We have had a very smooth beginning to the school year. Thank you all for your part in that and for reading the long email I sent home on Monday.
Our new students have settled in well and as I have moved around visiting the primary classes this week all new students have indicated that they are making friends.
At our staff meeting this week we discussed issues which often cause students to be anxious when they move to a new teacher or a new school. The most common concern – particularly for learning support students or students with a disability is, “Will my new teacher know about me?”.
One of our most important procedures on the week before students return to school is a hand over from the teacher from the previous year to the new teacher. The focus of this hand over is a discussion about students’ strengths, giftings and learning – particularly if they have any learning difficulties or need extension. All our teachers are well aware of their students’ needs so please reassure your children of this.
Parent Information Evening
When: Tuesday 30 January
Session 1: 5:15pm – 5:45pm
Session 2: 6:00pm – 6:30pm
Where: One of the classrooms in your child’s year level. (At the beginning, all parents in the year levels will be together for these presentations).
There will be two sessions on the evening to allow parents to visit another year level also. If you have more than two children both parents may wish to attend.
Prep parents – because most Prep parents attend this evening, each teacher will present in ‘individual classrooms’.
We have a very long history of presenting citations to EVERY student in the Primary School throughout the school year. Over this time a great number of parents have shared how powerfully the words on a student’s citation has impacted them. Teachers write citations which capture the essence of each student. Speaking these words over them in a public forum in assemblies and chapels creates a culture which values each individual student for who they are and is very effective in developing wellbeing for our students.
Teachers will notify you when your child is receiving his/her citation. We encourage you to attend if you possibly can as this increases the impact of the citation when Mum, Dad or a significant adult is present at the assembly/chapel when they receive it. We ask that you keep the date for the citation a secret so it is somewhat a surprise for them.
Please take note of our policy on girls’ earrings which must be plain gold or silver sleepers or studs (one per ear in the lower earlobe). Gemstone earrings are not compliant with our uniform policy.
Professional development for teachers
One of the great benefits of having a full week before school starts is having the opportunity to do whole staff professional development.
Last week we had the privilege of working with Anne Korab who is a consultant who works with schools on WRITING. We were so challenged and inspired by her presentations and are confident that our students will benefit greatly as teachers implement the strategies Anne covered throughout the day.
Anne has worked with schools all around the world and often in places where students are considered very challenging like the Bronx in New York.
Ann Korab is a Literacy Consultant who has spent the last four years providing onsite and regional professional learning for teachers, principals and literacy coaches in the Western and South Western Metropolitan Regions of Victoria. Prior to this, she spent six years in New York as a Literacy Consultant followed by a number of years in the Northern Territory as a teacher and a Special Education Advisor.
The focus on Thursday was Mathematics and Prep – Year 2 teachers worked with Kimberly McLaren our Lower Primary Curriculum Coordinator on Professor Jo Boaler’s approach to Mathematics. Teachers were so excited about the work Mrs McLaren shared with them and they also spent some time later in the day preparing Maths units and activities for their year levels.
Rhonda Farkota from Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER) actually wrote their programs and travelled from Melbourne to train teachers in Years 3-6 in the implementation of Elementary Maths Mastery – a Direct Instruction method of teaching the foundational concepts in Mathematics.
Dr Rhonda Farkota, a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Council for Educational Research, has long been recognised as one of Australia’s foremost experts in Direct Instruction (DI). Her doctoral research into DI, mathematics and self-efficacy was described by Professor DH Schunk, Dean of Education, University of North Carolina, as an outstanding thesis on a topic of great theoretical and applied significance. Before joining ACER in 1998, she was a teacher and Curriculum Advisor, and sat on the Curriculum Committees of both the Education Department and the Catholic Education Office. In 2008 she was specially seconded as Assistant Director of Australia’s National Assessment Program (NAPLAN™). Dr Farkota received the 2013 Mona Tobias Award in recognition of her significant contribution to evidence-based practice in education.
Our College vision statement is “To provide quality Christian Education”.
Professional development like this builds capacity in our staff to do just that – provide quality Christian education.
Responsible thinking process and RTC
Your children may have come home and let you know that their class has visited the RTC (Responsible Thinking Classroom) this week to meet Mrs Moore and to be familiar with how it works. We have been discussing this in staff meetings also.
Please understand that this program is implemented in its integrity here at Glasshouse Christian College and that the RTC is a place where children are not punished. It is a training ground for them to think about what they have done which has interrupted teaching and learning and how they can modify their behaviour. It’s about developing self discipline and taking responsibility for their personal behaviour. It’s also about respect – for the teacher who is teaching and for other students who are eager to learn.
Please don’t be alarmed if your child comes home and tells you that they went to the RTC one day. Remember they are little and sometimes need to learn self discipline. They will always be treated with respect by teachers and Mrs Moore and need not be afraid to go to the RTC as Mrs Moore will help them to write their plan and chat about how they can have success with modifying their behaviour. Encourage your child to be open and transparent with you if they visit the RTC and talk with them about what they wrote or drew (Prep and Year 1) on their plan. Preps are given time to settle into school before we introduce RTC. PLEASE DO NOT PUNISH THEM as this destroys the integrity of the process and doesn’t allow it to be a training opportunity. If a student continues to disrupt teaching and learning they may be placed on a monitoring sheet and we may set up a meeting with parents. We do not phone parents to inform them when a student goes to the RTC but please be assured that if we are concerned that he/she is not making progress in implementing their plans and showing improvement in self discipline, we will be contacting you.
Cheryl Bryers, Head of Primary