News » Principal's blog term 2 2018Last updated 9:03 AM on 14 May 2018
Recently three concerns have arisen at school, which I know that many of you share.
- Unjustified student lateness to school and poor attendance
- The use of mobile phones at school
- Student appearance- uniform.
- The debate around NAPLAN
Lateness, school attendance and success
One of the most important things a young person can do to achieve personal and academic success is also one of the most basic – go to school every day and be on time to attend all classes. In secondary schooling, repeated lateness means that a student may miss hours of classes over a term. By unjustified lateness I am not referring to transport issues. For example upon interviewing students who are late to school regularly the common answer is "I slept in again" or "I thought I would catch a later bus or train".
Apart from the issue of missed classwork, students may miss out on participation in their school community, in developing social skills and a broader world view. At Ku-ring-gai we are always proud of our students who attend our sports carnivals to support the participants, attend performance evenings and take advantage of the well-being programs such as Study Skills and other well-being initiatives.
Where there are extenuating circumstances for a child not being able to attend school eg health reasons then we work closely with families and outside agencies to ensure the support and well- being of that child and for them to still feel a part of our school community.
Your commitment as a parent or carer, to school attendance will send a message to your child that education is a priority for you and your family.
Our merit system rewards students for responsibility and excellent attendance, however we do also have sanctions based approaches that penalise students for unjustified lateness.
Students may be given a lunch detention supervised by a teacher where students are required to catch up on the classwork they missed.
The use of mobile phones at school
Although technology empowers learning, as a school we share your concerns and the challenges that we face together over the appropriate use of technology by young people today. Our policy is to educate young people in the appropriate use and ethical use of technology at all times. We limit the availability and opportunity of students using technology for social networking whilst they are in class. Our well-being programs over the year address issues such as inappropriate messaging, cyber bullying and time management of technology. We advocate that in class, technology should be used as a tool for learning under teacher guidance, not a social networking device.
As a response to parental and teacher concerns our school policy is that mobile phones are to be turned off and in bags at all times during class. Of course, if bags need to remain outside classrooms, students will need to keep their phones on them but turned off completely.
For an infringement of this school policy, student phones may be confiscated and kept secure by the Principal, or Deputy Principal, until 3.30pm and a penalty may be incurred.
Our parent body has further suggested that as the next step, the school could consider mobile phones be banned from 9am until 3.30pm. There are, as you would appreciate logistical problems with this. At this stage, our policy will remain- no mobile phones in the classroom. Should parents need to contact their child they should call the front office to leave a message.
School and Personal Pride- School Uniform
We are a uniformed school and very proud of our students who wear the uniform with pride and represent us well in the wider community. We aim to have a uniform that is practical and affordable. The current uniform has been designed with student and parent input.
Our school uniform requirements can be found on the school web page and in the student diaries. We would encourage students to purchase the "shell jacket" for warmth this winter or the school blazer. Should families experience any difficulties with purchasing the uniform they are able to contact the school for assistance.
We look forward to the introduction of a school hat this year. Protection from the sun in our environment is paramount. Currently, students are allowed to wear plain navy caps or hats - unbranded. Not coloured hats or caps. Students who fail to adhere to our uniform policy without justification may face a sanction under our fair discipline guidelines.
Many of you would have been listening to and reading about the current debate surrounding NAPLAN - should it be abandoned, changed or continue in its current form.
NAPLAN is a diagnostic tool, a snapshot on a particular day of an individual student's ability in aspects of literacy and numeracy, an aid in assessing student growth. Unfortunately, it is true that NAPLAN results have been used over time to compare schools. NAPLAN it is not a valid measurement or guide to a school's success but to the learning needs of individual students. As Educators we are aware of the value of data to inform us about our students' progress and to assist in determining our teaching and learning programs. To this end we will continue to use the NAPLAN data to determine individual learning programs.
Thank you for your ongoing support of Ku-ring-gai High School. We do encourage you to have a voice in our school by participating in the parent/carer surveys that are sent out or by being involved in the P&C who are wonderful supporters of our school community.
Ms T. A. Kamasz