Special newsletter – School structure and teacher placement 2014

To our Families,

At our meeting on Wednesday 27/11/2013 School Council discussed and endorsed the proposed 2014 school structure. This structure had previously been presented to staff, who were enthusiastic about its capacity to meet educational needs in the school.

The 2014 school structure is a continuation of our transition to a team teaching model, but will also differ from our current structure in a number of key ways:

  1. We will be employing an additional classroom teacher at the Grade 3/4 level.
  2. Grades 1 & 2 will be sharing a learning space with two teachers, as will grades 3 & 4.
  3. For a substantial amount of time each week teachers will take a multi-age group to address an area of the AusVELS curriculum that is of particular interest or utilises their specific expertise.

These changes will be spelled out in more detail below and will continue to improve the quality of education at Newlands by addressing:
* The current gender imbalance in the grade 3-6 area – working in multi-age groupings for a portion of the week will provide the opportunity to bring more girls together.
* The crowded curriculum that is expected to be covered at each year level (currently each classroom teacher is required to assess students against approximately 15 different curriculum areas).
* The professional challenges of teachers working in isolation from each other – this will give them the opportunity to work in a team environment on a daily basis.
* The significant change in enrolments for 2014 due to family relocation and the subsequent impact on the school’s budget.

STAFFING STRUCTURE

Teacher

Year Level

Students

Comment

Rae Familari

Prep

21

 The teacher will be in her own classroom, but will be working with the 1/2 teachers as part of a P-2 team, as has been the case in 2013.
Laura Fisiak

1

18

The 2 teachers will be working as a teaching team in one learning space.
To Be Announced

2

17

Sonya O’Brien

3

14

The 2 teachers will be working as a teaching team in one learning space.
Mulynda Blease

4

13

To Be Announced

5/6

16

The teacher will be in her own classroom, but will be working together with the 3-6 teachers as part of a 3-6 team, as has been the case in 2013.
Specialist Teachers
Bianca Vecchio

Visual Arts/ P.E.

P-6

Bianca will continue in this role for 2014
To Be Announced

Music

P-6

**This is an excellent teacher to student ratio that we believe could not be matched in any other local primary school. We will not necessarily be able to maintain this ratio as enrolments continue to increase, but it will certainly be of great benefit to our students in 2014.

There are three teaching positions to be announced because:
* Gemma has made the decision to return to England for personal reasons.
* Tanya has been successful in being appointed to a school much closer to where she now lives.
* Jane has been asked to increase her teaching time at her main school.

I would like to acknowledge all their hard work and commitment to the children at Newlands PS. The schools they go to will be richer having these teachers as part of their staff.

We are currently in the process of selecting teachers for these positions. We expect to be able to inform the school community of the successful appointments before the end of the 2013 school year.

CURRICULUM STRUCTURE
Our educational vision for 2014 and beyond is to create a cross-age learning program. This will see individual teachers take multi-age groups for learning activities that are required to be covered under AusVELS, but require expert knowledge, for example, ICT, Performing Arts, Humanities or Science.
This is the most exciting element to the change because it will free teachers to teach an area of the curriculum where they can share their knowledge, skills or passion with all students across the school. It also gives students the opportunity to work with different teachers on a regular basis.

STUDENT PLACEMENT POLICY
One final point I must also include with this newsletter is in relation to specific teachers operating with specific grades. The policy of the school is that children will not be placed with specific teachers based on parent or student requests. We will continue to place teachers at a specific grade level or a teaching team for a range of educational reasons.

As I have mentioned, all teachers have endorsed this new model, as have the School Council, and I can report the teachers are already thinking and planning out what this new direction will look like for 2014. More detail and updates will be made available as we move toward the start of 2014.

I hope this newsletter goes some way towards explaining the ‘why and the how’ around the 2014 model. I’m sure there will be questions from the community about this new model of learning. To hopefully address these I would ask that you email the school address: Newlands.ps@edumail.vic.gov.au with your question marking ‘Attention Ross’ by Wednesday 4th December.
Once I have compiled the questions I will then provide answers in the form of a FAQ sheet and distribute it by Monday 9/12/2013.

If you wish for clarification from a parent perspective you can always ask the school councillors for their interpretation and understanding of the model.

Kind Regards

Ross Dudgeon
Principal

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