additional leadership support from Mrs Mandy Ryan. The school will be in very capable hands.

Have a great week and it’s fantastic to be back into the routine of coming to school.


End of Term 1 Update

Well here we are at the end of term 1 for 2016. It has been a short term and we are in for an 11 week term when we return. It is important therefore that we take the time to rest and refresh as we head into the winter months. I hope you all have a lovely Easter break and spend quality family time together.

New School Council

Congratulations to our new School Council office bearers for 2016:

  • President Stewart Johnson
  • Vice President Corey Fleming
  • Treasurer Brooke Gniel
  • Minute Taker Jodie Bray.

We will be hosting a Parent Information Session early next term to share the Annual Report with our school community.

Farewell Sharon Whiting

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.18.03 PMTomorrow afternoon, staff will farewell Sharon Whiting, our Business Manager. Sharon is retiring from the Department of Education after over 30 years of dedicated service. Many of our past and present parents/guardians have had conversations with Sharon and have valued her professional, calm and respectful approach. On behalf of the Hillsmeade community, I would like to wish Sharon well in retirement.

Progressive Choir

Last Thursday, the Progressive Choir were invited to sing at the opening of Coles, Casey Central. Mrs Scott and I walked the School Captains and the members of the choir down to the shopping centre where we were involved in the opening ceremony. The Choir sang the National Anthem before performing a number of songs as community members came through the doors. I was asked to cut the ribbon with our School Captains, Stefanie and Joel. It was a great community event and fantastic that Hillsmeade Primary was asked to be involved.

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Working Bee

We held a working bee on Sunday 9am to plant donated plants into the recently developed garden beds around the portable classrooms. Thank you to all families and staff members who participated in this project.

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Parent Helpers Session

Today 15 parents attended our third Parent Helpers session. It is exciting for us to know that our parents are willing to learn more about how to support children with their reading and then volunteer some time to listen to the kids read. We’ve also set up processes in the classroom to ensure that our volunteers have Working with Children Checks and sign in and out each time they are here to support us. This is a DET requirement and we thank all parents for following the policy and processes.

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If you are travelling for the break, please do so safely. We look forward to students returning to school on Monday 11th April.


Action against Bullying, Swimming Team, School Council & Final Week of Term

Dear Parents/Guardians –

National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence

With the 2016 National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence coming up on Friday 18th March, Hillsmeade PS is taking a stand and showing our support by tying orange ribbons on our front fence this week. If parents would like to show their support for this very worthwhile cause, please call into the office, collect an orange ribbon and add it to our collection. Ribbons will be available Thursday and Friday.

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Hillsmeade Swimming Team

On Friday the 19th of February approximately fifty grade 4/5/6 students competed to create a District Hillsmeade Swimming Team. Thanks to an extremely supportive parent community this event ran beautifully. District trials were held at Doveton Swimming pool with three students successful in making it to the next round. Congratulations to Charlotte Lawrie, Isla Lewis and Kira Emery for representing the school in the divisional swimming finals. They were held at Noble Park Aquatic Centre on Wednesday the 9th of March. Everyone placed with Kira also securing a position in the Regional final which will be held at MSAC on the last day of school. Good luck Kira, and thank-you very much to everyone who participated. (by Kate Pollock)

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School Council

School Council will hold their AGM on Monday 21st at 7.30pm where the President, Vice President and Treasurer will be elected. Unfortunately the Annual Report template has not been made available by the DET for completion and will not be presented. When developed, School Council will hold a parent information session to present the report. The normal council meeting will follow the AGM on Monday night. We will also be undertaking a Strategic Planning professional learning session on Thursday 28th April to support us with our school review this year.

Final Week of Term

Next week is the final week of term 1. We all knew it was a short term (only 8 1?2 weeks), but it has simply flown by. Don’t forget the big Easter Raffle draw will be held on Thursday 24th and prizes will be handed out the 1.45pm assembly. We finish school at 2.30pm on this day.

– Deborah

National Young Leaders Day, Berwick Show & Professional Learning

Dear Parents/Guardians –

National Young Leaders Day

As Jodie wrote in last week’s edition of the Link, Mr Moore and I went to the National Young Leaders’ Day with our 20 grade 6 student leaders. The theme for the day was ‘Master the Little’ with presenters who spoke about how doing little things can lead to greater opportunities. It was an inspirational day for the 4,000 participants seated in the convention centre. The student leaders will be reporting back to our school community at this Friday’s assembly.

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Berwick Show

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 3.25.22 PMOur students showcased their artist talents at the Berwick Show recently and received an Encouragement Ribbon. Here is the proud principal standing in front of the display. I hope families went along and saw the display also. Thank you to the children and Ms Elliott for entering artwork into the local show.

Professional Learning

All teachers are involved in a professional learning series on Tuesday afternoons focusing on the development of a whole-school, consistent evidence-based instructional model to be used in all classrooms. An instructional model supports the development of a shared language about teacher practice, supports teachers to reflect and identify professional learning needs and engages and motivates teachers to consider how their teaching practice can best support student learning.

At yesterday’s session, teachers did a self-assessment against 7 classroom techniques based on “Effective Schools Model: ‘Purposeful Teaching’, Principles of Learning and Teaching (PoLT), DEECD e5 model, elements from the Performance and Development Culture. These are:

  • Positive relationships,
  • Protocols for teaching,
  • Knowledge of content,
  • How students learn,
  • Explicit teaching,
  • High expectations and
  • Feedback & reflection.

The self-assessment rating scale (not using, beginning, developing, applying and innovating) was used. These types of activities provide leadership with identifying what professional learning our teachers need to improve their teaching practice.

– Deborah

Twilight Sports, School Council, The Education State

Dear Parents/Guardians –

Twilight Sport

This afternoon 4pm – 6pm, we are having our Twilight Sports / Sports Field Opening event.

The build up to the completion of this project has us all extremely excited and we are thrilled to be able to celebrate with the children and families tonight. Tuff Turf, the company who worked with us to develop the sporting field will join us in these celebrations and have donated sausages and bread for the event. We’ve also been fortunate enough to have Coles donate fruit (an offer made after their successful working bee last week). On behalf of our community, I would like to thank both organisations for their generous donations. Our canteen will be open for refreshments too. Come along and celebrate with us. Take a look at our new facility now…

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In preparation for tonight, we also had the basketball courts’ line marking repainted to spruce things up. The transformation is something all the kids are talking about and I wanted to thank those parents who have supported us with paying the voluntary component of the school fees. These funds have certainly been used for maintenance throughout 2015 and will be ongoing this year. We cannot keep upgrading the facilities without parent support. On this note, a huge thank you to the Hillsmeade Fundraising Committee for purchasing the AFL and soccer goals to finish off the field.

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School Council

The closing date for nominations for Parent & DET representatives on School Council was Monday 22nd February. We are not required to have a voting process this year due to the number of nominations received. Monday 21st March will be a meeting to elect office bearers.

The Education State

Victoria as ‘The Education State’ (you may have noticed this slogan on new number plates) is our government’s new vision and direction. The department has developed a new Framework for Improving Student Outcomes with six initiatives to help schools lift student achievement, wellbeing and engagement. In 2016, all schools were required to select one or two of these initiatives to focus on through our Annual Implementation Plan. Hillsmeade selected:

  • Building practice excellence
  • Setting expectations and promoting inclusion
    Our priorities to address these two areas are the development of a consistent Instructional Model for all teachers (using the same model and language) and continuing with the implementation of the KidsMatter Framework and in particular, introducing the Bounce Back program in all classrooms. Our weekly staff meetings are used for professional learning in both of these areas. Please talk to your teacher if you would like to know more.

– Deborah

New Sporting Area, VCOP, Working Bee and New Painting

Dear Parents/Guardians –

New Sporting Area

I trust you are all as excited as we are with the progress of our new sporting area. I just walked down there today to take a picture and am amazed with the transformation from the ‘Hillsmeade Lake’ to this green, even surfaced area for our children to play. We are now only days away from removing the fences.

VCOP Learning Day

Monday this week, as teachers participated in our second VCOP professional learning day, we were privileged to have 14 volunteers from the new Casey Central Coles in our school grounds. With the new store opening on the 17th March, this Coles community program offered our school an opportunity to participate in a working bee to tidy up an area of our grounds. Chloe’s Garden had a makeover with the tables re-stained, old plants removed and new plants put in. As so many volunteers were here, they also repainted our yellow poles and other areas around the school. Areas were cleaned and tidied as well. Although no publicity was requested from us, I sincerely thank Coles for putting the community into Hillsmeade PS and supporting us with our efforts to make our school a great learning environment for our children. Please see page 3 of this week’s Link for some photos.

Working Bee

To continue the excellent progress on maintaining our grounds, we are having a 2hour working bee on Sunday 20th March 9am-11am. The more volunteers we have on this day, the more we can achieve! Please consider coming along. Expertise required: planting, mulching, painting and shovelling dirt.

Every Face has a Place

If you have walked through our corridors this year, you will have noticed this beautiful artwork created by Sue Causon, one of our parents.
Working with a few of our senior children, Sue designed and painted our multi-cultural tree representing our school’s families. Please come in and have a look. It is simply FANTASTIC! I’d like to thank Sue for her creativity and commitment for doing this for our community.

Every Face has a Place
Every Face has a Place by Sue Causon

School Oval, Asbestos, School Council and more

Dear Parents & Guardians –

School Oval

Our school community is abuzz with the progress of our new running track and AFL/Soccer field. Although slightly behind schedule, it is actually exciting for the children to see how the oval is being transformed. These shots are of today’s work. It won’t be long now before we’re all enjoying the new grounds. (Click here to see all the development photos.)

New oval and running track

Asbestos Inspection

The Department of Education and Training has arranged a contractor to inspect schools for asbestos which was used extensively in building materials in the past but is now banned. Asbestos is considered safe unless damaged or in poor condition. Yesterday, we had our inspection and as a result a number of portables have been labelled according to the DET’s Health and Safety Management Plan. The labels form part of a comprehensive program to ensure Victorian government schools remain safe. The DET outlines that our children’s safety is our number one priority and this is why they are taking the extra step as a precaution.

Lunch time activities

Our lunch time activities are running again this year. These include Art Club, POD play, Band, Mandarin Club, Homework Club and Choir. We are also starting a Grade 3 -6 Elective Program timetabled every second Friday (alternative to our assembly) next week. Thirty-one electives have been allocated allowing children to meet other teachers and older/younger children. We have science, Design/Craft/ICT, Gardening, Connecting with community, Performing Arts, HPV and Sport/Health options.

Older Siblings from Alkira

I would like to urge our parents to remind their older children who attend Alkira Secondary College that they should wait on the soccer oval on Monday and Thursday afternoons between 2.30pm and 3.30pm. Some of these older siblings are picking up their brother or sister to walk home or wait for their parent/s. Hillsmeade PS certainly support families with their arrangements, however we have had experiences of the older children interrupting classes, riding their bikes through the grounds when parents and little children are coming into the school and sadly, in some cases, they have verbally abused our teachers. There is an OH&S concern if children are on Hillsmeade PS grounds without the knowledge of the principal, particularly if an evacuation or lock-down occurs.

School Council Elections

The School Council election process commences today. If you would like to nominate to be on School Council, please collect a notice from the office. Should we receive more nominations than the vacant positions, an election will be required. I am looking forward to working with the newly formed School Council after the election of office bearers on Monday 21st March.


Hoax Phone Calls to Victorian Schools

Dear Parents/Guardians

Hoax phone calls to Victorian schools

I am writing to reassure you in light of the recent hoax threatening phone calls to Victorian schools in the last few days.

Our school has not received such a call but I wanted to inform you that, like all schools, we have an emergency management plan in place for situations like this, and we practise it throughout the year.

Those schools which did receive a threatening call enacted their emergency management plans and they worked well.

While our oval is being worked on our emergency evacuation site is the Soccer Pitch behind the school. Our secondary site if needed is Alkira Secondary school. To ensure we are well prepared we will have a practice drill tomorrow Tuesday 9th February.

The safety and wellbeing of our students is always our top priority.

If you have any questions please contact the school.

Kind Regards

Deborah Harry,    Principal