It’s a perfect, blue-sky day outside and, as I sit in Homestead 6, students are getting ready for their Activities session. Aviation, Indoor rock-climbing, beach games, jewellery-making, photography, meditation in the mindfulness garden and song-writing are just some of the Activities being discussed as they head out. We’re only in Week 3, and the School is abuzz with energy.
In only three weeks, so much has already been achieved. Our Year 7s, particularly, deserve commendation for the way in which they are adapting to their new environment and routines. In addition to meeting other members of their Homesteads and classes, it has been a series of ‘firsts’: they have participated keenly in the Homestead Swimming Carnival; started preparations for Homestead Camp; and attended their first Senior Campus Assembly. They have also navigated the challenges arising from a complex timetable, a bigger group of teachers, different rooms for different subjects, and the tantalising lure of the MacBook! We know, of course, that there will be the inevitable bumps in the road as their transition continues. In these instances I would encourage you to make contact with your child’s Homestead Tutor if you feel that there is information we should know in order to support our work with your son/daughter.
Homestead Camp is shaping up to be a memorable week for the students, and I know that the Year 7s and 8s are looking forward to extending their friendships and engaging in the team-building activities that are at the heart of the program. In addition to the usual camping paraphernalia, it’s important to bring the right attitude to camp, including a sense of humour, enthusiasm, tolerance, courage and determination. I am sure that these attributes will be shown in abundance.
Across the school, students have been involved in many of our signature programs:
- The ‘Courage Creates Change’ & Community Partnerships programs were launched this week with the Year 8s.
- Our Year 9s are madly dehydrating bolognese, chilli con carne and curries in the Homestead kitchens in readiness for Outward Bound.
- Year 10 students are finalising their preparation for Work Experience and Hattah.
- We have a large group of students who have participated in an induction session as a precurser to their involvement in the Homework Support initiative with the local South Sudanese community.
- Within our Homestead Program, we have had a team of youth coaches from ‘Elevate Education’ speak with our Year 10 & 11 students about the development of effective study habits. We have an ongoing relationship with Elevate and they will return at key times in the year to continue the program.
This is just a sprinkling of the experiences being enjoyed, and all of this is in addition to a broad-ranging academic program. A Woodleigh education really is a smorgasboard with something to suit every taste!
As we begin the year, I would like to touch on a few ‘housekeeping’ matters.
- The safety of our students is our highest priority, and we value every one of them. Could I please ask that you take particular care when driving (very slowly) on our campus, especially at school pick-up time. It can be very busy until 4pm, so you may find that your pick-up is much quicker and smoother if you delay your arrival until then. Please follow (cheerfully) any directions given by supervising staff: if we ask you to move your car out of the gateway, it is because we don’t want your car to be crunched by an incoming bus!
- If your son or daughter is unable to attend school, we would appreciate a phonecall to Reception as soon as is possible, preferably before 9am, on the day of the absence. Please do not send absence emails to Homestead or teaching staff, as these may not be read until later in the day.
- Our Dress and Appearance Policy has been designed to be health and safety compliant, and appropriate for the school environment. Given that we have only recently returned from a long summer break, it is timely to remind students and families of key elements of our policy:
Students’ clothing should be guided by the following principles:
- A SunSmart approach
- Cleanliness and hygiene
- Good repair
- Appropriateness for school environment
Certain clothing is not appropriate for the school environment as it may not offer sufficient protection from sun exposure. Examples of the items that are not appropriate at school include:
- Singlet tops.
- Clothing that does not adhere to our OHS requirements or core values of respect.
- Footwear that does not comply with OHS requirements.
- Tops that do not cover the shoulders.
- Visible underwear.
- Clothing that constrains movement in active classrooms (such as drama).
- Offensive slogans or images.
Students are encouraged to wear hats when exposure to sun is an issue. In some situations (for example camp) hats will be a compulsory item of clothing based on a risk assessment against SunSmart guidance. In classrooms, hats may be required to be removed at the discretion of the teacher.
During the day, students are expected to store their mobile phones in locked lockers. If you do need to make urgent contact with your son/daughter during the day, we would ask that you contact Reception, and your message will be communicated to your child.
I do hope that Homestead Night provided you with the chance to connect with other parents, learn more about a selection of our key programs, and meet and ask questions of the Homestead Coordinators and Tutors. As always, we welcome feedback, and I invite you to share your observations of Homestead Night by emailing me at email@example.com Please also feel free to contact me if at any stage you would like to discuss any aspect of your son or daughter’s experience at Woodleigh Senior Campus.
In closing, I would encourage you to join us at Senior Campus next Tuesday night for the first presentation in our annual Parent Education series. We have been so fortunate to secure Dr Helen Street, of the University of Western Australia, as our keynote speaker. Dr Street’s Contextual Wellbeing model recognises the fact that staff and students will only flourish in a school social context (environment and culture) if that context is healthy, equitable and inclusive. It promises to be a night which will challenge us, families and staff, to reflect upon how we can continue to strengthen the culture of respect and inclusivity at our School. We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday night.
Best wishes for the year ahead.
Deputy Head of Campus – Head of Wellbeing