Monday, May 20, 2019

School Lockers Are Important For Your School Environment

If there are no proper storage facilities for the students, it can be extremely difficult for them to manage their belongings in the best possible way. They may frequently need to carry all of their belongings from one classroom to another, making things very tedious and tiresome for them. However, having well designed locker components makes it a lot easier for the students to manage their belongings and focus on their task at hand.

Apart from making it more convenient for the students to carry their books and other items, the storage compartments also help to keep the school environment neat and clean. Had there been no proper storage solution, the school area would have been messed up by the students who would have needed enough place to keep their goods. Hence the storage devices keep the school environment clean and help in effective management of the available space.

School storage compartments are mainly used in two areas; in the corridors as well as in the gym areas. The storage compartments that are used in the corridors are mainly used for keeping books, art equipments, electronic goods like mobiles and laptops and certain other items. The ones that are kept near the gym area are meant for keeping wet clothes, towels, etc. It is for this reason that the gym storage compartments should be rust and corrosion proof. They should be bacteria and odor proof as well for making sure that no foul smell is emitted from them for keeping wet or used clothes.

When it comes to buying storage units for your own school, you should not always look for the cheaper models as this can make you end up with below standard products. Instead, have a flexible approach when it comes to your budget. While there are numerous different types of storage devices available in the market, the plastic lockers are the ones that are best suited for school usage. It is best not to go for the wooden ones as because wooden ones are prone to decay when exposed to water or moisture.

If you are trying to buy school lockers for your own school environment then online shops are a great place to look for them. While these storage compartments are also available from conventional stores, the online stores are a great place to shop for them if you are on a tight budget. This is so because these online shops frequently offer lucrative discounts and special offers for attracting potential buyers. The rates can get even lower if you are looking to buy the storage compartments on bulk amounts. These shops can also provide you with customized solutions for your specific requirements. One of the most asked questions by migrants moving to Australia is "How do I choose a school for my children?". Not an easy task when you're 10,000 miles away so let's look at some of the things you need to consider.

Private or Public school

This comes down to personal preference and what you can afford. Both my children went through public schools in Western Australia and onto University so for me public schools have been good. Public schools are often very diverse and most draw their main body of students from the local community.

If you go private just beware that some are faith based and follow a religious curriculum with some very old fashioned values, often all girls all boys schools. They do pride themselves on sport and many operate excellent sport programs. They are generally well funded which is something you would expect considering they also receive funding from the government at the expense of public schools. A top private school can command a $30,000 fee per year so make sure you understand the impact the school fees will have on your living expenses.

Not all can afford to send their children to a top private school but don't despair some public schools regularly beat top private schools in the school ranking tables despite the poor funding. You will need to keep in mind though that even public schools are not totally free and top public schools can command fees as much a $2,000 per year for a student in year 12. They may say voluntary contributions but if your child is to participate fully you will be expected to pay so you will need to budget for this.

Cost is one factor that will determine where we send our children to school the other factor is where we live. Most parents have to live near where they work and so this will often dictate what schools are available to you. Just remember though the quality of education is not just about results. According to the ACER (Australian Council for Educational research) chief executive Geoff Masters "The quality of education provided by a school is best judged not by its final results but by the difference it makes, taking into account students' starting points. A school making a large difference 'value adding' to students' levels of achievement and life chances may deliver 'better education', despite its lower Year 12 results." So something to consider rather than just results.

Australia, like the UK, uses a league table system to compare schools. When you use it keep in mind the words of ACER Chief Executive above regarding how schools add value to student education. You can find more information on league tables and compare schools in the area you wish to move to on the myschool.edu.au website. It covers the entire education systems across Australia.

The Myschool website contains quite a large range of information on schools, covering the profile of population of each school of which there is approximately 9,500. The site also lists outcomes of NAPLAN testing performance data, student attendance and school financial figures including capital expenditure and sources of funding. It's a good source of information and you are able to compare literacy and numeracy standards of local schools to state averages. Whilst this may give an indication of current standards it is important to consider achievements in Years 11 and 12. For example: years 7 and 9 NAPLAN tests may show the majority of students in the lower brackets of the test results. The school however has an excellent achievement rate for both ATAR (university students, more on that later) and vocational studies (non ATAR). This would suggest that the school may have an excellent system to bring those struggling students up to speed by the time they leave. A very important point to consider.

For those who are curious NAPLAN stands with the National Assessment Program - literacy and numeracy (NAPLAN) and is an annual assessment of students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9. NAPLAN has been an everyday part of the school calendar since 2008. Assessments are undertaken nationwide every year in the second full week in May. Tests are made up of four areas or domains covering:

• Reading

• Writing

• Language conventions (spelling grammar and punctuation)

• Numeracy

Now to try and explain this ATAR business which is not an easy task I might add. In short an ATAR score is a percentile score given between "less than 30" up to a maximum of 99.95 (in a minimum increment of 0.05). Clear as mud so far I guess. In layman terms it is a score which denotes a student's ranking relative to his or her peers upon completion of their secondary education. This score is used by university and tertiary education programs to rank and select prospective students. In short the higher your ATAR score is the more university courses you have to choose from. Most universities will display minimum ATAR scores for entry to all their courses.

The School system in brief

Australia is made up of a collection of states and territories each has its own government which is responsible for its own education. Because of this there are some differences between states in the way schools operate. There is a national framework however which all schools have to follow to try and ensure some standardisation across the nation. Most states operate similar programs with primary school running from kindergarten through to year six or seven. High schools tend to run from year 7 to 10 and then senior high school runs from year 11 to year 12. The majority of schools cater for the full range from year 7 through to year 12, although there are a few specialist schools that operate just years 7 to 10 or years 11 and 12 in all states. In some states schools that operate for just year 11 and 12 are able to specialise in certain areas becoming Regional Training Organisations (RTO's) allowing students to get involved in pre-apprenticeships.

All states offer their own certification, for example in Western Australia students achieve the Western Australian Certificate of Education at the end of year 12 (WACE). In the Eastern states the Australian Capital Territory students are awarded the ACT Certificate. In New South Wales they offer the Higher School Certificate, in Queensland it's the Queensland Certificate of Education. In Victoria (yes, you've guessed it) it's the Victorian Certificate of Education or the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning. Moving west to South Australia they have the South Australian Certificate of Education and up in the Northern Territory its known as the Northern Territory Certificate Education.

If you are worried you may have to move states as I did rest assured that all Australian schools follow the Australian Qualifications framework (AQF) which has 10 levels and links school, vocational and university education qualifications into one national system. This does allow for some standardisation across the states and allows students to move easily from one level of study to the next, and from one institution to another. For early years there will be some differences but these will be more operational than subject content. For years 11 and 12 it may be more significant especially for university bound students as specialist areas will vary from school to school and state to state. This is also affected by availability of specialist teachers in your chosen subject area.

In my experience I have found UK school children to be slightly in front in terms of their level of education and maturity. This is certainly true in the early years however years 11 and 12 can be extremely intense especially if they have University ambitions.

Consider their in opinions?

Now many will make the assumption that when choosing a high school you should look for the best. That doesn't always hold true as I have seen children go through private education only to drop out due to the pressure of the strict regime and work ethic, it doesn't suit everyone. In our quest to find the best we often forget the feelings of the little guys and girls who will have to attend that institution every day. In short your children's opinions should count as well. Some children are naturally confident and enjoy tough challenges. Others may like a more relaxed less pressured environment.

Find out what your children's preferences are, what special talents do they have, musical, mathematical, science, sport and then find a school nearby that fits their needs. Look for the school that best fits your values and children's needs, not just plum for the best in the areas because that is what other parents are doing. Step back assess what the school has to offer and try to figure out what's best for your children. By doing this your child is likely to be far happier at school and so will you.

School life

The school year across Australia runs from the beginning of February through to the latter part of December. The school year is normally split into two semesters. Each semester consists of two terms each 10 week long (4 in total). At the end of each term students have a two week holiday. Summer holidays start in December and last until the beginning of February. As states look after their own education holidays can sometimes vary from state to state. You can get a full list of the holidays across Australia from http://www.australia.com

Daily school normally starts around about 8.40 am and finishes at 3.00 pm. The day is split into five periods each lasting around 60 minutes with two 20 to 25 minute breaks in between period 2 and 3 and then period 4 and 5. Extracurricular activities normally run from 3 to 4pm. Again school days will vary from state to state and in some schools they operate the split system where lower school students start at around 7am through to about 1pm. Upper school students attend later in the day and finish around about 5pm. This is only a guide and it does vary from school to school and state to state.

Just arrived

There are some who believe that children should start school as soon as you arrive to help them integrate quicker. I think that is a fair comment as it's important to get your children integrated into Australian life as soon as possible. Having said that I feel it's important to give children a little time to recover from their travels and get used to their new surroundings.

Some schools may allow you to preliminarily book your child into the their school before you arrive. Whilst it's nice to know you have a school lined up in my opinion it may be in your best interests to just wait a little longer until you arrive. We gave our children a couple weeks to integrate and take in a little of the enormous change they had experienced in their lives at that point in time. It also gave us chance to visit the schools with the children in a more relaxed manner. I personally would not book my children into school before I had actually visited and checked out what it was like. Furthermore competition for places in the better schools is often tight so they can afford to be a bit choosy about who they pick especially if you live outside the catchment area. They will probably want to interview you and your children before they allow them to enrol.

Researching schools

If you can afford to come out on a reconnaissance visit before you migrate it helps. It's a lovely way to assess areas to live in and schools as you are in a far more relaxed mood. Make sure you draw up an itinerary and a plan of where you are going to visit to ensure you give yourself enough time to have a holiday as well.

Contact the school prior to your arrival and make an appointment with the Principle to discuss your child's proposed enrolment. Yes principles are busy people but they will appreciate that you have taken the time to make an appointment after all you want to make a good impression.

Local knowledge is often the best so get out and about, talk to the locals and get their views on the best school in the area. Visit a few schools and watch the students coming and going. Are they happy? How are they dressed? Are they all in uniform? If any of these are negative then you might to try and discuss this with locals. Yes you will need to mingle with parents and introduce yourself but be brave and ask what they think of the school you may be surprised as to what you find out

Check out the schools social media profile. Most schools have a Facebook page Twitter account or an app to download for your phone. Take a look at these as this will give you an indication as to how the school communicates with the local community. look at how parents discuss the school, do they use positive or negative tones? How does the school communicate back to the parents do they answer all the questions politely and positively.

Most schools have their own website which often contain details of the curriculum they offer to students including a plan of the year. Schools that have this facility are, in my opinion, often very organised and efficient which is good sign. Have a look and see what extracurricular activities they offer outside of school hours. Do they cater for disabilities or gifted and talented students? Remember the article above about adding value to a child's education. If they have a newsletter sign up for it and get regular updates on what's happening at the school.

Opinions from message boards

Last but not least the expat message boards. They are useful especially when you have honest opinions from expats that have done it. These people can often be absolute gold mines of information. That said there are those that simply use these message boards to vent off their frustration and anger which is not really what you want. However, if used carefully they can be a rich source of information.

Lastly keep in mind that students do well in schools that are well organised, with teachers that are well-prepared and supported by parents. Ever since the news began making rounds that the ruling NDA government at the centre has decided to recommend the names of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Dhyan Chand for the decoration of Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour in India, many opinions in various forms started wavering around.

While some people opine that Bharat Ratna has become a watered down decoration and it makes no meaning to confer the same upon the great freedom fighter like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, few others opine that it is too late to consider Netaji for such an honour. In fact, in 1992 only, the then union government decided to confer the award posthumously on Subhash Chandra Bose, but met with a controversy. Due to the debate surrounding Netaji's death, the posthumous mention of Bose was much criticised, and also his family refused to accept the award. Following a 1997 Supreme Court decision, it was promulgated that Bose's award was cancelled. In Indian history, it is the only time when the award was announced but hasn't conferred.

Even this time, with the tittle-tattle around Bharat Ratna to be conferred on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, a majority of his family members censured of the idea and decided not to accept it. Netaji's grandnephew Chandra Kumar Bose said, "Netaji has been missing since 1945. When you award him with Bharat Ratna posthumously, you have to say when he died, but where is the evidence? The best way to honour him is to declassify government files which can reveal the truth behind his disappearance".

Bharat Ratna which literally means the Jewel of India is the highest civilian award of the Republic of India. It was instituted on January 2, 1954 with the very aim of conferring it in recognition of exceptional service or performance of the highest order, without any sort of distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex. The award was originally limited to achievements in the arts, literature, science and public services but the government expanded the criteria to include any field of human endeavour with a December 2011 amendment. Bharat Ratna recipients rank seventh in the Indian order of precedence, but are constitutionally prohibited from using the award name as a title.

Eminent people from all walks of life personally feel that the value of Bharat Ratna has ebbed over a period of time; and also opine that it's just the political influence that fetches the highest honour and not the mere services or performance as aimed while instituting the award.

From the other side, Param Vir Chakra (PVC) which literally means Wheel of the Ultimate Brave is India's highest military honour conferred for the highest degree of courage or altruism in the presence of the enemy. It can be - and often has been, awarded posthumously. It is equivalent to the Medal of Honor in the United States, and the Victoria Cross in the United Kingdom.

The PVC was instituted on 26 January 1950, the Republic day of India, by the first President of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad, with effect from August 15, 1947, the Independence Day of India. The PVC can be awarded to personnel of all ranks from all branches of the Indian military. Like other military honours, even PVC can be awarded a second time. Nevertheless, there has not even been a single case of such kind, so far. It's always interesting to dig deep into the backstory of items one encounters on a regular basis, but knows nothing, historically speaking, about. Where did they come from? How have they evolved since their early days? Screws and augers are no different. In fact, they have a pretty compelling history behind them.

The screw and auger combination can possibly be traced all the way back to the 7th century BC. To put this era in perspective, the first naval battle in Greek recorded history occurred between Corinth and Corcyra during the same timeframe. One of the ancient wonders of the world, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, was also built by Nebuchadrezzar in this century.

And it just so happens the auger screw made its first appearance during the building of these gardens. Reputedly, the King of Assyria used a screw / auger for a screw pump that moved water to the Hanging Gardens.

Not everyone agrees with that story, but even if it is a myth, augers and screws still date back to the BC era. Their next recorded appearance occurs between 200 and 300 BC. In an effort to transfer liquid from a low-lying body of water into irrigation ditches, the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes of Syracuse used a special kind of screw. That screw is still in existence today and bears the name Archimedes' screw pump in honor of its early adopter.

What prompted Archimedes to develop the screw? The mathematician was commissioned by King Hiero II to design a massive ship. This watercraft was named the Syracusia after Archimedes' home city of Syracuse. This giant ship required a means of removing all the bilge water that leaked through its hull. That's where Archimedes stepped in and conceived his namesake screw.

The Archimedes' screw worked like this: 1) A screw-shaped blade was built into a cylinder. 2) When hand cranked, the cylinder revolved, removing the water or transferring it to irrigation canals, depending on the desired outcome. Despite being well over two millennia old now, the Archimedes' screw is still used to pump liquid to this day. Wastewater treatment plants, in fact, use it to move their water. This type of screw is also currently used to convey solids like grain and coal.

A century or two after Archimedes, the auger / screw made another mark on history. Oil and wine in the Mediterranean world were pressed by way of screws in the 1st century BC. That purpose has been fine-tuned to allow screw presses to be used in the modern day for materials ranging from pulp and paper to biomass and sludge.

If not for early engineering screw and auger feats like these, many current industries would not be where they are today. The advancements these historical uses made in the screw have rendered a wide variety of industrial tasks more efficient than they otherwise would be. Wastewater, chemical, mining, material handling and construction processes are just some of the industry applications that owe their effectiveness to screws, augers and flighting... and the ancient applications that brought them to where they are today. Scientists believe that brain function naturally begins to deteriorate after you turn twenty, just like our physical and muscular strength gradually weakens as we age. However, just as you can maintain your physical strength if you exercise regularly, you can keep your brain power from deteriorating by providing daily stimulation for your brain.

In order to maintain your physical health, you have to (1) exercise regularly, (2) eat healthily and (3) sleep well. Similarly, in order to keep your brain healthy, you need to (1) exercise your brain regularly, (2) eat healthily and (3) sleep well.

Neuroscientists found that the brain exercises increase the delivery of oxygen, blood, and various amino acids in the prefrontal cortex. The result is more neurons and neural connections, which are characteristics of a healthy brain.

In a research carried out by me with 23 students in the age group of 15 to 28, I found the results are really encouraging. The brain exercises included are (1) Arithmetic calculations, (2) Reverse order (alphabets), (3) Sense of Direction, (4) Most repeated letter, (5) Spatial sense, (6) Series completion, and (7) Word memory. All the tests are exercised mentally and no writing materials are used. The first test contains 20 simple arithmetic calculations involving the two mathematical operators, addition and subtraction. To pass the test the participant should score 18 correct answers. In the first attempt, 9 participants passed the test. Out of this 2 participants scored 100 percent. The best time was 1 minute and 55 seconds with 90 percent accuracy. Maximum attempts taken by a participant to pass this first level test were 4. In the first attempt, the participant (age, 26 years and 6 months) took 3 minutes and 34 seconds with 15% accuracy and in the 4th attempt the person took only 2 minutes and 28 seconds with 95% accuracy. It means not only the participant was able to pass this test but also the person improved speed. In the next 14 sessions, the participant passed the next 5 levels comfortably and didn't take more than 4 attempts at anyone level. The participant passed the 6th level in 3 minutes and 35 seconds with 90% accuracy. Encouraged by the progress of the participant, I gave two advanced levels of arithmetic tests. The participant passed the advanced level test 1 in the first attempt in 2 minutes and 39 seconds with 95% accuracy and the advanced level test 2 in two attempts in 4 minutes and 50 seconds with 90% accuracy. In the next session, the participant improved the time with 4 minutes and 20 seconds (repeat of advanced level test 2).

Arithmetic calculations contain several levels. As the participants passed each level, they were tested with higher levels. Almost all participants hit a wall at a certain point. When the test was repeated several times they were able to get the breakthrough.

The most crucial point in any kind of training is continuity. It is ideal to train your brain, when your brain is the most active. It is also important to eat before you do the calculation exercise; otherwise, the effects will be reduced by half (don't eat food that makes you sleep). At the onset of training your brain function will improve somewhat steadily. However, you will probably hit a wall at a certain point. You may wonder why your results are not showing any sign of improvement. But if you hang in there and continue your training, a breakthrough will come, and you will see your scores suddenly jump. If you are facing doldrums, just remember that your brain is preparing for a leap.

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