The school year has begun and we are all finding that the time starts to fly past.  There always seems a lot to accomplish in a school year, however, the education of all children is our prime concern. Class teachers were very pleased with the Acquaintance Evening and we all wish to acknowledge parents and caregivers for coming to hear what is in store for children this year.

One of our committees is a Curriculum Team whose task it is to further our Site Improvement Plan goals.  Shortly the new plan will be put onto the school website for everyone to see.  It is in a new format and includes goals, targets and a challenge of practice. These are aligned with the external school review held in 2015.

We are due for another external review later this year.  This involves a Review Officer from The Department and a Review Principal from another school. They follow a strict framework to determine how we are progressing with our improvement across a range of categories.  They provide a written report which is published on our website.  You can see the 2015 report at present.

In the last two years, we have had a major air-conditioning upgrade, painting, a lighting upgrade, installation of flagpoles and the fence completed.  In the next two years we anticipate the new building will take shape.

There are also plans in place to develop a new playground scheduled for 2020. This will involved students across the school in submitting their thoughts and ideas, the SRC taking a lead role and identification of our OSHC needs in this regard. At this early stage we do know that it will include both bought playground equipment and nature play development. Some will be placed outside of the school fencing in order to allow families to use it on weekends and after school.

Our student free day on 12th March will be a time for all teachers across our Partnership involving 8 primary schools, to meet and focus on the use of formative assessment. This will cover what formative assessment is and what it isn’t, what types of classroom discussions and tasks elicit evidence of learning, how to provide feedback that moves learning forward and how to activate students as owners of their own learning. These days are important in the continuous improvement of what we do at Woodend School for our students.

Sports Day is nearly here (22nd March).  Once again the Japanese students from MYOJO Gakuen Elementary School will be joining with us on that day. Sports Day has been in the planning stages now for several weeks, led by Mr Hehner, and will be a great experience for our new children in particular.

Ms Vinall has been coordinating the visit of our 19 Japanese students and three teachers since last year and their arrival is nearly here.  All students get to benefit from having our Japanese visitors here and we will hold an assembly where they will present a play, performance etc that they have been practicing.  This is the same as what our students provided as a part of their work when in Japan last year.

As a significant part of the Woodend Community, we often seek to assist where possible outside of the school itself. In another post soon you will read that we are offering a collection point for fundraising for the building of a Wellness Centre for cancer patients and their families at Flinders Medical Centre.  Even in the short time that I have been here, a number of families have been impacted by cancer and last year when senior students were studying their citizenship curriculum, a number chose to raise awareness and funds for several types of cancer organisations.

Pupil Free days are given by the Government and then individual dates  approved by Governing Council. Hence at the next Governing Council meeting on 27th February, all of the proposed dates for 2019 will be put forward for approval. Directly after that, they will be published for everyone on this NewsBlog.  I know families like to plan ahead, so this year that will be possible.

Kind regards,

Steve Freeman