Welcome to our first school newsletter for the year. Our newsletters at McKinnon are shared fortnightly on Fridays via Compass. They are packed full of celebrations and news from around the school and are an important communication link. Please ensure you read the newsletter every fortnight as it has useful reminders which allows families time to plan ahead and organise schedules.
We have had a tremendous two weeks so far welcoming back our amazing students and community and excitedly meeting lots of new faces to McKinnon. I would like to warmly welcome all our new students and families and extend a huge level of gratitude to our wonderful students and teachers who worked to make these new students feel so welcome. Each day this past fortnight I have met at least one new student who could tell me something they loved about the school and share with me which students were showing them around the school.
Our Foundation students have now spent seven days at school which is a fantastic milestone. Time will pass very quickly and we will be soon be celebrating their 100th day with us!
Along with our new students and of course all our Foundation students, we have had new staff beginning and several staff returning. We would like to extend a warm welcome to Wasie Toolis (Year One teacher), Annabel Buckley (Year Two teacher), Marija Kutsuric (Year Two teacher), Lucinda Lehmstedt (Year Four teacher), Rachel Bowles (Performing Arts teacher), Ryan Smyth (Year Five teacher), Coco Landes (Year Five teacher) and Viviane Siu (office staffing), Thomas-James Greenwood (Year Six teacher) as well as welcome back to Shawnee Arranga (Foundation teacher) and Natalie Stone (Year Five teacher).
BUILDING A LEARNING COMMUNITY
The students and teachers have been developing their learning community as they begin to build relationships in their new classes. All year levels have been engaged in a school-wide mini-unit called Building a Learning Community, using the central idea of “A supportive learning community helps us take risks with our learning and achieve our personal best” using the key concepts of:
- Function- How does it work?
- Responsibility- What is our responsibility?
The students have been exploring what a learning community feels like and how it best works to meet the needs of all learners and this has led to reflections on all learner profile attributes of the PYP. Each homegroup has developed its class essential agreement, which will govern how they treat each other throughout the year. Part of this unit also sees students taking responsibility for their learning and setting goals for themselves which they will share with you at the upcoming Three-Way Conferences.
PARENT INFORMATION AFTERNOONS (YEAR LEVEL AND SPECIALISTS)
As advertised in the previous newsletter and Compass posts, we will be holding information afternoons on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week. Please see the attached flyer for a schedule of when these are occurring. We look forward to seeing you there. Please remember there will be handouts to those who cannot attend and you will also be able to ask lots of questions at the Three-Way Conferences.
Our Three-way Conference bookings are now open on Compass for Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st of February. These conferences will be at school in your child’s classroom. Please bring your child along to the conference. If your scheduled time is between 2:00-3:30pm the office will let you know where to collect your child from on the way to their conference.
In a Three-Way Conference, the student, teacher and parents are seen as equal participants. The conference is an opportunity for your child to share their learning goals and aspirations for the year. There will then be some time allocated for you to share any important information with your child’s classroom teacher.
Please remember the conferences set on these two days are only 10 minutes in length. If you have greater concerns about your child you need to share with your child’s class teacher, we always encourage you to make a longer time outside of these two days where neither you or your teacher will feel as rushed.
Please look for more information as we get closer to the conference date. We look forward to seeing you then!
If your child is going to be away for a whole day, please update Compass as soon as you know your child will be absent. This stops you receiving the absence text message. If you have received a text message, please log into Compass to update the reason for the absence. If they will be at school but have an appointment do not log anything on Compass, this will be automatically recorded when you drop them off or pick them up.
At McKinnon PS we are very passionate about attendance and value the students being at school every single day that they are well and able to attend. Missing large chunks or sporadic absences from school can greatly affect students’ learning.
There is no safe threshold to missing school
Please see the below excerpt from research article investigating longer term effects –
Our researchers wanted to know how many days of absence kids could ‘get away with’ before it started to affect how they were doing at school. The answer was none.
They determined this using a combination of school enrolment figures, attendance records and NAPLAN results provided by the WA Education Department. They studied patterns of over 415,000 primary and high school students over a five-year time frame. In all analyses, average academic achievement on NAPLAN tests declined with any absence from school and continued to decline as absence rates increased.
Every day of absence made a difference, and this was particularly true for unauthorised absences. The effect of one day of absence was relatively small but added up quickly as more and more days were missed. The effect of missing days accumulated over time, so that school absence not only impacted achievement in the year in which the days were missed but in future years as well.
A big thank you to those parents who have made voluntary contributions towards the curriculum for 2023. We fully appreciate and support families contributing as best they can based on their own financial circumstances. This year we have received considerably lower contributions than in previous years. As a result, we are needing to review all curriculum budgets that rely on these donations. Parent contributions that support the curriculum allows us to provide the learning experiences and classroom resources that students have enjoyed in previous years.
We have a wonderful learning environment at McKinnon PS. Much of the operational costs including the provision of computers (including laptops), high-quality school resources, extra sports equipment, library/ICT support and equipment, quality art and science supplies and maintenance, along with the provision of new curriculum initiatives are supported solely from local fundraising, including parent contributions. We thank again those parents able to make any contribution to support our school.
SCHOOL UNIFORMS & SUNSMART
A reminder that full school uniform is required on all school days. This importantly includes the McKinnon PS broadbrimmed hat to keep all of our students safe from the rays of the sun. School hats are required from 1st September through until 30th April. Students who do not have a school hat will be asked by yard duty teachers to play in shaded areas.
You may have also noticed an addition to the uniform which is a newer design for school bags which has a softer exterior. These new bags are not compulsory, students may choose to use either style.
ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES FROM SCHOOL
Thank you to everyone for your enormous cooperation with the pick-up and drop-offs and taking note of our safety concerns I advocated for last week.
Our Year One teachers have also noted their afternoon pick ups seem to be running a lot smoother for students and families. A big thank you to everyone that has parked away from the Kiss and Go area and walked up to school. It makes for a much smoother Kiss and Go system if no one stays longer than two minutes in the area. This helps with the flow of traffic all around the school and also ensures you don’t receive a fine.
ANNUAL PRIVACY REMINDER
Annual privacy reminder for our school community.
Please take time to read our school’s collection notice, found on our website https://mckinnon-primary.vic.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Collection-Statement-McKinnon-Primary-School-2020.pdf
CAMPS SPORTS AND EXCURSION FUNDS
The Victorian Government provides assistance for camps, sports and excursions. If you have a concession card you may be eligible to receive $125.00 per annum for each primary school student through the CSEF (Camps, Sports and Excursion Fund).
Application forms are available online:
https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/Pages/csef.aspx?Redirect=1 through the Department of Education and Training Website or from the school office. We need a copy of your concession card. Parents that received CSEF at school in 2022 do not need to complete an application form in 2023, providing there has been no change in your family circumstance. The school will be in contact if we have any difficulty rolling your application over.
PERSONAL PROPERTY AT SCHOOL
Personal property is often brought to school by students, staff and visitors. This can include mobile phones, calculators, toys, sporting equipment and cars parked on school premises. Please note that the Department of Education and Training does not hold insurance for personal property brought to schools and it has no capacity to pay for any loss or damage to such property. Please ensure all personal items, including uniform are clearly named.
As outlined by the Department of Education and Training parents and guardians are responsible for paying the cost of medical treatment for injured students, including any transport costs. If you wish for your child to be insured for accidents at school, student accident insurance policies are available from some commercial insurers.
We are planning a special assembly for the presentation of the SRC and Year Six leadership badges and will notify families involved when confirmed. This likely to be in late February.
HOT DAYS AND EXTREME WEATHER DAYS
On days when it is extremely hot, the children will remain in classrooms and be supervised as they are on wet days.
Have a great weekend
Suzanne, David and Andrew