St Paul's Lutheran Primary School and Kindergarten

Caboolture, Queensland

Principal's Blog

Term 3 Week 7

Dear Parents and Caregivers

I really enjoy attending our weekly assembly gatherings to see, hear and be part of the various celebrations which make us such an incredible school. The student body needs to be acknowledged and congratulated on the array of activities and achievements being achieved weekly either at school or within the wider community. I am amazed at the number of activities and subsequent results being achieved by our students. It made me feel so proud at yesterday’s Senior School assembly to hear our PE teacher, Mr. Lawrance, sharing with the students how teachers from the local surrounding schools have approached him at inter-school carnivals, held over the past month, to express their admiration for and acknowledgement of the outstanding behaviour, student engagement and excellent results of our students. Yes, we tend to take so much for granted and can get caught up in our daily “fish bowl" without realizing just how good we have it at St Paul’s. This is affirmed to me time and time again by numerous visiting teachers and prospective parents to our school. I am a strong believer that stepping out of our school and subsequent “comfort zones” on a regular basis is a most timely reminder of just how much we have to be appreciative of at St Paul’s – well done to all of you!

As an educator I am passionate about every students’ growth in and acquisition of a love of READING. Once an understanding of the written language begins to become a reality for our children, their imaginations become stimulated and it expands their understanding of the world. This week we will be highlighting the importance of reading and books as we celebrate Book Week at St Paul’s. I would like to extend a warm invitation to you to immerse yourself in the various activities and competitions on offer at the school.

If you haven’t heard by now, our Senior School Virtual Debating Team has won through to the National Finals to be held in November. Yesterday, our team consisting of Felicity [Year 6], Lachlan [Year 6], Bailey [Year 5] and Tait [Year 5] debated against Ruyton Girls’ School from Victoria, for the negative, on “That primary school children should watch the news.” They will now patiently wait to see who they will be debating against in the grand final. Congratulations to these students and their teacher Mrs. Palmer on this achievement.

Flexible Learning at St Paul’s: 

As we continue to grow a learning culture and mindset that a student-centred classroom creates opportunities for students to become engaged and actively participate in and own their learning journey, rather than being passive recipients of information, evidence based research around classroom environments confirm that increased student engagement results in improved student outcomes over time.

Neuroscience and brain development: recent research shows that new neurons in children are created in a process called Neurogenesis. What drives the creation of these new brain cells is not maths equations, puzzles or reciting poetry; it is movement. Increased oxygen flow to the brain through movement has recently been shown to increase capacity and flexibility in the frontal lobe. Implementing learning frameworks such as the Daily 5 [English] and the Daily 3 [Maths] at St Paul’s is giving our students the opportunity to make independent choices about their learning with rotational activities [movement] happening every 20 minutes.

Do you remember those students at school who continually got into trouble for fidgeting [maybe you were one of them?] and were made/told to sit quietly in their desk all day? Brain research [neuroscience] now tells us that even small movements are beneficial and can serve to maintain focus through a process of occupying neural pathways. Teachers are familiar with the VAK [Visual, Auditory and Kineaesthetic] model of learning where students clearly display a preference for receiving information through one of these neural channels. The Teaching Alliance of America estimates that students are:

· Visual 29%,

· Auditory 34% and

· Kinaeasthetic 37%.

If this is the case, why are students still being forced to stay in their chair and at a desk for most of the day? Neuroscience tells us that some students doodle to listen, others fidget to focus on audio-visual tasks, while some listen to music to watch and observe. The rule of thumb is that as long as the student is not disrupting others, is being supported to take responsibility for their choice of how they learn best, then let them fidget and move as it is a neural pathway [strategy] for concentration. At St Paul’s we have begun to implement learning environments, learning frameworks [Daily 5, Daily 3 and Inquiry based learning], soft skills [such as independence and time management strategies] and flexible learning furnishings to promote and support improved student engagement to bring about improved student outcomes.

Next week: The importance of Ergonomics - Why in the adult work place have furnishings been fitted to enhance productivity, yet students have been completely neglected and still operate and “get taught” to regurgitate large amounts of information in environments which haven’t changed for decades?

Staff news:

I would like to take this opportunity to wish Mrs. Linda Hislop a wonderful break and much deserved rest from her front office duties. We will welcome her back again in the latter part of Term 4.

The staff together with the children look forward to hosting over 220 grandparents at the school on Friday. Have a wonderful week.

Yours in Christ

Anton Prinsloo

Principal

Term 3 Week 6

Dear Parents and Caregivers

 

Welcome to the second half of Term 3! I hope that everyone took advantage of the beautiful weather which came with the long weekend. We are truly blessed to be living and working in such a beautiful part of the country – God is good!

 

From all accounts our Year 3 students had a very exciting and memorable first school camp. Well done to all these students on taking that first big step of independence and growing as young people through experiencing the many highlights and, I am sure, a few challenges along the way. Thank you to the following parents who volunteered their precious family and work time to be part of this memory making experience for the students:  Dimitiri Faolua, Nic Martin, Mark Agnew, Scott Normille, Ann Arvidson, Nick Herson. Thank you to our Year 3 teaching team of Mrs. Henderson, Mrs. Farrell and Mrs. Witham for all the work done behind the scenes in planning and organizing this great adventure for the students in their care.

 

This coming Saturday will see a number of our community stakeholders gather to be part of the annual review of our Strategic Plan. This will begin at 9am and conclude by 12:30pm. If you are planning to be part of this forum, please RSVP your attendance with the front office by Thursday afternoon. Once the review has been completed, a draft copy of the school’s 2018-2020 Strategic Plan and the draft 2018 Annual Plan will be made available for your perusal and further feedback. Thank you in advance to those members of the parent body, staff and School Council who have indicated that they will be in attendance on Saturday.

 

Next week is BOOK WEEK and our annual BOOK FAIR at St Paul’s! We will be celebrating everything which is great about the importance and enjoyment of Reading. The week will include a Dress Up Day on Tuesday, Book Blanket on Thursday, the Book Fair will run from Monday to Friday and it will culminate with our Grandparents’ Day on Friday. This is also a great time to get the grandparents down to the Book Fair in the library where they can purchase a book our two [or three] for your child. See you there!

 

As we continue to focus on improving learning outcomes, student independence and time management at St Paul’s, I would like to share with you this week some Reading data which we have collected from our current Year 4 [past 6 months] and Year 5 [past 18 months] students who have been growing and working as learners in the “purer” flexible learning spaces in the school. As a minimum annual school improvement Reading benchmark, we work with your child to achieve at least 12 months progress in their reading. As we know by now, student progress and achievement are stage and not age based as each student’s learning journey and experiences unfold for them. Currently our assessment to date is showing that the current Year4 students have averaged as a cohort 6 months growth. Please note that this means some students have made more progress and some students are needing to consolidate the various skills at their current level remembering a level is a teacher’s tool not a child’s label. The current Year 5 students have also shown similar growth rate with an emphasis on reading broadly to increase vocabulary and inferential comprehension which is vital at the levels that Year 4 to 6 students are exposed to. Daily 5 gives multiple opportunities for students to read and develop reading skills and therefore grow as learners as displayed in the infographic below.

Picture1

 

Next week I will be sharing with you what Neuroscience is telling us about student movement, fidgeting [do you remember those students who got into trouble for fidgeting when we went to school?], attention/distraction and ergonomics [fitting the student to the task].

 

Thank you to those parents who took the time to complete and return our annual parent survey. I will make this information available to you in a future newsletter once the student, parent and teacher data has been collated.

 

Many blessings for the rest of the week.

 

Yours in Christ

Anton Prinsloo

Principal

Term 3 Week 5

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Welcome to Week 5 – how do we slow down the term? The Prep students celebrated their first 100 days at school recently [and still have twelve and-a-half years to go] and our Year 6 students only have 15 weeks of primary schooling left before they begin to prepare for high school. This week’s devotion has a very strong focus on our new whole school value of Service. There is a saying that you can serve without loving, but you cannot love without serving – how true are these words! A major focus for us over the coming month will be to impress on the students that serving others doesn’t have to come with public recognition and rewards.

 

Congratulations to our Senior School Athletics Team on their outstanding participation at last week’s District Championships. St Paul’s came away as the winners of the C-Division [small schools] Competition for the 4th consecutive year. Well done and good luck to Hayley S, Oyin O, Memory P and Daniel N who have been selected for the District Team to go to the Sunshine Coast Regional Championships at the end of August. Thank you to our PE teacher, Mr Lawrance, for being at the forefront of what has been a hugely successful athletics season and program at St Paul’s.

 

Flexible Learning at St Paul’s

As we continue to research and observe the effect of classroom environments on the children and our teachers at St Paul’s, I often wonder how different school would have been for our generation if the environments [learning spaces and furnishings] and programs catered for individual learning strengths and needs rather than a “one-size fits all” approach. As we grow the students’ soft skills of self-motivation, time management, communication, independence, creativity, resilience [stamina] and collaboration, we have begun to collect our own evidence-based data on the exciting impact which flexible learning is having on student outcomes, participation and attitudes towards school.

 

Data taken from our 2016 Year 4 students, who were the first group to move into the purest form of flexible learning, show that they had the highest attendance rate [92%] of all the year levels last year. Our Reading assessment data for these Year 4 students also indicated that every Year 4 student made a minimum of 12 months progress in their reading age. Our 2017 Semester 1 attendance data has both our Year 4 [94%] and Year 5 [94%] students at the top end of school attendance to date. Next week I will be sharing with you our current Reading assessment and attitudinal data for both the Year 4 and 5 students.

 

I have included for you, as an attachment this week, a great article titled ‘Not in front of the children!’ which focuses on the things we say in front of our children and the wide-ranging effects it has on their attitude, learning, confidence and behaviour. *see attachment I would like to wish our Year 3 students safe travels and great memory making as they prepare for their first big school camp, at Luther Heights in Coolum, to take place at the end of this week.

 

Well done to the following students who received their Student of the Week Award: You are all wonderful role models to those around you! Wishing everyone a great week and restful long weekend next Monday.

 

Yours in Christ,

 

Anton Prinsloo Principal

Term 3 Week 4

Dear Parents and Caregivers

Last week Thursday Chappy Teneille and I spent the day with the Year 5 students at their camp in Noosa. What a fantastic venue [this is the camp from which the students return with all their laundry done!] and what spectacular weather these students had for their time away - thank you for hosting us! It was wonderful to see the great team spirit, outstanding behaviour, determination and resilience from the students as they “grew” as individuals and were challenged outside their comfort zones on numerous occasions over the duration of the camp. The mountain bike instructor, Andy, informed the staff that our students had been the best group which he had ever worked with at the camp – well done to all of you! Thank you to the following parents, Mrs. McGowan, Mrs. Butler, Mrs. Stewart, Mrs. Garred and Mr. Darcy, for creating such positive memories for the students as well as giving up your own family time to be camp parents. The Year 5 team of Miss Baker, Mrs. Bowman and Mrs. Davis also deserve a huge thank you for all the planning and organising which took place behind the scenes to make this life-changing experience possible for these students. 

Last Sunday saw our Year 2 students present their School Sunday to their parents, family friends and the St Paul’s congregation. Unfortunately I was unable to attend due to a commitment, as the school Principal, at a Lutheran Education Queensland [LEQ] event on the day. I look forward to being part of the audience as this cohort of students shares their School Sunday presentation at Chapel tomorrow. Thank you to our Year 2 teachers and support staff for the work done in readiness for this presentation.

The school is in the process of acquiring solar energy as part of its sustainability initiative and to take the edge off rising electricity costs. The installation of solar panels on large sections of the school’s roofing area will begin towards the end of this term in readiness for the start of Term 4. Thank you to our Business Manager, Mr. Ian Bloxham, for the very proactive work done in this regard.

Flexible Learning at St Paul’s: As learning frameworks and infrastructure, which support flexible learning, continue to be implemented across all year levels and learning areas of our school, more and more evidence based research is being reported in either the main stream media or sent to all school sectors [State, Independent and Catholic] regarding the benefits of students learning and acquiring soft skills such as creativity, independence, collaboration, communication, resilience [stamina], self-motivation and time management. Over the past fortnight St Paul’s again hosted a team of teachers from a neighbouring independent primary school who are on a journey of investigating, fine-tuning and exploring the implementation of flexible learning within their school context. 

Over the past week the Foundation for Young Australians [FYS] made their report on the Education Redesign Required for New Work Order available to all schools. An excerpt from the report says, “ Automation will impact every job in the future with young Queenslanders likely to spend 30 percent more time each week learning skills on the job and double the amount of time solving problems than they do now”. The report The New Work Smarts: Thriving in the New Work Order analysed over 20 billion hours of work completed by 12 million Australian workers across 400 occupations each year to predict the skills and capabilities that will matter most in 2030. FYA Chief Executive Jan Owen told the ABC the report points to changes required in the nation’s education system which “continues to formally assess based on an old understanding of smart”. Ms Owen added that “the whole learning system from preschool through to higher education and beyond would need a redesign.” Attached to this week’s newsletter is an electronic copy of this report. Please contact the front office if you wish to receive a hard copy of this report. Next week I will be sharing with you the very positive impact which flexible learning is having on our data at St Paul’s. 

Today your student will be bringing home a hard copy of our annual Parent Survey. An electronic copy of the survey has also been sent to every family. As part of our transparent working relationship with you we ask that you please take the time to complete the quick survey [probably no more than 10 minutes] and return it either electronically or in hard copy to the school office by Friday 11 August. Your feedback and thoughts are important to us as we look at improving and fine-tuning our strategic direction for the school.

You are invited to attend the review of the school’s current Strategic Plan on Saturday 19 August. This important planning morning will be held in the staffroom from 9am – 12:30pm. Please RSVP your intention to attend, with the front office, by Thursday 17 August. Thank you in advance for your consideration in this process. 

Good luck to our Senior School Athletics Team as they participate at the District Athletics Carnival tomorrow and on Thursday.

Congratulations to all of the students who received their Student of the Week Award over the past week.

Have a fabulous week.

Yours in Christ

Anton Prinsloo

Principal

Term 3 Week 3

Dear Parents and Caregivers

The current school value is Appreciation. This week’s devotion was shared by Mrs Jacquie Delroy with the staff yesterday morning. What a powerful way to begin the week. We do, in our busy lives, take so much for granted and forget to say thank you along the way. Who will you be showing your appreciation to this week?

Congratulations to our Senior School Athletics Team on their outstanding participation at last week’s Inter-Lutheran Carnival. One of the many highlights was Oyin O breaking the 10 Year old boys record in high jump. The team placed 2nd in the percentage trophy competition missing out by .38% on performing the best based on school size. Thank you to those parents and staff who spent the day up on the Sunshine Coast supporting the students and to Mr. Lawrance for the superb job done in organising, motivating and providing extra training sessions for the athletes. The school will be sending a senior team to the District Athletics Carnival which takes place next week.

Every 5 years every Independent Schools in Queensland goes through an accreditation review cycle with the Non-state Schools Accreditation Board [NSSAB]. As St Paul’s had its last accreditation review cycle in 2012, we are in the process of completing our current review with the NSSAB and Lutheran education Queensland [LEQ]. This process will culminate in an accreditation panel day to be held at the school next Monday. The panel consists of a number of independent experts who will see, hear and get a feel for our daily journey as a school. Thank you to Mrs. Elizabeth Wilson and Mrs. Sophie Rose who have accepted the invitation to be the parent representatives on the day.

We have hosted a number of visiting teachers on our campus over the past fortnight. What has stuck with us has been their feedback and compliments on how well kept the school grounds are as well as the excellent conditions of the classroom and other infrastructure. One tends to look over these smaller details when this is where one comes to work and learn every day. Thank you to both Mrs. Karen Dickens and Mr. Andrew Roper for the outstanding job which they do in keeping our school looking so good!

Next Monday the school will send out its annual survey to every family. All the staff as well as every Year 4, 5 and 6 student will also be asked to complete a survey which relates to their respective area of school life at St Paul’s. As part of our transparent working relationship and journey with you as a family, we ask that you please complete your survey and return it to the school by Friday 11 August. It is important for us to hear your voice and receive your feedback so that we can continue to keep fine tuning and improving how we support and continue to grow your student’s journey on a daily basis. Thank you for your time in this process.

Every blessing goes with our Year 5 students, parent helpers and staff as they embark on their camp to Noosa North Shore this week. We also look forward to hearing and seeing our Year 2 students as they prepare to lead their Year 2 School Sunday this coming weekend.

Date claimers! We have the following three significant community events happening later in the term:

Grandparents’ Day – Friday 25 August

Fathers and Daughters’ Event - Thursday 31 August

Senior School Musical – Thursday 7 September

Further information and invitations to these events will be coming home in the coming fortnight. Watch this space!

Congratulations to those students who received their Student of the Week Award.

Have a wonderful week and enjoy the beautiful sunny weather.

Yours in Christ.

Anton Prinsloo, Principal.

Term 3 Week 2

Dear Parents and Caregivers

 

What an amazing first week back for our students! Congratulations to our Year 4 students on the wonderful Sustainability Expo which they hosted for their parents, fellow students and staff members last week. It was wonderful to see the amount of learning and sharing taking place which was all generated, within their Agile Learning environment, by these learners who are quickly acquiring the skills of independence, creativity and collaboration. Well done to all of you! We now eagerly look forward to their next expo later in the term.

 

Thank you and congratulations to our Year 3 students on their rich and very energetic School Sunday presentation last weekend. Yes, “God is always listening!” – we just need to remember to reach out to him! Once again the dancing, singing, Bible readings and prayers were so authentic, well rehearsed and presented so confidently. Thank you to those parents, family members, friends and staff who supported the students at these events. Your partnership with the school is highly valued and appreciated.

 

While visiting the Year 1 and 2 classrooms last week, I was blown away by the fact that every student was able to articulate to me what their learning at that point in time was about. Thank you to our teachers for the wonderful learning environments which are provided to our learners where making and learning from our mistakes, taking risks, where no question is a “dumb” questions and scaffolded learning experiences are part of the everyday learning culture at St Paul’s.

 

Have you heard the great news? A new Grace/St Paul’s Bus service from Mt Mee, Ocean View, Delaneys Creek, D’Aguilar and Wamuran directly to St Paul’s will begin operating on Monday 7 August. Thank you to Grace College for the work done in making this service possible. More details on this new bus service is provided in the newsletter. Please do not hesitate to contact Mrs. Lois Kube’s office if you need further clarity regarding this new bus run.

 

Next week will see our Year 5 students, parent helpers and staff attend their outdoor education camp at Noosa North Shore. We look forward to seeing your photos and hearing your stories as you use this opportunity to be challenged outside your normal comfort zones, grow your social connections and add another layer of independence to your journey as young people. Both Chappy Teneille and I are also looking forward to visiting with you on one of the days next week.

 

Congratulations to our Boys’ Captain, Lathaniel Timaloa, who was chosen to represent Brisbane in the Queensland State Rugby Union Championships. This provided Lathaniel with the wonderful opportunity to represent the local district, his family and our school at the State Championships as well as attend training at Ballymore, home of the Queensland Reds Rugby union team. We wish him all the best as he follows his passion and maybe one day see his dream come true becoming a Queensland Reds player and playing for Australia wearing the Wallaby jersey – watch this space!

 

Good luck to our Senior School Athletics team as they prepare to represent St Paul’s at the Inter-Lutheran Athletics Carnival up on the Sunshine Coast tomorrow.

 

Congratulations to those students on being our first recipients of a Student of the Week Award for Term 3.

 

Many blessings for the week.

 

Yours in Christ

Anton Prinsloo Principal

Term 3 Week 1

Dear Parents and Caregivers

 

We would like to take this opportunity to welcome you back to Term 3. I hope that you had a wonderful winter break which involved you creating your own busyness! I would like to welcome those students and their families who are new to our school this term. We look forward to growing a very trusting and transparent relationship with you, as together we nurture the growth of your child.

 

As a multicultural society and school, all the students will be involved in celebrating Naidoc Week as we celebrate and raise awareness about Aboriginal histories, cultures and languages. Various activities have been planned by the staff for this week. One of the highlights will be the Indigenous performance which was hosted by the school today. Thank you to the committee who has worked behind the scenes to make this week, activities and events possible.

 

During the second week of the term break a number of St Paul’s staff, led by Mrs. Kube, attended the 5th Australian Conference of Lutheran Education. They were part of over a thousand delegates who met in Adelaide to celebrate the strength and diversity of Lutheran schooling across Australia.

 

It is my pleasure to welcome to our school community the following staff members for the start of Term 3:   Mrs. Julia Bowman [Year 5 Agile Learning Lab], Mr. Adam Carrington and Mr. Dom Riley, in Year 3A, while Mrs. Cathy Henderson is on Long Service Leave and Mrs. June Zanow [Year 3 Teacher’s Assistant] who has returned from Long Service Leave. It is wonderful to have you all on board, as well as having returned safely back to work after a time of travel and relaxation.

 

Term 3 promises to be another busy but enriching experience for everyone. Some of the events and date claimers for this term include the following:

Photo day 2 – Thursday 17 August

Book Week: 21 – 25 August

Grandparents’ Day – Friday 25 August

Fathers and Daughters’ event – Thursday 31 August

Senior School [Year 3 -6] Musical – Thursday 7 September

 

Tomorrow your student will be bringing home their Semester 1 report. Please make the time to sit down with your child and read through the report with them. This provides a wonderful opportunity to discuss and celebrate areas of improvement as well as setting goals for the next semester. Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s classroom teacher if you wish to discuss any aspect of their report with us.

 

As we begin our Term 3 journey, please remember that both the teaching staff and the Executive Team propagate a very strong open door policy at St Paul’s. Open communication and transparency are vital to the success of your child’s time at school and yours too – if we don’t know what your concern is, then we are unable to support you in finding a solution and satisfactory outcome to it.  

 

Wishing every family a wonderful week and term.

 

Yours in Christ.

Anton Prinsloo

Principal