What a year it has been. I feel a bit like I don’t know where to start to wrap up the year.
At the beginning of each year I know we all have high hopes of what we hope to achieve. Our educational aims were to further develop consistency across the classes and high impact teaching strategies. At the beginning of the year the department were very worried about the bush fire recovery. This certainly was an issue. Then COVID started to come into focus. I have been teaching for over 35 years (don’t protest about how young I look here). Never have we faced such a year with such enormous challenges.
I think it will take a long time to process what has happened over the year. Throughout it all, we have tried to maintain our focus on wellbeing and showing kindness to all. The pandemic has certainly made us all assess our priorities. Many of the small things don’t seem to need our attention or are not that important now. Our students and their families have remained the focus for me and all our staff. Everyone has been magnificent in the ways they have worked together and supported our children. As a leader it has been challenging to absorb all the complex information, the requirements of the department, analysing what is best for us in our community and building a program that developed over time and tried to support everyone’s needs. As in any situation, everyone in the community has different ideas as to how it should look. We have tried to build a balanced approach based on DET guidelines, whilst offering opportunities for differentiation.
Communication has been a key issue and our forced engagement with Compass has given us ways of working that we hadn’t thought of in the past. I have had opportunities to develop and learn about my own capabilities. I am very lucky to have a fantastic staff who have worked together to do the best they can for our students. Teachers, education support staff and the office team have been absolutely amazing. We have had children of staff doing VCE, staff who look after family members and all of us, like you, trying to get through a never before seen pandemic. I am very proud of our staff and whilst we have not achieved what perhaps we thought we would this year we have achieved so many other things and nearly all our students have continued to make progress through remote learning. The families have worked so hard and been so committed to supporting their children. They too have much to be proud of.
Most of all we look forward to the future. I think teachers are optimists and will always be looking for what we can do better. Next year our goals focus on achievement, wellbeing and connectedness to school. These are outlined by the department but are actually no different to what we always do in our Annual Implementation Plan. We will continue to work on our solid literacy and numeracy approaches, our Respectful Relationships program tied in to PITW and community connectedness. We will try and focus on how we can move forward together and enjoy every day. After all, it is only by facing adversity that we grow and understand the importance of the good in life and making the most of everything we can. I am immensely proud to lead our school, particularly this year.
Family time is special so enjoy some catching up and squeeze your special people that bit harder this year. Merry Christmas and I hope you have wonderful breaks whatever you do and we look forward to a wonderful 2021.
We are not sure yet how things will look as we start the school year at the end of January. We anticipate that things will be much more normal moving forward. There will be notification regarding operations that will come out on Compass on the 28th January confirming arrangements at the start of the school year. If we know earlier we will let you know but by the 28th at the latest.
Congratulations to all our prep students and their families on a wonderful on site transition morning last Tuesday. The children did a fantastic job and were wonderful. What a great start to their school life.
Students have started bringing home their book bags. The first instalment went very well and subsequent deliveries have worked as well. If you have any questions please give the office a call.
Last night we had our special night with the year 6 students. What a year they have had! Festivities started during the day and our students were able to be presented to two family members during the evening. The children then enjoyed a disco in the music room. Well done to everyone and we know our students are going off to secondary college well prepared. Have a great holiday and our very best wishes for the future. Stay in touch!
Support Program for 2021
The following is a copy of the advice from DET regarding the tutor program initiative.
Tutor learning initiative: Information for Parents, carers and families
The 2020 school year has been an extraordinary and challenging one for every school community.
Many Victorian students spent much of Terms 2 and 3 this year learning remotely and Victorian schools and their communities have made an exceptional effort to provide continuity of teaching and learning to our students during this time.
During Term 4, schools across Victoria have been focused on supporting students’ mental health and wellbeing, in addition to assisting students to readjust to on-site learning. Teachers have also been focusing on assessing student learning, addressing individual learning gaps and identifying those students who need extra support for their learning, using classroom-based observation and assessments.
We know that the remote learning experience was different for every student. While some students thrived, some students may not have engaged as fully with remote learning. For most of our students, regular high-quality teaching in 2021 will be enough to help them progress to the expected level of learning. Some students will benefit from additional intensive learning support in 2021.
As you may be aware, in response to this, the Victorian Government is investing $250 million in the Tutor Learning Initiative to enable schools across Victoria to engage around 4,100 teachers as tutors in 2021 to support students who need extra assistance with their learning. Schools will determine how this initiative is best implemented for their students and will ensure that students will get this support in a way that minimises disruptions to other learning or school activities.
By engaging additional teachers to support children with intensive learning, classroom teachers will have greater capacity to ensure that all other students’ achievement, engagement and wellbeing needs are met, so that all students receive the support they need in 2021.
During Term 4, schools will be working with students to understand their experience of remote learning and their return to onsite schooling.
DET have given schools the responsibility of designing the support program for each school. The program is only available for 2021 although we do have regular support opportunities here. At Ferntree Gully North our program will be a program tailored to meet the needs of our students. Wendy Barr, intervention teacher, will coordinate our program with Priscilla Salter. We also have Robyn Scanlon working in this area 3 days a week. In addition, Anita Burman and Louise Greening will be working 3 days a week for terms 1, 2 and 3. This term teachers have been working closely with students to ascertain their progress levels and determine how we can best meet their needs. The program will start at the beginning of the year and will run in 4-6 week cycles with goals, evaluation of these and establishing new goals to move forward. Students may be involved in one or more cycles depending on their needs. Literacy will be the starting point and as things evolve our support program may move into numeracy but of course the reading component of literacy is essential. If your child moves into the program families will be provided with information. Children who may need additional support at this time usually have an individual education plan. This term they have been designed to carry the students into 2021. These are reviewed each term. The program will also be reviewed on a regular basis to create the most effective outcomes.
Teacher expertise will play a key role in the implementation and monitoring of the program. As we progress through terms 1, 2 and 3 we will monitor and further develop the delivery of the program as needed. During 2021 parents will be given further information and will liaise with their classroom teacher and the support teacher.
Dates For Your Diary
17/12/20 Final day for students 1.30 finish, crossings manned by school staff
18/12/20 Curriculum Day – school not open
27/1/21 Wednesday Teachers at school for planning
28/1/21 Thursday Professional development for staff, office staff attending so the office will be closed
29/1/21 Friday First student day for years 1-6
1/2/21 Monday First Day for preps – 6
10/2/21 Wednesday Information Nights 6-7pm Prep-Year 2, 7-8pm
9/3/21 Tuesday Student/Parent/Teacher Conferences
Sue Dean and Priscilla Salter
Selecting captains is always difficult for our student body, usually because we have so many great candidates. This has been very true as we look towards 2021. Congratulations to all students who nominated. The speeches were fantastic and demonstrated thought, care, skill, empathy and humanity. It must have been difficult for students to cast their votes. We consider all our senior school students as leaders. In March next year we will be running a leadership incursion for all students in year 5/6 to support their development. Our captains will have a badge presentation at a full assembly early in 2021. The 2021 Captains are as follows:
Gordon House (yellow) - Ella B-S, Billy T
Paterson House (blue) - Millie C, Cooper C
Lawson House (green) - Hayley V, Luke M
Dennis House (red) - Amelia C, Henry W
School Co-Captains -
Claire P, Mia R, Hugh M, Cooper S
Thank you so much for the families whom have orgainsed payment and book pack collection.
Payment terms relate to payments made in full or via payment plan on Compass or through the office via phone.
If you processed payments or set up a payment plan after Tuesday 15th December book packs can be collected from the office on Wednesday 27th January 2021. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to call the office on 03 9758 1662.
Alternatively they can be sent to the classroom from Friday 29th January.
Please note the office will not be open Friday 18th December 2020 or Thursday 28th January 2021 due to staff being involved in professional learning, thank you for your understanding.
The Preps had a fantastic time celebrating the milestone of being at school for 100 days last Friday. They dressed as 100 year olds and the grey hair and walking sticks made most of them unrecognisable (especially Mr. Chamberlain and Mrs. Flanagan!).
We had so much fun walking VERY SLOWLY around the school to show ourselves off to the other classes and we completed some maths and literacy activities based on the number 100 throughout the day. A very big thank you to all the parents who helped make this day so special for us all by assisting their children with their costumes.
This year’s graduation has been amazing. During the day we played a heap of fun games and looked at all our old memories in a special video. When we all arrived in the evening, Mrs Dean opened the graduation and we all read out our short poems. The teachers announced the awards, and the leaving families were gifted with plants. We surprised our parents by singing a song for them, and then had some time to have photos with our friends. We all went to the Music Room to disco it out after that, and our parents picked us up at 8:30pm. This was such a special graduation, and all the teachers did so well at making it possible.
Written by Mikayla A and Tilly H
Thank you to our Enviro Leaders who did such a good job in such difficult times. Their help running the Enviro Centre and our sustainability initiatives such as compost and soft plastic collections has been invaluable. We wish Sally, Erin and Addison all the best as they head to secondary school, and look forward to Luna being an Enviro Centre expert in Grade 6.
Our Guinea Pig carers have done a wonderful job in caring for the piggies and sharing them with the wider school community when the Enviro Centre is open at lunchtimes. They have waited a long time to take up this role and are so patient and kind when supporting students from all year levels to safely and gentle pat or hold a guinea pig. It was lovely to see so many Grade 5 and Grade 6 students attend our last opening.
To the families who volunteered to do duty on the weekends and over the summer holidays, thank you so much. The school cannot have animals without the support of families to care for them, and the students love the opportunity to look after the animals during the school term.
From everyone involved in the Enviro Centre thank you for your support of the Enviro Centre and we hope you enjoy the summer break. See you next year!
Congratulations to the following students who received Student of the Week:
|PREP C||Alfie G||Resilience||For giving all learning tasks his best efforts this week. Keep it up!|
|PREP F||Caeden R||Excellence||For giving his personal best during maths and writing some fantastic number sentences|
|1/2D||Max X||Resilience||For showing resilience during our persuasive writing session. Excellent work Max!|
|1/2F||Kaiden T||Resilience||For showing resilience by keeping on task during writing this week|
|1/2G||Violet D||Excellence||For Excellence in pursuing her personal best in all writing tasks this week!|
|1/2K||Summer C||Resilience||For showing resilience with her persuasive writing this week|
|1/2O||Amelia F||Excellence||For showing excellence in her persuasive writing this week! Great job!|
|3/4A||Mae A||Respect||For always demonstrating respect to her peers and teachers!|
|3/4B||Clodagh G||Excellence||For striving to achieve her personal best in all areas of her learning, keep it up!|
|3/4E||Noah H||Excellence||For showing excellence by stepping out of his comfort zone during readers theatre this week|
|3/4K||Eli L||Integrity||For working hard to ask for help when he needs it, and for treating others as he would like to be treated|
|3/4S||Reuben C||Respect||For showing respect when listening to instructions|
|5/6D||Callan B||Excellence||For showing excellence during Maths and helping his peers to divide decimals. Great job Callan!|
|5/6F||Lachlan P||Excellence||For confdently explaining how to convert fractions to decimals|
|5/6G||Cameron K||Excellence||For making strong choices about his learning partners when moving into work time|
|5/6I||Ella B-S||Respect||For consistently respecting other students and classroom equipment. Thank you|
|5/6S||Adrian B||Excellence||For prioritisng his learning by making sure he is completing his learning tasks|
|MUSIC||CJ S 3/4B||Excellence||For being an excellent role model in Music|
|LOTE||Chloe S 1/2G||Excellence||For excellence in readinga and recalling Japanese numerals|
|ART||River G 3/4E||Respect||For always being respectful and helpful in the artroom|
|PHYSICAL EDUCATION||Mia R 5/6S||Integrity||For displaying integrity in helping a classmate|
|PREP C||Avni C||Excellence||For writing a fantastic letter to her Grade 1 teacher|
|PREP F||Elsa R||Excellence||For the fantastic improvement she has made with her writing|
|1 /2 D||Sami A||Respect||For showing respect to others by always offering assistance to those who need it|
|1 /2 F||Stirling W||Resilience||For his ongoing resilience this week in challenging his learning|
|1 /2 G||Ellie M||Respect||For continuously showing respect towards her peers and teachers!|
|1 /2 K||Jasper N||Resilience||For demonstrating good persistence during maths this week|
|1 /2O||Allan B||Resilience||For showing resilience in challenging his learning|
|3 /4A||Brax T||Excellence||For always striving to achieve his personal best work and taking risks in his learning|
|3 /4B||Dexter S||Excellence||For consistently being a respectful member of our class and always making strong choices|
|3 /4E||Isabella S||Resilience||For showing resilience by stepping out of her comfort zone during readers theatre this week|
|3 /4K||Taj W||Resilience||For showing resilience by persisting in his learning this week and not giving up. Great work!|
|3 /4S||Maddie R||Excellence||For always striving for her personal best|
|5 /6D||Alyssa H||Respect||For consistently showing respect to her peers and teachers|
|5 /6F||Sally L||Respect||For always showing respect at all times|
|5 /6G||Charli L||Respect||For consistently showing respect and being kind to all|
|5/6I||Tilly H||Excellence||For being an outstanding role model both in and out of the classroom|
|5 /6S||Chelsea S||Respect||For always being respectful to her teachers and peers|
|MUSIC||Annie C||Excellence||For giving 100% to all that she does in Music|
|Respect||For showing respect and kindeness to others when solving problems in class|
|ART||Brax T 34A||Integrity||For showing integrity in the choices he makes during Art|
|PHYSICAL EDUCATION||Mikayla A 56G||Integrity||For always making strong choices|
|STEM||Shaun B 56D||Excellence||For excelling in his completion of STEM challenges|