Welcome to Term 1 2020

Dear Parents & Carers,

Welcome everyone to the 2020 school year.  It has been wonderful to see the students arriving back at school with such enthusiasm. There was an air of excitement around the school on the first morning and a lot of smiles on students’ faces which says something about the positive environment of the school. A huge thank you goes to parents and students for arriving at school so well prepared and ready to go.  Also, thanks go to staff for the time and energy they put into preparing for the start of the year prior to the official start.  During our school development days, we looked closely at our planning for the year to ensure we had a shared understanding of whole school plans and initiatives. We are very excited about the year ahead ensuring that our academic programs are rigorous, that we set high expectations for students and we are responsive to students’ individual needs. Our focus, and the Department of Education’s focus is “Every student, every classroom, every day”. We are looking forward to another wonderful, productive year at Mullaloo Beach PS.

Website

I hope everyone has had an opportunity to visit the school’s new website that came online at the end of last year. While it is still a work in progress, there is still a lot of useful information available to our community. Available on site are such things as curriculum overviews, booklists, canteen menus, a calendar of upcoming events and much more. We will continue to develop the site as a focal point of information and news for parents. This will mean that the emphasis will shift from the present Newsletter format to a more ‘real time’ presentation of news events. Newsletters will remain in place for the short term but will be published less frequently.

(Probably twice a term as an initial trial).  Our website and our new communication platform ‘Connect’ will be our main instruments for communication moving forward.

Connect

For some time, the staff has been discussing the need for a consistent, school wide approach to communication to both students and parents. To that end, we have taken the decision that ‘Connect’ will now be implemented across our school.  Connect is a learning, support and communications platform developed by the Department of Education WA for staff, students and parents in public schools. Each parent will be given their own secure login to Connect.  Connect is totally free and, because it is provided by the Department of Education, very safe.  As well as being able to log into Connect on any internet-connected device, you may also receive notices from Connect that will be sent to you as either an email or a notification on your phone. If you have multiple children, you only need one login – even if your children attend different public schools, so long as they are also using Connect. We feel that this move will streamline the school’s communications, link with our website and resolve the situation where parents need to log into multiple applications to access classroom information. You will receive a separate email shortly with details of your access code and how to proceed. Once you have received this, please register as soon as possible to ensure you receive current classroom notifications.

Composite Grades

Each year, Mullaloo Beach PS, along with almost all state schools, is required to create composite (split) classes to accommodate our student population. Unlike private schools, Government schools will accept all students who are within the local catchment. This often means that the number of students in a given year level does not allow for a straight grade. For the school and staff, composite grades are of no academic concern as within any class (straight or composite) students are at varying levels.  Teachers are continually collecting data about where children are at and adjusting the teaching program to meet those needs. While the “Topic” a class is doing may appear to be the same for all students, the skill focus, outcomes and expectations will vary according to students’ levels. The research is clear that composite grades do not have a negative impact on student learning.

When creating classes, teachers look very closely at a range of factors to ensure classes are of the best possible balance. Every child is considered individually. We consider academic balance, social issues, group dynamics, behaviour, independence, friendships, siblings/twins, gender balance, those needing separation etc. We do not ‘stack’ academically strong students in splits with older students or put those requiring extra support with younger splits.  With the exception of students with special individual needs, all students will be taught the age appropriate curriculum. The Year 2 students, for example, in a 1/2 and those in a 2/3 will be taught the same “Year 2” curriculum.  Composite classes are a fact of life in all state schools. The have the added benefit of providing great opportunities to make different friendships which helps to build on the great community culture that exists at Mullaloo Beach PS.

Mobile Phones in Schools “Off and Away All Day”

Last year the state government announced a new policy about mobile phones in schools. The policy requires:-

…all public schools to implement a ban on the use of mobile phones for all students from the time they arrive at school to the end of the school day. This extends to the use of smart watches which need to be on aeroplane mode during this period.  The policy aims to reduce distractions in class and improve student engagement.

In the policy, primary students cannot have a mobile phone in their possession.  If parents send their child to school with a mobile phone it will need to be kept in their school bag or classroom drawer. Parents should be aware that these areas are not secure and as such parents/students do so at their own risk. We advise that students not bring mobile phones to school unless there is a clear reason to do so.

If your child needs to contact you, they need to do so through the school administration. Likewise, if you need to get a message to your child, you can call the school.

School Development Days

Each year, all schools are authorised to schedule three School Development days. The dates chosen at Mullaloo Beach PS were published last year. This is a reminder that the school’s first School Development Day for 2020 is Friday 28 February.  Please check that this date is in your calendar as students do not attend that day.

School Leaders 2020

Our School leaders for 2020. Congratulations to Lani, Evan, Jack and Aisha. They have a big year ahead and I know they will do a great job.

Mike Black – Principal