Term 2 Week 4 2023
‘We do whatever it takes to lead the way in Love, Learning, Faith, School Spirit, Sport & Community’
Dear Families & Friends,
SMP has a School Review on the 6th, 7th and 8th of June Three external reviewers will spend 3 days at school and look at where we are as a school using the National School Review Tool. This process will allow us to reflect on where we are at and where we wish to be in 3 years time. All the feedback recently from parents, staff and students is extremely important in this school improvement process. We will keep our community involved and informed.
I have had a quick look as we have just received the feedback from the Tell Them From Me Surveys. Over 100 parents completed the survey. Thank you! It was very affirming on so many things so thank you very much. This included our dedicated staff, relationships with kids, focus on learning, playgrounds, improvements to our grounds and classrooms etc.
Some of the constructive criticism themes that have come through are in regards to Home Learning, Compass, new School Fee set up, Learning for students in the middle of the range, Resilience of your kids. We take on board this feedback and look to enact improvement going into the future.
We changed Home Learning from your feedback from last year's TTFM surveys as most feedback was negative about having it. We also look at the impact it has on your child’s development, in which the strongest evidence says usual home work has none. Now that we have lessened it, those who are strong on it have voiced concerns. This is a real divisive one for parents, not just at our school. We will have some more deeper discussion and thought around this. We will only do what we know is educationally best for our SMP kids and ensure that it is flexible enough for the families who cannot get to it, and valuable for the ones that can, without putting unnecessary extra workload on teachers with ‘busy’ work for kids that does not impact.
This program is mandatory and has some really good features for the school and parents. But we will be very mindful in going forward on how much, and what we send out to families. We have sent out a fair bit lately. There are also new rules where we are required to send out permission notes that we have never had to receive permission for in the past e.g. going to Colley Park, doing Acts of Mercy. Please come in and see us if you have issues. We are also having some issues with it and finding some of it a bit clunky.
School Fee Changes
Another mandatory item. Anyone experiencing any difficulty with this, please feel very welcome to communicate with Fran Gilmour or me. As a parent, I also felt this was a little tricky to navigate and preferred having a direct debit coming out each fortnight.
Learning for students in the middle of the range
We never want any student to slip under the radar. This is an area we have been putting more of our focus into, ensuring that no child can just cruise through without being pushed strongly in their learning. Having a teacher and an SSE in each class for English and Mathematics aims to target groupings of all ability kids, ensuring all students spend equal individual and small group time with the teacher in Reading, Writing and Mathematics.
Every child at SMP will be recognised over time in various ways (I have put the many examples out in numerous newsletters in how we do this). We will not tokenistically give awards or rewards for any student who has not earned it, but wish to recognise all individuals gifts and talents and our Vision Awards in particular do this. We wish to encourage and foster self motivation. Just like not everyone will win the cross country or swimming, everyone has the opportunity, but it's likely that not everyone will receive a whole school achievement award. We wish to get the balance right in which we recognise and acknowledge, but this is never done without earning it. We believe this balance helps set kids up with encouragement to go out into the real world, without expecting things to happen without working hard for it.
We need to ensure that we as adults, both parents and school, set the example here. It is not the end of the world if a child gets something wrong, errs with their behaviour, misses out on an award. It is very much OK to be disappointed and upset, but as long as we learn from these things, we will continue to grow. How we act as adults influences this with our kids. How we ensure they learn accountability and responsibility is important, especially around behaviour (think of where we want them to be in the future). If your child makes a behaviour mistake at school, we will always follow up with accountability. How the parent reacts to this will also help us, help our kids take accountability and grow. It is never black and white, but if we go into bat for our kids every time, pointing the blame at others, we are setting our kids up for failure in the future. How we teach our kids disappointment for missing out in something is important. At SMP we wish to set our kids up to be resilient and confident in their own skin and we appreciate parental support with this.
Parking is an issue in the afternoon. I am trying to work with the Lismore Catholic Schools Office and the Richmond Valley Council to look at options. At the moment this looks to be a long term big planning for our school in the near future as there are no short term fixes like we did for the kiss and drop off zone in the morning.
Assistant Principal's News - Mission
Thank you to the 102 parents who participated in our parent Tell Them From Me surveys. It has been truly a humbling experience as a school to receive such a positive response and acknowledgement of our staff for their hard work and dedication.
We are currently working as a school leadership team to analyse all of your identified celebrations, observations and proposed improvement areas. These are a few common areas identified from the surveys that I wanted to provide some clarity on. There are many other agenda items that were raised that will be addressed later on.
Toilets - Both parents and students identified the toilets as requiring extra work and a bit of TLC. Lucy, our school cleaner, meticulously cleans the toilets every morning. She finishes work around 7.00am. Our students identified that often toilets aren't flushed and toilet paper gets thrown around. We will be doing a fair bit of education with our students to improve this. We have been working with the Catholic Schools Office for a while now with the problems we face with the upgrading of our toilet facilities and this is ongoing.
Bins - We have previously tried to work with the local council on getting some extra residential bins for our school. This is not a simple or cost effective solution for us. We will look at purchasing some smaller bins to help ease the burden and also spend some quality time educating our students on what goes in the red, yellow and green bins. This is very tough to manage and monitor.
Behaviour / Bullying - Please be aware that as a school, we follow up on every student and parent concern that comes our way. Sometimes, students and parents are not aware of the lengthy process that comes from this. The outcome that arises from our investigations is not publicly shared as we have to be sensitive to all parties. Bullying is targeted behaviour from a student or a group of students directed at another that is ongoing. We do not, and never have, accepted bullying in our school. We also cannot fix what we are not aware of, so we continue to encourage proactive communication around any student social concerns.
Compass App - Most Lismore Diocesan Schools are using the Compass app - we can't opt out of this. We understand that there are many messages that often come out via this platform and we work hard to only send the most relevant info out to families. Please continue to check it regularly for permission forms, grade messages, dates etc.
Upcoming Events - Please use our "School Calendar" link on our website to keep an eye on all upcoming special events/dates etc. We will work hard to give plenty of notice in our newsletter and on the app on upcoming events to allow working families to take time off work if needed.
Sporting Fields - We are going to look into some line marking, goal posts, soccer goals and netball posts for our students.
Canteen - We don't purchase during the day with spare change from the canteen like we did pre-Covid times. There are many reasons for this, most notably; issues with lost/stolen/shared money, supervision of the students offsite, students purchasing too many sweets/sometimes foods (behaviour) and dietary requirements are just to name a few.
Buses - If your child has any concern on the bus, we strongly encourage you to contact the bus company immediately to address this. Please also let us know as a school if your child is having issues with another one of our students and we will look to help solve the issue but can't enforce consequences as it is happening outside of our duty of care.
Contacting Teachers - We will add each staff member's email address to the school website located in "About Us" and then click on "Staff". Please be aware that our teachers are preparing, organising and implementing student learning during school hours and can't immediately respond to parent emails. Urgent messages must be provided to the school office.
Social Skills Program - Our whole school focuses on incorporating the Berry Street Educational Model into class lessons throughout the week. These lessons focus on improving all students’ self-regulation, relationships, wellbeing, growth and academic achievement.
Turf Grass Area - We have tried many, many times (with no luck) to find a contractor to help fix the damage to where we have problems with the artificial turf. This is ongoing for us and something we have found difficult due to most contractors not taking on smaller jobs with all of the flood work available. We will keep looking for solutions. Mr O’Brien and Mr White (maintenance/groundsman) will be ripping up the flood-affected turf from behind the demountable and landscaping it.
Three Sixteen Youth Group
The final youth group for Term 2 will be on Friday 2nd June from 3:30 - 5:00pm. Students must have been previously registered to participate.
Charlie Cox Beef Week Cup
Next Thursday, 25 May will be the Charlie Cox Beef Week Cup for registered Years 3-6 students for rugby league, netball and soccer. A few particulars for the day:
- The students will leave the school grounds at 9:00am and return approx 2:30pm
- Students must be marked off the roll at school and early leavers must have their name marked off before going
- Canteen will be open
- A draw has been placed on the app with approx. times
- Each student knows what team they are in which then will correspond with the draw
- Rugby league students require a mouthguard. They have been provided their uniform which can be taken home after the day, washed and returned to Mr Irvine
- Netball students wear their full, normal sports uniform (no Year 6 Leaders shirts)
- Soccer students have been provided with a school singlet to wear over the top of their full, normal sports uniform (no Year 6 Leaders shirts). Shin pads are compulsory and they require long, footy type socks (blue if possible). Uniform can be washed and returned to Mr Llewellyn (Y5 & 6) or Mrs O’Connor (Y3 & 4)
The Healthy Harold Life Education van will be visiting SMP in Weeks 7 & 8 of Term 2 for Kinder, Years 1, 2 & 3.
The incursion has been planned to complement the Personal Development and Health aspects of the PDHPE curriculum. The van will be on our school site and the classroom teachers will accompany the students for their visit.
Topics covered will be:
Kindergarten: Harold’s Friendship: how to build friendships and care for others, feelings and emotions, safe and unsafe situations and early warning signs, safe places and people who we can go to for help.
Years 1 & 2: Safety Rules: recognising safe and unsafe environments, how to care for others, behaviours that maintain friendships, places and people who we can go to for help.
Years 3: Cyberwise: how to recognise, react and report unwanted contact, bullying or predatory behaviours, keeping personal information safe online, responsible and respectful behaviour when using communication technology, skills for building positive relationships with friends and exploring the role of bystanders.
The cost of the incursion is $12 per student. A consent form and payment option will be sent out on Compass shortly.
Assistant Principal - Mission
K-2 Instructional Leader
Year 2 Persuasive Writing
Year 2 students composed texts to persuade the community to save our koalas. Are you convinced?
Mila Roberson - Please Help Koalas
Have you ever seen a koala sleeping in a tree? Sadly, koalas are in danger for many reasons. Here's one that is really bad because their homes are getting destroyed. I believe that koalas can be saved by opening up more koala hospitals. We must help these poor creatures from dying.
Firstly, koalas aren't just getting hurt from us, they are also getting hurt from nature. Bushfires can kill their trees aswell. There can be no water during a bushfire.
Secondly, koalas can get very sick from diseases. Some might even die. Their leaves can get poisoned and hurt the koalas.
Thirdly, many koalas can get run over by lots of things, like cars, trains, buses and trucks. So please keep your eyes on all parts of the road!
Lastly, there are many reasons to save koalas and we can help. As gum trees get destroyed, you can plant more and more. Altogether we can make our own animal hospitals. We can keep an eye on all parts of all the road and put your blinkers on. Just please don’t forget this, we don’t want our koalas to go extinct.
Jack Morton - Koalas Need You!
We must save the koalas! Because each year lots of koalas die to bushfires and wild dogs. They also die because of not enough food and animals.
I believe that we should save the koalas. They are endangered and they don’t get the energy they need. They also sleep 19 hours a day and they are marsupials. So, if you see an injured koala, report it to a koala centre now!
Firstly, did you know that koalas lose their homes because of land clearing? So every time we clear land, we take the risk of hurting a koala.
Secondly, I think that when a bushfire starts to come we should move the koalas to a safer place. Koalas live only in Australia. Koalas may become extinct if bushfires don’t stop.
Lastly, we must start to move koalas to a safer place! Koalas are endangered in NSW and Queensland. Joeys have to hold on tight to their mother’s back to survive.
Now that I have changed your mind, I can tell you a few tips on saving koalas: Plant eucalpytus trees to help koalas with their food and remember to stop land clearing and start to help koalas some more!
Abigail Brooks - Help the Koalas
Koalas are in great danger! I believe that we are destroying the koalas' home. We absolutely shoud stop cutting down forests. If we do, koalas will have nowhere to live. Unfortunately, koalas are dying because of bushfires, stranded koalas and predators.
Firstly, bushfires are a threat to koalas because they destroy the gum trees and dehydrate the koalas. It also kills some koalas if they are not saved. We certainly must help the koalas so they don't die. Did you know koalas are vulnerable?
Secondly, if we find a stranded koala we must call a vet to come and collect the koala. We should not try to rescue them by ourselves.
Thirdly, dogs are predators because they chase and kill the koalas. Did you know dogs are a threat to koalas?
In conclusion, we definitely should help koalas and call vets if needed. If we find an injured koala, we must call a rescue centre.
Parent Information Session - Reading
On Monday, 8 May, we held a Parent Information Session on how the teaching of reading has changed and how parents can support their child at home with this change. Please see below a recording of the presentation. If you have any questions, please let us know.
Leader of Love and Community
Thank you to all of the mums and mother figures that came to our Mother's Day Liturgy and afternoon tea last Friday. We hope that you were all spoilt on your special day! A big shout out to Mrs Gilmour and the wonderful parents who came and helped at the Mother's Day stall, you did an amazing job!!
Next Friday 26 May, will see us celebrate Beef Week here at SMP. It is always a fun filled day, packed with many exciting activites. We invite you all to come along and enjoy the day. Please see below for more details and a rough timetable.
On Saturday 27 May, SMP will be walking in the 2023 Beef Week Street Parade. We would love to see as many students dressed in their costumes from Friday and our Junk Drummers, walking in the parade.
- Saturday Beef Week Street Parade, 27th May
- Where - Outside the Council Chambers
- When - 1:30pm
Leader of Love & Community
2023 Student Free Days
Student Free Days to mark in your diary:
30 June - last day Term 2
17 July - first day of Term 3
22 September - last day Term 3
9 October - first day Term 4
24 November - Friday Week 7 Term 4
Delete any dates that you may have marked on your calendar and replace with the above.
Happy birthday to Rohan Mudduluru Ariel Bell Austin Roberts Archie Walker Darcie Foster Kaylee Hale Ruby-Lee Marsden McKenzie Armstrong Grace Armstrong Miami-Lee Simpson Luca Cadman Howard Armstrong Jenna McMillan Layla Balderi Isabel Henderson Lilly Hoare Kaden Parker Abigail Drummond Oliver Christensen Bronte McIntyre Hugh Derrig Ashton Leadley Rowdy Townsend Xander Opryszko Arlen Connolly Jett Scherf Jace Doughty Elijah Benn Jocelyn Bunting Skarlett Green Melita Johnston Xavier Bate and Dante Leader who have recently celebrated their birthday, to Bobbi Grissell Kaden King who celebrate tomorrow.
Mother's Day Stall helpers
A very big thank you to the wonderful mothers, grandmothers and aunt who ran the Mother's Day stall last Friday, 12 May. Close to 1,000 gifts were selected, wrapped and labelled by the helpers!
Thank you Marlee Newby, Dannika Patton, Kiralyn Flack, Wendy Horseman-Noijens, Cherisse Lynn, Jan Andrews, Tania Creighton, Debra Marshall, Aprillia McSweeney, Sarah Monks, Megan Lohse and Olivia Flynn.