Dear Parents and Families,
It is hard to believe that we are now more than half way through Term 1, with just four weeks, remaining until the Term 1 holidays. A highlight of this week has been our Grade 7 Camp held at Camp Clayton. Our Grade 7 students have experienced a fantastic three days including a variety of team building activities and challenges. There is some great feedback about the way students have worked together, supported each other and demonstrated our school values of Courage, Aspiration, Respect and Endeavour. It was great to visit the students on camp last night and spend the evening with them – it was obvious how much they were enjoying themselves and the positive interactions were wonderful to see. I also had the privilege of judging Red Faces – all very entertaining and a lot of fun! I would especially like to thank our staff team who attended the camp and provided high levels of care and support to our students; these opportunities are only possible because of the commitment of our staff who are so generous with their time. I would also like to acknowledge the contribution of our Peer Mentors and Grade 7 Prefects who attended the camp, developing strong relationships with students, serving as positive role models and assisting in the smooth running of the camp program. We look forward to sharing more details of the camp with you in our next newsletter.
Many people will be aware of the significant media attention that we have received in relation to a recent incident of bullying in our school. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our parents and wider school community for your positive support and many genuine messages that convey how much you value the great work our school does and the level of care and support that our staff provide. I know that people take great pride in our school and that negative media comments reflect on the whole school community. Given the unwarranted attention and the limited opportunity to put alternative perspectives on this, I would like to clarify some of the details about how our school works with regards to bullying.
It is helpful to have a shared understanding of what bullying is. The national definition of bullying for Australian schools has been developed as part of the National Safe Schools Framework and says:
Bullying is an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that causes physical, social and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power, or perceived power, over one or more persons who feel unable to stop it from happening.
Bullying can happen in person or online, via various digital platforms and devices and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert). Bullying behaviour is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time (for example, through sharing of digital records)
Bullying of any form or for any reason can have immediate, medium and long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders. Single incidents and conflict or fights between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying.
Behaviours that do not constitute bullying include:
- mutual arguments and disagreements (where there is no power imbalance)
- not liking someone or a single act of social rejection
- one-off acts of meanness or spite
- isolated incidents of aggression, intimidation or violence.
However, these conflicts still need to be addressed and resolved.
As a school, we will always strive to work with everyone involved to ensure that any issues are resolved in a respectful, thorough and supportive way. We are guided by the principles of restorative practice which means that there are opportunities given to repair relationships, share the impact of the behaviour and restore any damage that has been done. These processes are supported by our grade leadership teams who are strongly connected to the students and families concerned and best positioned to work through issues and provide ongoing support.
We also ensure that there are ongoing opportunities for social learning through our curriculum, particularly through Health and Wellbeing. Grade Time and grade assemblies regularly include opportunities for building a deeper understanding of our school values. An emphasis on the value of Respect is very important in helping students to understand how to put this value into action.
Our students are given clear and consistent messages about the importance of being part of a safe, supportive and respectful school community, knowing that each and every one of us has a part to play in taking responsibility for this.
The bottom line is that people make mistakes; our justice system operates on the premise of restoring harm, accepting the consequences and ultimately being able to ‘move on’. Our schools certainly need to do the same. Schools are here to provide an education and part of that education is social learning; sometimes the best learning happens when people make mistakes. Consequences for unacceptable behaviour are a part of our follow up; these need to be appropriate to the behaviour and are designed to support students to change their behaviour and learn from mistakes. Our core business is learning.
Parents play a vital role in the follow up of behaviour and we greatly appreciate the wonderful support that we receive from so many of our parents and that consistent messages are given between home and school.
Social media is not an appropriate platform for respectfully resolving behavioural issues in a fair, well informed and transparent way. We encourage and welcome your personal contact with us to discuss any concerns that you have. I am confident that our families know that we will initiate contact with you as soon as we are aware of any concerns involving your child.
I would also like to challenge the comments that have been made on social media with regards to our school ‘sweeping things under the carpet’. Our school has high expectations along with high levels of support. We are committed to working with students and families in ways that maintain confidentiality, preserve the dignity of each individual and allow people to accept responsibility, to learn and then move on. With your own child in mind, I doubt there is any parent in our school community who would expect us to name and shame children or share details beyond those immediately involved. I encourage you to support our school with positive, fair and supportive messages about the way we work. As a school and a parent community, we have a duty of care for ‘all of our students’ and need to be aware and mindful of the unintended consequences for our children when there are heightened responses on social media which incite vigilante style comments based on opinion and not fact. In addition to this, there are 100 staff in our school who work very hard every day to care for students and provide a quality teaching and learning program. They continually go above and beyond every day; please show your support and reflect for a moment on how our staff are feeling when they hear such negative comments about their work.
Bullying is a complex and concerning issue that is not only a challenge for schools, it is an issue for communities. During the year we will be undertaking further work to strengthen what we are already doing to address and prevent bullying and to promote the importance of respectful relationships.
We have included some links to a number of useful resources for parents. These are particularly helpful in ensuring safe online behaviour and supporting adults to navigate their way through the complexities of social media.
Congratulations to Poppy 7B who was one of 12 people selected to be on the Premier’s Youth Advisory Council. Poppy applied for this role last year and has already attended the first meeting. Well done on taking such an active part in being a voice for young people.
Congratulations also to Kuba 9B who has the opportunity to participate in the Youth United Nations State Conference in Hobart from Friday, 13th – Monday, 16th March. This is a state-wide public speaking competition; our best wishes to Kuba as he represents our school.
The School Association is made up of parents, staff and community members, with a number of student representatives also attending meetings. The Association is a really important way for parents and community members to engage in the work of the school, to contribute ideas and parent perspective and to share in decision making. The next meeting of our School Association will be Monday, 23rd March at 7:30pm, with the Annual General Meeting being held early next term. We are very keen to have some new members on our Association and have a number of vacancies to fill. Please feel free to discuss with myself or to contact Jo Wing, who is the Chairperson of our School Association.
Safety on the way to and from school
In recent days there have been concerns passed on to us about strangers trying to approach students on the way home from school. It is therefore timely to remind you of the need for all students to take particular care in managing their personal safety whilst travelling to and from school. This includes ensuring that all students are clear with which buses they need to catch, where parents will be picking them up from, not communicating with strangers and also the need to use road crossings. I need to stress the importance of students using the underpass and the lights on West Tamar Highway. I also need to remind students of the importance of wearing bicycle helmets. West Tamar Road is an extremely busy road especially at peak times, so your support with reinforcing these important safety messages would be appreciated.
We know that parking around our school is limited at the moment and we look forward to this improving as our Capital Works is completed. With a number of schools in the area, I understand that parking at peak times during school pick up and drop off is challenging. Could I please remind people of the importance of parking where it is safe for students and does not impact on traffic or our neighbours who are entitled to access to their own driveways. Your understanding and support with this is greatly appreciated.
Our F1 students have been competing at the National Finals in Melbourne this week. This is an outstanding achievement that follows many months of hard work. Last week I had the pleasure of having Morning Tea with this group where they shared their work with me. It was wonderful to see how much they have grown through this opportunity and to see their excitement. It has been great to follow their progress throughout the week and to hear the overwhelming positive feedback they have received about the level of their work. These students are an absolute credit to themselves and our school. This evening students will attend the F1 in School Dinner and Awards Ceremony; we hope they enjoy the evening and we look forward to hearing the results. Regardless of the outcome, they have done us proud and competed admirably on the national stage!
Relay for Life will be held this weekend at St Leonards Athletic Track and we have a large team of students and staff attending. It is great to see a strong sense of commitment to this important cause, that impacts on so many members of our community. Well done to our Prefect Board for leading the way with this; fingers crossed that we will have good weather!
A reminder that our Aquatic Carnival will be held next Friday, 20th March. Further details of this are included in our newsletter. Could I please remind you of the importance of our high expectations with regards to attendance and participation at our Carnival. We also welcome and look forward to seeing family members come along to enjoy the day and support our students. Please be aware that students will be dismissed from the Aquatic Centre at 3:00pm on this day.
Validations and Medical Forms provide us with current information about your child and therefore it is important that these details are updated each year. Aquatic permission forms also need to be completed and returned to us; with the Aquatic Carnival on Friday, 20th March, this is becoming urgent as students cannot participate unless this has been returned. If you have not yet returned your child’s forms, could I please remind you of the importance of doing this as soon as possible. Your co-operation with this is appreciated.
Ms Natalie Odgers
2020 has seen the opening of our beautiful new Home Economics kitchen area. Staff and students have been enjoying working in the space, thankful once again to have two working kitchens. We’re finding our rooms neat, modern, functional and technologically connected.
We have a large number of Foods classes using our Home Economics spaces in a variety of ways, with full year, half year and Wednesday short course options. Below is a snapshot for Term 1 so far.
In Textiles Grade 7s are making polar fleece beanies. Students have been learning about warp and weft, threading needles, how to tie knots in thread, tacking, following patterns, and becoming familiar with the use of the sewing machine. We’re glad that the beanies are tracking well and will be finished in time for a cool change in the weather.
Here is a sneak peak of how the Grade 7 beanies are progressing.
Grade 7 classes are starting to learn valuable life skills in Foods where the main focus is on safety and hygiene, basic food preparation skills and techniques.
Grade 9 and 10
Students are currently engaging in a Food Preservation Unit. They have been able to learn about and produce their own food preserves to accompany a weekly dish. Our focus is on understanding how food preservation benefits our health, budget, the environment and the enhancement of dishes.
Through this unit, students’ are empowered to make decisions and take actions that contribute to creating a sustainable environment and healthy choices through a range of learning activities and assessment tasks. With an abundance of fruit and vegetables growing locally at this time of year, it’s a great way to limit food miles and minimise food wastage, instead making the most of the nutritious fresh produce on offer.
Lemon Curd – Lemon Meringue Pies
We have also been learning how to identify the differences between good and bad bacteria, and the conditions in which both grow and thrive. This is a core focus in the fermentation section of our preservation unit. Students will be learning how the digestive system interacts with fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha. They’ll use this information to explain how ‘good’ microbe-rich foods have a positive influence on health. This unit is cross-curricular in nature, as it draws on skills and terminology from many areas, including Science and Health.
The Catering and Enterprise class have spent time developing a repertoire of recipes suitable to use for catered functions. This includes a variety of sausage rolls and cakes. They prepared Chocolate Chip Cookies for the morning tea at the Leadership Assembly and a number of the students helped to set up and wait at that function.
Grade 8 Foods classes are comprised of both full year and half year options. All of these classes are developing their knowledge around healthy eating and how it affects their lifestyle through the development of healthy bodies. Another focus is around the use of local, seasonal food which improves the nutritional quality and the cost factor of the food.
All students are encouraged to bring their own containers to avoid the use of disposable plastic containers.
Ms Alice Howell, Mrs Vicki Eadie and Mrs Karen Laycock
The 2020 Riverside High School Swimming and Diving Carnival will once again be held at the Launceston Aquatic Centre. The event will take place on Friday, 20th March. The Carnival is a part of our school program and therefore it is an expectation that all students attend. A number of fun, non-competitive novelty events and the water slide will be operating, alongside the traditional swimming and diving events to allow students of all abilities the opportunity to participate in the carnival.
Students are asked to make their own way to the Launceston Aquatic Centre by 8:35am and their own way home again after being dismissed from the pool at 3:00 pm.
Once at the Aquatic Centre, students are required to make their way directly into the pool area, via the back entrance, to meet with their Home Group teacher to have their attendance taken. Home Group signs will be clearly visible.
Students who travel on the Manion’s bus service to Riverside High School from areas such as Legana, Gravelly Beach and Grindelwald, as well as students who have no other way of making their own way to and from the Aquatic Centre, will have the opportunity to catch a bus from school to the Launceston Aquatic Centre.
These buses will leave Riverside High School at 8:40am and at the end of the day leave the Launceston Aquatic Centre at 2:40pm in order for students to catch their normal school buses home at 3:05pm. To access this service students must have attended a meeting to receive a permission form and then have returned it to the school office by Tuesday, 17th March.
If your child is unable to find their own way to the Launceston Aquatic Centre and they did not bring a permission form home, please direct them to the Student Administration Office first thing on Monday morning to receive a permission form and ensure it is returned to the school office by Tuesday, 17th March. If a student has not returned a permission slip, unfortunately they will not be able to access this service. This procedure is required as a duty of care and to allow the correct number of buses to be booked according to the number of students wishing to access the service.
As has been the case over the past two years, in an effort to increase the number of students who participate in the Diving Carnival, the Health and Physical Education staff have included the Diving Carnival as one of the four rotations on the program for the day. This will allow all students the opportunity to be involved in this fun and exciting event.
We encourage students to bring a packed lunch for the day; however, the Grade 10 Council will run a BBQ, with drinks also available. Please note that the CUBE cafe will NOT be available for Riverside High School students.
Throughout the carnival, the expectation is that all mobile phones are away and out of sight.
During races, students will wear swimming caps in their House colour. The school supplies caps for communal use. Students who bring their own cap must comply with their House colours.
Students unable to participate for any reason are encouraged to see Mr Musovic to be allocated a job for the day.
The NHSSA Inter-High Carnival will be held on Friday, 3rd April. More details will be provided to your child if they are selected in the Riverside High School Swim Team.
We are looking forward to the Riverside High School Diving and Swimming Carnival and we hope to see all students showing support for their House by wearing their House colours on carnival day.
Spectators are very welcome and we encourage you to come along and support our students at what promises to be a very enjoyable day.
Program of events:
Mr Toby Musovic
Health and Physical Education
In this digital age we live in, it is highly necessary that students are fully aware of all the properties of social media and being online. To keep people protected from hackers and scams, etc., we need to be educated about all the dangers and requirements of having a phone, even if it’s just an Instagram account.
On Friday, 28th February, Riverside High School was host to a cyber-presentation by Optus Digital Footprint. The Grade 7 and 8 students focused on cyber bullying and the importance of online privacy. The Grade 9s examined social media, fake news and online disputes that develop from rumours and the Grade 10 students looked at digital identity and the importance of a healthy on-line and off-line balance. The presentations were engaging, funny and inclusive with the presenter interacting with the students and answering specific questions.
The Optus Digital Footprint presentations represented a valuable educational experience which engaged the students and made them reassess their social media safety. Students interviewed, recognised the importance of online safety and stated that they learnt a great deal of new information via the workshop.
9/10 Journalism Class
My name is Nigel Donoghue and I am Riverside High School’s new School Health Nurse. I just wanted to tell you a little bit about myself. My nursing qualification was gained locally at the University of Tasmania (a few years ago now). My nursing background has involved working with young individuals in various settings. Over the years I have worked at the Launceston General Hospital’s Children’s Ward (4K), within the Diabetes care (chronic health management) sector. I still work in this area when not at Riverside High School. I have also worked in the Community Youth Health environment providing care, information and support through an organisation called Cornerstone Youth Health (also known as ‘Headspace’) and had recent experience in the sexual health arena including transgender support.
Looking ahead…I will be working at Riverside High School five days per fortnight, every Thursday/Friday and second Wednesday and am looking forward to new experiences and challenges. I look forward to meeting and supporting students, parents, carers, guardians, as well as staff at Riverside High. My role within the school is promoting good health and wellbeing. I will aim to have my door ‘open’ at recess and lunch breaks, so if anyone wants to say hi, have a place to chill or just want some quiet time, come around to the Nurse’s room located in the Student Support Area, behind the Administration Office (it’s all brand new). If you want to know more information about what I can offer, head over to the Department of Education’s web site and check out the School Health Nurse Program webpage.
So, if you see me around, please don’t hesitate to say hello as that will help me (the new kid on the block) feel more at home. I look forward to providing support to all while being a valuable member of the Riverside High School community.
Riverside High School Nurse
As Health and Wellbeing Prefects we have had a busy start to the year. So far we have been actively organising the House Cup activities as well as our Grade 8 House Assistants. Our upcoming Swimming Carnival and the novelty events that will be involved have been taking up most of our time this term and we are so looking forward to next Friday’s big event. We are also so happy to be able to assist with West Launceston Primary and Riverside Primary School’s Athletics Carnival this week too. We are looking forward to organising a whole range of events for our school this year. Watch this space.
Holli 10D, Jayden 10B, Zeik 10E and Jordan 10F
Health and Wellbeing Prefects