Thursday, 12 February 2015

1. What's new ? Principal Updates Week 2, Term 1 2015

Keep reading here to learn more about : Family Learning Hui questions, Teaching and Learning Site, Goal Setting Meetings, Subway changes and Sunsmart procedures.

Every student  Everyone engaged in deep learning for success

 Maybe we need to consider rewording our learning goal! We had a record turnout of families at our first learning hui for 2015 and it wasn't only the students who were actively engaged in learning! We had parents, friends and staff all participating with the children in the learning activities. Everyone was learning together. We were participating in a social learning environment, supporting and challenging each other to open our hearts and our minds to new learning.

Having a growth mindset was the theme of one of our learning huis last year. This video link helps you understand the learning power of a growth mindset. If we are open to learning then age is no barrier to learning and change. It is only a closed mindset that can be a barrier to achieving our hopes, goals, dreams and ambitions. Being open to thinking in ways that may be challenging for us but move us out of our comfort zones as adults will help us grow our own learning capability. This video helps us to see the possibilities when we reverse our thinking.

This video that we watched last night helps us to understand that we need to create learning environments that truly engage our learners. We can't relay on technology alone but it can be used as a tool to support deep learning. Caring teachers effectively use the technology of today to help place learning in the context of the children's world. We are creating environments that inspire, engage and drive our students to be self motivated learners. Ultimately, we want them to drive their own learning. Strong self - management skills help our children to be active and independent learners. These are the skills that will support them to learn, achieve and succeed at high school and beyond.

Last night, we also started to discuss some ideas of what parents could do to support their children's learning (Parent Treaty). There were some great ideas and some were recorded in a shared Google doc.  We have asked parents to continue to add their ideas to this doc and we open it to anyone who wasn't there last.  You can access it at:
At this stage its brainstorming and the idea behind brainstorming is that all ideas are accepted and no idea is too far out.  But please try and offer positive ideas we want to know what we CAN do not what we CAN'T do.

Family Learning Hui questions - We have timetabled two learning huis per term and set the dates for the year so that you can ensure that you keep these free.

1. Can you have them at a different time? We tried the later time of 7pm last year but attendance was low (only about 15 people compared with 50 -100 ) for the 6pm time. The 6pm time slot allows a chance for working parents to get home and join if possible. The 6pm time also means that younger children can come and it's not too late for them to go to bed afterwards. Unfortunately we cannot suit the needs of all families. We are exploring a video option and also a live streaming possibility.
2. Can we have them on a different day? We have liaised with our Sports Co ordinator and arranged Wednesday huis for Terms 1 and 4 and Thursdays for Terms 2 and 3 to best fit with coaching and sporting activities. 
3. Do my children need to come? No. You may certainly choose to come on on your own.The opportunity to bring the children means that you are not restricted by having to find a babysitter. You might decide that one parent comes with one child. It is your choice and there is no expectation from us.
4. Why should we come? It is a chance for you to understand and be able to support your children's learning in ways that are more proactive and insightful than in the past. We do expect that you as parents and caregivers accept the significant role that you play in your children's education. All of our teachers are expected to attend and will be there to learn alongside you and your families. We believe that learning at St Joseph's is a priority.

Teaching and Learning Site
We had a chance to explore our new 'go to' site at the Family Learning Hui. This site was set up to bring together all of the information that we were previously sharing with you in a range of places. You can access it here on this link. I recommend that you save it as a favourite on your bookmark bar so that you have easy access to it at all times.

This is where you can now access our calendar of events, class blogs, this news blog  and all of our curriculum information. Most importantly, you have an insight into the planning and preparation that our teachers do for your children. You now have access to weekly timetables, learning workshops, long term plans and inquiry units. 
Now you have a chance to have informed learning conversations, discussions and reflections with your children based on this valuable shared information.
What did you do at school today? You won't need to ask this question because you can actually read about what the children are doing on a specific day. Instead you can take the time to say, 'Share with me some of the statistical learning or where you are at with your book review?' You have the valuable opportunity to proactively support your child in their learning.

4. Year 8 Leaders
We were very proud of our Year 8's who graciously accepted their badges during our liturgy last Thursday. They have already stepped up into their roles for 2015 and shared some special insights into their feelings as leaders and role models with us. You can see photos of all of the leadership groups in this news blog

 Goal Setting Meetings 24th and 26th February 3.30 until 8.00 pm
These are our first meetings for the year where you get a chance to meet with your child's teacher and your child and plan their initial goals for the year. We aim for 100% attendance to these important meetings. We are happy to organise a translator if you need a support person for these meetings.

You can book a time for your meeting by going to and typing in our school code 2VS6K
Then look for your class teacher's name and choose a time that suits you.
Alternatively, Anne and Paula in our office are more than happy to make a time for you if you ring the office or come and see them.

Health Promoting School News and Healthy Lunches and Subway changes
Last year we began to review and revisit our position as a Health Promoting School. Through the discussions to maintain our status we will be removing the option of chocolate chip cookies and drinks off all future Subway orders. Orders will still be $5 with the fruit option remaining available instead of the cookie.
We wish to continue our procedure of only drinking water and school milk at St Joseph's and the fruit option with the Subways orders is a healthy alternative to the cookie.

Sunsmart School
We have also been re awarded recognition as a Sunsmart school. This means the following:
We encourage practices and awareness of safety from possibilities of skin cancer.
Children must wear a minimum of  6cm brimmed sunhats outside during Terms 1 and 4. Caps are not acceptable.
Sunscreen SPF 30+ is recommended to be used by the children and we have some available in the office. 

Thanks for your continued support as we continue to Reach for the Stars as Lifelong Learners in the Catholic Faith. Please telephone, email or come and see me if you have any questions related to the above news.

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