Please click on the link below to see my fortnightly newsletter articles.
Please click on the link below to see my fortnightly newsletter articles.
40th Anniversary Planning Committee Meeting
We are currently organising our 40th Anniversary celebrations for the second half of the year. We have a few events in the planning and we hope to inform the school community of what is to come in the next couple of weeks.
We will need volunteers from the school community to make everything happen. Basically, we need your help!
Our next meeting will take place on Wednesday, 14th June at 6:00pm in the staffroom. If you are interested in having some fun and organising a great community event, please come along to the meeting and join the committee.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know if you are able to help out.
Enrichment and Lunchtime Clubs
Over the next couple of weeks a full range of enrichment activities are taking place across the school. Our Foundation, Grades 1, 3 and 5 students are all now in thick of their Maths Talent Quest investigations. I was in the Grade 5 classrooms this week and the students have certainly devised some very challenging projects.
Our Science Talent Search winners will be presenting their projects to a panel of experts in the Science Victoria STS. Good luck to our talented young scientists!
The Debaters Association of Victoria will be hosting a workshop with our highly able public speakers in Grades 5&6 next Monday. Our school debating team will then be selected from this group.
For the first time our school Futsal Team competed today. All reports indicate they had a great time!
Lunchtime clubs this term include the Library Club, Arts and Craft Club, Junior Coding Club and on Fridays Mr Kitney and Mr Mathew have launched the Grade 4-6 Soccer Tournament. The soccer pitch on the back oval was a hive of excitement last Friday when the first round of matches took place. All teams need to have a mixture of boys and girls and every student in Grades 4-6 has the opportunity to join in.
A very big thank you goes to all the teachers that give up their lunch breaks to host these clubs. We certainly appreciate their efforts and it provides excellent opportunities for our students.
Education Week & Open Days
Thank you to all students, families and staff who helped make Education Week a successful celebration of learning at Templestowe Park PS. Our Open Saturday morning was very well attended by over forty prospective families and some of our own community members. I would like to thank our Grade 6 leaders who did a magnificent job of taking school tours and to our staff, PFA and School Councillors who attended the morning to discuss what Templestowe Park has to offer.
Mr Mathew hosted a very interesting and informative Coffee & Chat about Character Strengths on the first day of Education Week. In particular, there was a great discussion around how we can highlight character strengths in our children every day to build self-efficacy and to encourage positive relationships. A very big thank you to Mr Mathew for hosting the chat and to all parents who attended.
Open Night was a great success with hundreds of students, parents and friends learning about how we keep a healthy mind and body at Templestowe Park. As you are all aware, our focus for the evening was about our PERMAH model and Positive Education. A great time was had by all and it highlighted the importance of having a balanced life to be the very best we can be.
It was exciting to have so many parents looking at their children’s classrooms and all the different areas around the school. To produce the best student outcomes it is imperative that families and the school work together and our Education Week celebrations were a great example of this.
Last Wednesday the 2017 Grade 6 Legacy Project was unveiled. The three-piece mural is in the Grade 6 play area and it is a wonderful addition to the space. You will be able to see the painting in this week’s Manningham Leader as they have written a short article about the great work of our Grade 6 students.
A very big thank you goes to Ms Sumner for her tireless work towards the project. The legacy projects are an inspiring tradition in our school and Ms Sumner does a magnificent job every year.
Click here to link to the Manningham Leader website and read the article on page 5, for the issue released on Monday, 29th May.
Designing Student Inquiries for Term 3
Yesterday, our teachers worked with world-renowned inquiry learning expert, Kath Murdoch, to design the Term 3 student inquiries. Kath worked with our teachers to design engaging inquiries that will challenge and excite our students. In Term 3, our students will be inquiring into where our food comes from, computer coding, physics & design and Australian history. It was a very successful day and I thank Ms Sunderland for leading this highly important element of student learning.
Last week a brand new projector and screen were installed in the school hall and they are an excellent addition to this space. We have installed the large screen for student presentations, teaching purposes and for whole school functions. We have given it a few test runs and the picture and sound are first class. It will certainly lift the experience of the Grade 1 movie night!
Our soccer goals have been erected and our budding soccer players are enjoying having their brand new goals on the back oval.
We have also brightened up our playground with educational spaces and games painted on our concrete area in front of the Foundation and main buildings. It certainly has revitalised the asphalt areas and will provide our students with an improved learning and play space.
Last week Eva P from 1/2E received the Principals’ Award at assembly. Eva gives her very best in everything she does; she loves keeping active, uses her creativity and is kind to everyone. We love to see this kind of balance from our students at Templestowe Park! We are very proud of you, Eva.1000 Books before School
I thought I would let families know about a great new program run by the State Library Victoria. The 1000 Books Before School program is designed to help parents and carers make reading a regular part of their routine, supporting them to reach the milestone of reading 1000 books with their child before school. The program is a great way to track a child's reading progress and work towards building important literacy skills.
Parents and carers can register at participating local libraries (Whitehorse Manningham Library and Yarra Plenty Regional Library are listed as participants), or the State Library of Victoria.
For more information, see: 1000 Books before School https://www.slv.vic.gov.au/live-learn/1000-books-school
Character Strengths – Strength Spotting
As you are all aware, our Positive Education focus for Term 2 is Character Strengths. During our RRIPO sessions this week, all students brought in their completed character strengths spotting activity on someone close to them. Students chose their siblings, parents, grandparents or special friends. It was great to hear the students from Foundation – Grade 6 explain the strengths of someone close to them and how it makes them achieve their best. Humour, Zest, Love and Spirituality all featured highly.
Each week we have been profiling the character strengths of a different staff member. This week I will profile our Foundation teacher and Inquiry Leader, Kate Sunderland. Her top five character strengths are:
Over the school holidays I had the pleasure of undertaking a study tour to Shanghai, China. This trip was part of an ongoing professional learning course that I have been participating in over the past few months through the Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership.
I was joined on the Shanghai study trip by fourteen other principals and senior staff from the Department of Education and Training. My travel mates included principals from city schools such as Melbourne Girls’ College, Croydon Hills PS and Malvern PS to rural schools from Swifts Creek P-12, Birchip P-12 and The Alpine School.
I had an absolutely amazing time and I have gained so much from the trip to Shanghai. Within this blog entry I hope to give you a brief insight into my time away and what I can bring back to assist our students in their learning journey.
The Study Trip
During my time in Shanghai I undertook a wide variety of activities. They included:
It was within the lectures at SUFE that I was able to receive an insight into the Shanghai education system. I learnt about the high performing Shanghai schools that regularly appear at the top of international rankings. While there are outstanding results the school system in Shanghai is extremely competitive and the pressure to achieve is significant. Key areas of concern for the Shanghai Education Department include:
Future initiatives of the Education Department include:
I found these lectures extremely interesting as Shanghai education authorities are clearly aware of the importance of personal wellbeing, creativity, international mindedness and the ability communicate with a wide range of people in different ways.
Templestowe Park’s current initiatives into STEM, inquiry based learning, positive education and intercultural understanding correlate with the future goals of the Shanghai Education Department. Maintaining a balance of rigour, wellbeing and creativity is a challenge for education systems around the entire world.
There were three school visits on the trip.
The Ganquan Foreign Language School consisted of over 1400 students and they have a close sister school relationship with Keysborough Secondary College in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. The Principal (Principal Liu Gua Hua) of the school was a charismatic and exuberant man who had connections to Melbourne as his daughter currently lives in Hawthorn with her young family. There were 60 international students at the school and they had a school focus on cultivating students with a global perspective. Mr Liu Gua Hua had a strong belief that his teachers should be passionate, have wisdom, be great thinkers and have lots of energy. I couldn’t agree more with these traits.
The second visit was to the Shanghai I&C Foreign Languages School and this is where we participated in Victorian and Shanghai Principal Forum. This provided my colleagues and me with the opportunity to meet with high performing Principals from Shanghai and discuss the future of education within our region and to share our beliefs in school leadership and education. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet with school leaders and discuss our school settings and provide advice. It was very valuable and I really enjoyed the experience.
The final visit was Shanghai Baoshan No.2 Primary School. This is a school that caters for over 1600 students over two campuses. We visited the Grade 3-5 campus. We were lucky enough to observe an English lesson and it was very different from what you would see in a language class in Australia. The lesson was presented in English without a word of Mandarin being spoken. The students were placed in rows and it was a very explicit way of teaching. While at times we use this method of teaching in Australia, it is more common for our students to participate in discussions and small group work.
The facilities of the school were outstanding and they had their very own specialist Science room and TV studio. It felt a bit like home as these are two programs we have introduced this year. I was able to glean some great ideas for our Science and STEM program and we will incorporate this into our curriculum in the coming months.
Once the tour was completed we had an opportunity to have a meeting with the School leadership team which was an enlightening experience. The most important goal of the school is that all students are happy and it clearly made me think of our positive education program and what we are attempting to achieve at Templestowe Park.
I thoroughly enjoyed every school visit and the opportunity to explore schools from a completely different culture. While there were obvious differences within our schools there were just as many similarities. No matter wherever you are across the world all principals and teachers want the very best for their students and will stop at nothing to make this happen.
The trip allowed me to visit a range of Australian owned and Chinese businesses to learn about the opportunities for young Australians in China, entrepreneurship, and what skills our students will require in a rapidly changing workforce.
Australian businesses that we visited included:
At every one of these businesses I managed to meet someone from Melbourne, and more specifically, two from the Templestowe area. A very small world indeed.
These visits led me to think about the skills of interpersonal communication, creativity intercultural understanding, and entrepreneurship that we can teach our students. These areas are all part of the new Victorian Curriculum to be introduced in 2017 and I have been exposed to where these beginning skills that we teach our students may end up in the future.
Meeting with the Secretary, Ms Gill Callister, Department of Education and Training
Ms Callister scheduled time in her important trip to Shanghai with the Premier, the Honourable Daniel Andrews, to meet with the principal group to discuss the trip. It was an excellent opportunity to share our experiences with Ms Callister and to learn about the Victorian Government’s aim to provide our students with the 21st century skills to prosper in the changing world. This was a real highlight of the trip and it was exciting to find out shortly afterwards that Ms Callister reported back to senior members of the Department the excellent learning experiences that we have had.
The experience of participating in the Leading Asia Capable Schools course and the study trip to Shanghai has made a considerable impact on me as a principal. The importance of preparing our students with the skills and attributes to be successful in an ever changing world was really brought home to me through this amazing experience.
Our students need excellent communication skills, creativity, STEM skills and intercultural understanding. I am proud to say that I have come away more confident of our school programs and the teaching methods of our fantastic staff. Students from Foundation to Year 6 at Templestowe Park are consistently given the opportunity to think for themselves and problem solve. We should be very proud of our school and community, and know that our school can perform on the world stage.
I thought I would update you on an exciting course that I will be undertaking for the remainder of the year.
I have recently been accepted into Leading Asia Capable Schools course at the Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership. I will spend time throughout the second half of the year completing my studies and during the Term 3 school holidays I will be taking a study tour to China to learn from the high-performing education system in Shanghai.
The rationale behind the course is that Victoria faces a fast changing world driven by increasing globalisation, people mobility and the economic and strategic rise of Asia. To harness the opportunity to compete globally our students require an education that equips them with the skills and knowledge to be local and global citizens, ready for the world and ready for work. This includes Asia capabilities, including knowledge of the societies and languages of Asia, and intercultural capability as essential to living and working in a multicultural Victoria and the diverse world of the 21st century.
I look forward to undertaking my studies and learning about how, as a school, we can prepare our students to be resourceful and thoughtful global citizens.
It is our goal at Templestowe Park to cater for the individual needs of all students. This includes students that are performing above the expected level. We are proud of the rich learning experiences we offer all students and the wide opportunities that our learning programs provide. To accommodate our many highly able students we offer extensive opportunities to them to be engaged, challenged and extended in their learning.
Gifted and Talented education is a passion of mine. I have completed a Certificate of Gifted Education from the UNSW and I also ran a Gifted and Talented program for five years before taking on school leadership. What I do know about highly able students is that they are highly able all day everyday; not just for the times we can provided extension programs. This is why our teachers are continually assessing the performance of all students in the classroom and providing differentiated learning and extension for our talented students. As well as our differentiated classroom practices I want to give you a quick taste of some of our enrichment programs that we offer at TPPS.
GATEWays – Highly able students from Grade 1 – 6 take part in these extension sessions on exciting areas of interest.
Maths Olympiad – Our high achieving Grade 5/6 students participate in this problem solving event and compete against the greatest young mathematicians in Australia.
Maths Talent Quest (MTQ) – Our Foundation, Grade 1 and Grade 3 students participate in this open-ended mathematical investigation competition. Our best projects are entered into the statewide competition. Stay tuned for details about our MTQ exhibition.
Science Talent Search (STS) – Our Grade 2, 4 and 6 students participate in the Science Victoria STS. They have been working hard on their projects over the last few weeks and these will be on display at our Expo during Education Week. Our very best entries will be entered into the statewide competition. Natalia C and Emma P from Grade 6 took out the top prize in this competition in 2015 when they created a computer game about the water cycle.
Debating – Our top public speakers from Grades 4, 5 and 6 will be invited to attend a workshop provided by the Debaters Association of Victoria. Teams will then be selected from the Grade 5 and 6 students to represent Templestowe Park in the Primary School State-wide Tournament.
Coding Club – New in 2016, the coding club is for students in upper primary to learn how to code. This provides our students a start on their journey to learn how to create computer software, apps, games and websites.
UNSW ICAS – Students from Grades 3 to 6 take part in these tests to challenge and measure themselves against students from across Australia. We have had outstanding success in this competition, with Libby B (Grade 6) achieving the highest English score in Victoria in 2015.
Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Writing – Talented writers from Grades 1 to 6 are invited to enter their creative poetry in the famous competition.
TPTV – Our Grades 5 and 6 students are provided the opportunity to write, direct, produce and edit their very own TV show in our specially designed studio. While it is in its infancy at the moment, stay tuned for our big launch in Term 3.
As you can see we are strongly committed to providing challenging learning opportunities for our highly able students. With the leadership of Mrs McCumber (Gifted & Talented Coordinator) we plan to provide even more innovative and exciting challenges in the future.
It has been a little while since my last blog post. Stay tuned for updated blog posts in the coming days.
Please take the time to look through the outstanding Classroom and Specialist websites and blogs. They are an outstanding source of information, activities and resources. In fact, I have not come across a more comprehensive school blogging program than the one we have at our very own school. Congratulations to all teachers for their fantastic work!
It is essential to use NAPLAN to measure student growth. Simply looking at raw scores gives you no indication of student improvement or if the teaching practices at the school have been successful.
This week our Year 3 and 5 students and their families will receive the results from the NAPLAN assessments that were completed earlier in the year. As many of you know the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual assessment for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. These tests focus on the areas of reading, writing, spelling and numeracy.
Every year there is much contention about the assessment and what it represents. Some say that it is standardised testing gone mad and the publication of results lead to young students swotting for tests and the narrowing of the curriculum to focus simply on literacy and numeracy. Others say that it is an important measure of student performance that allows parents and schools to measure how individual and groups of students are achieving against similar schools and national benchmarks. It is fair to say that the truth lies somewhere in between.
With the introduction of My School and other websites that compare NAPLAN scores these tests have become an increasingly high stakes event. Many schools feel the pressure to perform, so they spend a considerable amount of time preparing Grade 3 and 5 students for NAPLAN. It is also speculated that some parents are simply selecting schools on the results of the assessments. These developments are concerning to me as an educational leader and as a parent. There is little doubt all parents want their child to succeed academically but at what cost? The narrowing of the curriculum and continued practice of tests is a serious concern and something we are strongly opposed to at Templestowe Park.
The value and relevance of NAPLAN is most evident when schools analyse trends in performance and measure the growth of students between the Year 3 and Year 5 assessment. As a school we do this to identify if the teaching practices we have employed have been effective. At Templestowe Park we use Year 3 NAPLAN data to measure the success of our Prep – Grade 3 program and to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the cohort of students. In Grade 5 we measure the progress of the students from when they did the Year 3 NAPLAN, two years earlier, and identify students and cohorts that require intervention or extension. It also allows us to identify trends in our teaching and learning so we can focus our professional development for teachers to address these needs. It is essential to use NAPLAN to measure student growth. Simply looking at raw scores gives you no indication of student improvement or if the teaching practices at the school have been successful.
It also must be remembered that NAPLAN is one test on one day and to define a student’s academic progress only on this result is fraught with danger. In fact, when we analyse the NAPLAN assessments as a school we quite often remove the results from our top and bottom 10% of students, as there are many students who either have a very good or bad day. Removing these results provides us with a clearer picture of student progress.
As a school we undertake a variety of formal and informal assessments that provide us with detailed information about an individual student’s progress. NAPLAN is one piece of this extensive puzzle.
The 2015 NAPLAN results indicate that students at Templestowe Park are achieving extremely well compared to state averages and to schools with similar students. While we are very proud of these achievements we are continually trying to improve the teaching and learning program for our students. By using NAPLAN tests as a tool to measure growth and improve our programs we are always striving to guide our students to achieve their personal best. This is exactly what these assessments are designed for.
When our Year 3 and 5 parents receive their child’s NAPLAN report this week I would like them to know that we are diligent in our use of these results to improve our teaching and learning programs, not only for their child but for all of the students within our school.
I just wanted to update you on some changes you will see in your child's classroom. As part of our focus on developing and improving our teaching and learning practices we have been investigating how to better target our teaching.
One of the key strategies in implementing this change is through having clear learning intentions and success criteria. Learning intentions describe what the teacher wants the student to learn. This makes it very clear to the students what they need to attain (in terms of skill/knowledge acquisition) in a lesson. The success criteria clearly show our students how to successfully demonstrate their learning at the end of the lesson.
At the beginning of each lesson the classroom teacher will clearly outline the learning intention so every student understands what the aim of the lesson is. The teacher will then explain the success criteria and what every student needs to achieve to have a successful learning session. Throughout the lesson the teacher questions and feedback to the students is based upon the learning intention and success criteria.
Within your child’s classroom and on classroom displays you will see learning intentions and success criteria presented in the following ways:
Learning Intention = We Are Learning To (WALT)
Success Criteria: Signs of Success (SOS)
The impact that clear learning intentions and success criteria can have was made evident in the extensive research by internationally acclaimed Melbourne University Professor, John Hattie. In his best-selling book ‘Visible Learning for Teachers’, learning intentions and success criteria appeared in the Top 10 influences on student learning.
As a school and staff we are working tirelessly to improve the teaching and learning programs at Templestowe Park. I hope that this has given you a bit of insight into one of the strategies you will see in your child’s classroom.
I am excited to announce that our Grade Six Leaders have designed a brand new assembly that will be launched next Wednesday 22 July at 2:40pm.
Our leaders expressed to me early in Term 2 that they would like to revamp our assembly and provide a host of awards that celebrate our students' fantastic achievements. To say I was in support of this was a huge understatement. I enthusiastically agreed to their initiative and asked them to have a new assembly designed by the commencement of Term 3. Our leaders met many times to design the new assembly and to decide on the achievements that we wished to celebrate. When they presented their ideas to me late in Term 2, I was blown away by their creative and thoughtful ideas.
One of the most exciting aspects of this process was the creation of our very own Templestowe Park Primary School oath. Mrs Twyford was recruited to write the oath, as she is quite the poet. Our school oath outlines how we want to act at Templestowe Park and it contains references to all of our RRIPO values.
Templestowe Park School Oath
Templestowe Park is a great place to be
In pride and respect is what we believe.
Optimism means we’ll have a good day
If we work together in a positive way.
We will act with integrity
Being honest and fair in our community.
We all have a responsibility
To be THE BEST THAT WE CAN BE!
Click here to take a listen.
A huge thank you to Mrs Twyford for writing such an amazing school oath!
To celebrate the fantastic achievements of our students the following awards will be presented at each assembly.
RRIPO Role Model Award: Classroom and specialist teachers will select one of their students for this award. The student will be selected for exhibiting one of the RRIPO values. They will be called on stage at assembly and presented with a special RRIPO Role Model ribbon. This award will be published on the school website on the Friday proceeding assembly so family and friends can be present to see them receive the award.
Click here to see our RRIPO Role Models for next week.
Principals’ Award: Mr Roberts and Mr Cleary will select a student who has provided their best effort in any aspect of school life. We encourage all of our students to be the best that they can be and this award symbolises the focus of always striving to achieve.
House Points: A long-standing tradition at Templestowe Park. The students accumulate house points each week and the team with the most points are awarded the house points cup.
School Pride Award: Our school captains, Blake and Britt, are the judges of this award. They will observe all year levels over a two-week period and identify who is best exhibiting our school value of Pride. This includes the pride they take in their learning, school uniform, classroom appearance and the wider school in general.
Golden Rubbish Bin Award: Our playground has been split into four different sections and each house has been assigned an area. It is the responsibility of students in each house to keep their section nice and clean. The teachers will judge this award and the winning house will receive the prestigious Golden Rubbish Bin trophy. At the end of the school year the results will be calculated and a special prize will go to the winning house.
As you can see our assembly will be a wonderful celebration of everything our students achieve at Tempy Park. I invite you all to attend assembly next Wednesday and to book a permanent space in your calendar so you can be a part of our celebration.
I hope you all had a relaxing and enjoyable school holidays. I spent the first week relaxing with my family in Rosebud and it was great to have a nice rest after what was a very busy term. It is great to have all of our students and families back in Term 3. I am really looking forward to a fantastic term!
I just wanted to give you an update on our plans for 2016 Prep/Foundation. At this stage we are planning to have three Prep/Foundation classes next year. We are still working towards that number at the moment. I have recently heard a rumour that we were planning on having nine classes next year; this is completely untrue. It is our goal to have enough enrolments to offer our students and families a comprehensive and well-rounded educational experience. Our current enrolment status allows us to be big enough to offer an outstanding classroom experience and an extensive variety of specialist and extra-curricular activities.
Our planning for the 2016 Prep/Foundation program is underway and we are designing many new and exciting initiatives that will ensure that our teaching and learning in this important year is exciting, engaging and will set our students up for success throughout primary school and beyond.
We are accepting enrolments at this time so please book at the school office for a personal tour or drop in to submit your enrolment form.