Welcome to 2013!

Dear Stromlo Learning Community,

Welcome to the 2013 school year! We have several exciting developments to share with you. Our operational plan aims to improve student achievements in literacy and numeracy, implementing a seven line timetable and mutually satisfactory behaviour management protocols, and strengthening our student voice and partnerships with ANU and Questacon.

Stromlo is a lead school in adopting the Australian Curriculum, and hopes during 2013 to complete aligning the school curriculum to all published curricula. Please consult the content and achievement standards of the Australian Curriculum at:-

Introducing Indonesian at Stromlo this year in accordance with the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, we hope to successfully lead four major excursions during second semester: an Art excursion to New York already fully subscribed, a trip to New Caledonia for students interested in French and intercultural understanding, another one to Japan for equal reasons of intercultural understanding and interest in things Japanese and a trip to Central Australia for students in years 9 and 10 who want to explore Australia and its indigenous history.

The ACT Chief Minister has pledged $1.7 million for a Mt Stromlo Space Education Centre and Planetarium and we aim to be involved in developing the curriculum in Astronomy for all ACT high school students in partnership with Mt Stromlo.

Several new school leaders have been appointed: this Semester Ms Kendal Achuch-Ihle is the Acting School Leader for all students with Special Needs. Ms Jo Power has returned after maternity leave and will be School Leader for the Arts for three days per week, while Ms Mardi Roberts will lead the other two days. Ms Kristina Collins has been appointed as Faculty Leader for the Humanities and Languages.

We currently are without a Chaplain or Youth Worker, but hope to fill both positions shortly. Ms Tegan Makowski is the School’s Work Experience and Vocational Education Coordinator, and Ms Julia Hayley will lead the Student Representative Council, while Ms Jo Styles and Ms Dion Oxley will help students who speak English as another Language or Dialect (EALD). The following staff are new to the school this year:-

  • Ms Dianne Rose – Reception
  • Ms Joanna Finlayson – School Counsellor, 3dpw
  • Mr Aarin Chapman – Special Needs
  • Ms Kerrie Falconer – Year 6 teacher and Year Coordinator
  • Ms Ce Ce Edwards – Indonesian and English Teacher
  • Mr Paul Fitzpatrick – History Teacher
  • Mr James Farrell – PE and Health Teacher
  • Mr Bryce Anderson – PE and Health Teacher
  • Mr Chris Nugent – Technology Teacher
  • Ms Sina Pluschke – Science Teacher
  • Ms Annmaree Christian – Learning Support Assistant

Starting this year, the school has a new website, more user-friendly, simpler, less cluttered and with all relevant information that readily shrinks to computer, tablet or mobile format. This includes:-

  • Student timetable
  • School calendar listing major events for students and parents
  • Blog (replacing the newsletter), with push button technology to all registered users
  • Facebook, Google+ and Twitter accounts
  • Updated policies will be added shortly

Stromlo aims to communicate digitally 100% with its entire learning community.

130 solar panels are about to be switched on. This means that the school will begin to return energy to the grid, and with credit earned should be able to meet its increased gas, electricity and water bills. An additional resource room in Special Needs has come online, and the second and third floors of the main building have been repainted and are ready for the start of school. The male toilet block is also being refurbished this term. Meanwhile the following facilities have been made available for boys:-

  • Year 6 & 7 Boys: Will use the toilet block of year six students
  • Year 8 & 9 Boys: Will access the male staff toilets from within the inner court yard of the main building, passing the library; and
  • Year 10 Boys: Toilets in the SPACE

All students are reminded that Stromlo learners aim to be sustainable: this means that we do not litter, we pick up our own rubbish and dispose of it appropriately. We aim to decrease our consumption of fossil fuels and increase our use of alternative energies. We aim to become more self reliant and responsible in the use of ever diminishing resources.

As in past years, Stromlo welcomes new students, some from diplomatic missions, some as refugees, and some whose parents are temporarily in Canberra courtesy of AUSAID Programs sponsored by the Australian Defence College in Holder. As well, we have again enrolled children from the Indian subcontinent, and that includes children whose family background is Sikh. The Islamic School of Canberra does not yet have sufficient numbers to form a high school cohort, as a result of which we are also enrolling additional Muslim students who have access to a prayer room in the school as in the past year.

The Canteen serves some Halal food and some that is not. Stromlo High School prides itself on being an inclusive school, respecting students from all backgrounds and rom diverse ability ranges. We continue to welcome indigenous students and students from diverse ethnic backgrounds, students with special learning needs, students who are on the autism and Asperger spectrum as well as students who have particular talents that we aim to further develop. This year we aim to enlarge the international student cohort from 2 to 10, as we have found that having international students can increase learning aspirations across the whole school.

As first term gets underway, students will soon have a chance to vote for their male and female school vice captains and captains. All students and parents are reminded that the mobile phone policy states that students can bring a mobile with wifi functionality to school, but are not to use it in the classroom without teacher permission. The mobile phone policy is uploaded on the website so all parents & students are asked to familiarize themselves with it.

The P&C has donated a Brand new BBQ to the school and looks to formalize its Canteen Policy with the school this year. The School Board will have its first meeting on 11 February 2013 and we look forward to having a full and active membership on both bodies as the year unfolds.

As first term gets underway, all teachers are required to join one of three domains (Leading and Managing, Teaching and Learning, and Student Environment). This is to ensure that every teacher adds value beyond the classroom to the successful realization of every student’s potential.

This month the School received the final result of a 2012 study of school climate conducted by the ANU which found an abnormally high satisfaction level of students with the school, its teachers, its facilities and its learning climate. We look forward to the second phase of this study to be conducted in 2013.

Roll on Term 1!
Dr Michael Kindler, Principal

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