12 March 2015




Dear Parents and Friends

The excitement is building as we head into the final week before the “Kids’ Crazy Carnival”. A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes by a dedicated and enthusiastic group of parents, staff and families, and it is all coming together nicely. There will be a final fete newsletter tomorrow with this week’s challenge (block of chocolate and bag of lollies) as well as a request to bake for our cake stall (this was our biggest money earner last time!). Thank you to everyone who is getting behind the fete – whether in preparation or on the day, we know everyone is helping in whatever way they can. Remember, this year’s fete money will be going towards upgrading the junior playground, so we’re looking for another fantastic result, having raised over $30,000 in 2013!

Professional Learning
Mrs Lough and I attended the Inner South Principal’s Conference in Creswick last week, demonstrating that we all have a commitment to life-long learning. It was an informative 3 days with some excellent speakers. The key note presenter was Dr Anthony Muhammod from the United States who spoke about School Culture and Effective Schools, Transformational Leaders and Professional Learning Communities. We are fortunate at MPPS that Mr Kick, Mrs Struthers, Mrs Grisdale and I actually went to a 2 day seminar with Dr Muhammod in 2014 so we are already implementing some of his work.

In talking about school culture, Dr Muhammod had some very strong messages about the need to have the “will” to lead and the “skill” to teach. The “will” represents the cultural beliefs that we must have in order to change and grow, and the “skill” represents the technical and structural aspects needed to make it happen. He linked the need for us all to be intrinsically motivated to learn and to change, and related this to a story about how his mother made him do things he didn’t want to do, which was good because when he got old enough he understood the reasons why and wanted to do them, whereas if she had given him permission not to do them when he wasn’t old enough to understand their importance, he might never have done them as an adult.

His final presentation was about developing Professional Learning Communities (PLC), which is what we strive to be at MPPS. There are 3 big ideas around being a PLC:
  1. ensuring student learning;
  2. developing a collaborative culture;
  3. focusing on results.
By harnessing these 3 ideas, we can ensure improved student outcomes and continuous improvement in our learning and teaching practice. At Mentone Park, we use the PLC model to analyse student data on a fortnightly basis, and use this to inform our planning for individual students.

On Tuesday teachers were at school working with Peter Sullivan, a mathematician, Monash University lecturer and author. The day was focussed on “Dealing with Difference” in the mathematics classroom, and strategies to enable and expand our student learning. Peter explained the need for children to experience a “zone of confusion” when learning and applying new skills, before expecting them to master those skills. In other words, students need to work on tasks that challenge them to move beyond the known to the unknown. We need to encourage our students to become risk-takers and to embrace challenges as an integral part of learning.

On Wednesday afternoon we were honoured to have Tim Richardson, Member for Mordialloc, visit school to see and hear about our wonderful students and programs. He took a tour of our school as well as hearing from School Captains, Vice-Captains, Green-Gang and Kids’ Café Captains about different aspects of being a Mentone Park student. I also had the opportunity to talk with him about the challenges facing schools, particularly around student wellbeing, funding and facilities issues.  

Have a great week,

Kendra Parker
At our school we aim to create a safe and supportive school community for everyone. Sometimes it can be difficult for parents or carers to know what to do when their child talks to them about bullying. You are an important part of our work to prevent bullying and to respond effectively if it happens. Stopping bullying involves everyone.

We are taking part in the 2015 National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence on Friday 20th March.

In the week leading up to this day and the week following, students will be participating a variety of activities to help them learn about bully prevention and what to do if they are ever bullied, or witness acts of bullying. Some students will be presenting some of their work at assembly on Monday 23rd March.

If you are looking for support for yourself to deal with a bullying situation, you will find ideas on the Bullying. No Way! website for parents. 

Click here for the Bullying.  No Way! website

This National Day of Action and the activities students will be undertaking are all supported by our own school approaches to wellbeing—Bounce Back, Restorative Practices and Bully Prevention. 

Alison Lough

Thinking Outside The Box Programs
The staff at Mentone Park Primary are always looking for ways to meet the needs of all our students. One of the areas we are reviewing at present is how we meet the needs of children who have high academic ability.

 As a new initiative, we are planning to offer Thinking Outside the Box Programs (T.O.T.B.) for highly able students. Thinking Outside The Box Programs run innovative programs providing quality education for highly able children. These programs are created and run by Penny Willoughby who has proven success in extending highly able children.

Click Here for more information 





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