I cannot believe we are in the final week of the school year. Wow!
Reflecting on this year I am amazed at the things we have managed to accomplish.
We started the school year rallying together as a community and collecting/donating goods to give to those affected by the devastating bushfires. We managed to hold our Welcome BBQ; the ‘Getting to Know You Interviews’ and celebrate the ‘National Day of Action Against Violence and Bullying’. We completed the School Strategic Plan Review (all 3 days!) and the next 4 year School Strategic Plan was developed. The Preps completed their testing days and were set to come to school full time, but then… things went into disarray.
The school holidays came a week early for our students and staff were left to organise WHAT/WHERE/HOW (!!!) we were going to teach our students remotely.
Term 2 arrived and we had a plan – all teaching online via the remote learning platform, with students having to upload completed work onto the site. Staff went into ‘full on learning’ mode – having to learn how to not only video themselves teaching the learning content, but also learning how to upload these videos onto the remote learning site – that we had to create for our community (thank goodness for Ric!). We had a small number of students attending onsite learning, supporting our families who were essential service workers.
It was a tough 5 weeks for families of our Prep to 2 students (and teachers) and even tougher on the 3-6 students and their families who did not return to school until week 8. Thank goodness we had the presence of mind to survey staff, students and parents – to understand what did and did not work during that period, because term 3 rolled around – but our students did not. A whole term at home.
Tweaking of work books/learning packs, the remote learning website and the number of check in and small group meetings set the tone for term 3. Our school captains, Jemima and Alex tried to rally the troops with their online baking and trick shot challenges and ‘Things they enjoyed about remote learning’. Mr Kucharski got the House Captains involved in setting the ‘House Challenge’ encouraging students to get out and active whilst scoring points for their houses. However, 10 weeks at home is a long time to stay focussed, enthusiastic and positive.
Thankfully the start of term 4 brought good news. One week at home of fun online learning activities and mixed up groupings, and then back to school for all students! What a relief for everyone!
This term may have looked and felt different in terms of no extra curricula activities, no parent’s onsite, staggered pick up and drop off times, but our students have been amazing. They have shown great resilience and have adapted to coming back to school with enthusiasm and positivity, not once dwelling on missed opportunities. They displayed gratitude for being back amongst their peers and teachers, showing a maturity beyond their years – especially our year 6 cohort. I want to not only acknowledge the work that each and every one of us has done to assist our students in getting through this year – but congratulate everyone on the fantastic job ‘we’ have done as a community to support our children.
As a community we have much to be proud of.
Moving into next year – we hope it is a more ‘normal’ year. What that looks like remains to be seen, but 2020 has taught us a few things. We do not always need to do the same things; take stock, slow down and do the most important things – do them well and enjoy those moments – without taking anything for granted!
Staff Profile for 2021
After a series of transition sessions, last Thursday our students met their 2021 teachers and classmates. As usual, there were lots of mixed emotions, mostly excited, some a little anxious, a few happy no matter what!
The staffing structure for 2021 is as follows:
Foundation/Prep Clare Woodhouse
Level 1/2 Gemma Grimmond
Level 1/2 Rachael DePrada
Level 3/4 Stacey Paterson
Level 3/4 Carl Ward
Level 5/6 Bryce Griesheimer
Level 5/6 Tanya Donaldson
Level 5/6 Andrew Robinson
Tutor Program Brigitte Raymond
Art Leanne Anstee
Phys Ed Carney Kucharski
Italian Stephanie Pomponio
ICT/Coding Ric Zalewski
Education Support Jollene Chen
ICT Technician Ming Lui
Business Manager Annette Bruce
Principal Cathy Caminiti
Groundsman Conrad/Leo Cooper
You will notice that we are dropping one class size moving into 2021. The actuality is, given our current numbers (169), and our staffing profile, we should be dropping two class sizes, but we have made the decision to keep an extra class and as such we will be running the school at a planned deficit in 2021.
Not only are there changes in teachers moving levels, there will also be movement in terms of room allocation. The Prep – 2 team will be moving into the Admin Building, the 3/4 team will move into one end of the BER and the 5/6 team to the other end of the BER. The rationale behind this is to create teaching teams/hubs so that planning and collaboration within the levels becomes more effective.
Tutoring Program 2021
The Victorian government has implemented a tutoring program across state run schools to support students who may need to catch up in literacy / numeracy as a result of disruption to their education during the COVID lockdowns. The program has been funded on an assumption that across the system 20% of students will have been impacted in this way and is for a six month period starting February 2021. Whilst this is welcome news, the funding that each school is given is based on their SFOE (Student Family Orientation and Education). This means that the funding we will receive will be at the lower level allocated to schools.
Part of the rationale behind funding the extra classroom next year is so that we have small numbers in prep – 2 and in 5/6 – allowing teachers to differentiate learning programs and develop manageable Individual Education Plans for those students in need. The 3/4 grades will have the larger class numbers – so the ‘tutor’ will primarily work with these grades, intensively, in term one.
We are still trying to finalise details based on the funding allocation we are given for the program.
Grade 6 Graduation
What a fantastic event. It looked a little different in that it was held onsite and during the day – but I am going to say it was the best one yet! Parents/carers were invited (2 per child) onsite and socially distanced – to listen to graduation speeches and have their photos taken. The parents then left and students were treated to a special lunch and afternoon of fun with their peers. A great way for our graduating students to finish their primary school years – being able to hang out with their peers – something they have missed out on this year. A big thank you to Allison, Mia, Fiona, Bec, Emily and Amanda for all their behind the scenes work in getting food, decorations (and decorating of the Hall), slide show presentations and the year book organised in record time (in an ever changing landscape of can and cannot do!). Phenomenal effort! Thank you also to Bryce and Tanya for preparing the students well for the day. A day our students will remember forever. Click here for photos.
Reports – Sentral
A reminder that the end of year reports will be made available through the parent portal on Sentral today.
If you have misplaced your unique log in details with step by step instructions on how to create an access account – please contact the office for another copy so that you are able to receive your child’s report.
No Christmas Assembly
We cannot host the number of extra visitors to the school that the Christmas Assembly usually attracts. (Plus the rules around singing are still really unclear!) The staff are working on a little something to send out to you all. It will be a nice little surprise in lieu of a Christmas Assembly. Again – thank you for your patience and understanding (navigating the ever changing covid landscape has been a nightmare!).
Time to Say Goodbye
To those families and students who are moving on, we wish you all the very best in your next endeavours. Some of you have been a part of our ‘village’ for many years marking the end of an era. You will be missed, but remember you are always welcome back to our community nights/festivals. Thank you for being part of our village.
Thank you to all Council members for the support and involvement in Council this year. It was a very different kind of year – with majority of meetings conducted virtually. It is always a challenge to keep people informed and discuss the complex issues involved in school policies, operations and accountability when we only meet twice a term – this year was a little more complex than usual. School Councillors give their valuable time and endeavour to assist in the effective running of our school – so thank you.
A particular thank you to Andy Olsen in his role as School Council President – his extra time and ongoing support in all school operations has been very much appreciated.
Last day of school Friday 18th December
Reminder that we finish at 1:30pm on this day.
Usually we would host a ‘mini’ assembly to farewell our Grade 6 Students.
We will still do this – however we will only invite Grade 6 parents/carers (x2) and parents/carers (x2) of students that are leaving the school , onsite to say farewell – with the understanding that they are to maintain social distance from other parents and wear/carry their mask if they cannot socially distance. They cannot enter into the school buildings or linger out in the yard once the assembly is finalised. Please note that if the weather is not conducive to hosting the assembly outside – it will not go ahead (for parents/carers to participate) as we cannot host that number of people inside onsite. Please keep an eye out on Team App. Again, we thank you for your support and cooperation in this matter.
The staff at Belle Vue Primary School would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a safe, relaxing and happy New Year! Enjoy the break and we will see you on Friday 29th January 2021. Fingers crossed for a more normal year next year!