Good afternoon everyone,
It is amazing that term one is now complete. Such is the hectic pace of school life, that a term of student learning literally passes in the blink of an eye.
Term One Reflections:
We are now one full term into the school’s 3 year Transformational Plan and I am most pleased with the start that we have made. The restructured school day has had an early impact on improving student attendance and it has been great to see the large number of students still arriving early each day. By 8.30am, we are averaging around 200 students at school. These students are using this time to undertake supported study in the Learning Hub and Senior Centre as well to socialise or play some basketball or 4 Square in the yard.
Our new uniform certainly looks fantastic is now being worn by the majority of our students in preference to our former Fremont-Elizabeth City uniform. The uniform is a real eye catcher in the community and our students like the change.
New Playford International College signage is gradually appearing throughout the school and we’ve enjoyed some positive publicity in local, state and national media this term. The school’s new website is functioning well and we are receiving many weekly visitors to the site.
Our new Flexible Learning Centre has been extremely well received by a large number of students who have largely been disengaged from school in previous years. Many FLO students are now attending the Centre regularly and a fantastic Playford staff team is supporting these students to develop new skills and connection with learning.
All staff have undertaken training in Positive Education this term along with a range of other coordinated Professional Development activities that are linked to our Quality Teacher, Quality Learner 3 year strategic improvement plan. You may have noticed your child’s school diary this term. It is been designed around a Positive Education philosophy and staff are using the diary as a tool to develop this culture throughout the school.
Staff have also begun work on developing ‘Project Based Learning’ (PBL) as a standard feature of all learning programs throughout the school and they are focusing on helping all students to become Powerful Learners. This will be another important aspect of teachers’ work over the next 3 years. In order for students to become Powerful Learners they need to be equipped with highly developed skills in a number of areas and have a growth mindset. We refer to these skills as Learning Dispositions and in order for students to become high functioning, independent learners who are capable of creating and managing their own learning, it is vital that these Learning Dispositions are developed in students. Having a growth mindset means that no matter what your current skills, abilities or knowledge are, with the right attitude and approach to learning means that you can improve and grow.
Of particular note, I reserve my final reflective comment for the school’s new curriculum structure. Whilst we still have a long way to go, the improvement in student learning across all year levels is most noticeable. Student engagement has improved particularly through our new Elective and Specialist Academy Programs, less failing grades are being recorded, general classroom behaviour has improved and students are being better supported through their mainstream subjects.
As parents, I am confident that you are noticing the difference in both the learning ability and general engagement of your child with their schooling. Of particular note, we are looking for indicators that show our students are happy and connected with their schooling and that they are developing an independent and responsible approach to their learning.
On a disappointing note to end our term, I need to again bring to your attention the ongoing issue of poor student behaviour both within school and the community that continues to occur. Whilst we have seen a gradual improvement in general behaviour since the middle of the term, the number of students suspended or excluded remains unacceptably high.
Of 910 students enrolled at Playford International College this year, 95 students have been suspended or excluded for serious behaviour breaches this term. Pleasingly, this means that more than 800 of our students continue to behave appropriately and conduct themselves in a responsible and mature manner. The following Year Level breakdown of incidents may surprise you:
Year 8 – 29% Year 9 – 36% Year 10 – 20%
Year 11 – 15% Year 12 – 0%
What should be of significant concern to parents is the high number of behaviour problems occurring with younger students. Behaviour is fundamentally an individual and family responsibility. Without strong family values and support that teach children right from wrong and what it means to behave and conduct oneself appropriately, it is generally difficult for schools influence a child’s behaviour.
Over the course of the term, we have held meetings with local business owners, Members of Parliament, Playford City Council, SAPOL and the Elizabeth City Shopping Centre. All members of our community are dealing with a rise in antisocial behaviour of students and this is alarming. Violence towards others represents 65% of our behaviour problems that our staff and the community continue to deal with, and theft or harassment of others in the community is also increasing. This simply cannot be accepted by any of us and we all need to work together to eliminate this problem.
Violence towards another person is a horrible crime and particularly dangerous. It causes serious physical and mental injury and the death of individuals, caused particularly through much publicised ‘coward punch’ attacks are on the increase. Violence is not just an adult issue. It is a serious criminal matter that applies to students of any age.
As a school, we will not tolerate violence or serious behaviour breaches involving any of our students either within school or the community. An agreement has been reached with all local community members and organisations to share information relating to any inappropriate behaviour of our students. Our students have been warned this week that the school will also take action to suspend or exclude students who behave poorly in the community after normal school hours.
Students have a responsibility to behave appropriately at all times. They have a set of school values to uphold and they are fulltime ambassadors of Playford International College during their enrolment at the school. Any student who behaves inappropriately, either at school or in the community, undermines our school culture and the potential safety or wellbeing of others. Poor behaviour also jeopardises the positive reputation of other students and the school.
I seek your full support and cooperation to eliminate unacceptable, poor behaviour amongst Playford International College students. Should you require assistance or further parenting support with this matter, please contact the school’s ‘Student Engagement and Wellbeing’ team.
I am pleased to report that the 2nd stage of planning for our $7m school redevelopment is now complete. Leadership staff have met weekly with Architects, DECD Facility and Government Capital Works Managers this term to finalise concept plans. These concept plans are now undergoing a second cost analysis to determine if the proposed work remains in budget. The exciting changes planned at this stage of the process include:
• New Performing and Media Arts Centre. Co-located with the Special Interest Music Centre. Cost $1.2m
• New Physical Performance Training Centre. Co-located with the Gymnasium. Cost $700K
• New Supported Learning (Special Education) Centre. Replaces existing C Block. Cost $320K
• Redeveloped Hospitality Centre. Co-located with the existing Home Ec Centre. Cost $650K
• Redeveloped Visual Arts Centre. Replaces existing Art Rooms in L Block. Cost $500K
• Redeveloped Reception Area. Replaces existing Reception Area in the Main Building. Cost $420K
• Redeveloped Student Amenities. Replaces Ground and 1st Floor toilets in Main Building. Cost $500K
• Redeveloped Staff Amenities. Replaces existing Staff Toilets in Main Building. Cost $120K
• Redeveloped Staff Kitchen. Replaces existing Staff Kitchen in the Main Building. Cost $30K
• Upgrade of Ground and 1st Floor Corridors and Stairs in Main Building. Cost $250K
• Construction of new school entrance linking Crockerton Road and Philip Highway. Cost $100K
• Construction of new external shelter and shade structures. Cost $130K
• Replacement of Gutters and Downpipes throughout the school. Cost $100K
• Upgrade of service supplies (power, water, data). Cost $100K
In addition to this planned work, the school has also set aside $300,000 for the development of a new Global Studies Learning Area in S wing of the main building, and an upgrade to the existing Student Services and administration areas in the main building. A further $650,000 has been allocated to the continual redevelopment of the school’s ICT infrastructure and another $120,000 for general furniture replacement. $50,000 has also been allocated to replacement of air conditioning throughout the school.
This investment into the redevelopment of school represents that most significant upgrade of school facilities since the Federal Government’s BER program in 2008 and the construction of the school’s Special Interest Music Centre in 1995. Once completed, Playford International College students will enjoy studying in what will be an outstanding 21st century learning environment. We expect the first construction projects to begin later this year.
School Board News:
The school’s AGM was held last Wednesday evening and disappointingly, only two parents attended. The lack of parent involvement in the school remains an ongoing concern and we simply need to have more parents as active members of the school.
Having said this, I am pleased to have received a number of new nominations to this year’s School Board including the local member for Little Para, Lee Odenwalder. Final ratification of the new School Board members for the year will occur in term two. In the meantime, I am pleased to congratulate the members of this year’s School Board (see below). If you would like to stand for a vacant community member position on the School Board, I would be very pleased to hear from you. The School Board meets twice per term and our next meeting in on Wednesday, 18th May (Term 2, Week 3) at 5pm in the school’s conference room.
At the AGM, the school’s 2015 Annual Report was tabled and discussed. This is comprehensive document that is currently going through final editing. It will be available electronically on the school’s website early in term two.
Position Person Term of Office
Principal Rob Knight Ongoing
Deputy Principal Brian Jordan Ongoing
Business Manager Julie Heddle Ongoing
Staff Representatives Susan Thomson 2015-2016
David Green 2016-2017
Matt Taylor 2016-2017
Student Representatives Damien Purling 2016
Hayley Allen 2016
Parent Representatives Sean Yates 2016-2017
Simon Peisley 2016-2017
Rebecca Baker 2016-2017
Michael Tricker 2016-2017
Community /Parent /Staff/ Student Representatives Lee Odenwalder (MP) 2016
We welcome Rowan Hearne to our teaching staff. Rowan is replacing Sue Elderfield who is enjoying some well-deserved long service leave at present. At this stage, we expect Rowan to continue as a Maths and Science in term 2. We would also like to welcome the new SSO’s Naa Koshie Kidega, Fabienne Leicester and Bettina Thomas.
Congratulations to Genevieve Papineau on the recent birth of baby Luca. This is an exciting time for Genevieve and her partner and we wish them well.
Early in term 2, Amelia Rofe and Lauren DeBono will also commence maternity leave for the remainder of the year whilst Jane Tillett and Lyn Bird have elected to reduce from fulltime. Replacements for these staff will be completed by the start of term two.
We have had many students achieve great success this term and I’d like to congratulate every student who has represented the school with distinction. A few students worthy of a special mention include:
• Simon Lieu, Alex Owen, Amber Ownsworth – selected to attended the National Space Camp in April
• School Bands and Ensembles – significant public performances and commendations across Adelaide
• School Athletes – completing at the state school’s titles with distinction
• Hospitality Students – catering for the old Scholars dinner and Hot Cross Bun production for Easter
Enjoy a safe and restful holiday break.
Rob Knight – Principal