principal's message

winter magic market

I can’t believe we are only one week out from the Winter Magic Market and a chance to celebrate our school turning 90! BNW is a hive of activity at the moment; in addition to all the incredible teaching and learning programs and the array of extra-curricular activities we always have available, there is an increased sense of liveliness amongst all community members, as people find ways to participate in the lead up to our great fundraising annual event. I particularly enjoy this lead up, as I get to know some of the parents and caregivers in a different sense; finding out more about people’s interests and talents. It’s this diversity of backgrounds and experiences that make our community so rich, but it also continually shapes and reshapes the way our market (and other events) run. For example, this year I am seeing a stronger focus on sustainability - a movement that has come predominantly from students and families. One way this has re-shaped our market is through the selling of higher-quality, homemade toys and circus gear, which I cannot wait to see the kids get their hands on! It is so exciting to see how each individual within our community can have an impact on our whole school and I thank each of you for your involvement. If you have not yet signed up for a shift, there is still time, spaces available and plenty of fun to be had!

2020 enrolment forms due

Our Winter Magic Market is an excellent demonstration of our school community spirit, bringing many interested families to my door for a tour. So this is a fantastic time to remind all existing families that enrolment forms (for younger siblings) are now due for 2020. We ask for enrolment forms to be handed in by the beginning of August each year, so we are able to make plans for the following year. With the change of enrolment policy last year, this deadline is more important than ever. Following the Department’s policy, we will accept student enrolments for next year in the following phases:

Local enrolments (guaranteed placement)

Sibling enrolments

Out-of-zone enrolments (if space allows) 

As we have over 40 families on a waitlist in category 3, it is important that I am able to determine an accurate number of places we have available for incoming, out-of-zone students and inform these families accordingly. Late sibling enrolments that are out-of-zone may not be able to be accepted if classes are already full. If you have not yet handed in an enrolment form but need to do so, please collect one from the front office.

attitudes to school survey

Our 2019 Attitudes to School Survey (AtoSS) results have come in and are awaiting analysis by many stakeholders within the school. The AtoSS is completed by students in grades 4-6 annually, from every government school in Victoria. Just as we did last year, teachers and leadership are interested in taking the results back to the students to help us unpack, analyse and understand what the data is telling us. This was an incredibly powerful process last year; the information students gathered and presented sparked many actions within the school and wider community. 

 

Students identified issues of safety in the yard, which were addressed through increased yard duty teachers, increased access to play-resources in the yard, a review of lunch clubs and increased teacher training in Restorative Practices. Students identified that they felt they were low on resilience - learning, social and self. This sparked actions around visiting experts coming to the school to speak with teachers, students and families (such as Tuning Into Teens this week), funded teaching, learning and leadership programs within classrooms, a schoolwide exploration of The Learning Pit and becoming comfortable with discomfort as well as our Resilience Week last year. Discussions around equity (age, gender, cultural background and interests) were raised, with actions including the return of the 5/6 combined camp and the initiation of our Oval Project. 

 

From the start, this data analysis and action planning excited me. It’s real, it is change-making and it is student-driven. I love the idea that we can respond to concerns within our school and community and harness authentic teachable moments that move people from feeling powerless to empowered. Equity on the oval has been an issue perhaps as long as ovals (or co-ed primary schools?) existed. I have visited schools across the world, spoken to educators and educational leaders from wide and far and the issues are almost always there… but starting in 2018, Brunswick North West students (in partnership with Lauren French of Body Safety Australia) are doing something about this. Something that may change the world (in time… I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here!). Lauren has completed her research project report and has given me permission to publish it through our newsletter, for your interest. Our intention is to use this report to take the idea (How can we create more equitable spaces for all students in every yard?) further; sharing this report with other organisations to locate and receive funding for further student improvements. A few organisations are already interested, so stay tuned and enjoy the read! 

 

If you missed this week’s Tuning into Teens, there are still two more sessions that are open for everyone! We have received rave reviews about the content and presenter. Debbie Wood (one of our highly talented parents and live sketch artists) has kindly let us include her sketch of the night’s information to entice families further for sessions 2 & 3. Please do make sure you register though (it’s open to all, it’s just so we have enough seats and biscuits!).

 

2D vs 3D

This week Alice, Jessie and I attended maths training as part of the Primary Maths & Science Specialist project they are participating in. This is always a thrilling time for me, to work with teachers on pedagogy and best practice; to be exposed to and collaborating with some of the best educational researchers in Australia. This week’s sessions were particularly special for our school, as Alice and Jessie presented our school’s best practice in community engagement and formative assessment to over 100 of their PMSS peers. I felt extremely proud of Alice, Jessie and our whole school during this moment and we are excited that we can support other schools to adopt great processes.

This week one of the paid presenters, Dr Jill Brown of ACU, was discussing the impact of screen usage on young people’s ability to develop a good understanding of 3D shapes. As children of previous generations, many of us explored the outside world through our play and if we didn’t, we played with LEGO or blocks, sandcastles, pillow forts or alike. All of these activities are fun, active and social, which is what I regularly hear families mourn over when discussing screen time. But what else has become lost, with so many of us stuck to screens? Dr Brown put forward that young people’s concepts of 3D solids, their properties, how to manipulate them and even how to visualise them is being damaged by a reduction in time with the 3D world. I started to wonder, does this mean our students will find interpreting 3D shapes when drawn in 2D easier? But after more thought realised that it is not easy to visualise something you can’t conceptualise… This is an interesting idea that I want to ponder more… while I sit in my pillow fort and play with LEGO.

arts information evening & arts festival

I want to extend a big thank you to Andrew, Jack and Kate Mc, who spoke to community members about the Arts Program and term 4’s Arts Festival on Wednesday night, this week. I am continually impressed by the way our teachers are able to share their passions through their teaching. During this night we heard about philosophies and vision of the Arts Program and heard about some of the truly incredible learnings that happen in the Art Studio and MPR. 

The second portion of the evening was focused on the upcoming Arts Festival in term 4. The Arts Festival is well into planning mode (and beyond) with children already creating elements of the special afternoon. For anyone who was not able to attend, the first-ever BNW Arts Festival was held in 2017. It was called ‘Unseen Forces’ and was completed in partnership with an Artist in Residence: Lauren Simmonds. This was an exciting time for our community, as we transitioned from a much more traditional, passive dance-stage performance to an interactive, multi-disciplinary artistic experience that utilised our entire yard. The Specialist team have reflected on the wins and challenges from 2017 and have planned this year’s Arts Festival to be filled with colour, creativity, movement, our school community and our students’ voice and vision. 

 

The information evening was exciting and inspirational and I know many of the families in attendance found it really interesting to know more. If you are interested in helping out with the Arts program or the Arts festival, please don’t hesitate to contact Andrew, Kate McCormack, Jack Madin or the front office.

 

variety show

Yesterday was our second JSC Variety Show session for 2019 and wowsers, I’m glad that this is becoming a new tradition! “A.J. Hitmaker” is quite the talent scout, but what really brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes? Your children. For 45 minutes during a very busy day, I was able to sit in the MPR with sun shining on my back and the Junior School spread out in front of me and watch the particular (and peculiar) skills and talents of our students in grades 1 and 2. Now I think you all know that I absolutely love and adore your children, but I try to always allow for space for them to surprise me. And surprise me they did! 

I was knocked out with the talents displayed by our kids, by their creativity and their showmanship. But what took my breath away, was the social and inner strength demonstrated by so many students. Just one example of this is a grade 1 student who was due to perform a solo song. Before even walking on stage, a serious case of stage fright was evident; tears streaming down her face, hugging herself tightly, this little girl walked out on stage to the microphone and the audience went silent… A.J. Hitmaker made his way across stage to give gentle words of encouragement; this helped… a touch. Then the magic happened. A student from the audience - a peer - called out. Not a sneer or a laugh, but words of encouragement “You can do this!” and slowly the audience began to clap and cheer this would-be performer, until she had enough breath to start singing. And wow, did she sing?! But you know what? Even if the singing had been less pleasant to the ears, the show had already met an ultimate point for me - a demonstration of incredible resilience and persistence on this student’s behalf and a wonderful, moving, powerful demonstration of the strength of our community when we look after each other, when we build each other up and cheer each other on. After the performance, murmurs spread throughout the audience and again, all I could hear were words of encouragement and appreciation; for this students’ courage, her singing or both and then to top it off, Grace and Perry (the remarkable presenters of the afternoon) provided specific and positive feedback to the student that surely cemented this experience for everyone in the room.

 

I thank you all for the way you are working with us to build our young people’s resilience. I thank you all for partnering with the school in seeing the importance of social emotional learning. I thank Andrew “A.J. Hitmaker” for leading JSC through these student projects and all the Arts teachers for inspiring this performance culture within our school. I hope the JSC is ready for a 2020 Variety Show, because I’m not sure I can live without them, now!

friday 16th august assembly

On Friday 16th August, our assembly item will start earlier, to incorporate performances from all year levels to celebrate Indonesian Independence Day (Hari Merdeka). After the assembly will invite community members to participate in games from the performances for fifteen minutes or so. We will let you know of an updated start time next week, as we improve our timing in rehearsals, but we wanted to let all families know about this change and to encourage you all to come along! 

Foundation students: Marching

Junior Students: Kerupuk eating competition

Middle: Pen in the bottle competition

Senior: Cultural exhibition – Angklung performance (Twinkle twinkle little star)

Balinese dance – Rosa