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Term 3 - week 6

Child Safe Standards

This week, my message takes on a different, more serious focus – one around the Child Safe Standards. Earlier in the year, schools were issued with Ministerial Order 870: Child Safe Standards – Managing the risk of child abuse in schools. Within this order are a number of measures all schools must take to ensure high standards relating to child safety and protection against child abuse.

Key messages include, but are not limited to:

  • Everyone connected to our school can help children be safe.
  • We have zero tolerance for any abuse of children.
  • We already have policies and processes in place to protect the care, safety and welfare of children. These are being strengthened to ensure a zero tolerance approach to child abuse.
  • There are clear boundaries about how adults in our school community may interact with the children here.
  • The new child safe standards go further than child protection arrangements did in the past.
  • The child safe standards apply to school staff (including volunteers and contractors), visitors and students’ family members.
  • Keeping children safe is everyone’s responsibility. Different people at our school have different roles and responsibilities for ensuring children’s safety Staff members will receive training and support to understand and carry out their responsibilities under the standards.
  • Contractors will be asked about their child safety arrangements as a condition of working with us if they work with children enrolled in the school (or children can reasonably be expected to be present while they are at the school).
  • Other people using our school facilities will be asked about their child safety arrangements as a condition of using our facilities if they involve children enrolled at the school (or children can reasonably be expected to be present while their staff or other adults are at the school).

By September 1, we as a school will need produce evidence of compliance with these standards, as well as an action plan for how the standards will be fully complied with by the end of 2016. We have worked very hard to develop our Child Safety Policy, which I am publishing in this newsletter for all members of the school community to read and become familiar with. Secondly, a revised Code of Conduct has been developed and can be viewed either at the school office or on the school website. These two key documents have been ratified and discussed at length by school council. We are currently working on detailed and documented processes and procedures for responding to and reporting child abuse which all staff will work through in the coming weeks.

Should you require any further information, please feel free to speak to me about the Child Safe Standards and the extensive measures we are putting in place to meet these at our three schools. Information can also be found, including a copy of the Ministerial Order, on the VRQA (Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority) website, which is the regulating body for all schools in Victoria.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this policy.

David Garner, Acting Principal

Term 3 - week 5

  • Jump Rope for Heart
  • Goal-setting check-in
  • Soup Lunch
  • Year 3 & 4 Museum Visits
  • Cyber safety

On Monday afternoon in family groups, we again took part in the Jump Rope for Heart Fundraiser. It was wonderful to see all the students involved in such a "family-like" way hopping, skipping and jumping for a fantastic cause. Thank you all for supporting this through your donations.

As we hit the mid-term mark, it is a wonderful time for students to check-in with their goals and strategies. Are the strategies for achieving the goal/s working? If not, what needs to change – the strategies or an adjustment to the goal itself? Think about how working towards these goals can be supported through the home-school partnership as well.

Well what a wonderful day we had on Tuesday with our healthy soup lunch. The parents working alongside us on the Healthy Eating Project prepared and served up some delicious soups. I was very excited by the number of children wanting a bowl of healthy pumpkin, potato and leek or spiced carrot and lentil soup. Thanks must also go to Rheannon Owen, our project worker and health promotion officer from Hepburn Health. This is just the first step amongst many in promoting and living a healthy school culture.

This week and next week, the Year 3 & 4 students are visiting Daylesford & District Museum as a part of their integrated unit around Indigenous Australia. We are very lucky to have such a valuable resource at our door step, and the link between the school and community organisations is a priceless one. It is certainly something we wish to continue to build upon.

In the coming month or so, we will be engaging the Victoria Police Community Liaison officer in both student and parent – focussed Cyber Safety sessions. Each year, we are faced with one or two scenarios involving the online world, which need to be addressed at school, and in particular, at home. Attached to this week’s newsletter are some Cyber Safety tips from renowned parenting educator, Michael Grose. Awareness around this as a parent starts from very early in your child's life, and he provides a number of valuable suggestions, so please take the time to read it and discuss it openly as a family.

Lastly, as we move from the fabulous presentation on Respect from our Prep students to a new fortnightly focus on acceptance, I am reminded of this quote from the great author George Orwell:

Happiness can exist only in acceptance.
- George Orwell

David Garner, Acting Principal

Term 3 - week 4

  • Community Events
  • Soup Lunch - Tuesday 9th August - Healthy
  • Bones Week
  • Jump Rope for Heart – Monday 8th August
  • Book Fair call out

It’s hard to believe it is already week 4 of the term - a busy term with a number of community events happening. This weekend Words in Winter places a spotlight on literacy and writing, starting with a Welcome to Country at 4:30, Friday 5th at the Words in Winter Hub, 81 Vincent Street (old hardware store). Later in the term, on Friday 2nd September there is an Art in the Park community event. We as a school will hopefully send a class or two over to the community park between 1pm and 3pm, and the event will run until 4pm. So feel free to head along after school - see the flyer later in the newsletter for more information.

Next Tuesday, 9th August, as part of Healthy Bones Week and our Healthy Eating Project, we will be preparing and serving a selection of warm soups for a gold coin donation in the OLC Kitchen from 1:20pm. On the day there will be a host of parent volunteers working with our community health promotion officer, Rheannon Owen, making delicious, healthy soups. Some of our student leaders will also assist and help promote the importance of healthy eating on the day. See the information later in the newsletter about this initiative also.

In next week’s family group session (Monday, 2:20), we will be engaging in our annual Jump Rope for Heart in support of the Heart Foundation. Sponsorship forms have been sent home, and we greatly appreciate any support you may be able to offer for this fundraising opportunity for the foundation. The students – and teachers – have a lot of fun every year engaging in this activity and this year will be no exception.

Lastly, there is a flyer in this newsletter asking for you to indicate your willingness to help out with this year’s major fundraiser – the Book Fair. It is important we have a large body of helpers to help sort in the lead up to the book fair, and then also on the days with assistance and in particular, clean up on the Sunday. The book fair committee have already put in an enormous amount of work planning, promoting and preparing for this year’s event. If you could fill this out and return it as soon as possible, it would be greatly appreciated. Many hands!

David Garner, Acting Principal

Term 3 - week 3

  • Parent-teacher-student interviews
  • Breakfast program
  • ANZAC Writing
  • Words in Winter/Book Week

Once again, thank you to all those families who took the time to attend the parent-teacher-student interviews; a most valuable time to spend discussing your child's progress and goals. If you were unable to make an appointment last week, I ask you to check in with your child's teacher and make an appointment to discuss progress, goals and strategies. The home-school partnership is an important one, and when working effectively, only enhances the education and wellbeing of all children.

This week our breakfast program was again very successful. We will be running this three times per term, the next date is Monday 15 August. There has been a slight change this term in that Food Bank is supporting our fabulous program which is continuing to be run by community members Annette and Alan Thomas who do such a wonderful job and we thank them for this ongoing commitment. So make sure you get along to our next breakfast for some brain food to start the week.

This week in assembly Neil and Bill from the RSL presented our Year 5/6 students with awards for their ANZAC writing. The quality of the writing this year was of a particularly high standard, and we will publish some of the pieces in the coming newsletters. Congratulations go to the following students:
Year 5: Eve and Ruby with Honourable Mention to Alyssa
Year 6: Jaz and Caelan with Honourable Mention to Zenay

Finally, I would just like to highlight the upcoming Words in Winter festival and our Book Week celebration. Over the weekend of the 6th and 7th August, Words in Winter offers an enormous range of events to engage children and adults alike in a passion for writing. Our students take great pride in submitting writing pieces into the school's competition each year. Have a look at the website for a full program of events. Then, on the 23rd and 26th of August as a part of book week celebrations, we will be holding our Dress Up Day and Book Week Presentations respectively. These are all wonderful ways of celebrating and promoting literacy with our students, and we can’t wait to see all the creativity on display again this year.

To be one, to be united is a great thing. But to respect the right to be different is maybe even greater.
- Bono (U2 member and philanthropist)

David Garner, Acting Principal

Term 3 - week 2

  • P-4 Expo and Incursion
  • Parent Opinion Survey
  • X-Country – State Finals
  • Cultural Awards
  • Parent-Teacher-Student Interviews

Last Thursday and Friday, the P-2 students were involved in a Toy Expo and Puppet Incursion as part of their Integrated Unit. The creativity on display through the toy projects and the enthusiasm of the students was wonderful to see. All Prep, One and Two students should feel very proud of their achievements.

We welcome Mr Francis Comber back into our school for the remainder of the year as teacher of 5/6S. Mr Comber is replacing Sarah Bourke who is heading off on family leave. We wish Sarah and her husband all the best for this wonderful time in their lives. We look forward to hearing all about parenthood, and we know that 5/6S is in good hands with Francis.

Last week, some families will have received a sealed envelope with the Parent Opinion Survey enclosed. This is an anonymous survey given to a computer- generated sample of families. If you received this survey, I ask you to take the time to complete this and return it ASAP. This is very valuable information that we take very seriously. We always welcome feedback and an opportunity to improve our school.

At assembly this week we celebrated the achievements of James (53rd out of 83), Charlotte (27th out of 85) and Sebastian (1st out of 15) who ran in the Cross-Country State Finals in Bundoora last week. These children have trained hard over the past few months and did themselves and our school very proud. In particular, Sebastian has qualified for the national event in Canberra – an outstanding achievement. A timely reminder to us all of what setting and working hard towards goals can help us achieve.

Congratulations must also go to the sixteen Year 3-6 students who received Semester 1 Cultural Awards this week. These children were recognised for their commitment to the areas of Choir, Performing Arts, Visual Arts and LOTE (Italian). They have displayed an ongoing effort ‘above and beyond’ and again, should feel very proud of their work ethic and achievement thus far in these areas. See the attached list of recipients for each area and year level.

Finally, thank you to those parents and students who attended the parent-teacher-student interviews on Wednesday; an invaluable opportunity to discuss with your child and their teachers progress to date and their goals for the future. It has been so good to hear the students articulate their goals and strategies for achieving them.

David Garner, Acting Principal

Term 3 - week 1

  • Welcome to staff members
  • Parent-Teacher-Student Interviews and Curriculum Day
  • Healthy Eating Project
  • Goal Setting

Welcome back to all students, staff and families for Term 3 – a term of goal-setting and hard work. I would like to make a specific welcome to Amy Kinnear (replacing Karen McHugh in 4M), Matthew Spaccatore (replacing multiple LSL roles throughout the term) and Brenda Fry (replacing Carol Fergeus for weeks 1-3); you will make a wonderful contribution to our school this term.

You will have received a note regarding the Parent-Teacher-Student interviews requesting you make a time with your child’s class and specialist teachers for next Wednesday, 20th July. It is important that students attend these meetings to discuss their goals as well as receive feedback about their progress. These interviews will also allow you the opportunity to ask questions and follow up on the Semester 1 reports. Please return the notes as soon as possible to ensure you receive an appointment time. Please note that Katie Yeung will offer interviews for P-2 students from 2:30 to 4:30 on Monday 18th in the Performing Arts room. On Thursday 21st July, we have a curriculum day where teachers will be engaging in professional learning around the Big Write. This has been a wonderful whole school practice that is transforming our teaching and learning practice and this day promises to build on our ability to assess and plan for the teaching and learning of writing. Please note: students are not required for formal classes on both Wednesday and Thursday 20th and 21st July.

At the end of last term, I published our first "Developing a Healthy Eating Culture at DPS" article in the newsletter. I am re-publishing the introductory paragraph in this newsletter with a new health tip provided by Health Promotion Officer, Rheannon Owen, to highlight the ongoing work we are engaging in to improve the health of our school community. School council members, parents, teachers and Community Health have been working hard to develop the school's first Healthy Eating Policy and Action Plan. We are very excited by the scope of this initiative, part of which is provide regular 'tips' in the newsletter to assist with creating healthy lunchboxes for your children. Please have a read of this article further on in the newsletter and stay tuned for more action around this within the school.

Lastly, but certainly not least, our current focus is around Goal Setting with the students. The middle of the year provides a perfect opportunity to take stock of where we have come from and where we want to head for the rest of the year. The students have been, and will continue to be very busy setting goals and identifying strategies and actions to implement in order to work towards those goals. This will form a large part of the interview next week. There is nothing more powerful than the children articulating for themselves what their goals are and having us as coaches and mentors to help guide them and create the conditions in which they can succeed.

"Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."
– Lao Tzu (Chinese Philosopher)

Our student leaders have been offering a variety of recess and lunchtime activities throughout the year. Here they are being great role models in running the Prep-One 'PALS' Lunchtime activity program on a Wednesday.

David Garner, Acting Principal

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