What an incredible start to the term we have had with dealing with the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Seroja. The Department of Education supported us to continue to provide a teaching and learning program using two different school sites since we couldn’t access our school. Whilst the Department of Education was busy supporting us, the Department of Finance: Building, Management and Works worked tirelessly at the school for two weeks with a variety of contractors, to clean and repair our school, and ensure that it is 100% safe for the students, staff and parents to be here. The rapid response and levels of support from everyone has been humbling and graciously welcomed.
I also want to thank the community and the following organisations in the Northampton Shire and all the staff at the Northampton shire offices, St Mark’s Anglican Church and Jenny and David Day and the Department of Communities and Kevin and Amber from Rainbow Jungle. I have no doubt that I have forgotten someone and if I have, I apologies, but a huge thank you to each and every one of you on behalf of all the students, staff and parents for being so giving of your spaces, time and energy to ensure our students had a safe place to learn and something to eat.
School Resumed back on Site
Monday was the first opportunity for staff to come on to school site, inspect the facilities and prepare for the return of students on Tuesday. The grounds looked very different with pruned trees, new turf, fresh gravel verges, and the thorough clean made our school look impressive, safe and a wonderful place for our students, staff and parents to return to.
Parents are welcome to have a walk through the school as you drop off or collect your children to see firsthand and appreciate the amazing efforts of so many agencies who have contributed to this incredible result.
Support for Families and Students
Having our students settled in back at school is a huge step forward in our town’s recovery. Restabilising connections with friends, their teachers and getting back to familiar routines is an important step in returning to normalcy for our students. Please be aware that we have access to ongoing school psychology and chaplaincy services. Please contact your child’s teacher if you would like to access these supports for your child at any stage in the future.
Return of Computers and Dongles
The Department of Education sent two hundred laptop computers and dongles to Kalbarri for students and staff to access so that learning programs could continue remotely. Whilst this was an interim support, it was a tremendous resource for our school community. However, now that we are back up and running at the school site, these devices need to be brought to school on Monday, 24 May so that they can be returned.
Students in Year 3, 5, 7 and 9 will be sitting their NAPLAN assessments over the next two weeks. With our students having just returned after the cyclone, the timing is not ideal. However, we encourage them to do their best and moving forward, we will be understanding that they may have been unable to perform at their best.
Helicopter Visit to School
The DFES helicopter has been using the school oval and on Tuesday, the pilot and DFES officer spoke to students around how this helicopter is used to assist in rescues, emergencies, transport and surveillance. Students were then able to inspect and sit inside…and they clearly loved the opportunity.
Support for Families
Kalbarri SES Facebook page has a list of agency supports for families that is comprehensive.
Other agencies that may also assist are;
Mental Health and Wellbeing Support
Kids Helpline kidshelpline.com.au/gethelp/webchat-counselling/
Youth Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
Mensline Australia 1300789 978
Foodbank 08 9964 8011
Mission Australia 08 9921 5441
Parenting and Family Support
National Debt Helpline 1800 007 007
Michael Ostaszewsky – Principal
It was great to be back on the school site this week and continuing with our learning programs. The students responded exceptionally well to this return to normal with smiles and engagement. We are up and running and once again have another very busy term. Next week we begin with NAPLAN and require all Year 7 and 9 students to be attending school for the next 2 weeks. This is an important part of our data collection for student’s progress and encourage parents to make sure their children are well prepared to do their best.
A group of Year7/8 students will be heading to Geraldton for the Talented Young Writers Workshops. This is an excellent opportunity to extend some of our high achieving literacy students. This involves authors of young adult literature from all over Australia working with the students to explain the methods by which they plan, write and produce.
Our Senior students are working hard keeping up with the tasks in their individual courses. Well done to our SIDE ATAR students who have continued to apply themselves over the past weeks. In Week 6 we will have Headspace coming to the school to run workshops with the students focusing on Mental Health and Wellbeing.
Thank you to all the Secondary Staff for the effort they are displaying in the quest to get everything back on track and also to the other staff who have come to support us.
Stuart Teasdale – Secondary Deputy