Principal’s Piece — Justin Harrison
Toolooa State High School prides itself on providing every student with the best education in a safe and supportive environment. Every day, students are encouraged to perform to the best of their ability in accordance with our school’s expectations of Respect, Achievement and Responsibility. Students who excel and strive to reach their full potential need to be recognised and celebrated. As such, Toolooa will be holding recognition parades throughout the year.
In my last Principal’s Piece, I listed Toolooa’s strategic focus areas for 2021.
Without targets and goals, one does not have the motivation to achieve them. Consequently, I believe it is important that the Toolooa community are fully aware of the school’s targets for 2021 so we can all work together to achieve them. As you are fully aware, a positive relationship that exists between school, home and the student can only help every student succeed. Toolooa’s clear targets for 2021 are:
100% of units clarify what teachers should teach and when
Improvement for our Year 7, 8 and 9 students in reading, writing and numeracy are above the national improvement rates
Students are maintaining or improving their academic results term after term, year after year
97% of graduating Year 12 students attaining their Queensland Certificate of Education or Queensland Certificate of Individual Achievement
Whole school attendance above 91%
Staff consistently implement the new Student Code of Conduct with a specific focus on the explicit teaching of behaviours that are expected at Toolooa SHS.
Term 1 assessment calendars were handed out to all year levels during parades last week. If you have not yet seen one, please ask your student if they have a copy of it. If they don’t, they need to speak with their form teacher to make sure they get one. These one page calendars have all assessment details (dates of exams, drafts, and assignment submission) recorded on them and are perfect to stick up on the fridge. We encourage parents and caregivers to refer to them so they can have conversations with their teen about what is coming up. You will see that the middle of term (weeks 5-7) and the end of term (weeks 8-9) are very busy. To avoid stress and unnecessary angst, students need to be aware of these dates and have a plan to manage their time. These calendars can also be found on our website.
Link and Launch Officer
I am delighted to announce the appointment of Michael Watkins to our recently advertised Link & Launch Officer position (See Senior Schooling section on page 6 for more information on the Link & Launch program). Michael joins our school community from the North West QLD region (Mt Isa/Cloncurry) where he has been working as a successful Transitions Pathways Officer (TPO) for the Department of Education. I look forward to working with Michael as he goes about his role to support previous school completers to find and successfully transition to further study, training or work.
A5 Assessment Literacy Documents:
All teachers unpack assessment tasks with their students. We have found that a written summary of these deconstructions helps students who may not be aural learners. This A5 size sheet is filled in during class and then stuck into exercise books.
It provides a breakdown of the nature of assessment as well as due dates. Actually having students complete a document while being taken through an assessment task is a great way to ensure that active listening is happening. They also have a document that they can refer back to. Some classes may be completing these electronically as part of their Onenote package.
Your student should have completed these documents by now and we would expect that they can confidently discuss the ins and outs of all of their upcoming assessment with you.
Please take some time to look over the Term 1 planning calendar located on page three of the newsletter. This document will let you know all the important dates for this term, including our new parade cycle.
Evidence in Classrooms – Student Learning and Engagement
As you would all be aware, Toolooa SHS is heavily focussed on improving outcomes for all students. To do this, our school continually looks at ways to improve the quality of our teaching and learning practices.
In 2021, members of the school’s Executive Team will continue to have discussions with students from every year level and ask them questions about their own learning, upcoming assessment and their level of engagement. This successful process that was adopted in 2019 not only allowed students to have a voice, but it provided the leadership team of Toolooa with invaluable feedback on the application of the school’s strategic agenda and areas that require changes to improve everyday practices.
Starting week 5, staff will be visiting classrooms and asking students questions about assessment, reading, writing and cognitive verb practices. The conversations will be informal and we encourage our students to be honest. During these conversations and student responses received, data will be collected which will inform our continual improvement journey.
It is fabulous to see the majority of our students looking fabulous in their full school uniform. Our uniform is designed to help build a sense of belonging to a group. Students have the choice of wearing the everyday or the formal uniform. The everyday uniform consists of the polo shirt, school shorts, with logo and joggers. The formal uniform comprises of the formal shirt, shorts or skirt with black or white socks and black shoes or joggers. Students are able to mix and match the formal with the everyday uniform. If your child is going to be out of uniform for any reason they need to bring a note from home to explain this. If it is for an extended time period then please contact the office to discuss this with the year level Deputy Principal. Students who are out of uniform without permission will be required to attend a uniform detention at first break.
Regular attendance at school is essential for students to achieve the best possible outcome. When students are absent it can have a significant impact on their educational outcome. If your child is absent from school, please notify the school. This can occur via leaving a message on the absence line (4971 4360), respond to the text message or send a note with your child to hand to the form teacher. If you are experiencing any difficulties in getting your child to attend school, please contact the school office, 4971 4333. At the end of week 3 our current school attendance is 91.9%. This is a fantastic start to the year. Year 7 currently has the highest attendance at 95.6%. Well done to our newest students for having the highest percentage. Remember, everyday counts!
Does Your Child Have A Current Health Plan?
Students with health support needs should have a current health plan to enable their school to help them safely participate in all aspects of school life, including camps and excursions. Health plans should be reviewed annually. If you have not already done so, I urge all parents/carers to contact the school and discuss their child’s health plan, including equipment, medication or consumables required to manage your child’s health conditions while at school. Learn more about support for student health needs in schools.
Student Drop Off and Pick Up
To optimise the health and safety of staff and students, NO students are to be dropped off or picked up inside the school gates without permission from a member of our administration team. Likewise, to help reduce the traffic congestion down the front of the school in the afternoons, I am asking all drivers not to sit in the que waiting for a space which blocks the entrance to the stop drop and go. Not only is this stopping our buses from entering the bus lane and transporting students home on time, it is dangerously backing up the traffic onto Philip Street and the roundabout on Benaraby Road. I urge all parents/family members to adhere to the road safety rules, especially around schools. To help ease congestion, I encourage parents/carers to wait ten to fifteen minutes before collecting their child, encourage your child to ride or walk to school or make an alternate pick up spot close to the school.
Tools To Help Organise Your Teen
Knowing what important events are coming up and being able to mentally prepare yourself and organise your time accordingly is such an important life skill. For us as adults, it something we have most probably become good at simply because of the very busy nature of our lives. We may never have been taught how to be organised…we’ve learned the hard way when we missed that important birthday or found ourselves running late for that meeting.
We now know that organisational skills, like every skill, need to be explicitly taught if we want our young people to master them. To this end, we provide our students with a number of tools to help them plan out their term.
The Student Success Journal:
This is such an important piece of a Toolooa student’s kit! Students are issued a copy of the Success Journal at the start of the year and these are expected to be on their desk in class every day. Form teachers will use the Success Journal in various wellbeing activities and students will be expected to record homework tasks as well as important upcoming assessment dates in these journals. Details about our new Student Code of Conduct can also be found in the front of these books. We have also included a plastic slip in the journal for the safekeeping of timetables and reward cards.