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Principal's Piece - Justin Harrison


Principal’s Piece


— Justin Harrison 

P&C Update
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all parents who attended Toolooa’s Annual General Meeting for the Parents and Citizens Association on Monday night. It was pleasing to see a good turnout, the largest one for many years. As you are all too aware, the connection between school, home and the wider community is integral to the success of every student succeeding and the positive connection that lies between both parties here at Toolooa is no exception. I thank those parents who have accepted positions on the 2019 executive team and I look forward to collaboratively working with the school’s P&C over the course of this year:
 President – Jenny Morris
 Vice President – Sanath Alahakoon
 Minute Secretary – Mel Gourley
 Correspondence Secretary – Kim van der Breggen
 Treasurer – Leigh MacLeod
 P&C Queensland Rep – Anna Cannon
New Building
As you are aware, the construction of the new 5 million dollar building has started. Toolooa, along with our wider community are very appreciative of this top notch facility for staff and students to move into by the end of the year. However, with any site that undergoes significant construction, it can have an impact on the day to day running of the school. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support, patience and understanding during this time. In particular, I would like to thank every student for their maturity at lunch times with the reduction of seating areas as a result of the out of bounds area. All students have been very responsible. 
Demystifying NAPLAN for Parents
For students in years 7 and 9, sometimes the perceived pressure of NAPLAN can become all too much! At Toolooa SHS, we view NAPLAN as a test that can give us an idea of just how far our students have progressed. We also use the results of the tests to inform our own practises, which helps students to continue to improve in the five core areas of reading, writing, spelling, numeracy and language conventions. 
Across the three testing days, students participate in five different tasks. Firstly, they complete a language conventions test, which assesses their spelling, grammar and punctuation. This is a 45 minute test that is mostly made-up of multiple choice questions. Also on the first day, students complete a writing task. The stimulus and genre for this task will be unknown until the day of the test. On day two, students complete a reading test where they are given a magazine with reading stimuli and they are required to complete a range of comprehension questions within a 65 minute time period. Finally, on the third day of testing, students participate in two numeracy tests – one with a calculator and one without, a total combined time of 65 minutes. Throughout the afternoons of these testing days, students go to their classes as normal. 
If you want to help your child to improve in their general core skills, take a look at the following tips:
•Read together – Have your child read a text to you. It may be a novel, a newspaper, a website, a magazine – whatever your child is interested in. Explore the text together by discussing what you think might happen next, or why a character made a particular decision.
•Encourage your child to write – In this day and age of technology, writing seems to be becoming less and less frequent. Wherever possible, get your child to write. It might be something as simple as a shopping list, or as complex as a narrative. Proof-read your child’s writing with them so they can get used to using strategies that you use as an adult.
Do everyday maths together – Maths is everywhere in life, but sometimes, adults take it for granted. Children can be involved in simple tasks such as estimating how much your shopping will cost, or calculating how much flour will be needed for a recipe. You could also get your child to help you work out how much mulch to buy next time you’re doing the garden, or have them help you calculate the cost of fencing an area of your yard. Children are much more inclined to get involved with maths if they see it as helping their parents. 
Feel free to visit for information from the National Assessment Program governing body. Remember, NAPLAN is designed to assess what your child knows and what they need to improve on; it should not be viewed as something to fear. We are looking forward to seeing the progress that your child has made since joining us at Toolooa SHS.