Welcome to the start of the 2024 school year. I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer break and a happy start to week 1. It was great to see lots of smiling faces on Tuesday morning. I’m sure we’ll see many more on Monday when our Preps start.
This year, we again welcome new families to Boronia Heights PS across all year levels, including our new Prep families. I know that the whole community joins us in welcoming you all to our school and trust that your time with us is positive and enjoyable.
I’d also like to formally welcome our new staff members to the school: Amber Carr (Year 1), Gemma O’Hare (Year 2), Kirsten Lightfoot (Year 3), Lisa Maxwell (Year 3), Lisa Reiner (Year 5), Narissa Farrell (Year 6), Shae Warren (PE), Holly Paris (teacher aide) and Charlie O’Neill (teacher aide).
A big thank you to the staff for all the preparations they have made for the 2024 school year. Teachers have already spent countless hours over the past weeks setting up the learning environments and planning to ensure a smooth start and exciting curriculum for the students this year. As you can imagine, a lot goes on behind the scenes to get ready for the first day and our consistent programs and high expectations helps students with readjusting to a new school year.
The Office and Education Support staff also worked on various administrative tasks to ensure that everything was ready for students.
This year’s focus for our teaching team will be on ensuring our instructional practices align with research-based strategies. We will be looking at our Instructional Models so that every teacher and student understands the most effective ways to teach and learn. There will also be a strong focus on our student wellbeing approaches, which we will achieve by all staff engaging in professional learning based around the Berry Street Education Model. This will be a refresher course for many teachers and a learning opportunity for our new staff, including me.
The other focus we have this year is not necessarily new but is something we are trying to reinforce with children and families. The message is:
“When the Bell Rings, the Learning Begins”
Our teachers are encouraging the kids to be ready to learn as soon as the bell goes in the morning and after each recess break. This maximises the learning time we have available to teach the kids. To help prepare the kids in the morning, classrooms will be open at 8:45am so that they can bring their bags in, speak to the teacher, go out for a quick play with their friends, and then be ready to start when the 9am bell goes. This is also the time for parents to speak to the teachers if needed. You may notice posters in classrooms and around the school promoting this message. Regular attendance at school, on time, goes a long way towards improving learning outcomes.
Grade 5 & 6 Inclusive Play Space Update
The inclusive play space for the Year 5 and 6 students is almost finished. It was hoped to have the area ready for day 1 this year, but we’ve had a fair bit of rain during the summer break which has pushed the project back. We’re looking forward to opening the playground area to the senior kids in a few weeks.
Communication between school and home is an important part of the learning partnership. At BHPS, we have several methods of communicating with parents and the community. First and foremost, for parents is to ensure you are on COMPASS. This is our direct communication method to parents. Through this you can communicate with teachers, report student absences, access school reports, receive important information, book interviews, update personal details and access newsletters. Our fortnightly whole school newsletter is a key tool for providing you with information on upcoming events, school improvement information, student wellbeing information, School Council and Community Hub news and Out of School Hours Care (OSCHClub) news. Please make time to read it each fortnight. Teaching teams also send home fortnightly newsletters to provide parents with an insight into what is happening in classrooms and specific year levels. This is a great tool for parents to enable you to have discussions with your child about what they are learning and doing at school. Throughout the year, we provide updates on your child’s progress, through written reports or conferences. Of course, you can make an appointment with your class teacher to discuss any issues at any other time, and they will also contact you if required. This can be done through COMPASS or telephone the office, outside of class time. Note that teachers are on duty from 8:45am—3:45pm, so they may not be able to respond to COMPASS messages during these times. If you have an URGENT issue or message, it is best to call the office directly.
Our first whole school assembly for 2024 will be held on Friday 23rd February. It will be commencing at 2:40pm sharp, with the expectation that everyone will be seated at 2:30pm.
The date for the student leader badge presentations is at 2pm on Friday 8th March. It is a bit later than usual this year due to the student leaders attending a conference and many students going on Somers Camp, which all happen on Fridays. At this assembly, Jackson Taylor will be presenting our Captains and student leaders with their badges. This is a very important assembly, and all parents and visitors are invited. On the weeks we don’t have a face-to-face assembly, we will be running Multi-age activities in classrooms.
Just a reminder that school photos are to be taken on Thursday 29th February. To look our best and show pride in our school, as in all other days, students must wear their full school uniform for school photos. More information about photo day will be sent to families over the next few weeks.
Parent Information Videos
This year we will be continuing to run our forum for Information Nights via video. Staff will be videoing the Information Nights and sending home the link so you can watch the information night as a family and discuss this with your children. The link will be sent home via COMPASS on Friday 16th February.
We strongly encourage all parents to take advantage of this opportunity and hear about the procedures, expectations and programs for the year. There will be a specialist video included that will give information relevant to your child’s year level. Working in partnership and having consistent expectations between home and school leads to better outcomes for our students.
The Classroom Helpers Course
If you wish to help in the classroom, you must complete ‘The Classroom Helpers Course’ that we run at school. Leah Hodgson (Assistant Principal) will be running the course for 3 days, Wednesday 21st February, Wednesday 28th February and Wednesday 6th March from 2:15pm to 3:15pm. It is a great privilege and a wonderful experience to be able to work in your child’s classroom. If you are interested in attending, keep an eye out for the COMPASS notification with an expression of interest to be completed.
Our wonderful Community Hub, affectionately known as The Hubsters, are our school’s fundraising body. These parents do an amazing job supporting the school to have all the extras that make us wonderfully resourced. If you are a new family or are a parent who is now able to join the Hubsters we would love to hear from you. Our community will be notified on COMPASS when our first meeting of the year will be.
Don’t forget that Boronia Heights is a SunSmart School and wide brimmed hats are compulsory in Terms 1 & 4, (including Phys Ed sessions). Hats are available at the school office and must be worn by all children and staff when outside at playtime and lunchtime. Children who do not have a hat will have a restricted play area under the shaded areas of the school. Please ensure that your child’s hat is clearly named and that they have it at school every day. Our school uniform policy requires that the hat be a school hat, as it is the approved style with a wide brim that provides full sun protection to face, ears and neck.
If your child brings their mobile phone to school, they need to sign it in at the office, leave it with our admin staff and collect it at the end of the day. Please make sure that your child’s phone is wiped down daily. Smart watches that can be used as a phone are not allowed to be worn to school, unless the phone part of the watch is disabled. This is a Ministerial Order that all schools in Victoria must comply with.
Collection of students from school during school hours
The Victorian Department of Education has policies and guidelines for the collection of children during school hours from government schools. Students must only be collected by their parents (subject to any specific court orders) or by a person who has been authorised by the parents to pick up their child. An authorised person is anyone who has been identified by the parents on the enrolment form such as Adult A or Adult B or anyone listed as an Emergency Contact. If the authorised person signing the child out early is not known to the office staff, they can expect to be asked for photo identification. If you have any questions about these procedures, please do not hesitate to speak to myself or any of the office staff.
On a related topic, if there are or have been any family court orders in place that are relevant to your children can you please ensure that we have the latest copy on our file, so we are aware of any custody or access restrictions that are in place.
Personal Goods brought to School at the ‘owners’ risk
The Department of Education does not hold insurance for personal property brought to schools. All schools are requested to remind students and parents/guardians of this at the beginning of each academic year and to discourage parents/students from bringing any unnecessary or particularly valuable items to school. Please avoid bringing these items as it can be most upsetting for all concerned if items go missing or are damaged.
Working with Children’s Checks (WWCC)
We encourage and value parental and community support at Boronia Heights Primary School. There are many ways that parents, grandparents and friends can assist at our school. We encourage all parents to obtain a Working with Children’s Check that will allow you to be very involved in your child’s education. These checks are free for volunteers and will allow you to be involved as many school events as you require. Once you have your WWCC, please come to the office so we can photocopy this, and we will add your name to our list of parents who have a current WWCC check.
Update contact details
As we are in the middle of the fire season it is a good time to remind our families to ensure that all your details are up to date at the school. If you have changed address, got a new phone number or have a new alternative contact please contact the office to give us the details so that we are able to contact you if required.
Rubbish Free Lunch
Rubbish free lunches benefit the environment by reducing packaging waste, which in turn reduces energy and resource use. Participating in a rubbish free school promotes sustainability awareness among students, parents and school staff. Rubbish free lunches tend to result in reduced litter, and they encourage healthy eating. Often, highly processed foods are packaged while unprocessed snacks, such as fruit and vegetables, are not. Combining healthier eating with waste free lunches is a great way to meet health and environmental goals.
At BHPS we are promoting a rubbish free school. We ask that your child’s lunch contain as few items as possible that must be thrown away. Ideally, your child’s lunch will only contain items that will be eaten, composted or recycled. Reusable containers are a handy way to pack a waste-free lunch. They also make it easy to buy food and drink in bulk (instead of in single servings) which can save money over time. Thank you for your support with this initiative.
Our wonderful canteen supervisor Kathy opened the canteen this week. The canteen opens every Monday and Friday for lunch only.
Student Supervision at school prior to and after school
Teachers are on duty at 8:45am each day. Please be aware that children who arrive prior to 8:45am may be unsupervised in the playground. Our gates open in the morning at 8:30am and close at 9:30 am. The front gate at the corner of Landscape Drv and Phipps Ave is open all day. The gates reopen at 2:30pm and close at 4:20pm. After school there are teachers on yard duty until 3:45pm. After 3:45pm, children who have not been collected will be brought to the area outside the office, where every effort will be made to contact parents or guardians. We understand that from time-to-time emergencies do happen, please let the office know if they can support you.