Memorial Oval Primary School
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Bradford Street
Whyalla SA 5600

Phone: 08 864 57991
Fax: 08 8645 1812

Letter from the Principal

Week 8, Term 4, 2020

Dear MOPS Families

Welcome to the final newsletter of the year. My apologies first of all for the omission of the scheduled Week 6 newsletter. Unfortunately this is when the State went into lockdown due to the threat of the second wave of COVID 19. This seems a long time ago now, but it is good that despite the inconvenience of the restrictions imposed on us, it is now looking like we can now enjoy something close to a normal, anticipated and well deserved Christmas and New Year.

Here we are celebrating the end of another year having weathered the many trials and obstacles created largely by COVID-19. For the most part we have had to learn to be flexible and adaptable which is a hallmark of us as Australians and us as a school community. Yes, we have made sacrifices and have had to do some things differently whether we like them or not. Still, despite these setbacks or changes, we have our health and prosperity which is far more important that what we could have lost if we decided to carry on as if nothing had happened. Like you, I’m sad that we haven’t been able to celebrate this time of the year as we would normally, but in the long run, our school, town and the quality of life that we enjoy here in Whyalla can be maintained and enhanced even more. My thanks to you as a school community for your understanding of some of the hard decisions and restrictions we have had to implement in these past weeks. Your cooperation and support has been much appreciated and therefore made out job as educators a lot easier.

In Week 5 on our last student free day, staff worked very hard to review key data sets in order to review our improvement progress as determined in our School Improvement Plan (SIP).This data also helped inform any change in targets and actions to be implemented in order to facilitate further improvement. We were encouraged by the fact that our data suggests that at this stage, we are meeting our improvement goals. Our improvement has also been reflected in or our results from this year’s Phonics Screening Test which shows we have improved every year since it was implemented. This is evidence that many of the initiatives we have employed are working and having a positive effect on our students learning.

On Thursday, 12th November, our school held its inaugural Colour Run fundraising event. This was a fantastic afternoon of fun and frivolity (as well as being very messy). It was also highly successful in that we raised a total of $18 006.40. With commission going to the organising body, we have cleared a total of $11 073.94. This is an extraordinary amount and far above our expectations. My sincere thanks to all of the MOPS and wider community for supporting this event so generously. I especially wish to acknowledge and thank Deidre Harrowfield and Jenny MacDonald for their organisation. Due to its immense success and popularity, we are looking to stage another Colour Run in 2021. Stay tuned!

As a final update for this year in terms of our facilities I can report the following;

· Work in the lower half of the playground will soon be complete with the laying of turf by the bottom playground area near the southern Lockhart Street entrance. The current concrete pathway running through the existing lawn area will be removed as will the flagpoles. These will be replaced and relocated at the front of the school

· Concepts for the refurbishment of the middle and upper playground area are being finalised. Surveyors were on site this week measuring the respective area

· The gym project is moving closer to fruition with the work going out to tender. This will be reviewed next week. I am therefore hopeful to have a firm idea of schedules and expected completion dates early in the new year.

Next Monday and Tuesday sees our transition program for the year. This year we are trialling something different by extending the transition period from one to two mornings. This is prompted mainly by the high schools who have extended the Year 7 transition schedule to two whole days

compared to the usual single day. We will be conducting our transition from 9.00 to 11.00am on both mornings. Whilst this is an opportunity for our new receptions to get a bigger taste of school life, it is also an opportunity for the remainder of our students to meet their new classes and teachers for 2021. This extended time will allow classes to bond more and cover more activities that otherwise would normally be conducted during the first week of the new school year, therefore catering for a smoother start owing to greater familiarity with all class members, routines, expectations, etc.

Our class structures have now been finalised with the same structure as this year. At this stage, most classes are at capacity. Students have been allocated to a class, but are still yet to be checked and finalised. This will be done by the end of the week with all students finding out their placement during next week’s transitions. Families will receive a letter from the respective teachers. We are still waiting to have some staffing confirmed by the Department with some teacher vacancies to be filled. We are however, on track to have all staffing in place by the end of the year.

Here is an excerpt from the latest update from Trish Richman, principal of the new Whyalla secondary school.

I have great pleasure in announcing the following leadership positions at the new Whyalla Secondary School.

Business Leader: Ms Mandy Quinn

Assistant Principal Year 7/8: Mr Pete Usher

Assistant Principal Year 9/10: Ms Dianna Pickert

Assistant Principal Year 11/12: No successful applicant

Senior Leader Student Pathways/VET: Ms Belinda McEvoy

Senior Leader Aboriginal Education: Ms Maddie McArthur

Senior Leader Timetable/Daily Organisation/School Systems: Mr Munsha Tatla

Senior Leader Students with Disabilities/Inclusion: No successful applicant

These leaders will join Christina, Kylie and I from 18 January 2021. We are all looking forward to working with them.

The Assistant Principal Year 11/12 and the Senior Leader Students with Disabilities/Inclusion will be readvertised in Week 0 of next year.

In further news, the new secondary school in Whyalla has been officially named Whyalla Secondary College. The name was chosen following an extensive consultation process with representatives from the local community. With construction well underway, the new school is on track to open in Term 1 2022. It will accommodate up to 1500 students, replacing Edward John Eyre High, Whyalla High and Stuart High schools. This is an exciting time for the local community and we encourage you to visit the Department for Education website for more information:

You will see from the information supplied in the update above that Maddie McArthur has won a senior leader positon. Our congratulations to Maddie; well-deserved. This means however, that as someone who had right of return to our school, this no longer applies. I can also announce that Selena Kleinrahm and Tyson Hartley have been successful in winning positions elsewhere. Selena has won a one year position at Whyalla Stuart Campus as Curriculum Coordinator.

Selena will have right of return to MOPS in 2022.Tyson has won a senior leader position at Harvest Christian School in Kadina. Congratulations to all these fine educators. This is a testimony to the opportunities that our teachers have at MOPS to develop their knowledge and skills and gain valuable leadership experiences.

As often is the case this time of year, we are sad to be farewelling the following staff; Nadine Schofield will be transferring back to Adelaide where she will be taking on a teaching role at East Adelaide Primary; Georgia Frangoulis will also be returning to Adelaide. She has secured a contract position at Reynella Primary as has Jess Dolan. Peta Milne has won a one year leadership position at Fisk Street Primary. She will be joined by Rachael Anderson who has won an ACEO role. We also say goodbye to Paul brown, Bex Ashmore and Jericho John. As yet these people do not have another job to go to but we trust they will find further employment soon. There are still some other staff that we are waiting to hear about in terms of whether or not they will be at MOPS next year. On behalf of the MOPS community, I thank these people for their commitment and dedication to our school and wish them every success in their next ventures wherever that may be.

Finally, my heartfelt thanks and appreciation goes to all members of this amazing school community; to all families for choosing our school and partnering with us in supporting the learning journey of each and every child that attends our school; to the Governing Council for their commitment and support and governance of our school community; to every student for mostly doing the right thing, their application to their learning and for their bright, unique and creative personalities; to our hardworking, dedicated staff for their commitment to out students and their constant striving to help each child be the best version of themselves they can possibly be so they can take their place confidently and contribute positively to the communities they end up in.

My heartfelt wishes to all our families, staff and community partners for a much needed, greatly deserved, peaceful Christmas and a brighter, saner New Year. Could it get any worse?!!