WELCOME MESSAGE

It is my absolute pleasure in welcoming back existing parents and welcoming new parents for the first time to Peak School.  I hope you all had a lovely summer break and got to spend time with your child or children during their summer holiday.  My holiday was spent with friends and family back in New Zealand.

Existing parents already know about my blog but for our new parents my blog is updated fortnightly (usually in line with our fortnightly newsletter).  Please feel free to explore past posts, to learn more about the school, by scrolling down or selecting a month to the right.

Our first official function is the “New parents social” and our “Parent information evening” which this year will be held on the same night.  New parents to Peak School are invited to attend a welcome function on 30 August at 5pm.  This will be followed by the “Parent information evening”, also on 30 August, which will start at 6pm.  The new parents function will be held in the new Performing Arts area and the Parent information section will be held in the classrooms as well as in the hall. There are two sessions for you to attend – one with your teacher in the classroom and one in the hall with the management team from the school.

 

KEY PRIORITIES 2012-2013

Our strategic plan and annual plan will be shared shortly with the school community but I wanted to ensure that all parents appreciate our focus areas for the year ahead.  A snapshot of the key ones are;

Core skills – a continued focus on our numeracy and literacy planning and teaching.

Inquiry Learning – will involve improved levels of communication with parents including information workshops throughout the year.

Assessment – this includes reporting to parents (timings, conferences, report format/content etc),  the introduction of portfolios and the use of assessment to inform teaching and learning in the classroom.

IB/CIS Visit preparation – it is hoped that we will be visited by members from the International Baccalaureate (IB) team and the Council of International Schools as part of our on-going commitment to the delivery of high quality education.  This joint visit will evaluate our work since both organisations gave us accreditation in 2009 and we are looking forward to sharing with them our progress.

Catering for Individual needs – this includes differentiation in the classroom (catering for the different levels), supporting our less able (small group work and one on one) and working with those identified as gifted and talented.

Leadership Opportunities – this includes increasing the leadership opportunities for children of all ages across the school (student council, class prefects, house captains, environmental group, ambassadors etc).

Development of a learning technologies strategy – includes a review of how ICT is being incorporated at the school and also a debate about whether or not it is feasible/appropriate for the school to become an Apple school rather than a PC school.

PERFORMING ARTS/HALL REDEVELOPMENT

We have returned to a new Performing Arts area with the “Summer Works” now complete.  The new music room and deck area now means we have about three times the teaching space as before.  The addition of two purpose built sound proof studios, as well as the two larger rooms being sound proof, will mean our children are able to be creative without distraction!

The hall renovations now mean we have a new and improved audio/visual setup as well as enough air cons to heat and cool the entire area.  The stage has been transformed into another teaching area and it now opens up onto new decking.

The audio/visual part of the summer works is yet to be finished but we are hopeful it will be in operation by the end of this month.

We are very proud of the work completed over the summer and invite you to take a look at our new performing arts area including the decking out the back.  Our thanks to ESF, the school council and the PTA for funding this project.

INTERNET SAFETY TIPS

With the new school year starting up it’s the best time to look at how to keep your kids safe online. Below are three simple Internet safety tips to help make sure that your child/ren browse for school-related information safely.

Set Ground Rules:
Sit down with your child/ren and make sure they know what’s appropriate to look at on the Internet and what isn’t. Also make sure they know to come directly to you if they see something they shouldn’t. Emphasize that they won’t get in trouble if they stumble upon something and you’ll likely get a better response from them if they do happen upon something by accident.

Keep Limits:
A set time to go online for school, or for fun, can make a world of difference. With time limits and expected consequences for too much overtime, you and your child/ren will all know exactly what to expect. You’ll also have some ammunition against any complaining that they need 15 more minutes when you remind them that you both agreed on time limits.

Monitor Activity:
Research and experience shows that having the computers in a public part of the house e.g. lounge, reduces the chance of your child/ren being involved in cyber bullying (victim or bully) and/or doing something they know is wrong.  I would encourage you to resist the temptation of allowing your child/ren to have a computer in their room and look at options which enable a computer to be in a public place at home.

This year we will be offering workshops during the year around digital citizenship (including cyber safety).  It is hoped that the above tips will be useful for you and your children.

ADDITIONAL CHINESE SUPPORT (updated Aug 2012)

I am delighted to reconfirm that Ms Annie Huang will continue as our third Chinese Educational Assistant (EA) this academic year.  Ms Huang joined us in November, 2011 and was initially employed by the school until June of 2012 in her capacity as a Chinese Educational Assistant.  However the model of additional support has been very successful and the children we talked to last academic year shared with us how a third Chinese EA has helped and supported them to learn Chinese.  They talked about the benefits of being exposed to role play and how they enjoyed the small group contact that they have had.

Ms Huang will remain with us for the entire 2012-2013 academic year meaning that we continue to have 2 full time Chinese teachers as well as 3 full time Chinese Educational Assistants.  Again my thanks to the school council for appreciating the need to continue this support and for fully supporting this initiative to further strengthen our Chinese provision at Peak School.