Dear Parents and Guardians,
Wow, what a week. I’m sure no one expected to be in lockdown so quickly at this time of year, but how fortunate we all are that we can resume on-site learning after only 3 days. Please use the links in the following excerpt to keep you up to date with the latest Coivid information:
- The wellbeing of all our students is our priority and our school staff and teachers are here to support you and your family. Information that might be of assistance to you in talking to your child about COVID-19 is available. If you are concerned about your wellbeing or that of your child, please contact the school so we can talk with you about how we can best assist. Other sources of support include: Parent Line 13 22 89 and Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.
- The Department’s COVID-19 helpline is also available on weekdays from 8.30am to 5pm on 1800 338 663. If you know a family who speak a language or languages other than English and you know they would like further information, interpreting services are available by phoning 131 450 first.
- For families with a child with a disability, the Association for Children with a Disability (ACD) has additional information.
- And, finally, a reminder that if you, your child, or a family member develops symptoms of COVID-19 you should get tested at a COVID-19 testing facility and stay home.
- Each family should regularly check the list of public exposure sites in Victoria (where a person with COVID-19 has attended), and if anyone in the family has attended a site at the times listed, follow the instructions given.
It is also important to wear a mask when indoors and outdoors when 1.5m distance cannot be achieved. Please ensure you wear a mask when you enter the school at any time.
School Council Election: Nominations for vacancies on School Council closed yesterday. It is pleasing that so many parents want to be part of the governing element of the school and put their name forward to be on School Council. Because the number of nominations exceeded the number of vacancies we need to hold an election. You will receive a ballot paper in the post mid next week and I strongly encourage you to cast your vote by returning the ballot paper by 4.00pm on Wednesday 3rd March by post or in person. Please look out for the ballot paper in your mailbox next week.
Our Parent Member Category Candidates are:
- Liz Darwish
- Lisa Pilkington
- Janet Young
- Jamie Mackinnon
- Laura Bennett
- Catherine Millar
- Abraham Nyieth
- Dan Wood
We also have more candidates for the School Employee Category and the staff will be undertaking a vote to determine their representative.
- Jayden Spudvillas-Powell
- Kathy Cvitkovic
- Vanessa Moore
Bridging the Digital Divide: In the 2020/21 State Budget, the Victorian Government announced an investment of $24.5 million over the 2021 school year to support students and their families to bridge the digital divide. This will provide equity of access to technology and help students thrive and prosper, regardless of their background. This means that students who borrowed a school device during remote and flexible learning last year in 2020 can retain the computer/iPad that was loaned to them. Transfer of ownership is a one-off initiative. Schools and the Department will not provide a replacement computer for any that are lost, damaged, stolen or develop defects that the school technical support team cannot address. If your child borrowed a device please collect it from the office eat your earliest convenience.
Reading at Home: Reading is a fundamental skill that we focus on as a priority at Melton West PS. An interesting fact that has emerged through years of research is about the amount of time children read outside of school and the impact this has on their reading ability. I have included a visual representation that outlines the more children read at home, the more exposure they get to new words, which helps them with their overall learning through having an extensive vocabulary.
Intervention: This year the government has provided additional funding to schools to help students catch up or be extended due to the disruption of learning they faced in 2020 due to Covid-19. Each school can decide how to provide this additional support and our model is based on the classroom teacher having the best knowledge of the students’ learning needs, so they deliver the additional focused intervention teaching. We have 4 teachers who teach the Inquiry lessons to each class in an area. The Inquiry lessons are the units of work that cover the broad topics of sustainability, identity and culture, change, conservation etc. Whilst these teachers take the class for 3 hours per week, the classroom teacher takes small groups or individuals based on the data that may need additional time to master a concept. These lessons are short and sharp and are in addition to their normal reading program. We will be monitoring their progress over time, looking for evidence that this approach is the best way to help our students catch up.
ICT Acceptable Use Agreement: Earlier in the term each child brought home the Acceptable Use Agreement for ICT. Students need to bring back a signed permission form before they will be able to access computers and iPads in the school. The document outlines the expectations of behaviour when using the internet. Please go thought this with your child as you sign it. Please return as soon as possible so that we can start using ICT in classrooms, as they are intended.
Supervision After School: As you may be aware, there is a park on the corner of Coburns Road and West Melton Drive, where a number of students wait for their parents afterschool. Please be aware that the school is not able to provide teacher supervision in this area. I therefore suggest that you consider an alternative location at which your child waits to be picked up. Can I also remind you that we have an After School care facility run by Extend that is safe and well supervised and children can attend at a minimal cost? Please contact the school if you would like further information about Extend. Enrolment Packs are available at the office.
High Levels of Learning for All