Dear Penbank Families, Staff, and Friends, Since my last Letter Home, we were suddenly interrupted by the recent lockdown from Friday 12 to Wednesday 17 February. Such a rude awakening! A striking reminder of the vulnerability of our world at this present time. However, we coped exceptionally well and were thrilled to hear the news on Wednesday that school would be back!
I sincerely thank all staff, children, and parents for your support throughout this sudden change to this past week.
Our Penbank Community
Commencing the year, we were revelling in our work with children. All children were extremely motivated to work together. New friendships were emerging, and beautiful pieces were proudly shared and presented in creative ways. We were also really excited by the prospect of sharing our learning with parents through an Outdoors School Meeting at the Sound Dome. It was cancelled but will happen soon.
On a positive note, we thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to meet with parents at the Penbank Information Night. We were overwhelmed by the attendance of parents and were thrilled to have our parent community together. Just about every family was there brilliant!
We also officially welcomed Principal David Baker to Penbank – his first official function at our campus. After nearly a year of leading Woodleigh School, I was delighted that David was finally able to be a part of our parent community to bring in the new school year.
Parent/Teacher Interviews were held both onsite and via Zoom. Again, these interviews provided another opportunity for parents to engage with their child’s teacher.
Helpful Hints – Working together because ‘every day counts’!
At the Information Evening, I shared some encouraging tips for parents to support our students in making the most of their school day. Thank you for providing your children with the appropriate school gear, such as school uniforms and stationery that has set them up well for the year. You would also have received information from teachers concerning the curriculum and class systems such as school and home reading, diary organisation, and homework. There are a few children who do need the school hat. We are very particular about being a SunSmart school. Thank you for your co-operation with these requirements.
I also spoke about the importance of children attending school for the full day. At Penbank, every minute counts. The day is complete with purposeful and intentional teaching and learning that involves tuning-in for the day or session, practical work and tasks, and reflection. We do understand children may have appointments and extra-curricula activities from time to time. We ask that parents arrange these times out of school hours as much as possible. The evidence regarding student absence is obvious - there is a decline in achievement when children are absent. Absence also includes lateness and early pick-ups.
Every day counts - Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership
“Every day counts, and there is no ‘safe’ threshold for absences.” – Hancock et al., 2013
Attendance is an essential contributor to a student’s academic achievement – all school days matter. The correlation between absence and achievement is consistently negative, and declines in achievement are evident with any absence level. Although authorised absences and smaller amounts of absence were associated with only slight declines in achievement, all absences count, and the impact of absence increases with the number of absences (Hancock et al., 2013).
We have received some interest for children to learn Chess at school. Presently, Minimbah does run a Chess club one night after school that Kids Unlimited co-ordinates. The cost is approximately $100 per term. The viability of the program is dependent on the number of students participating in the program. If you are interested in your child participating in a Chess Program after school, please email Tessa or Tracey at admin.
At the beginning of the year, we jointly focus on our values as a school. Respect for Self, Respect for Others, and Respect for the Environment underpin our work and school culture. These core values are threaded through all learning and play areas, ensuring our students are enabled to build strong and positive relationships. It has been an excellent start, even with the disruption of the lockdown!
Delighted to have all students back on campus, we can now look forward to the weeks ahead. Our Year 5’s head to Wilsons Prom tomorrow for the week. We wish them well in their adventures at the stunning Prom. We will look forward to hearing about their work with rangers and fun with activities and friends upon their return.
Upcoming programs for parents include the Body Safety Superstars Workshop for Parents.
Again, I thank you for your support and encouragement. To all Penbank teachers, my sincerest thanks for instantaneously returning to online learning for our students in a matter of moments. You are legends!
Head of Penbank – Deputy Principal Woodleigh School