Teachers Professional Learning Sessions

The teachers commenced school this year two days before the students. These pupil free days were spent on professional learning and preparations for an exciting year ahead of us. As I told the staff, I am not winding down, I am winding up—lots to do!

Last Thursday we joined the staff of all the other 27 government schools in the Dandenong Ranges network (about 650 teachers) to hear a guest speaker, Philip Riley talk about resilience from the perspective of Staff Health and Welfare. Resilience is the ability to bounce back when something happens. We looked at what drives us to keep going with a smile in this very full on profession—basically it’s the kids!!!

At our own Kallista professional learning sessions last Wednesday, we talked together about  the Walker Learning Approach to ensure we have a common understanding. We made many plans for the year which we will gradually inform you more about.

From the Principal….

Welcome back to the new school year and a special welcome to the 5 new children and their families who have recently joined our school community. We now have 217 children—30 of these are preps and their first day together as a class is today (Thursday). They have all been spending individual time with their teacher doing Prep entry assessments and gently transitioning to school.

Staffing News: This year we have welcomed new Prep teacher—Amy Roworth. We are delighted that Deb Flagg has returned from leave and is now teaching 3/4D. Gail McIntyre has reduced her teaching hours to two days/week. She will be working in the Grade 3/4 and 5/6 areas.

Congratulations to Brenna and James. Brenna will be going on family leave mid term 2. Up to then, Brenna will be teaching throughout the school especially in the 1/2 classes as well as undertaking educational research.

We were delighted to have received two research grants this year. Both Brenna Thomson and Stef McEwen have been given 40 school days to complete a research project that will impact positively on the children’s learning at our school. Brenna will be undertaking her research in a concentrated manner before going on leave, whilst Stef will be spreading her research over the year (about one day/week). More details about their research areas in next Miniscope.

It is important that we remain focused on continuing to improve our teaching with practice that is based on sound research. All the teachers spend time fortnightly on extending their professional learning guided by our school leadership team.

I would also like to take this opportunity to advise our school community that I will be retiring at the end of term 1. I want to thank you all for your continued support during my 10 years as Principal of Kallista PS.  I have carefully chosen this time to retire so that I can feel confident that the year is well under way with effective processes and learning going ahead in full steam. I will have many treasured  memories to hold onto as I become a person of leisure. Initially my husband and I will do some caravan travelling within Australia. DEECD will be advertising my position. Further details to follow.

Picnic Sports: Once again we have organised a whole school tabloid picnic sports day on

Friday 28th February from 9.30 am to 12.30 on the school oval followed by a picnic lunch. If you can arrange it, this is a great fun day to spend with your children. More details to follow.

 School Council: Notice of Election and Call for Nominations 2014: Our final School Council with the current membership will be on Monday 17th Feb at 8 pm with Education committee meeting at 7pm.

There are 13 members of our School council comprising 9 parents, 3 teachers and the Principal as executive officer. The positions are for two years and we meet monthly on a Monday evening. Attendance at School Council meetings is vital as this is where the main work is completed. School Council members are expected to also be on at least one of the following sub-committees: Education, Facilities, Finance, Fundraising and Out Of School Hours Care.

Continuing members of School Council are: (Parents) Paul Grujic, Rebecca Bos, Jenny Abraham, Emma Miller (Teachers) Anne Vear and Barbara Rose. Please speak to any of the current members for further details or see the attached page. Nomination forms are available at the school office. So we are looking for 5 keen parents and 2 teachers to join our School Council.

An election is to be conducted for members of the School Council of Kallista Primary School for 2014. Nominations open Wednesday 12th February and forms may be obtained from the school office. They must be lodged by 4 pm on Wednesday 19th February 2014.  Following the closing of nominations a list of the nominations received will be posted at the school. If a ballot is required, ballot papers will be sent to all parents. Please see details over the page about the role of a School Councilor.

Emergency Procedures: We are very fortunate to have one of the safest buildings in the state which was built as fire refuges. Our GP room is now called our “Shelter in Place” or our “safest place to relocate to”.  It has many safety features and equipment which is regularly maintained and tested eg generator, air system, fire hoses with pump, emergency lighting, separate water supply, window shutters, satellite phone connection, emergency supplies etc. We hold practice evacuations so that the children know the procedures. The GP room is our evacuation centre for any emergencies, not just wild fires. I have enclosed further details of procedures over the page.  On all CODE RED days for the central district (BOM) Kallista Primary School will automatically be closed.

And finally….Please come and talk to your child’s teacher or myself about any concerns or highlights. We all want the children to be happy and achieving at school.





Second hand uniform shop this Friday in the staffroom—8.40 to 9am.




Easter Village Fair

village fairThe Village Fair is back!  This year the fair will be being held just before the Easter school holidays.  This has always been a highly successful and much loved community event, and we are excited to see its return.  We currently have a parent committee working very hard to get this organised, and they would love the input and enthusiasm of others.  If you are interested in getting involved, pop into the Parents and Friends Association (PFA) meeting after assembly (9.30) in the staff room.

Welcome back for 2014

It’s been a long hot summer, and everyone is excited to be back at school!  Our first week has been fantastic.  We are settling into our new classes and routines, getting to know new teachers and students, and catching up with old friends.

This year, as always, will be full of interesting learning opportunities and community events.

We would like to extend a special welcome to our new Prep students and their families, new students from other schools, and our new and returning staff.

Our class teachers this year are:

Prep – Amy Roworth, Kate Nadji

1/2 – Anne Vear, Heather Glover, Stef McEwan

3/4 – Kirsten Belloni, Sonja Winkler, Deb Flagg, Gail McIntyre

5/6 – Jake Laurie, Sam Graunke

Specialists:  Yahiro Yoshino, Georgie Ruzyla, Hilary Morris, Marg Brooks


From the Principal…

Hello and Welcome to all our new and returning families for 2013. What an exciting year it is shaping up to be.

On this page you will see regular updates from the Principal about events and important information around the school.

Emergency Procedures:

In the last two weeks we have had two practice evac-uations to the GP room. The first was with-out our new preps then the second was with the whole school.


Elizabeth Simmons (Lizzy). Last year Lizzy scored in the top 10% in the state in her VCE results. Lizzy has been at Monbulk College since gradu-ating from Kallista Primary School.

Congratulations also:

Kai and Taj Linde for receiving 4 first places each, Lily Conder for a second and third place and Ruby Grujic for a great swim in the recent School Sport Victorian Mountain District Swimming Trials. Kai, Taj and Lily have qualified to go through to the next level.

Kitchen Garden Program in 2013:

This year we are changing the way the Gr 3-6 children participate in the Kitch-en Garden Program. Each class will spend one whole week/term in the kitchen and garden combined. This will allow for more time for the children to work in the garden at the start of the week and to see what produce is available for harvesting as well as undertaking gardening projects. They will then investigate menus and methods of cooking the available ingredients includ-ing a nutrition comparison of the different cooking methods. Shopping lists can be compiled and maths used to cost dishes and compare prices. On the Thursday of that week the children will spend the morning preparing, cooking and sharing the meal they cook. This allows for longer cooking times and a variety of cooking pro-cesses which was not possible in the short-er sessions.

We want to trial this new approach which will give more ownership to the children and strengthen the link between the gar-den and kitchen. Kylie Eklund will be our kitchen specialist this term as Kim Keegan is overflowing with family commitments. We thank Kim for her time over the last two years as our kitchen specialist.

A group of parents led by Kylie Eklund, Pauline Molenaar and Nicola Sutherland are working with the teachers to help set this up then support the running of the program. Yesterday they held a kitchen working bee to spruce up the kitchen. If you would like to assist in the Kitchen Gar-den program, please see one of the above parents or Kirsten Belloni (teacher co-ordinator).

This term the program will run as follows: Week commencing-

Mon 25th Feb (4 days) 5/6J

Mon 4th March (5 days) 5/6S

Tues 12th March (4 days) 3/4M

Mon 18th March (5 days) 3/4K

Mon 25th March (4 days) 3/4C

Thankyou to the families for making a do-nation to the Kitchen Garden Program. This allows us to run the program and gradually improve the facilities.

Developing Parenting Partner-ships- literacy:

Once again, our Litera-cy support teacher, Marg Brooks is running the three session long Parenting Partner-ships Course. This course is to help parents understand literacy and is highly recom-mended. It is essential for parents who would like to help with reading at school to attend the course or at least the Reading session. The course is being held on Tues-day afternoons and each session is repeat-ed in the evening to allow working parents to attend. Don’t miss this opportunity. De-tails later in Miniscope.



From the Principal…. 2nd May.

 School Camps: Last week our Gr 2 children had fun at a two day camp to Mt Evelyn. They enjoyed the camp activities which included damper-making, archery, team-challenge games, making juggling balls and making puppets from natural materials. The camp food there is always memorable and everyone had a great time. Thanks to Stef Acatos for being the camp leader and to staff Kirsten Belloni, Heather Glover and Georgie Ruzyla as well as Geoff Field and the other daytime parent help-ers. This week our grade 3 & 4 children are off to Phillip Island.


Wurrindjeri Focus day: Last week we held a whole school indigenous day with children working together in school houses. The children rotated though four activities. They were all involved in planting out our new indigenous native garden beside the lower gate with the help of

Murrindindi. We created a dry creek bed but before we finished the rain came and we had a flowing creek bed! The children left a hand print on a serpent shape beside the JLC. They enjoyed playing possum ball again and read a story written by Murrinidindi’s niece about what it is like to be an indigenous person. We had a fabulous day and were proud of the children.


 One of the parent helpers, Bec Bos wrote the following:

I had a great day today helping with the Indigenous Garden. The enthusiasm from the kids was fantastic with everyone really getting involved and participating. I had many of the older kids voluntarily taking responsibility to take the full wheelbarrows of weeds up to the Garden and empty them. As there was only a small amount of plants not everyone had the opportunity to plant something and this was explained by Jake at the beginning, however I don’t think I heard one child complain about this, they all just got on with the weeding and helped to plant if Jake came and asked them to. I am sure they recognise that I am not their teacher, so it was lovely to see that they respected that I was there to help and took on board my suggestions and requests without any fuss.

The other thing I noticed was how the day provided the chance for kids across all year levels to work together, with many of the older kids taking the younger ones un-der their wings. It was really lovely to see. It was a pleasure to work with all the kids today and I thought it was important that you know what a positive experience it was for both me and the kids. Thanks to Jake, yourself and the rest of the staff for making today happen along with the entire Indigenous Program. It has been an amazing experience and opportunity for our kids.


Anzac Day: Due to some classes being on camp, this year each class looked at the meaning of Anzac. We have an amazing Anzac display in the school entrance which the children have enjoyed looking at. Our School Captains, Finn Withers and Olivia Tovey laid a wreath at the Kallista memorial opposite school. They selected the flowers and herbs from our school garden. Many other classes have been involved in reading Anzac stories and writing responses, and there were a number of Kallista children who represented our school at the Monbulk Anzac parade, either in the band led by Andrew McAllister or in cubs, scouts and guides.


Open Day: Tuesday 22nd May from 9.15 to 11.30. We really want YOU to come to Open Day. It is an opportunity to watch your child involved in a learning experience and wander everywhere through the school. I look for the “spark in the children’s eyes” which tells me that they are happily involved, keen to learn and are proud of what they are achieving. There will also be a number of visitors at that time who have younger children. I am looking for a number of parents who could take some groups of parents on a guided tour of the school. Please let me know if you can help with this.

From the Principal…

Staff Professional Learning:  During our last curriculum day, the teachers all attended a professional day run by the staff of the Kool Kids, Positive Parents program. The topics we discussed were:

1. Understanding children with problem behaviours

2. Supporting children to manage strong emotions: emotional regulation and attunement

3. Working with parents

The day provided us with time for reflection, discussion and to increase our knowledge and strategies.


School Council AGM: Thanks to the parents who attended the School Council Annual reporting Meeting on Monday. Thankyou to the retiring members, Rachel Pickersgill, Michael de Valle, Deb Flagg and Cath Clift. Welcome to new members, Lisa Embleton, Geoff Field, Helen Whitelaw and Ian Bland (and observer, Karina Green). Congratulations to the following for these  appointments:

President: Paul Grujic,

Vice President: Geoff Field


School Review: We are well under way in completing our school Self Evaluation. This looks at the success of the current school Strategic Plan (2009 to 2012). As the end of this process, we will be writing a new Strategic Pan (2013 to 2016). Thanks to parents for their input into the school self-evaluation either through letter/discussion with me, through School Council or through a parent forum. If you still have any feedback for us, please see me asap. We have also been speaking with the children.


We have had a discussion forum with a small cross-section group of parents. It was an opportunity to talk in more detail with parents involved in the school but not on current school committees. We also looked at what the school does well and what we could do better. It was very gratifying to talk about the many things that make this school special. There are so many components that make up a school that we always need to know which are the ones that are more highly valued and successful.


The strong parent commitment to the school was unanimous and, as staff, we were gratified to hear how much the parents want to find ways to work with us to support their child’s education. We discussed the importance of parents understanding their child’s learning program whilst at the same time having confidence in the teachers that they will do what is humanly possible to make sure that each child is happy, feeling good about themselves and is given the opportunity to work to their potential. We acknowledge that there is no “magic wand” and there will be ups and downs as well as highs and lows but teachers are always keen to work with parents on any issues. Teachers get the older children to write individual learning goals and to keep moving their goal posts in order to strive for their best. The parent forum was very successful and we plan to hold more of these forums in the future.


All our parent input has agreed that although we want our children to be literate and numerate, education is much broader than this. The teachers at Kallista work hard to create “communities of learners” where children support each other in their learning and life’s values are promoted and practiced. This can be seen from a nine year old student’s self evaluation from their end of year school report 2011.

Once we were all little kids who didn’t know how to spell. Now, at the age of nine, I feel as if I might explode with information even though I know that I don’t know half of what the world has in store for me. The class has helped me almost as much as X (teacher’s name) and because of that I have improved in everything. For the first time ever I got 100% on my dictation test –YIPEE! That’s my spelling improved! Reading became a routine about a year ago. I reckon I’m getting faster at reading and my journal responses are gradually becoming more interesting.

At the start of the year I was independent—too independent. Whenever I got the chance to work alone I would. But now with the help of my friends, X ,X and X, I have overcome that emotion and now I am working with many different people.

Production has also helped me greatly with my teamwork—the dances, the acting and especially the costumes and props. Everyone was working together to get the props they needed. Asking, giving and suggesting was used all through the term. The thing I still need to improve on is my concentration. I laugh at something then bam! I can’t remember where I was up to.

Leaving this class will be hard seeing that they have helped me a lot, but I suppose it’s for the best. Overall I only have two words to say, thanks X (my grade).”

Teaching children to read: Please read below about how to hear children read. Reading is just so much more than sounding out words. We talk a lot to the children about “what good readers do” because we are teaching the children to have the strategies of good readers. When we asked our Gr 3-6 children what good readers do 18 months ago we got responses such as: they read fast and they read hard books etc. Now when we ask the same question the children (gr 2-6) replied with so much more depth eg: they understand what they are reading, they understand the description and text,question the book – who? What? Why?, Choose a just right book, Keep tracks, ·use all the strategies they can think of ,read fluently, back-up and reread etc. Ask your child the same question!

Hearing Reading

So much more than just sounding out the words!!!

 1. Orient the child to the story—have an adult style discussion

  • Feed in anticipated difficult words
  • Set the scene for success

2. Allow child to “control” the book and the reading

  • Child turns pages
  • Give wait time to work out words- Pause (5-10 seconds)
  • Prompt-What would fit there?
  • What would make sense?
  • What would sound right?
  • What does it start with?
  • Read to the end of the book or chapter
  • Praise-reinforce strategy use at the end of the page (be specific)
  • e.g. “I saw you use the picture to help you- that’s what good readers do”

-You went back and fixed up that part so that it made sense

– You stopped at all the full stops

  • If necessary go back and re- read short sections together
  • Reading should be fluent from the very beginning

3. Discuss one element of the book

  • Use open ended questions to promote thinking and conversation eg

-tell me about your favourite character

-why do you think this book is called……….?

– tell me about the problem in this book

-share your thinking about monkey in this book

-tell me about this picture , tell me about what you see/feel

4. Tell the child one thing they did well as they leave

  • You really made your reading sound like talking today
  • You remembered “come” on all the pages
  • I could see you were thinking about the story as you read today
  • I know you were using the pictures to help you work out the story
  • You backed up and re-read when the story didn’t make sense


›1. Readers get better at reading by reading.  Reading volume is critical to reading

progress. Allington 1994

 Therefore children need to read, read and read!

2. Reading is about thinking…….

The difference between skilled and struggling readers is in what they do when comprehension is compromised.

Skilled readers do not simply notice that they have lost meaning but they also have plans for fixing up their comprehension.

Fisher, D., Frey, N., & Lapp, D.,



Welcome Back for 2012!

Welcome back to the whole Kallista community, and a special welcome to the 40 new children and their families who have joined our school community. This year we have also welcomed one new teacher for Prep/1 – Chloe Walsh.

The teachers commenced school this year two days before the students, and spent their time on professional learning activities and preparation for an exciting year ahead. One of the activities was to attend a seminar with other schools from the Dandenong Ranges (about 25), where we looked at how to personalise the curriculum and the importance of having high expectations of our students. The key speaker, Vic Zbar, talked about differentiated classrooms – ones where commonalities are acknowledged and built upon and student differences become important elements in teaching too. In a differentiated curriculum students have multiple options for taking in information, making sense of ideas and expressing what they learn. This has been our philosophy at Kallista for a long time. We want to develop thinkers and not rote learners.

Please feel free to come and talk to your child’s teacher, or myself, about any concerns or highlights. We all want the children to be happy and achieving at school.

Australia Day Award

Congratulations Margaret Brooks! Margaret (our literacy support teacher) received the Shire of Yarra Ranges Ian De Rue community award for her exceptional leadership in Girl Guides and the community.

Planning for Secondary School – Early in the Grade 6 year, parents need to nominate which secondary school their child will be attending. This means it is important to spend your child’s Grade 5 year attending school open days and tours to plan for Secondary School.  As we are a Government school, we can only provide you with information about the government secondary schools in our area. If you are considering a school outside the government sector, you will need to contact the schools yourself to find out about Open Days and enrolment information. Most schools also advertise in the local paper. Please do not expect us to provide this information for you. Be aware that many local non-government schools have waiting lists and you will need to act prior to Grade 5 if this is an option you are considering. Different schools suit different children. We are happy to let you know what schools are in your area but, as you will understand, we cannot recommend one school over another.