From the Principal's Office

The end of our school year is fast approaching and it is particularly busy around school with reports, transition and graduation preparations, planning for 2021: and so the list goes on.

Dear Parents,

The end of our school year is fast approaching, and it is particularly busy around the school with reports, transition, graduation preparations, planning for 2021: and so the list goes on. There will be a condensed newsletter coming out next week, our final week of 2020.

We have finalised our staffing for 2021. As mentioned in a previous newsletter, Hayley Greeves, one of our our current Prep teachers, is moving to Wodonga. Rosey Arnold, our Performing Arts teacher, and Jill Gorman, our Year 4 teacher at this stage won’t be returning in 2021. Ben Haddock, Education Support, has graduated and picked up a teaching position at Mossgiel Park Primary School in Endeavour Hills next year.

We will have 18 classrooms next year based around the current numbers of 407 students.

Year Level
No. of students
No. of classes
Teachers & Classrooms for 2021
46 students
2 classes
  • Barb Maclarn
  • Lily Collins
Year 1
66 students
3 classes
  • Lee Laier (0.8) / Sarah Hunting (0.2)
  • Samantha Orchard
  • Lucy Gargano
Year 2
43 students
2 classes
  •  Nikki Szwarcbard (0.6) / Brodee Procel (0.4)
  •  Sam Hynes
Year 3
79 students
4 classes
  • Meagan Cofield
  • Mary-Anne Jansen
  • Tanya Tomic (0.8)/Niki Judd (0.2)
  • Emma Black
Year 4
54 students
2 classes
  • Bindi Tod
  • Braden Pitcher
  • Plus support teacher for Literacy/Numeracy
Year 5/6
119 students
5 classes
  • Shanae Hill
  • Kyle Hosking
  • Rachael McGrath
  • Lily Cribbes
  • Peter McClure
  • James Smith – Physical Education (0.8)
  • Michele Freeland-Small (0.8) – Visual Arts
  • Laurence Barré (0.8) - French
  • Shelley Morrison (Prep to 4) – Performing Arts
  • Susie Walton (5/6) – Performing Arts
Learning Support
  • Susie Walton (0.2) – Learning Specialist: Literacy
  • Shelley Morrison (0.2) – Learning Specialist: Maths
  • Robyn Challis – Tutor: Year 1 (0.3)
  • James Smith – Tutor: (0.2)
  • TBC – Tutor: (0.6)
  • Gina Hasapis
  • Kathy Jacobs
  • Sally Pace
Education Support
  • Carolyn Blackwell
  • Krista Morris (Library Technician)
  • Kate Watycha
Principal Team
  • Debbie McDermott – Assistant Principal
  • Garry Collins – Principal


A big thank you from the SRC and Camcare for all the wonderful food that the GIPS community donated last Friday. We filled the meeting room and two cars with the quantity of the donations.

The donated food will be used by Camcare to make Christmas hampers to give to those in need in our local area. The children were extremely proud of their efforts. They were excited to think that someone who was not as well off at the moment might get their donations and have a better Christmas. It was a fantastic activity to finish 2020. 

Congratulations to this year’s Student Representative Council:


Mila P

James B


Nevenka D

Noah R


Aviana C

Hunter M


Annabelle L

Daniel T


Eloise W

Sam O


Grace A

Aaron L


Matilda S

Tom K


Chloe F

Charlie H


Poppy D

Charlie C


Eliza M

Griffin C


Raela N

Oliver H


Lily C

Oliver C


Annalie P

Joel G


Amelia T

Aahaan M


Chloe W

Will T

We have conducted a transition program over the past couple of weeks to familiarise and prepare students for their 2020 learning environments.  We anticipate that supporting the students with opportunities to become familiar with their new grade levels, new teachers and new environments will help make this transition a smooth one. The students will have the opportunity to meet their new teacher in the next couple of days.

We have now completed the “Take Off” program for the Preps of 2021. We had an information evening for parents last Wednesday evening, and on Saturday morning we invited the two groups to come to school to meet their teacher. Whilst the Preps were with their teacher in the classroom we offered any new parents a tour of the school. Thanks to the Prep teachers, Barb Maclarn and Lily Collins, for offering this opportunity. I would also like to acknowledge Deb McDermott, Brodee Procel and Susie Walton who gave up their Saturday morning to help with the tours.

On Tuesday 15 December at 4.00pm the Semester 2 reports will be available on Compass. A letter with information about the reports, as well as a student self-reflection and 2021 grade list, will be sent home on that day with your child.

We have installed a couple of new “hydration stations” (pictured below) replacing the existing drinking taps at the back of the Art Room.  This was an initiative of our Buildings and Grounds committee. These drinking fountains are in the school colours and have the facility to refill drink bottles. If these prove successful, we have plans to replace other drinking fountains in 2021.

Our “coloured squares” (which are in fact rectangles) have also had a facelift recently and they look fantastic. This area is a focal point for the school and we plan to have this area cleaned on a more regular basis.

Shortly you will receive, in the mail, a refund in the form of a cheque of any money that was not used in 2020 the excursion levy. Moving forward to 2021, initially we will not be asking for an upfront excursion levy and will revert back to the ‘pay as you go’ method until there is a bit more certainty about the excursions and incursions we are able to run.

Information regarding the payment of levies for 2021 has been sent out via Compass.  All school fees and levies can be paid through the Course Confirmations/Payments section of Compass. The school asks families to contribute to the following voluntary funds: Library/ ICT Fund, and the Building Fund, to enable us to continue to develop and improve our programs and facilities for the students. Contributions to these funds are tax deductible.

We have not been able to hold our usual music soirees this year. Thanks to Rosey Arnold, our Performing Arts teacher, who has organised for our music students to send in a video of themselves performing on the instrument they are learning. The link to their performances can be found here: 

Thank you to our instrumental teachers – Vince Hopkins (guitar), Liz Balderas (piano), Claire Airs (piano), Clare Lynch (violin), Ruby McLellan (vocal), and Liam Frampton (band/percussion) for their ongoing involvement at GIPS in a very difficult year.

As with past years, we are encouraging students not to give out candy canes (or any other food) with Christmas cards. The reason for this request is that we are trying to discourage the eating of the candy canes before school or running around during recess and lunch times with candy canes in their mouths.

On Tuesday 15 December, all students from Year 4 to Prep will all celebrate the end of the school year with their classmates.  Information about each of the year level arrangements will be sent out via Compass. The Year 5 & 6 students are looking forward to their celebrations tomorrow. Year 6s will be going to local café So Pho, and the Year 5 students will have their launch into leadership program, “SALT & Chips”, with a guest speaker talking about ‘What Makes a Good Leader’ followed by lunch and SALT activities in the afternoon.

Students who display our school values: Achievement, Empathy, Respect, Resilience and Honesty are recognised by being awarded with a Tea Pot ticket. Congratulations to the following students who were drawn out of the teapot at our last assembly and had an alfresco morning tea with me:

Camellia Z- PCRiver H - PM
Noah D - PBOliver H - 1C
Annabel C - 1LHEmily P - 2B 
Archie S - 2GChristian B - 2SP
Annabelle W - 2HElizabeth C - 3J  
Penelope Y - 3TJJohn Biggerstaff - 3TJ
Evan D - 4PJackson C - 4GM
Leila R - 4PLuke de V - 5/6C
Eddie D - 5/6CFletcher G - 5/6H
Eunchan L - 5/6H 


I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of the School Council for 2020. In a very different year for us all our School Council, led by our President Flip Connell, has managed to meet throughout the year via Webex and continue their important support for the school.

In February, I will be seeking nominations for interested parents to join our School Council for 2021.  No special background is required other than a desire to contribute to the GIPS community and the continuous improvement of our school.  The time commitment is not onerous, with one monthly full Council meeting on usually the third Wednesday of the month, and one informal subcommittee meeting scheduled to suit the committee members.  Please consider nominating for one of the several vacancies that will exist due to families finishing at the school or terms of office concluding.  Official calls for nominations will appear in the first newsletter for 2021. 

A huge thank you to Shane Millar and Katrina Standen who, on behalf of the Parents’ Association, have organised the annual “Mango Drive”, and this year, for the first time, the gingerbread houses. Both these activities have been a raging success and thank you to all families who have taken part. A reminder that ordered mangoes (and gingerbread houses) are available for pick-up before and after school tomorrow (Thursday) at the uniform shop. Thanks also to the parents who have helped with the distribution of these items over the last couple of weeks.

Over the holiday period we welcome the community utilising our playgrounds. It would be a big help to the School Council, staff and students if all parents could keep a watch out for vandalism or unusual “happenings” in the school grounds over the summer holidays. If you notice anything ‘not quite right’, please call the police immediately.

We have accumulated a large amount of unclaimed school uniforms in lost property. Any clothing left over at the end of the year will be given to the second-hand uniform shop.

Our final assembly for 2020 will “go live” mid-morning on Thursday December 17th. We will say good-bye to our Year 6 students and any other students leaving GIPS with our “Walk of Fame”. Parents are most welcome to be onsite for this event, which will take place in the school grounds at approximately 1.20pm.

All students will be dismissed at 1.30pm on Thursday 17 December.

A reminder that Team Kids are running a holiday program from Friday 18 December.

2021 DATES
The first day back for all students in 2021 is Thursday 28 January. Curriculum Day dates for 2021 will be confirmed in the final newsletter next week.

Garry Collins