Principal's blog 16 February 2021
As I write this we are about to begin Week 4 of Term 1.
Our student numbers have grown again now totalling 1806 across our Flexi School and mainstream campuses:
Year 7 – 313
Year 8 – 337
Year 9 – 274
Year 10 – 341
Year 11 – 306
Year 12 – 235
The busy pace of schools never ceases to amaze me:
⦁ Major organisation continues for our Week 5 Year 7 At-School and Away camps. I am always appreciative of our staff giving up so much of their time to provide these great adventures for our students. Similarly our student leaders who also give of their time amidst the flurry of their studies. The effect of our student leaders building positive relationships with our youngest cohort carries throughout their schooling. Significant appreciation to camp organisers Chrissie Lodder and Dave McMillan
⦁ A wonderful Year 12 Badge ceremony in our Caldwell Theatre in Week 2 this term with this year, the presentation of our School Dux award to Holly Chersini and recipients of the R A Dansie Award to Holly Chersini and the BD Jentz Humanities Award to Selena Wania. With the move from the OP system to the ATAR system we do not have sufficient information on which to make fair judgments for these most prestigious awards until January the following year when results for Year 12s the previous year are finalised. Holly and Selena, so deserving
⦁ Multiple excursions, sporting events, performing arts events have all begun
⦁ Our once again successful annual Swimming Carnival held at Milne Bay Pool. In ongoing COVID19 restriction times, this event was held without spectators – an understandable requirement of Milne Bay management. Huge thanks to our chief organiser Frank Dowling who orchestrates these major events with such ease and high quality
One of the great things to come out of a COVID19 environment in 2020 was the capacity for us to stream our events live from our exceptional Caldwell Theatre, upload to our website and YouTube channel for family enjoyment either post the event or in real time. The quality of the product is wonderful such is the technology in the building and the expertise of our technical staff in particular Paul Sykes. We will continue to use our Caldwell Theatre for all of our Gold ceremonies and, if things COVID-wise go well, we hope to be at HumeRidge for our Year 12 Awards Night in October and Year 12 Graduation in November
Speaking of HumeRidge – on Saturday morning 16 January from 6.30am through to 12 midday HumeRidge members yet again converged upon our CHSHS site with mowers, whipper snippers, hedge trimmers, paint brushes, garden gloves to weed and a whole lot of goodwill. A long hot and thankfully rainy summer break posed quite the challenge to the workers across our nineteen hectares of land but, as all departed around midday, the make-over effect was astonishing – neat as a pin! It would not be possible for our 1.5 grounds staff to achieve anywhere near what is achieved on that Saturday every year. It sets our staff up to enhance the grounds as opposed to playing catch up for the entire year. This fabulous community event happens every year at this time. It is a privilege for our school to be a part of it. 150 workers of all ages and former and current parents and students working alongside of each other chatting away and focussed on a common goal – sensational. Sincere thanks always to Ross and Jenny Savill for their organisation in what is a mammoth event
Year 12 academic and vocational performance 2020
There is just one word for this – outstanding.
A massive number of completed Certificates contributing big points towards students’ attainment of the Queensland Certificate of Education [QCE]
A large volume of students completing their school based traineeships and those close will do so in the early months of 2021
Of our 211 graduates, 35.5% were ATAR eligible i.e. 75 students and 67 of those 75 gave permission for their ATAR score to be shared with school staff. This new system requires students to give permission to share, or not as opposed to the previous system which automatically shared results with schools. Of those 67 students:
⦁ 22.3% scored an ATAR of 95 or above – therefore in the top 5% of Queensland
⦁ 35.8% scored an ATAR of 90 or above positioning them in the top 10% of Queensland
⦁ 46.2% scored an ATAR of 85 or above – therefore in the top 15% of Queensland
⦁ 55.2% scored an ATAR of 80 or above – top 20% in Queensland
⦁ 96.8% of our year 12s attained their QCE
In 2021 we have 235 Year 12 students of whom 79 are in ATAR-bound programs and of our Year 11 cohort of 306, 109 are currently ATAR eligible. I share these statistics to emphasise that there are so many ways for a young person to attain his/her goals and step seamlessly into the next phase of life. ATAR is but one of those methods. We love it when our students move from their work experience to school based traineeships [SATs] because, invariably, these SATs turn into fulltime apprenticeships and our young person is then away to happiness and success. Just last week in a panel of students and staff who shared their learnings from the last two years of the new ATAR experience with all of our Year 12s, we heard from one of our young ladies who changed all of her subjects throughout Year 11. She moved from ATAR to non-ATAR, enjoyed tremendous success [including attaining 29 QCE points when only 20 is the target] and now has enrolled to the bridging course at the University of Southern Queensland and will study primary teaching. So many ways to get where you want to go. We encourage every one of our Year 12 students to meet with one of our Guidance Officers early 2021 and again as needed. They are a great resource for our students and families
School Assessment Policy and Academic Integrity
Families, if not already, please read our Assessment Policy, underpinned by all tenets of the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority [QCAA] Assessment Policy, which binds your child to the conditions of his/her assessment conditions. I really do strongly recommend you becoming familiar with this in order to best support your child. It is very stringent in terms of attendance in classes, explaining that holidays are not permitted to be taken in school gazetted time as the student is not permitted to sit an assessment before or after time away – that sort of thing. The Policy is on our website located via https://centheigshs.eq.edu.au/our-school/rules-and-policies
Similarly, every Year 10 student is required to complete the course in academic integrity, ready for Years 11 and 12 and does so in a structured format at school. Any student joining our school in Year 11 completes the course early in that year. I strongly suggest you, as parent/carer, also complete this course. By no means is it onerous. It shows you clearly how you are permitted to assist your child and while you may wish to help your child, if you are helping too much, there is no question it will be to the detriment of your child as time goes on and their assessment circumstances do not permit any external assistance. You may access the course via https://centheigshs.eq.edu.au/curriculum/senior-school
Some operational information:
⦁ I have spoken at length this year with our students about our policy re the use of mobile phones. They know they are to be turned off [not on silent] and out of sight when walking between classes, in class, lining up for class, on our school oval. I have watched with interest the number of schools now that are going to a ‘no phone’ policy. My view is that we, together with our families, are in an ideal position to educate our youth on the respectful and ethical use of mobile phones and so withdrawal of the option to bring them to school is not conducive to that education. In recent times we have noticed the increasing pattern in class to use personal hotspot to access inappropriate content – through ensuring phones are off as opposed to silent we have enjoyed major success in stamping out that previously emerging pattern. Students currently have access to their phones in lunch breaks and there is no possibility of monitoring their use during that time. Again we continue to talk often about the ethical use of phones and trust that the same is happening in homes – with this collaborative approach, we hope to pass on the strong message around ethical use. Students understand that misuse of phones and/or deceit associated with misuse eg removing a sim card when required to submit a phone, submitting a substitute phone will be met with harsh sanction in accordance with our student code of conduct
⦁ Parent/Carer parking and pickup/drop off – please adhere strictly to the areas for pickup/drop off and do not park in areas that are not designated. Our shop owners value our neighbourly approach in many ways and request that people who park in their spaces are shoppers, not there to wait for pickup of their children. Any breach of road rules does indeed compromise the safety of our students – more paramount than ever as we do our best to exit safely the 1751 students at our main campus. At our Flexi School campus, there is no access to the public in the small carpark between our Flexi School buildings as student pedestrian traffic is regular through the day and at the end of a day. There are a number of pick up points around the campus and we ask that you arrange for your children to meet you there
Parents of our Year 11 students:
You will remember signing at Year 10 Senior Education and Training Plan [SETP] interviews late last year an understanding that, when you child reached Year 11, he/she could depart school at end Period 3 on Tuesdays and either go home to study, to the Town Library or remain at school and work under supervision within our own library. Our students understand they are not to go to local parks, sit at shops or go downtown. They are able to work more hours in a SAT if they wish provided they do not make it a regular thing as this time is time that staff may reclaim in any week. If students make a poor choice in this regard, the privilege is rescinded and the student remains at school for the full term.
Our Guidance Officer Catherine Andress, using our learnings from the last two years of the new ATAR system, has designed a program of support for our Year 11s new to the ATAR system. As such, all Year 11s are required to remain at school Tuesdays P4 in Term 2 on the following dates:
1. 20 April
2. 27 April [this is Cross Country and every CHSHS student is required to participate at the level of his/her choice. No sign out is permitted on this day]
3. 4 May
4. 25 May
5. 1 June [only students who have one or more General subjects in their course of learning]
6. 8 June [only students who have one or more General subjects in their course of learning]
7. 15 June [only students who have one or more General subjects in their course of learning]
Term 4 will also see students in various courses of learning required to remain Tuesdays P4 – for detail on both Term 2 and 4 requirements please see Catherine’s information on our website in the Senior School section.
My sincere thanks to our wonderful P and C for assisting, in a major way, with the refurbishment of one of our oldest blocks – J block. It has been fully repainted, recarpeted, sliding doors replaced and concertina door will be replaced at Easter.
Our P and C has kindly funded the $20000 to augment the number of lockers we have for our ever burgeoning student number and to cater to that, we are funding the construction of a new locker space to ensure congestion with students accessing their lockers remains minimal.
A sincere welcome to all of our new families to CHSHS. I do hope you enjoy the experience. Always your child’s Pastoral Care [PCG] teacher is a great point of contact for you as is your child’s Head of Year.
Principal's blog 9 December 2020
In recent weeks we have celebrated our students on Gold level in polished and warm ceremonies within our Caldwell Theatre. In the 15 months since our stunning theatre was handed over to us we have used it well however, in COVID-19 times, its use has been extreme and highly successful – one of many things to have come out of the adversity of COVID. To be able to stream live to our families and record and upload to YouTube and our website has received such a favourable response from our CHSHS community. Our students have loved the class and comfort of the venue and, given it is on school grounds, we have been able to follow such ceremonies with fun activities to further benefit students. This most recent Gold ceremony for Year 7 and 8 students was followed by dance in our adjacent hall. Students had the best time. In celebrating our students on Gold level we acknowledge their commitment over a lengthy time to being the best person and learner they can be. Sincere thanks to our Assistant Heads of Year of Years 7-10 who take such care to tend to every minute detail of the organisation associated with these ceremonies and to Mrs Susan Corbett who is herself ‘gold’ when it comes to the behind the scenes detail that is ever present at these events. I always say to our students to retain their Gold certificates in their resumes – it can be the difference between employers choosing to employ one young person over another
Congratulations to Year 10 student Ruixing Lin who has won the 2020 Premier’s Coding Challenge, an event attracting hundreds of entries across the state and organised by the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority [QCAA]. This is an amazing achievement. Ruixing’s entry was the creation of a website focussing on dealing effectively with cyberbullying. This is the first time in the long history of the Premier’s Coding Challenge that a student on the Darling Downs has won the competition. Ruixing was acknowledged through QCAA in an online Awards ceremony and received a beautifully framed certificate, a very expensive robotics kit and in 2021, Ruixing will link with a representative from either Apple or IBM to be mentored in his abilities
Earlier this term teachers Heidi Law and Mark Thomas, together with a number of our music and film students, released their video attributed to the life of Eurydice Dixon, a young woman whose life was tragically and violently taken in Melbourne in 2018. The words to the song were written by Anglican Bishop Cameron Venables and the arrangement written by the brilliant Harry Young, in Year 11 at Centenary Heights. Harry, with his peers and teachers, have worked on this video, across the faculties of Film/Media and Music, for a number of months now with the intent to create a student-powered message for society – violence against women has to stop and our community needs to take a stand on saying No to violence. The video was played at the recent White Ribbon Day Toowoomba acknowledgment and has been widely used in many factions of our local community as well as state-wide. In our school we focus significantly on the national scourge of domestic and family violence so that, through student-led awareness, we work together to build the self-esteem of our young men and women who will not go on in life to become either victims or perpetrators. Our students are wonderful with their engagement in this area. The video may be viewed on either YouTube or our website
Days and nights of celebration featured with our Year 12 Graduations and Formals with our Flexi School campus held on Thursday 19 November and mainstream campus Friday 20 November. Again our Caldwell Theatre was a perfect venue for the graduation ceremonies of our 236 graduates with the events streamed live into the homes and businesses of our families and uploaded for later viewing to YouTube and our website. Emotion was palpable as speakers captured the journey of the cohorts, Millie Carter, with teacher Julian Booth accompanying, and their rendition of ‘Simply the Best’ dedicated to Head of our Flexi School campus Linda Bourke, Head of Year Jodie Beauchamp’s outstanding speech, Head of Year Louise Willson’s idea to have families who wished to participate in sending messages of love through to their graduate children and when shown on screen, this was a real tear-jerker and the walkouts of both cohorts with teachers lining their exit from school and applauding their achievement. One could be excused from thinking that 2020 actually had COVID-19 in it because as students danced their respective nights away at the venues Gip’s and Picnic Point, there was nothing but sheer delight to witness. Sincere appreciation to our staff who organised the Formal and Graduation ceremonies – the highest of quality and precision. I make particular mention here of outgoing Assistant Head of Year 12 Tiff Beck – over a number of years now Tiff has overseen major Year 12 events with such fine attention to detail and strong communication with families – on behalf of our entire CHSHS community I thank her most sincerely. I thank also every one of our staff – teaching and non-teaching staff - who have walked alongside our graduates, not solely for the Year 12 year, but throughout their secondary schooling. With our families it is a real team effort to ride the crests and encourage through the tough times
For your enjoyment please go to our YouTube site or website and view our students and staff singing Christmas carols – each year our students and staff travel to local aged care homes to lift the spirits of our older generation. It is a delight to watch the significant positive effect our students have. No surprise that our Year 10, 11 and 12 students return to school to join the Christmas choir at the end of each year. This year given our students and staff, with COVID-19 restrictions, could not enter the care homes they banded together last week to create the video which was played in those homes at the time. A tremendous initiative by our staff and the most enjoyable of days for our students putting their performance together
If you feel inclined I invite you to join us at our annual working bee at school on Saturday 16 January 2021 from 6.30am to 12 midday. The day is always inspirational with near 150 people working through the school pruning, mowing, painting, weeding etc – our school has 19 hectares and, with 1.5 dedicated grounds staff, we could not hope to catch up after a long summer holiday and so this head start is unbelievably helpful. It is also an incredibly positive community exercise as former and current parents, students and staff work alongside each other coordinated by past parents Ross and Jenny Savill. Just come along with yourself and/or implements – there are even people who have not had an attachment to our school who just come along to lend a hand with friends – simply wonderful
Looking ahead to 2021 just a reminder for your calendars that students in Years 7, 8 and 12 resume school on Wednesday 27 January and students in 9, 10 and 11 join all of us on Thursday 28 January. Arrival time at school, as always, is no later than 8.30am and all students on their first day of return to school are required to be in full formal uniform
Very best wishes to you and family for this coming Christmas and holiday and my most sincere thanks to you for your support of myself and staff in the year 2020.
Principal's blog 27 October 2020
Our annual Awards Night presentation took place during the day Tuesday 20 October, and as previously advertised occurred in a Covid19 format and in our beautiful Caldwell theatre. To allow for overall numbers and social distancing as required, Junior Awards took place in the morning and Senior Awards in the afternoon. As always staff went to great lengths to ensure the ambience was special and the occasion memorable. For family viewing please go to any of the following:
Significant acknowledgment here to one of our computer technicians, Paul Sykes, so very talented in all things to do with sound and media. We are just so fortunate to have the quality of the Caldwell theatre now and Paul’s skills to maximise its use
Holiday jobs and careers in the Agriculture field
- much has been written and heard this year, again in a COVID-19 year, about the shortage of workers for farms that produce crops as overseas backpackers have not been permitted to enter Australia. Last week, after my consult with our Regional Development Authority [RDA] and representative from Growcom, Karen George, Karen facilitated the most brilliant presentation in our Caldwell theatre. This was focussed on school leavers who may consider working on farms, picking crops etc as work during extended school holidays possibly before taking up tertiary study or work. Certainly the thought is that it might not be a one-off arrangement as such work would be available all year round – a great way to earn and save. Students and staff were so impressed. The presentation also covered a huge breadth of long term career opportunities – a super flier titled ‘Gap Year opportunities for school leavers’ is located on our website – pathway – Forms and Documents, Senior School.
The presentation was filmed and again, a link will be sent home to you in the coming weeks. I strongly recommend its viewing to you
Year 12 Formal – a reminder that we are required to comply with the venue’s [Picnic Point] COVID Safe plan. It is so important that nothing jeopardises this event going ahead. Students only attend along with a small number of supervising staff. Please take photos at home or local areas beforehand as there will not be an opportunity for photos at the venue – certainly photos of students may be taken inside the venue by the official photographer. On the night, students will arrive at the exact entrance to the venue and walk immediately into the venue. As with other Toowoomba schools’ Formals in this Covid19 year, police and security personnel have been engaged to ensure that people do not gather around the venue. We really appreciate your understanding with these arrangements. It is great we are able to hold such an event as many schools this year have not been able to hold their Formals
Congratulations to our 2020 Mayoral Award recipients – Year 12 students Grace Callow, Jared Fein and Tarence Holley. This ceremony took place last week at the Highfields Cultural Centre. It is organised and sponsored by Toowoomba Regional Council and acknowledges students who have risen above very difficult personal circumstances to achieve to the best of their ability. All schools in Toowoomba are invited to nominate from their schools. This year, again in Covid19 times, the primary school presentation took place late afternoon and senior presentation early evening – such a wonderful experience for students and families
Year 12 Walkout event – this occurred last week and is an annual occasion for us where all Year 12 students walk out of a final parade to the sustained applause of the entire school of students and staff lined across both sides of walkways and access road. It is quite the emotional experience for our 12s as 1700 students and many staff in these lines takes a while to walk. The replica experience occurs each year at our Flexi School campus – this is a great way for our students and staff to show gratitude and acknowledgment to our most senior students
All classrooms air-conditioned to return to school in 2021 – as part of the State Government’s Cooler Schools program, every one of our classrooms will be air-conditioned to begin 2021. This work begins on Thursday 10 December this year – a massive job but will be a wonderful outcome for our students and staff
Departure of the Office Manager at our Flexi School campus, Nicole Atkinson – Nicole has been beyond amazing for 5 years in this role and, for one so young, her capacity with people and systems is incredible. She will be so missed for the person and professional she is but we wish her well in her new job. Coming in to the role is Julie-Ann Whittaker who is equally delightful and capable – she is already loving the work and the people
Families of our Year 12 students – if your child studies a General subject, you will be interested to read a factsheet on our website on the procedures that the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority [QCAA] will use to calculate students’ final subject results in General subjects. On our website go to Curriculum Senior School
Great response to Parent/Student/Teacher mainstream campus interviews last week – 620 interviews were held. Sincere thanks to our teaching staff for their own time and preparation for these interviews and to our families for their commitment to this feedback process. So very important
World Teachers’ Day Friday 30 October – I am always so impressed by our teachers’ commitment to their own learning. All of us understand to deliver best to the wide variety of learning styles of our students we need to keep learning. I acknowledge our staff to you
A reminder that this year school finishes for the year ie for our remaining students in Years 7, 8 and 9 on Wednesday 9 December. All students in these year levels are required to be in attendance through to end Wednesday 9 December.
Principal's blog 3 August 2020
Acknowledgment to Hutchinson Builders – on 24 July, at the Downs and Western Queensland Master Builders Awards, Hutchinson Builders collected two awards related to their magnificent work on our Caldwell Performing Arts Centre – 2020 Project of the Year and the Education Facilities Award for Projects up to 10 million dollars. Judges’ comments: ‘an incredible amount of detail contained within this impressive building makes this entry stand out. A modern tech-savvy project. A great design and the quality, second to none.’ We moved into our Caldwell building in August 2019 and the capacity for student and staff learning within such a wonderful facility has been amazing
4 year School Review – our four reviewers completed their four days with us on 23 July. My sincere thanks to many of you as parents/carers who gave of your time as the reviewers randomly contacted many of you to gauge your experience with CHSHS. The work of the reviewers was, to use the best description, forensic. They were out and about in classrooms and the yard at both our main and Flexi School campuses, speaking with students and teaching and non-teaching staff, after and before school speaking with community people right through from our Mayor Paul Antonio to multiple employers of our school-based trainee students. No stone was unturned in an effort to find out about the quality of education delivered at CHSHS and its standing within the Toowoomba community and state-wide
The report from this review will come to me by the end of August and will be posted on our website for all to read. The full report will be approximately 38 pages in length and there will also be an Executive Summary which, while much shorter in length, will capture both the commendations and recommendations for consideration. Suffice to say the report reflects extremely positively. As with all reviews there are two ‘best parts’ – taking real note of the many reasons to celebrate what goes on at CHSHS and taking similar note of the benefit of ‘fresh eyes’ on an organisation to invite us to consider what might make our place even stronger. We will be giving very good attention to both. I invite you to read the report once posted
Change of arrangements, as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, for our large school events in Semester 2:
1. Year 12 mainstream Formal Friday 20 November – at this stage, this event is going ahead and will be solely a dinner for our graduates. Covid19 restrictions mean that our venue Picnic Point [which has a Covid-safe plan] is limited to a current capacity of 250. This number will just cover the number of graduates. There will not be a pre-formal function for families, given the importance of social distance. Dancing is not permitted and arrivals of graduates will be very low-key to avoid compromising restrictions, ie when graduates arrive, they will disembark in an area close to the dinner area and move straight from the car into the enclosed room. Official photos will be taken inside the Picnic Point venue. To avoid the gathering of people at arrivals, security staff will ensure a significant distance from the students.
What is important here is for our students to understand there was a time, not that long ago, where we did not think any such occasion could be held such was the state of the nation amidst Covid19 restrictions. In fact graduates at a number of Toowoomba schools have missed out altogether on a Formal. It is great that we can, at this stage, have an occasion where students are able to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company. Our suggestion is, because there will be no capacity to take photos at the venue, that you take photos of your child at home. I ask also that you discourage any people from attending the arrivals – as I say, it will be very much a cordoned off area to public and students will be whisked away immediately into the venue itself
2. Year 12 Flexi School Formal Wednesday 18 November – this event is also going ahead at the venue, Gip’s restaurant [also with a Covid-safe plan]. Again, there will be security staff enforcing the cordoned-off area for arrivals and arriving graduates will enter the venue immediately on arrival. Official photos will be taken inside the venue so encouragement is again given to take any family photos at home beforehand
3. Awards Night [mainstream] Tuesday 20 October [students only] - our regular venue Hume Ridge, the only one in Toowoomba to hold our school size, is not in a position to accept our attendee numbers given Covid19 restrictions and so this year our Awards will be divided into two events to be held at our own Caldwell Theatre. We are just so fortunate to have a facility of such high quality to ensure that our students enjoy a special experience. The seating capacity is 288 and so, on 20 October, we will have the Junior Awards morning from 9.30am to 11.00am followed by the Senior Awards afternoon from 12.30pm-2.00pm. There will be just sufficient capacity for students and so, to ensure family members do not miss out, the events will be recorded and posted to YouTube and our website so families will be able to view at their leisure. Our Caldwell Theatre has exceptionally high level recording equipment and so the quality of film will be excellent. A great suggestion from one of our staff was for the immediate and extended family perhaps to gather at the home on the night of Awards, share a meal and then sit and watch the ceremony
4. Awards Day and Year 12 Graduation [our Flexi School students] Wednesday 18 November – venue will also be at the Caldwell Theatre with a 10.00am start and 12 midday finish. Specific details will be provided this term
5. Year 12 mainstream Graduation Friday 20 November – again, not our usual venue Hume Ridge but at our own Caldwell Theatre with students only in attendance. This event will also be recorded and posted to YouTube and our website for families to watch at their leisure
6. School Social – this event, run every year so very well by our Year 11 student leaders, has been cancelled as, under Covid19 restrictions, dancing is not permitted
7. Gold Level ceremonies will be held in the Caldwell Theatre – students only:
⦁ Years 7 and 8 – Monday 7 December 2020 from 9.30am -11.30am
⦁ Years 9 and 10 – Thursday 26 November from 9.30am – 11.30am
Once again, these events will be recorded and posted to YouTube and our website for families to view at their leisure
Parent/Carers of Year 12 students – requirement for every day attendance of all Year 12 students, across both campuses, in the first three weeks of Term 4 – it is a government requirement for every Year 12 student to be in full attendance in all timetabled classes from Tuesday 6 October through to Friday 23 October inclusive. Students should continue to attend their usual TAFE and/or school-based traineeship days during that three weeks and teaching and learning will continue in all subjects. Students have been counselled that, in the case of subject assessment being completed, they are still required to attend every day and participate in the learning organised by their Heads of Department and teachers. Students’ invitations to the Formal are based on the integrity around exemplary attendance, behaviour and work ethic and it is imperative that students do nothing to cause that invitation to be rescinded during that three weeks such as missing any of these last days of schooling. Provision of a medical certificate is the only acceptable support for absence during this time
The beginning of the exam block is Monday 26 October. It goes for 17 days and students with exams in the block are required to be present
Parents/Carers of Year 10 students – re subject selections for Year 11 and pre-requisites:
In usual times we would host a night in August attended by each and every one of our mainstream Year 10 students and at least one parent/carer with the aim being to brief all about what is now happening in Years 11 and 12. Given Covid19 restrictions we will not host the event this year rather our staff have been toiling away filming small segments to be posted to our website for you to view at your leisure. More information will come shortly from Deputy Principals Will Curthoys and Alisa McErlean but I emphasise the importance of you viewing these small segments with your child. Years 11 and 12 is an entire new world and one, as parent/carer, you will need to understand to best guide your child. You will see, in these small segments, some of our current Year 12 and 11 students filmed and speaking about their experience in subject selection – how they got it right and how they got it wrong. A really good look. Our students understand that some subjects will not be available to them unless they reach a certain pre-requisite level in Year 10 and this is designed to ensure they do not continue to miss out on success
Athletics Carnival – the afternoon of Tuesday 4 August and all day Wednesday 5 August. Our students understand the manner in which they respect the massive efforts of Carnival Coordinators Frank Dowling and Chrissie Bartlett along with our student Sport Captains and Vice Captains is to be in attendance on these occasions. They also understand I do not permit absence for any reason other than medically supported [certificate]. Each year, at the start of the year, I write to all of our school- based trainee employers and TAFE personnel to confirm carnival days are days where our students will be nowhere else other than at school. The days are arranged to ensure there is fun for everyone and challenge for those competitively aligned. It really is something special to see our oval stand and oval banks full and cheering. Reality is that some parents, and thankfully at our school this is a very rare occurrence, may be faced with a comment such as ‘I don’t have to go to school today – can I go to my friend’s place or can I stay home and study’ – you now know that absence is not permitted
School Magazine/Yearbook - While this year will not have the usual breadth of events in which students have participated, so much energy has gone into constructing other content that you will just love and certainly showcases students and activities within our school. For the price of $30 I urge you not to miss out on our Yearbook in a Covid19 year – I promise you, you and your children in years to come will pull this item out of a drawer or shed and sit and pore over it like it was yesterday. We only print a certain amount and so please take the opportunity to call our Textbook Office on 46367576 or 46367508 and order one to avoid missing out
Parents/Carers whose children travel on Bus Qld 331 – we have received information from Bus Qld that some of our students are in danger of being suspended from bus travel as a result of failing to heed warnings to remain seated throughout the duration of their travel especially as the bus travels up and down the range and keeping seat belts on. The bus company staff will have contacted parents/carers as well and so I urge you to affirm with children the importance of safe practice so as to not jeopardise the safety of themselves and other travellers. It will pose a significant inconvenience if parents/carers are required to transport their children to school as a result of being suspended from bus travel. These staff also highlight the increasing unsafe practice of students who have hopped off the bus in the afternoon in Withcott and race across the highway thereby putting themselves at risk – again, please emphasise safety at all costs
Annual School Opinion Survey – many thanks to our 345 parents/carers who were able to give time to completion of this year’s survey. All such feedback is gratefully received and is analysed to ensure we are on the right track with what we offer up at our fine school
My leave - I will be on leave from Thursday 30 July to Friday 11 September inclusive. In that time Darren Cook, Principal Lockyer District State High School, has been good enough to commit to working as Principal in our great school. I know he will very much enjoy working with our wide school community
Very best wishes.
Principal's blog 13 July 2020
Our annual big functions – Awards Night, Year 12 Graduations [our mainstream and Flexi School campuses] and Year 12 Formals [our mainstream and Flexi School campuses]:
At this stage we retain our usual venues and formats for these large celebrations. Covid19 and social distance restrictions may have some impact on the format and so relevant school staff and I meet shortly to construct what a ‘Plan B’ might look like if those social distance restrictions are still in place when we come closer to the time of each event. An example – HumeRidge, the venue for our mainstream campus Awards Night, holds a capacity of 1470 people. As of 3 July such auditoriums were permitted to hold 50% of the maximum figure ie 735. Our usual student number receiving awards on the night is 350. The balance of space would not permit our usual extremely large crowd of family members to fit and so we may decide to bring the event back to our own Caldwell theatre, film the proceedings and load to Youtube and our own website so that families might still see the entire event. If ‘Plan B’ does have to eventuate, in the case of each of these events, we will ensure our students are celebrated and that families are able to participate in some way
Parents of Year 12 students:
- looking ahead to Term 4 and coming to the end of the first year of Year 12 under the ATAR system, all Year 12 students will cease lessons and regular attendance at school as at close of business Friday 23 October. Monday 26 October will see Day 1 of the beginning of the 17 day external exam block across all schools and sectors in the state. This means Year 12 students only attend school on the days, and at the times, they have scheduled exams as per the exam timetable – the timetable is on our school website and all students will have their own copy. The timetable will be in the Senior School section of our website and also in Quick links on the front page. The last day of the exam timetable is Tuesday 17 November
- the exam block will be held at our Flexi campus for our Flexi School students and at the main campus for our mainstream Year 12 students. Main campus students, as always, are required to wear correct school uniform
- It is imperative that the time between exams is spent with focussed study at home in preparation for these exams
- From Day 1 Term 4, new work will not be taught to Year 12 students. All teaching will have finished as at the end of Term 3. Part of the structure for the Year 12s at the end of Term 3 is to participate in mock exams. Not every subject requires a mock exam but for those subjects with a mock exam, what it does is highlight for teachers the areas on which to focus once Term 4 begins – teachers will be using a tutorial form of delivery with their respective classes in Term 4 for those first three weeks of the term before lessons finish and the exam block begins – as I say, no new work rather the focus will be on the gaps that have been identified by the mock exams
- Once the external exam block is over, all Year 12 students will be required to be in attendance at school for all of Wednesday 18 November and part of Thursday 19 November. It is a government requirement for Year 12 students to be in attendance on these days. The program for these days for both Flexi and main campuses will be on display on the respective websites – again, students will have their own copy
We welcome new staff:
- Mrs Karina Hepner in the areas of Humanities and English
- Mrs Bronwen Mowbray to the role of Head of Department Performing Arts
- Ms Ronda Mattarollo – into our Special Education Unit
- Mrs Samantha Taylor – in the area of Mathematics
Great community support from our students:
- Late in Term 2, 19 of our students participated in the Shave for a Cure initiative with an incredible amount of $11055.24 being raised to address research into a cure for leukaemia
- Year 12 student Chloe Mitchell, in line with our whole school focus on awareness of domestic and family violence and the intent that our youth do not, in later life, become perpetrators or victims, came up with the excellent idea of installing a Red Bench at both our Flexi School and main campuses. The bench is the overt symbol of the wonderful work of the Red Rose Foundation – I suggest you look it up on the internet – very impressive. Chloe decided to fund the plaques for both benches from her own money – another great example of giving
4 year School Review:
- As mentioned in our most recent Newsletter, from Monday 20 to Thursday 24 July inclusive, Principals from four other schools throughout the State and an external reviewer will walk and talk through both of our campuses with the express purpose of celebrating what is done well and making recommendations for future. Every state school in Queensland is required to have such a review and every four years. An excellent process with students, staff and wider community
Parents of Year 7 students:
- Each year our student leadership group organises and runs the most successful of school socials. The date this year is Thursday 22 October. It is run out of our school hall and is a function open to CHSHS students only. Our staff closely supervise the event which starts at 6pm and finishes by 9.30pm. Entry fee is $5.00 which may be paid beforehand at our Textbook office or on the night and entry is by presentation of current student ID card. No card, no entry. Our students have a fabulous time on the night and so I flag this with the parents of our Year 7 students early because it is the first of such socials for our youngest students. Our student leadership body runs this event right from budget to decorations, to liaising with our DJ Chappy Jason, to ensuring sufficient teacher supervision is in place – it is a wonderful exercise in leadership. Please discuss with your child as our student leaders begin to promote this activity this term in readiness for the start of Term 4
2021 student leader application process
The applications for student leader roles became available from Week 10 of Term 2 ie Monday 22 June. Applications close Friday 24 July. I always encourage our students to ‘have a go’ and not think that such a leader role is beyond them. The process is up on our website for you to see – please encourage your child – roles are filled by students in Years 12, 11 and 9 in 2021
Principal's blog 26 June 2020
We farewell a number of quality people and teachers at our school:
Julie Nobbs has been our wonderful long standing Head of Special Education. Her knowledge of disability policy, advocacy for students with disability, support and guidance of our students’ families and leadership of an outstanding team of teacher aides and teachers within our very large Special Education Unit has been just fantastic. Julie will begin the next step of her journey with 12 months’ leave. She will be very missed. Rachael Mayers, our former excellent Learning Support Coordinator, comes into the role as Head of Special Education and comes with a wealth of experience and knowledge around student learning needs and shares the same strong beliefs of Julie and our school – that our role as a school is to open doors to a successful and happy future. Rachael will be great and so well supported by our Unit team. Bec Hefron, another of our high quality teachers and very well versed in student learning needs, moves into the role of Learning Support Coordinator. Bec will love the role and we will love her in the role
Kylie Schwerin, a superb teacher within our Special Education Unit, is heading overseas to teach for two years and is both excited for this journey and beyond sad to leave our great school, her friends, colleagues and students. Kylie is a master teacher and has engendered such outstanding outcomes with her students over her 12 years with us. I have always loved watching her work and the relationships she has always built with her students. No question she will be a great loss to our staff at the same time she knows the door is always open should she return to Australia. Ronda Mattarollo joins us on staff and our Unit staff and myself, having met her and been privy to the esteem in which she is held by her former colleagues and supervisors, believe she will fit in very well to our school ethos
Amy McAleer, our Head of Performing Arts for the past four years has been successful in applying for a Deputy Principal role for the next 12 months at Woodcrest College in Springfield. This is a wonderful step for Amy. I enjoy very much when our staff gain opportunities to move into the next phase of a desired career journey. Amy has been instrumental in positioning our school in the wider realm of Performing Arts, both in Toowoomba and Brisbane, none the least being our students’ regular experiences as members of the annual Creative Generation team. While Covid19 disrupted this years’ CGen, it will come back bigger and better than ever and I strongly recommend you attend in Brisbane when it does. I am ever glad Amy introduced our school, and in turn me, to this incredible experience. Students and families are the absolute winners out of this. Bronwen Mowbray, a current member of our staff and substantive Head of Department, will take on the role of Head of Performing Arts and, like Julie, will be so well supported by an experienced and dedicated team
Michael Simpson, while only with us for a period of six months, has had a remarkable effect with his students and we, his colleagues. Michael, as recently as the last day, has accepted a position as Assistant Principal at Assumption College in Warwick. Like Amy, he follows his dream. Michael is a master teacher in the field of Maths, so very knowledgeable and has the essential ingredient of the very best of teaching ie he is able to connect so very well with the full range of learners in his classroom. I have to admit I was looking forward to having Michael with us for a longer period of time such is the quality of the person and educator but as he and I have discussed, when opportunity comes, you take it
Teachers Samantha Taylor [Maths] and Karina Hepner [Humanities/English] join us to start Semester 2. Both come highly recommended and we look forward to welcoming them
During this past term we have welcomed and enjoyed the benefit of new staff members working within our school and especially with our students for whom English is a second language – Shireen Ali, as Cultural Worker, Hawa Bahedh as a teacher aide in learning support and also as a bilingual aide, and teacher Rong Zeng. With 47 spoken languages in our school, the largest in Queensland, these good people have made a world of difference to our students and staff
As usual over these school holidays we will see significant facilities’ refurbishment and enhancement in support of our students and staff:
- Our pool undergoes a full refurbishment of male and female amenities to the value of $69000. We thank our superb P and C yet again for their major support with this
- Our grounds shed and additional water tank will be fully constructed by the end of these holidays - $66000 – again, our P and C weaves its magic
- G Block male student amenities will be stripped back and repainted to counter an ongoing issue - $2000
- Repairs to our tennis court and perimeter fencing will occur these holidays and in September holidays, a restructure of our bike corral fencing - $3100
- Establishment of a Head of Department office in G Block - $3900
- Our recently installed solar system [303 panels] is being connected to the grid with a cage being installed for solar connections
- Installation continues of LED lighting to virtually all of our school buildings – 573 tubes and 57 lighting fixtures
- The air-conditioning of all classrooms will occur from November 2020 and throughout the December/January holidays – a massive task
- Our next big work moving into 2021 is a full wireless and phone upgrade – not cheap! But we are saving progressively to attaining this goal
Parent/Student/Teacher interviews – Covid19 has disrupted the usual flow of these opportunities and so, where we would have normally scheduled the second round of these interviews for the year in the early weeks of Term 3, we are rescheduling them to Week 3 of Term 4. More detail will come in Term 3 however it is our hope that, by then, our teachers will be able to meet with our families face to face
Report cards for this most recent period of learning will be uploaded to QParents for your download Friday 26 June
A reminder of the first full formal day for our students in Term 3 – Friday 17 July
We do not need to look too far for goodness and kindness both within our school and wider community
- Toowoomba Rotary, the foundation Rotary Club in Toowoomba, recently gifted 2 new laptops to two of our Yazidi refugee students. Representative, and former parent and P and C Executive member on Centenary Heights P and C, Steve Wilson came to school to meet the girls and their mother and to officially present the laptops. I speak at a large number of venues throughout each year and my topics are both broadly education centred as well as contextualised to our CHSHS mainstream and Flexi School campuses – without exception, community goodwill comes from these experiences and this is yet another example of the kindness of our Toowoomba community. These holidays, on behalf of our school, I will repay the favour to Toowoomba Rotary with time with their members
- Toowoomba City Rotary will have their weekly meeting and meal, hopefully as soon as Covid19 restrictions are lifted, at our Flexi School campus where they will be treated to a fine lunch prepared by our Hospitality students and staff – our Hospitality team has quite the wealth of experience now in running functions – really great groundwork for our students going forward
- Last Friday I spent significant time with my wonderful colleagues at Pure Land Learning College finalising our next school partnership with them. Pure Land are known in Toowoomba and world-wide for their stellar work in spreading peace through the community and their sponsorship of programs to benefit youth. In the past they have financed computers for our Flexi School campus, sponsored financial scholarships for our students whose personal circumstances are incredibly difficult and coached our CHSHS youth to present at Australian and world Peace conferences. One of our current students Connie Qu is involved in one such experience this year
- The University of Southern Queensland [USQ] runs annual food and clothing drives for our students and families in need
- Perhaps one of the most recent kindnesses that has resonated with me strongly is when one of our neighbours contacted me to say that, one cold morning, as she [an older lady] struggled to wheel her garbage bins to the kerb, two of our boys walking to school stopped, greeted her 'Good Morning' and they took her bins to the kerb for her – I love that!
We have an incredibly long list of community partners which would take up a lengthy communique here – suffice to say that, in Toowoomba, one only has to look and knock on a few doors and the goodness comes
My personal thanks to the myriad of our families who have taken the time to communicate their congratulations on the awarding of an OAM to me. I am not in the practice of speaking about myself, I would much rather espouse the great work of our students and staff. On this occasion though, over time, I will be responding to each and every one of you personally, given you have taken the time to share your kind words with me
Principal's blog 3 June 2020
Friday 22 May was annual P and C Day. It was a delight for the junior Captains and Vice Captains to come out of their last day of quarantine to join me as we drove to the homes and workplaces of our wonderful P and C Executive members to offer them a small token of our appreciation for the commitment they afford our school. As works progress along nicely on the building of our new Grounds shed – funded by our P and C at a cost of $58000 – Executive members were good enough to meet with me the other week at our Pool to view the extensive refurbishment required in the Amenities areas. I am very grateful that, at our upcoming P and C meeting, we will discuss an opportunity to help out there
I commend the work of our Flexi School campus staff to our Centenary Heights SHS community. Through these Covid19 times, our staff, apart from tending to their work of teaching online, have worked well to cook and deliver meals to many of our families who have been adversely affected by the necessary restrictions in place. There is no question the families have appreciated this gesture which at the same time models to our students that care can, and should, take many forms
Term 2 report cards – each term our teachers allocate ratings for Effort, Behaviour and Homework. This term has been different to say the least. The Term 2 report card will encompass a rating for these three areas and will take into account each student’s application for the first five weeks which was online engagement and this last five weeks. In the vast main, our students across both of our campuses engaged exceptionally well with their teachers online – where they did not understand they would email and teachers would clarify. The Collaboration space in Class One Note has been rated highly by our students and our staff. Shortly, all of our students will be electronically surveyed as to their experience online and what they may wish to keep as part of our teacher/student practice moving forward. Seeking student feedback is a large part of our practice at CHSHS
Please see below the dates of the next round of report cards for each year level being loaded to Q Parents. As always you will receive an email notifying you of the upload so you may access your child’s report:
Year 7 – Friday 26 June
Year 8 – Friday 26 June
Year 9 – Friday 26 June
Year 10 – Friday 26 June
Year 11 – Friday 5 June
Year 12 – Friday 26 June
Speaking of Q Parents – families, you have been great in your sign up to this functionality – we are nearing 98% now. Great to constantly hear the feedback from so many of our families as to how much they appreciate what Q Parents offers them
Annual School Magazine – orders are being taken now. Cost is $30 if ordered before 30 October and $35 afterward. It is such a fine product, wonderful quality and full of the works and activities of our students. Indeed, in a year thus far where many of the usual student activities have had to be cancelled or rescheduled, the Magazine will still be showcasing much of our year at CHSHS. The magazine is a ‘treasure’ from which you and your children will gain great joy as the years unfold. Call our Textbook Office on 46367576 to place your order
- works have been finalised at the main campus with 303 solar panels being installed on the top of W and E blocks
- air-conditioning of all classrooms has been confirmed to take place and my hope is that will occur this June/July holidays
- as mentioned above the Grounds shed is nearing completion and we are looking ahead to major refurbishment with our Pool amenities areas
- this term has seen the refurbishment of one of our classrooms at our Flexi campus – a revamped structure and new furniture to promote learning. It looks great!
My thanks to our families for the care you are taking when driving in the area of our school campuses. This term, given the volume of student and staff pedestrian traffic during a working day between our two buildings and the need to ensure safety for all we have had to close off the carpark [which is the thoroughfare] to all public. I am in the process of negotiating with Toowoomba Council a pick up/drop off area. At the main campus I note a very much increased number of our families making arrangements to pick up children at the end of a school day in streets away from our school campus. This has been a great change. The congestion around our school is dense at the end of a day and I very much encourage parents and their children to meet each other in outlying streets. On four out of five days a week we have 1690 students exiting the school at 3pm and so it makes sense to decentralise the pick-up. Parents/Carers picking up at the South street 2 minute pick-up/drop off area, you will see, with the knowledge of Toowoomba Road Police, that we have marking hats out defining the signed No Parking area – again, my thanks for observing this space. The days where drivers have partly nosed their cars into the pick-up area to then have the rear of the car jutting out in the main road thoroughfare thereby banking up traffic have gone thank goodness. I am always conscious of safety more than ever at exit time and similarly conscious of driver behaviour given impressionable young eyes are watching
Awareness of the scourge of domestic and family violence – this last week we enjoyed very much a panel of experts who work in this field. The panel were responding to questions devised by our student leader group and this presentation was streamed to the rooms of all of our Year 11 and 12 students. At our school, this is one of a number of social issues about which we raise awareness. We are conscious that just under 10% of our student population live in violence and we are wanting our students to know that there is no shame in that rather that, to share with our staff means we are able to support them emotionally. The phrase that our students have started to promote is ‘this is not normal’. We also work to ensure that our young people growing up understand this issue well enough to best ensure they do not become victims or perpetrators in later life. The session was exceptionally well chaired by student leaders Hayden Jago and Ashdyn Lance. If you wish to view the presentation it is on our website.
Term 3 Parent/Student/Teacher interviews – these are routinely planned every year to occur in the early weeks of Term 3. Given it is likely that social distance restrictions will still be in place, we are deferring these interviews to a time in early Term 4. The hope is that, by then, we will be able to sit together ie parent, student and teacher. Deputy Principal Mick Floyd will be in touch with changed arrangements
4 Year School Review – our four-year review will take place in Week 2 of Term 3 ie Monday 20 - Thursday 23 July inclusive. A number of school principals, trained in the review structure, ‘live’ with us on site for these four days and thoroughly check through all of our procedures and processes as well as liaise with a wide variety of school stakeholders inclusive of our P and C Executive. In my view it is so important to have ‘fresh eyes’ on an organisation and we very much welcome such scrutiny
Principal's blog 3 April 2020
Well – what a Term!
Parents of Year 7-11 students inclusive – you will receive an email today 3 April advising that your child’s Term 1 report card has been loaded to QParents. Please download it and discuss with your child. You will see communication early Term 2 coming either from me, Heads of Year, Deputy Principals seeking to arrange a meeting [socially distanced] or phone interview in company with your child if the application to learning and/or attendance at school has not been as required. These are always great interviews as we work together to ensure your child and our student is the best person and learner possible. If not yet on QParents, and 92% of our families are, please contact our school office on 4636 7500 and one of our staff will walk you through the process – so easy
As with everyone else I have no idea what circumstances with Covid19 will look like after the holidays. We are well set up for online learning. All of our staff, as I have previously communicated, will be using the platform our students know and understand ie Class One Note. It is imperative that we use only the one platform so families are not confused and are able to best assist your child while learning from home. I advise you strongly to set a structure each school day for your child, monitor that structure and continually ask to see what has been achieved. Our staff will be working a normal school day in terms of hours and will of course take their breaks as required. Given that any number of a teacher’s usual 125 students [5 classes] may wish to ask questions online of a teacher at any time, I advise that our teachers will aim at a 24 hour turnaround in terms of providing answers to questions. If earlier, that is great but this remote learning arrangement has to work effectively for both teachers and students
Great work with facilities happening over the holidays – the earthworks and shed construction will happen for our new grounds shed – many thanks to our hard working P and C for this finance. The shed will then house new and high-tech grounds equipment purchased by our school – so very important given our staff care for 19 hectares of undulating area. At the same time, solar panels are being installed on top of E and W blocks making us more energy-efficient and reducing our Utilities bills. Due to this work, the access road from Lindgren Street to W block will be closed from Monday 6 April to Friday 24 April inclusive
Please be aware that our pool is closed for the foreseeable future and our Hall is closed to external bookings for the time being. Our external tennis and basketball courts are not open for public use as requested by our employer the Department of Education and the rationale behind this is to ensure gatherings of more than 2 people are avoided
School will resume on Monday 20 April. Have the best holiday with your family. Again, I thank you sincerely for the respectful and caring manner in which you have interacted with our staff, both non-teaching and teaching, as we navigate uncertain times. Your patience and kindness is greatly appreciated
Principal's blog 30 March 2020
My first item is to congratulate all of our year 12 families and our year 12 students – last Friday all except 5 of our year 12 students were present in their exam block – and those 5 were all legitimately absent. I expect the same on Monday 30 March with the next exam block day – why is this so crucial? With the still relatively new ATAR system, students are judged on 3 x what are called Internal assessments [the acronym is IA1, 2, 3]. Towards the end of year 12, students then have a 17 day exam block where they sit external exams. I will write to you more about this to start term 2. Last week our governing curriculum body in Queensland, the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority [QCAA], advised that, in light of the disruption to learning caused by Covid19, one of the 3 Internal assessments would ‘drop off’. This is a very good concession for all year 12s in Queensland as, without the assurance of the very best instruction ie face to face learning with the teachers who know them best, the pressure on young people would be enormous. Our year 12s, as of tomorrow, will have now completed 2 of those 3 Internal assessments and ‘banked’ those results. This is such a good position for them. It takes significant pressure from students. So well done to our students and families – we know through the Chief Medical Officer that it is safe to be at school and you have responded so very well.
Before the Prime Minister’s address on Sunday 22 March, our school attendance was exceptional – we routinely enjoy an average daily attendance of 93%. This is one of the ‘secrets’ of our sustained success at CHSHS – massive emphasis and expectation is placed on students attending every day to best learn. Even with Covid19, our attendance for the week 16-20 March was 85%. From 23-27 March attendance declined significantly - 76%, 62%, 33%, Show holiday then 27%. This means, in times of ongoing Covid19, as our families make the choice to self-isolate their children the responsibility for education falls to them. To that end, we are making every attempt to assist families to ensure their children are not only accessing their learning but equipping families with the knowledge to monitor such learning.
Our staff this week, having just come out of a huge week of marking and reporting on assessment, will focus over this round of student free days on ensuring their connection with our students and families in the delivery of online learning is the very best it can be. Our teachers, as a matter of course, virus or no virus, post their lessons online for our students to access. They do this because we, as a very successful vocational and academic school, have students who are away in their school based traineeships one or two days a week and/or at TAFE one day a week, and students are required to access those lesson notes to ensure they are not behind when they are next in class. This week will be about further enhancing that access so that you, as parents/carers, are able to monitor your child’s learning very closely. As per my most recent email to our families, I confirm that we will keep our platform for online delivery consistent and simple – our students know that their lesson notes will be on their teachers’ Class One Note. Students know how to access this – I encourage you to familiarise yourselves as families with this – instructions are on our website under Curriculum/Accessing One Note. Again, I emphasise the importance of structure in your child’s weeks of learning – diary, timetable, assessment planner, regular breaks to maximise productivity, your process of checking that work has been completed. Just recently I was listening to a podcast of a parent who, for 11 years, had home schooled her children given their family property was so far from a town and hence too difficult for the children to physically attend school – her process was amazing.
Now to chat about topics that are not Covid19:
Our school is soon to benefit from the Queensland Government’s Cooler Cleaner Schools program which means all of our remaining classrooms will be fitted with reverse cycle air conditioning. Over the years we have saved to air condition a number of our classrooms beginning with all classrooms providing learning to our students with a disability. Our P and C has been so supportive in, last year, committing $44000 to air condition our Library. This made a massive difference for our students and staff. We will be so grateful for all classrooms being brought into line. At the same time we will also benefit from the Queensland government’s solar panel focus – so much is to be gained with clean energy and, with the addition to comfort in classrooms, our power bill will be contained
Are you aware of the App Tik Tok? It is immensely popular with children aged in the junior secondary years and younger. You will see on our website under ‘Parent Resources’ some reading that serves to inform you. I strongly suggest you familiarise yourselves with this and monitor with your child.
I will no doubt be back in touch following this week.
Principal's blog 3 March 2020
As at end Week 5 2020 our student numbers are very large – we are at a total of 1734 across both of our campuses Flexi School and mainstream. Add 252 staff to the mix and we have a mini-city! Our diversity is a daily joy and strength – 60 nationalities, 44 spoken languages, 346 students in need of learning support, 146 students with verified disability, 296 students for whom English is a second language. What is inspirational is the ability of our teachers and non-teaching staff to know the child and know the learner and, in doing so, eke out the very best of students’ effort and engagement. The end of 2019 saw the most amazing results from our Year 12s both academically and vocationally to again position CHSHS in the top 5% of Queensland secondary schools, across independent, state and catholic sectors. A mighty performance.
My sincere thanks to our families in your response to our Lockdown on 14 February. Your response was one of calm and trust which is exactly what is needed in such situations. Our staff were exceptional in following practised processes and the compliance of our students, simply wonderful. In the case of a lockdown where I receive notice from our Police, understandably they have no time to give specific information nor do I distract them from their work by asking. Quite rightly I just follow their instruction – and to the letter. In the lockdown process, staff are away from their devices and so our contact with families is limited to that first text message advising that we are safe and in lockdown. As you saw, once we have the all clear from police, you are the first we contact to advise the lockdown is over. My strong advice is to be wary of what people post on social media – it is invariably untrue or wildly exaggerated and very unhelpful. My sincere thanks to the many families who have conveyed their appreciation of the care and calm evident in our approach to the process on 14 February – very appreciated. Some of this affirmation was passed on at our recent P and C meeting which leads me nicely into commentary about our P and C.
My sincere appreciation to our recently elected 2020 P and C Executive team - P and C President Wayne Heading, Vice Presidents Graeme McBryde and Blair Sullivan, Secretary Amanda Hunt and Treasurer Charles Corbett. Within their busy lives they find time to support our students and staff and support and guide me in service to our school. To our regular meeting attendees, my sincere thanks to you also – you very much value-add to the discussions and decisions made. I am genuinely thankful for your sage advice. I acknowledge here outgoing Vice President Adrian Hallewell – such a wonderful contribution to our group and collegiality and wisdom so very appreciated.
QParents – absolutely wonderful to see so many of our parents already joined to our communication system QParents. By now all new families who have not already registered a QParents account will have received an email inclusive of your invitation code, inviting you to sign up. It is a ‘one-stop shop’ for everything – your child’s report cards, attendance record, semester Assessment Planner, school fee status and more – such a great site for our families and the consistent feedback is how much they love it! QParents is the manner in which we communicate with our families so, if you need any assistance, our office staff are very keen to assist – phone 4636 7500. In approximately 4 weeks’ time you will receive an email advising you that your child’s first report card for the year has been uploaded to QParents and ready for you to download so if you are not already registered, please action as soon as possible. You will already have received email advice confirming your child’s semester 1 Assessment Planner has been uploaded to QParents – if not already, please download a copy and I always suggest you placing that somewhere central such as on the fridge – that way you are able to see when assignments/exams are due.
Out of hours Tutoring available – a number of our former students, who also work wonderfully with us as Teacher Aides assisting students in classes while they study in their university degrees, have put their names forward as potential Tutors should your child have need for extra coaching. Hourly charge is in the vicinity of $30-$35. I cannot recommend these good young people highly enough. Our office staff have contact details.
Acknowledgment of the goodwill of the HumeRidge community – once again in January, just before we resumed school for the year, HumeRidge community, led by the wonderful Jenny and Ross Savill, came out in droves to work on school grounds on a Saturday morning and assist our Grounds staff to prepare following a long holiday – painting picnic tables, re-oiling balustrading, concreting, whipper snipping, pruning, mowing, drain clearing and the list goes on. Each year I am talking in excess of 150 people, some of whom are current parents and students, former parents and students or people who do not know us but wish to make a difference. Our Grounds staff have 19 hectares of land to tend and this work allows them to not only maintain the area as the year goes but enhance as well. This exercise, each year, is one of the finest examples of community goodwill I have ever seen and I am filled with gratitude.
Facilities work over the last holidays and imminent – major as always – work is nearly finished on the full refurbishment of one of our science labs - $250,000 sees this lab now positioned to deliver lessons in all science strands; upgraded line-marking throughout our entire school to support workplace health and safety and the beginning of a strategy to widen corridors in classroom blocks to allow for less congested pedestrian traffic – all of these things are crucial as we continue to grow in numbers. Easter holidays will see the earthworks and erection of a new Grounds shed – thank you so much to our P and C for the funding of $60,000 with our school adding to that with the upgrade of a $45,500 tractor to better maintain the excellent condition of our ovals and surrounds. Additionally over the Easter break our Pool amenities floors will be refurbished.
Our staff professional learning agenda – again this year, and into our eighth year, we train all new teachers and a further component of our Teacher Aides in Literacy ie the literacy required in specific subject disciplines. This will again bring us to 100% of teaching staff trained and approaching 100% of Teacher Aides who work so closely with our students in classrooms. This investment in our pedagogy has translated into every teacher taking responsibility for the ability of students in their classrooms understanding how to write, how to interpret information, how to gauge what a question is asking and respond accordingly. We know our strategy works because the distance travelled by our students, measured in annual outstanding NAPLAN results and through our own tracking processes, is major. I stress that success is not measured in a published figure at a certain point in time rather we seek to value add to students’ capacity over time and that is what we track. We embark this year, as the first of many, in our Reading Training. The same benefits, we believe, will unfold over time for both for students and staff. In 2018 and 2019 every one of our staff, teaching and non-teaching – at the time 247, participated alongside each other in the face to face delivery of Trauma Informed Practice [TIP]. TIP was the most wonderful collegial exercise. This was delivered by staff from the superb Berry Street Centre in Melbourne. The purpose was a clear understanding of how to respond in and outside the classroom when we experience behaviours of children affected by trauma. Like all schools, we have young people who have been affected by grief, violence, poverty, mental ill-health and the like. We do not lower our collective expectation of seeking their best each day as a person and as a learner however we understand well that our support and communication across staff in our school is pivotal to the step by step process that will underpin success for affected children.
Big events to start the year – Swimming Carnivals and Year 7 Camp – Carnival organisers Frank Dowling and Chrissie Bartlett yet again provided the most brilliant 2 days – so highly organised in their pre-detail and superb to see our students thoroughly enjoying the occasions. Year 7 Camp organisers Dave McMillan [the Runaway Bay camp] and Steph Waite [the At School camp] created such memorable experiences for our youngest cohort. Sincere thanks to our teaching and non-teaching staff who, allocated to the Runaway Bay camp, gave up so much of their own time and away from their own families to provide the most positive of experiences for our students. Strong acknowledgment also to our student leaders at both camps who relished and shone with the opportunity to truly mentor.
Tuckshop volunteers – there is such a delightful team atmosphere within our volunteers. Their humour and camaraderie provides true meaning for them and has a direct flow to our students and staff. The quality of product is also second to none. We are seeking people to join this team – do you know of, or in fact is it you – who would enjoy committing whatever amount of time to such a worthy role? Please do contact our Tuckshop directly on 4636 7550 and speak with either of our Tuckshop Convenors Annie or Helen.
Seeking parent co-operation with road rules – if you are driving to school to collect your child in the afternoons, please adhere strictly to the parking signs. On South Street we have a 5 minute pick up/drop off zone. It is imperative that parents stay within the signed area as opposed to parking in the area beyond that signage. I stress often to our student drivers the importance of adhering to road rules and require the support of our parent community in modelling such. I note also that drivers, wishing to move easily through a congested traffic area such as ours after school, are naturally not pleased when a driver parked inappropriately in that pick up/drop off zone has the rear of the car partly out onto the lane of traffic. A reminder also to avoid waiting for your child in the carpark of Southtown Shops. We have an excellent working relationship with our shop owners and ask that our families respect their need to have car spaces for customers as opposed to convenience for our families. My advice always to our families is to avoid the area after school by encouraging your child to meet you in an outlying street
Great reading for our families:
Principal's blog 13 December 2019
We are a BYOD [Bring Your Own Device] school and have been for a number of years across both our main and Flexi School campuses. In readiness for 2020 please ensure that your child has a laptop to bring to school, fully charged each day. Much learning occurs with digital technology and your child will need that access. Having said that, rest assured that the laptop does not replace the need for writing – that art is alive and well in all classrooms. If you are purchasing a laptop for the first time, take with you the CHSHS BYOD specifications list [available on our website] and show the vendor what you require. Our Network Administrator says families should not spend more than $700 for a quality machine with enough memory for the schoolwork required and that will last 3 years. Remember, when families pay the required $50 fee each year to on-board all of the necessary software, that means you do not need to buy any Microsoft extras when you purchase your laptop – so you just need the laptop, no ‘deals’. You will see on your specifications list the size of the laptop – be clear with the vendor about that so your child is able to fit it into his/her locker
At our main campus, school resumes for:
Years 7,8 and 12 on Tuesday 28 January
Years 9,10 and 11 on Wednesday 29 January
At our Flexi School campus, school resumes for:
Year 10 – Wednesday 29 January and then starting with all students on Monday 3 February
Year 11 – Thursday 30 January and then starting with all students on Monday 3 February
Year 12 - Friday 31 January and then starting with all students on Monday 3 February
Required Formal Uniform days: for those beginning at CHSHS main campus, be sure to purchase a formal and a sports uniform and with the formal uniform, black, leather lace-up shoes are required to be worn with it. The first date for all students to be in their formal uniform is their first day of school 2020 – mentioned above and then from there Tuesday 4 February and soon after – the dates are on our website
Fantastic Junior Gold ceremony on Wednesday 11 December! So great to see our families out in force to enjoy the occasion along with the high quality guest speaker, former 2014 graduate Tandia Wood. Her message, based on her own journey since departing school, was so relevant to all – work hard, make your opportunities and then be brave enough to take them even if it is a little ‘scary’
Sincere thanks to Toowoomba East Rotary – again! On a recent Saturday morning they completed a power of maintenance and enhancement work at our Flexi School campus which makes such a difference to all. Always full of goodwill and cheer, it is such a pleasure to work with our Rotary partner
An acknowledgment to our school Careers staff Kellie, Mandy, Sharyn, Craig and Dave – last week I signed off on 168 certificates of appreciation to local employers who, this year, have been good enough to give our students an opportunity at work experience – which in turn very often has led to a school based traineeship. These opportunities, in many cases, change the trajectory of a young person’s life and we are so thankful for such major community involvement with our school
The annual Christmas Choir performances at local residential care communities were, as always, such a treat. Many thanks to our students, organising staff Heidi Law, Rachael Mayers and Sandy Feldman along with Road Crew Col and Jack for bringing such clear joy to residents. So great to see residents singing and tapping along and our students mingling in conversation afterward
2019 sees the departure of long term teaching staff at our school – Alex and Philippa van Dorsselaer, moving to Coolum to live and work and Jo and Jim Brennan to Roma to live and work. Such a major loss to us in regards to the quality people and colleagues they are and the outstanding service they have brought to our students and families. They go with our warmest wishes for the next journey and with the most sincere gratitude. In a similar vein, just recently our staff joined together to acknowledge the careers of soon to be retired teachers – Janelle Duane, Sandy Feldman, Mike Hetherington, Jon Ikin, Garry McMahon and Mike Tracey. These good people have mentored the lives of so many young people in their stellar teaching careers and been incredibly committed to their own learning and that of their students. I speak for my CHSHS colleagues and myself when I say we have been privileged to teach alongside them. Every good wish to these good people for now time to themselves
To our families, my sincere appreciation for your immense support of our staff and myself this year as we do the very best we can for your child and his/her way forward in life.
Very best wishes for the Christmas season and time together as a family.
Principal's blog 17 September 2019
Year 12 Graduations and Formals were a major success. The celebrations began with our Flexi School Campus Graduation Thursday morning 14 November and Formal on the same night. Both events were held at the Empire Church Theatre, the most beautiful venue, and attended by representatives of our Flexi School main community partners, Toowoomba Regional Council, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba East Rotary Club, and Toowoomba Older Men’s Network. Our families and friends and our staff were ecstatic at the volume of achievement attained by our 12s and their myriad of positive pathways going forward. I laud our staff at Flexi for their superb organisation of both events and their total commitment to our young people. Our mainstream campus Year 12 Graduation held at HumeRidge and Formal held at Picnic Point were a delight for all. Assistant Head of Year 12 Tiffany Beck again excelled in her high quality organisation of both events and Picnic Point staff commented to me throughout the night on the fact that, out of all formals held there this year, our students were the most respectful. It was so wonderful to again view the depth of relationship between our students and their teachers, on show as our teachers formed the guard of honour as our students exited the HumeRidge auditorium.
Recently the Gold ceremony for our Year 10 and 11 students was held at HumeRidge - a ceremony attended by many of our families as they celebrated with their children the acknowledgment of their respect for themselves and others both as people and learners. This event was punctuated by straight class and my sincere thanks to Assistant Head of Year Christine Hindmarsh for her stellar organisation and aspiration for high quality. Gold ceremony for our Year 7 and 8 students is coming up on Wednesday 11 December!
Year 12 Queensland Core Skills Test [QCS] results have recently been released and, yet again, our students have excelled. I acknowledge here our students’ application to their learning and the efforts of their teachers throughout Years 8-12 who have so positively influenced our young people in their capacity to perform in all academic situations.
Families of our Year 7, 8 and 9 students – on the last 2 days of this term Thursday 12 and Friday 13 December our Canteen staff will be both cleaning and stocktaking and so our Canteen will not be open. Please plan for this and provide your children with lunches for these days. My sincere thanks to our Canteen volunteers and our Convenor and Assistant Convenor – such a great band of people who love their work with our students. If any of our family members have time, 2020 would be a great year to start work with our Canteen staff. We have many grandparents come in so certainly a role of worth!
Student attendance at the end of this year – it is imperative that our young people are in attendance through to the end of their gazetted school time. Absences impact their overall attendance % which does not work well not to mention the need for teachers to return assessment and go through it with students to ensure it enhances their learning going forward. Meaningful work continues in classrooms all the way through with end of year trips for relevant students ending their time – last day for Years 10 and 11 is Friday 29 November and for Years 7, 8 and 9 it is Friday 13 December. On the Friday 13 December, classes remain scheduled with some variation to learning throughout this day.
Farewell to our teachers approaching retirement – Janelle Duane, Sandy Feldman, Mike Hetherington, Jon Ikin, Garry McMahon and Mike Tracey. Words are just not sufficient to express the commitment of these good people to the lives of so many young people over the years. They have been the most wonderful of colleagues, completely dedicated to their ongoing learning in order to deliver the best for our students and their positive relationships with students have formed the platform for success in the lives of our young people. Simply outstanding!
Principal's blog 17 September 2019
I begin the end of our Term 3 with the most sincere acknowledgment of my colleague and a member of our teaching staff, Garry McMahon who, after 38 years teaching at CHSHS and a total of 46 years of teaching overall, will finish in the profession this Friday 20 September. Garry is the most revered of educators. While his teaching subject areas have been Maths and Science, specifically Chemistry and high level Maths and the knowledge of his craft second to none, he would be the first to say he is a teacher of the complete child first and foremost as opposed to a subject. His greatest strength is his ability to form relationships so very well with his students and certainly his colleagues. He has worked tirelessly as a Mentor and in the development of new staff to our profession and across our school in so many extracurricular areas. He organically gives of his time and self and all of his students over the years and colleagues alike, myself included, have reaped the benefit of this great man
Earlier this term it was again my pleasure to be present to celebrate with families the graduation of more of our students through the University of Southern Queensland [USQ] Head Start program. This is where eligible students opt to study a subject at USQ over a semester in a course of their choice. If the student passes the subject the credits attained go towards time off in the course should the student wish to go on after school and study at USQ. Apart from that it is such a wonderful way to experience University life for the first time. Congratulations to:
Mia Wheatley - Australian Legal System
Jessica Tickner - Foundation Psychology A
Ethan Carelse - Human Anatomy and Physiology 1
Term 3 Report Cards – Friday 20 September Parents/Carers of students in Years 7-10 and in Year 12, you will receive the email to confirm the report card has been uploaded to your QParents account and for Year 11 students, the email will be sent Friday 11 October
School Social – Thursday 24 October from 5.30pm and finish at 9.00pm. There is an early checkout at 8.00pm for students in Year 7 and 8, if parents/carers wish. This is such a great fun occasion for our students and I am always so thankful to our staff who give of their time to supervise. The Year 11 students in our student leadership team are the ones who take the lead with this initiative and my goodness, they do a great job – every attention to detail is high quality. Parents/Carers of our youngest students in Years 7 and 8 – please know your child will be safe with our older students just as they are in a regular school day - every year it is a delight to witness what a good time our students have at this event. Our students understand they are required to show current school ID card to gain entry
First required formal uniform day for Term 4, for all students in Years 7-12, is Friday 11 October
Parents/Carers of our current Year 10 students who are seeking return to CHSHS in Year 11 in 2020 – a reminder that the parent/student interviews with a range of our staff occur on Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 October in our Hall. By now you will have received the initial letter outlining the detail of these interviews and what to bring. I emphasise, as your child knows, that to begin the interview he/she is required to table his/her study planner and talk about what is in it and how it will work. This shows commitment to the course of study chosen as your child begins the post-compulsory years of schooling. If the Study Planner is not present to start the interview the appointment will be rescheduled. Remember your child’s best chance of success in what is both an enjoyable but rigorous final two years of schooling is to select subjects in which he/she is interested and either has a demonstrated success while in the Year 10 Taster equivalent subject or has a true desire to commit to the intent and rigour of the subject. At the moment we have subjects selected for each returning student however those subjects are not entered into our system until after the interview. Any questions feel free to contact our main office staff on 4636 7500
Some great events upcoming at CHSHS:
- Friday 11 October 7pm in our Caldwell Performing Arts Centre, our bands perform as does our Choir along with our Year 12 students who have studied the subject Music Extension. Gold coin donation and we welcome everyone – the standard is supreme
- Friday 25 October 7pm in our Caldwell Performing Arts Centre we have the Performing Arts Showcase – again bands, orchestra, choir, vocal ensemble, strings and student performance in the disciplines within performing arts
A reminder that school resumes on Tuesday 8 October as opposed to the Monday 7 October which is a public holiday.
Principal's blog 20 August 2019
Thank you to families of our Year 10 students – you came out in droves with your Year 10 child for our recent Subject Selection night for those students entering Year 11 in 2020. With the new Queensland Certificate of Education [QCE] system entering its second year, it is even more important for our families to stay informed. It is such a help to your child. Many of you have since made appointments with our Guidance Officers. Please keep doing that as, with this new system, it is imperative that subject selection is the correct fit for the two years – very little opportunity exists for change once the program is begun
Participation and success across many fronts:
Superb Athletics Carnival – My sincere appreciation to our Carnivals Coordinator Frank Dowling who seems, every year, to create the best Carnival ever and yet I believe this year’s was the best! So much participation in a variety of events, such positive and encouraging audience energy, a lovely day for our students with their friends and their teachers. Days such as these and the events I list below are what school memories are made of
Speaking of school memories – orders for our 2019 school Magazine close in 5 weeks ie at the end of this Term. $30 gives you a class production and so much joy as you and your children pore over it as the years go by – ‘remember him? Her? That event?’ Call our Textbook Office on 4636 7576 and order
Wonderful Drama Production ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ – such a huge preparation that goes into the end product. All worth it when you see the absolute look of joy and pride on the faces of our students as they receive their just accolades at the end of the performance. To our families for ensuring students were at rehearsals as required – thank you. To our staff who gave so much of your own time in providing this experience for our students – Amy McAleer, Sandie Black, Louise O’Mara, Mark Thomas, Christy Parker, Eve Murphy
Amazing Eisteddfod results – how good were our Strings and our Bands – taking out overall school winner. Perhaps what is most exciting is the succession of younger students coming in behind our older students and experiencing playing with these older mentors. So very well done our Instrumental teachers Jess Johansen and Jeff Poole
So great to watch our senior girls play in the Vicki Wilson Netball Cup and our junior and senior boys in the Queensland Futsal competition not to mention our senior boys so very close to the final in the Armstrong Auto Basketball Cup. The performance of our school Volleyball teams in the Queensland Schools Cup, with the guidance of teacher Hannah McKeon and former student Nick von Xanten, was excellent with additionally, our school Touch teams in the South West competition – many teams, many teachers and the U13 girls winning their overall division
The resurrection of our school Chess team and, with the guidance of their teacher Kerri-Ann Frew, finishing a very creditable third in the District event. Great to see the numbers of participants growing
Year 10 Maths/Science Extension class with teacher Kerryn Asmus – won firstt prize in the senior division of the 2019 DAF Hermitage Research Plant Science competition with their ‘Pest Invaders’ project. The competition was fierce and to have won it with such a comparatively young team is quite unheard of
Creative Generation State Schools on Stage in which an ever increasing number of our students participate was yet again an absolutely mesmerising production at the Brisbane Convention Centre. It really is the most outstanding show of the talent, in a range of the performing arts areas, across all sectors of state schooling – I strongly suggest you make a note in your calendars for July each year and take the family to this must see event
As I write this, coming up this week, more participation….
Our seniors in the State Mooting competition, coached by their teacher Tori Barton. To actually make it to the Final is beyond extraordinary so our students will be looking to take it to another level this coming Thursday night 22 August
Our Year 9 girls in the Red Lion Soccer Final at Highfields Sports complex Kuhls Rd – coached by teacher Jesse Osborn - starts at 5pm Wednesday 21 August
Our Year 9 students in the regional Debating Final – this Wednesday 21 August at 6pm – coached by teacher Kirrily Scarff who does the most amazing job
Keep watching our street sign and website for updates on all that our students pursue in our school and how they fare. My sincere thanks to all teachers – so very many – who give up the time away from their own families to coach, mentor and train our students
Families – you have been amazing in enrolling to our communication functionality QParents – such quality endorsement from every parent who has joined – real benefit in the ‘one stop shop’ method where you find absolutely everything about your child – report cards, assessment planners, fee accounts, attendance record and the list goes on. If you have not yet joined and would like some help, just phone our office 4636 7500 – our staff are very keen to assist you
NAPLAN Online for the first time for our Year 7 and 9 students 2020 – we are preparing ourselves well and truly out from the event in May 2020. All schools are required to participate in a School Readiness Test [SRT] – ours will take place with our current Year 7 and also our Year 8 students [Year 9 in 2020 and will be undertaking the NAPLAN Online assessment] in week 10 of this Term which will be after their Term subject assessments are finished. The SRT is a simple way of letting students see what a question looks like on screen and how it is set up, no student name is attached and so no result is offered – it is very much a familiarisation process and in doing so, the intent is to allay any concern of our students. Our relevant staff are in training as well as they learn how to conduct the test in the online space
The handover of our new 6.4 million dollar building the Caldwell Performing Arts Centre – 7 August saw founding Performing Arts teachers at Centenary Heights State High School, Peter and Sandy Caldwell come in to tour the building and be acknowledged by our staff. For 25 years Peter and Sandy grew all of the Performing Arts options at our school and forever embedded the stamp of high quality on whatever was happening in this area. Former students Erin Mallet and Chrissie Lodder spoke at the gathering on 7 August – Erin and Chrissie are exemplary teachers at CHSHS now – and their verbal tribute to the Caldwells said it all – two people dedicated to the service of students and families and who have influenced so many young minds over time. So fitting that the building is named after them. Staff have moved in and students begin their classes in there this week. I acknowledge Hutchinson’s Builders who had the project and yet again, were simply outstanding in terms of their interaction with our school staff and the service and quality of their work is second to none. I also acknowledge our Head of Facilities in the Darling Downs South West region Dave Jago. Dave makes it all happen so seamlessly. Our staff member and Project Coordinator Sandy Hearnden once again provided the leadership and attention to detail that is a mark of her work always. Sandy has now overseen approximately 20 million dollars’ worth of improvements at CHSHS
Student Leader nominations and process to elect our 2020 leaders – last week and this week we are in the throes of listening to the speeches of nominees as delivered, on average, to two year levels so nearly 600 strong audience. Our student audience is wonderful, so well aware that public speaking is not easy. Our nominees have as always, been exceptional – so well prepared and attired, so inspiring in their deliveries. This is a really special time of year
School Opinion Survey – many thanks to those parents/carers who have completed the online survey which closes this Friday 23 August. This feedback is highly instructive always for me as we take our school forward
Awards Night Tuesday 29 October from 6pm at HumeRidge – save the date!
Principal's blog 25 June 2019
A most sincere thank you to you from me – our school uptake to QParents is simply wonderful. QParents of course is now our single source of communication for report cards, student assessment planners, your child’s timetable and attendance record and the site includes a number of other features for you to make school life easier – one of these extras is the status of your school fee account. It is a completely private site, only accessible by you with your password. The Department of Education QParents team are always looking to add more features. We still have some families coming on board and accessing the help from our office staff – it really is a delight to see our parents sitting with our staff as they navigate QParents to come on board – the maximum time taken is 15 minutes – feel free to contact our office staff on 4636 7500 if you are in need
One of the organisations our student leaders choose each year to support is Toowoomba Hospice. Through the funds our leaders raise within our school community [specific events including our gold coin donation free dress days] they raise on average each year around $8000. $4500 of that goes to sponsoring a room at the Hospice. We are so proud each year to have our name on that room as we know it assists people to farewell their loved ones in the most comforting circumstances. Apart from sponsoring a room our leaders volunteer their time each year in July [this year Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July] to work at the Camellia Show in Queens Park. You will see them serving at the Toowoomba Hospice café – if you have time, please drop in – the Show is a real treat
Parents/Carers of our Year 10 students – Monday 12 August 6.00pm – 7.00pm in our school Hall – please mark it in your calendars if you are thinking your child is looking to advance to Year 11 at Centenary Heights State High School in 2020. This is a night, where you accompanied by your Year 10 child, will be briefed on the changes that have started this year with the Queensland Certificate of Education [QCE] as well as hear of the range of not only school subjects to be studied but the excellent programs that students may choose that link with outside agencies. These may either be studied while in Year 11 and/or 12 or taken up fulltime. To truly assist your child this is a session you cannot afford to miss. Our Year 10 students seeking to move to Year 11 at Centenary Heights State High School in 2020 understand from me that they are required to be in attendance on the night and to sit next to their parent/carer as discussion is a feature of the night. Please mark in your calendars
Enormous success in our Music department:
CAMERATA - Recently four of our most outstanding string students, Emma Carland, Mali Dawson, Mitchell Smith and Harrison Young were chosen to perform with the Brisbane Camerata in the 52 Strings Project, at the Empire Theatre. The concert also featured Year 10 student Harrison Young performing his original double bass composition accompanied by the Camerata Ensemble. Brisbane Camerata is currently performing Harrison's composition on their regional tour
MOST and QSO Prodigy Project - Congratulations to students, John Beresford-Craig, Mitchell Smith and Harrison Young for being selected to participate in the MOST Program for Musically Outstanding Students from Queensland State Secondary Schools. Mitchell Smith has also been chosen to perform with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in Term 3 as part of the Prodigy Project. This is an amazing achievement
All students are required to wear full formal uniform on Friday 19 July and Wednesday 24 July with the remainder of the required days featured on our website. We also advertise on our street sign. Please mark on your calendars
University of Southern Queensland [USQ] Maths, Science and Engineering Challenge – major success – Centenary Heights State High School sent 8 teams of 4 students to participate in the USQ Science and Engineering Challenge. 32 schools participated across the week in a range of tasks involving problem-solving skills and creative thinking. Centenary Heights State High School competed on the last day of the event and were awarded the Darling Downs trophy as the overall highest scoring school in the region. Congratulations to these students and the staff involved
Our brand new Performing Arts Centre, titled the Caldwell building is handed over to us on Sunday 7 July. Our students and staff will move in to the building in week 6 of Term 3 after Hutchinson’s Builders tend to any rectifications. Peter and Sandy Caldwell, now both retired, for a period of 25 years formed the basis of what is a renowned Performing Arts program. The Centre will house 2 purpose built Drama classrooms, 2 Dance classrooms and a Film, TV and Media complex inclusive of a 400 seat auditorium. We are excited beyond excited for what this means for our students and staff who mentor them
Congratulations to long standing CHSHS Deputy Principal Ian Insley – Ian has been appointed to Principal at Chinchilla State High School and will begin there in Semester 2 this year. He has been a wonderful servant to students and families of Centenary Heights State High School and is fully deserving of this next step in his career
Very best wishes for family time over this June/July break.
Principal's blog 26 March 2019
Toastmasters Graduation on 19 March was yet again an absolute delight for our student leader graduates and their families. This is the 7 week Tuesday evening course our new student leaders go through each year, courtesy of the wonderful Compass Toastmasters people. The transformation in personal confidence is tangible, the fun they have creates new friendships and, as the school year goes with many opportunities for our student leaders to be in front of their peers, we as a school reap the benefits of this training. When a young person is elected to a leadership role it is imperative that we support their role through training and opportunity. What is especially gratifying is the legacy of this course for young lives going forward – that self-confidence – absolute Gold
We as a school are preparing for the release of Stymie day 1 term 2. Stymie is the anonymous online software program that will allow our school community to report vandalism, bullying and social inappropriateness. All students have been addressed in recent weeks by the creator of the program Rachel Downie and our parents/carers similarly on the night of 14 March. This will not replace the culture we enjoy where our students are very much ethical bystanders ie reporting what they see and hear to be wrong rather it will augment that integrity by providing another format for reporting
A reminder that, beginning this term, our student report cards are posted solely to Q Parents. All families have received their invitations for sign up [personal code and instructions] and the uptake has been superb. Please contact our school office 46367500 if you are needing any assistance. Q Parents membership has so much more to offer as well – your child’s attendance record, your school fee account, all report cards, your child’s semester assessment planner….
As we close term 1 our student numbers:
Total 1643 with year 7 – 268; year 8 – 340; year 9 – 285; year 10 – 302; year 11 – 267; year 12 – 181
Great news that our Performing Arts Centre ie the Caldwell building is on track to be completed and handed over 1 July this year. I love that our current year 12s will enjoy the new facility for their remaining time at CHSHS – 2 Film/Media suites, 2 Drama rooms, 2 Dance rooms and a 500 seat auditorium
Principal's blog 4 March 2019
The year 2019, after 5 weeks, has had so much going on, honestly it could make one’s head spin. I mention here of a number of these events. My sincere thanks to all of our teaching and support staff who give so much of their personal time to create these opportunities for our students:
- Year 7 Meet and Greet – 550 family members on site that afternoon looking through the classrooms of their children/siblings/grandchildren and hearing how things work in the classroom of today
- Friday Night Basketball – 6 teams in again this year
- T20 Cricket – what a start with the most recent game going down to the wire and CHSHS coming out on top. Of equal importance was the email I received from the opposition coach who complimented our lads and their coach Alex van Dorsselaer on their sportsmanship and graciousness in victory
- Tuesday after school Futsal competition – a new competition in Toowoomba this year and what a take-off sport this is at CHSHS
- Debating – Wednesday nights around Toowoomba schools – CHSHS always shines and fills multiple teams
- Tuesday Night Volleyball competition played at HSHS – what fun that is!
- Junior and Senior Swim Carnivals already held – such large events to organise – our junior students Years 7, 8 and 9 total 900 students now – strong acknowledgment goes to Carnival organiser Frank Dowling and his ‘right hand lady’ Sports Coordinator Chrissie Bartlett. They are a fabulous team so well supported by our teaching and support staff and especially our Sports Captains and Vice Captains who work so hard all day at these events. Participation is huge and attendance as I expect on any school day – exemplary
- Toastmasters course for our Student Leadership team – this is every Tuesday night in Term 1 with the 8th evening being the Graduation which family members attend. This is run by Compass Toastmasters and, every year, following this skilling, we enjoy the confidence and poise of our young people as it becomes nothing to them to address hundreds and hundreds in their audiences. It is imperative in my view that once these young people are elected to office they are trained in the various facets of quality leadership rather than merely given the badge and left to their own devices. I expect them every day to lead and with grace and confidence
- Year 7 Camps – 2 camps run each year – the At School Camp so well organised by Assistant Head of Year 7 Chrissie Lodder and the Away Camp at Runaway Bay Sports Centre equally well organised by Head of Year Dave McMillan. These camps are so pivotal in settling our newest students into life and relationships at CHSHS
- The Senior Soccer tournament, featuring weekly games played at Downlands College, is soon to start. Our students love this one
- Laura Geitz Netball tournament the other Sunday was again a highlight for our junior girls
- School Choirs are just taking shape
I place an exceptionally strong emphasis on learning and to this end, especially for our new families to CHSHS, I share with you some underpinnings of that emphasis:
- In the interests of quality learning which is by far and away in the form of face to face delivery, I do not approve holidays during school time. Missed face to face instruction is a significant disadvantage to student learners. At the same time I am very open to reading of an emergent or urgent circumstance that requires the student to be absent with family. For awareness of our process for application for leave during school time please contact our office staff on 4636 7500. I am very conscious of my responsibility to ensure student attendance complies with the law. At the end of a Term, with assessment over and returned to students and discussed, I require our teachers to immediately begin instruction in the next unit of work. They do not repeat that instruction after the holiday and so, please do not believe any comment from your child that ‘we are not doing anything’. As you and I know that comment is ‘age-old’, a bit like ‘I do not have any homework’ – never true
- Speaking of ‘I do not have any homework’ I have just completed a range of interviews with some of our Year 8 students and their parents in order to start our students off on the best foot for the year. Extremely pleasurable. Our Deputy Principals have just finished the same style of interview with students in their year levels and their parents. I always go through what homework is – not always will a student receive set homework from every lesson. He/she will however always have some revision of notes taken that day and/or a novel to read or work to continue with in the form of study for an upcoming exam and/or toiling away to complete a great draft of an assignment to submit to the teacher in the coming weeks. There is always something…. All of our students received their Semester 1 Student Assessment Planners emailed to their school addresses on 13 February and in a separate email on the same day to parents/carers you were advised the planner may be downloaded from your QParents account. I encourage you to print a copy and post it to the fridge so all can see.
Speaking of QParents – every family has been emailed with a personal code and instructions to join QParents. As I flagged regularly last year QParents is where report cards will be posted beginning Term 1 this year – no post, no email. Such a great ‘one stop shop’ for all information for families – your child’s attendance record, school timetable, report cards, invoices. It is a secure online portal that allows you all detail in regards to your child’s school affairs. It is free and available on your smartphone, tablet or personal computer. Incredibly time-saving for you. You are also able to make payments online. If you have any need for advice re this, you are very welcome to contact our school office staff on 4636 7500. So very good that virtually all of our families are now joined up with QParents. Another great App to download for free is the QSchools app – again, immediate access to our school website
CHSHS is a BYOD school for all year levels – BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device. Students have their own laptops and are on-boarded to our network so that they are able to access all learning whether they be at home or at school. For the annual on-boarding fee of $50 students have access to the full suite of Microsoft products – no need to buy them separately and pay hundreds upon hundreds for the same thing. Students are required to bring their laptops to school every day and into classes every day unless a practical lesson and it is not necessary in the delivery of learning. To this end the laptop should be charged fully at night. Students are not permitted to access their laptops at breaks as such has the potential to use up the power needed to learn in class. Our Network Administrator John Harman and myself firmly recommend, when purchasing the laptop, that you take our booklet with you ie the A5 size booklet that explains all of the specifications required for a student at CHSHS. We recommend not to buy the ‘prettiest’ one or the cheapest one as $700 will buy you a laptop which will last 3 years, which is what we recommend. Student, as part of the purchase, will have a case with it – it is important that the case comes to school with the laptop inside. Care of the machine is imperative. You may also wish to buy a padded sleeve for the laptop [only $8] so that when the machine is taken to class it is not cumbersome and is protected at all times. Any question at all on this we welcome your call
Tutorial assistance for your child – our staff are good enough to offer tutorials in maths and science for all year levels every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon 3.00pm – 4.00pm in our school Library
Next Formal Uniform days for our students [all for the year are posted to our website]:
- Year 7/8 – Tuesday 12 March
- Year 9 – Wednesday 13 March
- Year 10 – Thursday 14 March
- Year 11 – Friday 15 March
- Year 12 – Monday 11 March
- Thursday 7 March 6.00pm – 7.00pm in our Hall for all parents/carers of Year 11 students – this is a 2nd Information session on the new Queensland Certificate of Education [QCE]. I cannot encourage you strongly enough to come along and listen and ask questions so you know exactly how to advise and help your child in this new way of working. So much for you to know….
- Friday 15 March is the National Day of Action against Bullying and our Student Leaders, in conjunction with our school Social Worker Melinda Priddin, have been working away with awareness and activities leading up to this day. School Captain Mitchell Williams will write about this in his blog available on our website. This day has always been very well acknowledged at our Flexi School campus and will continue to be so this year. We have learned much from the organisation of our Flexi staff and students
- Tuesday 2 April our regular full school parade will highlight the wonderful diversity we enjoy every day at our school. This is the last week of school and the time for our annual Harmony Day celebration where the 60 nationalities within our school are on show in the form of dress, entertainment and food. It is incredibly well organised by our Cross Cultural Student Captains who are supported by our International staff. Parents/Carers are very welcome to come in and see the parade. It will start at 12 midday that day in our Hall
- For your calendars – our Parent/Student/Teacher interviews – Thursday 2 May and Thursday 25 July from 3.15pm through to the evening. Venue our Hall
In line with what I have said above about an exceptionally strong emphasis on learning, the same applies in terms of student safety. You are correct to expect that your child will be physically and emotionally safe at school every day. As Parents/Carers, I ask for your assistance in this:
- Our students understand that if they ride a bike to school, they are to always wear a helmet, done up and walk their bikes while on school grounds and in the area of the shops across the road. We enjoy 100% compliance with this
- Parents/Carers, if you are picking your child up from school and/or dropping him/her off, please consider doing that in a surrounding street where the congestion is not as great. We do have 5 minute pick up/drop off zones in both South and Ramsay Streets but we are so big as a school now, the space for these does not allow for smooth flow of traffic. The Deputy Principals and I, when on bus duty after school, do move on any drivers who seek to park in No Standing zones. Non-compliance with traffic laws is not something I wish to see modelled to our young people not to mention their safety which is compromised by such behaviour. There is a No Standing zone in South Street between the pickup/drop off area and the designated carparks adjacent to the school – please do not enter that area – it is No Standing for a reason. Similarly, our shop keepers across the road in South Street are very pleased with the respect our students show every day, as drivers please do not park in their carpark – it is a deterrent to their businesses when shoppers cannot access parking because parents are waiting to collect their children. As I say, the best answer is to stay right away from the school zone and arrange pick up in a surrounding street
Facilities enhancement over the last holidays:
- Our Performing Arts Centre [PAC] to be crowned the Caldwell building once completed [after very long standing high quality teachers of the Arts Peter and Sandy Caldwell], is on target to be completed around August this year. Price tag in the order of 6.4 million dollars
- We are loving the major refurbishments that took place in our Art and Hospitality areas – approximately 4 million dollars’ worth - a fabulous new industrial senior kitchen and serving deck along with a beautiful new junior kitchen. In Art, 3 smaller Art classrooms are now 4 very large classrooms, gutted and completely refurbished with the latest technology. Additionally a brand new staffroom once again to allow for our future growth. I wish to acknowledge here the work of our regional facilities staff, in particular David Jago and Terry Aldridge, who have worked alongside us for a number of years to plan this not to mention their vision and tenacity in guiding us all the way. I mention here also the work of our school’s Project Manager Sandy Hearnden – highly skilful in working alongside the fabulous Hutchinson Builders and giving so much of her personal time to be at beck and call as is the case with major projects such as this
- As always each year we started the year on a Saturday in late January with a working bee of 150 HumeRidge members organised by Ross and Jenny Savill – past and present students and parents, staff, people who have not had any previous connection with us – all came with their rakes, mowers, pruners, paintbrushes – you name it. After a long hot summer, our 2 Grounds staff could not hope to catch up in our 19 hectares of grounds let alone enhance anything – I cannot ever describe the gratefulness I feel when these people come with their goodwill. Absolutely fabulous
- I acknowledge our two Business Manager Angela Brock and Petrina Pearce because, through their planning and organisation, the holidays also saw new carpets, desks, chairs, curtains, air-conditioning, internal re-painting of classroom blocks, expansion and creation of offices – an extraordinary amount of enhancement so that the conditions for our students and staff are the very best. They have done a wonderful job
The academic and vocational performance of our Year 12 students in 2018 was consistent with every year – simply outstanding. So wonderful to see our graduates moving on to careers of their choice with the confidence that comes with knowing they have worked for it. Congratulations to the families who have supported them and to their teachers who continue to challenge their own learning so as to best serve our students
As we start 2019 our student number is 1649 across both our Flexi School and mainstream campuses:
Year 7 – 267
Year 8 – 337
Year 9 – 284
Year 10 – 307
Year 11 – 273
Year 12 – 181
Our staff number, teaching and non-teaching, is 232. We are a large enterprise with further growth projected in 2020 as the small Year 12 year departs and the norm for all year levels sits at an average 285. This size in no way detracts from our personal approach and a real emphasis on knowing our students, both as people and as learners. Should you have any query about your child please contact your child’s Pastoral Care teacher in the first instance. We aim to ensure you are well served