Newsletter #1 31/01/2020

Principal’s Report

Welcome to the 2020 School Year
On behalf of the School Board and Staff of Maharishi School, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all students, parents and extended family members to our school for the 2020 school year. An extra-special welcome is extended to the new families , and our new teachers – Mrs Ward and Mr Cove, who have joined our school community this year.

The summer holiday break between school years gives most of us the opportunity to spend quality time with our family, friends and loved ones as well as enjoying some well-deserved down time. We hope everyone has enjoyed this time together. The staff have returned to school incredibly motivated and enthusiastic about the year ahead. We hope you and your children feel the same as we embark upon what we hope proves to be a year of growth and prosperity for the school and for us as individuals.

Unfortunately the year has not begun well for people in so many areas around Australia affected by the bushfire crisis. I sincerely hope none of you have had to deal with the fear of family members being affected. Please let me or your child’s teacher know if your child has experienced any level of grief over these events so that the teachers and I can offer our support. Our thoughts will be with our colleagues in the education sectors across Australia who will be dealing with the need to support families to ensure, as much as possible, stability in the life of students. Experience of previous bushfire crises reinforces the need for schools to provide the ‘safe place’ to foster community cohesion, resilience and optimism. Perhaps on our return we can discuss what our school community can do to support others during this time of need.

On another note, as a result of our successful grant submission to Creative Victoria (announced at the 2019 Celebration Evening) and our ongoing evaluation of the Swimming Program I am pleased to say that we have secured our preferred time this year for swimming lessons to be on Friday afternoons during Term 4. As a result, we have reorganised our external Sports & Friday afternoon Programs for the year as follows:
Term 1: Gymnastics
Term 2/3: Creative Arts Program
Term 4: Swimming

2020 School Organisation
The structure in place for our school in 2020 is:
Year Prep/1 (Pearls) – Deb Ward
Years 1/2 (Sapphires) & Art – Leisa James
Years 3/4 (Diamonds) – Susie Burnham
Years 5/6 (Emeralds) – Samantha Russell
Science/Auslan – Raja Aston
Performing Arts – Tim Cove
Administration – Suzi Haynes
Accounts – Wilma Wilson
Principal – Steve Charisis
Teacher Aides – Julie Carter, Karina Aston
PE/Athletics (Term 1: Yrs 3-6)- Kylie Italiano
Piano Teacher – Nick Aston
Guitar Teacher – Luke Miller

Key Dates
Monday 3rd February Term 1 begins for students
School Assembly @ 9.00am
Friday 7th February Athletics Training for Diamonds & Emeralds
Gymnastics Program (PIT Gymnastics)
Wednesday 12th February Rest Day for Pearls Class
Friday 14th February Athletics Training for Diamonds & Emeralds
Gymnastics Program (PIT Gymnastics)
Tuesday 18th February Parent Information Evening for all Year Levels
All 2020 Term Dates and Events can be found on the updated 2020 School Planner that is included with this newsletter.

2020 Student & Parent Handbook
An updated soft copy of the Handbook will be distributed to parents via email in coming weeks. Please retain and refer to it for matters relevant to both students and parents.

School Uniform
Our school uniform identifies our school to the local community as well as to the wider community when on excursions and other off-campus activities. We work hard to foster pride in the students and their families as members of our school community, especially the pride we strive to have our students feel and display students when wearing their school uniform. We ask for the cooperation of parents in ensuring that our students wear their uniform as outlined in our school uniform policy, and as appears in the Student & Parent Handbook. Sports Uniform clothing should not be mixed with Summer/Winter Uniform. The relevant page of the Handbook is attached with this newsletter. Please note that students must wear:
Black school shoes with Summer and Winter Uniform
Sports shoes only with the Sports Uniform (Wednesday and Friday.)
Plain white socks that are visible above ankle-height (up to the shin)
School wide-brimmed hat (compulsory during Terms 1 & 4)

Before & After-School Care
Before & After-School Care will be available each day of the week. We strongly urge parents to make contact with the school as early as possible to fill in the appropriate forms (if new to the school or if not previously registered) and to secure a place on preferred day(s). This should be done by contacting Suzi at the school’s main Office.

After-School Tennis Coaching Program
The popular and successful Tennis Coaching Program which has traditionally been held on Wednesdays at the Keon Park Tennis Club will this year be offered during Terms 2 & 4.

Instrumental Music Program – Piano & Guitar Lessons:
Any parent wishing to enrol their child(ren) in the Piano or Guitar Programs should contact the school office for an Enrolment Form or you may print off the form attached with this newsletter. Nick will contact those families whose child(ren) have previously participated in the program. Individual and group lessons are both offered. Limited places are available. Instrumental Music Lessons this year will be on Monday and Wednesday.

Term 1 Athletics Program
This year’s KPDSA Athletics Carnival at Meadowglen International Athletics Track will be held on Friday 20th March. To give our students every opportunity to compete to the best of their ability, the school has secured the services of an Athletics Coach who will coach students in Yrs. 3-6 each Friday morning leading up to the Athletics Carnival. Although participation at the Carnival is not compulsory and will be offered to those students who would like to compete, all students will gain enormous benefit from their participation in the school-based program each Friday during Term 1.

Novel Coronavirus
Although there is no information that has come to my attention from within our school community that our school has any cause for concern (if anyone within our school community has information to the contrary, please contact me immediately), we have done our due diligence and consulted the Department of Health and Human Services to provide you with up-to-date information about the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) which was detected in Wuhan, China in late December 2019. Cases have been reported predominantly in the city of Wuhan, in the Hubei province of China, as well as other Chinese cities and countries, including confirmed cases in Victoria, Australia. The following advice, as at 30th January 2020, is included for your information (also attached is a Fact Sheet about the virus):
“In accordance with national public health guidelines and current information about novel coronavirus from the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer the department is now advising all people who have visited Hubei province in mainland China to stay at home and avoid public settings, including early learning centres, schools and universities, until 14 days after leaving Hubei.”

In previous years at the beginning of Term 1 & 3 our school has hosted students from China (predominantly from Shanghai) on Short-Term Study Programs. To alleviate any concern within our school community, and because of the uncertainty that still exists about this virus, at this stage the school will not be accepting students from China during 2020 or until such time as there is an “all-clear” given about the status of this virus.

Finally, to facilitate a smooth beginning to the year, would parents please note the large number of forms and attachments sent with this newsletter that need your immediate attention. If unable to print, please collect from the School Office on Monday.
I would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy and fulfilling school year together. We look forward to seeing you at our Welcome Assembly on Monday morning.

Steve Charisis – Principal