Term 1 Week 6 2018

This week all Catholic schools unite to celebrate Catholic Schools Week. During Catholic Schools Week, schools open the gates to showcase the outstanding Catholic education that occurs within. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the great work that is done in our school by the students, parents and staff.

Last week both Robyn and myself visited all of the local preschools and daycare centres to promote St Bernadette’s and the upcoming events. Most of the centres have a strong connection with our school with several accepting an offer to visit St Bernadette's in order to develop a greater understanding of our approach to learning and more importantly to see what a great school we are.

This week we welcomed our current families to our Welcoming Barbeque. Catering was graciously organised by the Parent Group. A special thank you to the parents who gave up their time to socialise in order to serve others in the community. Your help and service to the community is much appreciated by all. The barbeque was well attended despite the inclement weather. It was good to see so many students playing together in the school grounds and parents and school staff socialising together.

The Welcome Barbeque was followed by an enrolment evening. This was well attended by parents and friends investigating options for school in 2019. Throughout the day we took many new parents on tours of our fantastic school. Overwhelmingly the discussions were very positive. This evening allowed us to present what the benefits of attending St Bernadette’s and the opportunity to address any concerns. I would encourage all of our parents to promote our school as a positive place for students to attend.

Over the last few weeks I have witnessed the positive impact of our changes to play times. It is refreshing to see our students utilising so many of the new options available to them at lunch time and recess. The basketball rings are hit as is the various groups including Makerspace, Games Club, Structured Play and the Garden.

The Professional Learning of school staff is paramount to ensure students receive the targeted learning that they deserve. To achieve this teachers will begin to complete courses that are both at school and at offsite locations. All efforts are made to ensure that learning continues in the absence of class teachers. In such instances the regular class teacher plans all learning activities for casual staff. A lot of consideration goes into assessing what learning teachers undertake. We ensure that all learning is beneficial to the students needs.

This week the PBS4L committee meet to begin planning our future focus for whole school behaviour management. An external group of mentors conducted a survey which indicated overwhelmingly that the staff understand the schools whole school expectations and management structures. As you know we have worked hard this year to implement consistent school expectations and in class management structures. The survey did show that we have some way to ensuring that the student body fully understand our new approaches with 70% of students being able to clearly articulate them. Our goal is 100% of the student body being able to clearly talk about our expectations and structures. We will continue to work on this as a community.

Behaviour Management Structures

The Leadership Team recently discussed some issues with our current management structures and as such have agreed to the following hierarchy of management for student behaviour issues.

  1. The class teacher is empowered to manage behaviour issues and we encourage all parents to talk to class teacher first if issues occur. This is an important step that is vital to ensuring relationships between students, staff and parents are maintained.

  2. If external assistance is required Module Leaders are to be included in the response. For infants this would involve Mrs Buenaventura and for Primary Mrs Maher.

  3. If further escalation is required the Assistant Principal, Mr Crothers would respond.

  4. The Principal, Mr Kapitanow would attend to serious or ongoing issues.

At times staff may not be available and as such students may go directly to the Assistant Principal or Principal. In serious instances involving safety the incident would be managed by an available member of the Leadership Team.

A detailed and consistent response to instances of student unsafe behaviour to peers and staff is also required. Although such instances are rare and by no means the norm we feel it is important that parents, students and staff are fully informed of our approach.

As such we will implement the following response;

  1. All instances will be fully investigated to ensure a correct and fair response.

  2. Affected parents will be contacted with finding and consequences clearly communicated. At times this may be via a phone or in person conversation.

  3. Students will complete a one day in school suspension followed by a two session in school suspension and a one session in school suspension. This means that students will demonstrate that they are ready to return to normal school attendance over a three day period. Students will begin to integrate back into classrooms on the second day if we are satisfied that this will be a safe transition. Over the three days students will have limited access to the playground. Drop off and pick up will be via the school office

  4. Students who have demonstrated unsafe behaviour will remain in a supervised office area.

  5. Students will be provided work by their class teacher to ensure learning continues.

  6. Students will participate in reflection activities to learn from their choices and provide skills to better approach future instances.

Our goal is to ensure students remain at school and don’t miss learning. In instances where safety is compromised parents may be asked to pick up their child to create much needed time and space for all affected students and staff to return to an acceptable emotional state.

All efforts will be made to adhere to this plan, but it may be altered in some cases or if behaviour is repeated. As such the period of in school suspension may be extended. In extreme cases, with consultation of CEDP staff a student may be suspended from school attendance for a period of time. This is a last resort in response to major safety concerns.

Our intent is to ensure all students are safe and that a positive learning environment can be maintained. When such instances occur we understand that a parents response can be one of disappointment. Working together we can help students to see a better response. A vital element of this is that students must own their behaviour and take responsibility for it.