A Window with a View
On Friday afternoon, our Years 1 & 2 children and their teachers returned with spring in their steps after an excursion to the Locomotive Museum at Valley Heights. In grown up fashion, they travelled by train and used individual Opal Cards! Simultaneously, and through another window, the high school co-curricular cooking group were highly animated after preparing and eating a very hot green curry. As it was a cold afternoon, many of us had a tinge of envy! However, we managed to keep warm in Week 6 as winter arrived.
With our delightful maintenance worker, Alex, well and truly on the mend, further work has been undertaken in the school driveway to allow for freer traffic flow. We have ‘no parking’ markings along the incline. Thank you for observing the zoning this week. We emailed a request for high school parents to come from 3.30pm to pick up their children. If this is not possible, parking in Red Gum Avenue is a safer place to pick up than in Hall Parade, where you need to do a u-turn. Red Gum Avenue is the street on the right before the approach to the school, where our students catch the bus. If you progress down Red Gum Avenue to the intersection and then turn right, and right again, you can get back onto Hall Parade. This keeps the entry and exit to the school clearer, and therefore safer for our students, and all traffic.
This week we held a meeting with parents who have been concerned about the terrain that we are in with technology use at school and at home. They raised their concerns, offered suggestions and made requests for education about developments and safety. Coincidentally, this week was also the week where Principals in the Mountains heard from a presenter with the Children’s e-safety Commission, Lesley Harrison.
Through their website, we were updated on cybersafety, on things that are trending in schools, on recent research and on the changes made to their comprehensive online resources for children, parents and schools. Resources are available at https://esafety.gov.au, and we encourage you to spend some time familiarising yourself with this site.
In summary, from a recent survey undertaken with teenagers, what is trending in schools includes: Sexting, Mocking, Memes, Instagram, Snapchat (remember that these images can be retrieved), Multiple accounts, Musical.ly (children dancing to music, streamed live), periscope (owned by twitter, twitterfeed), live.ly and facebook live.
On the parent portal of this website, and titled ‘At a Glance’, these recommendations around cyber behaviours are made to parents with regard to safety:
- Talk to your child about cyberbullying before it happens
- Be aware of what your child is doing online
- Locate the computer in a shared or visible place in the home
- Don't simply ignore cyberbullying
- Watch for changes in mood and behaviour in your child
- Report abuse to the relevant authorities
- Follow the school’s anti-bullying policies.
- Incidents of cyberbullying are taken seriously when reported to the school, or to the relevant authorities. In case this is new terminology for you, Cyberbullying may include serious name calling, cyberstalking, social embarrassment, offensive language, sexual harassment, sexting, image based abuse, and /or threats made if you don’t share images. It needs to be recognised as bullying and reported as such. The e-safety website has a reporting facility.
In order to keep all students safe, and to educate on acceptable behaviours, we strongly encourage you to inform us if you are aware of any such behaviour. This falls directly under our Anti-bullying Policy and Procedures, which are available on the school website. We also remind you that phone use by students at Korowal is not allowed, except by special permission.
Sometimes it is difficult to see how we can keep abreast of safety issues when things are rapidly changing in communications. Our approach is always that we make informed choices and keep communication open. In this vein, we have come across a further useful resource at http://www.thinkuknow.org.au/parents-portal. This site has a ‘Family online safety contract’, an agreement that can be signed by parents and children, outlining safe behaviours when it comes to what we see, say and do on a computer or phone. It is comprehensive in its considerations and can be adapted for your own purposes. Check it out!
This coming Thursday evening Jayne Ansin will facilitate a discussion around whether we would like a Parents and Friends Association, or similar, at Korowal. If you have experience of parent committees we would love to hear of them. If you have none- but have ideas- please come along. If you are just keen to catch up, come along! We will meet in G1, the middle room of the school near the student lockers, 6.30 cuppa for 7.00pm start.
Before wishing you a relaxing weekend, a final request. With so much sickness about, please allow your child to stay home if they have a virus or are contagious. We have had many staff members away with flu over the past few weeks. We have also had a reported case of chicken pox, and all primary families have been emailed the NSW Health Department advice regarding this.
Bye for now,