Gippsland Grammar news: Sep 11, 2020

Sep 11, 2020 | Community News

We are enthusiastically planning for the return to School in Term 4 when we will need to be mindful of following our ‘golden rules’ of washing hands regularly, coughing into elbows, having our face-masks ready to put on and staying home if sick. The whole School Community must play its part so we can continue to protect ourselves and our Community from this virus.

Of course, while preventative measures are necessary to protect us from catching COVID-19, the opposite is required for ‘catching’ positive feelings and attitudes from others.

Research on culture has shown that people ‘catch’ feelings from others. We know to create a positive emotional culture that we need to model the emotions we wish to cultivate. Walking into a room smiling spreads positive emotions to those around you, frowning does the opposite. Encouraging supportive behaviours in others such as being inclusive, welcoming, and approachable goes a long way to developing the desired cultural capital of being a member of the Gippsland Grammar Community.

I draw on the assistance from the series of the Dr Seuss books to share some suggestions for how we can all consider our feelings, attitude and behaviours and the impact they have on everyone around us.

Hint 1. “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
Demonstrate courtesy and respect for every person you meet.

Hint 2. “Teeth are always in style.”
Let everyone you meet today be warmed by your smile.

Hint 3. “Step with care and great tact. And remember that life is a balancing act.”
Focus on quality before quantity.

Hint 4. “From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.”
Look for funny things and respectfully celebrate them.

Hint 5. “Think and wonder. Wonder and think.”
Your world is full of mystery with amazing people and things. Keep an eye out, notice them and appreciate them.

Hint 6. “Today I will behave as if this is the day I will be remembered.”
Let everyone see the very BEST version of you every day.

And the final word from Dr Seuss:
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
May we all care an awful lot about the power of spreading and catching positive feelings, attitudes and behaviours.

Have a wonderful weekend!
Warm regards,

Leisa Harper



Over the past week, our youngest students in the three-year-old Reception groups at Sale and Bairnsdale ELC’s have been very busy with several special events and activities.

This year our Reception educators have been focussing on the development of essential gross motor skills; climbing, jumping, crawling, catching balls and so on. These fundamental skills have crucial links to brain and cognitive development in children that can have a lifelong impact. Reception families were surveyed about physical activity at home to support understanding about what activities children have access to on a daily basis, and ideas for home activities were shared using VOS. The educators have also completed detailed observations of each child’s level of skill and development.

Our educators used this data to design regular opportunities for the children to develop and extend these vital skills within the ELC program. The children have enjoyed the fun activities designed for them, including moving to music, using balls and bean bags and a variety of obstacle courses and climbing challenges in the playground. It has been a worthwhile project, and I look forward to seeing the benefits as the children move into the Transition program next year.

This week the Sale Reception groups held a Sports Day to celebrate the importance of being physically active. The children were encouraged to come dressed in their favourite sport outfit, and a variety of movement activities and games. I would like to thank Mrs Laverty, who came in to run a mini footy clinic for the children as well.

“The children loved their footy clinic. They had the chance to kick for goal and develop ball skills; however, their favourite was tackling practice using the soft tackle bags! Inside we enjoyed sport-themed craft and sharing the story ‘Jackson’s Footy.'”  Mrs Williams

“The children enjoyed dressing up in their favourite sports team or colour for sports day.  We discussed many different ways to keep our bodies active and made medals. The children loved going on the oval and participating in running races, egg and spoon, throwing, catching and kicking balls, and playing with the parachute.” Mrs Lopardi  

Last weekend was Father’s Day, and although we couldn’t host our usual breakfasts and special events, the children all enjoyed ‘crafting’ something special to take home. There was a lot of discussion about why our Dads and Grandfathers are so special to us, and the importance of acknowledging the special people in our lives, whoever they may be. I hope that every one of you had a truly memorable day with the gorgeous little people in your lives.

Sale ELC Reception student Lexi at the Sports Day (above left) and Mrs Laverty with Cleo at the footy clinic.

BAIRNSDALE NEWS, by Head of Campus Virginia Evans

I will commence our newsletter with wonderful news as we welcome two little baby boys into our Community: Ms Charlotte Cheadle and her partner Chris are delighted with the arrival of a little boy, Harrison and Mrs Sally Stephens and her husband Pete are thrilled with the very quick arrival of their third child, a little boy, Morgan. Congratulations and best wishes to both families.

Cyber Safety: This week the Year 5 and Year 6 students participated in a cyber-safety session with Susan McLean, a leader in this area of child safety. Susan was strong in her words and advice with evidence and facts supporting her suggestions and guidelines around social media and devices. Thank you to the parents who joined the parent session and if you were unable to attend, I encourage you to discuss with your Year 5 or 6 child what they understood from their session with Susan. Each time I attend a cyber-safety information evening, I am always reminded of the changing concerns in the world of social media and online interaction. Together we must educate our students for their safety.

As a School Community, we are progressing to refer to all staff members by their title and surname when communicating with the students. This includes Gap and Learning Assistants, Administration, Tuckshop and Grounds staff. We would appreciate your support in this matter as it is a further element of our child safe program. If you are unsure of surnames, please see the list below:
Miss Benton (Lara, GAP)
Mrs Roughly (Angela, Administration)
Mrs McGrath (Michelle, Learning Assistant)
Mrs Street (Belinda, Learning Assistant)
Mrs Guinness (Sarah, Administration)
Mrs Smith (Ann, Tuckshop)
Mr Brown (Warrick, Grounds)

Family fun night: Next week we complete our Term 3 and normally we would have had several family events that promote community and connection. We do miss seeing our parents on Campus and celebrating with you; therefore, we would love you to join us in our Family Fun Night next Thursday evening from 6-7pm. Let’s enjoy a Trivia night together on Zoom and test our knowledge in a fun and interactive way. Please see more details on the invitation.

R U OK Fellowship: Today’s Fellowship focused on R U OK day and the significance of this day particularly in these difficult times. The message each year reinforces the idea that recognising someone that may need help or a friendly word can really make a difference. It is not just on R U OK day that we should do this but always. Our CLERR value Compassion asks us to not only think about others, but to take action, demonstrating that you understand and would like to help. You are never too young to enact the gift of kindness and to understand the importance of friendship.
This year’s message is ‘There is more to say after R U OK?’ The clip, which we shared in Fellowship this morning, can be found at the link below, explaining to Primary students how to be a good friend and ask R U OK? You can watch the clip here:

Congratulations: Year 6 student Joshua Newstead submitted one of the winning entries in the Gippsland Lakes Complete Health poetry competition. We are proud of you Josh.

By Joshua Newstead (12 years old)

R u Ok?

It’s easy to say
But what if you’re not,
And you just want to stop?
You can speak to a mate, your family or friends,
A teacher of Doctor, the list never ends!

You’re not on your own,
Just pick up the phone,
I’m here for a chat, you are never alone,
I really do care, no matter the tone.
Morning or night, I want you to know,
You are loved and supported
And anything goes.

I’m not here to judge,
I just want to help, to remind you you’re special, to help you relax
So give me a call, I’m sure you’ll feel better,
I’ll say ARE U Ok, let’s do this together!

The Pulse program we recently implemented across Year 5 and Year 6 is supporting our understanding of our students’ wellbeing and is providing a platform to share our thoughts and feelings. The results have been most encouraging and informative, allowing for good discussion in analysing the data.

Wellbeing Wednesday: We came together this week in a flurry of house colours for our Wellbeing Wednesday. In planning, we thought anything could happen but in action it was terrific thanks to our Year 6 leaders and the enthusiasm of our staff. All students dressed up in their house colours, judged on effort and presentation, they took on the challenge of singing the house chant in unison and participated in the game charades led by our Year 6 students. It was fun and interactive for all and we as a staff were thrilled at the students’ response to the activities.
Congratulations to the winning House, Wellington Binks (pictured below)!

I wish you all a lovely weekend ahead!

ST ANNE’S NEWS by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel

Cyber-safety: Susan McLean’s Cyber Safety presentations to our students, staff and parents were outstanding. As an educator and parent, I learnt an enormous amount. The essential facts that have stayed with me are:

  • No student under 13 should have Tic Toc, Instagram and Snapchat, to name a few. Predators use these apps to gain access to young people.
  • Students should not have devices in bedrooms or bathrooms. Susan stated that 99 per cent of the cases she has dealt with that involved explicit photos were taken in bedrooms or bathrooms. Devices must be used in shared spaces.
  • Parents need to be informed and parent their children in being safe, respectful and responsible online.
  • Police can be involved with online bullying when children are 10 years old and older.

Gippsland Grammar is not immune to online bullying or predators targeting our young people. We know that there are a large number of our youngest students on apps such as Tic Toc. It is imperative that we all support our students to be safe, respectful and responsible online. I strongly recommend that our School families review their child’s use and access to age-appropriate apps.

Fred Hollows Foundation: Our Fellowship this morning focused on the Fred Hollows Foundation and the important medical work they do in developing countries. On Monday, we had our Crazy Hair, Sunglasses and Hats Day to bring awareness to this Foundation. Families were encouraged to donate via the Fred Hollows Foundation Website if they wished. Mrs Nicky Roberts and our Hollows students created a fantastic pre-recorded Fellowship for today. It included some hilarious photos from home and school, as students, teachers and parents got into the spirit of Monday’s special day. It also included some musical items from Kody and Maizy. The short clip explaining the impact Fred Hollows had, and the foundation continues to have, was inspirational. Also included was a thank you, and blessing from Chaplain Jackie, to all of our front line essential workers.

Pulse: As many in our Community are aware, our Year 5 & 6 students undertake a weekly ‘Pulse’ survey to gauge wellbeing. The survey allows students to ask for help if needed. This week, we had multiple students indicate they required help through the Pulse survey. I was able to contact these students and their families to see what support they needed. For one, it was a quick conversation about dealing with our emotions. For another, it was dealing with not being able to physically meet their friends on a more regular basis.
Overall, our students are indicating a significant improvement in participation in their learning. This includes agency. Student agency refers to students having a voice in what and how they learn. Students also indicated an improved perception of the sense of identity.
At Gippsland Grammar, we will continue to use evidence such as Pulse data, to help drive student learning and wellbeing.

Sustainability@Home:  During this morning’s live Fellowship, we had a special guest from the Wellington Shire, sustainability expert Ms Rachel Harris. Ms Harris engages with schools and community groups to help build our understanding and strategies around sustainability and this morning she shared a range of ways students and families can be more sustainable at home. Because of current COVID-19 restrictions, it is a perfect time to instigate a range of sustainable strategies at home, such as:

  • Growing vegetables from your scraps, such as spring onions and garlic
  • Buy from local farmers and farmers markets
  • Recycling advice
  • To stop purchasing disposable plastic

Music: During FlexiLearn, our dedicated music department is still providing meaningful opportunities for our students to engage with their learning. One fine example of this is from Miss Laura Evans and our Year 2 Strings program. Through VOS, she has created high-quality resources for our Year 2 students, to immerse themselves in our Strings program. 
Below are some of the key times our students can engage with their music program during Learn@Home 2.0:
Year 2 Strings: Thursday 2.15pm
Year 3 Strings: Thursday 2.15pm
Year 4 Training Band: Wednesday 2.15pm
Concert Band: Wednesday 3pm
Paganini: Thursday 2.15pm
St Anne’s Singers: Friday 1.30pm

Parenting for Resilience, Confidence & Independence – Online Summit: This online summit, from the 9 – 11 October has been advertised internationally. Parents and Carers have the opportunity to join 21 national and international leading parenting and educational experts that will share strategies and ideas that will help you and your child to be resilient, confident and independent! Please click on this link to find out more:

Calendar Dates:
September 18 – Term 3 finishes at 12.30pm
October 5 – Term 4 begins (Learn@Home 2.0)
October 12 – All students back on campus
October 16 – School photos (Full Summer Uniform)
November 4 – 2021 ELC Parent Information Night – Zoom
November 5 – 2021 Foundation Parent Information Night – Zoom
November 27 – ELC Christmas Concert
December 2 – 2021 Orientation Day
December 10 – Year 6 Valedictory
December 10 – End of Year

This week the St Anne’s Campus celebrated ‘Crazy Hair Day’ with students hannah and Ben dressing up at home (above left) and teachers Mrs O’Toole and Mrs Foat dressing up on campus (above right).

GARNSEY NEWS by Head of Campus Jan Henry

Plans for Term 4: Our plans for Term 4 are well underway and we will ensure that our Term 4 calendar on VOS is fully updated before the end of next week. A few highlights will include:

  • Celebration of the return to School on Monday 12 October with a school assembly.
  • School photographs on Wednesday 14 October.
  • House Drama viewed online on Thursday 15 October.
  • Year 12s visit their junior campuses on Friday 16 October and the Spring Concert which will be live-streamed that evening.
  • A modified Blackwood House Valedictory Dinner on Wednesday 28 October.
  • We will celebrate the Year 12s final day on Friday 30 October.
  • Following the Year 12 exams, we will hold a Year 12 Valedictory celebration on Friday 4 December.

 There are many more plans which will be reflected in our Term 4 calendar next week and I am really excited about the opportunities that being back on campus will bring.

Pulse at Garnsey this week:

  • There was an improvement of 2 per cent since last week of the students feeling great or positive.
  • More students completed the survey, although we’re still aiming to have everyone complete it.
  • Positive feelings about learning and remote learning increased at the campus.
  • There were strong responses from students about feeling valued and safe as can be seen in the diagram below which is measured on questions about connectedness to adults at school, School climate, Home climate and bullying.

While the long-term picture is not clear yet, it is evident that one area that we will need to work on at the campus is a Sense of Identity and Culture. I look forward to discussing this with students when we return to School in Term 4.

End of Term arrangements: A reminder next week is the final week of Term 4 and we will finish all classes and the School will close from 12.30pm on Friday 18 September.

Friday night soiree: After a successful Middle Years Soiree a few weeks ago, a selection of our Years 7-12 Garnsey campus students will present a selection of solo and small group works via our Gippsland Grammar YouTube Channel on Wednesday (16 September). Many students have been working diligently at their music all year with very few performance opportunities. Please come along and join the celebration of our amazing musicians. You can join the soiree audience by following the this link:

Congratulations: Congratulations to Year 12 student and AFLW superstar Megan Fitzsimon  who was one of 43 young women from Victoria and 82 selected Australia wide to test at the NAB AFLW Draft Combines in the lead up to next month’s AFLW Draft. Megan was last year’s B&F for Gippsland Power and was also a superstar of last year’s Gippsland Grammar girls’ footy team and we CAN’T WAIT to see where Megan’s exceptional footy skills take her.

And last night Old Scholar Rio Davis (Class of 2014) was named the Young Journalist of the Year at the Rural Press Club of Victoria’s journalism and photography awards. Rio is currently working at ABC Gippsland and his work contributed to the station also being named Media Outlet of the Year. Rio also happens to be the son of Mathematics teacher Mrs Jan Gilmour, who said she was incredibly proud of Rio’s achivements.

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