Term 1 Week 2 2023
Dear families and friends,
‘We do whatever it takes to lead the way in Love, Learning, Faith, School Spirit, Sport & Community’
A big welcome back to all our kids, staff and families for the 2023 school year. I particularly welcome our new Kinders, new students in other grades and our new families. You are all very welcome here and I am looking forward to catching up with you all.
I’m really excited to be in my 9th year as Principal at SMP. I feel as excited as the day I arrived and that the initiatives we have put in place over the last 8 years are really hitting the mark now, providing the best holistic education for our kids of Casino. Yet again, our focus will be on our Vision of doing whatever it takes to lead the way in Love, Learning, Faith, School Spirit, Sport & Community.
Families are welcome to come into the school to pick up of an afternoon. We very much encourage you to socialise with each other. We have a few extra spaces that we have set up over the holidays, including the area near the Kinder playground. Our big school social event for Term 1 will be our Open & Celebration of Learning Night on Wednesday 5 April.
Some Term 1 Dates (All dates are on our Compass Calendar on the Compass App):
- Ash Wednesday - 22 February
- Student Led Conferences - Monday 27 & Tuesday 28 February
- Student of the Month Assembly - Friday 3 March 2:15pm
- Cross Country - Friday 31 March
- Open Night - Wednesday 5 April
- Student of the Month Assembly - 5 April 2:15pm (Kinder Easter Hat Parade as well)
- Student Free Day - 6 April Holy Thursday
Coming Up in the Year:
- Mothers Day Celebration - Friday 12 May
- Beef Week Friday - 26 May & Beef Week Cup 25 May
- Pupil Free Day - Wednesday 31 May
- Athletics Carnival - 16 June
- No Us & Them ... Just Us Week - Week 10 Term 2 with NAIDOC Thursday 29 June
- Pupil Free Day - Friday 30th June
- Confirmation - 17 August
- Grandparents Day & Book Week - Friday 25 August
- Fathers Day Celebration - Friday 2 September
- Pupil Free Day - Friday 22 September
- Christmas Carols - Thursday 23 November
- Pupil Free Day - Friday 24 November
- Swimming Carnival - Friday 1 December
- Year 6 Graduation & Farewell Liturgy - Wednesday 13 December
Parent Information Videos & Booklets
This year, instead of our Parent Information Night or a Zoom, we will trial our grade teachers sending a brief video and information booklet home to you via the Compass App. This will ensure all families can view this information when suitable for you. You will be able to formally meet in person with your child’s teacher in Week 6 as we hold our student led conferences (old parent/teacher interviews) and Open & Celebration of Learning Night on Wednesday 5 April.
School Gates and Safety
All gates will be locked at 9:05am except for the front middle gate allowing access to parents and visitors. Before the end of the school day, all the gates will be unlocked again at 2:55pm to welcome parents back in.
Our students will learn, understand and enact our school vision to ensure we are the best version of ourselves that we can be. I will share this information with you via Newsletter, App, Digital Sign and Facebook so you can support your child in their growth and development.
We Respect Ourselves & Others
We display the Face of Jesus in our words & actions
We have high expectations
We display pride
We display effort, fairness & honesty in our play
We embrace our community and accept all
2023 School Improvement Plan
This plan has been constructed from many areas including: Student, Parent & Staff Tell Them From Me Surveys, NAPLAN, other school assessments such as PAT, National School Improvement Tool, 2022 School Improvement Plan, Fullness of Life Framework Reflection Tools, Conversations had with families, staff and students etc.
Our initial draft goals look a little like this:
- Improve student writing
- Improve staff knowledge and practice of faith values, beliefs and traditions
- Students are deeply loved, empowered and responsible.
We welcome new staff over the holidays. Our school is very blessed to have one and a half full-time counsellors with most schools in our area lucky to have a counsellor for 1 day per week. Jacqui Rojo will work full-time between the College and us and Lia Masman will work full-time with us. New Family Connect Support worker Nikki Devine will be another good support for families. Jai White joins us as our maintenance person and Lucy Sheppard as our cleaner.
Abby Watson Louise Angel
Kristie Irvine & Samantha Lyon
- School Counsellor - Lia Masman & Jacqui Rojo
- Speech Therapist - Karla Carey (2 day per week)
- Learning Support Teachers- Paula McIntyre (Years 3-6) & Marianne Bullpit (Years K-2)
- Student Support Educators - Michelle Kent, Kristy Smith, Danny Parsons, Janet O’Brien, Sue Reynolds, Gail Burley, Samantha Olive, Patrice Ramsay, Rebecca Transton, Alison Llewellyn, Michelle O’Brien, Vicki Gardner, Piper Byrnes, Helen Sjostedt, Alex Richards, Ella Roberts, Ella Cooke, Sam Coggan
- Specialist Teachers -Sarah Flocchini, Lena Llewellyn, Marg Dowling
- Office - Fran Gilmour, Louise Gallagher, Rachel Gillespie
- Cleaners & Maintenance - Jai White & Lucy Shephard
- IT - Mitchell Scutt, Bailey Kent
- Library - Betty Schuhmacher
- Sport & Spirit - Jack Fiedler
- Assistant Principal Mission - Sam Irvine
- Assistant Principal Teaching & Learning - Felicity Wilde
- Love & Community - Kristie Irvine
- Faith -Karen McDonald
- Learning - Curriculum - Karen Faber
- Learning - Intervention - Paula McIntyre
- Learning - Yr K-2 Literacy & Numeracy Instructional Leader - Laura Hughes
- Learning -Yr 3-6 Literacy & Numeracy Instructional Leader - Michelle Bratti
- Learning - Yr 5-6 Literacy & Numeracy Instructional Leader - Stacey Forrester
- Principal - John O’Brien
Class Names 2023
Louise Angel/Abby Watson
Kristie Irvine/Sam Lyon
Assistant Principal's News - Mission
Friday Church Visits - Term 1
Parents are more than welcome to come and join us for our visits to the church in Term 1:
17/2 - Years 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 (1.00pm)
22/2 - Whole School - Ash Wednesday (10.15am)
10/3 - Kinder, Years 3, 5 & 6 (1.00pm)
17/3 - Years 1, 2 & 4 (1.00pm)
24/3 - Kinder & Year 6 (1.00pm)
Year 6 Incitare Retreat Day
In the next few days we will be chatting to our Year 6 students to gain interest to see who would be interested in attending the Incitare (in-cha-tar-ee) Student Retreat Day with other Year 6 students from various schools in our region. The day will be held at Tullera Hall on Tuesday 28 February. Interested students will need to apply and there will be a note go home with more info.
Please double check our school uniform policy on our website. We have communicated this quite a lot at the back end of 2022 and early this year. Some of the common things we have noticed lately are:
- Students not having full black shoes for normal school days
- Colours in hair
We love it when our kids are showing their pride in our school when they are in their full uniform. The purpose of our uniform policy is to set our students up for the 'real world', as when they are employed as a teenager/adult, their boss will expect them to wear the correct uniform every time.
We are always open to have a chat and help support any family who requires it for uniforms. Please don't hesitate to contact me or Mr O'Brien if we can assist in any way.
The Life Education Van has been a massive hit this week for our Years 4-6 students who have had the opportunity to learn from Healthy Harold. The Years 5 - 6 students learnt all about appropriate and respectful relationships while the Year 4's had a focus on Cyber Safety. Harold will be back in Term 2 to visit our K-3 students.
Road Safety - Returning to School
As children return to school, it is important to keep road safety in mind. Take time to talk with your children about travelling to and from school safely.
Here are some safety tips:
- Be alert and aware by travelling distraction-free. Ask children to take off their headphones when walking.
- Keep safe getting in and out of the car. Always use the door closest to the kerb.
- Keep safe getting on and off the bus.
- Wait at the bus stop and stand at least one step back from the edge of the road.
- Always meet your child at the bus stop. Never meet them on the opposite side of the road and call them across.
- Wait until the bus has gone, before you cross the road.
Message to share with your children in Kindergarten to Year 2
Hold a grown-up’s hand when:
- you cross the road
- you’re on the footpath
- you’re in a car park
Message to share with children in Years 3 to 6
- Use a safe place to cross the road. The fastest way, may not be the safest way.
- Stop! Look! Listen! Think! Every time you cross the road and keep checking until you safely across
STOP! one step back from the kerb
LOOK! continuously both ways
LISTEN! for the sounds of approaching traffic
THINK! whether it is safe to cross and keep checking until safely across
Wear a helmet. Children must wear a helmet when riding a bike in any public place – it’s the law. Foot scooter, skateboard and rollerblade riders should wear helmets and protective gear such as knee and elbow pads. If your child travels independently to school, please talk to them about the route they take to ensure they are making safe decisions.
Be a positive role model when you are a pedestrian, passenger and driver. Children learn from what they see, as well as what we say. Never sacrifice safety for convenience.
Assistant Principal - Mission
Assistant Principal's News Teaching & Learning
It has been so wonderful seeing all the smiling faces with an enthusiasm to be a part of our learning community.
At SMP we believe strongly in Parent and Student Voice and in 2022 we used our ‘Tell The From Me’ surveys, and our SRC, to gain perspective on a number of areas important to our school community. One area of particular interest to all parties was that of Homework and what this should look like at SMP.
Research has shown that Primary school students gain little or no positive academic benefit from homework and that it can in fact lead to higher levels of stress within the family home and develop negative attitudes towards learning for our students.
The one exception to this rule is Reading. Regular reading has been proven to improve cognitive function, increase concentration, and improve language skills, creativity, and imagination.
Our Tell Them From Me Data showed us that the majority of parents felt that homework was causing increased stress in their household and they saw little benefit for their children in trying to fit homework into their already busy lives.
Our SRC gained feedback from our student body, who indicated that they saw little value in having to complete homework and they resented the time it took away from family and other activities.
In taking the evidence-based research, as well as parent and student voice into account, we have therefore made some changes to our Homework Policy for 2023. The only homework set for students will be reading.
We expect that all students are either reading or being read to regularly at home as their class-based homework.
The following time allocations are not to be seen as prescriptive or mandatory but as general guidelines.
- Kindergarten: up to 10 minutes of reading
- Year 1 and 2: at least 10 minutes of reading
- Year 3 and 4: at least 15 minutes of reading
- Year 5 and 6: at least 20 minutes of reading
Students will have a Reading Log in which they can record their homework/reading time.
Students in Years 5 and 6 may complete a project-based task across each term based on a unit of work being taught in the classroom. This will not occur every term and is dependent on what is being covered in that term.
At different times of the year, students may be asked to complete a task to prepare for a school event, eg. practise a poem or speech for the Public Speaking competition, practice for a Spelling Bee or multiplication fact challenge, and make a hat for the Easter Hat Parade.
We understand that some parents would like their children to be completing regular homework and we support this as well. Each term you will be provided with an overview of what your children will be learning in class and you are welcome to use this to provide your children with homework that matches. Activities for this can be easily found online or there are some wonderful homework books available at local bookstores if you would like some pre-printed versions.
Teachers are not to assign class-based homework that differs from this homework policy.
We will be asking for feedback on this policy towards the end of the year in order to look at a more permanent plan from 2024 onwards.
Thank you for your support in your child’s learning journey.
AP Teaching & Learning
K-2 Instructional Leader
New K-2 Syllabus
Since 2020 the NSW Curriculum Reform has been shaping a new K-2 Syllabus. This year, K-2 teachers will be implementing the new English and Mathematics Syllabus. The new curriculum will give students more time to focus on key learning areas so they can acquire a deeper understanding of central concepts. It will ensure students develop strong foundations for learning, life and work in a complex and fast-changing world.
The new syllabuses emphasise key concepts, identify essential knowledge and skills and include new outcomes to clearly show what is essential. The language is clear and concise in the outcomes and content help teachers understand the learning expections for building foundational skills in English and Mathematics. The new curriculum also provides more inclusivity for students with additional needs.
If you would like to find out more information about the K-2 Syllabuses, click on the link below to find out more.
K-2 Instructional Leader
Leader of Intervention News
Welcome back everyone to our new school year!
Our Learning Support Team is made up of a team of dedicated, experienced educators who are focused on supporting students across the school in their learning in the following ways:
Student Support Educators - Our Kindergarten and Year One classes have a Student Support Educator for the majority of the day to offer additional support in all Key Learning Areas. Our Year 2 - Year 6 classes have a Student Support Educator supporting small groups in the classroom for one hour of English and one hour of Maths each day. Student Support Educators will teach Tier 2 small group intervention in the afternoon session.
School Speech Pathologist - Karla Carey is employed at our school every Monday and Friday. She completes assessments and monitors students. Karla also works closely with teachers and Student Support Educators to plan and implement strategies to support students with communication or literacy difficulties, and works with small groups and families. Please note, Karla is, unable to offer one on one speech therapy support.
Learning Support Teachers - Marianne Bullpitt and Paula McIntyre will teach a number of intervention groups this year. Also, Marianne will work with our K-2 and Paula will work with our Year 3-6 teachers, Student Support Educators, and students in the classroom.
In order to support your child within the school setting it is important to provide the school office with a copy of up-to-date medical plans and additional needs assessments. It is also advisable to ask your paediatrician and medical professionals to forward all requests for assessments, suggested strategies, medical information, and reports to our school office - firstname.lastname@example.org
Leader of Intervention
Welcome back to a new school year.
Sports Days for Term One
During Term 1, all students have the opportunity to participate in the school Running Club which runs on Tuesday and Thursday mornings commencing in Week 4 (8:30 am – 8:50 am). The Running Club is open to students of all athletic abilities. Students are able to change into their coloured house shirts or running attire at school.
Zone Swimming Carnival
The Zone Swimming Carnival will be held at Alstonville on Monday 13th February. Good luck to those students attending. For more information about this event please refer to Compass.
School Carnivals - dates for calendars
Term 1: Newcastle Permanent Primary Soccer Gala Day - Week 6 Wednesday 8th March
Term 1: Cross Country Carnival (Friday 31st March)
Term 2: Athletics (Friday 16th June)
Term 4: Swimming (TBC)
Leader of Love and Community
Hi everyone and welcome to 2023!! We had such a wonderful year in 2022 and I am very excited for all of the community events that will be held throughout 2023 both here at SMP and out in our wider community!
With the 2023 sporting year gearing up, make sure you check out any and all local sporting groups to find something your child might be interested in this year. Many sign on days are happening in and around the Casino community at the moment, so if your child has been wanting to join a group, jump on to Facebook, do a quick search for a sport and check them out! Also, do not forget you can apply and use your Active Kids Vouchers!
Leader of Love and Community
Happy birthday to Henry Simpson Paislee Webster Charlotte Cooper Jordan Lickiss Kira Green Aaliyah West Koa Pilling Oliver Convine Chloe King Eyla-May Burnie Frejya Love Milton Summers Mila Roberson Nathaniel Rollon Ryder Birney Marcus Lickiss Samantha Zhou Marcus Lickiss Thomas Shelton Van Johnston Connor Gillespie Olive chelman Sara Cole Tristan Allen-Preece Olivia Rayner Ellie Churchill Gracyn Ind Joel Dean Keira Smith Charlee Gould Isabel Flynn Layla Maroney Chelsea Cruickshank Liam Sullivan Alexandra Handran Nina Handran Edward Shields Benjamin Urand Reece Gay Hope Gollan Ruby Thompson Isabel de Wit Charlie Wu Sophie Leadley Bryce Bunker Bree Willows Alayna Johnston Travis Dhu Oska Creighton Blake Newby and Maison Duck who celebrated their birthday in January.
Happy birthday to Shayla White Ava Turner Rhys Benn Sierra Anderson Amity Hale Tilly Taylor Nate McAlister Kyra Clarke Sophie Armfield Sophia Thomson Zander McCloy and Max Cracknell who have recently celebrated their birthday in February, and to Felicity Doyle and Brianna Macdonald who celebrate tomorrow.