Term 3 Week 8 Update


Dear Families

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”  Martin Luther King Jr

Last week’s Art Show was a wonderful showcase of our students’ artistic talents and it was terrific to see so many families supporting this event. Our Visual Arts teacher- Claire Harden – has continued to encourage and support our students’ creativity and the many art pieces on display reflected her passion and the students’ love of learning. Thank you for supporting such a great event.

During this week I was privileged to join with a number of other Regional schools and Department of Education representatives to explore Indigenous perspectives in the curriculum and the importance of connection with each other. Sharing our stories, our past and the things that make us who we are (values, beliefs) was a key message that we all took from our time together. Taking time to have conversations and stepping away from WHAT we are (doctor, carpenter, teacher) and leaning in to WHO we are is vital to strong personal connections -”Authentic human interaction becomes impossible when you lose yourself in a role” -Eckhart Tolle

How to do an Acknowledgement of Country

Curious about how you can make Acknowledgment of Country meaningful? While it is great to have the Traditional Owners acknowledged in our workplaces, it may not always be done in an appropriate way. Understanding what Country means to First Nations peoples, and showing respect to them by acknowledging it, should not need to make us nervous. If you are interested in ways that we can all develop our knowledge and understanding on how we can improve our Acknowledgement of Country, you might like to check out this great guide by NITV: How to Acknowledge Country in a meaningful way.

As we develop our Cultural awareness and we strive to create culturally safe spaces for our First Nations families we might consider this advice that came across my desk recently in the lead up to Indigenous Literacy day (Wednesday September 6).

Words and phrases to avoid

  • Lower case “indigenous” – This is often used but is considered offensive because “Indigenous” is a proper noun, just like “Australia”, describing a group of people.
  • “Aborigines” – This is outdated and considered offensive. Some older Aboriginal people may refer to themselves as “Aborigine”, for which they should not be corrected. But non-Indigenous people should not use this word.
  • “Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander” – Indigenous includes both Aboriginal (mainland Australia) and Torres Strait Islanders.
  • “Our” First Nations people – You should avoid using “Our” because it is possessive, and implies ownership of First Nations peoples.
  • “ATSI” – It is considered offensive by some to abbreviate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and this should be avoided.
  • Please be mindful that these suggestions are location specific. These are general ideas, but the most important thing is to build relationships with the First Nations people in the Communities in which you live and work. Understanding how these people wish to be titled and acknowledged is the most respectful and important first step.
  • Be open to change. Titles may change, and you may have to adapt what you call First Nations Communities in order to be respectful. Be open to this and always try to understand why.

School Wide Positive Behaviour Support (SWPBS)

“Everyone’s behaviour is their best attempt to have their needs met” – William Glasser

During our Student free day last Friday our entire staff spent time together to explore and understand the functions of behaviour with our SWPBS coach. We examined strategies and routines for teaching expected and desired behaviours as well as steps we may need to take sometimes to recorrect inappropriate and unwanted behaviours.

One strategy that continues to be a focus for us is the 5:1 ratio

The 5:1 ratio theory is that for every criticism or complaint a teacher or parent issues, they should aim to give five specific compliments, approval statements and positive comments or non-verbal gestures. This ratio has been shown to be key to long-lasting marriages and has been explored in other fields, such as medicine and business. Several programs focusing on positive approaches to behaviour in classrooms promote this idea. Over one particular two month study, students increased their on-task behaviour by an average of 12 minutes per hour (or an hour per day), while students in similar comparison classes did not change their behaviour.


We have identified a couple of dates that these may be held (weather dependent) and we have tentatively scheduled the drills for September 7 @ approx. 3:00 pm and September 15 @approx 12:30 pm.

Most likely these will be held in the afternoon and we respectfully request that any parents or carers who are onsite at the time of the Drills participate and model positive safety practices to our students.

Key dates in Term 3

  • District Athletics – Friday 8 September
  • Performing Arts Incursion– Friday 8 September
  • Last Day of Term Friday 20 September. 2:00 pm assembly and dismissal at 2:30 pm


James Whitla

I wish to acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands on which this is being read – for most of us – the
Bunurong- members of the eastern Kulin Nations – and pay my respects to elders past present and emerging. I
wish to acknowledge our First Nations people and pay respects to them. I note further that these lands were
never ceded and are, and always will be, Aboriginal Lands.