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From the Principal

1/02/2018
From the Principal
 
Day 8 
Today is Day 8, a big day for all schools.  The Department considers staffing allocations on the number of students enrolled and attending your school by Day 8 of each school year.  In some schools, this can mean a loss of a teacher, but conversely, it can also mean that schools can gain a teacher.
 
Our enrolments have increased unexpectedly since our prediction from the end of 2017.  This is positive for the school, because we know historically, that enrolments generally increase throughout the year.  It will however, mean disruption for some classes. 
 
I am not able to share any further information regarding changes or class or staffing which could occur until our numbers are confirmed through HR.  This confirmation may not be today.  I will endeavour to keep all parents informed as more information becomes to light.  Please keep an eye out for any hard copy or electronic communications over the coming weeks.  I also endeavour to post updates on the school Facebook site.
 
Multi age classes 
Although I have published the information below previously, it may be useful for new families to the school:
    
            
Differentiation and Multi-age Classrooms 
Being a small school, we are often faced, on a practical level of planning for multi-age classrooms.  However, differentiation is a practice utilised in every classroom, regardless of year level.  You may have become more aware of these differentiation practises through our use of the CAFÉ model for reading as we begin to become more explicit about our goal setting for students.
 
What is differentiation? 
Students are individuals who learn in different ways and at different rates. Teachers use a process called differentiation to provide targeted planning, teaching and learning for students. 
 
Teachers differentiate:
•          the content, or the knowledge and skills to be developed
•          the processes, or the way students learn the content
•          the product, or the documented evidence of student learning
•          the environment, or the physical and emotional setting of the learning.
 
Differentiation includes:
•          planning for different outcomes from the same task
•          modifying learning tasks
•          giving some students more support and direction
•          giving students feedback on how they can improve
•          using different forms of grouping in the classroom
•          using different resources
•          open-ended questioning
•          providing opportunities for students to use creative and critical thinking skills.

There are many different ways our teachers differentiate and these are just a few.  At Dutton Park State School we track every child’s learning to provide targeted planning, teaching and learning, or differentiation – whether they are in a straight year level class or a composite/multi-age class, aligned to the Australian Curriculum.
 
Composite/multi-age classes are not a mix of high ability students in the lower grade and lower ability students in the upper grade, as was the traditional class structure for these types of classes when most parents attended primary school. For example a Year 3/4 composite class would not have high ability Year 3 students and low ability Year 4 students. Using this approach we would be likely to see the Year 3 students overtake the Year 4 students by the end of the first term.
 
Our teachers work very hard on finding the ‘right fit’ for all Dutton Park students.  We carefully select students to be conducive for learning and based on a range of individual needs, socially and academically.  Student composition and teacher allocation are given the highest priority for every class.
 
I have attached an article on multi-age classes for your information.

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In another positive for Dutton Park State School, teachers have committed to working collaboratively.  Our current structure of classes facilitates this.  We will provide additional and more specific curriculum information via the school newsletter and class newsletters in the coming weeks.
 
Congratulations! 
Throughout October and November 2017, many students from our school participated in a postcard competition run by the Brisbane City Council as part of the Plan Your Brisbane initiative.  Fifty winners were selected from over 2000 entries received.  Ivy in 2 M, was the recipient of a $100 Coles Myer voucher.  Congratulations Ivy!
 
Student Leaders 
Yesterday, I met with our Year 6 students and discussed leadership opportunities for 2018.  Over the next week, students may nominate for the following positions: 
  • House Captain (Two per house)
    • Assist with team organisation at sporting events
    • Prepare speeches in the event of a win or loss at a sporting event
    • Coordinate war cry practice and build team spirit during events
    • Assist Mrs Collins with the set up and pack down of sporting events
    • Coordinate games for lower year levels throughout the year
    • Demonstrate exemplary sportsmanship at all times
  • Media Crew
    • Coordination of general set up for school events including weekly assemblies and special events
    • Coordination and set up of sound system, laptop and music for assemblies
    • Coordinate photography of special events
  • Student Council
    • Meet at least once per term
    • Coordinate fundraising and awareness raising events such as free dress
  • Music Captain / Band Captain
    • Must be a member of the choir or band
    • Assist Ms Bryer and Mrs Patton with school musical events and weekly assembly items
  • Cultural Captain
    • Coordinates awareness raising for cultural events such as Harmony Day and NAIDOC week 
School Captains were elected in late 2017.  Once the selection process has been completed, we will hold an Induction Ceremony for all of our new leaders, likely in Week 5 or 6. 
 
School Routines 
The start of the school year is a good time to revisit some of our expectations for school routines.  I have included a lot of information below.  Please take the time to read over this, even if your child has been attending school at Dutton Park State School for some time.  We do at times, need to review our procedures and expectations as a response to changing needs of our school community.
 
·         Students should not arrive at school prior to 8.15 am
·         Between 8.15 and 8.30 am, students must sit under the school buildings
·         Prep parents are asked to drop their children at their classroom at 8.45 am and collect them again at 3 pm.
·         Supervision is provided between 8.30 am and 8.45 am.  Students may play only in supervised areas of the handball court and oval.
·         All students should be at school by 8.45 am.  Any students arriving after the second bell at 8.50 am, must report to the Office with a parent to be signed in.
·         Any students leaving the school during the day, must be signed out by a parent.
·         School finishes at 3 pm.  All students should move to their pick up area. 
·         Supervision is provided at the Pick Up Zone until 3.15 pm.  Any students who have not been picked up by 3.15 pm will be escorted to the Office, where parents will be contacted.  Parents will then be required to collect their child from the Office.
·         Any other students who remain on school grounds unsupervised from 3.15 pm (except if at an organised activity) will also be escorted to the Office.  This is to ensure the safety of all students.
·         Any children remaining on school grounds to play, must be supervised by an adult.  There will be no exceptions to this as there is no staff supervision provided.  Please also note that all school rules and expectations apply whilst on school grounds.  Please ensure your child walks on concrete/asphalt areas and wears a hat if playing outside.  Your child should be supervised in the toilet areas also.  This area was a issue on a number of occasions last year, with damage to toilets and toilet paper strewn throughout.
·         If parents are organising a group get-together after school (particularly on the oval), please liaise with the Office prior.  This area is included in our agreement with our OSHC providers and we have responsibilities to uphold here.
·         Students attending Before or After School Care will be walked across the driveway to the main school area.  Prep students are dropped off and collected from their classrooms.
·         Parents are asked not to use the driveway between 8 am and 3.30 pm.
If this raises any further questions or concerns, please feel free to clarify with the Office.
 
PBL (Positive Behaviour for Learning) 
As many families would be aware, we have been developing our whole school approach to Positive Behaviour for Learning.  A few key points are:
 
·         Our school has three expectations:  Be Safe, Be Respectful and Be a Learner
·         Each class develops a set of Classroom Rules which fit under these expectations.  For example, a classroom rule under Be Respectful might be ‘Raise your hand to speak and wait’.
·         Students are rewarded with ‘free and frequent’ train tickets/tracks.  Each ticket or track is worth 1 point, except the purple ‘Principal’ ticket.  These are worth 5 points.
·         Students save their points to cash in for prizes
 
 
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·         Dutton Park State School responds to whole school behaviour with the implementation of explicit lessons for appropriate behaviours.  For example, if students lining up after breaks is identified as a problem area across the school, a consistent lesson will be implemented in all classes, often in situ.
·         Students are also rewarded with Student of the Week or Student of the Month awards on school assemblies.
·         In classrooms and the playground on a day-to-day basis, inappropriate behaviours are addressed by the following sequential steps:
o   Kind reminder:  Verbal warning to correct inappropriate behaviour
o   Firm reminder:  Firm verbal reminder with name on board
o   Classroom responsible thinking:  5 minute reflection with a reflection sheet.  This allows the opportunity to develop more appropriate choices or solutions for the future.
o   Buddy Room:  Students go to their buddy class with a reflection sheet for 10 minutes.  The teacher will notify parents by email, phone call or letter.
o   Office: Student reflects on their behaviour with an Administration personnel.  Parents will be notified.
·         Major behaviours are referred to Administration.
You may also be interested in how the Six Kinds of Best support our school expectations:
 
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I will be discussing our updated Responsible Behaviour Plan for Students at the P&C AGM next Tuesday evening.  The draft, prior to school and P&C endorsement will be placed on the school website by Friday afternoon.
 
School Website 
We are currently upgrading our school website and the information it contains.  If you are unable to locate something in particular, please contact the office.  We thank you for your patience during this time. 
 
Media Forms
Updated media forms will go home with all students tomorrow.  We require all families to complete these forms and return them to the Office as soon as possible.  These forms allow us to use your child’s name and image on the school website, in our newsletters (weekly student award photos) and on the school’s Facebook page.  You are able to select the most appropriate permissions for your child.
 
Thank you
 
Next week, you should notice a more colourful entryway to the school Office, with the addition new potted plants.  Thank you to Instant Garden Green Nursery and LDM Landscape Group for their kind donations of time, advice and plants.

Nicole Goodwin
Principal