Welcome to the first edition of our newly re-launched school newsletter in this web-based format. I begin this edition by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the land and pay respects to elders both past and present, and to any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people reading this newsletter. I would also like to acknowledge the hard work of our newly formed Community Engagement Committee who have the task of getting this edition, and all future editions off the ground. Led by Brenda Elliott, this committee has done a great job canvassing the views of our community in putting together an exciting way to promote all the positive aspects of life at Mackellar Primary School – so thank you!
As we approach the end of term one, it is a nice opportunity to reflect upon what has been a busy and rewarding time here at school. Our prep students have settled into their classrooms very well. The remaining students have also settled well, even with a short interruption due to the 5-day lock down. This says a lot about their resilience, and of the hard work of the teachers and support staff at the school, in making sure our environment is settled, well organised and stimulating. With luck, we hopefully have seen the last of lock downs, yet should they occur again we are well placed to continue student learning accordingly.
This term we asked your views on how we are travelling at the moment through a survey from The University of Southern Queensland. We had a tremendous response to our request, and your answers are assisting us with our plans moving forward. During our recent curriculum day, we used this information to write ourselves a report card on how we are doing. In our next edition, I will share with you what that data told us and share with you our report card. So once again, thank you.
In the classrooms this term, we have commenced a number of initiatives to support students who needed a catch-up due to remote learning in 2020. These include the ‘Tutor Learning Initiative’ funded by the Department of Education where selected students receive intensive reading intervention three times per week for a term. Kerry Pasharis and Tracey Ngo have been outstanding this term in that role. Also in reading, Judy Tanner has been teaching an extension reading program for students in grades 3 and 5 each Wednesday to build on their already strong reading capacity which is very exciting and seeing great results. Renata Cugliari has been leading our Victorian High-Ability Program extending the problem solving and reasoning skills of students whilst Donna Piscopo is leading a number of staff in providing an oral language program across the prep department. As you can see, there is a great deal of support for students right across the school led by some outstanding staff for which we are very grateful.
Next term we plan to resume face to face assemblies with half the student population in the gym each week, and the other half joining parents online through a virtual assembly. Our student leaders are currently working with Mr Michielin on the format of the assembly to ensure it is student driven. We are also very keen to re-open our classrooms to parent helpers to assist with reading and other elements of classroom life, however this is still some time off yet. We will certainly let you know when this can occur so you can be a strong part of the learning journey.
As I sign off from this edition, I thank all those parents who make their children heroes by ensuring they are Here Every day Ready to learn On-time (HERO). We can only support and teach your children when they are here so I ask every parent to ensure they make a HERO of their children so they can achieve their very best!