Bedtime Stories, Monash Science, Mandarin Night & more

What a busy few weeks we have had. I have enjoyed my time keeping Ms Harry’s seat warm, but look forward to her returning to school on Monday the 30th of May.

Bedtime stories

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 7.38.26 PMA huge thank you to families and teachers who battled the wind and rain to attend the Bedtime Stories event last Thursday. It was wonderful to see students, siblings, parents and teachers in their PJs and listening to fantastic stories.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 7.38.36 PM

Monash Science Visits

This week we had Monash University Science pre-service teachers come in to deliver Science lessons to grades Prep – 6. The students demonstrated interest, curiosity and wonder throughout the lessons and provided valuable teaching opportunity for the pre-service teachers. Hillsmeade continues to value our strong partnership with Monash University and the opportunities provided for our students through this partnership.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 7.38.44 PM

Division Cross Country

On Thursday the 3rd of June 12 students will be representing our school at the Division Cross Country event to be held at Casey Fields. We wish the following students the best of luck for the event: Holly Van Der Loop, Krystal Hayes, Matthew Nelson, Joel McConchie, Ella Ryan, Kira Emery, Jess Catheray, Alisha Kennedy, Kur Maler, Matt Pollard, Jack Cornish and Logan Klat.

Mandarin Event

Just a reminder that on Tuesday the 31st of May we will host our first Mandarin Community Event. The event begins at 4pm and concludes at 5:45pm. Please come along to participate in activities and see the wonderful work our students from grades Prep – 6 have been engaged in.

Parent Engagement

There is strong research around the importance of parent engagement in education. When you are positively engaged in your child’s education, they are more likely to attend and perform better at school. The Australian Government has released a free app that assists parents with useful tips and inspiring ways to be more involved in their child’s learning. Visit the website to learn more.

How can you help your child do well at school?

  • Have high yet achievable expectations of your child,
  • Talk regularly about school and the value of learning,
  • Encourage positive attitudes and respect for school and teachers, and
  • Model the behaviours you would like to see in your child.

Other things you can do which have also been shown to have a positive impact are to:

  • Read out loud with your child and listen to your child read out loud,
  • Talk and ask about what they are learning,
  • Ask what was and was not fun at school, and
  • Help them to develop strong work habits.

One of the most effective ways parents and families can help children to do better at school is to make sure they go to school every day. School attendance has a major influence on educational outcomes. Students who attend school regularly are more likely to achieve better results at school and are more likely to complete their schooling.

– Jodie (Acting Principal)

Minister Visit, Bedtime Stories, Monash Science Visits and more

Dear Parents & Guardians –

Jenny Mikakos Visit

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 9.02.21 AMOn Friday afternoon at the Early Learning Centre (ELC) we were lucky enough to have the Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos and local member for Narre Warren South Judith Graley MP present to open the 2016 -17 major grants round for the Children’s Facilities Capital Program. This announcement forms part of the Victorian Budget 2016/17 which will provide $10 million to fund major capital projects for kinders and children’s centres in Victoria.
Congratulations to our School Captains Joel Vigilante and Stefanie Stan who led our guests on a tour of the ELC and who represented our school with confidence.Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 9.02.12 AM

Bedtime stories

Just a reminder that this Thursday the 19th of May is our annual Bedtime Stories night. It would be wonderful to see as many students and families in attendance and in their PJs to listen to some favourite picture book stories. This event will be taking place in the Junior classrooms, so please enter through the main building. Bedtime Stories begins at 5:30pm and concludes at 6:30pm. I look forward to seeing you there.

Monash Science Visits

On Monday the 23rd and Tuesday the 24th of May we are lucky enough to again have over 50 Monash pre-service teachers coming in to conduct science lessons for all classes Prep – 6. These lessons will be aligned to the current curriculum focus in the year levels and are sure to be a big hit. Hillsmeade continues to value our strong partnership with Monash University.

Staff Professional Learning

Over the next few weeks teachers will be enaged in a series of ICT professional learning sessions which focus on:
-IPAD 101. How to best use these new devices within our teaching and learning programs to meet the needs of all learners? Teachers will also be exploring APPs which complement the teaching and learning needs of the class.

– Using Excel. Staff will be completing sessions investigating the use of formulas in spreadsheets to assist in tracking and using data to inform teaching and learning.

Curriculum Day

Just a reminder that there is a Curriculum Day this Friday the 20th of May. No students are required on this day.

– Jodie (Acting Principal)

NAPLAN, Bounce Back, Education Week & more

Dear Parents/Guardians –

What a wet, windy week we have had so far.

NAPLAN Testing

This week has seen the commencement of NAPLAN testing for our Year 3 & Year 5 students. Students complete assessments in the areas of: Reading, Writing, Language Conventions and Numeracy. The final test will take place on Thursday the 12th of May. A big thank you to students and teachers in these year levels for ensuring that NAPLAN week has run smoothly.

Bounce Back

On Monday Mrs Watson and Ms Lau conducted two parent information sessions to promote awareness about Bounce Back. These sessions involved parents across our school and ELC community to engage in rich discussion about the importance of teaching values. In the sessions, we discussed our school’s Kidsmatter journey, providing parents with a quick snapshot on what Kidsmatter is and what it looks like in action as our school enters Component two which focuses on Social and Emotional Learning for students. We discussed the Bounce Back program which was implemented this year as part of Component two of Kidsmatter. Some topics covered were the language that is used in the Bounce Back program, the units which we will be covering this year, as well as a video to demonstrate a Bounce Back session in action. The parents who attended provided useful feedback and found the presentation informative.

Professional Learning

This week our professional learning session after school included a session for PLT planning time, as well as a session related to our Instructional Model @ work in the mathematics classroom. Teachers and pre-service teachers worked together to share current practice and ideas to ensure we are learning and building innovative ideas to engage and motivate learners in maths.Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 7.28.55 PM

Education Week

Next week is Education Week. The focus across Government Schools is Technology – create your future. We will be running lunch time activities for students to participate in mathematics and technology-based activities. Click here to find out more about Education Week.


Hillsmeade Primary is committed to improving student access to technology to support learning and recently purchased 120 x IPADs, 90 Netbooks and 28 Notebooks. These resources will soon be in classrooms for all students to utilise.Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 7.28.41 PM

BedTime Stories

Just a reminder that next Thursday the 19th of May we will be holding our annual Bedtime Stories night. The night begins at 5:30 and concludes at 6:30pm. It would be wonderful to see many students, parents and friends at the event.

Have a wonderful week, rug up and keep warm.

– Jodie (Acting Principal)

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.

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 8.18.07 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 8.18.00 PM

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

IT Improvements and ANZAC Day

Dear Parents/Guardians –

Hillsmeade School Improvements – Information Technology 2016

With the exciting opening of the new school oval now two months old the school has turned its focus to Information Technology and updating the current IT infrastructure throughout the school.

In 2015 the school purchased 14 x 60” HD TV’s and installed these in classrooms. The school also began preliminary work in devising a plan to begin the replacement of over 80 desktop and notebooks computers.

Early 2016 the school arranged the purchase of 14 more 60” HD TVs and these have been installed in the remaining classrooms throughout the school. These screens are used daily to provide explicit instruction and engage students in learning activities.

Furthermore, the school committed to purchasing 120 x iPads, 90 Netbooks and 28 Notebooks. These resources will be distributed throughout the school and Learning Centre and will provide both students and teachers with access to current technologies in teaching and learning. The first roll out of these devices is expected in the upcoming month of May.

Over the year the staff will continue to receive professional development on the use of these IT devices in the classroom and how to maximise their effectiveness for student learning and engagement.

Planning for the attainment of more digital devices in 2017 is already underway as the school strives to provide the best educational opportunities for our students.


On Tuesday 26th April students from Alkira visited our school to conduct an ANZAC Day service with our year 5/6 student. We were fortunate to hear from two ANZAC veterans and learn more about the ANZAC story.

ANZAC Ceremony
School Captains, Stef and Joel with City of Casey Mayor Sam Aziz, Ms Harry & veterans Bill Shepheard, & John Boothroyd

Have a wonderful week.

– Scott 

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.
Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 3.12.36 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 3.12.45 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-20 at 3.12.28 PM

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!

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 3.12.57 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.18.31 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.18.13 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.18.43 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.18.56 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 4.06.30 PM

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 4.06.20 PM

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)

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 4.06.51 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 3.25.13 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 3.25.04 PM

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