Maharishi School, Reservoir: Newsletter #2

Principal’s Report

Dear Parents and Students,

As we begin Week 4 of the school year, may I take this opportunity to thank those of you who have been able to make the time to meet with me. I still have a few families with whom I’d like to catch up and then I will collate the feedback received and share it (the non-confidential) with you.

Maharishi School – Consultant’s Report and Recommendations

A large selection of parents and staff were last year part of a School Review that was undertaken by Lyngcoln Consulting, at the initiation of the MGANL Board. I believe it is important, as part of our commitment to move forward positively and to reinforce the inclusiveness we aim to have as part of the development of our organisational culture, that those key stakeholders share in the vision for our school in the short and long term. This means, where appropriate, those affected by specific policies will also be included as part of the review of those policies. In short, staff, parents and students will be an important part of the process and feel a sense of ownership over our school policies.

The process undertaken by Lyngcoln Consulting included a comprehensive review of the following as- pects of the school:

• Governance
• Communication
• Organisational Culture
• Curriculum
• Student Assessment
• School Community Expectations
• Leadership

These areas, where relevant, were reviewed against the minimum standards set by the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) as well as ad- dressing the needs of the school during that period.

All recommendations were accepted by the MGANL Board and have been delegated to the School Advisory Council (SAC) and School Principal to be actioned. The SAC and I are working through the process of identifying appropriate strategies to put in place to ensure we achieve the outcome expected for each of the recommendations. A timeline for this will also be in place.

Over the next few months, I will outline the progress we are making in each of these areas. Let’s begin by looking at some of the issues around ‘Communication’ which we should address within our school community. The items below are by no means an exhaustive list of the recommendations made to the school.

Communication

The school’s Communications Policy is currently under review but the following operational procedures have been immediately addressed:

• New/Reviewed/Updated policies and procedures, as well as new initiatives, will be presented to the SAC for approval and then communicated to parents through the School Newsletter and/or via direct communication from the Principal’s Office.
• Teachers and our General Office will communicate with parents via ‘Tiqbiz’, an app that enables us to deliver information to you, quickly and accurately. The app will be updated soon to enable us to communicate with you individually, rather than as part of a group. This should remove the need for parents and teachers to communicate via mobile phone texts. (See Tiqbiz overview included in this newsletter)
• At times when parents need to communicate with us regarding their child’s absence from school, would you please contact our General Office on 9462 2888 and speak to either Suzi or Maddie who will note this on our electronic attendance register and also inform the teacher.
• At this early stage of the year, it is expected that the School Newsletter will be distributed on Tuesday, on a fortnightly basis. When there is a need, an additional/special edition of the newsletter may be produced between the normal distribution times for each edition.

Term One Parent/Teacher/Student Interviews

During Term One, instead of the Information Night normally held by this school early in the term, we have introduced Parent/Teacher/ Student Interviews on Wednesday 23rd March.

At these interviews, which should include the senior students of the school sitting with their parents and Ms Russell, all teachers will dis- cuss your child’s transition into the new school year and have a range of student assessment and work samples to give you a clear indication of your child’s “starting point” for 2016. Where it is deemed necessary, an Individual Learning Plan will be created for students with specific needs (e.g. significant gaps in their learning, extension/ acceleration required). Students in other year levels are not required to attend unless at the request of their teacher.

Further information about the Interviews and details about making an appointment will be sent home in the next few weeks.

Term One Curriculum & Planning Day

At a meeting of the School Advisory Council last week, I sought support for the inclusion of a Term One Curriculum Planning & Assessment Day. The teaching staff and I have a strong commitment to ensure we thoroughly review curriculum planning and assessment policies so that we achieve “best practice” in these areas. As a result of receiving the Council’s full support, there will be a Curriculum Day (Student-Free Day) on Thursday 24th March. This was originally to be the last day of Term 1 for students and staff. Instead, the last day of term for students will be on Wednesday 23rd March, the day of Parent/Teacher/Student Interviews.

School Excursions/Incursions

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 2.23.10 PMThe teachers and I are currently undertaking the process of identifying key educational experiences for the students across all year levels. This will enable us to create a comprehensive overview of the experiences planned for the students from Yrs. Prep – 6. The benefit in this is that experiences are not repeated unnecessarily and that a balance is struck in the type of excursions that are organised (indoor/outdoor, active/passive, balance of Key Learning Areas – English, Maths, Humanities, Science, Music, Health & PE).

This year the students should expect at least one major excursion each term. We have already made a great start to the year with the following experiences either being completed or in the planning:

• Yrs. Prep-6: Weekly Swimming Program
• Yrs. 3-6: School Camp to Queenscliff (February)
• Yrs. Prep-6: RSPCA visits to the school and school visit to Burwood site (February/March)
• Yrs. Prep-6: ‘Paper Planes’ Incursion (March)
• Yrs. 5/6: Student Leadership Conference (April)

Parents & Friends Association

On behalf of the Parents & Friends Association, I would like to invite all parents (at least one parent per family) to attend the PFA General Meeting this Wednesday 24th February where the election of a new President will take place following the ‘Action & Vision Workshop’.

Nominations for the President’s position will be accepted until 3.30pm on Tuesday 23rd February. To reflect the integrity of the process, nominations received will not be opened until after that time. As the Returning Officer for this process, I will review the number of nominations received and determine if an election is needed. If required, the election will take place, via ballot paper, at the General Meeting on Wednesday evening.

Steve Charisis