Newsletter 18/12/2014

All students start:
Friday 30 January

From the Principal
To the Newlands Primary School families:
What a year! 2014 has seen many highlights and improvements at the school. While all these activities and improvements were taking place we also had some great teaching happening in the classrooms. Our teachers ran through a variety of inquiry studies, finishing with some great student led investigations.
Our Arts/Music programs have continued to grow and develop this year under Bianca , Maddy and Graeme. We are so fortunate to have a staff of truly talented, knowledgeable and enthusiastic teachers who have guided and further developed our visual arts and music programs this year.
I’d like also to comment on the work of the school council this year. It has been a very busy year for the council as they have developed various policies that continue making Newlands a well governed primary school. As unpaid volunteers the school councillors work to make the school a better place for all the children, and we thank you for that. I would like to acknowledge the excellent work of Mel McGrath as the school council president. Her work in this role has continued to be indefatigable.
This year our Parent and Friends Association (PFA) continued its fine work. The committee has met regularly to assist and support the school wherepossible, which has been gratefully acknowledged by my-self and staff. The Chairperson, Adam Palmer and Secretary, Alexandra Catramardos are to be commended for heading this committee in 2014.
To the many volunteers, thank-you for all the work, dedication and expertise you have brought to make the Newlands Primary School a really happy and vital place for our children. The support of the many parent helpers who assisted our teachers with changing readers and helping in the classroom has been invaluable.
To the teachers and support staff – you have been wonderful individuals who have worked tirelessly to bring the best programs possible to the classroom. The school is a much different place now and continues to develop and evolve. As principal I’m proud to be a part of it.

Year Six Graduation
On Wednesday the Year Six Graduation ceremony took place. This year due to the small group (three) of Year Six graduates we celebrated their graduation at a whole assembly followed on Thursday with a day of fun at ‘Funfields’ for the whole school.
Each student addressed the school highlighting their life at Newlands Primary School, as well as their personal aspirations for the future. The 2014 Year Six Graduates were:
Ahmad Ali
Sara Allaoui
Shakiba Momeni
Each graduate was awarded with a voucher in recognition of their individual success at Newlands Primary School.

Farewell to Long Standing Families
We extend our best wishes and thanks to the grade six student families for their long association and involvement with the school over many years. To those families who are relocating to other schools in 2015, we wish you well and hope your child will enjoy their new school.

Farewell to Staff
Maddy has been with us for all of 2014 as our Music teacher and 3-6 support teacher. She has brought a distinct vitality to Newlands. She has been ‘instrumental’ in the further development of Newlands’ growing Arts program, ably assisted by Graeme. We wish her well and all the best for the future.
Kim has been employed as an integration aide for a number of years and has predominately worked with one child during her time at Newlands. We will miss Kim’s calmness, her positive words of support, as well as her humour. We wish all the best for the future.

Welcome to our new staff
Akash has been appointed to Newlands Primary School as the Year 1/2 teacher with responsibility for the F-2 bilingual Spanish program. Akash is a new teaching graduate with experience and skills in Spanish that will set the basis for our continued development of our fledgling Spanish program.
We also welcome Angela to Newlands as our Year 3/4 teacher, who will be developing the Spanish program along with Akash. Angela is an experienced teacher who has worked in both the primary classroom as a generalist teacher and as secondary teacher delivering Spanish

What is in store for the future at Newlands? We are taking the approach of getting on the front foot to develop and deliver programs to support the future needs of our students. We are school on the move in the process of developing and consolidating our achievements. There will be a continued emphasis on team teaching opportunities for our F-2 & 3-6 teams, and we will consolidate our ‘Special Interest’ program that was run in the afternoons each week in 2014.
We will continue to build on the fine work of our army of volunteers through both the school council and PFA.
We will continue to consolidate our ICT program in a way that not only supports the current learning across the school, but to also supports our developing Spanish program.
Next year will see us supporting the return of our bi-annual art show in term three. This will form the centre piece and focus for Bianca in 2015. I’m sure she and the school can rely on the school community to support her in creating a wonderful and creative exhibition, as she has done in the past.
Last year I wrote that we will be working busily in 2014 on developing our new strategic plan! Well now I can say it, because while the process stalled for 12 months (as required by the Education Department), it will start in term 1 after our new council has been elected for 2015.
The most amazing opportunity that has been created for the students – and one that will have a long term positive result for the Newlands kids – is the Spanish program. The ducks have all lined up (as they say). It was great that we could employ one teacher to deliver the bilingual program, but to have the opportunity to bring a second language teacher into the school is just fantastic.
Another great initiative for 2015 is the creation of a student welfare position. This is to be filled by Sonya, who is very enthusiastic about this new opportunity for her to support the students at Newlands. This position has been a long time coming so we look forward to developing this role into a uniquely Newlands position.
To round off this roll call for 2015 initiatives I would like to bring to everyone’s attention the new position of ‘performing arts/p.e’ to be filled by Mulynda. As we have seen, Mulynda loves performing – especially dancing. Who can forget those delicate dance moves she created for the ‘nimble footed’ staff at the concert?! Well, we are unleashing her talents onto the unsuspecting students for 2015………go girl!
Finally, as principal and school leader I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank all those parents who have unconditionally supported this little school in suburbia. Your commitment and unwavering support for the teachers and the programs has been much appreciated. I believe we are now most definitely on a very positive course of action. It is my belief that will see our school grow both in numbers but also in recognition by a much wider community than that currently exists; we look forward to your continued support in the new year.

On behalf of all teachers and support staff, I would like to wish all parents and carers a Great Festive time with family and friends and a Safe and Happy New Year.
Ross Dudgeon – Principal

From the President
It has been another exciting year, in which Newlands Primary School has gone from strength to strength. It’s hard not to be optimistic about the future of our little school after watching a beaming group of Preps doing the Reindeer Pokey!

We have the best of both worlds at Newlands. Our children are getting a top class academic education, complemented by a truly marvellous diversity of experience.
Thanks to Bianca’s enthusiasm and commitment our students have participated in no less than three community arts projects over the course of this year; Face painting at Coburg Carnivale, the I Am Moreland project and, of course, Home. This is in the same year as our School Concert rocked Preston Town Hall to its very foundations. Michael Jackson, Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd, and epic limericks – all brought together by Maddy and Graeme with the assistance of staff and parents. Thank you, Maddy, for putting on this amazing show and also for the engaging musical education you have given our kids this year. For months now every time I smugly try to introduce my kids to some of my favourite (old-school) artists they listen to the first few bars and invariably turn to me and say “I know this, Maddy played it for us in music”.
Preston Town Hall played host to Newlands’ fabulousness for a second time in 2014, with our Comedy Gala. Not many primary schools can claim a top-class comedy night as their signature event and we owe its existence and success to Nelly Thomas and the committed organising team.
Continuing the Newlands tradition of doing things a little bit differently, we held not a summer fete, but an Autumn Fete. It was lovely, and colourful, and musical and everyone had a wonderful time. Thank you to Vanessa Chapple and Mim Patience and everyone who volunteered.
Our grounds continue to grow more beautiful and inviting thanks to the dedication of the Garden Group, who were joined this year by some skilled and enthusiastic Prep parents.
The Snow Princesses and native garden at the front of the school (which weren’t there four years ago) are the perfect setting for the Aboriginal flag we raised earlier in the year. We were honoured and humbled to have Uncle Bill conduct a smoking ceremony and speak to our children about the significance of the flag. This important act was made possible by Kristalo Hrysicos’ pursuit of funding for a flagpole. Thank you also to David Feeney, Member for Batman, for providing both the Aboriginal flag and a new Australian flag to fly alongside it.

These are just some of the things that take place at Newlands over the course of a year, and I feel so very fortunate that my family is able to be part of it.

No community entity can grow or change without commitment and support in key, often unsung roles. Newlands Primary School has been extremely fortunate over a number of years now to have people of remarkable calibre on our School Council. These people meet twice a term and take on the not-so-glamorous tasks of discussing policy, working out procedures, and contemplating strategic questions for the school. To a one, our School Councillors have been constructive, co-operative and clear about our goals for our children. It has been a privilege this year to work with Phill, Kristalo, Adam, Sonia, and Mel, as well as our staff representatives, Sonya and Mulynda.
And to wrap up this reflection on the year that was, I would like to thank Ross Dudgeon from the bottom of my heart for his unwavering passion for education that equips our children for the future. Ross is always thinking about the needs of our children, and of the children who will come after them. I have appreciated his honesty and his openness to my suggestions over the years we have worked together. I firmly believe that Newlands’ development and exciting future is due in no small part to these qualities of his leadership.

Happy holidays everyone. Enjoy time with family and friends near and far, and I look forward to seeing you all at the beginning of an exciting new year for Newlands Primary School.
Melanie McGrath – School Council President

Although we still have a couple of loose ends to tie up, with nearly all the money in it seems as though our total profit for the Comedy Gala and Monster Auction will be nudging $13,000! This is an incredible outcome for a school our size. Thank you once again to everyone who supported this wonderful event.

Early calculations also indicate that this year we met our overall fundraising target of $20,000! At Newlands our fundraising is critical because 80% of it goes directly to our school budget to support the everyday operations of the school. The remaining 20% is allocated to the PFA for expenditure on special projects supported by our parents and friends.
Thank you so much, everyone for all the small and large ways in which you have contributed to fundraising efforts at Newlands this year.

Parents & Friends Association Morning Tea – 2015
The PFA will host a morning tea in the after school care room after the Preps are dropped off on their first day in 2015.
Everyone is welcome to come along for a cuppa and a cake, and to meet our new families.

At Newlands Primary School we believe very strongly that every single contribution, no matter what it involves, is valuable and welcome. When everyone gives what they can we enjoy giving and reap amazing rewards for our kids. Occasionally, however, there are contributions that are so significant that it seems only fair to single them out for special thanks.
This year Marita Wallace has been an integral part of practically every fundraising activity as well as one of the long-standing members of the Garden Group. I think many of us would agree that when we need a hand, she is someone we know we can rely on. And she has managed all this in the midst of a punishing work schedule.
Thank you so much, Marita. In very many ways our school would be a much poorer place without you.

On Friday 21st November, Stella Young was a much-anticipated act at the Newlands Comedy Gala. We experienced first hand her formidable intelligence, her sharp wit, and her sartorial splendour.
Through my involvement with the event I personally experienced Stella’s graciousness and charm.
It came as a shock to all of us when someone so utterly overflowing with life was lost to us just a short time later.
Stella will be remembered for her intelligence, her wickedness, her clarity, and for having a voice that people listened to and understood.
At Newlands our hearts and thoughts go out to those who knew Stella and loved her. We assure you that the lessons she taught will be heard in our classrooms and playground.

A public memorial service will be held for Stella on Friday 19th December. Everyone is welcome to join in this celebration of a life well lived.
Melanie McGrath

SY Young Invitation Jpeg[2]

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