Newsletter 2017 – Term 4, Week 4

Important Dates

Monday November 6 – Friday November 17YEAR 10 EXAMS
Wednesday November 8Parent Information Evening for Year 6-7
Friday November 10HSC Exams Finish
Monday November 13Year 12 Sign out Day
Tuesday November 14Year 8 Mock Interviews
Wednesday November 15Year 12 Formal

View and download PDF version of Newsletter here

From our Relieving Principal

Deputy Principal

This is a friendly reminder that the School Dentist will be visiting our school during the week commencing 27 November. Students from families eligible for Family Tax Benefit A will be examined for free.

Ineligible families can receive the same service for $99, which includes oral examination, teeth clean and fluoride application. Students were provided with information and consent forms at year assemblies. I encourage all families to make the most of this opportunity.

School Policies

As a school, we regularly revisit and modify school policies. Currently, our Student Welfare and Discipline Policy is being reviewed along with our attendance and uniform policies. Whenever changes are made to a policy, the KMHS community will be informed via this newsletter. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to examine any of our policies which are located on the school’s website.

VET Audit

Last week our VET (Vocational Education and Training) audit was completed and I am pleased to say that we passed with flying colours. This is due to the excellent work from our VET teachers Ms Loveday, Mr Knowles, Ms McKay and Mr Burns. A very big thank you to our Careers Adviser, Ms Cutting, who devotes an enormous amount of time to this area, ensuring that we continue to be successful.

HSC Assessment Policy and Schedule

Year 11 students last week received their HSC assessment policy and schedule. It is very important that they familiarise themselves with the requirements in the front part of the book. The authority that oversees the process has very strict rules that must be followed. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the school.

Mr Scott White
Relieving Principal

Deputy Principal Report (7 and 12)

Mr Jai Lester

External Validation

Two weeks ago, our school completed the final step in External Validation. As you may or may not be aware, every year schools evaluate their practices against the School Excellence Framework, a document used by all NSW public schools to identify best practice across a range of different elements that make up the work of a school. External Validation occurs once in a five year cycle and in this cycle an external panel, made of experienced principals, reviews a series of ‘evidence sets’ created by the school to affirm the school’s perception of its achievements, or to assist it in determining areas for improvement.

To explain the process in detail would certainly call for a much longer than usual newsletter. Suffice to say, I wanted to share with you the results from the validating panel:

  • Kariong Mountains High School is deemed to be excelling (the highest possible level of achievement) in student wellbeing, assessment and reporting practices, effective classroom practices, data skills and usage, collaborative practice, professional standards and school leadership.
  • Kariong Mountains High School is deemed to be sustaining and growing (the second highest level of achievement) in learning culture, curriculum and learning, student performance measures, learning and development of staff and management practices.

These types of results are no mean feat; as the external validating panel made quite clear on the day of evaluation “to be placed in excelling is to be performing above and beyond what is expected by a school”. It was also noted that in some areas where we considered ourselves sustaining and growing the result was not a reflection of what KMHS was doing, but more a reflection of the age of our school and the lack of long term data.

I have no doubt that Ms Vine will have much more to say about our achievements when she returns from leave, but as a member of the validation committee I wanted to thank publicly thank all the staff for their contributions to the very long process that is external validation. Particular thanks must also go to Mr Gibbs, Mrs Taylor and Mrs Cutting, who as part of the validation team worked painstakingly to arrange and annotate mountains of evidence in what is a very detailed process.

The outstanding results yet again confirm we are an amazing school, with amazing staff and students.

Staff Changes weeks 4, 5 and 6

I will be taking some long service leave until the 16th of November. For any enquires directed to the Deputy Principal (Years 7 and 12), please contact Mrs Jacqui Matthew who will be relieving during this time. Mr Crum will continue in the position of Head Teacher of English for the remainder of the year, so please contact him in regards to any queries relating to English or Drama.

Mr Jai Lester
Deputy Principal

The Kokoda Trail by Mollie Emery

The Australian Spirit. A spirit that lives in every Australian past and present, dormant until the time to muster courage is required. That spirit use to run through this country as if it were an epidemic, perhaps something waterborne, that called upon neighbour to help neighbour, Australian to help fellow Australian. Living in this modern society the spirit no longer runs as true, being an adolescent I can see the ways in which Australia has taken a turn from that once thick, inherent nature, the Australian spirit waiting to be rekindled.

Most would say that the days where the Spirit was most embraced was the time of the Australian Digger, like those men who fought on the Kokoda trail. Those men were fighting to protect the Australian spirit and all that it stood for; courage, endurance, mateship and sacrifice. With the battle of the Kokoda Trail so important to Australia’s history, it was my mission to go back to where Australian heroes fought, died and conquered, to protect and preserve what it is to be Australian.

The Kokoda trail for me, was an experience that I cannot describe in a statement like “it was amazing!” because simply the ability to walk is amazing, but it can be shared through explanation of experience; whether it be crying because a village had walked 2 hours in the dark to sing me happy birthday, or playing football with local villagers, finding a boy on the side of the road holding a puppy while his parents work in the banana plantation below, the pride seen in those who sing the Papua New Guinea national anthem, an old woman in a village who gave me a sun flower so I could remember how my spirit grew like a flower in the summer or whether it be the bond I made with the people, the trail, the bird calls and the smell of Papua New Guinea which not even my washing machine can remove.

Standing at the memorial of Isurava on the 8th day of the trek in the late evening, Papua New Guinea does what it is known for; drop temperature and let the mist start rolling in. As I stand on the steps that lead to a vision of valleys and mountains, which have been set alight with colours of the sunset, many of us trekkers feel as though we are being watched. Not watched in a startling sense, but as if we were being watched over by something much bigger than ourselves, a history of a nation and its spirit sleeping in the bed of the earth beneath our feet ready to be uncovered by young Australians like ourselves.
I remember the mist slowly consuming us and an unusual sense of pride and grief running through me. It almost felt as if the mist was the breath of those diggers from 75 years ago, the Australian spirit left behind to bury its way into our souls, to fill our lungs and become our very bones.

In the morning we wake to a magnificent sunrise during the dawn service. As the bugle plays on a modern Bluetooth speaker, no emotion is left untouched. Within that moment I had discovered what it is to be Australian, the last post an ancient hymn that had been calling to me through the universe, ready to find me at that moment.
To be Australian is to do your best. To help as many as you can. To remember what had been sacrificed so we can live with dignity. To be Australian is realise that life is a privilege not a right. To recognise that the earth does not belong to us, but we belong to earth.

Even before my journey on the Kokoda trail had begun, before I ran through the KOKODA trail arches, I realise now that I had experienced the Australian spirit within all the support I gained from friends, family, mentors and Gosford RSL club. To believe in others, in this life itself, is what being Australian encapsulates.

I have heard many times that “there is no mate like an Australian mate” and I think this best sums up my experience on the Kokoda trail. In the end it is not about all the tears, all the mud or the sweat, it’s about who was there with you and who stands with you to help you through it. Walking in the digger’s footsteps, up those broken back mountains it feels as though they pushed us up there, with toothy grins and freckled faces, those Australian diggers patted us on the back with big raindrops that pushed us harder and applauded us at the end with greetings from villagers and their families.

I will never forget what those men did for us and I will always remember the rivers being veins that flow, the mountains being heads that rest in peace, for peace. Lest We Forget their epitaph of measure, a legacy that is instilled in us all; The Australian Spirit.

collage showing images from the Kokoda trail
The Kokoda Trail – amazing photographs above sourced from Adventure Kokoda’s facebook page.

For future reference: This beautiful essay by Mollie now has its very own page: The Kokoda Trail

Canteen News


The canteen has reached an all-time low on volunteer helpers.
We have approximately 560 students enrolled at our school and only 9 parent volunteers in the canteen.

Please, if you can help one day a month between 9.30-2.20 it would make a huge difference! Please call the school to be put in touch with Marie, our canteen manager, to book a volunteer day in the canteen. After you gain experience, Marie is happy to give out a job reference for future job prospects.

Due to the shortage of volunteers, the canteen has changed a few items on the menu to reduce the work load on staff in the canteen. Our prices have not changed.

See below for new changes and Term 4 menu.

Wednesday SpecialsChanged from a rotating special to Hot dogs

Brekky & SnacksCustard cup – GONE
Hot cheese roll – GONE
Hot FoodMini pie replaced with mini sausage roll
Cheese Potato Bake – GONE
Ham and Cheese Potato Bake – GONE
Fried rice changed to order only
Monday SpecialsChicken burger patties changed from home made to bought crumbed
Works burgers changed to order only
Thursday SpecialsBurritos – GONE

KMHS Canteen Menu 0 Term 4, 2017