WoW, what a Term.
We have had a fast-paced start to our school year for our Whitebridge High School community. We have settled with enthusiasm for the growing opportunities coming our way as a result of relaxed restrictions. Our staff are enjoying the freedom to reignite passions in extra curricula programs with many of our sporting teams, dance ensembles, music performers to name a few getting back out there and enjoying school wide participation.
Our newest school community members our Year 7 students have transitioned to High School well and have quickly gained momentum in their learning and are engaging across the school in a very positive way. We speak openly in our school about the importance of being a participant as opposed to being a passenger and as active learners and engaged participants in the many activities on offer. Our Year 7 students have been receiving very positive praise across our school and are already making great progress. The school camp, new friends, school sport at Merewether baths, specialist practical lessons unique to high school and the school swimming carnival have all been mentioned by Year 7 students as some of the highlights of their first term.
Our staff commenced the school year with 2 days of professional learning focussed on the schools’ directions over the next 4-year planning cycle. The school plan was developed throughout Term 4 and involved consultation with students, parents and staff with the Schools Improvement Team tasked with the job of bringing all viewpoints together and developing a clear way forward for the ongoing improvement of our school. Just as we have high expectations of our learners to be making personal improvements in their learning and growth every day, we hold true that same expectation of our staff and the school as a whole. It is always our goal that together we improve every day.
We are continuing to work hard with our learners and their families and encourage open communication with the school to develop strong and successful partnerships to support the learning journey.
Parents are always encouraged to contact the school to discuss any aspect of your child’s learning and progress with us. The school website has a staff list to help families identify the teachers within each faculty area and the relevant person best suited to respond to your query. The link to this section of the website is below.
Teaching and Learning queries should be directed first to the child’s class teacher. Wellbeing queries should be directed to the Year Adviser for each specific year group. Our Year Advisers are identified on the staff contact page above and
our Deputy Principals provide support to specific year groups and students across the school as follows:
Mr Higgins Year 12 & Year 9
Mrs Krempin Year 11 & Year 8
Mrs Morrow Year 10 & Year 7 and Students in our Specialised Learning classes
Staff are on class teaching and attending to playground and special program supervisions throughout the school day and will typically respond to your communication within 48 hours. If your concern is more urgent, please contact the school office directly on 49433966.
We also have a number of easily accessible communication avenues for you to stay informed about our school and I encourage you to connect with them. Our school newsletter is released once each Term and is always available on our school website. This issue as we wrap up the Term is our first newsletter for the year.
Our school website is a comprehensive source of information, here you can find information on curriculum, events, our newsletter, bell times and various other important items that support the daily activities at our school.
Finding out about what’s happening at Whitebridge: https://whitebridg-h.schools.nsw.gov.au/
Our Whitebridge high school Facebook page is another source of information, on this forum we post lots of information about activities undertaken at school as well as updates on future events and reminders or just in time notices that may be important to parents and students. There are always lots of photos of students involved in learning, sport, cultural activities and community events.
Sentral - parent portal allows families access to their child’s details and information including attendance, timetables and school reports etc. Access is by clicking on the Sentral parent portal link on the school website. This will send you to a registration page, complete this page and once approved by the school you will be emailed an access key. If you have any difficulty in completing this process please contact the school.
Many of our school communication systems rely on families having correct contact details provided to the school. Please ensure that we have current phone contact numbers and email addresses for you as without these you may have difficulty in receiving school communications.
Direct communication and updates, from time to time there will be direct communication or targeted newsletters sent to families via email to address specific communications or events related to the school. These specific purpose communications are sent at point in time to keep our community informed. You should have received 3 such communications across this Term, one in January, one in February and a third more recently related to Harmony Day and our School Swimming Carnival in March.
Feedback from families in our Tell Them From Me and communication surveys have indicated that parents preferred methods of communication from the school are through direct email, SMS, Facebook, or specific notes. Parents also appreciate the direct access to their child’s attendance and timetable information through the Sentral Portal. As a result of this advice, the WHS SkoolBag App has not been renewed and will not be operational from the start of Term 2. All parents are encouraged to access the Sentral parent Portal (link above), this platform will also be used to book parent teacher interviews.
Our School Calendar is updated online as we go, all important school dates and events are visible to parents at all times throughout the year. The calendar can be accessed from a link on the bottom left of the home page on the school website. I have listed a number of the important dates here as a start point.
School Development Day – Monday April 19
School Country / Colour Run Tuesday April 20
Year 12 Student reports released online through the Sentral Portal Wednesday April 21
School ANZAC Service Thursday Apr 22
Zone Cross Country Friday Apr 23
Year 7, 11 & 12 parent teacher interviews – Monday Apr 26 commencing at 2.30pm
Year 7 Enrichment Program Meeting – May 6
Lizotte’s Music Performance – May 11
Year 9 Information Session for Early Commencement Stage 6 Year 10 2022 – Tuesday June 1
Parent Teacher Interviews will be held in Term 2 for Year 7, 11 & 12 parents on Monday Apr 26th from 2.30 – 6.00 pm
Years 8, 9 & 10 Parent Teacher interviews will be held in Term 3 on Monday 16th August 2.30 – 6.30pm.
Bookings for parent teacher interviews are made online with information sent out to parents in advance through the email contact for each family held on our school records.
School Attendance is a key area of focus for us at Whitebridge High School. Our aim is to have all of our students attending school for all days that the school is open for instruction. We know the value of being present in learning and absence from school makes it harder for students to make progress and develop the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve success. Our pathway through school supports students to achieve in many endeavours in the community. Our aim is to assist our students to make the next step and transition from school into further study or employment with the best possible foundations. Whatever their next step, they will need strong patterns of attendance, a solid work ethic and a commitment to personal growth and resilience to ensure they are successful.
Each school Year is made up of 202 school days. In 2020 we were able to celebrate the positive attendance of over 390 students who achieved school attendance above 90% of the time which is an outstanding effort particularly given the challenges we all faced around health and safety. This sets up our young people to engage in their learning, grow in their literacy and numeracy skills, build their connections with staff and peers and develop as healthy happy young people. This is what school should be like.
The unfortunate part of the flip side is that over 600 students were not present for more than 90 % of the time. This is the equivalent of 13,340 days lost in education in our school alone, placing those young learners at educational risk. We all know that last year a sniffle had us all on edge, but as we have now returned to school it is essential that every one of our learners is supported to attend school every day to maximise the opportunities for them to make progress, stay connected, enjoy the interactions of peers and staff and participate fully in school life as all young people in our country have the freedom to do. Imagine the difference in life outcomes for our learners when we get back those 13,340 days of learning.
We ask that you support our positive attendance initiatives by ensuring students attend school every day, on time and that all absences are explained. We will continue to communicate student absences via SMS messages and we will also provide regular updates on the attendance pattern of your child. An attendance rate of 90% means that a child attends school 9 out of every 10 days, this is of concern and is considered to be at risk. We expect all students to have attendance above 95% and as close to 100% as they can achieve given the impact of the cold and flu season.
Quality learning takes place when our students are present in class every day and are engaged as respectful, responsible, learners. I thank you in advance for supporting student attendance in our school.
Congratulations to our HSC class of 2020 who with the outstanding support of their teachers have achieved some great results. You may have seen our student recognition throughout December on the school Facebook page after the release of our HSC results. We are very proud of our class of 2020 and wish them well on the next part of their adult journey. Special mention to Luke Wilson who was awarded dux with 4 Band 6 results and a Band 5 which earned him an ATAR of 95.8. Emily Egger also achieved outstanding results scoring 98/100 in Ancient History earning her a place on the State ranking and securing her an ATAR of 94.65. There are many other outstanding achievements, personal bests and inspiring stories worth noting and we acknowledge all students for achieving success throughout 2020.
As the year progresses I am sure you will find we have plenty of exciting things going on here and I look forward to sharing this with you and celebrating our students’ successes as we go. Ours is a great school to be a part of. We encourage commitment to learning, kindness and participation and we aim to support our students to achieve their best in whatever they put their mind to. We have high expectations of our students as they work to uphold the values of our school and contribute to the school and wider community as respectful, responsible, learners. I look forward to another great year and I thank you in advance for your involvement and ongoing support of our school.
I wish all families a happy Easter and a restful school holiday break away from the normal routines. Term 2 will start for students with a burst of colour, all students will return for learning on Tuesday 20th April.
Regular attendance at school is essential for students to achieve quality life outcomes. Schools, in partnership with parents, are responsible for promoting the regular attendance of students.
Your role in supporting attendance
Everyone has a role supporting positive school attendance.
Regular attendance helps students to:
• develop a sense of belonging
• develop and maintain friendships
• be more engaged at school
• progress with their learning
• be more aware of career and life options
Every day counts. Missing just one day a fortnight can amount to four weeks of lost learning over a year. Over their school life, this can equal one year of missed learning.
When your child attends school every day, learning becomes easier and your child will build and maintain friendships with other children.
Parents and carers can help foster positive attendance habits by:
• helping their child learn the importance of punctuality and routine
• ensuring their child arrives on time from the start of the school day, ready to participate in learning
• reducing disruption to learning where possible, by planning any necessary appointments outside of school time
• promptly communicating any absence to the school (within 7 days of the first day of any absence)
• working with the school to encourage and support regular attendance
Parents or carers of children of compulsory school age are responsible for ensuring their child attends school every day. Children must commence school by age 6 and then complete Year 10.
After Year 10 and until they turn 17, students must be:
• in school or registered for home schooling OR
• in approved education or training (e.g. TAFE, traineeship, apprenticeship) OR
• in full-time, paid employment (average 25 hours/week) OR
• in a combination of work, education and/or training
Enrolled students 17 years and over are required to attend school regularly to meet Higher School Certificate course requirements.
Attendance and absences
Parents of children from Kindergarten to Year 12 must ensure their children attend school every day. On occasion, your child may need to be absent from school. Justified reasons for student absences may include:
• being sick or having an infectious disease
• having an unavoidable medical appointment
• being required to attend a recognised religious holiday
• exceptional or urgent family circumstances e.g. attending a funeral.
Parents must provide an explanation for absences to the school within 7 days from the first day of any period of absence. Where an explanation has not been received within the 7-day timeframe, the school will record the absence as unjustified on the student's record.
If you have concerns with your child’s attendance please contact:
HT Wellbeing - Louise Smailes
Many parents have expressed concern about the amount of time their young person spends on their phone or device. Screen addiction is real and is the cause of many fights between teens and parents.
Click on the link below for some useful tips around managing screen time:
What’s the buzz word that seems to make teenagers feel that they can’t do a task or can’t manage a situation?
One of the first steps to supporting a teenager with anxiety is to be able to notice and identify signs that they are finding times more challenging.
Anxiety can be seen in:
▪ Behaviours - being quieter or more withdrawn than usual, constantly seeking reassurance or opting out or finding ways to leave class or activities.
▪ Emotional responses - looking fearful or hypervigilant or oversensite to feedback or criticism.
▪ Thoughts - always expecting the worst, fear of failure.
▪ Learning - avoiding class participation, wanting work to be perfect, difficulty seeking help for tasks.
▪ Social relationships - withdrawing from friends, avoiding large groups.
Reassuring your teenager that it is okay to feel worried before a new or challenging task might be helpful.
More targeted approaches that might help include:
▪ supporting your teenager to recognise and to describe what they might be feeling (Eg. ‘wobbly’, ‘stressed’, ‘worried’).
▪ recognising and challenging any negative self-talk that tells them they can’t do or cope with
▪ supporting your teenager by helping them to break down a worrisome task or activity into discrete chunks to complete or to work towards.
▪ offering opportunities for manageable challenges that help to stretch your teenager and increase their sense of confidence and capability.
Kids Helpline: Telephone 1800 55 1800
If you have concerns for your child please feel free to contact the Wellbeing Team for support.
Mrs Melita Morrow Year 7 and Year 10
Mrs Melissa Krempin Year 8 and Year 11
Mr Andrew Higgins Year 9 and Year 12
Head Teacher Wellbeing (located in Wellbeing Hub)
Mrs Louise Smailes
Student Support Officer:
Jessica Rixon (Monday - Friday)
Jodi Handscomb (Friday)
Ingrid Rodgers (Monday and Tuesday)
Matthew Russ (Wednesday - Friday)
Year 7 - Courtney Turner
Year 8 - Josie Mullington
Year 9 – Emma Beecham
Year 10– Stephen Hobbs
Year 11 – Simone Richardson
Year 12- Csaba Felkai
It's been a huge start to the PDHPE year in 2021!
Year 7 are investigating personal identity and finding out what makes them who they are. This is supported by their time at camp where they can also find out about their friends and make new ones. It was a tough introduction for group 1 campers as the rain set in early, but it gave them a wonderful opportunity to build resilience and reconnect with puddle jumping and enjoying nature. They are also learning to develop their basic movement skills and apply them in cooperative, fun games.
Year 8 have been learning about the nature of drugs and how many young people do not use them! They are also developing the skills to be able to make positive choices and support their friends to do the same. In practical lessons, students have been using their brains as well as their bodies to participate in strategy games. There is a role for everyone in every game as it focuses on the whole student.
Year 9 have been examining the key elements of keeping healthy for life and the importance of being involved in physical activity across their lifespan. They have also had lessons in creating a safe and inclusive classroom environment that they control. Volleyball has been immensely popular, especially in the recent inclement weather. Students have been focusing on applying strategies and communicating in a positive manner with their team mates.
Year 10 have been learning about reproductive health and getting equipped to be able to make safe, positive choices. There have been lively, respectful discussions that have been inclusive of all students. Volleyball tactics have been successfully applied in practical lessons and students have been given the skills to be able to make judgements about their own success.
A reminder for all students to bring their full sports uniform to practical lessons. We understand that sometimes it may be difficult, but appreciate every effort to ensure that students are prepared for all lessons. It may help to locate when these lessons occur (it says HAL on the timetable) and display it in a visible location.
Mr Luke Harradine
Head Teacher PDHPE
NSW CHS Rowing Regatta
On Friday 12 February 2021 Joe Newton represented Whitebridge Highschool at the NSW CHS Rowing Regatta held at the Penrith Lakes Course.
Joe made his debut in the Men’s U16 Single Scull, he narrowly missed out on progressing to the final by one place.
Later in the day Joe competed as a member of the Inter-regional Men’s Quad team placing 2nd to Grafton in the final.
A big congratulations to Joe on his efforts!
Year 8 are completing a unit of work exploring animals this term. They have improved their design skills creating lettering and developing a collection of drawings. Students were introduced to the medium of ink and worked conscientiously to develop expressive works using coloured inks and paints.
Year 9 are exploring themes of landscape with a specific focus on the ocean this term. They have experimented with drawing and watercolours inspired by Australian artist Brett Whiteley’s coastal landscapes.
Whitebridge High School HSC student Emily Spaan represented in ARTEXPRESS.
ARTEXPRESS is a showcase of HSC Bodies of Work, part of the HSC Examination in Visual Arts. ARTEXPRESS represents best practice in visual arts education and is a celebration of student achievement.
Thousands of students submit artwork for their HSC each year and a few achieve a standard of excellence that warrants their inclusion in this prestigious exhibition.
Whitebridge High School student Emily Spaan is one of the 36 high achieving Visual Arts students represented at the MRAG (Maitland Art Gallery) ARTEXPRESS.
This exhibition is one of ten individual ARTEXPRESS exhibitions that will feature in public galleries across NSW in 2021. Emily’s beautifully drawings of close friends are in the company of a dynamic representation of expressive forms – drawing, graphic design, painting, printmaking, photomedia, designed objects, textiles and fibre, sculpture, documented forms, ceramics, time-based forms and collection of works –showcased in the MRAG ARTEXPRESS.
The exhibition opens on Saturday February 27, 2021 and runs until May 30.
Check Maitland RAG_2021_Exhibition Guide for all ARTEXPRESS artworks at Maitland Regional Art Gallery.
Congratulations Emily, you have worked hard and achieved fantastic results. We look forward to hearing of your future achievements.
What's the buzz?.......news from The Hive!
2021 Introduction to the Library
Welcome back to another school year! For those students starting in Year 7 this year or those new to Whitebridge High School in 2021, here are some things that you might need to know about our school library at Whitebridge High School.
The school library, known as The Hive, as its name suggests, is a hive of activity, where students and staff are busy working together.
The Hive offers a range of activities, spaces and resources that students can utilise to support their learning and interests. This includes:
• Help with assignments, classwork and research
• Technology and DET password support
• Spaces for research, study, reading and socialising
• Fiction and non-fiction resources
• Computer and printing access
• Enrichment and social activities
The library is open to students:
• Before school from 8.15am Monday, Thursday and Friday for students to study, to seek support with research and technology, read and borrow or return resources. On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings the library is open from 8.30am.
• Recess Monday-Thursday for quiet time where they may borrow or return resources, read quietly or complete homework. The library is closed to juniors Friday recess.
• Lunchtime Monday-Friday where the library is buzzing with many students taking advantage of the air conditioning, Wi-Fi, newspapers, books, computers and other activities such as chess or jigsaws.
The upstairs is reserved for year 12 students who can take advantage of this space during their study periods and breaks to complete tasks and study quietly.
The Hive offers a range of expertise to support both students and staff including:
· Teacher-librarian: Mrs Walker (Monday, Thursday and Friday)
· Student Wellbeing/LASTStaff: Mrs Durie and Mrs Shoebridge, Mrs Levin
· Library Support Staff: Ms Duncan, Mrs McTackett and Mrs Crockford
· Technology Support: Mr Matlab
· Careers and Transition: Mr Bendall
Junior students are able to borrow 2 fiction and 2 non-fiction books for 1 month
Seniors are able to borrow 4 fiction and 4 non-fiction books for 1 month
At recess the library is quiet time where students may borrow or return resources, read quietly or complete homework. At lunchtime the library is open to all students and is buzzing with many students taking advantage of the library spaces and resources.
Books belonging to other faculties, such as Maths textbooks and English novels, that are loaned through the library can be borrowed for longer periods of time.
Junior students are asked to leave their bags outside the library but are encouraged to bring in any equipment required for study and any valuables inside. Students are asked to place their bags on either the LIBR or LIBT bagging area, depending on which side of the library they are using.
A reminder to students to return any items overdue from 2020, including faculty textbooks. You can either return it to one of the library staff or place it in the returns slot located on the library help desk.
If students are unsure if they owe books from last year, please come to the library to ask.
The Hive webpage has more information about the services and resources which are available to students at Whitebridge High. This can be accessed via the Whitebridge High School homepage or from this link (select 'My School Library' and you will be taken to the :
ClickView (Video Library & Digital Content)
Whitebridge High School subscribes to ClickView, a service that provides digital content, such as video, to members of the Whitebridge High School community. The online videosavailable to ClickView members are sourced from free-to-air channels and premium educational content providers as well as ClickView-produced curriculum-aligned videos for learning and teaching. For secondary schools, like Whitebridge High School, there isan extensive library of online resources that are curriculum aligned to support each subject, with more items being added every single day.
Students can access ClickView by going to the library homepage, selecting ClickView and using their department login.
For students who are borrowing laptops from the library, please come to the library when you arrive at school to borrowa device as laptops will not be lent during class time.
In the mornings we are asking students to grab a device from the laptop trolleys when they are opened at 8.30am eachmorning and then take it to the library help desk for borrowing (just like a book).
At the end of the day students are to log off the laptops and return them to the table in the library near the libraryhelp desk. Library staff will then scan them (mark them as returned) and return them to the laptop trolleys. Students are asked NOT to remove or put laptops back in the library trolleys themselves.
Any student who requires a longer loan of a laptop is to see their deputy.
Some things that are happening in the HIVE
In 2020 Whitebridge High School had a 7/8 Debating team. They were the winners of Hunter/Central Coast Zone 4 draws forthe 2020 Premier’s Debating Challenge but were knocked out during the second stage of the knock-out rounds.
In 2021, there has been a significant increase in students who have expressed interest in being part of the WhitebridgeHigh School Debating Team. It is looking like this year WHS will have a 7/8 team as well as a Year 9 and Year 10 team.
Any student who has as yet to express interest in debating but would like to be considered for one of the school’s debating teams, needs to put their name on the list in the library before the 1st of March.
This year we have also had considerable interest in chess. A team has been formed and we are awaiting the list of schoolswho have been drawn to play the 2021 Whitebridge High School Chess Team.
This year at Whitebridge High School the library is offering Scholastic Book Club to the entire school community.
When you order from Book Club, not only do you bring some wonderful books into your home for yourself and your children, but you alsohelp the school, with 20% of your purchase going back to the school for use in buying library books and other school resources. If you are interested in ordering, information on how to do so is detailed below. There is, however, never any obligation to order!
For those that are interested the Book Club catalogue will be available to view through the scholastic website:
We will also have a small number of physical copies of the catalogue available at the office andlibrary.
· Book Club ParentRegistration
Parents who are interested in ordering Book Club need to register online:
Please ensure you select ‘Whitebridge High School’ when registering your child.
· Book Club Orders& Payment
Orders and payment will not be taken through the front office at Whitebridge HighSchool.
Payment for Book Club orders will only be available online through the Book Club LOOP.Using this platform will allow you to pay by credit card and the order to be submitted directly to the school for distribution.
Further information about the Scholastic Book Club can be obtained through the library
Premier’s Reading Challenge
In 2020, a number of adjustments were made to support student engagement in the challenge because of Covid-19. Year 10 students are able to participate in the PRC in 2021.
All year 10 students participating in the 2021 PRC will be placed onto the 7-9 challenge, with the same participation rules and requirements as other 7-9 participants.
Students in years 7-10 at Whitebridge High School are invited to take part in this year's NSW Premier's Reading Challenge (PRC).
This is a program that aims to encourage:
• experiences with quality fiction and non-fiction books
from a selected list nominated by the Premier's office
• a love of reading for leisure and pleasure.
It is not a competition but a challenge to each student to read, to read more and to read more widely.
• The Premier’s Reading Challenge for 2021 opens Monday 1st March
• Students need to read and record their books on their online 2021 PRC Reading Log by Friday 20th August 2021 (you can ask Mrs Walker for help with adding books to your online PRC Reading Log if you are having difficulties).
• All students who have their 2021 Reading Log validated will receive a certificate. These will be distributed to students in Term 4.
Students wanting to participate need to read 20 books:
• 15 of these books need to come from the 7-9 PRC booklist
• 5 books can be their own personal choice (or you can simply read 20 from the 7-8 PRC booklist).
• For a copy of the 7-9 PRC booklist please visit:
In a series on the PRC booklist, students can read any three books as PRC books,however, students can read up to five other books from the same series if they record them as Personal Choice books.
· Further information on the rules of the PRC pleasevisit:
Where to find PRC books to read:
Students are encouraged to read as many different titles as they can.
· PRC books can be found in our school library (useOliver to search what is available) and in local council libraries such as LakeMacquarie and Newcastlelibraries (both of these libraries also have a large collection of ebooks and audiobooks).
If you need some help with selecting some books you might like to read for the 2021 Challenge, please come to the library.
Library book promotions
Our displays for February have included promotion of some of our romantic resources for Valentine’s Day and currently we are displaying teacher book picks. These items are still available to be borrowed but will be returned to the shelves to make way for our next display which will focus on resources that are on the 2021 Premier’s Reading Challenge List for 7-9 students.These will include a range of resources from fiction and non-fiction.
The Hive will be getting new resources on a regular basis.
Over the next few months there will be several additions to the fiction section to ensure the currency of the collection, to promote reading and to enable students participating inthe 2021 Premier’s Reading Challenge (which begins in March) lots of choice when selecting their reading material.
We are also planning on purchasing resources to support student reading and interests. In particular, the GN collection which has proved popular in 2020.
Students wishing to request a book not in the current WHS collection, are encouraged to ask at the library front desk or make a request through the ‘My Library’ homepage
Several resources to support student learning have also been purchased. Currently, we have some orders for senior texts to support Year 12 2021 students. These will be placed foruse in the Senior Study area as soon as they arrive at the school and are accessioned.
Here are some of the additions to the Whitebridge High School library collection that have only just arrived: