Dear parents and caregivers,

It was indeed a lovely sight to see parents at our recent sports day, which I know the teachers and students both appreciated. After such a long time without parents at school events, it was such a delight to see. It was so lovely to have the informal conversations with parents as I walked around the events. Thank you to everyone for following our request to have just one person from each family at a time on site. This meant that we had a manageable number of people who enjoyed watching the sports events. A big thank you to Matthew Hehner who worked with students to get the program in place. A big thank you also to all of the teachers and school service officers who were there assisting at each event either for their class, or for students who they work with.

As we know, in the not too distant future it is planned to have the state borders opened, and we anticipate that there will be some new directions given to schools about how to manage from that point on. Once I receive that information, I will share it through the News Blog and Class Facebook pages. I really appreciate the way that you have all worked very hard to ensure that we keep our students and staff safe. We have some students and some staff who are in the vulnerable  category which we have to be mindful of.

For those of you who have students in year six or year seven, we are also rapidly approaching the last weeks of their primary school life. Our teachers have been working diligently to make their last weeks at primary school memorable, and to prepare them for high school. While it may feel somewhat strange as a year six parent to think about high school in 2022, I am sure that there will be a very smooth transition as there has been a lot of work put into place by teachers both from Woodend school and the respective high schoosl. The recent camps have been enjoyed immensely, and left a very positive feeling with all concerned. Wirraway, Aldinga and Woodhouse are great places to have camps. In 2022, the older students will have an opportunity to travel to the Flinders Ranges for a unique experience while on camp.

On Friday I had the pleasure of sitting with a class of students while they linked through zoom with a class from Myojo Elementary School in Tokyo. They played a game where they had to guess what the other class was describing either in Japanese or in English. Our students did extremely well and had a lot of fun at the same time. It was great to see the teachers in Japan who we have had here and hosted in the past. They are very keen to reignite our Homestay program and we intend to do that as soon as we are permitted by The Department.

Peter Combe (famous for Spaghetti Bolognese) is coming to our school to perform a concert on Monday November 8, to a number of classes. I know both students and teachers are looking forward to this concert.

Final meetings are being held with architects and The Department in relation to our building program, and it is still planned to begin building during February 2022. Decisions around the covered outdoor learning area (COLA) have been made, the connection between the COLA and the current gymnasium is finalised, with decisions about the new flooring and line marking and installation of netball and basketball equipment. The atrium is going to look absolutely fantastic with its new specialised STEAM classroom spaces, and the library is getting a makeover in order to provide a more functional space for student learning.

You may recall that early in our building discussions, we were successful in keeping the transportable building commonly known as the Pumpkin Building, adjacent to the canteen. Thanks to Steven Warren and his team, it has now been painted throughout in preparation for two early years classes in 2022, and will shortly be followed with new carpeting and some new furniture. Already it looks like a totally changed space which will be enjoyed by our new reception children.

Placement of students into classes for 2022 has also been a focus of attention by teachers and leaders, and we have now closed off enrolments for receptions for 2022. We do have a few places available in year one, as well as a couple in the years 4 to 6, however, they are very limited. If anyone has yet to enroll their children, it will require an expression of interest in the first place prior to any decisions being made about what can be offered for 2022.

To finish, thank you to Matthew Shilling, Ward Councillor, who has recently advised us that Marion Council has been working on a plan to put a Wombat crossing on Great Eastern Avenue where our Woodend pathway crosses. This will certainly make the crossing of Great Eastern Avenue safer for our students, as they travel both to and from school as well as on the weekends. As we get more information, it will be shared with you all.

Kind regards,

Steve Freeman