A Warm Welcome to Term 2!
Greeting families, staff, students and friends,
I extend a very warm welcome to all who are a part of the Penbank and broader Woodleigh community for Term 2.
Following a very positive Term 1, we successfully managed the quota of COVID cases that affected both families and staff. I thank all parents and staff for following the guidelines that enabled us to keep our school functioning well for the complete term, including all planned events, camps and excursions.
PYP Authorisation – A very big congratulations!
During the last week of Term 1, we were also excited to be informed that the International Baccalaureate Organisation approved our school for authorisation to offer the Primary Years Program across our junior campuses. The report was comprehensive and affirming of our structures and practices recognising the strength of the school’s philosophy, values and overall educational setting.
A quote from the report:
‘Observations of learning spaces and environments across both campuses demonstrate rich opportunities and support for the implementation of the programme. All children have access to extensive outdoor and natural spaces, sport, additional language and art facilities and well-resourced libraries. Learners have ready access to a range of information technologies to support their learning. Inclusivity teachers describe a range of assistive technologies that are available for students with specific needs. The learning environments are welcoming and support diversity.’
Overall, it has been a huge project and one that continues as the PYP evolves. I congratulate all teachers on their amazing work implementing the PYP across our campuses – a huge task when you consider all that was required in bringing curriculum and staff together, especially during the past COVID two years. Change can be very challenging and requires persistence, stamina, and commitment to bring people along. I congratulate Jodie Kirchner, as PYP leader, for her expert knowledge and delivery of the PYP at Penbank and Minimbah. A terrific accomplishment.
Signs of ‘Normality’!
During the latter weeks of Term 1, we welcomed small groups of parents back into the school as volunteers and visitors at School Meeting. This term, we are delighted to be resuming school with fewer regulations. We are looking forward to seeing all parents participating in School Meeting and other events that have been planned for Term 2 and were so delighted to welcome all of our Mums, Aunties and Nannas to our second School Meeting in celebration of Mother’s Day. Many of them ventured onto a Woodleigh Mother’s Day Luncheon at the Merricks Store, which was a much needed coming together of our mums. Such a treat!
Masks are now only required for students and staff who are a close contact, but other than that, it feels like a more ‘normal’ back to Penbank. So refreshing!
Holiday happenings were an anticipated pleasure for school families. At our first School Meeting, we looked at the many destinations our families travelled across our vast land.
All states were visited, and there were families who ventured across the water, even as far away as South Africa. Many children shared their enjoyment of going to Melbourne and northern parts of the state, such as Bright. In all, this time of year is a delightful holiday time. It was also an opportunity for many families to catch up with each other. Having been apart for way too long, I trust you all enjoyed a most relaxing and enjoyable break.
For me, I was delighted to spend a week with the Beswick community and Wugularr School. I was especially excited to introduce our Principal, David Baker, to the community and school staff. Together, we were able to plan our visit to Wugularr for our Year 6 students and set in motion both schools’ aspirations to proceed with our school exchanges. Meetings with Wugularr School Council members and staff affirmed the values the schools share in providing opportunities that broaden horizons for all. David also shared the experience with his daughter, Amy, which was undoubtedly an awe-inspiring adventure.
As you read this Letter Home, our Year 6 teachers and students will have just returned from their Canberra Study Tour. Expeditions and camps such as the visit to Canberra, promote personal development and extend learning when students move from their everyday environment to a place of experience, growth and understanding. These times build character and explore personal boundaries and interactions that extend friendships and build better relationships. The Canberra Study Tour and Wugubank NT are incredibly powerful experiences for our students. We are delighted they are back!
All Woodleigh staff participated in a Cultural Immersion Training with Tasneem Chopra at the commencement of the term. Tasneem is an experienced Cross-Cultural Consultant and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion trainer. Passionate about female representation and an anti-racism champion, Tasneem’s work has been widely published in journals and anthologies. Tasneem often presents on national television, radio, and significant events providing expert perspectives related to diversity, gender, people of colour, and social justice and cohesion.
Significantly impacted by Tasneem’s presentation, as a school, we aspire to provide an inclusive space for students, ensuring feelings of acceptance, value and self-worth as an individual, being seen, listened to and heard.
In doing so, we look forward to IDAHOBT Day and National Reconciliation Week this term.
IDAHOBIT Day – Rainbows in Schools
This week, Thursday, 19th May, Woodleigh School is celebrating IDAHOBIT Day.
International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia.
At the Junior Campuses, IDAHOBIT provides an opportunity to encourage children to reflect, share and discuss the diversity that they already engage with in their school, families and broader community. It engages with the school’s values of respect for self and others. It provides an opportunity to build understanding and knowledge about inequality and the processes that lead to discrimination and exclusion. Expressed through colours of the rainbow, we will host a dress-up day that will include badge making and heartfelt art. Dress ups may include colourful ribbons, rainbow designs or colourful clothes and shoes.
National Reconciliation Week – 27 May to 3 June
The National Reconciliation Week 2022 theme, ‘Be Brave. Make Change’ is a challenge to all Australians – individuals, families, communities, organisations and government – to Be Brave and tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation, so we can Make Change for the benefit of all Australians.
It is with pleasure Woodleigh School will be hosting a number of events across the week. I am very excited that we will be launching the School’s Reconciliation Action Plan RAP at an event held at the Senior Campus on Wednesday 1 June. Including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander guests, speakers and artists. We are looking forward to involving our school community in this very important commitment to reconciliation. A time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia, I encourage you to put this important date into your calendar.
Cross Country Events – Change to Penbank Cross Country date NOW Monday 16 May
Term 2 is a time for lots of running. A very big thank you to PE teacher, Peter McGettigan for arranging PERCY, the Penbank Running Club. These gatherings on a Tuesday and Thursday morning before school, are enabling keen runners, both parents and kids, to prepare for these events. We have a date change for the Penbank Cross Country due to NAPLAN clashes – change from Tuesday 17 May to Monday 16 May.
NAPLAN is an annual assessment for all students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. It tests the types of skills that are essential for every child to progress through school and life. The tests cover skills in reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and numeracy. The assessments are undertaken every year in the second full week in May. At Penbank, NAPLAN commenced Tuesday 10 May for students in Year 3 and Year 5 and concludes this week, Wednesday 18 May.
On behalf of the Penbank staff and community, I welcome all new families and children who have joined our campus this term. It has been a terrific first few weeks of the term with children loving being at school and making new friends.
We look forward to involving you in the upcoming events and school programs.
Deputy Principal – Head of Penbank Campus