Here we are at the end of 2021 and what a year it has been. Thank you to everyone for an excellent end of year concert on Tuesday. It was lovely to celebrate with the whole school community.
Over the course of this year, we have made significant changes to enhance our classroom spaces and improve learning for all children. All of our classroom areas received a fresh new look with a coat of paint and some much-needed new furniture. Our technology resources were supplemented with 16 new student laptops and some new iPads to replace many of the aging desktops within our computer room. Thanks to local council and Governing Council support, our school crossing was approved and installed, enhancing student and family safety for those walking or cycling to school. A new instrumental music program was initiated which now provides around 25 of our children access to private piano, guitar, and drum lessons. STEM and Lego club were a resounding success, initiating more thoughts about special interest clubs that could be popular with our children. Over the holiday break, our preschool will have a new pergola constructed over the sandpit area to provide shelter in inclement weather and our kitchen / art area is having new cabinetry installed. We had two new wrought iron dens installed in our grounds which will be woven by classes next year and more nature play equipment is planned with the support of the fundraising efforts of our school community. Echunga Primary and Preschool is looking great as we head into 2022!
The start of a new year signifies a fresh start for teachers and students alike. At the start of next year, I will let you all know about our new Site Improvement Plan, highlighting our key areas for curriculum and learning improvement for 2022 – 2024. We will also be saying some farewells to staff as we move into the new year:
- Jackie is taking on a 12 month Deputy Principal contract at Happy Valley Primary School. Jackie will be missed in her teaching role, and we look forward to hearing how she gets on within this leadership opportunity.
- Ali will be teaching four days a week at Nairne Primary and I would like to thank her for her efforts in the Arts curriculum whilst Georgie was on maternity leave.
- Libby has made the decision to retire at the end of this year. Libby has been an excellent preschool leader after a long and lustrous career in education. I know that she will be keeping herself busy in the garden of her new house and with her swimming club commitments.
- Merridee has also made the ultimate decision to retire, and we all wish her well after her long connection to the Echunga school community.
- Jo Parkes has reached the end of her 12 month contract as finance officer and I would like to thank her for her efforts stepping into this role and working alongside Jo and I in the front office.
- Our Pastoral Care Worker, Hannah, is leaving Echunga Primary to venture on a new pathway and I know she will be greatly missed by staff and students alike. I will be working alongside SMG to recruit someone in this role next year and beyond.
- Our amazing OSHC assistant director, Rosie, is moving to Kimba to pursue her teaching career. We wish her well as she starts in her new role and thank her for her nurturing and fun way with our children over the years.
With our increasing enrolments and stronger junior primary student numbers, we are moving into a 5 classroom model in our primary school, with some new members of teaching staff:
o Preschool class (Fairy Wren) with Julie Griggs and 21 children
o Reception class (Kookaburra – current Arts room) with Kayla Richardson and 23 children
o Year 1 class (Rosella classroom) with Cara Oosterbaan, Carmen Dunbar and 18 children
o Year 2 class (Kingfisher) with Teena Wilks and 17 children
o Year 3/4 class (Ibis) with Scott Francis, Kate Wood and 27 children
o Year 5/6 class (Lorikeet) with Lachie Turci and 23 children
We are also saying farewell to many families who have been part of our school community for a long time as their children move up to High School. We look forward to hearing how our double cohort of graduating year 6 and year 7 students get on in this next step of their education and beyond.
I would like to wish each and every one of you an amazing holiday break and festive season. We look forward to seeing you after the holiday break. Our first day back for children is Monday 31st January.