Dear families,

Recently I’ve returned from taking some leave. While I’ve been away there has been a strong team who continued leading the school in my absence and I would like to acknowledge Jane-Ann Natar, Cathie Luke, Aimee Aparicio, and Vicki Gregory for their work during this time.

Emmy Kiriakou who many of you know well, is retiring. She has been Director at the Woodend Children’s Centre long enough to have worked with many of the children and families who are currently in years Reception to year seven at our school. Her dedication to providing a strong foundation for young children in her care has seen them ready to enter school as reception students. We wish her well in retirement.

For those of you who have a child in year six or a seven, you will be well acquainted with the upcoming move to high school. Another parent update was posted early this week, and I encourage you to keep up-to-date with those information sheets that come from The Department. We have close connections with the relevant high schools, and they are sending teachers and students to meet with our students and begin that successful transition into high school. If you have questions specific to the transition into high school, please don’t hesitate to ask either your child’s teacher or a leadership member.

The teachers of the 2021 year 6/7 students began their collaborative planning in 2020 and have continued it throughout this year to ensure that children get the required experiences prior to moving into high school. Quite a number of these are as a total year 6 and 7 cohort.

I commend the teachers for the work that they are doing for your students both throughout this year and in preparation for 2022. One aspect of this has been a very difficult organization of camps for these students. As you might imagine, once interstate and overseas travel was not a possibility, it limited the number of options for many of the students at schools across the state. We are just one of many schools that attempted at very short notice to make alternative arrangements.

Teachers had an option of not having any camps this year as they are optional and are organized based on the goodwill of our teaching team. With great difficulty and overcoming a number of hurdles, they did secure appropriate campsites on a class by class basis. It was not possible for all of the sixes and sevens to go as a team. Rather than cancelling the idea of camps, teachers persevered and have managed to put together an offering for each and every year six and seven child on a class by class basis. This has been no mean feat.

As you can appreciate, with the sudden change in access to our SA/Vic border, things can change very quickly.

Despite COVID-19, many excursions have either happened or are planned, including The Living Kuarna Centre, Cubby Building at Belair National Park, Aquatics, Swimming, Sammy D Foundation visit, Glenthorne Farm, Wakakirri, The Launch of the Children’s Charter at the Adelaide Zoo, East End Market, Jump Rope, Adams Family Production, other classes to The Adelaide Zoo and the Urrbrae Wetlands.

We began the term with a focus on effective strategies for bullying and I know that those parents who came to our parent evening, found it very useful and engaging. Every child at school who was present in week one of this term attended workshops relevant to their age group. The feedback from teachers and students has been very positive. Teachers are continuing to follow up lessons following the workshop content.

Of course, that alone doesn’t resolve all instances of behaviour, but with teachers, students and parents working together, we can continue to focus on providing a safe learning environment for all our children. As issues and problems arise, we will treat them seriously and work to address them through a behaviour education approach. Teachers provide a Curriculum that follows a Behaviour Education approach, with strategies such as our Play is The Way program being integral to this learning process. Mistakes are to be expected and where appropriate, we treat them as a learning experience.

Last week I had the pleasure of supporting a team of students from Mrs MacFarlane’s class in the Kitchen program. It reinforced to me the quality of our students and the positive way they support each other, sharing roles, being polite and helpful, taking responsibility and solving problems successfully when working as a team. This doesn’t happen by accident and teachers strive to promote these behaviours.

The building program has moved to the stage where architects and surveyors have visited the school to begin to assess how they will design changes that are to be made. The main features will be;

  • Having the netball court covered by a roofed structure which is joined to the Gym via a set of doors that can be opened to allow access and maintain visibility during activities.
  • Work to be carried out to improve the acoustics and amenities of the Atrium. This will include a dedicated Design and Technology space and smaller areas that can be used as support rooms for small groups of students eg by an SSO or instrumental teacher or visiting Occupational therapist etc.
  • The current ‘Glasshouse’ to be enclosed as an all-weather/air-conditioned room that can be used by students and teachers.
  • Airconditioning upgrade to the Library and the Kitchen.

There may be other upgrades but that will be dependent on how far the budget stretches.

Thank you for the support that you give our teachers and school service officers in their varied roles.

Kind regards,
Steve Freeman