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Performance and achievements

I extend a warm welcome to the 2018 school year to all students, families and staff. I trust that every student has returned to school this year with a clear focus on achieving personal success in their academic, vocational, sporting and/or cultural endeavours during the year.  I reaffirm our schools commitment to support students to achieve their goals through a caring and supportive approach and a focus on to meeting our schools high standards and expectations.
 
I welcome the new and returning staff members who are joining our team this year. I know they will find our students, staff, parents and community very friendly, respectful and committed to learning. Our new staff include:
 
·         Mr Allistair Smith - Head of Department (Industrial Technology and Design)
·         David Seng - Guidance Officer
·         Michael Armstrong - HPE Teacher
·         Susan Brown - English Teacher
·         Peter Hovenden - Maths / Science Teacher
·         Jessica Logan - Instrumental Music Teacher
·         Ryan Mooney - English / HPE Teacher
·         Sherene Xavier  - Special Education Teacher
·         Katie-Jane Moar - Special Education Teacher
·         Brenda McDonald – Maths / Science Teacher
·         Anne Toovey – District Relief Teacher
·         Cameron Capner - Laidley Cluster IT Technician
·         Heather Monteith - Administration Officer (Library)
 
OUTSTANDING 2017 YEAR 12 PERFORMANCE
I congratulate our 2017 graduating Year 12 students from 2017 and their families on their record breaking Year 12 performance in 2017.  
·         OP - 82% of OP eligible students achieved an OP 1-15.  This is the best OP 1-15 result the school has ever achieved.  In fact we had 100% of our OP eligible students achieve an OP 1-16. Never before have we had every OP eligible student perform this well.
·         QCE/QCIA - 99% of our graduating Year 12 students earned a Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) or a Queensland Certificate of Individual Achievement (QCIA). This was the best QCE/QCIA result the school has ever achieved. Only one student did not reach this goal, which was not a surprise given that they left the area and did not attend school for the vast majority of Term 4.
·         Vocational Education - 79% of graduating Year 12 students achieved a Certificate II or III or a higher qualification. This is the best VET result the school has achieved for as far back as records are available (at least the past 13 years).
·         SATs - 16% of Year 12 students graduated having completed a School Based Appre3nticeship or Traineeship (SAT). This result was up 10% from 2016 and is the 2nd best result in past 7 years.
·         University Entrance – 25 out of 26 QTAC applicants received an offer of a place in their chosen course. This is above State benchmarks. 20 out of these 25 students received their first preference course. Only one of these students has elected to defer the commencement of their studies for 12 months.
 
I thank and congratulate our great staff who worked closely with each student to teach, guide, support (and at times cajole) them to reach for their goals and demonstrate their capabilities. Well done all!
 
STUDENT, STAFF AND PARENTS FOCUS FOR 2018
At our opening parade I addressed students and outlined the focus for students and staff in 2018 to ensure great academic and social outcomes for students and the school. The strong support of parents and our community is required to enable students to achieve success in these focus areas. 

In 2018 the focus is on:
Attendance                                                                                                                                                                             
Students attending school every day and parents explaining all absences in a timely manner.  To achieve this parents must set clear expectations that attending school is required and work with the school to address any issues that are impacting on student attendance.
TARGET - 90% Attendance
 
Learning Engagement                                                                                                                                                         
Students must be organised and bring all materials to class and complete classwork, homework and assessment on time and to the best of their ability.  Parents should show interest in students’ learning and be monitoring, encouraging and celebrating students’ academic engagement and progress. Teachers should have high expectations in the classroom and students must follow teacher instructions and behave in accordance with school and classroom rules and procedures. There should be a clear focus on teaching and learning in every classroom every day.
TARGET - Increased Effort & Behaviour Results on Report Cards
 
Academic Outcomes Through Reading Comprehension And Critical And Creative Thinking               
Student success at school is a key factor in determining each student’s life pathways beyond school. We aim to ensure that all students achieve minimum standards in standardised testing programs such as NAPLAN and PAT. As a school we also have a focus on ensuring that students are being extended to the upper limits of their abilities through a whole school focus on reading comprehension and critical and creative thinking skill development.
TARGET – Increased Academic Results on Report Cards
 
Playground Behaviour                                                                                                                                                        
Students should act in a safe and appropriate manner, show respect for other students and property and follow school rules and procedures.  Where friendship or social issues arise, students are responsible for resolving this in a rational, safe and appropriate manner and be proactive in seeking assistance from staff.
TARGET – Decreased behaviour incidents, referrals and disciplinary consequences
 
School Uniform
The school uniform clearly outlines the school uniform expectations and during enrolment interviews all students have agreed to wear the uniform as determined by the school in consultation with the P&C Association.  Parents have a big role to play in expecting that their children comply with these requirements.  A strong and consistent uniform is a key sign of school pride and demonstrates the importance of preparing students for life in the workplace.
TARGET – Improved uniform compliance
 
The school is highly committed to creating a safe, respectful and supportive environment for all students, staff and other members of our school community. We will take a clear stance against students who compromise this environment through the use of serious disciplinary consequences.  As a Positive Behaviour for Learning school we will also continue to focus on teaching and role modelling appropriate behaviours and celebrating appropriate behaviours by “catching students doing the right thing”.  We want the best learning environment for your students and will continue to be active in ensuring that this is achieved.
 
MAJOR SCHOOL FACILITIES UPGRADES
The Queensland Government is committed to providing schools with the facilities necessary to cater for enrolment growth as well as the increase in secondary school enrolments in when the ½ cohort of students graduate Year 12 at the end of 2019.  Our school has enrolled 160 Year 7 students this year, the largest first year cohort in the school’s history.  This reflects both the population growth within our local area and the positive regard that our school is in the local community.
 
I am pleased to report that I met this week with representatives of the Department of Education and Training (DET) regarding a proposed allocation of funds and initial planning for new facilities at our school.  The focus of the new construction will be on improving the delivery of specialist teaching spaces in the school and ensuring sufficient general classrooms are available for future enrolment growth. Construction is planned to be completed by October 2019 ready for the 2020 school year and will involve a budget of more than $3 million dollars.
 
The overall capital works project is in the early stages with the purpose and scope of works of each facility still being negotiated.  As with any capital works project, there are budget constraints that must be met.  Below is an indication of the current scope of the project.
 
1.       Extension to the Clarice Ferrari School Hall to create a new Performing Arts Complex.  This project will involve an extension to the Clarice Ferrari Hall with the construction of specialist drama/dance, music, instrumental music and film and television classrooms, 2 general learning classrooms and associated staffrooms, offices, workrooms and storerooms. It is likely that this building will be a 2 story building. The dance/drama room will be able to open onto the hall to extend the hall’s capacity to accommodate more students, staff and family members for parades and special events. This block would be situated on the edge of the oval extending out from the hall and behind the Junior Secondary toilets.
2.       Construction of a new Senior Hospitality Kitchen.  Construction of a new stainless steel Senior Hospitality kitchen with associated cold rooms and food and equipment storerooms. This will occur beside or below the Junior Secondary toilets.
3.       Extension to the existing Manual Arts building. This extension would enable more junior and senior Industrial Technology and Design classes to be conducted and further integration of design technologies including for computers, design software, 3D printers, laser cutters, robotics and electronics. This extension will be located between G1 classroom and S block.
4.       Extension of the existing Science building. This extension would include a new Senior Science laboratory attached to D5 classroom and chemical store.  This will enable an additional Science classroom required as the school grows in enrolments.
5.       Removal of E6&E7 relocatable building and Extension to E Block. This older style relocatable building will be removed and replaced with a 2 classroom extension to E Block. As Music and Instrumental Music would be moving to the new Performing Arts Complex, these classrooms would become General Learning Areas.
6.       Refurbishment of E1/E2.  As the main Drama room would be in the new Performing Arts Complex, E1 and E2 would be split back into 2 rooms with the likely installation of an operable wall (similar to the ones installed in the library).  At this stage the plan is to convert one side into a smaller drama/dance classroom and have the other side as a General Learning Area. 
 
The planning for this capital works program is in the early stages and aspects may change through negotiations with staff, P&C, project managers, architects and ultimately the DET program managers who determine the final budget. This is an exciting phase in the history of our school.
 
Digital Futures Program (BYOx)
In recent years we have seen a successful implementation of the school Digital Futures (BYOx) program with over 90% of Year 8-12 students participating by either bringing their own device to school or hiring a school device.  This has enabled teachers to develop and utilise online learning materials that provide students with modern and high quality learning opportunities. 
 
This year a significant proportion of students have told their teachers that they have a personal laptop however they are either choosing or forgetting to bring it to school or the laptop needs to be repaired or replaced.  I appreciate the financial challenges facing families, however also recognise the importance of ensuring that the quality of education that students at our school experience is the same as students from other high schools throughout the state.  I don’t want our students to be disadvantaged in their learning and am increasingly concerned of the impact on learning if students do not bring their device to school.  I seek support from parents/guardians to ensure that students bring their laptops to school every day.    
 
Communication with School Community
The school has a number of ways to keep our school community informed of relevant information about our school, its operations and the great efforts and achievements of our students and staff. These include:
·         A School Newsletter is sent home every 3 weeks to keep parents informed about various school operations, events, information and achievements.
·         A School High Flyer magazine is sent home with report cards at the end of each term to celebrate a range positive school performances, events and programs.
·         Facebook - Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LaidleySHS to receive school updates, timely information, good news stories and to ask questions. This site will also be used during emergency situations (eg flooding) to communicate with parents.
·         The School Website (www.laidleyshs.eq.edu.au) contains a range of information about our school, including a calendar of events newsletters and information about curriculum, enrolments, assessment and school policies and procedures.
·         The QSchool App provides keep up to date with school events, news, newsletters, information and more. Simply download the app and set Laidley SHS as a favourite school. QSchools for iOS, Android and Windows 8 are available for free download from the iTunes store, Google Play and the Windows Store.
·         A Text Messaging Service is used daily to advise parents of student absences.  The school will also send SMS messages from time to time to remind parents about key events or requirements.  This service will also be used during emergency situations (eg flooding) to communicate with parents.
 
School Fees
A reminder that school textbook and resource scheme fees are now due.  Prompt payment ensures that your children gain access to textbooks and other resources immediately.  Parents can pay these fees in full or over 3 instalments.  Students are issued textbooks, diary, classroom resources and ID cards once the first instalment is paid.  Parents experiencing financial difficulties are encouraged to contact the Business Services Manager to negotiate alternative payment arrangements to ensure that their children gain access to the resources required to support their learning. Our school has registered for Centrepay, a facility that enables families receiving Centrelink benefits to have funds paid directly by Centrelink to the school.  Many families are finding this payment method helpful.
 
Please note that some senior subjects involving partnerships with TAFE and other training organisations require payment of subject fees in advance.  Students will be withdrawn from these subjects if subject fees are not paid by the required date.  Again, parents can negotiate repayment agreements with the school if required.
 
School Uniforms
Thank you for your ongoing support to ensure that students are well presented and demonstrate a strong sense of pride in our school and its uniform.  I appreciate parents supplying students with the correct uniforms for the start of the school year.  The school uniform policy is developed in consultation with the P&C Association.  It is outlined in the school diary and on the school website and students have all signed an agreement to wear the school uniform as per this policy upon enrolment.  I encourage parents to be familiar with these requirements. 
 
Assessment Calendars
Assessment calendars have been sent home with students to assist parents/guardians to monitor their children’s school work.  I encourage parents to have these displayed somewhere prominent at home (eg on the fridge), and check regularly with your child that they are organised and working on these assessment pieces or studying for exams well in advance.  Draft dates are included for most assessment tasks to ensure that students are submitting their work and receiving helpful feedback from their teachers.
 
 
I wish all students, families and staff the very best for another busy and exciting year at Laidley High!
 
Michael Clarkson
Principal