Welcome to our first e-news family update for Term 2.
The new state government mandated mobile phone policy has been implemented this term following extensive consultation and communication during Term 1. The purpose of the policy links well with our key school priorities relating to students engaging with their learning and enhancing their sense of connectedness within the school community.
For many of our young people, not being able to access their mobile phone during the day will require a significant adjustment and our focus has and will continue to be around support and education. Many families attended the evening sessions we ran toward the end of last term about the policy, which included a presentation by our school psychologist, Danni O’Connor. If you haven’t already accessed it, Danni’s latest episode on our Bright Psych podcast deals with smartphones and social media and contains some great insights, information and advice. Parents and caregivers are the intended audience of the podcast, which deals with a range of issues relating to adolescent wellbeing, mental health and learning. The podcast is available on Spotify and Apple platforms.
You will have noticed significant reference recently to vaping in the media, particularly in relation to young people. The Federal Health Minister identified vaping as ‘the number one behaviour issue in high schools’ across Australia and referred to alarming levels of vaping in pre-empting major reforms in the area. A recent study from the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University demonstrated that vaping poses serious public health risks including nicotine addiction, poisoning, seizures and lung injury as well as contributing to smoking uptake. The study stated that ‘young non-smokers who vape are around three times more likely to take up smoking than non-vapers’. Young people, in particular, are being targeted with fruity, confectionary flavours and attractive packaging, as well as the belief that vapes are not detrimental to their health.
While we strongly implement departmental behaviour processes, we also focus proactively to educate our young people about the risks of vaping and other drugs. We have run a range of sessions as part of our home group program and arranged for Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia (DARTA) and Empower Education, part of Encounter Youth, to visit the school and present age-appropriate information and education to all year levels. We also ran parent sessions last year and provided a range of resources to families in our September 2022 Update. We will continue to focus on the wellbeing of our students and will provide further information as it becomes available.
Our Parent-Student-Teacher Conversations took place last week and we had close to 3,000 individual conversations happen online. We will seek feedback and review the format and process leading into the next round of P-S-T conversations later in the year. We hope that the continuous assessment information now provided on Daymap gives you more detailed and timely information about your young person’s progress at school.
As you can see from the School Calendar, Term 2 promises to be another busy term with a wide range of curriculum-based and extra-curricular activities. Among those activities, it’s great to see Generations in Jazz returning after not happening for three years due to COVID. In Week 3, on Thursday 19 May, we have a Professional Learning Day for staff which will focus on the Australian Curriculum, in particular developing quality unit plans.
The Wellbeing and Engagement Collection (WEC) will also take place this term. The WEC is a state-wide survey of young people that captures their thoughts, feelings and experiences about their wellbeing, health and academic achievement. The WEC is a yearly data collection and provides us with insights and information that we can use to inform policy and practice. Our Student Wellbeing Leaders assist with both the collection and analysis of the data which focuses on our students’ strengths and how we might build on them, as well as issues or challenges that we can respond to in working to further improve wellbeing at our school.
We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with you during 2023.