Dear Parents and Friends
The year is slipping by! This week marks exactly half way though the term - "hump" week! I am sure you are all like us and thinking of all the things we have to get done before Christmas.
DECEMBER REPORTSTeachers have been busy conducting end of year assessments to prepare your child/ren's December reports. This is a rigorous process which involves a myriad of assessment tools to arrive at the final AusVELS outcome. For the key areas of Reading, Writing and Mathematics, teachers employ a process of "triangulation", whereby 3 pieces of evidence are used to decide on a student's final mark. Some of the assessment tools and evidence we use includes:
- On-line Standardised testing (Maths and Reading)
- Essential Assessment mathematics tests
- Progressive Achievement Tasks - Maths and English - an Australian, nationally normed series of tests
- Whole school writing task
- Running Records and Bench-marking Systems (Reading)
- Classroom work and teacher judgements
As you can see this is a very detailed assessment schedule and through the results of the standardised tests, combined with teacher expertise and knowledge of their students and the curriculum, your child's level of achievement is determined. The reports you receive then provide you with your child's progress against the standard curriculum. This year December Reports will be coming home on Tuesday 15th December.
As Principal it is my role to ensure the safety, security, health and wellbeing of all of our staff and students. At Mentone Park we are committed to ensuring that everyone is treated with respect, fairness and dignity. We expect all employees, students, parents and visitors in the school to act accordingly. To support this, we have our school values and our Community Code of Conduct. In addition to these local policies, the Department of Education and Training has a Dignity and Respect Statement which provides that discrimination, harassment, bullying, violence and threatening behaviour in Victorian Government schools is unacceptable. All employees, students, parents and visitors in the school are expected to act accordingly.
Many people do not realise that schools are not public places. It is at the discretion of the principal, as occupier of the premises, to permit or deny entrance onto school grounds.
Our school values determine the way we interact with each other and all staff, students, parents and visitors are reminded to adhere to these values during all interactions.
As parents I am sure you all appreciate that sometimes children have disagreements. At Mentone Park we take an active role in helping students work through their disagreements in a restorative way, thereby not damaging relationships but repairing them - just as we do as adults! If your child has an issue at school with their friends that manifests itself at school, we ask that you refer the situation to the school. This way, we can ensure a supportive and fair resolution to problems for all children involved. As I have said recently, there is always 3 sides to every story - yours, theirs and somewhere in the middle - the truth! We work very hard, and take it very seriously, to get to the truth in all situations. We thank all our parents who support us in the hard work we do to care for the wellbeing of all our students.
Planning for 2016 is well underway. Every year we look at the needs of our school and our students and aim to construct the best learning conditions for all. We always want what is best for our students and to create the optimal learning environment for them. Keeping this in mind, we put a lot of effort into considering class configurations and size and allocating teachers. Teachers use their very extensive knowledge of how your children learn and operate at school to also determine their class placements.
If you believe you have knowledge pertinent to the placement of your child in 2016, directly relating to education, behavioural or social issues, that class teachers may not be aware of and that may impact on their class placement, please put this in writing and address it to me for consideration. As always, please note that requests concerning specific teachers are not invited.
PFA Meeting agenda
Our next Parents and Friends' Association meeting is scheduled for Thursday 26th November, prior to the Prep 2016 Tabloid Sports morning. We welcome all parents and friends to attend the meeting which will be held at Seed Café in Mordialloc at 9:30am. Come along and hear about the work we are doing at MPPS and meet other parents. Bring a friend or come as a group. The agenda will include an update on the Education State, the Government's new policy and direction for education, as well as an update on the building works proposed for 2016 and the junior playground update, funded by your wonderful fundraising efforts this year. Hope to see you all there!
ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL'S REPORT
RUDE, MEAN, BULLYING - What’s the difference?
Throughout the course of the year at Mentone Park, students are immersed in our many wellbeing initiatives – Bully Prevention, Bounce Back and Restorative Practices among others. These approaches are designed to make children feel safe, comfortable, supported and confident whilst at school, as well as giving them essential life skills to translate into their outside school lives.
There is a myriad of information, anecdotes and stories about bullying that surround us – in newspapers, social media, on the news and in general conversation. The majority of us can watch or read these articles and immediately relate to the examples of bullying that are discussed. Without doubt, many of the stories of bullying that are shared are horrifying and some are unspeakably cruel. Unfortunately, sometimes stories that are bandied around in the media are not always cases of bullying. Obviously, students who have caused any kind of hurt to another, be it physical or emotional, need to understand how their actions have affected the victim and work towards repairing that relationship (restorative practices).
Part of our role as parents and educators, is to determine the extent to which a situation is incidental (mean or rude), or if it is ongoing, deliberate and targeted (characteristics of bullying). Bestselling children's author, talk about these distinguishing terms:
From kids, rudeness might look more like burping in someone's face, jumping ahead in line, bragging about achieving the highest grade or even throwing a crushed up pile of leaves in someone's face. On their own, any of these behaviours could appear as elements of bullying, but when looked at in context, incidents of rudeness are usually spontaneous, unplanned inconsideration, based on thoughtlessness, poor manners or narcissism, but not meant to actually hurt someone.
The main distinction between "rude" and "mean" behaviour has to do with intention; while rudeness is often unintentional, mean behaviour very much aims to hurt or depreciate someone. Kids are mean to each other when they criticise clothing, appearance, intelligence, coolness or just about anything else they can find to denigrate. Meanness also sounds like words spoken in anger -- impulsive cruelty that is often regretted in short order. Very often, mean behaviour in kids is motivated by angry feelings and/or the misguided goal of propping themselves up in comparison to the person they are putting down. Commonly, meanness in kids sounds an awful lot like:
So, why is it so important to make the distinction between rude, mean and bullying?
At the same time however, gratuitous references to bullying are creating a bit of a "boy who cried wolf" phenomena. In other words, if kids and parents improperly classify rudeness and mean behaviour as bullying - whether to simply make conversation or to bring attention to their short-term discomfort - we all run the risk of becoming so sick and tired of hearing the word that this actual life-and-death issue among young people loses its urgency as quickly as it rose to prominence.
This information has been taken from the work of Signe Whitson, a licensed therapist, educator on bullying in the U.S. and author of three books including ‘Friendship and Other weapons: Group Activities to Help Young Girls Cope with Bullying’.
Congratulations to our students who received certificates celebrating academic achievements last week! Well done and keep up the great work!
On the 11th of November at 9.30am, Grade 2 students walked to the Mentone RSL to represent Mentone Park PS at the Remembrance Day service. It was a beautiful 40 minute walk and when we arrived we sat in rows at the front waiting for the service to start.
We listened to Tony Wilson, vice-president of the RSL, who delivered the service and we listened to students from Kilbreda sing the National Anthem. Then we were invited to lay our poppies and school wreath before joining guests inside for refreshments. Then we all walked back to school, but of course saying a big THANK YOU before we left!!!
Anni, Kate and Anton
TERM 4 CALENDAR
Here is the calendar of events for this term. It will be updated fortnightly.