2016 Pre-Term Newsletter
Welcome to 2016 – a brand new educational year!
I wish to extend a really warm welcome to you all to our school this year – those who have been a part of our school for some time, and all the folks who are new to our school and community this year. I believe we have a great school with superb students, quality staff, supportive parents and members of our wider community.
I would also like to extend a special welcome to the 50 families who are new to our school this year. I extend a warm invitation to you all - mums/ dads/caregivers/friends and children – to join us at the school swimming pool on Friday 26th February as an opportunity to meet with our Senior Leaders and staff and all the families who are new to our school. I will be sending you an invitation directly.
It may seem a bit unusual to get a newsletter this week before we have even started with our learning programmes but we now have email addresses for nearly all of our families and this means we are able to have high quality, rapid communications around our school events.
If your contact details have changed at all during the break please contact our office to ensure we have our data base 100% accurate. Clearly we have had an “interesting” summer – lots of wind, rain, but also some fabulous days. I hope you have all had and taken the opportunity to recharge your “family” batteries as we head into a brand new education year.
I am really excited about 2016. Our staff have been fully engaged this week in their preparations for the start of the year; our school is fully staffed (which is fantastic); we have made some improvements within the school during the summer break (room 20 – wall removed; Matahaorua block repainted; some environmental work); our new Middle Years block (called the “Hei” block) now has the roof on and is progressing well; our roll will start off at about 930 with about 25 international students;… and more!
We are really well placed to start next week – we know the students are looking forward to returning too; so all is in place for a great start to our year.
If you have any questions about the start-up please contact our office (8665916) or any of our DPs – Mrs McDougall (Primary); Mr Johnston (Middle); and Mr Smith (Senior); or our deans in Y8-13.
Staff new to our school
It is my pleasure to introduce and welcome our new staff to you all. In the Primary Years we welcome Mr Andrew Fisher, Ms Rahira Frost, Ms Freya Marra, Mrs Natelle Lidgard, Ms Rebekah Brandon, Mrs Sally Findlayson, Mrs Jean Waretini-Paul. In our Middle Years we welcome Mr Tamati Bryers (Y7/8 roopu), Ms Maddie Stonehouse (science/mathematics), and Mr Michael Ewing (Y7/8); and teaching in our Middle and Senior Years we welcome Mr Richard Pincham (metal technologies/mathematics), Mr Hugh Fairweather (physics, science, mathematics), Ms Rose Mahon (art, media studies), Ms Yvette Audain (specialist music tuition), Ms Belinda Cannan (drama, arts faculty leadership) and Ms Jo Mannington (hospitality/catering; food and nutrition; “educaterers”). I am really delighted with our staffing and know our young people’s learning and care will be in good hands.Mr Johnston will be with us for 4 weeks prior to him taking up study leave for the balance of the year and Mr Wilkinson will be with us for 8 weeks prior to him commencing his study leave.
Seaside Carnival – 2016 – Wet, Wet, Wet!
Wow what an event! I have not experienced such rain at an event like ours in the past. The day started misty… and ended up with torrential rain, lightning, thunder. Extraordinary conditions for us to cope with. And it was fantastic. Our community came out despite the rain and supported the Carnival. Some of the stall holders didn’t participate, which is understandable, but there were so many that simply hung in there. For those of you who managed to brave the weather and to support us – thank you so much. The organising group which included Mrs Rekha Percival and Mrs Rebecca Edwards spearheaded by Mrs Sharyn Morcom and the Carnival Committee did a fantastic job and we are really grateful for their contribution, tenacity and determination to make this event a major celebration during our summers. We just need the weather to cooperate. We are waiting for word on the final income from the Carnival – these funds will go toward the redevelopment of the Y4-6 playground.
Learning Organisation 2016
We have a major shift in our learning organisation this year, particularly for students and staff in Years 7-13. Essentially there are three 95 minute learning blocks on Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays and Fridays, and four 60 minute learning blocks on Wednesdays. We have been working through how we can improve our learning time across our school – spending more time going deeper into the learning, having fewer transitions between periods, spending the time in developing quality learning relationships between our students and their peers and our staff. Many of our students have the KAMAR app (free to download) on their phones and they refer to these about what’s coming up for them in their learning programme.
I know it will take a bit of time for the new Learning Organisation to settle in for us all, and I am really excited about the flexibility we now have within our programmes to enhance the learning and focus in our classrooms. Additionally there is significant quality time dedicated to building relationships through our I-time class, and we have set aside 20 minutes on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for this express purpose. This is an enhancement on the developments in I-time that we have been working through over the last three or four years. Additionally for students in Y11-13, there is a block of time on Wednesdays (block 4 – the final block of the day), which is dedicated to students as an “Independent Learning Time” (called “Student Independent Learning Time” – SILT). We see this as being a fabulous opportunity for senior students to engage in their passions and further learning and we are working through what this would look like during term 1.
BYOD Years 11-13
To help with the learning of all of our students in years 11-13, we expect all students to have their own device in 2016. This follows on from the progressive development of BYOD’s from the middle years into the senior years over the last 3 years. Our learning programmes in years 11-13 will be supported by student devices.
Course confirmation – Y12 and Y13 in particular
Now that the NCEA results for individual students are out for 2015, it is important that each student check their course selections with their dean – Mrs Hutt and Mr Ross respectively. It is okay to change courses but we want to have all this well and truly tidied up before the first full day of learning. Year 11 students chose their courses for 2016 last year and we would expect few if any changes – however if there are changes student wish to make they need to contact their dean – Mr Battaerd.
Start-up arrangements – Week 1
I have republished the start-up arrangements for this year below.
- Tuesday February 2nd -Years 1-6 - Go directly to your classroom
- Years 7-9 - Go to the hall
- New students meet at the flagpole
I believe we have all the ingredients for a fantastic learning year across our school. As always there is more we can do to make our learning experiences even better and I look forward to receiving feedback during 2016 (via email if you wish) that will continue to guide us in this directly. If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.
Ka kite ano