Hello everyone and welcome to our final newsletter for Term 1, 2021! How did that happen so quickly?!
To lift a line from Powderfinger, it seems an age since I’ve seen you. I have been involved in a lot of projects and learning experiences recently and haven’t had as much opportunity to get out and about in the yard and classrooms as much as I like.
I am fortunate to be participating in a course for newly appointed principals, called Evolve, which I deferred last year due to the enormity of our work and the complexities of COVID-19. Through the course, I will strengthen my knowledge and skills in all facets of school leadership, have opportunity to form a network of colleagues, and gain access to an experienced Principal mentor.
As part of our work with the Differentiated Support for School Improvement (DSSI) we have partnered with Dinjerra PS and Carlton PS to work with a literacy consultant, Terri Campbell. All of our team leaders, as well as Sally and I, attend these days twice per team and then bring the learning back to FPS. Terri Campbell is a much sought after consultant and we are pleased to have secured two curriculum days to further our work as a whole staff. These days will be student-free days on Wednesday, May 5 and Monday, July 26.
Along with Sally, Felicity, and Andrew, I have been attending the DSSI Regional Learning
Circles where we work with other schools across the region to reflect on our school
improvement plans and progress. Our DSSI teaching partners, Johnny and Odette, are a part
of these sessions, as well as the Terri Campbell sessions, and reinforce the learning through
their classroom coaching.
The experience of participating in the school reviews across the Footscray Learning Precinct schools has been fantastic. The aligned reviews have allowed us to identify opportunities for shared learning, facilities, resources and pathways for our students and teachers. Clare Green, the acting project manager of the precinct has been pivotal in bringing us together on a number of projects that are currently taking place. .
I have also joined the Maribyrnong-Melbourne Principal Executive Team to contribute to the
leadership of our network schools and principal professional learning. I am looking forward
to contributing to and learning from the team.
Last month, after multiple covid-reschedules the FPS reconciliation group finally had the opportunity to host In My Blood It Runs at the Sun Cinema. An Australian documentary by director Maya Newell and filmed in collaboration with community over 3 1/2 yrs - the film follows the life of 10yr old healer Dujuan and his family, Arrante people. It has a strong action campaign that aims to:
- address racism in Australia and the harm it causes to Aboriginal people
- promote the value and importance of Aboriginal led educational systems
- calls for honesty about the past to build a just future
Dujuan is now 13 years old, and was the youngest person to address the UN Human Rights Council to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 to bring Australia into line with International standards. 31 countries urged Australia to do this. Last year this decision was deferred, but the ACT is the first state to change the age.
We encourage all FPS families to continue their individual reconciliation journey, through reflection, sharing their thoughts and experiences with their spheres of influence - be it friends, family, or colleagues. Learning and sharing are integral to promoting understanding and change.
We were so sad when we needed to cancel our scheduled whole school picnic earlier in the term due to COVID restrictions. We invite you all to join us for a whole school picnic to celebrate a great term of learning and reconnecting in Term 1, 2021. The picnic will take place during the last hour of the school day on the last day of term and we will send further information home via compass shortly. We had booked a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony for the picnic originally which we haven’t been able to reschedule for this picnic but we will definitely arrange it for a future event.
Whole School Picnic
Thursday, April 1
The Footscray Primary School Parent Support Group (FPSPSG) now has a facebook page, allowing more ways to keep in touch. The facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/groups/1804606033034831/ or by searching for FPS Parent Support Group. Alternatively, email us on email@example.com.
This group has been set up and supported by the school as a tool for families of children who may struggle at school for many reasons. It could be children with a diagnosis such as ADHD, ASD, Dyslexia. It could be medical conditions requiring extra support such as Diabetes and severe allergies. It may be no diagnosis but behaviors that require extra support from home and school such as anxiety, school refusal, social difficulties. This is a chance to chat openly, ask questions of others who may be going through the same thing. All conversations remain within the group. It may just be a chance to celebrate your first gate drop off or the first play date your child has been invited to or be supported when you and your child have had a tough week. We will be meeting at times that suit as many people as possible, whether that be in the evenings over dinner, at school after class time, or in a park on weekends with (or without) the family.
Everyone is welcome and the more the merrier.
Team Planning Days
This week each team (except year 2 which will be next week) have spent a day dreaming about the teaching and learning we want our students to experience in term two.
Our students and their needs, voices and interests are at the centre of our planning.
Looking at our curriculum through a PYP lens, we reflected on our transdisciplinary themes, central ideas and lines of inquiry – what do we want our students to know, understand and do?
We began with a ‘brain dump’;
For each term two unit of inquiry, what are the ‘big ideas’ (Key Concepts) that we want our students to understand? What are the skills (Approaches to Learning) that we think need to be developed, revised, practised? What are the 'habits of mind' or 'dispositions to learning', that will enable our learners engage in and relate to the learning process. And what is the knowledge that we want our students to develop and share?
We then dug deeper – what are the authentic transdisciplinary learning experiences which will support the understanding of each central idea? This was some big work!
Each team investigated the key drivers from the Victorian Curriculum that will drive their units of inquiry. There were other Victorian Curriculum ‘connectors’ identified which will also support understandings.
This then led us to design a process of ‘inquiry’ – Tuning into student’s thinking, Finding Out, Sorting Out, Going Further, Synthesising and Reflecting and of course, ACTION!
Along the inquiry journey, students will take us into uncharted territory! It is not a set journey, decided by teachers. Through their wonderings, students will lead us to go further and delve deeper.
Of course, some areas of the Victorian Curriculum will not directly support the central idea but are still very important! Exciting learning engagements were planned in those areas as well.
It has been an exciting term of learning for students AND teachers!
We look forward to provoking high-level thinking, reflective questioning, effective researching of facts and wonderings and always to be continually building on learning from previous years. We can’t wait!
We are reviewing the way we report home about learning to make sure we are working hard on the right work. We are searching for a balance between keeping you informed in the ways you like and allowing our teachers time to maintain their focus on teaching and learning. Janine is putting together a survey that will be shared via compass to hear your thoughts about reporting; the bits you like and the bits you don’t. Teachers are doing the survey too, and most importantly, we will be asking our young people what they think is important to share with their families about their growth as a learner.
Aboriginal people have been in Australia since the beginning of time – the Creation Stories tell us this. Even if you don't believe Aboriginal Creation Stories, there is scientific evidence of at least 60,000 years of occupation.
If we look at a clock and consider 1,000 years of time to be a minute of time in the clock, European occupation of this country began at approximately 10 seconds to midnight - 10 seconds, not 10 minutes! There has been a lot of Aboriginal occupation of this country before this time.
As we come to the end of each term, your child may mention that their class was ‘split’ for the day.
Class splits occur when a teacher is absent and no suitable casual relief teacher (CRT) can be found, or the CRT budget for the term is expended. This often happens at the end of a school term, when lots of schools have planning days and professional practice days, and the CRT agencies run out of teaching staff to send us.
With the increased caution about COVID symptoms teachers are having to stay home more often than pre-COVID, and often for two days in a row whilst they wait for a negative test result, when in the past they may have just taken one day.
We endeavour to minimise splitting classes for consecutive days as much as possible. Generally we will split the class for the first day and then employ a CRT for the following day/s, however, on a rare occasion there are no CRTs available and a class is split for two days.
Some big changes have taken place in our FPS Garden Club – beginning with discussions in 2020, grinding to a halt amid lockdown, but finally coming to fruition this year.
With the support of Principal Jen, we’ve transformed a semi-regular lunchtime club (run by parents) into a weekly activity that every kid in the school will participate in. We now garden with one class at a time, and children, parents and teachers alike are loving it!
So far we’ve worked with the five Grade 3/4 classes and some others, and in term 2 we should meet all the remaining classes. (In terms 3 and 4: repeat!)
The kids have been learning about the many fruits and vegetables growing in the garden (in one session we counted over twenty), and have sampled corn, cucumbers and tomatoes. Some of this term’s tasks included: weeding, taking green waste to the compost bins (and learning about compost), watering, harvesting and peeling corn, clearing out summer plants, topping beds up with compost, and planting autumn and winter veg.
At this stage around a dozen parents participate in the club, and we gladly welcome new ones. We’re a friendly bunch with varying degrees of garden skills – mostly enthusiasm! (If there are any dads/male carers who enjoy gardening, then we’d definitely like to hear from you. At the moment most of our helpers are mums.)
The club takes place on different days each week – mornings (first session) in terms 1 and 4, and afternoons (last session) in terms 2 and 3. We have 3 helpers per session, with most helpers participating once a month or so. If you are interested or have questions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Some gems from the kids:
‘Wow I didn't realise this garden could produce so much food!’
‘This is my favourite area in the school’
‘I love this so much! It is the best activity we have done!'
When we picked a pumpkin (currently stored in the shed), the kids excitedly gave us ideas for what to make: ‘pumpkin pie’, ‘pumpkin soup’, ‘roast pumpkin’! We hope to add some simple cooking into garden club in term 2.
Thank you to Jane, Andrew, Abigail and Angus for organising through their family to have a copy of Young Dark Emu signed by Bruce Pascoe and donated to our school library. What an absolute treasure. The book will be available in the library for all to enjoy shortly.
Thank you to all the families who kindly covered the new bilingual books for the library this term. If you still have any at home, please drop them back to the office early next week.
In addition to our Vietnamese children's library books, we now have a selection of Italian books for the students to borrow and take home. We also, with thanks to Jess Jones, have some books available in Amharic, Bengali, Cantonese and Hindi for the children to borrow
End of Term Fundraising for Tech
Thank you to everyone who purchased Hot Cross Buns this week! Buns will be ready to collect at school on Wednesday 31 March between 8.45-9.30am and 3.15-4.30pm.
For some added end of term fun, the Social Club has organised an Egg Guessing Competition. Students will be able to guess how many chocolate eggs are in the jar during lunchtimes on Tuesday and Wednesday. Guesses are 50 cents each or 3 for $1 with funds raised being added to the technology fund. A winner will be announced on the last day of term!
Social Club Meeting
Our first meeting for 2021 will be held this Monday (29 March) at 7.30pm
Venue: The Plough Hotel (diagonally opposite School at 333 Barkly St, Footscray)
You can decide to be actively involved as a Registered Member, or you can be a General Member on our mail list and chip in when and where you can.
At the meeting, Registered Members will vote in our Office Bearers for 2021 (President, Secretary and Treasurer). If you’re interested in nominating and want more detail, please get in touch via email email@example.com
We will also be brainstorming fundraising, community building and event ideas for 2021 - it should be fun.
Everyone is welcome and we hope to see you there!
|34D||Finian & Andrew|
|Art||Hugo H 5C|
|Music||Anh Bui 6B|
|Vietnamese||Henry W 34E|
|PE||Hunter & Hugo 5C|
|Art||Jackson Z 6A|