The goings on at Penbank

Letter Home – Term 3, Week 4

Greetings School Families,

I hope you have all received the email sent last week highlighting the whirlwind start to the term and all that is happening at Penbank!

To recap if you haven’t read it….

Congratulations to out extremely motivated Year 6 students who have raised money for the Wugubank t-shirts that we present to the Wugularr students when we arrive. By the time you receive this Letter Home, we will be in the air and ‘up, up and away!’ It’s very exciting times for these students and I thank you for your support in their endeavours. They announced at School Meeting that they raised in excess of $1000 from their Cake Sale and Sausage Sizzle. Amazing!

Staff Gp

The Boite

The Boite Chorus was held in Melbourne Week 3 – a beautiful selection of songs from the Torres Straits were performed by the wonderful choir including 285 students from schools around Melbourne. We were all delighted by the excellent contribution from our Year 3 and 4 students and Senior Choir. Many parents were in the audience – we thank all Penbank and Minimbah parents for being a much-appreciated audience.


Athletics Sports for Year 3 to 6 students were also held in Week 3 and our littlies in Foundation celebrated 100 days of Foundation during this week too. Dressed in their 100-year-old garb, they had a delightful day involving anything to do with 100! National Tree Planting Day concluded the week with over 200 trees planted in an area adjacent to the sound dome. All learning in action and a fantastic effort – congratulations!

Staff Announcements

Following is the latest information regarding staffing. We are very pleased to be welcoming several new staff members to our team.

Chris Dinnage has informed us she will not be returning from her long service leave. Since 1999 Chris has been an integral staff member during exciting times of progress. As teacher assistant, Chris will be missed for the support and intervention she provided to engage our children and develop their skills. We are most grateful to Chris for her creative and professional wisdom as a colleague and educator. Wugubank, especially, has been an immensely inspiring experience for Chris. Throughout the years, Chris has regularly volunteered at Wugularr and is fondly loved by the Wugularr community. School productions too were always spectacles due to Chris’ creative input with design and costuming. We thank you for everything, Chris, and will look forward to officially saying farewell later in the year.

Gayle McGaw had surgery last term and needs to take extended leave to aid her recovery. Gayle will be away for the remainder of Term 3. As with Chris, Gayle has been an amazing support to our staff and students, and we wish her well during this time of rest and recuperation.

Deborah Smith, unable to work in our Early Learning Centre this year, sadly said goodbye to her beautiful daughter, Annalese, who passed away in the first week of the term. Suffering cancer from 16 years of age, a beautiful funeral attended by the Early Learning team, myself and many other family members and friends paid tribute to Annalese’s most courageous life. The Early Learning team have been an amazing support to Deborah providing much love and care while working at Penbank. We will continue to be there for Deborah as the family grieves for the loss of a beautiful sister, daughter and newly married wife.

Sarina Canning, Year 5 teacher, is excitedly looking forward to the birth of her baby due later in the term. Sarina’s last day before commencing Maternity Leave will be Friday 18th August, end of Week 5. Concluding at Penbank during Science Week is a perfect time for Sarina to be finishing. A teacher with a wonderful passion for the sciences, we wish Sarina the very best with the arrival of her little one. Big sister Eden can’t wait for this special day!

Therefore, it is with pleasure that I introduce you to the new staff who have recently joined us at Penbank.

All new staff are fully qualified teachers possessing excellent experience working with children across all year levels.

Melody Collett will take on Sarina’s Group when Sarina commences Maternity Leave at the end of Week 5. Mel has met the students in Sarina’s Group, as she assisted Sarina last term on a casual basis. Mel has predominantly worked in Government Schools since becoming a teacher. With a background in Psychology and Nutrition, Mel worked for DHHS prior to teaching. We’re very excited that Mel will be joining our team.

Lesley Gent will be working with the children in Charlotte’s Group while Arcadia is on placement at Derinya Primary School. Cadie is in the final stages of becoming a fully qualified teacher. Very exciting times for Cadie! Lesley will also be working in other areas as required and will be teaching PE when Pete is on camp at Wugularr and Jungai for Years 3 & 4. Lesley is a qualified Steiner Education teacher and brings with her a love of community and working with children to build rapport and develop relationships.

Natalie Johnstone has joined our Year 3 and 4 cohort. Nat will be working with Katherine, Justin and team. Highly experienced, Nat has already taken PE classes while Pete recently participated in a professional learning program. Working for a number of years at Balnarring Primary School, Natalie is an enthusiast for the outdoors. A true Peninsula person!

Claire Poutney joins the Homestead team. Extremely creative, Claire will work with students across Year 5 & 6. Claire will provide invaluable support to these students including their work with individual and community projects and associated activities. Loving the opportunity to work with children on an individual level, Claire will be a wonderful addition to the Homestead.

Early Learning, Natalie Chambers, a skilled Early Childhood educator has joined the ELC on a casual basis. Arcadia Shannon-Smith and Eryn Sullivan have swapped roles this semester. Eryn is now in Early Learning full time and Arcadia joins the F to Y2 team.

Finally, it is with excitement we welcome Karen Chaur to the position of Primary Curriculum Director leading the International Baccalaureate, PYP (Primary Years Program) and Curriculum. Working across both Minimbah and Penbank, Karen will collaborate with staff to continue the development and planning of the school’s curriculum. Karen has held similar positions at Toorak College, Xavier and Mentone Girls Grammar School and is highly recognised for her expertise leading the PYP and curriculum. Karen commenced last week. We were very excited to introduce Karen to the Penbank community at School Meeting last Thursday.

In addition to introducing new staff to Penbank, these first weeks of term have seen many staff involved in planning for the up-and-coming camps.

A Message from Lael – Resilience Project

At a recent evening for parents, we were delighted to hear from Lael Stone from the Resilience Project. She acknowledged we all want the very best for our kids.

‘From the opportunities they can access, to their values and the way they interact with others – we want to raise well-rounded, resilient people who are equipped with everything they could need to succeed in life.’

We couldn’t agree more, and her words of wisdom were so encouraging as we embrace the amazing opportunities for our children and especially throughout the school’s Activities Week.

Who to go to…..

While the Wugubank NT team is on camp, Justin De Lacy and Matthew Chambers will be the Teacher Leaders for the week. For any information, as per usual, please contact reception who will direct you to the person who can best help you.

Many thanks and boh boh!

Vivienne Wearne