Dear Parents and Families,
Welcome to the new school year and to our first newsletter for 2020. I hope that families have had a relaxing and happy holiday.
We have been very impressed with the positive start that students have made to the school year. It has been exciting to settle into many of our new facilities and great to see students embrace these with enthusiasm. Our emphasis has been on settling into good routines that are focused on ensuring that students get the most out of their learning time. A priority at the start of the year is establishing positive and respectful relationships, particularly given students will all have some new teachers and classes. Positive relationships are at the heart of learning and are vital in supporting student wellbeing.
In our first assembly we have focused on high expectations and emphasised that getting into good routines at the start of the year is very important. I would like to commend students on their positive start and their fantastic presentation in the first two weeks; we appreciate the support from parents in ensuring our students are wearing our uniform and are well presented for school.
It has been wonderful to visit classes in the first few days and to see the great learning opportunities that are already underway. There has been lots of positive feedback about how our new classrooms are supporting a calm and focused learning environment. We have welcomed 205 new Grade 7 students into the school, along with a number of other students in each grade. Our enrolments are now close to 800 students. I have spoken with many of our new Grade 7 students and it has been great to hear their positive responses to starting high school and to see them settling in so quickly.
In recent weeks, I have felt like I was on the set of the TV show, ‘The Block’! The high levels of activity, the range of trade staff working hard to meet deadlines, the deliveries of new furniture and the focus on getting our school ready for the start of the school year, have been busy, demanding and very exciting!
Last week our Grade 9 and 10 students were able to move into our new Senior School. This area is contemporary, light filled and spacious. It includes twelve new classrooms, an IT lab, student lockers, social spaces and office areas for our Grade 9 and 10 staff teams so that they are available to work with and closely support students. It has been very rewarding to see our students learning in these new spaces and to hear their positive feedback about how much they are enjoying and appreciating their wonderful new facilities. While our stairwell, amenities and storage facilities at one end of the building are a few weeks from being finalised, it is great to see all of the hard work coming to fruition. In addition, our new Foods Room and Administration area are now open and are providing us with a very warm and welcome entrance to the school and purpose built areas that are much more reflective of the way schools work.
During this term our Cafeteria, Library, STEM room and Student Support Centre will be finished. With the demolition of two buildings, there is a considerable amount of landscaping to be completed. I think people can now visualise how fantastic this is going to look when all of the elements come together.
The redevelopment continues to require some significant adjustments for us particularly with regards to movement around the school. This has taken some careful planning and lots of information that has needed to be shared to ensure we can be a safe and focused learning environment as the redevelopment is completed. Students are to be commended for their co-operation, high levels of respect and maturity which have supported a very settled start to the term. We look forward to keeping you informed and have included photos of recent progress and our wonderful new facilities.
I am very pleased to welcome twelve new teaching staff (in addition to three staff returning from periods of leave) to the school this year. These people bring with them a wide range of skills and experiences and I know that they are going to be a great asset to our teaching team. New staff are:
Grade 7 Team
- Miss Alice Howell - Home Economics, Art
- Miss Allison Edwards - English, HASS
- Mrs Sallyann Geale – English, HASS
- Mrs Jodie Clegg - Maths, Science
- Mr James Beardwood - HPE
Grade 8 Team
- Miss Bridgitte Halton - Grade 8 Leader, English, HASS
- Mrs Rebecca Glasby - HASS, Student Support
- Mrs Naomi Hack – English, HASS, Student Support
Grade 9 Team
- Mr David Potter – Grade 9 Leader, Music
- Mrs Kirsty Peterson - Maths, Science
- Mr Paul Steer- Maths, Science
- Miss Piper Sanders – HPE Trainee
We also welcome back -
- Mr Tim Elliott
- Miss Melissa de Jong
- Mrs Emily Peterson
As we begin the new school year it is timely to remind ourselves of our school values. The welcome assembly last Wednesday morning was an ideal opportunity to revisit our values, which are central to how we work together as a school community.
Our values form the acronym of CARE – which is a great way to remember the values but also reminds us that our school is a community of Care.
Our values are:
Courage – accepting challenges and embracing opportunities
- Embracing opportunities and giving things a go
- Stepping outside your comfort zone
- Accepting challenges and not giving up
- Being truthful and showing integrity
Aspiration – a culture of high expectations and high achievement
- High expectations for yourself and others
- Setting goals to succeed
- Inquiring, questioning and wondering
- Striving for personal excellence
Respect - respecting ourselves, others and our environment
- Building strong positive relationships
- Contributing to a sense of community
- Being safe in the school environment and caring for our physical environment
- Being yourself and letting others be themselves
Endeavour - resilience and perseverance to achieve personal growth
- Demonstrating commitment to continual growth
- Developing resilience and perseverance
- Being the best version of you
- Always seeing yourself as a learner
At the start of term all students were issued with the Riverside High School Planner. The Planner aligns to and supports our focus on wellbeing. Throughout the Planner there are ideas, information and activities which help to create and build wellbeing. This is a fantastic resource that students will be using throughout the year, particularly in Home Group. This resource is more than a Planner, it is now a text. If you haven’t had an opportunity to have a look at this, I would encourage you to take a few minutes to do this. It may prompt some great conversations with your child.
The Planner also has some very useful information about the school and a number of tools for helping students to be organised. The Planner is used to support students in being well prepared and becoming more independent. It is important for recording homework and for communicating between home and school. Our expectation is that students take their Planners to all classes. We encourage parents to check the Planners on a regular basis and to be actively involved in monitoring appropriate use. We strongly encourage Grade 7 parents to sign the Planners each week; in other grades just checking the Planner on a regular basis is sufficient.
Today we have once again started publishing our Riverside Rippers to reinforce the importance of the Riverside High School values: Courage, Aspiration, Respect and Endeavour. This year we will continue to recognise two students or a group of students in each grade who we feel have reflected our school values in their attitude, behaviour and outlook. This is a way of us recognising and celebrating a great approach to learning and positive behaviour. The Rippers are published through their own tab on our Schoolzine site each Friday. We hope this will continue to be something that students and parents will really value. Well done to those students who have been acknowledged this week. I look forward to seeing many students recognised during the year.
Safety on the way to and from school
As we begin the new school year it is very 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 about which buses they need to catch, where parents will be picking them up from and the need to use road crossings. I need to stress the importance of students using the underpass and the lights on West Tamar Road. I also need to remind students of the importance of wearing bicycle helmets. West Tamar Road is an extremely busy highway especially at peak times, so your support with reinforcing these important safety messages would be appreciated.
Until our redevelopment is completed, we will have a lot of extra traffic into the school and limited parking. Your continued co-operation with this including helping to minimise traffic into Brownfield Lane, wherever possible, is really appreciated.
Please be aware that students are not permitted to bring skate boards or scooters to school. This is for safety reasons and because we are unable to store these items in our new spaces.
Mobile Phone Policy
As you would now be aware, we are implementing a new Mobile Phone Policy, aligned to updated DoE requirements for all schools. This will mean that for students, mobile phones are required to be switched off and securely stored in lockers during the school day. While we live in a world surrounded by technology, we are also becoming increasingly aware that mobile phones are causing a distraction from learning and impacting on the development of respectful and supportive relationships. Last week we communicated to all students very clear expectations with regards to mobile phones at school and we seek your support with this. I would like to acknowledge how impressed we have been with the way students have adjusted to this change and co-operated with the new expectations. We are confident that this will be a positive move in supporting a very focused learning environment.
CONDITIONS OF USE
- Mobile phones must be switched off and stored in lockers from the start of the school day, to the end of the school day.
- The use of earphones is not permitted at any time, with any device, unless directed by the teacher where audio is required for the learning task when using a device.
- Students with ‘smart watches’ must have them set to ‘aeroplane mode’.
Please be aware that any communication between parents and students during the school day, will need to be through the School Admin Office.
Our Canteen will continue to operate from the kitchen facility near the foyer of our hall and gym, until the end of this term. Our Canteen provides an excellent range of healthy food at very reasonable prices. We strongly encourage students to use the Qkr App and pre-order lunches, as this will help with students being served more promptly and our Canteen staff being able to best manage large numbers of customers. A reminder for all students to update their information on the App as the Canteen staff are finding old information, for example, grade details etc. We are looking for some volunteers to assist in our Canteen during the breaks on a Tuesday or Wednesday. If you are able to help out, please contact Tanya Evans our Canteen Manager for further details.
F1 Student – Bunnings BBQ
Our F1 teams will be heading to Melbourne in a few weeks to represent Tasmania in the National Finals. I know the teams are busy preparing for this and very much looking forward to this amazing opportunity. Students and parents were hard at work on Saturday, with a fundraising BBQ at Bunnings. Well done for your efforts and thanks to those members of our school community who supported students.
The week prior to the start of the school year is always a busy time and this year, more than ever, there has been much activity in our school to ensure that we were prepared for a smooth, well organised start for students. I would like to acknowledge the wonderful contribution that a range of people have made in assisting with us getting the school year underway.
- A huge thank you to our Admin team for their hard work in planning, organising and managing the Book Sales process. This process ran like clock-work and we had some great feedback from families that this was a welcoming and efficient process.
- I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Sue Purcell, Yati Bailey and Gabrielle Purcell who worked tirelessly to provide a great service to families in the Uniform Shop. Thank you very much for being so generous with your time and for your ongoing support of our school. We are lucky to have such a wonderful service for our families!
- Thank you also to our Prefect Board for their hard work during Book Sales and Uniform days. We really appreciated their friendly manner with families and their flexibility in working with the Admin team to make this an efficient and personable process.
- I would also like to thank our Peer Mentors for being at school on Tuesday afternoon to assist our Grade 7 students on their first afternoon. I know your friendly, familiar and welcoming faces were a great support to many students as they settled into our school.
- Thank you to our Leadership Team who were involved in significant planning and preparation to set up for the start of this year, particularly given the changes required with our redevelopment.
Please be aware that we have some important events coming up in the next couple of weeks:
- Friday 21st February: Whole School assembly which includes the induction for our Grade 10 student leaders including Prefects and Peer Mentors. Invitations to the assembly have been sent home this week.
- Tuesday, 25th February: A Grade 7 Parent Meet and Greet from 5:00-6:30pm is a great way to meet teachers and to talk to staff about how your child has settled into high school, along with visiting their classrooms. A letter about this event will be sent home soon.
- Friday, 20th March: Our Swimming Carnival will be held at the Launceston Aquatic Centre. We welcome parents and family members to join us as spectators in support of our students.
A reminder that our newsletter is published every second Friday and is available on the Schoolzine site and through SZapp. Please take the time to read this each fortnight as it is a very important way for us to communicate with you. We have a busy and exciting year ahead of us and I look forward to working with our school community to ensure that students at Riverside High School are well supported and have a fantastic year of learning.
Ms Natalie Odgers
Our Grade 10 Visual Art students were very lucky this week as Mia Deans (class of 2017) ran a small workshop in class, based on how to keep an effective art journal. Mia, who was the 2017 Visual Art subject prize winner in Grade 10, kindly shared some of her incredible journals which were inspiring for the students to see. In between her own studies, hopefully Mia can continue to support our students and volunteer in our art space throughout the year.
Mrs Carolyn Saunders
Our names are Caitlin and Angus and we are your Head Prefects for 2020. We just wanted to say hello and introduce ourselves on behalf of the Prefect Board. We have so much planned for this year and we can’t wait to begin our work as a Prefect Board. Please watch this space.