Thursday, 9 October 2014

Gracemount Parental Bulletin Friday 10th October

Congratulations to Mrs J Wilson- Martin our dance teacher whose baby girl arrived safely on 7.10.14.  Katie June Wilson–Martin weighed in at 7lbs.  Our best wishes go to the happy family.

Ms A Kennedy has been appointed as Support for Learning Leader for the next year. This is to fill the vacant post as Ms M Dickie leaves us on Friday taking a career break.  A replacement teacher for History will be advertised after the holiday.  We are pleased to see Ms Muir return.

In memory
The House assemblies led by Mr Rodger and some S3 pupils were a very fitting tribute to Robbie McDonald who died earlier this term.

Today, Friday 10 October, is our dress down day and assembly to pay tribute to Mr Drain.  It would have been Mr Drain’s birthday last Sunday and we all fondly remember him wearing his shorts so the theme of the dress down day is of course shorts and T shirts! My thanks to all the staff and pupils who have worked hard to make this event happen.

Open Evening Thursday 9th October 
There was a fabulous buzz about the school as we showcased the great work that goes on in and around the school.   Staff had made a tremendous effort to display the work and involve pupils in demonstrations, performances etc. A large number of pupils volunteered to help and welcome the visitors to the school.  We were particularly pleased to welcome the parents of our neighbouring primary pupils and look forward to welcoming them when they join us in S1.  

Outward Bound Trip 2015 
A quick reminder that our school camp trip to Loch Eil, near Fort William is taking place from 18th-22nd May. This trip is open to all S1-S3 pupils as well as senior pupils not sitting exams during that week of May. Cost is just £158 for 5 days, 4 nights and includes transport, meals and full instruction. Additional funding is available for up to 12 pupils who are on the free school meals register. If interested you need to act quickly. First see the office staff or Mr Wyllie in Social Subjects for a letter. Then complete the tear off slip on the second page of the letter and return a £28 deposit to the school office no later than Friday 31st October. This is a fantastic opportunity for youngsters to develop new skills and build their confidence 

Inter House Cake Competition
Not only did this week see the final of the ‘Great British Bake Off’ but our own budding bakers took part in a close run competition.  The senior phase Cake Decorating class produced a cake for each house and I was invited to choose the winning cake.  The pupils have developed their skills to a very professional level so I called in support from our Librarian Mrs Brown and Business Manager Mr Mackenzie to help decide.  The winning cake was made by pupils in Tiree house in the shape of a bee hive complete with handcrafted busy bees! Well done to all who took part. One day soon we may see some of our pupils take part in the TV series!

Senior Pupil Geography Field Trip

Armed with their iPads, clipboards, questionnaires and survey sheets Mr Wyllie led our National 4 & 5 Geography students out on a full day of Geography fieldwork on Tuesday this week. Luckily the sun was shining and school provided students with bus tokens to save everyone from too much walking! The trip involved students visiting 7 survey sites starting from Gilmerton village in the morning and ending up at Princes Street by mid-afternoon. The field work has allowed students to collect a wide range of data which will help them in their added value assignments, an important part of their coursework. 

This year students have chosen a wide range of assignment topics such as shopping quality, crime, environmental quality and how land use/residential value change as you move from the city centre out to the city suburbs. A second group of senior students are scheduled to go out on Tuesday 21 October. Fingers crossed they get such good weather!

iPad Damages
Mr Whyte our Curricular Leader of Technologies wanted to add this note about our iPad project:
Over the last few weeks, three iPad mini’s have been seriously damaged.  The screens have either been smashed or cracked.  It is quite clear that these iPads have been out of their full body protective cases even though students were told to never to take them out.
It costs the school £75 to fix an iPad.  Students are reminded that it is very important that their iPads are kept in the case at all times.  If more iPads become damaged, it could be that we have to take all the iPads in and stop the project altogether. 

Parental support for the success of this initiative is strongly encouraged and appreciated. 

Gracemount Great Whites Basketball played a friendly match against Newbattle High school on Wednesday 8 October.  The game generated great excitement from the audience and was a close match.  Sadly this time the girls did not win but it was very valuable experience and they are well supported by their coaches, senior pupil Sean Adams and former pupil Kirsty Young.

Health promoting school 
The final Workshops “Raising Teens with Confidence” took place this week 
Feedback from parents who have attended has been very positive with comments such as

“I found the course great. I loved the inventive ideas which have really worked for me. The clips were great too and a good resource - I've used it to look into strategies to deal with homework.”

“Really enjoyed the course. I found it very helpful and have gained lots from it. Would highly recommend to other parents to attend.” 

“This has helped me to stop and think about how I handle a situation. Stopped me from trying to solve problems and allow my child to make their own decisions”. 

“Having a better understanding of where my children are coming from e.g. Door slamming may just be their way of needing attention”

We hope that we can offer the course again later in the session so if you didn’t manage to go this time look out for future courses.

Finally may I remind you that school resumes for pupils after the autumn break on Tuesday 21 October at 8.30 am.  I hope everyone has a well-earned and relaxing holiday.

L Sinclair 
Acting Head Teacher