Thank you to the parents and students who filled in the recent surveys. I really appreciate the time you took to answer the questions and give your input. Although I haven’t compiled all the data yet, I can already see the valuable insights that the completed surveys will provide. I will share the results in a future newsletter.
Best in Queensland
Congratulations to Isabelle Westaway (9W and Middle School Captain) for achieving the top score in Year 9 for Queensland ICAS Writing test. This means that Isabelle is eligible for a University of New South Wales Medal. Well done to Isabelle for such a momentous achievement. The official awards ceremony is being held later on in the year.
Prep to Year 3 Athletics Carnival
The Prep to Year 3 Athletics carnival was a wonderful day of fun, hard work and excitement. Although I was unable to attend, the cheers and shouts could be heard right across the campus – especially when Sinai was announced as the winning team of the day. What made this event (and others like it) so rewarding was the help and involvement of our wonderful parents, volunteers and P and F. Whether it was running the refreshment stand, supervising rubber chickens being thrown or cheering the children on in races, their contributions were greatly appreciated it.
Wendy Stott and the team of staff did a terrific job organising the day. All the events ran on time with some even finishing early. There will be photos and more information from the day later on in the newsletter.
Year 8 Subjection Selection Night
I hope the Year 8 students and their parents enjoyed an informative night on Wednesday. Year 9 and 10 curricula was discussed and specifically the elective subjects on offer. Students were issued with a booklet that gives the breakdown of each subject and were asked to complete the Subject Selection Forms to be handed in sometime after meeting. Please remember that the sooner students hand in their forms the better chance they have of being granted their preferences.
One of our strongest priorities is encouraging students to read more. Reading opens up a world of knowledge, imagination and independence for children. It also helps students become better writers and spellers. This week was Book Week and it was packed with activities including the Book Fair and the Dress Up Parade. I hope you were able to make the most of opportunity to purchase a couple of quality books for your child. I know that the ‘wish list’ was growing in length each day as students wrote down the names of the books they would love to add to their home library. As I write this article, the Dress Up Parade has not yet happened so we will have to wait for the next newsletter to see the imaginative costumes and characters students and staff come up with.
On August 17 it was reported in various newspapers about the crippling effect that student absenteeism has on overall performance.
The article says that about 33,000 teenagers are absent every day from NSW schools. These are not truancy claims but are with the full knowledge of the parents. The article goes further;
A major study of 415,000 school students conducted over five years to 2012, “Student Attendance and Educational Outcomes: Every Day Counts”, has linked increasing rates of absenteeism with declining scores in national literacy and numeracy tests.
The study conducted for the Federal Government by the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Western Australia warns: “Parents need to be aware that when their child misses school it can have an ongoing impact on their learning.”
“Even small amounts of unauthorised absence from school were associated with substantial falls in average Naplan (National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy) test scores.
“Poor attendance is a long fuse with a big bang.”
I think this data speaks for itself. It is clear that every time your son/daughter is absent from school it has a demonstrable effect on their education. Times have definitely changed and it is far more common for students to miss school for frivolous reasons. Some of the excuses we have encountered include birthday treats, being too tired from the night before, early holidays and even shopping. These reasons were far less common 10 years ago and are indicative of a worrying trend.
However, please understand we are not encouraging you to bring your child to school if they are sick. Lately, this has also been occurring where students are coming to school and they are obviously sick, in turn these sick students are infecting others. Please ensure that if your child is sick and quite contagious keep them home. It is important that we treat everyone the way that we would like to be treated.
Sculpture Garden and Shine on the Arts Night
Work on the Sculpture Garden has been fast-tracked so it is ready in time for our Shine on the Arts evening this Friday 23 August. I hope you will join me in this celebration of our students’ artistic talents. If last year is anything to go by, it will be a lovely event.
Mike Curtis, Principal