Principal's blog


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 25 June 2019
Last updated 25 June 2019