It is pleasing to have 2020 behind us and be back to some sense of routine and normality. Other than the snap 5-day lockdown in February, we have all been able to enjoy coming to school each day and seeing everyone’s smiling faces. Let’s all hope there are no more backward steps with COVID and that things continue to improve each week. The vaccine rollout over the coming months will hopefully have the desired effect both in Australia and more broadly across the globe. When we do look across the globe it certainly reminds us what a lucky country we live in.
We recently had the State-wide enrolment census day. I can confirm we have 546 students enrolled for 2021. New arrivals and International Student numbers have been impacted by COVID but it is pleasing that we have been able to offer an online enrolment for students stranded overseas who would otherwise have commenced here in our Language Centre. These students are participating in daily lessons via Microsoft Teams doing their English language classes for the next 6 months. Hopefully, travel restrictions will soon ease which will allow them to join the school later this year.
For students looking to enrol at Westall from our neighbouring primary schools, we have two big transition events this month. On the 10th of March, we hosted a very successful I Create Discovery Day. Over 400 primary school students were here for the day getting a taste of our iCreate program. Special thanks and congratulations to our students who led these activities with the primary school students. Then on the 30th of March, we have our Annual Open day/evening. Students will be dismissed at lunchtime on this day (1.10pm) with events running from 2pm-7pm. There will be a formal presentation at 6pm. If you have children, particularly of Grade 5 and 6 age, or friends and other family considering enrolment at Westall SC, please come along on the 30th March and encourage others to do likewise.
This is definitely a busy month as we also look forward to our 2 annual sports carnivals. Swimming carnival will be held on Tuesday 16th March and Athletics carnival will take place on Monday 22nd March. These events are so much more than just the actual swimming and athletic events and I encourage all students to participate in these days with pride, enthusiasm and house colour/team spirit. Both events are in Noble Park at the pool and athletics track located at Ross Reserve.
With our day to day learning and classroom focus, I am happy to share that all students have been issued with their own personal whiteboard pack. This pack is regularly used in classes to support the teachers in checking for student understanding. The packs also ensure students are active in the learning process and being forced to think and respond. The rate of student learning in turn determines the speed of the lesson. We want students spending as much time as possible in their “wobble zone” as this is the learning zone where the information is not too easy but not too hard either. The whiteboard packs help teachers to be targeting this zone and the more time we spend there, the greater the student learning is. It was pleasing to again hear from the Education Department last week that our learning data and results across the school are showing above-average learning gains. Great affirmation that the things we are doing in the classroom are working.
Further with our learning and classroom focus, in 2021, the Education Department has invested in a Tutor Program in all Victorian Government schools in response to school disruption in 2020. We have employed 2 fulltime tutors for the year. Lucy Chieng (Maths/Numeracy) and Betty Roberts (English/EAL) will begin working with students in the VCE and Senior School. As the year progresses more students across Years 7-10 will also gain access to tutor support at school.
Along with Mrs Lucy Chieng and Mrs Betty Roberts as our Tutor Teachers for 2021, we have a number new staff. Welcome to Ms Pegah Kasiri (Maths/Science), Ms Jessika Cichy (English/Global Literacy), Mr Jeffrey Pham (Maths/Science), Ms Tanuja Muthukuda (VCAL), Ms Summer Bao (Chinese), Ms Holly Parlanti (Literacy Support), Ms Jing Weng (Numeracy Support) and Mr Wolfe Eade-Macklin (ICT Support).
Can I please encourage families to join the Westall Hub Library. Membership is free and there are a range of services and activities you can engage with along with the traditional book borrowing (which is all free). See the link to the Westall Hub Library here.
Last day for Term 1 is Thursday 1st April. Students will be dismissed at 2.30pm.
Until next time,
Mr Tristan Lanarus
Annual privacy reminder
Please take time to remind yourself of the school’s collection statement, found on our website https://www.westallsc.vic.edu.au/files/file/SchoolsPrivacyPolicy-English.pdf