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Improving children’s writing skills

We have some budding authors at our school!

A big focus for us over the last few years has been on improving the writing skills of our students. This begins in Prep where they learn how to hold a pencil correctly, form letters accurately, understand that strings of letters join together to make words, and when words join together they make meaning. As the children progress through school, they are exposed to new words to build their vocabulary, learn basic grammar rules and punctuation marks such as commas, full stops and question marks. Writing is not only about the mechanics, it’s also about generating ideas and communicating them through the written word.

The best writers are those who are creative, imaginative and can engage their readers. One such student has excelled in this area, and that Ava B in Year 5. Ava has been recognised for her creative writing skills by receiving the Boronia and The Basin Young Writers Initiative Award. Her short story titled An Octopus “All at Sea” was in the September edition of the local Boronia & The Basin Community Newspaper. If you haven’t read it yet, I’d encourage you to grab a copy of the paper so you can enjoy the story as much as we did. A huge congratulations to Ava on receiving this award – we are all very proud of her.

Excitingly, Mr Jackson Taylor MP will be visiting the school this afternoon to present the winners of his annual Writing Award, of which there were 67 amazing entries from our school. Please feel free to attend assembly on Friday to celebrate the achievements of our students.

The future of our writing curriculum looks very promising. Mrs Wheeler and Mrs Hodgson are currently undertaking “The Writing Revolution” professional development to build their understanding of leading writing improvement across the school. Their learnings will be passed on to teachers, who will then implement plans and activities in classrooms so that the children can become more proficient writers.

Regular attendance at school

Attending school every day is a fundamental aspect of improving your child’s academic, personal and social development. It sets them up for success throughout their educational life. Being a parent, I understand there may be circumstances where your child can’t attend school, such as illness or family emergencies. However, we urge you to prioritise school attendance over things like going out on your child’s or a family member’s birthday, shopping, or family holidays. These are all important, but they can be done on weekends, after school hours or during term breaks.

Part of our next School Strategic Plan will focus on improving attendance, particularly those children who have 20 or more days absent during the year. Our data from 2022 was not good – we had 46% of students missing 20 or more days of school. Of these, 106 students (20%) missed 30 or more days, and 139 (26%) missed between 20 and 30 days. Our goal will be to reduce this number to 30% or less by 2027. It’s achievable – data from 2019, which was the most recent comparable pre-COVID year, showed 25% of students with 20 or more days absent. I think this is something worth aiming for, and I ask for your support with improving student achievement through regular school attendance.

Referendum Day

Boronia Heights PS will be a polling booth on Referendum Day, which is Saturday 14th October. Access to the gymnasium will be via Landscape Drive.

Father’s Day

I hope all our dads and grandfathers had an enjoyable day last Sunday for Father’s Day. I enjoyed a special time with my wife and kids in the morning, followed by a catch-up with my dad, grandfather and extended family in the afternoon. It was a lovely day for me, and I hope your children showed their gratitude and love to their fathers, grandfathers and special father figures in their life too. I’d like to extend my thanks to the many mums who helped us last Thursday afternoon in running the Father’s Day stall. Your time spent volunteering at our school is greatly appreciated!

Parking near bins on Phipps Ave

There continue to be issues with people parking in the bin area on Phipps Ave. I understand that parking around the school can be a headache at drop off and pick up times as there’s never enough parking for everyone. It’s the same with every school in metropolitan Melbourne. However, I’m asking for your help in trying to prevent a serious accident from occurring. We’ve already had a car damaged by someone parking in the bin area and reversing out. I urge you, for the safety of all school community members, please DO NOT use the bin area for parking, dropping off or picking up your child from school.

Footy Day and End of Term 3

It’s hard to believe that we’re nearly at the end of third term! I really look forward to the end of Term 3 because we get to celebrate Footy Finals time by wearing our team colours to school. While the Cats haven’t done too well this year, I’ll still come to school dressed in my Cats gear on Friday and cheer them on. We’re also having a special Footy Lunch, so please ensure you’ve got orders in by Friday 8th September so we can order the right amount.

Just a reminder that students will be dismissed at 2:30pm on Friday next week. I hope you enjoy the school holiday break and I look forward to seeing everyone when school resumes on Monday 2nd October.

Have a great week.

Mat Anderton

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