Welcome back to Term 4. I hope students have had a restful and enjoyable break.
This term we have planned some exciting events. Please take note of upcoming events in our school calendar and on our newsletter. A reminder that we will begin to phase out Skoolbag. Please download the Schoolzine app to keep up to date with alerts and to use for absentee notification.
Rainbow Family Walkathon
Our Family Rainbow Walkathon is fast approaching. Please keep collecting sponsorship for the event. Remember, all money must be returned by Friday 2 November in order to get your family tickets (one for every $10 raised) in our barrell draws. Money can start coming in when collected. All money to go to Lisa Monro in the Front Office. Please make sure permission notes have been returned. Damien Webb will be connecting with parent helpers in the next week to confirm involvement. A reminder that it is a uniform free day and students are encouraged to wear rainbow themed clothes. A white shirt would be best and clothes that students don't mind getting coloured powder sprayed on. Please contact your child's class teacher should your child not want to be sprayed with coloured powder. We understand some students might not like this and they can instead, watch the colour spraying. The coloured powder can be washed out however a handy tip would be for students to bring a towel to sit on in the car on the way home. The walkathon has been planned for the end of the day so more families can be involved and students can go straight home instead of having to get changed at school.
Term 4 Focus - Building Relationships with Community
This year our school theme has been centred on Relationships. In Term 1, we focused on ourselves, Term 2 on our Relationship with God, Term 3 was family and Term 4 will be community, looking at ways we can strengthen connection with our local and wider communities. We begin a new chapter as we form partnership with Global School Partners (GSP). Through GSP we will be connecting with Jariah Education Centre in Kenya. We will be learning about the school, students and community while looking at ways we can support and help them into the future. Watch this space!
Before School Care
Thank you to everyone who has expressed interest in before school care. This was a direct response to feedback we received via the annual school survey. We have had 22 interested placements which is significant. We will confirm starting date for before school care. This will be an early 20 minute session (between 8-8.20am) to help families with morning routine. I will be taking the lead with running this supervision with other staff members stepping in if I am unavailable. It will be a quiet library time experience of drawing and/or reading. A small donation will be appreciated to access this. Official school supervision starts half an hour prior to the start of school. As we start school at 8.50am, supervision starts at 8.20am.
The first Fete Committee meeting will be held on Monday 22 October at 5.30pm in the school library. This meeting is for people to volunteer to take lead roles with coordinating the upcoming Fete (Saturday 16 March 2019). Please rsvp to the school community council email email@example.com for this meeting. There will be ongoing Fete Committee Meetings occurring over the next 6 months and we would appreciate ongoing committment if attending the first meeting. As you can imagine, the fete is a huge undertaking and the lead Fete Committee need to have people taking on roles to share the responsibility. If you can't commit to taking on a lead role on the Fete Committee, you could also send through any ideas you have to the council email or express interest in helping on the day.
Over the year, I have been observing the reward system in place at St Michael's with the 'bands'. I have concerns with this system and have ask for feedback from staff and senior students regarding this. A few things have come up.
- The fairness of the system - some students who make the right choices all the time not receiving as many gotchas/bands compared to others
- Older students not seeing the value in it
- Monitoring and recording how many gotchas/bands students have
- Some students bringing in past bands from previous years
- Students receiving gotchas/bands towards the end of the year and having to always start fresh at the start of each year
- Promoting with students extrinsic motivation instead of intrinsic motivation, with some students only doing the right thing in order to receive a gotcha
After much discussion with staff, students and school community council, we have decided to move away from this system at the end of the year. Like many things, this system was introduced at a time that was needed and has run its course. It is now time to look towards something new that will engage all students more effectively.
Starting in 2019 we will no longer have gotcha/band system. We will be implementing a new approach.
- Our '4 Bees' will continue to be our focus - Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible and Be a Learner'
- Our weekly Harmony Awards will change and be given out on a Friday at morning gathering (8.50am). Throughout the year, every student will receive at least one of these awards - teachers will spot something special in every child and ensure this is recognised. We will move to our newsletter going out on Wednesday afternoon to give notice of these awards going out.
- We will be introducing a new 'Rainbow Award'. These will be significant awards and celebrated as such with a special Awards Assembly every term.
- Each classroom teacher will nominate 2 students from their class every term to receive Rainbow Awards. These will be rewarded to those students who are displaying our '4 Bees' consistently.
- Class teachers will present these Rainbow Awards to specifically acknowledge why students are receiving the awards.
- At the end of Term 4, students who have received a Rainbow Award will all have a special lunch/fun afternoon, similar to the current white band lunch.
- Students can receive multiple Rainbow Awards throughout their schooling if they are consistently displaying our '4 Bees'.
- Students (and parents) will be notified via the newsletter each term if they are receiving a Rainbow Award and when that will be presented so parents could attend if possible.
The intention of changing the reward system is to move away from promoting with students in order to do the right thing, you must be rewarded. We would like students to be making the right choice because it is the right thing to do. We would like to enhance the values in our students to demonstrate kindness, forgiveness, empathy, acceptance, hard work, persistence, team work and respect because of the positive impact this has on them and those around them, not just because they will receive a 'gotcha'.
I have put this change to staff with overwhelming support from them all. As educators, we recognise this system isn't working and is promoting the wrong message among students.
In 2019, in addition to the Rainbow Awards, class teachers will introduce their own class/grade systems where students are rewarded more regularly for following our school and class rules. Many grades/classes are currently doing this anyway.
Throughout Term 4 we will continue with the current system with a White Band Lunch being planned for the end of Term 4. Also towards the end of Term 4, teachers will be informing students of the changes happening in 2019. Any issues or concerns you may have, please get in contact with me.
I have recently been contacted by a couple of parents regarding the School Yearbook. Late last year the decision was made by the school executive, staff and school community council to not have a school yearbook anymore. I was not involved in this decision as I was not employed at that stage. A Yearbook is normally included in school fees but this has not been included this year because it was cancelled. Information was distributed in the school newsletter in Term 4 last year.
As we have not planned for a Yearbook this year, it is not practical to pull one together at this late stage of the year. However, if this is something that the school community would like, we can relook at this for 2019. Please flick me an email if you are interested in the Yearbook being re-introduced for the 2019 school year.
Family Christmas Carols Spectacular
Save the date - Tuesday 11 December. We will be hosting a Christmas Carols Spectacular with every class performing a traditional carol and a more modern number to get into the festive spirit.
Year 6 Graduation Mass and Celebration
Thank you to the parents who attended the Graduation Committee Meeting at the end of Term 3. We are moving the Graduation Mass to 5.30pm this year (Tuesday 18 December) to allow more time down at school after the Mass for celebrations. This will be a catered event as in previous years. More information to come home to Year 6 parents in coming weeks. We would ask for Year 5 parent helpers for the night. Again, more information to come out calling for helpers in the next fortnight.
- Term 4 starts on Monday 15 October with last day of Term 4 is Friday 21 December
- Just a reminder that summer uniform is to be worn on Monday. Don't forget school hat - No Hat means Play in the Shade.
- Notes will come home on Monday for upcoming K-2 Excursion to Canberra Theatre to see 'The Gruffalo' on Tuesday 23 October. Please return these asap. We are working on trying to get permission notes online via the app. Stay tuned.
- K-2 Swimming Program to occur in Week 7/8 this term (Monday 26 November til Friday 7 December). If this hasn't been paid, it will be added to your Term 4 school fees
This term we begin planning for 2019. We have recently advertised some teaching positions for 2019. These are Abbey Petterson and Mary DeSmet's positions. I will keep you posted regarding developments in this area.
Classes are currently being formed for 2019. This is a long and detailed process. Any parent requests need to be received asap for consideration (by Week 2, Term 4). Please email me directly to request any separations or pairings. firstname.lastname@example.org
Swimming Carnival 2019
We are also in early stages on planning the special/significant events for 2019. You might remember after this year's swimming carnival I put out a survey to gain feedback from the parent community. Following this feedback and through conversations throughout the year we would like to keep our swimming carnival at Queanbeyan Pool. One of the main reasons is that the pool supports us greatly with the set up and pack up of the event and they have everything we need at a reasonable cost. We would also like to look towards the carnival to be for students in Years 2-6 only. Kindergarten and Year 1 students would remain at school for a water-fun day instead. It is a long day for our younger students to only have the novelties and splash park. This is something we could do at school in a Water Fun Day and special lunch and make it a bigger fun day instead. Watch this space for further information.
Looking forward to a great Term 4.
Enjoy the week ahead.