- Principal's Report
- Gardening Option
- High School Camp
- Tasmanian Premier's Reading Challenge
- Dover History - The Old Kiln "then and now"
- Year 9 and 10 Students – Career Information
- Taste of College
- Kinder/Prep Class in the Vegetable Garden
- Huon FM - School News Report
- TMAG's Children's Festival Program
- Educational Adjustments Parent and Family Forums
- Huon Valley Mentoring Program
- Huon Valley Council School Holiday Program
I have an expression that I use and that, as far as I know, I coined:
In the absence of information, people will provide their own.
I use this expression to explain the importance I place on keeping our school community, our students, and our parent body informed as to what is happening and what we’re planning. I know that when information is not forthcoming, it can create a void that can easily be filled with speculation. In the business that has been 1st Term, I fear I have not provided enough information as to what is happening in the school and why. I hope this report will fill any potential void.
A little background
2019 marks my 9th consecutive year of teaching in and leading a Tasmanian district school. In my experience of district schools, I have found that it is very easy for the needs of the secondary school to consume more than its share of resourcing, senior staff attention, and management. For these reasons, when I first became Principal here at the start of 2017, I deliberately set out to address this imbalance. This was made easier by having Miss Sue, a highly-experienced early-years teacher, as my senior staff member and other dedicated staff who were committed to improving our school.
The major focus of 2017 was to stabilise the school, to address the decline in enrolments, and to re-establish the fundamental expectations of our students. To our delight, we not only stopped that decline but by the year’s end, we had significantly increased our student numbers.
There were several reasons for this including our good fortune in attracting some excellent new teachers for our secondary classes which complimented the good work that was already happening in the primary years. Our mission to meet the individual needs of our students also played a significant part in attracting students from further north.
2018 introduced some new challenges as our numbers continued to grow faster than our resources and infrastructure allowed. Throughout 2018 we maintained a focus on the great work that was happening in the primary classes while, at the same time, strategising a supportive structure for the secondary classes that would not consume more than its fair share.
Further challenges ensued when our secondary teachers all made the difficult decision to transfer out, all with mixed feelings, meaning that we would once again be starting a new school year with an entirely new set of secondary teachers. A significant amount of effort went into recruiting high-quality teachers to replace our outgoing staff and involved negotiations with the DoE to ensure that we would retain them. The result of these efforts was that 80% of our current secondary staff have accepted permanent positions at the school for at least four years. I consider this to be a major achievement as it provides us with a stability in our staffing that has long been lacking.
2019 and beyond
Most small schools have composite classes made up of two-year levels, as do we. Some schools around the state, and even closer to home, have made the difficult decision to form classes of three-year levels, reducing the impact on their staffing budget.
Although it could have saved us money, we decided that smaller class sizes with a maximum of a two-year level spread would provide us with the best opportunities to provide the high levels of individualised education we are becoming known for.
Another investment has been the creation of a second senior staff role, currently filled by Kerry Lock. Just as Miss Sue’s role involves leading the primary years, Kerry has an overview of all aspects of the secondary years. Including Emma, our School Business Manager, we now have a genuine leadership team in the school that is allowing us to work more closely with our brilliant staff to improve everything we do.
While this direction has placed a strain on our finances, we consider it to be an investment in our school and in our students, and therefore worth every penny. I am very happy to report it is already showing positive returns.
The work of the past two years has provided us with a solid base on which to build real academic improvement. The conditions for learning have never been better, and we are working on action plans that will reinforce the fundamental role of a school, i.e. teaching and learning.
Once or twice over the last couple of years, I have received some criticism that there was too much focus on the primary years to the detriment of the high school. Now as we move ahead with our plans to introduce Years 11&12, I am hearing understandable whispers of concern that we may lose our focus on the primary years.
I want to take this opportunity to reinforce the commitment I made when I assumed leadership of this school: We will strive to get the balance right and deliver high-quality education and opportunities to every one of our students.
Please remember that I am here to listen. I understand that concerns will arise and I don’t pretend to have the ability to keep everyone happy, but two-way communication is crucial.
We’ve come a long way in just two years, and the best is yet to come.
Tom Eastland (Mr E.)
Last week an intrepid bunch of high schoolers and staff spent two nights in the luxury surround of Gumleaves Bush Wellness and Mindfulness Eco Retreat at Little Swanport.
While there we participated in a range of outdoor activities – bushwalking with the masochistic Mr Clarke, rowing (largely in circles), swimming in Lake Manky, photo orienteering and listening to the sounds of the bush as well as several hours of motorbikes in some type of enduro event.
Evenings were filled with high culture and artistic analysis and appreciation as well as the gourmet delights of damper on a stick.
Many thanks to all who participated, particularly Ange who kept the food coming in spite of a shocking cold. It was an event to be remembered but not repeated.
Students from Prep to Grade 6 are participating in the Tasmanian Premier’s Reading Challenge. Our 5 week winners are Emma Brown and Campbell Stubbs who will receive a Hawthorn Footy Pack (including a family game pass, poster, stickers etc.) and a book each. Congratulations, and keep on reading everyone!
On the 28th March 2018, Mrs Coulson took our (then)Year 3/4 class on a post colonisation Dover heritage walk.
Leaving school at 9:30 the group went for a stroll around our beautiful town learning the history of the area and the old buildings that form an important and very interesting part of this history.
One year on, and we would like to thank the Dover History Group for their role in lobbying to have this old kiln preserved. The construction of a shelter, incorporating an information panel, seating and plants have made this a great spot to walk to.
Year 9 and 10 Students – Career Information
In MyEd classes, the myfuture.edu.au website is being used by students to discover and explore their attributes, aspirations and options for their futures because two important elements of effective career planning are self-awareness and decision-making.
How can parents and carers help?
There are lots of employment opportunities in a wide range of industries and if your child is unsure of what kind of career they want, you can assist by exploring together and checking out the pathways into certain jobs. Why not encourage them to look for opportunities in hospitality, tourism, aquaculture, engineering, IT or forestry? These are just suggestions.
All you need to do is to register on the myfuture.edu.au website and follow the Assist others link to Assist your child where you will find articles and information that can assist parents and carers to begin the conversation with your child about the world of work.
At Dover District School, we support students to make informed choices and, as part of the transition from Year 10 to Year 11, we have planned visits to Hobart College, the Trade Training Centre in Huonville and UTAS that will occur during the year.
The Kinder/Prep class have made the most of the fabulous weather during Term 1. In addition to weekly walks to the beach, we have also enjoyed getting out into the garden. We have planted seeds and harvested tomatoes, runner beans and apples!
Acrylic on canvas painted by years Prep-6 at Dover District School.
Our students were asked “If someone was to visit us from another world and was to ask us about our “Earth Time” what would you show them?
“We would want to show them around our little part of the earth here at Dover, to bring them to our place which is beautiful, important and special. We’d bring them on the bus to our school for a whole day to play and learn.”
The Children’s Festival program is on at TMAG during the April school holidays. This free event celebrates your school’s participation in the Schools Artwork banner project. Banners will be hung up around the perimeter of TMAG during the festival so come along and have a look at the wonderful artworks.
Click on the link below for more details.
Parents and families are invited to attend a forum to provide information about and discuss Educational Adjustments.
From 2020, there will be a new approach in Department of Education schools to assisting students with disability to access, participate and engage in quality educational programs.
Forums are scheduled for Term 2. Light refreshments will be provided.
See details of locations and timing and how to register at: REGISTER HERE
For paper based newsletters please use the full web address to register: https://edu.formstack.com/forms/parent_forums