Term 2 Newsletter 13th May 2022
This week saw the start of NAPLAN ONLINE for children in Grades 3 and 5 as well as the annual political debate on school comparisons. Not sure if you keep up to date with the various media reports, but there was a good article a few years ago in the Courier Mail regarding this issue. The main point of the article was the ridiculousness of comparing schools on data alone and that schools should be assessed on their level of value adding regardless the level of income, geographical position or flashy advertising. In a similar article this challenging question was raised…” Which school has the better teachers …. the low socio-economic secondary school which has managed to increase attendance levels from 60 – 95% and has raised numeracy & literacy results above and beyond state averages for the last 3 years or the private secondary school with the same enrolment level who get all the publicity purely due to a particular number of OP1’s students who graduated the previous year?”
I have mentioned in previous newsletters about the importance of positive relationships that exist within schools. Do the teachers genuinely love working with young people and strive to assist them and provide them with every possible opportunity to do well? Are the teachers prepared to do that little bit extra and in most instances without financial reward? Does the school ethos promote this as well as placing high regard on academic success? Do the students enjoy their time at the school? Is there a range of opportunities for students? Is the environment of the school accepting of all who wish to attend or is inclusivity its primary role? None of the above can be measured and data collated into a pie graph, yet it is usually the things we can present as a number or a percentage that are highlighted, especially by the media. Why? Because in this fast paced society, measurable things are easy to prepare, present and more quickly understood by the masses.
Over the past couple of years now, St Francis, has achieved well within the strands when a comparison is used. Of course we are all proud of our efforts, but we need to be very careful in not allowing performance in a one off test become the be all and end all of our existence as a Catholic School. We have always and will continue to strive for excellence in our academic teaching and learning, however we will only continue to do so if we continue to strive to improve the abovementioned things. Someone once wisely observed that the secret of education is to be found in respecting the student. In all our discussion on accountabilities and organisational structures, it is important to stop and focus on the core of our work which is the student and the ways in which his or her learning and can be genuinely improved.
The more time we spend in doing this we become more acutely aware of the context, characteristics, values, learning styles, interests and personal experiences of those we are called to teach. When this happens, we are in a position to raise the bar and genuinely improve the quality of the service we offer.
In my position here at the school, there are plenty of opportunities to receive feedback from parents about the experiences their children have here at St Francis. In the majority of cases the experiences are positive and it is always rewarding to hear these stories. Naturally, at times children may experience a hiccup or two along the way. Whatever the issue is, whether it be strained relationships amongst peers, a drop in effort levels, a breakdown in communication between school and home, the teachers, admin staff and especially myself regard receiving this information very useful in order to seek and implement solutions. The least useful information is anonymous contributions which cannot be responded to at all.
I will always encourage parents who may have a genuine concern with a school orientated issue or activity to share this with those who can actually create solutions. There is no gain in discussing perceived or preferred outcomes with others who cannot make a change or a difference. In any given day many decisions are made in relation to the operation of the school and its associated extra-curricula activities. I know that every decision I make or those of others in positions of responsibility are not going to please everyone. However, we do ask that you understand that there is always a very good reason behind the decisions we make and always in the best interests of the children. I certainly don’t wake up each day and say who will I annoy today!!! Many factors can affect the decision making process, such as OHS and Risk Management regulations, which are not always clearly evident to those not associated with education.
A school community is a complex body involving, administration, Parish, Catholic Schools Office, teachers, support staff, visiting specialists, parent groups, students and community organisations. As educators of children, we understand the concerns of parents and we ask that parents in return understand that roles of the teacher continue to become more demanding and complex. The education of our students is a partnership.
Another important point is to keep an open mind about what you hear. We love and cherish our children, however it is wise to remember that they can sometimes embellish and misinterpret things. Checking “stories” with those concerned in a courteous manner usually resolves any misunderstandings that may occur.
Congratulations again to the students in Year 3 and 5 on the completion of their very first NAPLAN ONLINE.
OUR GIRAFFE WILL BE NAMED
Please check your emails in regards to a survey about naming our giraffe. We are all excited and cannot wait to see which name it will be. Thank you for your time and effort in choosing a name.
PREP AND ENROLMENTS FOR 2023
This year we have seen an increase of 10% for our total school enrolments, which is a wonderful acknowledgement for the school. Please continue to promote and talk about our beautiful school within the community. Word of mouth is still the number one way to advertise what we offer here.
We are currently taking enrolments for Prep for 2023. If you know of any families with Prep aged children please encourage them to make contact with Linda in the front office or visit our website https://www.clifton.catholic.edu.au/
UPCOMING GALA DAYS AND UNDER 8s DAY
On Friday May 27 and again on Friday 10 June, students across the school (starting with some Year 2s to Year 3 to Year 6 students) will be participating in the Sporting Gala days at Allora. This will involve students playing games of Rugby League, Soccer or Netball. This is great opportunity for socializing, team building and sportsmanship across the schools in our area. As in the past, you will need to provide travel for your child, as this is normally well attended by parents. If you are unable to arrange transport, to and from Allora, please let me know. If you wish your student not to attend, please let me know by Monday 23 May.
On Friday 10 June, the Prep to Year 2 (non-Gala Day students), will be participating in a morning of fun and enjoyment at the Under 8s Day, which is held at the Clifton State School. More information will be out about this day, plus a meal deal order from for students.
WAY TO GO P&F - A GREAT FUNDRAISER
I just wanted to send out a special mention to Carmel Stace, the P&F and the team of parent helpers for making the Polocrosse Fundraiser a huge success. It was very delightful to hear and see the wonderful work that went into the organisation, commitment and collaboration for the event. The comments that were made by the community were very pleasing to hear. Well done to all and especially Carmel for their amazing efforts.
PLAYGROUP STARTS NEXT WEEK
Please check out the flyer for our playgroup which will take place every second Thursday starting on Thursday 19 May, 2 & 16 June. Please spread the word. Much fun is sure to be had.
I was so proud of our 4/5/6 students who represented our school this week when they ventured over to visit the children at Treasure Island Clifton Community Childcare. The students remembered their training and engaged their kindy friends by using expression and reading fluently. They asked questions as they read and discussed their illustrations. Next Wednesday, more students will have the opportunity to complete the same task.
It is important for the students to participate in learning such as this, as it not only allows students to practise their reading skills, it also reinforces service learning and of giving their time to the benefit of others. This is our students living out our values in a real-world setting. The students gave up their playtime to participate in this activity, and they all agreed that it was worth it.
Within the classrooms, all classes have been busy focusing on punctuation. Each class has been shown how to use symbols to edit their work. They have then applied this knowledge into their own writing and make necessary punctuation is present! The teachers are all working together to create our school’s own symbols. It is important that all classes are using common symbols for consistency and flow between year levels and grades.
Lastly, don’t forget to share the news that our school playgroup will start next Thursday. It has been great weather for ducks, so it makes sense that our playgroup theme next week will be ducks! Parents from within the community are all welcome to attend. If you know anyone with babies and toddlers, please let them know.
This week we started our term 2 English unit titled ‘On the Farm’. We viewed, listened to and responded to the YouTube clip ‘Old Macdonald had a Farm – Moo Moo and the Barn house family’. Students used and developed their oral language and interaction skills in small group and paired discussions. They willingly shared their prior knowledge and experiences of living on a farm or visiting farms.
In Religion, we started our unit titled, ‘How Can Sacraments help us understand God? We discussed the word sacrament and began learning about the Sacrament of ‘Baptism’. We discussed the words, the symbols and actions of Baptism. Students in P/1 have been invited to bring in photos, candles etc from their own Baptism or other Baptisms they have been to, to show and share with the class.
In Maths, P/1 have measured the length of objects using informal units (straws, cubes, counters etc) and discovered, to get an accurate measurement, we must align the ends and not have any gaps or overlaps. Students have looked at and compared analogue and digital clocks. They practiced reading and making o’clock times (Prep) and half-past times (Year 1). Students enjoyed incorporating their time skills into several games of ‘What’s the Time Mr Wolf?’. A new, favourite class game for many students.
In our classroom, we are designing cereal boxes and considering how advertisers convince the public to purchase products as we add the features to our box. We are also considering how life would be, if we were the Prime Minister. In our persuasive writing, we are convincing the reader that we would make the best Prime Minister by using very emotive language. As we write we are being very cautious with adding punctuation marks where it belongs. In Religion, we have been learning about the sacraments of initiation with our focus presently on baptism. In our Science unit, melting chocolate is a great way to explore solids and liquids and the change in matter that occurs. We welcomed Baylee to our class in Year Two this week. We are sure Baylee will enjoy her time spent with us at St Francis de Sales.
Year 4/5/6 News
What a productive week! In our room we have been busy working hard to complete a number of projects. During Mathematics, we participated in a culminating activity during data lessons. The students collected their own data, then constructed their own table to record information and made a graph to display their data. It was very interesting learning about what the class had for breakfast and watching the class use their analytical thinking to categorise the food.
Religion this week saw the children investigate the Jewish faith. We learnt about their rituals and objects used during ceremonies and worship services. They then compared this to the Catholic faith using a Venn diagram.
- Your 4/5/6 student is to return his/her homework on a Friday.
- Library books are borrowed on a Thursday during library lessons.
- Please ask your child if their headphones are still functional.
- Please clearly name all uniforms so we can return them if they decide to go for a little adventure.
How can we improve our writing?
What can we add to make it more engaging and effective?
These were the questions we asked the students during writing this week. Armed with a handy checklist, the students reflected on their work, and the work of others to edit their work and give feedback. It was then our mission to use this feedback to improve what we had written. Some say a writer’s work is never done. (Should that say, an author’s work is ongoing? You get the idea!)
Athletics Training will start on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, next week (17/18 May) from 8:00 am – this is open to all St Francis students.
GALA DAY TRAINING
During lunchtime, starting next week, Soccer, Netball and Rugby League training will begin. This is an expectation for those students wanting to go to our Gala Days in week 6 (27 May) and week 8 (10 June) (some Year 2, Year 3 to Year 6 students)
ATHLETICS CARNIVAL WITH ST PATRICK’S ALLORA
This year, St Francis is delighted to announce that we will be holding a joint Athletics Carnival on Thursday 23 June with St Patrick’s in Allora. Our plan is to rotate each year, hosting with ST Pat's, so we can share this great event. This will allow students to compete against other students within their age level, demonstrate collegiality with fellow catholic school students and begin to develop strong friendships with like-minded students.
More information will come out soon in a letter which will outline the day events, also what events will happen prior to this day, which will include 200m/800m events, high jump, etc.
STUDENT PROTECTION CONTACTS
Feeling Safe- All students have a right to feel safe and be safe.
If you are concerned about any form of abuse that is immediate, you should call 000. A significant risk or harm of a student, whether or not you have formed this belief on reasonable ground, should immediately be raised with one of our Student Protection Contacts.
We do recommend the setting-up of a direct debit facility to pay regular amounts into the school account. This alleviates overdue bills.
SCHOOL Bank Details
Reminder: All P&F payments & Uniform payments are paid to a different bank account NOT the school account.
P&F Bank Details