Principal's blog


Principal's blog 13 December 2019

Dear Families

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.

Maryanne Walsh



Principal's blog 17 September 2019

Dear Families

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!

Best wishes

Maryanne Walsh



Principal's blog 17 September 2019

Dear Families

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.

Best wishes.

Maryanne Walsh


Principal's blog 20 August 2019

Dear Families

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!

Best wishes



Principal's blog 25 June 2019

Dear Families

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 studentsMonday 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:
- 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.

Maryanne Walsh



Principal's blog 26 March 2019

Dear Families

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

Best wishes

Maryanne Walsh



Principal's blog 4 March 2019

Dear Families

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

Upcoming events:

  • 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

Best wishes

Maryanne Walsh



Last reviewed 13 December 2019
Last updated 13 December 2019