Principal's Update - 1st February
We are excited to welcome you to the start of a new school year! As we prepare to embark on this journey together, we wish to remind you of the commitment we have to your child’s education and well-being.
We trust that you all have enjoyed the summer break and feel rested and restored, ready for all that 2023 may bring.
A reminder that you are welcome onsite at the beginning and end of the days once the gates have been opened. Howard Street Gates open at 8:15 am for early drop-offs pre arranged with the Principals, whilst both Gregory Street and Armstrong Street will be open at 8:30 am. Students will be supervised from 8:30 am, with classes commencing at 8:45 am. Please be aware that children arriving early must remain seated near the Year 1 / 2 Community until supervision commences.
Please note that ALL gates will be locked from 8:45 am. Students arriving at school after 8:45 am must enter through the Administration Office to ensure they are marked as present for student attendance.
Please note that gates are no longer assigned for year-level groups except for our Foundation Students, and we encourage you to seek a gate that best suits your family’s needs. Gregory Street seems to continue to be the busiest street at this stage, so please choose the gate that best suits your needs and ensure you make plans with your children so they are clear about where to meet.
At the end of last year, we interviewed for a number of new positions at our school. We are pleased to announce the following appointments to our staff team for 2023.
We are excited to welcome both Sarah Greig and Nick Johns to our teaching team this year. Sarah Greig comes to us with many years of service and experience in the Government system. We are delighted to have her join our staff and bring both experience and enthusiasm to our amazing team.
We are delighted also to welcome Nick to our team after he supported us so well over the last six months doing a myriad of tasks with great willingness and flexibility. Nick also brings a quiet calm to our team and we look forward to seeing him also joining the 5/6 team.
We also welcome Michelle O'Bree to the position of School Counsellor. Michelle has extensive experience in student well-being and support in and around Ballarat. Michelle will work between St Columba's and Forest Street Primary School in 2023 and be at St Columba's on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
To further support our well-being team and the needs of the wonderful community, we welcome back to St Columba's Whitney Hamilton (Bruty), who will take on the role of Peaceful Kids Facilitator. Whitney will work on Mondays and will liaise with the teams to finalise a group to commence with. Watch this space.
We are also very excited to welcome another new team member, Kylie Prior, who will take on the role of First Aid Officer. Kylie will work each day from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm each day. Kylie will cover all First Aid duties, including medication and communication with parents around First Aid issues, including supporting Emma in Admin on a Wednesday.
We also welcome Elly Hewitt to our LSO team for 2023. You will know Elly who is an ACU Preservice teacher, most recently in Sarah's classroom in 2022.
Welcome back to our amazing ladies returning from Maternity leave. Erica, Kelly, Mel & Lucy. We are delighted to see you back and regain your expertise & enthusiasm to our staff team.
Setting the climate
At the beginning of each school year, our communities work hard to foster and strengthen relationships between students, teachers and each other. The work of John Hattie and Greg Wolcott focuses on extensive research around the concept of the ‘Significant 72’ and setting the climate, noting the importance, particularly in the first weeks of school, of building strong relationships in order to support students to learn and achieve optimum success.
The building of relationships is central across the year levels. Each community notes the importance of ‘Setting the climate’ and ensuring these strong relationships are being built and nourished, along with the structure and routines that would provide support and guidance for our students.
Open Classroom Afternoon - Wednesday 8th February
This year our staff team will host an open classroom afternoon from 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm on Wednesday, 8th February, to welcome families into their learning spaces personally and to provide an opportunity to see the vibrant and stimulating learning environments first-hand. Students will be your tour guides, and classroom teachers will be there to meet and chat about classroom routines and expectations for the term and answer any questions you may have informally. You will be provided with a booklet outlining the term and community routines.
Our staff have worked extremely hard during their holiday breaks to create engaging and inspiring provocations and ensure flexible learning environments cater for all students. We take this opportunity to thank our staff for their dedication and commitment to educating your children.
Meet & Greets / Parent / Teacher Catch ups - Tuesday 14th & Wednesday 15th February
In week four (Tuesday 14th & Wednesday 15th February,) we will invite families into our school once again to catch up for Parent Teacher ‘Meet and Greets’. This is a great opportunity for parents to share any information they feel is applicable for the learning needs of their children for the year. Booking information will be provided next week.
Some reminders from our Crossing Supervisor
Please ensure that no child or parent steps onto the crossing until directed to by the Crossing Supervisor at the Lydiard Street crossing. This is for your safety, as traffic can be quite heavy and, at times, unpredictable. Please also use the school crossing on Armstrong Street to ensure personal safety for everyone. Whilst this crossing is not manned, we ask for your patience and vigilance here. Please also be mindful of reversing safely.
We ask that you refrain from gesturing for your child to board your vehicles whilst on the crossing for safety reasons.
Please also ensure that you walk your child across roads rather than calling them across.
Thank you for your support in keeping your child safe.
Beginning of the Year School Liturgy
On Thursday, 9th February at 9:30am, we will celebrate the start of the 2023 school year as a whole school community in St Columba’s Parish Church with our celebrant Fr Marcello. Thanks to our Religious Education Leaders, Torie and Lucy, for preparing this celebration for us. We look forward to gathering together.
We are looking forward to working with you and your child this year. Thank you for entrusting us with your child’s education.
We would like to remind you of the various communication channels available, including our school website, the Schoolzine app, Seesaw, email and social media. These channels will be the primary way for you to stay connected with the school and stay informed about your child’s progress and any schoolwide updates.
All PAM accounts have now been upgraded and reactivated. Yesterday you will have received an email from noreply@scballarat with a link to reset your password. We are receiving reports that many of these emails have gone to parents' junk folders. If you have not yet received your email, please check your junk email folder. If still not received, please contact the school office to confirm your email address.
Once logged in, you will see notifications (bell symbol in top right corner) to complete your child's medical profile, photo consent and parental permissions.
School App (SZapp)
With the new school year, parents are asked to navigate to the ‘manage’ tab of SZapp and toggle on (green) the correct year level for their student/s for 2023. Please also ensure the ‘Parents/Guardians’ toggle is also on (green).
Lunch orders will again be available throughout 2023. This year we are fortunate to secure an extra day, meaning lunch orders will be available on Mondays, Wednesdays & Thursdays and can be ordered via QuickCliq.
We are aware that many families would like to see lunch orders available on Fridays (at the end of the week when food supplies and motivation at home are running low!) however at present, the caterers are fully booked for lunch orders on Fridays. We are on a waitlist for Friday orders if and when they become available.
Important Dates for Term One
|Wednesday 8th February||Open Classroom Afternoon - 3.30pm-5.00pm|
|Thursday 9th February|
Opening School Mass - 9.30am at St Columbas
|Tuesday 14th & Wednesday 15th February|
Parent / Teacher Meet & Greets
|Wednesday 15th - Wednesday 22nd February|
|Monday 14th March|
School Closure Day - Staff Professional Development
|Monday 27th March - Tuesday 28th March|
Year 3/4 Community Camp
|Wednesday 5th April||Athletics Carnival - Llanberris|
|Thursday 6th April|
Holy Thursday Liturgy
Last Day of Term One
We thank every one of you for your continued support of our school. We know that positive partnerships between the school and home promote a positive school culture where children thrive and grow academically, socially and emotionally.
Bambi Afford & Shaun Mohr