Professional Learning Day
On Friday 29th our staff had a very productive Professional Learning Day. Some of the areas covered included:
- Previewing the new reporting requirements for 2022
- Preliminary analysis and discussion of Naplan, Student Wellbeing and Staff and Parent Satisfaction data
- Feedback on student writing samples
- Systematic curriculum delivery.
Some of the main themes from our data discussion:
- Our Naplan data is starting to reflect the intensive work on our school priorities around reading and spelling.
- Grade 3 Reading– 2018 - 59% of students making medium or high gains compared to 95% in 2021.
- Grade 5 Reading– 2018 - 70% of students making medium or high gains compared to 83% in 2021.
- If we look at our Grade 5 students this year and compare their reading data from Grade 3 – 67% of them were making medium to high gains in Grade 3, compared to 83% of them making medium to high gains now in Grade 5.
- If we look at our Grade 5 students this year and compare their spelling data from Grade 3 – 86.3% of them were meeting national minimum standards in Grade 3, compared to 93.3% of them meeting national minimum standards now in Grade 5.
Student wellbeing data:
- Compared to Tasmania, our students are reporting more positive wellbeing on all indicators than other schools. However, as a school there are some definite areas for improvement.
- Over the last three years we have seen an improvement in the connectedness to adults, students feeling optimistic and friendships.
Parent and Staff Satisfaction Survey:
- It was great to see an increased participation rate this year from parents with 53 respondents compared to 16 last year.
- A big commonality between the parent and staff responses was the need to increase engagement between home and schools regarding students’ Literacy and Numeracy.
In the coming weeks our teachers will be meeting to organise class groupings for 2022. Our goal is to create the most equitable classes possible by balancing gender, learning ability, social connections etc. Whilst parents have one child to consider (in a given class), we have over 350 children to consider, so decisions need to be suitable for the majority. We have dedicated, hardworking teachers who are collectively responsible for all our children. No matter what grade or class, each child in this school will be taught by quality teachers in a school culture of high expectations.
Please understand, your child’s current class teacher is in the best position to formulate classes and they will make the best decision for all children in the school. This includes making decisions based on the educational and social/emotional well-being of the majority of children. Due to this we are unable to accommodate personal requests because accommodating everyone’s personal wishes will not support what is best for all children. However, if there is any special information that you feel is important for us to take into account before we start creating classes, can you please talk to a member of the Leadership Team by the end of Friday 12th November. Students will have the opportunity to write down friends that they would like to be placed with for 2022 and we will ensure that all students have at least one friend in their class.
Also, please let us know if your circumstances have changed and your children will not be at SPS in 2022. Thank you for your support with this.
External School Review
As part of our continuous school improvement, we will be involved in an External School Review with a Review Team next Monday 8 and Tuesday 9 November. The purpose of External School Reviews is to support schools to raise achievement, sustain high performance and provide quality assurance to build public confidence in government schools. All Tasmanian Government Schools will be externally reviewed every four years. The focus of the review is to evaluate school performance. The Review Team consists of a Review Chair and at least one trained Review Principal.
We will find out the aspects of the school’s improvement that have been verified through the review processes as well as the improvements that we need to make in the future. During the External School Review, some students, parents, School Association members and staff will be asked to provide information to the Review Team in a number of ways. These include:
- individual interviews
- group discussions (with students or staff or parents)
- meetings (usually School Association, staff meeting)
- visits into classrooms
We will share the findings from this process in a future newsletter.
You may have noticed the gardens outside each classroom have been replaced by picnic tables. These can be used as additional learning spaces as well as seating areas during break times. The idea to purchase the tables came form surveying students, teachers and the School Association on how to best spend the money from the last two years of school fundraising.
Now that we have concluded the ‘finding out’ and ‘sorting out’ stages of our Science unit about forces, we are very excited about heading into the ‘going further’ stage of our inquiry. For this we have been designing, making and launching rockets! Not only have students been putting their knowledge of how pressure and weight affects force to design and create their rockets, they have also been developing their communication and collaboration skills to ensure that they work effectively as a team to complete the design challenge within a given timeframe. What design features would you include if you had to make a rocket out of just a bottle, paper, cardboard and tape? Here are some photos from the design challenge.
3-4D have got straight back into some fantastic learning in Term 4. We have started off the Term with a Science Inquiry about forces, what are they and is there more than one kind? Students commenced their inquiry by being Communicators, discussing their first thoughts about what they believed force was. Students then became Researchers by finding out all about the different kinds of forces through hands-on experiences. Next, students had the opportunity to sort out their findings on different forces by identifying if the force was contact or non-contact. This Science Inquiry was a great opportunity for students to put our schools Learning Assets into action.
Somerset’s Value of the term is:
Pod 2 demonstrate Growth in so many ways and we will celebrate the whole year’s growth towards the end of this term.
Below we outline some of the ways we demonstrate growth every day or week:
Individual growth like Azarleah from 3/4C stretching herself with her writing and recording.
Whole Class growth like our classes as they explore Forces in Science through our Inquiry approach to learning, recording their thinking, wondering and then soon moving on to finding out further information. 3/4D and 3/4B have recorded their Learning Journey – see below:
Our personal growth using a Growth Mind-set. Below, students in 3/4A have written their own ways they would like to personally grow with their thinking and resilience.
- A firefighter from the Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) is visiting our school this week to present a Home Fire Safety Program to our Prep to Grade 6 students.
- Kindergarten students, whilst not receiving a structured lesson, can expect a visit from the firefighter who will leave some free fun activities for the students to complete.
- The age appropriate program is designed to raise fire awareness in children and includes fun in class activities, videos, activity books, giveaways and a new kids website tfskids.com.au.
- Parents and other family members are also encouraged to participate by reading the information and assisting your child with the after school activities.
- The TFS aims to deliver appropriate fire safety education to every primary school child in Tasmania and is part of the TFS’s ongoing commitment to create a fire safe Tasmania.
- Key Fire Safety Messages include,
- Wake up - Install a smoke alarm in every bedroom
- Plan and practice a home fire escape plan with the whole family
- In a fire crawl low and go, go, go to the nearest exit
- In an emergency call triple zero
- Keep flammable material at least two metres from the heater
- If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop, rock and roll
- Keep matches and lighters away from children
- Cooking - Turn it off before you turn away
- Cool a burn under cold water for at least 20 minutes
- Most house fires can be avoided. Make your home fire safe
- More information for parents, carers and teachers tfseducation.com.au
- Exciting new website just for kids tfskids.com.au
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The Student Assistance Scheme (STAS) provides assistance for low income families towards the cost of levies. Families who are eligible are not required to pay levies to the school. Applications are now open for 2022. If you were approved for 2021, you do not need to reapply, you will receive a letter from the Department of Education regarding 2022. For more information or to apply please go to The Student Assistance Scheme (STAS) Updates - The Department of Education Tasmania alternatively you can get a copy of the application form from the office.