From the Principal

Hello everyone,

What a productive and exciting couple of weeks it has been at school. We are certainly all feeling that lovely renewed sense of energy that accompanies the arrival of Spring.

I hope you have all seen some of our wonderful new Spring Fair signs around the community. We are looking forward to a truly wonderful day of community celebration together. I know the organising committee and many members of our school community have been working hard to bring this event together.

Last week I was lucky enough to accompany the Grade 6 students and Maree on a whale watching trip off Tweed Heads. We were so very lucky to have a few whales come right up to (and swim under) our boat and then put on a wonderful display of play for us. It was an experience the students (and the adults) will never forget. My trust camera certainly got a workout on the day – I hope you enjoy some of my photos later in the bulletin.

Excitement is building down at the High School today as preparations are underway for our Annual HSC Showcase. This is one of the absolute highlights of the school year and a very important moment for our Year 12 students as they share with the community some of the fruits of their education with us.

I hope to see many of you either at the showcase tonight or the Spring Fair next week.

Peace
Nerrida

whale-watching

Wildlife on the Move – Please drive with Care

This morning I was driving down the hill at the entrance to the school when a wallaby hopped across the road directly in front of my car. Fortunately, I was travelling at the prescribed 40 kph and was able to stop in time. If I had been travelling any faster, I would definitely have hit the wallaby. Recently there have been wallabies, koalas, echidnas and water dragons on our school road. Please drive very carefully and at the correct speed when you are driving to school. We love the little critters who live around our school and would hate to see them injured or killed.
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello,

The term is well underway and the school has been a hive of activity over the last couple of weeks. As the winter season begins to recede, we are all feeling the new energy of the coming spring. This is a great time for learning and a great time for approaching projects with a renewed vigour and sense of purpose.

The Repair Care and Maintenance Day last Saturday was a wonderful day of our school community coming together to bring some added love and attention to our beautiful site. The entrance to our school is now looking really lovely and our Administration building is sparkling. We took on some of your suggestions from the parent engagement evening and focussed our attention on just two areas of the school and this really helped to develop a stronger community feeling as everyone pitched in and worked together. I really enjoyed catching up with some of you on the day and would like to thank you for giving some of your time to come along and help out. Look out for some further changes to our Repair, Care and Maintenance days next year.

Our Class Three parents are working really hard to pull together what will be another wonderful Spring Fair. They have been working for several months and are now in the last stages of preparation. The theme for this year’s Spring Fair is “The Earth is our Garden” and it promises to be another wonderful celebration of our school community, the changing season and our incredible natural environment. Please do invite your family and friends to come along and help us to celebrate.

In other news, we are in the process of finalising our 2017 Kindergarten enrolment process. This can be quite a challenging process as we have many more people applying than places available and, inevitably, we will have to disappoint some people. We have been working hard to ensure our process is clear and transparent so that all applicants know what to expect. In a time when our school is experiencing very healthy enrolments, this is one of the more difficult processes. It is never easy to disappoint families who want to join our community.

Peace
Nerrida

Nerrida & Marlis

Parent Engagement in Learning

Some Questions for You to Consider – Parent Engagement in Learning

Thank you to those parents who sent in feedback to questions raised in our last Bulletin, arising out of our Parent Engagement evening. As promised, in each Bulletin we are sharing some of the questions asked on the evening and inviting further feedback. Please feel free to call or email your feedback to principal@http://capebyronsteiner.nsw.edu.au .

How can we enhance authentic and meaningful parent engagement in the CBRSS Early Childhood and Primary School community?

How can we enhance authentic and meaningful parent engagement in the CBRSS High School community?

From The Principal

Hello everyone,

The term is off to a good start with many really exciting learning activities happening all over the school. The Kindergarten Teachers report that the children have all come back from their three week break having really made a big leap in growth and development. In both the Primary School and the High School, students have enjoyed a trip to the Byron Writers’ Festival as well as competing in the regional Netball Carnival. Recently I hosted morning tea for our wonderful Year 12 students. They are now in their final term at school and all working hard towards the completion of their HSC.

Thank you to the parents who came out to our ‘Parent Engagement’ meeting in week one. I know it isn’t always easy to organise home life to come out on a cold, winter night so I truly appreciate the effort so many parents made. The night began with a presentation of our School Master Plan by Michael Leung. The future plans for our school site and buildings are so exciting and will ensure we can provide the best possible environment for our students and staff.

After the presentation of the Master Plan, we moved into a series of ‘World Cafe’ type discussions with parents moving from table to table to talk about a whole range of issues in relation to parent engagement in learning and the school. The discussions were animated, interesting and provided wonderful insights and ideas. Over the coming months, we will work with the information provided to support stronger partnerships, communication and engagement across our school community.

I understand some parents would have liked to have attended, but were simply unable to do so on the night. With this in mind, we will be presenting two of the questions asked in each of the next few bulletins and providing the opportunity for members of the school community to send in their ideas and thoughts. I would really love to hear from you if you would like to contribute on any of the questions (particularly if you were unable to attend on the night).

I mentioned our visit to the Byron Writers’ Festival a little earlier, I would like to finish by congratulating the amazing High School students who took on the task of being MCs at the event.  They researched the authors carefully and spoke intelligently, engagingly and authoritatively in introducing the authors to the audience.  I have received feedback that the authors were incredibly impressed and touched by the introductions.  Congratulations to the students involved and thank you for so beautifully representing our school. Please see Katie’s report a little further on in the bulletin for additional information.

Peace,
Nerrida

Nerrida

New Enrolments!

This term, we would like to warmly welcome the following families to the school:

  • The Hart family with Brianna in Cl 5 and Avryl in Yr 9
  • The Genis and Tait family with Bodhi in Yr 9
  • The Leigh family with Honey in Yr 9
  • The Miles family with Phire in Yr 8 and Chilli in Yr 9
  • The Whitling family with Serene in Yr 9
  • The Dodd family with Jack in Cl 5
  • The Brooke family with Kale in Cl 4
  • The McKenzie and Lamont family with Mischa in Cl 2 and Dexter in Cl 3

We welcome you to our school community and hope you and your family find your time with us enriching and enjoyable.

Parent Engagement

Following on from our recent parent engagement evening, we will be including two of the discussion questions from the event in each Bulletin. If you were unable to attend on the night (or if you did attend and have further ideas to add), please feel free to send in any of your thoughts, ideas or comments. All ideas are welcome. The general feeling of the evening was positive, constructive and collaborative and any ideas or suggestions you have would add to the terrific information we have already collected. Please email your thoughts and ideas to principal@http://capebyronsteiner.nsw.edu.au .

1. How could we support parents to find out more about the ethos/philosophy of the school?

2. What does good quality communication between parents and the school look like in our school setting? How can we do this better?

Important ~ Change of dress code for K-12

Please note that there has been an important change to our dress code. All students with hair which is shoulder length or longer MUST have their hair tied back in a plait or a bun whilst on camps and excursions. This change has been made to improve safety for our students. We will carry extra hair ties in our first aid kits, but ask your assistance to support this change from home.

Student Absences

It is a legal requirement that school-aged children must attend school. If your child is going to be away from school for more than three days, you will need to submit an application for exemption to attendance. The government allows Principals to grant exemption under very specific circumstances. If you know your child is going to be absent for more than 3 days, please contact Reception for a form and return the form prior to the absence.

We ask that families do not take holidays during term time. Students can miss really important learning and experiences. This also places additional pressure on the teachers to try to help the students to catch up. It is unfair to ask teachers to provide additional work for students to take away with them on holiday to term time and teachers are not able to do this for unapproved absences. By planning holidays so that they occur in the term breaks, you are supporting your child’s learning and also supporting the teacher in their work.

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

What a busy couple of weeks it has been. The Winter Festival was a lovely opportunity for the school community to come together and celebrate the winter season. It was great to see so many parents, family members and friends coming along to celebrate this special occasion with us. The challenge with the increased popularity of this event is finding a venue which can safely and effectively fit everybody in. We will certainly be thinking carefully about this as we plan next year’s Winter Festival as the hall in Bangalow was certainly bulging at the seams last week.

The kindergarten children also enjoyed a very beautiful and reverent Winter Festival at school this week. The sense of community was strong and the children experienced a very special and reverent celebration of the season.

In the High School, our Year 9 and 10 students demonstrated some of the outstanding work they have been doing in their electives this semester. Works from Design and Technology and the Creative Arts were on display and the audience enjoyed wonderful performances of circus skills, music and drama. Congratulations to the students and the teachers for such a wonderful night.

Earlier this year, some parents approached me with some concerns about our use of WiFi technology in the school. I undertook some extensive research into this topic and, whilst there is no definitive evidence about the effects of WiFi technology, there is enough concern to warrant some preventative action. With the agreement and support of the Primary School Teachers, we have decided that the WiFi routers in the Primary School will be turned off when they are not being used by the teachers and we have purchased some timer devices to assist with this.

Finally, just a reminder that we will be having a meeting for all parents on Wednesday 27th July at 7pm at the school. We will start the meeting by sharing our new Master Plan for the school. Michael Leung, architect and parent, will be there to take us all through the plan. This will be a great opportunity for parents to have a look at what is planned for the development of school buildings and facilities into the future. The next part of the meeting will be a “World Cafe” type meeting (coffee and cake provided) to discuss parent engagement in student learning and the school. We are asking that at least 1 adult from each family attend this meeting, so please put it into your calendars.

Have a wonderful, peaceful and safe Term break.

Peace
Nerrida

Parent Involvement in the School – Important Meeting

Could you please mark in your diaries the date of 27th of July (which is Week 1 of Term 3).

We are holding an important parent meeting and are asking that at least one parent from every family attend.  At this meeting, we will be presenting our Master Plan to the school community.  We will also be talking about parent involvement in our school community.  There will be a number of short presentations and plenty of time for discussion.

We are asking for at least one parent from each family to attend (regardless of whether you are a new parent or have been involved in the school for years).

An invitation, with more information, will go out soon.

From The Principal

Hello everyone,

I am writing this from Melbourne, where I am currently on camp with the Year 10 students. I usually try to attend one High School camp a year as it is a great opportunity for me to spend time with some of our wonderful students (and teachers) in a more informal setting.

We have a terrific camps program and the Year 10 camp is a wonderful example of providing students with some special experiences which are appropriate to their stage of development. On this camp our students learn how to navigate the city, visit a range of tertiary institutions (universities etc.), experience a variety of cultural events (from the theatre to the football), learn to budget their money ($20 a day per student for lunch and dinner) and learn to balance freedom with responsibility. All wonderful learning opportunities. I am sure we will all return exhausted but happy on Saturday after a great few days in Melbourne together.

Meanwhile, back at school, preparations for the Winter Festival are well underway. Each year we review the previous year’s festival, consider feedback from students, parents and teachers and then our teachers work with the creative impulse to create a reverent and meaningful winter seasonal celebration. Each of our festivals is such an important part of the life of our school and we particularly cherish the opportunity to bring everyone together in an event which really celebrates and strengthens our community. I look forward to seeing you at the Winter Festival on Friday 24th June.

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

Winter has arrived, and with it, some cooler weather.  Teachers often welcome the cooler winter days as the children are more settled and focused.

I think we are all looking forward to the forecast winter rain over the next week to fill tanks, water our thirsty gardens, and to settle the dust in the car park.  I know that a number of parents and students have complained about the dust in the last week or so.  Unfortunately, sealing the carpark is not an option due to some DA conditions.  Gavin has installed a sprinkler system and is now making some adjustments to try to get the best effect.  This means that the sprinklers may be turned on during the school day if the dust is particularly bad – so please do remember to close your windows if you park in the bottom car park.

Today I was fortunate enough to watch the Year 11 and 12 students talking about their subjects at the Year 10 subject forum.  The students spoke with such enthusiasm and understanding about their chosen subjects and it was great to see them showing maturity and leadership.  It was a good reminder that the HSC at Cape Byron is not just about high achievement, but provides an opportunity for students to dive deeply into the subjects of their choice and develop some really strong skills and understandings; both about their subjects and about themselves.

Finally, thank you to the parents who attended the Repair, Care and Maintenance day on Saturday.  We really do rely on the support of our school community to do those little extra jobs that make our school environment beautiful and well cared for.  If you were unable to come, but would like to offer some time in another area of the school (the library always needs some helpers), please do let us know.

Peace
Nerrida

From the Principal

Hello everyone,

In recent weeks I have had several parents asking what support the school provides for students with additional needs.  This is something we don’t generally share with parents on a class by class basis as we need to be careful to protect the privacy of individual students and families, however I thought it might be helpful to share a general picture of our approach to this important topic.

The teaching assistants in the Primary School provide general assistance to the teachers in their day-to-day teaching tasks.  In addition to this, we employ teaching aides across the primary school to support specific students (or small groups of students) with their learning needs.  The teaching aides work under the direction of our Learning Support Teacher, Marlis, and in collaboration with the Class Teacher.  Marlis works with the teachers to develop Individual Learning Plans for some children.  She also works with small groups, in the classroom and individually with students to support their needs.  We also work closely with an Educational Psychologist, who undertakes assessments and provides advice when needed.

In the High School, our Learning Support Teacher works to develop Individual Education Plans for students with additional needs.  She provides advice and support to teachers and also works individually with students.  From time to time, we may have teaching aides working to provide Learning Support in some individual classes if there is a higher individual need.  In addition to this, our Wellbeing Workers provide support to students across the school.

The teachers discuss students with additional learning needs regularly in Faculty meetings so that all teachers can provide advice, assistance and support.  We take a very strong team approach to supporting all of our students and, as such, are constantly evaluating the effectiveness of our approach and adjusting the support we give.

Rudolf Steiner said that one of our chief tasks as teachers is to work to ‘solve the riddle of the child.’  Each child comes to us with their own needs, their own strengths and challenges.  We work hard, in partnership with parents, to understand what the child needs from us and how we can best meet their needs.

If you have any questions about your own child, please do talk to the teacher or guardian.  We are always happy to listen, share what we are doing with your child and work together to support your child’s learning and development.

I would like to finish this week by welcoming Geraldine Devas to our staff.  Geraldine is a Wellbeing Worker who will be working in the school, with Annie, every Friday.  She brings a wealth of experience to this position, as well as a solid understanding of the philosophy underpinning our education, having been a parent at this school years ago and also working in Steiner Schools in Queensland and Victoria.  It is wonderful to welcome Geraldine to our school.

Peace
Nerrida

Do You Need to Talk to Your Child’s Teacher?

Clear communication between teachers and parents is a vital part of the parent-school relationship.  We really value this communication and are happy to talk with you if and when the need arises.  Please call the school and make an appointment if you would like to meet with your child’s teacher.  Please do not approach the teacher in the morning before school as this is an important and busy time of preparation for our teachers and they will be focused on the students and the lessons for the day.