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Centenary Heights State High School > Calendar and news > Principal's blog
September 11
Principal's blog 11 September 2017

Dear Families
School Social was recently held in our Hall Wednesday 13 September. Our student leadership group, particularly the year 11 contingent who have direct oversight of that event, did an absolutely marvellous job in planning, budgeting, preparing and cleaning up. It was such fun for hundreds of our students and a great way to finish the term
Term 3 report cards will be posted to be received over these holidays. Please take a close look at whether any of your child’s teachers are requesting an interview with you. If so I urge you to contact our school to make a time. The fact that a teacher will ask to meet with you suggests he/she sees the need to be greater than that of a phone call and important to ensure your child engages to the best of his/her ability. As always with our parent interviews around engagement/performance, please bring your child with you
Congratulations to our USQ Head Start graduates – earlier this term we celebrated 11 of our students graduating their programs in a range of disciplines: Biology; Cinematic Language; Economics; Foundation Psychology; Corporate Finance; Engineering and Spatial Science Applications; Marketing; Language, Culture and Customs; Physics and Scriptwriting. The Head Start program is open to students for participation in Semester 2 Year 11 and Semester 1 Year 12. Such a great initiative from USQ which allows our students to taste university life and, in successfully completing their subjects, take off time in the length of their university course once they actually begin such post school
Wonderful celebration recently for our teaching and non-teaching staff who have achieved 30 - 40 year milestones in their careers in education. When I look at the calibre of these good people I am just so thankful that they have influenced the lives of our youth. What is crucial in education is to build positive relationships with students so that they are encouraged to learn to the best of their ability and most importantly to keep abreast of new trends in knowledge. I hold these people in the greatest of regard for their dedication to our young people and the profession of teaching in general
Director General of Education Jim Watterston was in Toowoomba recently to visit our Flexi School. He has in a number of forums over time labelled our Flexi School as world’s best practice in re-engaging young people into education. As Jim rightly says, ‘every child and young person deserves the chance to succeed’.  There are times where students are not well enough physically or mentally to participate in a mainstream program. What Flexi provides, courtesy of our exceptional teaching and non-teaching staff, is a small, individually case managed environment where students may still attain their Queensland Certificate of Education and re-build capacity and confidence. The destinations of our graduates include USQ; TAFE; fulltime apprenticeships and/or fulltime work. Wide involvement from business people and community groups is an underpinning of the ongoing success of our Flexi. Such a fabulous program
We start term 4 with a full formal uniform day for all year levels on Friday 6 October. The remainder of required formal uniform days are on our website
Best wishes
Maryanne Walsh
August 03
Principal's blog 3 August 2017

Dear Families

1. Wonderful again to see so many families engaged in our parent/student/teacher afternoon/evening. I appreciate very much the time you take in support of your child/children and equally appreciate the time our staff take to be so well prepared for discussion. Importantly, the child is present for such discussions as it is only then that the conversation makes the difference – as we know, parent and teacher could chat forever about the potential of the child but it is folly not to include the ‘main player’ – the student

2. For your interest:

-  Our 2016 School Annual Report is up on our website. State schools are required to post the annual report for the previous year by 30 June of the following year. It lists facts and figures for the year gone as well as looking ahead to the year to follow

- Speaking of the year to follow [which is the year 2017]  in relation to facilities, plans continue to be formed for the building of a Performing Arts Centre, complete refurbishment of our Art precinct and refurbishment and extensions to our Hospitality facilities. As these plans firm I will be more specific but suffice to say the cost will be 10.5 million dollars in capital works augmented by further multiple thousands of dollars as allocated by the Department of Education and Training. These improved and enhanced facilities will be mostly in place to begin 2019 and prepare us for the year 2020 when our school is mooted to grow to 1750 students and near 300 teaching and non-teaching staff

- On our website, in the Quick Links section, you will see information about the National Disability Insurance Scheme [NDIS] covering all aspects of how NDIS will work for parents and carers of a child with a disability

3. Safety of our students:

-  I have confirmed with our students [and why] that I do not permit them to be in local parks, in particular Lake Annand before or after school while in school uniform. They also understand that our students are not permitted to change out of their school uniform on exit from school rather they are to travel to and from school in full uniform. In monitoring this over the past weeks it is no surprise to me, and something for which I am always thankful, that there is 100% compliance with this directive. Families, this is not a new situation – I have always been clear that our students come to school and go home from school directly other than of course where they have alternate arrangements where they might meet families or the like. In recent times our local police, with whom we enjoy a very positive relationship, have advised me that some of the parks local to the school have served as areas where illegal drugs are exchanged and/or used – it is best that our students stay right away from those who see young people as a ‘captive audience’

Do you drop off and/or or pick up your child in Catto street? The other week there was a serious accident near the corner of South and Catto streets. It occurred at the busy time of afternoon where a number of our students were waiting for pick up. A car had turned the corner from South into Catto, at speed, the driver lost control and smashed into a fence. Some of our students were sitting only meters away. Exceptionally lucky that there was no injury. To this end Catto street neighbours contacted me to say that there had been other dangerous behaviours with drivers compromising the safety of our students – pulling up illegally too close to the intersection to collect children, speeding around the corner etc. In order to keep our students safe I have directed them to wait for pick up and be dropped off well into Catto street, nowhere near the intersection. Our staff on bus duty of an afternoon have worked with our students to ensure that has been happening and, as always, our students have been excellent in their understanding and cooperation. As parents/carers I ask that you observe the same protocol in terms of drop-off and pick-up ie drive well into Catto street and do not pull up anywhere near the intersection. I do appreciate your understanding

- Our Athletics Carnival comes up this week – full day Wednesday 9 August and a host of related events on Tuesday 8 August throughout the afternoon. As with every year and such events, given it is a school day, student attendance is mandatory. Please ensure your child brings sun protection. I do realise that participation in athletics is not suited to everyone and for that very reason the day is shaped so that there is something for everyone regardless of aptitude in this area. Students have a wonderful time with each other and their teachers and as I say always to our students, the mark of respect shown for the incredible amount of hours put in by our student and staff organisers, is through their attendance. Because of this clearly articulated expectation to our students we have very few absences on the day with a follow up text message requesting explanation being communicated to parents whose child is absent

- Year 10 to 11 subject selection evening Monday 14 August from 6pm through to 7pm in our Hall – our year 10 students understand that if they are contemplating returning to Year 11 in 2018, participation in this evening is required – such is the importance of sharing the information regarding the very different nature of Years 11 and 12. So much for parents to know!  Your child also understands that he/she will sit with you – this lends itself to the conversations that will naturally unfold as the information is shared. Students will have a sign on sheet to sign at the front of the Hall. I cannot stress enough to you the importance of this night in terms of assisting our Year 10s to make the best possible choices around subject selection and future pathways. From 5.15pm on in our Library on the same night you will see a host of people from local businesses and educational organisations showing what they have to offer to further your child’s pathway – this was a huge success last year. You are most welcome to begin your night in our Library
USQ Scholarships for our Year 12s – this year there are 2 types – the Vice Chancellor’s Scholarships which reward academic achievement and the Future Community Leaders Scholarships which recognise potential for community leadership. There is no longer a Principal’s Recommendation Guaranteed Entry element. All information, including application forms, is now up on the USQ website. Have a look also at the offering to Year 9 and 10 students who are interested in Science – a three day experience during the September holidays run by the Science Schools Foundation

4. Eisteddfod performances have been beyond amazing – I invite you to look at our website for specific detail about results but what an absolute pleasure it has been to see the quality of performance and the enjoyment for our students. I acknowledge here the commitment of our students and their families and skill and dedication of our teachers Jess Johansen and Jeff Poole. Further on Performing Arts – I have not seen anything quite like the recent Creative Generation [C Gen] for State Schools on Stage which was held at the Brisbane Convention Centre. As I have written to our staff, to see a 700 strong choir in action and synchronise for 2 hours with the most wonderful singers, dancers and musicians from primary, special and secondary schools around the State took my breath away. The fact that these students experienced the mentoring of famous artists in the week leading up to the event was an experience of a lifetime for our 9 students and I have no doubt every one of the other 1491 students involved. Absolutely extraordinary. Upcoming in C Gen is the State Final for Voices and our Choir which is one of 5 schools across the State to perform in the Final on 17 August at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music

Best regards

Maryanne Walsh


June 08
Principal's blog 8 June 2017


Dear Families
- Parents/Carers of our Year 11 and 12 students – currently the students at our mainstream campus are on exam block – started Wednesday 7 June and concludes Monday 12 June. The 11s return to school and to regular classes the next day Tuesday 13 June. It is imperative that they are at school every day up to the end of term as their teachers will be giving back assessment, going through it to further value add to their learning and then beginning to teach new work. This new work will not be repeated after the holidays so it is essential that all students are present. On Tuesday 13 June, every Year 12 student is also required to be in attendance at school [unless the student has a school based traineeship/SAT] – and on from there until the end of term. Those students who are sitting the QCS exam later in Term 3 will have specific arrangements on Tuesday 13 June and those not sitting the exam will have separate arrangements – however every Year 12 is required to be at school unless, as I say, the student has a Tuesday SAT. These specific arrangements for the 12s are posted to our website and our Year 12s are well aware of them. Our 12s will again be in these same arrangements on Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 June
- Parents/Carers of students in all other year levels – it remains an expectation that all students are in full attendance until the end of term. As with the older students, teachers will be returning assessment and analysing it with their students and then beginning to teach new work. This is not to be missed. I am well aware that, as schools approach the end of a term, some students may seek to mislead their families and say ‘we are not doing anything in class, assessment is over’. Please do not believe that. Attendance is a major contributor to student success and we are very focussed on maximum attendance for every child
- Parents/Carers of our Year 7/8 students – due to the cyclone that occurred at the end of Term 1 which resulted in the Activities Day being cancelled, this day will now be run by our student leadership group on the last day of Term 2 Friday 23 June. This is such a great day – our students love it. On that morning we also have Crazy Hair day which is a very good fundraiser for our Interact Club – these are such wonderful ways to end the term
- Parent/Carers of our Year 10 students – looking ahead to an exciting time with our 10s ie Subject Selection evening for any student who is looking to enrol to Year 11 in 2018. The evening is Monday 14 August from 6.00 pm to 7.20 pm. Our students understand, if they are seeking enrolment to Year 11, their attendance on the night, in the company of a parent/carer, is mandatory. Our students also know they sit with their families on the night to ensure discussion happens easily. So much valuable information and advice is shared with families on this night – it is imperative to be there. Please set aside the date on your calendars. From 5 pm on that night in our Library - I suggest you arrive early to see this – is the Centenary Heights SHS Tertiary Expo. This is a display and series of presentations from representatives of tertiary and other career pathways. Really great information!
- Student safety – a reminder that our students riding bikes to and from school are required to wear helmets all the way. On the rare occasion where a student does not have a helmet we keep the bike overnight until a parent is able to collect it or the student comes with a helmet to wear. In such a case we work with the student to ensure he/she arrives home safely via an alternate method. On another matter relating to student safety – our students understand I expect them to go directly home of an afternoon unless they are have family arrangements to meet elsewhere. Similarly I expect them to come straight to school – they are not to stop off in local skate parks or shops. Just recently police have advised us of incidences of both violence and provision of illegal drugs in local parks – as I say our students are to travel directly to and from school
- Great news – our boys and girls senior basketball teams recently finishing 1st and 2nd respectively in the John Armstrong School Cup finals; our Choir finishing 1st in the Creative Generation regional final and students Coralee Brand, Melanie Kaye, Asa Belley, Monica Simmons and Cindy Cui having their Art works displayed at USQ as a result of their strong placings in the USQ Vision Art Works competition. Coralee’s work was placed 1st from 100 entries. Well done to our students and staff
- Reporting for Term 2 – reports will be posted as follows:
Year 7 – Wednesday 12 July
Year 8 – Wednesday 12 July
Year 9 – Thursday 13 July
Year 10 – Thursday 13 July
Year 11 – Friday 14 July
Year 12 – Friday 14 July
With Parent/Student/Teacher interviews on Tuesday 1 August from 3.20 pm - 6.30 pm -
details of the online booking system will be posted with reports
- Full school uniform dates for Term 3:
All school - Friday 14 July and Wednesday 19 July
Year 7 and 8 – Thursday 10 August
Year 9 – Friday 11 August
Year 10 – Monday 7 August
Year 11 – Tuesday 15 August
Year 12 – Wednesday 16 August
Best regards
Maryanne Walsh
May 16
Principal's blog 16 May 2017

Dear Families

1. Congratulations to:
- Our Choirs – both Choirs were simply amazing at the recent Toowoomba Choral Eisteddfod with our Gospel Choir taking home 2nd place. What never ceases to amaze me when I have the pleasure of viewing the performances from all participating schools, is the level of class and quality that underpins such events. It is just a treat! Well done to our students and their teacher Mrs Heidi Law – our school community is justifiably proud of you
- Our year 11 Sport and Recreation class and their teacher Mrs Chrissie Bartlett – as part of the program of learning in Sport and Recreation, our students officiated at the recent Toowoomba District Primary Schools Cross Country. Incredibly positive and unsolicited feedback has been coming in from so many quarters – here I name a couple – last week, at the annual Rankin dinner for student leaders and their Principals, a gentleman from The Glennie School leaned over to me to say ‘your students officiated at the primary cross country the other day – they were absolutely amazing!’ He went on to describe their manner with the younger students, ability to communicate with staff from other schools and capacity to take charge of the running of the event. An email that came through soon after the event from the organiser, a teacher at Toowoomba East SS ‘Congratulations and a huge thank you for the help and support received from your students. They conducted themselves in a professional manner, being organised and willing to help with any task they were asked to perform. They were also proactive and took initiative when they could see things needed to be done’
- Our students Kyrna Crump and Isak Shepherd who both came first in their respective groups at the recent cross Country for students with disabilities – so very well done!
- Our full school community for an outstanding school cross country experience. Well done yet again to organising teachers Frank Dowling and Chrissie Bartlett so ably assisted by our staff and student Sports Captains and Vice Captains
2. Thank you to:
- All 8 teams of students who will participate in the annual Relay for Life fundraiser for cancer research on the weekend of 20 and 21 May. Many of our student participants juggle their work, sporting, cultural and school commitments to walk through the night and sleep out in Queen’s Park in order to raise funds. We, again this year, represent the largest contingent of school students in the district. I thank also our supervising staff Catherine Andress, Jason Attwood, Chrissie Bartlett, Tiffany Beck, Chrissie Lodder, Matt Russell and Jess Zylstra – a huge commitment from them!
- Our Interact Club of students and their organising teacher for the Lifeline Can Appeal, Mrs Sandy Feldman. Our annual school drive began on 4 May with the process being our students bring in to school whatever can/cans they have on Thursdays and Fridays. They are stored in our hired container and presented on full school parade at the end of the appeal period to Darling Downs Lifeline CEO Derek Tuffield. As Derek says ‘the difference this drive makes to families who really struggle is immeasurable.’ If you are in a position to assist in this way, please have your child bring in a can or two. The record, achieved in 2016, is 7625 cans – immensely satisfying as our students and staff continue to support our school desire to look for ways to assist those in need
- Toowoomba East Rotary – members Glen Postle and Harry Spencer drove our 3 students – year 11 at our Flexi School - Daniel Mawhood, Anna May McCarthy and James Cook to and from the RYPEN camp held at Camp Duckadang. This was fully funded by Rotary and focussed on engendering leadership qualities and teamwork. In my chats with Daniel, Anna May and James, they have taken so much out of the experience and rate it as immensely successful. They will, on 1 June, address the lunch of Toowoomba East Rotary members with their thanks and feedback. I have no doubt they will do a great job. I take the opportunity to acknowledge Toowoomba East Rotary who are such a tremendous community partner to us in so many ways
- Our student leadership group – a large number of our students have volunteered for the second year in a row to work at the annual Toowoomba Camelia and Garden Show on the weekend of 15 and 16 July. All funds go to the Toowoomba Hospice, the most fabulous organisation to which, for 3 years now, our student leaders have donated $4000 of their raised funds to Adopt-a-Room
- Our P and C Executive – they do such a marvellous job and in between their own work and family lives. It was P and C Day on Friday 12 May and our student Captains and Vice Captains accompanied me to the workplaces of our Executive to give a small donation of our thanks – coffee vouchers!

You can see above, families, that we rightly place ongoing emphasis as a school community on the notion of giving of yourself to be aware of and assist with the needs of others - as it should be when tasked with influencing young lives to go and become contributing members of society.

3. Parents/Carers - seeking your goodwill in co-operating with the Council signage on South Street outlining the area that is a 2 minute pickup/drop-off. Especially at the end of the school day we see a number of cars waiting outside that signage which is in fact no parking. As Council advises, such practice has the potential to clog traffic moving down South Street and also blindside other drivers. At my request Traffic Officers have attended the area and will continue to do so at random times in order to keep our students safe and be respectful to our business neighbours. As a courtesy to you, the Traffic Officers have asked me to advise that they will issue on the spot fines now that they have attended initially to warn. I am hopeful this practice of parking outside designated areas will cease not from the threat of fines rather that you understand it compromises student safety and local goodwill. There are other areas in surrounding streets to wait for your child – I suggest you set up an alternate meeting area
4. CHSHS 50th Anniversary in 2018 – if you are a past student with photos or stories and/or a person who would like to be involved in the organisation, please check out our website as plans are now beginning to shape
5. NAPLAN – the annual NAPLAN testing went smoothly with the very deliberate process in our school being to ensure students understand this is something that will assist us to guide them through future years and the assessment itself is not to be daunting. A range of early student feedback confirms mission accomplished

Best wishes
Maryanne Walsh

March 28
Principal's blog 28 March 2017

Dear Families

- Congratulations to our student leaders who have recently graduated their Toastmasters training program! This is our 14th year, partnering with Compass Toastmasters, where our elected student leaders for the year participate over seven Tuesday evenings and learn the skills and confidence that come with quality public speaking. Once we present our student leaders with their badges it is indeed appropriate for us to support their performance as leaders in many ways – one such way is this training. It is absolute gold as our young leaders then present and speak so very well to a range of audiences as the year goes both within and outside our school community. In my view this is also a life skill and yet another thing that goes to building the confidence in our young people today. Many thanks to Compass Toastmasters – their interaction with our students is superb. Families, I do hope you enjoyed the Graduation – there is no question you would have been very proud

- The Jade Ochnio ramp has its official opening this week. Jade is one of our students and in 2015 she mooted the idea of building a ramp across from G block to S block to ensure our students in wheelchairs did not need to use the access road to cross from one side to the other. The ramp was finished towards the end of last year and landscaping has been recently completed. Student leaders in 2016 took Jade’s idea and ran with it applying for and being successful in securing a USQ Grant to contribute to the structure. Jade and her mum will come in for its official opening and the unveiling of the plaque. I am exceptionally pleased for Jade, her teachers and her mum as Jade has long battled ill health but will have the highlight of seeing her great idea come to fruition

- Year 7 and 8 Activities day – Friday 31 March – this is truly one of the highlights of the year for our youngest students as well as our student leaders. The day is months in the planning by our full student leadership group along with one of the Heads of Year 12, this year Mrs Sandy Hearnden. They plan and run the activities, resource them, budget for the day, plan the food, advertise at year parades and mentor our 7s and 8s. It is a huge day and wonderful for the teachers and students to have such a fun day together not to mention the quality leadership exercise it is for our student leaders

- My sincere thanks to our P and C Executive for their ongoing work within our school. President Wayne Heading, Vice President Alastair Webb and Treasurer Charles Corbett were re-elected at last week’s P and C AGM. Outgoing Secretary Simone Hohenhaus and Vice President Kev Fowler have been just the best people with whom to work – every one of these aforementioned good souls are busy both with work and family and yet give so readily of their time. We are very keen to hear from anyone within our 1456 families who might apply for the position of Secretary for 2017. Please contact my Assistant Bec Moore at school should you wish to find out more about the position. Honestly our Executive is a fabulous group of people

- This year I am deep in discussion with both Central and Regional Office Facilities staff regarding the capital works that will take place at our school beginning 2018. In line with the tracked growth of our school, 1750 and on by the year 2020, a 5 million dollar Performing Arts building will eventuate that will house 2 x Drama rooms; 2 x Dance rooms; a mini theatre to cater to our Film and TV program as well as a staff room and amenities. Alongside this will be major refurbishments to and expansion of our Hospitality kitchens and Art rooms. Exciting times! It is my pleasure often, and that of our Business Managers, to work with our regional facilities staff – they are always advocating for ways to enhance the environment of our school and have tremendous vision as they guide us forward

- Harmony Day parade this week will see a super show of our 56 nationalities and 33 spoken languages! Exceptionally well done to our Cross Cultural Captains Sei Jeong and Coralee Brand along with our International Student Co-ordinator Rita Hsu – between them they have put together the most brilliant program. We are truly blessed at the great CHSHS with our diversity and multiculturalism

Best wishes

Maryanne Walsh









March 03
Principal's blog 3 March 2017

Term 1 is well underway with the usual pace of a large, dynamic secondary school. Welcome to 2017!

Already we have enjoyed events such as our Senior Badge ceremony, Year 7 Meet and Greet afternoon, swimming carnival and Year 7 at-school and away-from-school camps. All have been wonderful successes. I wish to make mention of our student leaders – our Sports Captains and Vice Captains in their exemplary leadership with the organisation and smooth running of the swim carnival and a wide range of our student leadership group and other seniors as well who assisted our staff to host the Meet and Greet. Truly great ambassadors for our school. While acknowledging appropriate people in relation to these events – staff Frank Dowling and Chrissie Bartlett have no peer when it comes to the quality of our carnivals; Dave McMillan and Mary-Anne Searle-Tebbit spent hours upon hours making the Year 7 camps the greatest of successes, Mary-Anne, similarly with the Year 7 Meet and Greet, and Catherine Andress for her organisation underpinning our Senior Badge ceremony. It is essential that we celebrate and support our students with opportunities for participation and leadership and I remain incredibly grateful to our staff for their goodwill in making these great things happen

Speaking of our student leaders – please take time to look at our website and see who they are and their messages of intent for this year. They are already nearly through their leadership training which is run for us each year by the excellent Compass Toastmasters. Seven weeks of Tuesday nights, lots of fun and learning culminating in the graduation which takes place on the last Tuesday night of the course – honestly, you cannot believe the difference in competence and confidence at the end of this seven weeks. It is then our good fortune at Centenary Heights State High School to watch our young leaders display their learning as they speak so very well to a variety of large and small groups both within and outside our community

Speaking of our community – we have begun this year with 1630 students across both our mainstream and Flexi School campuses - 1560 on the mainstream campus from Years 7-12 and 70 at our Flexi School campus in Years 10-12. Our staff number (teaching and non-teaching) is 223. We have 111 students in our fabulous Special Education Unit, 196 students for whom English is a second language, 44 different nationalities and 60 spoken languages. I often say to our students that they will receive their exposure to travel right in their own ‘back yard’ given the diversity we have with us each and every day. This diversity is our daily teacher – and our learning is to respect and value each other’s differences

Our 2016 Year 12s – the annual survey, comprising a phone call to each family of our previous Year’s 12s (this survey was 272 families), is about to be shared with all of our staff who will enjoy enormously reading of the destinations and settled lives of our most recent past students. 88% of our OP eligible students attained their 1st or 2nd preference for tertiary study and the very vast majority have moved into fulltime work, traineeships or tertiary study. While we remain a highly successful academic school our equal emphasis is on provision of work experience and school based traineeships while students are moving through Years 9-12. This positions them so well for careers in trades. In 2016, our students in these year levels participated in a total of 1391 days of work experience. My sincere thanks to our Career Pathways team at both of our campuses and the multitude of employers who continue to show faith in our school and our students

Our P and C – you will see, in the mail-out you receive soon with report cards, a brochure displaying the work and achievements of our P and C – truly amazing. They could not achieve as well without your dedication as families to donating as small as $20 each year. Our Executive and I are then able to leave you alone in terms of fundraisers as we recognise that families are so busy these days and find it hard to give of their time. If you have not yet donated your $20 please contact our Textbook Office on 46367576. It is tax deductible!

Dates coming up:

- Free Dress day Monday 6 March – students understand they are to wear modest dress, remain consistent with the type and amount of jewellery worn, remain make-up free and wear covered shoes. Students donate a gold coin in their Pastoral Care groups that morning with all proceeds going to our student leadership group and in turn to projects within our school and around Toowoomba. One such project has been for three years now the funding of a room at Toowoomba Hospice - $4000 each year

- Formal Uniform days per year level – these dates begin next Tuesday 7 March with Year 7s and 8s; Wednesday 8 March for Year 9s; Thursday 9 March for Year 10s; Friday 10 March for Year 11s and Monday 13 March for Year 12s. All such dates for the year are now on our website. On these days every student in the respective year level is required in full formal uniform

- Term 1 reports posted:

   Year 7 – posted by 22 March

   Year 8 -12 posted by 26 April and emailed from 21 April

Best wishes

Maryanne Walsh


December 07
Principal's blog 7 December 2017

Dear Families

The year has closed with the most delightful ceremonies and events – our Year 12 Graduation and Formal for both our Flexi School and mainstream campuses; the Year 7, 8 and 9 Gold Level Ceremony where we also announced our Junior Captains and Vice Captains for 2017 Rocco Wighton, Chelsea Golding, Lachlan Sharpe and Grace Callow; end of year trips for students in Years 7-11 and our Christmas Choir singing at local residential care villages.

Wonderful recent news – we will be receiving a Performing Arts block! This will service the burgeoning following of our students in the performing arts – two specialist dance rooms; two specialist drama rooms; a multimedia theatre; staffroom and amenities. Five million dollars’ worth of facility. The project brief will begin in Semester 2 2017 with work beginning the following year.

Sincere thanks to all of our staff and students and your good selves for what was a packed yet stellar year at our great school. I again thank our P and C for their super work and wonderful collegiality and ask once again for all of our families to support our school through a minimum $20 donation in the year 2017 [suggest you pay it with your 2017 fees] – it makes the work of our P and C so much easier as they toil away and secure such great enhancements for our school – tuckshop expansion; oval rejuvenation; shade over the terraces; safe lighting around the school – a long list – too long for here. 2017 ideally will see more handball courts, cricket nets and shade.

Very best wishes for a safe Christmas and holiday with your families.

Maryanne Walsh

November 03
Principal's blog 3 November 2016

Dear Families
- How good was Awards Night? 1500 people in the wonderful HumeRidge auditorium celebrating an enormous number of students who have shone in the areas of sport, cultural activity, vocational and academic fields and not the least, community service. Sincere appreciation to staff members Carley McCormack and Lyndal Hegarty, along with a number of colleagues who worked with them over a period of months, for quality assuring the fine product that was our Awards Night. Sincere thanks to all of our students as well – they represented themselves, their families and our school with great aplomb
- Year 7, 8 and 9 Gold Ceremony coming up on the morning of Wednesday 30 November. We very much look forward to our parents/carers joining us on this great occasion
- Our Flexi School Graduation and Awards Day Tuesday 8 November at the Empire Church Theatre will be the usual emotional and wonderful family occasion that it always is. Students in years 10, 11 and 12 have achieved amazing things and deservedly will share the limelight on this day. That same night we have our Flexi Formal at the same venue with arrivals beginning at 5pm – it is such a great look. If you have time please come along to view. We love our Flexi!!
- Election of 2017 Student Leaders – this process has now finished. It involves, for students in years 8, 10 and 11 who nominate for the available positions, submitting their applications, going through a short list process and then interview. Students and staff lodge their votes and our system for students replicates, to the letter, the voting process that occurs within our wider community when voting in a State, Federal or Council election. Every year, with this year the same, we are blessed with a plethora of fabulous nominees – the depth is extraordinary. When I introduced the 2017 elected leaders to our full student and staff community earlier this week, I was being entirely honest when I said I would have been happy to have all of the nominees elected ie if we had that many positions
- Parents of students in years 7, 8 and 9 in 2017- confirmation that, at an earlier P and C meeting, it was endorsed that our junior students from 2017 will no longer wear shorts with the formal uniform. As with the older grades, girls will be required to wear the formal skirt and boys, long green pants with plain black belt. Our Uniform Shop is well stocked for this change
- During our full school 4 year review in August, previously mentioned in an earlier Newsletter by me, one of our Reviewers was walking through our school and randomly spoke with one of our lads with a question ‘what do you like about this school?’ The response: ‘you don’t have to be good at anything like cultural, sporting or academic but you do have to try your best and be your best – always’
- Our boom gates have been such a welcome addition to the assurance of safety for our students – it is incredibly comforting to know that our students may walk through the front of the school before, during and after school without having to negotiate drivers who have declined to observe our verbal and signed requests for consideration. Families, please now feel similarly comforted
- At our Awards Night I spoke of the great work of our P and C Executive in terms of working towards greater facilities for our school. In our end of year mailout with term 4 report cards, you will receive a visual of the quality of what they have achieved – hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on facilities. I ask most unashamedly for every family to consider donating a minimum of $20 per year towards our P and C to allow them to enter into government partnerships and/or lodge submissions for shared projects such as, in 2017, further enhancement of our oval, erection of cricket nets and more handball courts. This opportunity for donation will come with that end of year mail-out – I urge you to consider
- Friday morning 18 November is the year 12 Graduation at HumeRidge. Invitations will be emailed this week to parents of our year 12s. Bring your tissues – this is a superb occasion.
Very best wishes
Maryanne Walsh
September 15
Principal's blog 15 September 2016

Dear Families
1.  Events coming up:
-  Tuesday 11 October – in our Hall beginning at 6pm – our Show Band performs the program they will take on their Show Band tour the very next day to outlying towns and their schools. It is always such a showcase of our student talent – a great opportunity for the family to sit and enjoy an outing together – come along!
-  Friday 4 November – the Walker Awards in our Hall from 6pm. These awards are named after former Principal Bob Walker and are the culmination of the work of our Year 11 and 12 students in the faculty of Film, TV and New Media. You will be absolutely mesmerised by what our students produce in this field – such creativity. Another wonderful opportunity to bring the family out together
-  Tuesday 25 October – our Awards night beginning at 6pm at Hume Ridge. This is a spectacular evening with one of the many highlights including the announcement of our student leadership group for 2017
2.  Great news:
-  Year 12 student Sandy Tao – prize winner in the Australian  Maths competition  – no mean feat!
-  Luke Daley [Yr 7]; Rory Winkler [Yr 7]; Hayden Jago [Yr 8]; and Ethan Wyatt [Yr 8] – regional winners in the Queensland Maths competition and on to the State final held recently at Brisbane Grammar School. Congratulations to our students and their coach, teacher Kathryn Gorton – what a tremendous experience
-  Year 12 students Josh Rognoni and Ellen Condren, Year 11 student Blake Hohenhaus and former student Nicky Hauesler who have been selected in the Empire Theatre IMPACT Ensemble – an elite performance program for young artists aged 13-20. Over 50 people auditioned, 16 were selected and 4 were from CHSHS!
-  Year 12 students Bianca Fowler, Cara Needham and Sam Watson whose art works hang in the Toowoomba Art Gallery. They were finalists in the regional Creative Generation awards, an incredibly well contested event across all state, private and catholic secondary schools in our region. Sam is one of the 2 students from the region whose work will hang in GOMA [Gallery of Modern Art] in 2017 – how wonderful!
-  Many of our students have volunteered at the recent Camellia Show where funds raised go towards the Toowoomba Hospice; they will be volunteering at the Carnival of Flowers to assist the wonderful Zonta organisation and a number of our Year 11s will accompany me of a Tuesday afternoon [when they have the option to go home] as we visit with older people at the local BUPA Aged Care facility – I say to our students often that if they can live a life where they look out for others and give what they can, they will have lived not just existed
3.    Congratulations to:
-  Our Year 10 and 11 Hospitality students and their teachers Jocelyn Mitchell and Amanda MacNellie. During our recent full school review, they shone with the product and service they provided to our four school reviewers each of the four days they were with us. This work goes a long way towards signing off on Certificate competencies for our students and equally important is the resultant effect on their personal confidence
-  All of our students – recently a community based police officer  called in to speak with our full student body on parade to acknowledge the safe, efficient and respectful manner in which they enter our school in the morning and exit our school in the afternoon. He is looking to replicate that structure in other schools. Indeed our exit particularly, given the volume of students at one time, is overseen by our Heads of Department, Deputy Principals and myself however, as I have said to our students, through their excellent behaviour they are the ones who keep order. I am always conscious of the cooperation and understanding I enjoy from our students in so many ways
-  Our students and teacher Emma Usher on running an exceptional Gold Ceremony for our Year 10, 11 and 12 students – of the highest quality!
4.   Facilities update:
- The ramp and path from under G block over to the northern aspect of S block [$45000] is well underway. This will provide safe access for our students in wheelchairs and able bodied students to move from one side of our school to the other without having to use the access road – a safety priority. Landscaping will follow and a large portion of that will be funded by an initiative of our students who were successful in applying for a Change Makers grant through USQ
-  Our Hall floor, over these holidays, will be re-lined, sanded and re-lacquered [$15000]
-  Work at our Flexi School has begun to re-position the work station of our Office Manager which in turn channels guests and visitors away from the centre of the school where learning is taking place. Our Flexi kitchen is also being refurbished and a set of stairs, external to the building is going in to allow for extra access for our Support Services staff [$29000]. This will make a great difference for our students and staff
- Boom gates coming:
- Over these holidays the gates will be positioned at both our main entrance and the pool entrance. This is in response to yet another of our students being nearly hit by a car in our pool carpark in recent weeks. I have attempted many strategies to gain understanding from our families and wider community that we are simply too busy with student and staff pedestrian traffic entering and exiting our school and throughout a working day and this latest incident has meant  we will adopt the strategies increasingly used by other schools to keep our students and staff safe. The gates will be operational from Monday 10 October. The main entrance gate will lower at 7.45am each weekday morning and lift at 3.30pm in the afternoons. Access will be provided for our staff, some regular delivery drivers and our parents who have a child with a disability who have liaised with our Special Education Office Manager to gain an entry permit. Please be aware that our main entrance outside of these hours is now one way with exit through our pool gate and it remains left turn only. I have previously negotiated with Toowoomba Regional Council to open more car spaces for our families and external public. The gates will be up over the weekends
5. School Magazine:
-  Final orders are taken on the first day of term 4. Each year this is such a great production and memory for life and at the cost of $30 is something not to be missed. Phone through your order and pay on 4636 7576
6. Our full school review – four external reviewers were with us recently for four days speaking with hundreds of students, parents, staff and community partners about the machinations of CHSHS – both of our campuses ie our Flexi School and mainstream campus. Always so good to have fresh eyes on any organisation. Our community embraced the experience and the feedback is on our website. Midway through the review, the reviewers said to me that they were finding it difficult to provide recommendations when the quality of our school in all aspects was so high
Very best wishes for a safe and enjoyable time with your children over these school holidays.
Maryanne Walsh


August 16
Principal's blog 15 August 2016

Dear Families

1.  I wish to acknowledge two people to you, both of whom have   recently passed away and who have been significant in the lives of our CHSHS community:

  - Judy Antonio – Judy’s service was on 5 August. She had fought a courageous battle with motor neurone disease [MND] for 7 years – quite the miracle as sufferers routinely have a maximum 2 and a half year period between diagnosis and passing. Judy worked with us in our Flexi School environment as a Mentor to our students and in doing so, made such a difference in young lives. She was a regular feature at Flexi, participating in the Mentor program twice a week where students match, one on one, with a Mentor. The work of the Mentor is to listen and relate – absolute Gold in the lives of our young people. She opened doors for us in terms of networking in the wider Toowoomba community and did so through her connections with business and philanthropy. She was a person we looked to at times for guidance and support as we continued to advance the great work of our fabulous Flexi School. Judy was also Chair of the Friends of Flexi committee – a group of local business and community people who meet to determine how they can best support the work of our Flexi. In committing so much time to us it was quite amazing as she also had her duties to tend to as the wife of Mayor Paul Antonio. Vale Judy Antonio – we remain forever thankful for her

   - Margaret Haberman – Marg was Head of Business at CHSHS when I began as Principal in 2003. She had been at our school since 1992. She fought a brave battle with cancer for a number of years with her service being held on 12 August. Her commitment to our students was second to none as was her collegiality with staff. Her expectation of herself, both as a person and as a professional, was of the highest calibre and she translated such expectations to students and staff. Marg, as she moved towards retirement, worked as our Staff Information and Communication Technology [ICT] Coach – she shone in this role as she steered our staff to becoming first learners in all things technology. This translated into staff being confident to deliver their programs with the latest software and best pedagogy to ensure maximum engagement of our student learners. She was the consummate professional and we were lucky to have her. Vale Margaret Haberman

2. Parents of year 10 students at our mainstream campus – a reminder that Monday 15 August is our Parent/Student Subject Selection night beginning at 7.15pm and concluding at 8.30pm. As per each year our year 10 students understand from me that I expect them to be in attendance with their parent/s should they be considering entry to year 11 in 2017. If they are not seeking entry to year 11 in 2017 they are free not to attend. Last year was our biggest cohort of year 10s in the history of CHSHS and, out of the number of 295, 290 students were in attendance with their parent/s with the remaining 5 students relocating out of Toowoomba for 2016. Students understand, on arrival, they are to sign against their names at the entrance to our Hall and sit next to their parent/s. The reason I place such emphasis on this night is because it is imperative that they and their parent/s hear all of the information associated with making smart choices around subject selection. Those subjects, except for a couple of windows of opportunity, remain fixed for 2 years. Students of this age are moving into the realm of post-compulsory education and as such their continued enrolments are based on their maximum engagement in attendance and effort and behaviour. If subjects are inappropriately chosen or a program is not a match for the student, experience tells us it has the potential to eventually place the enrolment at risk. I value enormously parent participation in this process. Our year 10s have known for a number of weeks that if there is an unusual circumstance that prevents any student from attending on this night he/she is welcome to see me personally before the night and explain the circumstance. Such circumstance would not be a shift at work as there has been ample time to rearrange such a situation. The night is a great night where we deliberately keep the information succinct, relevant and very focussed on your child

   - Parents, letting you know that year 10 students have until COB Monday 22 August to lodge their choices for year 11 subjects 2017. Should they not be selected by then they will likely not receive their first choices in a number of areas as classes will fill quickly

3. Parents of our year 8 students – a reminder your Subject Selection night also falls on Monday 15 August from 5.30pm through to 6.45pm. Once again your knowledge of the selection process and choices available is essential to success over the 18 months to mid-year 10. We very much look forward to seeing you there

4. Year 10, 11 and 12 Gold Ceremony – Tuesday 23 August at HumeRidge with start time 9.30am. This is such a wonderful ceremony for so many families – a time where our students are rightly acknowledged for attending as required in their program of learning and simply trying their hardest in their subjects and being the most respectful people they can be. This, as always, will be a packed CHSHS community celebration

5. Our Athletics Carnival on 10 August was superb. Spirit was high, participation was excellent and a great day was had where students and staff enjoyed each other’s company in a less rigorous format. From a total of 1472 students on our mainstream campus, attendance rate was 88% with a mere 7 students, to date, with an unexplained absence. As with all school days, our students understand very well from me that I view Carnival days as essential to their commitment to our school culture. They understand that I do not accept absence based around false excuses or staying home to complete work which of course gives an unacceptable advantage over others who do the right thing. Follow up is immediate where needed and while very rare, there have been occasions where students have been sanctioned in accordance with our Code of School Behaviour for providing a reason for absence that is not approved. The lovely thing about this day is watching students enjoy their friendships and their teachers. I acknowledge here the efforts of our Carnival Coordinator Frank Dowling and all staff and student leaders who assist him – the organisation for a mammoth event such as this takes months

6. Many thanks to parents who contact us to let us know of your child’s achievements in various non-school related activities. This is exceptionally well received by our school community and equally celebrated. We make every effort to know the whole child and by sharing such information you assist us to do so

7.  In terms of ongoing professional learning by our staff we continue, as we have over the past 6 years, to focus at all year levels on staff capacity to emphasise reading and writing. This focus forms all of our after school staff professional hours and is led most capably by our Staff Literacy Coach, Kathleen Hannant. Kathleen is ably supported on many occasions by members of our staff sharing their learning and excellent practice with the most recent being our Head of Social Science Alex van Dorsselaer and teachers Claire Thicthener and Bron Blinco. The premise of this learning is that, every child regardless of subject studied or year level, will be in every class and have reinforced the skills of decoding, analysis, evaluation and the like – in reality these are life skills. This work has to be ongoing as opposed to visiting it every now and then – and it is ongoing

8. Our school has fairly recently been accorded status as a White Ribbon school. This means we have committed, along with many schools across Australia, to raising awareness of domestic and family violence [DFV]. Within our school it means we retain our focus on treating each other well and do not stay silent when we know something to be wrong – in doing so we cultivate ethical bystanders as opposed to just bystanders. We are all aware of the rightful community push to ensuring DFV is something that is addressed by the whole community rather than permeating the previous position that it is something for children and families to be ashamed of and as a result people suffer in silence. In the end we are focussed on ensuring our students expect the best out of themselves and in their lives and grow a self-concept that ensures they will not be either perpetrators or victims

9.  Our annual school Social comes up on Wednesday 14 September in our school hall. Doors open at 6.00pm with the event concluded at 10.00pm. Our student leadership group runs this event right from planning the budget to decorating, organising security and close supervision to review of the event once over. It is an excellent team building and leadership exercise with 500-600 students attending each year and significant profit being made by our student leadership group. It is a closed Social meaning only students from our school may attend and they are required to show current ID at the door. Our student leadership group use their funds each year to support an initiative within our school, one in the wider Toowoomba community [eg an Adopt-a-Room at Toowoomba Hospice at a cost of $4000] and a global initiative [such as a school in Cambodia that does amazing work for children who otherwise would not have any schooling] – our student leaders communicate this work very well within our student community. Essential that our young people have an understanding of what good they can do for others who perhaps are not so advantaged

10.  Formal Uniform days:

- Monday 15 August – year 10

- Tuesday 16 August – year 11

- Wednesday 17 August – year 12

- Thursday 18 August – year 7 and 8

-  Friday 19 August – year 9

Best wishes

Maryanne Walsh



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