Our Principal's Blog

Our principal, Kristen, provides her latest perspectives and comments below. Your comments are welcome, please leave your questions or comments at the end of each article.

Welcome to our new Year 8s and their families

Welcome to the Kapunda High School community.

My experience is that when students commence their secondary years there is a mixture of excitement, anticipation, uncertainty and fear.  The good news is that those emotions  are normal with the overwhelming majority of students going home on their first day ‘buzzing’ – especially about the new learning opportunities.

However, while there will be lots of new experiences and ‘highs’ in those early weeks, commencing at a new school can have its challenges.  Students come to Kapunda High School from a wide range of schools and sometimes the social relationships can take a little while to settle down as students explore new friendships.  While it is natural to be a little anxious when your child reports that their life-long best friend spent recess with another group of students, assisting them to remain calm and be resilient is always a good start.

Students are organised into home classes for adminstrative matters and some classes.  However, for English and Mathematics, students are ability grouped and in practical classes such as Technology Studies and Home Economics, they will be organised into smaller classes to ensure safety.

The Year 8 Managers are Ben Dibb and Natalie Knowler.  Lee-Anne Cummins leads our Well-Being team while Elizabeth Gary-Smith (Assistant Principal) has a focus in learning support.  Feel free to contact any of those school leaders if there is specific information you need to share about your child.

In the early days, there will be many questions.  Please feel free to post questions of a general nature as a response to this blog.  Answering them publicly will no doubt support others with a similar question.  Questions specifically related to your child are best directed through a phone call or email.

 

 

 

2015 – getting off to a good start

As a child I always enjoyed returning to school after the long summer holidays.  The rituals of covering books, organising my pencil case, getting a new school bag were accompanied by a sense of anticipation about the new teachers and new subjects.

As a teacher and principal, I’ve experienced a similar sense of anticipation.  It doesn’t matter how long you’ve worked in a particular school, things are never static.  Each year we welcome a new cohort of Year 8s, take on new teaching challenges and introduce new initiatives to better support students with their learning.

What I’ve learnt as a student and teacher is that getting off to a good start is very important.  Establishing good routines around personal organisation, homework, diary use, positive behaviour for learning is critical.

My experience is that the overwhelming majority of students return to school wanting to do as well if not better than the year previous.  How we support them in the early weeks of the school year as parents and teachers goes a long way to ensuring that good intentions become good habits.

What do you do to support your child to make a good start to the new school year?  What would you like to see teachers and support staff at Kapunda High School do more of (or less of) to help your child make a positive start to 2015?

Please feel free to add your ideas to this post or email me:  kristen.masters775@schools.sa.edu.au.

Virtual desktop and ‘bring your own device’

Following a ‘soft launch’ in 2014,  we will be more deliberate in ‘rolling out’ a new digital technology approach at Kapunda High School which has the opportunity to make the goal of ‘anytime, anywhere’ become a reality.

Already we have a number of students who regularly bring their own tablet or notebook computer to school and the capacity to connect to the school’s network and internet is supporting them with their learning in all classes.

A number of students also use quite expensive applications as part of their studies here at school but don’t have access to the same at home.  Through the virtual desktop they can access them.

So what is it all about?

  • Students will be able to connect to the school network (via the internet) from any device – be it at school or home – and access all the applications they need.
  • They will get the same ‘experience’ – regardless of the age or quality of the device they are using.
  • Because the servers at school are doing all the work (not the actual machine), the processing speed is much faster.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Will it be compulsory for students to bring a device (tablet, notebook) to school?

No but they have the opportunity to do so.

If my child wants to bring a device to school, will it need to be of a certain quality?

Because we will be using a virtual desktop, the processing power of the device being used is of no consequence.  However, having a battery that will last the day, along with a reasonable screen size for learning will be important.

What if I don’t have internet access at home?

Our ICT Network Manager, Jack Mickan, will be able to work with individual families on an alternative solution that enables some access to school applications.

So that we can answer your questions re this new initiative, we invite you to post them here on our web site or send them to Kristen.masters775@schools.sa.edu.au.

Building better connections with families to support learning

The home is our first and highly influential learning environment, so building connections between home and the school is vital to learner success. This includes proactively involving families in their children’s schooling and extending personalised invitations to them to become involved.”
Hanna Dumont et. al. OECD (2012)
 
 When children first commence school, there is a great deal of parental participation. Many parents choose to volunteer at their child’s school – listening to reading, helping with a range of class-based activities, assisting with excursions, etc.  However, as our children get older and develop greater independence, school becomes their ‘space’ and they are less excited about their parents helping out in the classroom. While they don’t mind their parents assisting in the canteen or attending Sports Day, the thought of a parent helping out in a class can be mortifying.
 
Yet, last year’s Parent Opinion Survey indicated that our families would like to be more involved with their children’s learning.
 
Our school has invested in an online Learner Management System, Day Map and increasingly staff are using this to attach class notes and copies of assessment tasks, etc.  Over time the plan is to provide parents with an access code which would enable them to see this, along with attendance information and assessment results.
 
What do you think of this?  Would you like having more information about the ‘nitty gritty’ of your child’s learning programme?  Do you have any other ideas about how we can connect better with you to support your child with their learning?

Improvements to our school grounds – what do you think?

Have you noticed the work that has been occurring at our school?

A joint venture between our Governing Council and the Doorways 2 Construction programme, significant work has occurred at the front of the school as part of an overall plan to improve the environment for our students.

Extending the paving, improving seating opportunities and providing a more attractive entry to the school have been priorities so far.  Later, we will see a new front fence and site works commence in preparation for the new basketball court.

What do you think?