Newsletter - 28th February 2024
1st, 8th, 15th & 22nd March: Swim & Gym Program at Ballarat Aquatic & Lifestyle Centre
1st March, 3:30pm: Parents & Friends Meeting
11th March: Labour Day Public Holiday
13th-25th March: Naplan Testing Period
23rd March: Clarkes Hill Community Fair
28th March: Last Day of Term 1; End of Term Assembly 1:30pm
29th March: Good Friday
31st March: Easter Sunday
15th April: Term 1 starts; School Closure Day - Staff Professional Development
16th April: Students return to commence Term 2
Wow, can you believe we are halfway through Term One already? What a busy start we have had to the term. Swim and Gym last week was a great success and we look forward to continuing that every Friday until the end of the term.
I need to offer a huge thank you to Leah’s mum, Lisa and brother, Troy for taking a load of rubbish to the tip last week. Our yard is looking so good and it is always great to have a clean out.
Thank you also to the parents who have been entering absences into PAM before school if their child is going to be away. This makes it much easier for the staff.
I am looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible on Friday afternoon for our first Parents and Friends meeting at 3.30p.m.
Have a great week,
Parent Teacher Child Conversations
Last week we commenced the Parent Teacher Child conversations. I hope you found these beneficial, I know the staff certainly do. If you haven’t had a chance to meet with your child’s teachers yet, and you don’t have an upcoming appointment, please get in touch with the teachers to arrange a time.
Parents and Friends Meeting
This Friday, 1st March, was to be the School Advisory Council meeting, however, we have decided to change it to a Parents and Friends Meeting. A chance for all parents to come along at 3.30p.m, listen to what the Parents and Friends have planned and have a chat with each other. Afternoon tea will be provided. We hope to see you there.
This weekend, the Parents and Friends begin their fundraising for 2024 at the Sunflowers in Dunnstown. I can't thank you enough for the efforts that go into this. If any parents are available to assist and they haven’t let Bryden know, please get in touch with her. Messages have gone out on the Parents and Friends Facebook page. If you are not on Facebook, please let the school know and we will get you in touch with the right people.
SPECIAL REPORT: The Wellbeing Barometer 2024 (SchoolTV)
The Wellbeing Barometer survey has proven to be an invaluable tool for schools, providing insights into the state of youth mental health and wellbeing. Whilst last year’s results focussed the spotlight on areas of concern, there were also many highlights that demonstrated the resilience and adaptability of students and emphasised the necessity of prevention strategies.
Participating in this year's survey, will assist in identifying areas of strength and concern, as well as pinpointing opportunities for early intervention. Previously gathered information has helped support families as they navigate difficult conversations that enable understanding and foster connections to build relationships.
This survey is part of an ongoing, longitudinal study, with the results being instrumental in tailoring support for students and their families. Participation is strongly encouraged, as it provides a comprehensive view of students' experiences, challenges, and achievements over the past year. Its aim is to capture a comprehensive picture of young people's lives, allowing for a tailored approach to enhance mental and emotional wellbeing.
We encourage you to take a few moments to complete a survey for each of your children. This will help us determine the nature and extent of your concerns and how best to support families in the months ahead. Responses remain anonymous and will only be reported on an aggregated basis. You are asked to base your responses on observations made in the last 12 months.
Acquiring the skills for future independence, taking healthy risks, and giving young people the opportunity to emancipate from parents, are key developmental tasks that are essential if we are to stave off the impact of mental illness in the future. Please reflect on the information offered in this Special Report, and as always, we welcome your feedback. If this raises any concerns for you or your child, please reach out to the school or seek professional medical advice.
Here is the link to your special report:
We are very excited, and some are possibly exhausted, about the forthcoming Community Fair on Saturday, March 23rd. I am sure we will hear more about this in the forthcoming weeks and this Friday at the Parents and Friends Meeting. A huge thank you to everyone who is behind this wonderful event.
The Parents and Friends are once again conducting their Easter Raffle. Families are asked to donate items for the raffle. These can be left in the school office at any time. A sheet of tickets will also be sent home. Please ensure that the name and phone number of each ticket sold is clearly marked.
We are thrilled to announce that our school, along with many others, has joined the Diocese of Ballarat's Structured Literacy Project. In 2024 we will be taking the first steps towards a renewed, evidence-based approach to Literacy instruction through participation in this award-winning research partnership with La Trobe University.
The Sciences of Reading and Learning tell us that a systematic, explicit approach to the teaching of the alphabetic code and the grammatical rules that underpin written English offers our students the best chance at becoming confidently literate. The approach we are strategically adopting is called Structured Literacy, which is the approach endorsed by the International Dyslexia Association, the International Literacy Association and the Australian National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy.
Our whole staff group will be working closely with the Structured Literacy team from the Catholic Education Office over the next few years, to learn more about the principles, elements and characteristics of a Structured Literacy approach. This is a substantial change that will take time. However, we are assured by the results achieved in the pilot schools and the endorsement of the La Trobe University researchers.
Recently you will have received an endorsement and opt out letter from DOBCEL. If you wish your child’s data to not be included in the project it is important that you return the opt out form in the next week.
We will strive to keep you updated on the progress of this important project, but for now you may wish to watch this short video from the DOBCEL Structured Literacy team to find out more, please use the link below.
South Room News
Last Thursday the year 3-6 students received a visit from Leading Senior Constable Brendan Everard from Victoria Police. Brendan invited our students to participate in an exciting new Youth Crime Prevention Competition.
The competition has several objectives including the following:
To encourage respectful decision making around people & property and encourage good decision making in regards to crime prevention
- Extending the concept of youth crime prevention into the Victoria school system
- To reduce the incidence of crime in society through prevention strategies
- To empower young people to have a better understanding, the role Police have in society
The competition will encourage participants to think about, and subsequently create crime prevention ideas using all forms of medium (print, music, video etc) to ultimately develop a safer community for everyone.
The students are keen to be involved and have already begun brainstorming some ideas. We look forward to keeping you updated with their entries in the months to come.
North Room News
We are halfway through the first term and we continue to be very busy in the classroom. The Swim and Gym sessions started last Friday which everyone seemed to enjoy. Please remember to wear your bathers under your school uniform for swimming and pack your swimming bag with thongs/crocs, towel, underwear, lunch box and drink bottle.
Thank you to parents for packing brain break food into a separate small container. This makes eating and learning simultaneously easier for all. Also a big thank you for reading with your child each night and returning the reading log to school signed the next day.
Genevieve: Last Friday I went to Swim and Gym at the Aquatic Centre. It was fun. My favourite thing in the pool was 'sinkies'. Then at the gym I did everything and I loved it. I was really tired. In the classroom I have been learning phonemes. Phonemes are the sounds of the letters. I am reading words. I feel good at school.
Skyler: At school I am learning about God, helping people, numbers and letters. I am learning about letter phonemes, the letter sounds. I like school and mostly feel excited. On Friday we go to Swim and Gym. Last friday was lots of fun but I was tired at the end. My favourite thing was playing with the sinkies and making a board sandwich in the pool. I liked the ball pit at the Gym.
Adelaide: Last Friday we had Swim and Gym. The gym was really hot but we had alot of fun. My favourite thing for the day was swimming because I went in the deep pool. I gave the best High 5 to the instructor at the end. I am learning more about phonemes, quadgraphs are four letters that make one sound called a phoneme. I am working towards improving my three digit counting.
Jeremiah: I went to the Swim and Gym on Friday and it was good, we went on the bus to Ballarat. In class I am learning about phonemes and counting. At break time I have been building in the sandpit with my friends, Skyler and Gen.
Child Safety Information – all on website
As is stated on our Vision and Mission, our schools ‘…are committed to the safety, wellbeing and inclusion of all children and young people.’ Our procedures and policies are now in line with the 11 Child Safe Standards and can be found on the St Mary's website under the tab – Child Safety.
Child Safe Standard 1: Culturally Safe Environments
Organisations establish a culturally safe environment in which the diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children and young people are respected and valued.
Child Safe Standard 2: Child Safety and Wellbeing is embedded in Leadership, Governance and Culture
Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture. Our Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy confirms the school's commitment to child safety and includes a plan to ensure a child-safe culture is championed and implemented across the school.