Dear CMS families,
Parents must wonder what goes on during a pupil free day. I have spent the past 41 years in schools and have experienced every environment from creating infant programs to teaching university courses. To say that I am comfortable in an educational setting would be an understatement but, if you asked me what a lawyer does during the moments that they are not meeting with clients or making an argument in court, I would be baffled. It would be much the same story with many professions; as I have never done the job, I have little idea what goes on behind the scenes.
But at the risk of betraying a confidence, I will endeavour to give you a flavour for our most recent pupil free day at the beginning of term 3. All of the staff gathered together in Jacaranda at 9:00 a.m. for a full staff meeting. There, we discussed the newly developed National Professional Standards for teachers, the status of the new mentorship program and the role that the mentors will play in moving staff through the categories (Graduate, Proficient, High Accomplished and Lead). We also discussed the recently approved Montessori National Curriculum. This is now our officially recognised curriculum document (a copy has been placed in the parent library) and beginning in 2013 it will be in full implementation by the school. At our meeting we also discussed various initiatives and projects that we are currently working on during the year. Initiatives as exciting as our Writing activities in the various cycles and as mundane as what we wear on mornings when the temperatures hit the negative side of the scale.
After our staff meeting, Directors met to review and discuss the policies and procedures for behaviour management at our school. This has been an area of focus at meetings throughout the year and consistency in this area was something that was identified in the school’s Quality Improvement Plan. Directors also reviewed some of the feedback from the recent visits by our Quality Assurance advisors from the Montessori Australia Foundation.
A focus group of Directors used some time in the morning to get together with our IT consultant to create a discussion on some of the issues around Information Technology. The school has added 5 laptops computers and one IPAD to our inventory over the past 18 months thanks in large part to the support from the Fundraising Committee. Since I have come to the school I have placed an emphasis on getting the right tools for the students and ensuring that they are adequately resourced in terms of IT. Some of the recommendations from teachers in terms of policies, procedures, additional hardware needs and software integration will be implemented over the next few terms.
Around Noon, all of the staff got together to share a meal. Though this may seem trivial it might be one of the most important aspects of the day. On a regular school day the teachers and assistants cycle through various forms of playground duty and therefore very rarely get the opportunity to sit and converse together. Pupil free days are our one opportunity to sit together as a group, debrief and share stories and ideas about the term ahead.
Finally in the afternoon, the school engaged a consultant to come in and work with the Directors in the areas of teamwork and communication. The event was well received by the Directors and gave us that opportunity to “sharpen the saw”, that we don’t get to during the remaining 49 days of the term.
Aside from that, a great deal of cleaning is accomplished and the plethora of lists and schedules are produced and are readied for term. If all goes well the school appears turned out and ready to go for the students arrival on Tuesday. I am very proud of our team at the school and the dedication to their craft that is easily apparent on our planning days.
I hope the term break was as peaceful for your family as it was for the Rice’s. 6 days in Fiji without any evidence of a clock was just what the doctor ordered. And yes, I can and will provide boring holiday stories at a moments notice.
Click here to view full Bulletin