We have enjoyed a smooth start to the school year as we embraced new curriculum structures and school routine. Our students have begun each day heading straight into formal lessons, with the roll mark conducted within the first teaching period of the day. The change has enabled increased teaching time in each class and ensured each of our students are prepared and ready for learning as they start their day. I am impressed with how positively our students and staff have worked with the new routine.
Our teachers have been preparing for the changes associated with the new Australian Curriculum, which will be officially implemented in the junior school for English, Mathematics, Science and History in 2014. Many other courses have draft syllabuses soon to be finalised that our teachers are working from. The introduction of the new curriculum provides our teachers and students with exciting opportunities to blend curriculum content with learning activities that draw together student skills and interests. Teaching approaches will build on improving literacy skills, while utilising appropriate technologies across the curriculum, to enable our new generation of learners to gain deeper understanding in their learning. The first two days of term 3 have been allocated as School Development Days to allow teachers to prepare new programs that ensure quality delivery of the new curriculum. Students will resume school in Term 2 on Wednesday 1st May.
Our new website was launched at the beginning of the year and will continue to develop with functionality to enhance our communication with both students and parents. A strong partnership between home and the school is critical to student success and is something that my staff and I highly value. I encourage you to look around the site and draw upon the increasing number of posts that inform you of student learning and activity.
During the last holidays we completed extensive work in the refurbishment of a number of classrooms to provide teaching environments for 21st century learning. Based on significant research and planning, the Design2learn project has seen older style classrooms transformed into vibrant, engaging and flexible learning spaces. Our teachers and students have access to modern technologies and classroom layouts that lend themselves to both traditional and collaborative learning spaces. We will share the successes and development of the project at an upcoming P&C meeting and in further news items.
We will farewell three staff members this week. Mr Gardiner in science has retired and will teach his last lesson on the last Friday of this term. He has contributed many years to Gymea both within science and across the school. He was one of the first few that established the direction of technology at Gymea and has always remained a man of reason, and a teacher dedicated to the learning outcomes of our kids. He will be missed and we wish him well in his retirement. Mrs Ware in Mathematics has successfully gained a transfer to Port Hacking High School commencing day 1 term 2. She has enjoyed many good years at Gymea, forming so many positive relationships with students and taking on a number of whole school roles. We wish her the best in her new teaching position in her new school. Our school counsellor Mrs Geary has gained a promotion as a District Guidance Officer in the Southern Highlands area. Mrs Geary has provided much guidance and advice to students, parents and staff in many different ways as she has undertaken her role here at Gymea, and we wish her well in her new role.
Our students this term have enjoyed many successes in classroom learning, extra-curricular activities, performing arts and opportunities with new arrangements for sport and sporting competitions. The increasing number of individual news items within the news post of the website highlights some of the achievements that our students have accomplished.
I remain proud of the ongoing achievements of our staff and students this term, and continue to boast about how wonderful our school, our students, our staff, and our families are. I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday break.