A welcome and a farewell…

Welcome to the last blog of 2013.

Principal Penson

First up, a big welcome to our new Principal, James Penson. We’ve had a few ups and downs on the Principal front in recent years so it’s great to finally have someone permanently in the role. I know staff and parents alike are very enthusiastic about James’ appointment and are looking forward to working with him next year.James_Penson

A big thank-you to Robin Grace for steering us through some very troubled waters during that time, and to Steven Donohue, our current acting Assistant Principal who’s been a breath of fresh air; we wish we could keep you.

Yesterday I checked in with James and asked if I could interview him for the KPS blog next year, so now’s your chance.  If you have any questions you’d like to ask him, email me. Nothing too scary though; we’d really like to keep this one.

And, in case you haven’t heard, James was the recipient of the Outstanding Primary Teacher Award for Victoria in 2008 which is pretty cool.JP

No pressure or anything, James…

Fees and Funding

And Big Ups too for Julie Coleman, Chair, Funding, Communication and Marketing sub-committee for her awesome efforts in procuring grants for the school this year. KPS received a $11,000 grant from the Bendigo Bank towards the running track, $1000 from the Local Leader for the kitchen garden, $1,200 from the Telstra Foundation for lighting the CARE Chairs and $1,500 from IBM for apple TVs.BB

And great job on the Lap-a-thon which raised $7,300, and Nikki McConnon who’s raised $3,500 from the second-hand uniform shop.

You may recall I wrote two blogs earlier in the year about fees. I was pretty shocked to learn that the government only provide 33% of our operational budget and that the rest has to be made up by our voluntary fees. At the time I wrote that blog we had collected 36% of the fees. I checked this week and our total for the year is 55%, so no Outstanding Award for us. Effectively this means the school is operating on just over half its required budget. Let’s hope we can do better next year.

A farewell: Emma Rush

By the time you read this Emma Rush will be heading back home to New Zealand after four years with us and there will be an empty space in the shelter sheds.  Emma has made a huge contribution to the school in that time. She’s been on School Council and worked as PTA liaison and been a class rep. She’s been a permanent feature of the second-hand uniform shop and a regular helper in the canteen.  She’s helped out with reading and literacy in classes, been on numerous excursions and helped with cross country, bike ed. and athletics carnivals, and been a guest blogger.P1050767

But more than that, Emma has made many, many friends in her time at KPS and will be greatly missed. Chin-up, Emma. No tears. We’ll see you in February. It’s been lovely having you around.

The Stats of Prep

Now to finish I am going to pass you over to Katrina Whelan who provided the blog’s funniest joke for the year (Make sure your kid can put on undies standing up…Prep Swimming)

Katrina has collated some interesting statistics on this year’s Preps:IMG_2599

1. Number of lunches made: 192

2. Number of days that kids didn’t have time to eat fruit but did have time to eat biscuits: 191

3. Number of kilograms of sand brought home from sandpit in school shoes: 54

4. Number of times preppies accidentally called their teacher ‘mum’: 782

5. Number of preppies that, at the beginning of the year, couldn’t do any maths but could count out the exact money for a slushy at the canteen: 61

6. Number of blisters on little hands after intense sessions on the monkey-bars: eleventy billion

7. Number of nit notices: eleventy billion

8. Number of lunchtimes spent in the shelter shed because hat was forgotten: 1 (you don’t make that mistake twice)

9. Number of days that preppies told their parents that they were ‘allowed’ to take football cards/ jewellery/ toys/ Lego to school because their teacher had said it was okay: 192

10. Number of days teachers said to preppies it was a good idea to bring football cards/ jewellery/ toys/ Lego to school: zero.

And one final note: since our humble beginnings twelve months ago, the KPS blog has had close to 10,000 views. Thanks for checking in each week.

See you all tomorrow night at the World Food and Music Peppercorn BBQ.

Have a great holiday.

Jacqui Tomlins

Education is the most powerful tool you can use to change the world. Vale Nelson Mandela.


Art, trees and the CARE chairs

You can’t have missed the fantastic wood carvings now installed in the playground, complete with a sapling gum tree in the middle and security night lights. They are the ‘CARE’ chairs and there’s a lovely story behind them.P1060791

If you cast your mind back a couple of years you might recall that where the gym now sits there used to be trees, and at the southern end of the gym – where the stairwell is – there were a couple of beautiful one hundred year old pine trees. When the trees were cut down the workers found a stack of small old toys that had been wedged into the bark over the years: metal Matchbox cars, marbles and toy soldiers, children’s entertainment before iPads!P1060787

Bit McLean came up with the idea to save the wood from the trees and to engage an artist to use the wood ‘to beautify our school in another form.’ She set up the Artist in Residence project, funded by the school, and engaged sculpture, Rob Bast. Rob has worked on many great community, council and private commissions and is also an ice sculptor.Care chairs 1

While Rob was working on the chairs, all the Visual Arts classes visited him and watched him convert the logs into functional objects using a range of tools including chain saws! The kids got see that sculpture is not restricted to bronze or marble and chisels or welding and it also showed them a way that an artist can earn a living and contribute something beautiful to the community. It was a fantastic opportunity for the kids to see a real-life artist at work.Care chairs 2

The four wood carving represent our four C.A.R.E. Values: Co-operation, Acceptance, Respect and Excellence. Penguins work together in their communities and so they adorn the Co-operation chair. The chair that shows a gathering of a variety of animals all getting along and enjoying what each has to offer is the Acceptance chair. The kangaroo and emu appear on Australia’s coat of arms and they are two of the few animals who always move forward; they support the Respect chair. The wedge-tailed eagle is a bird who sees the world from lofty heights and who soars to mountain peaks; our top bird symbolizes excellence.P1060795

It’s hoped the chairs will become an integral part of the Kew Primary landscape and provide a beautiful spot for anyone in need of a little down-time, a quiet place for kids to read or a resting place for tired parents!P1060782

Jacqui Tomlins and Bit McLeanP1060790