Welcome Back

At the start of Week 4, I’d like to belatedly welcome all families to the new school year. Welcome to all of our new families joining us for the first time as well as those who have been with us for many years.


The year has started at a cracking pace for staff who returned on 25th January to learn and understand the direction of the school for the year ahead. Their professional learning continued with an intensive two week focus on Explicit Direct Instruction, which is the way we teach new concepts to students. We hosted the Head Consultant from DATAWORKS, Mr Joe Ybarra, who is based in California and is an expert in this specific way of teaching. Mr Ybarra spent two weeks modelling lessons in classrooms while teams of teachers observed, asked questions, identified what they need to work on and developed a plan for their own teaching.

Our student numbers have continued to increase in the first three weeks of term and our official total is 910 children plus another 80 attending the Pre Kindy classes. Comprehensive planning at the end of the year and throughout January has ensured that every year level could accommodate the increase in enrolments, with the exception of the Year 2 classes which attracted an unusually high number of new enrolments. Our 6 Kindy groups are full and there is a waitlist of students which may indicate that we need to open a 7th group at some stage. As we are a local intake school, only applications from families residing within our school boundaries have been accepted for enrolment.

At the start of the year there is always a lot of information to convey which is summarised as follows:

*School Development days are 29 Jan, 30 Jan, 30 April, 29 June, 8 October

*Assemblies will be held every Tuesday from 2-2:30 however we are separating the school in to PP-3 and 4-6 because of the length of time little children have to sit and wait for their certificate. Week 4 is the first assembly for the Year 4-6s and the following Tuesday is for the PP-3s and we will continue alternating. We are going to try using the new covered assembly area because of the built in PA system and new ceiling fan that we installed over the holidays. The Councillors will have increased involvement in running assemblies rather than just setting them up.

* Easter hat assembly is 27 March for the PP-3s only.

*The Year 6 Outdoor Retreat will continue to be the focus for development in 2018 as we try to create an area specifically for the older students.

*Music will play a larger part in our daily routines and the screech of the siren has been replaced with appropriate music to calmly welcome everyone to and from school.

• The Aboriginal Girls Academy continues to focus on attendance, engagement, achievement and health through an enhanced curriculum.

• STRIVE caters for children with an identified disability or whose needs are best met through a highly structured and individualized programme.

• Inquiry Classes challenge and extend the learning of students who have surpassed the expected literacy and numeracy targets. 

• Corrective Reading groups are offered to students who require intensive support to learn to read.

• A Leadership programme for Student Leaders will result in the creation of meaningful opportunities for Year 6 students to lead within our school.

• The Student Services Team provides an array of supports and services to students and their families, through a School Psychologist, a Social Worker, Family Support Workers, a Chaplain, a Learning Support Coordinator and the Coordinator of Aboriginal Education, Health and Well-being.

• Increasing the Student Voice will provide opportunities for the opinions of students to be heard and considered. This will include providing feedback to teachers about their teaching. 

• An enhanced music programme including Community Singing, an Instrumental programme, performances and a musical production will add value to the skills needed for strong language and numeracy acquisition, as well as providing community cohesion and enjoyment.

• DRUMBEAT will be delivered by three staff members to students who will benefit from learning the skills needed to work positively in groups.

• An engaging array of Specialist programmes will excite and motivate students to be curious about themselves and the world around them.

DRESS CODE – Challis Community Primary School has a Dress Code which is in place every day of the year with the exception of “free dress days”. The Dress Code includes wearing appropriate footwear such as sandals or sneakers. Thongs and shoes with roller wheels under them are not part of the dress code and should not be worn at school. Long hair should be tied back neatly and jewellery should be kept to a minimum to avoid it being lost or broken. Older students may need to be reminded that wearing makeup is not part of the dress code and should not be worn to school.

READING – Teaching children to read is our absolute priority as teachers, especially from Kindy –Year 2. We have a two hour literacy block most days of the week and no other activities are allowed to encroach on that crucial learning time. However, as parents you play a crucial role in supporting your children to read. Like riding a bike, learning to read takes practice, and lots of it. Daily reading practice at home makes an enormous difference to how quickly children learn to read and more importantly whether they enjoy it or not.

In the coming week, a HOME READING folder will be sent home with every child. This is important as it keeps a record of how much reading is being done at home and serves as a reminder to read each night. It also helps you to keep track of the expected reading level that should be reached by the end of each term. With high quality teaching at school and daily reading practice at home, your chid has the best possible chance of mastering this vital skill.


CHALIIS ANGELS – More volunteers needed!!! Challis Angels is a group of parent volunteers who prepare resources for teachers in the staffroom. They mostly meet on Monday mornings but there is enough work for most mornings of the week. The tasks include photocopying, laminating, cutting, binding and collating. If you have any spare time and would like to help out, we would love more hands! Please pop in to the office and one of the office ladies will take you through to join the group. Your time and assistance is much appreciated by the teachers.


USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA – Parents are reminded that if you have a concern or complaint that there is a process to follow so that your concern can be heard and resolved. The first step is to make an appointment to speak with the teacher to express your concern. If your concern cant be dealt with by the teacher, they will suggest that you speak with one of the Deputy Principals (Mr Webb K-3, Mr Morgan 4-6). If you don’t feel as though your concern has been resolved or managed well, the next step is to make an appointment to speak with the Principal. Parents are advised that using social media to air grievances, whilst naming staff, classroom numbers, other children and the school is not appropriate and will not result in the concern being resolved. We are here to listen to whatever you may be concerned about and whilst we may not always agree, we will ensure that we explain the reason why something is or isn’t happening in school. This will lead to greater understanding on both of our parts as we continue to work together.


We look forward to seeing you at our first assembly for the year on Tuesday (for the Year 4-6 children) where we will be presenting badges to our school leaders. Weeks 4,5 and 6 have relatively few interruptions so that children and teachers can be highly focused on teaching and learning. I trust that you are enjoying the calm start to the year and have managed to attend a parent meeting to learn more about what’s ahead for your child this year.


Kind regards,