Principal's Blog

24 July 2014
24 July 2014

Welcome back to term 3 and I really hope that you managed to keep warm and cosy through the holidays. The wonderful thing about term 3 is that while it is still very wintry and cold the days are gradually getting longer and spring is definitely approaching. The heavy rain has again made the field very muddy so we appreciate the frustrations of all the sport cancellations this year and we really hope that there will be more opportunities this term.

We have had further maintenance and improvements occurring in the holidays and some classrooms have been fitted with new blinds. This has improved the viewing of screens from data projectors and Apple TVs. We are extremely appreciative of the PTAs support in providing these blinds. There have also been repairs to damaged ceilings resulting from the numerous leaks and there is still additional painting to be completed in the administration area.

The opportunity to share your child’s learning journey so far is happening over the next few weeks so make sure you book a time for your 3 Way Conference. The majority of classes are in week 3 and these can be booked online (details follow). A few classes have needed to select a different time and these conferences need to be arranged with the teacher. If you have any concerns with getting a time to suit you are welcome to approach teachers to see if an alternative can be arranged. The partnership of students/teachers/parents is something we highly value for supporting learning.

We have another student who has been successful with winning a scholarship for 2015. Congratulations to Holly O’Connor, she has an academic scholarship to St Margarets College. We are all extremely proud of you.

Post-earthquakes schools have featured a lot in the media due to the future of schools with closures and mergers. Fortunately these difficult times are behind us and schools are still featuring in the media but now about more exciting repairs and rebuilds. The look of school environments is changing to meet the needs of learners of today and in the future, and while what we see is a modern building the shifts in education go well beyond the building and are about responding to the changing world we live in. While any major rebuilding for us is still many years away, the Board and staff are looking at the shifts in education and we are researching and prototyping new initiatives. We will be looking for parent engagement and consultation in the future and so I am going to start to share with you resources that you can view and consider about the changing face of education. I will attach them to the newsletter and will also use

the principal’s blog on the website so that you can easily access the information. This week I have attached a really interesting visual impression from Knowledge Works called ‘A Glimpse into the Future of Learning’. It is thought provoking for what may lie ahead for your children as they move through the education system and start to think about their career options; it is also thought provoking for us as teachers. We are thinking and discussing the ways in which schools will need to respond to the changing world. I also welcome your sharing with us articles of interest that you may find, as by networking we all become better informed. We have interesting, exciting times ahead.

Warmest regards,
Raewyn Saunders - Principal (Acting)

12 June 2014
24 July 2014

I lived near the equator for a number of years and one aspect I really missed was the seasons! However, with a week like this I must admit that winter can be hard work. Keeping everyone dry and warm is never easy. We appreciate that collecting and dropping off children in the wet weather is a little more challenging but everyone’s safety is far more important than a quick pick up at the gates.

On Tuesday I sent out an email about a very dangerous event at Paparoa Street entrance where children were called to hurry across the road and put a driver at risk. That email has caused a few replies, equally alarming, from parents reporting other incidents. The common theme is wet weather and parents or caregivers in a hurry to collect their children. Please read one of these stories...

“I also wanted to raise an issue on Tomes Road. Not that long ago in wet weather and after school, a parent pulled into the driveway of a house close to the school (due to lack of parking I can only assume), the children got into her car while my Year two child and his younger brother went to walk behind the car - the mother narrowly missed my two before backing was so close to hitting my children it wasn't funny. She didn't even see them. Please mention this to parents - I feel sick every time I think of it.”

We are appealing for greater care and responsibility from everyone. Children need to bring jackets to school as they also have to move around the school through the day and therefore they can walk or wait for a short time in the rain. Everyone getting home safely must be our priority.

Friday night was the disco. This is a very popular event with our children and once again we are really appreciative of the parents and staff who assisted.

On Tuesday we offered two opportunities for families to come and engage with us. The parent morning tea and in the evening, a hui. We really value having time to talk and share with parents. At the hui we talked about Ka Hikitia, the Maori Education Strategy. If you were unable to attend but would like the resources you are welcome to contact Amanda Keith or myself.

This week I am attending a conference for a few days so all keep safe. The next three weeks will be busy as we have a lot happening to complete the second term.

Warmest regards,
Raewyn Saunders - Principal (Acting)

29 May 2014
04 June 2014

If you have walked in to the school this week, I hope you have noticed a few improvements with the grounds. The response to our working bee on Saturday was incredible. It was perfect weather and everyone just worked so hard and achieved so much. I have received a lot of feedback about the improvements but also about the ‘sense of community’ and meeting new people. So to everyone that came and assisted a massive, big thank you. Once again the support of the PTA with food and refreshments was also greatly appreciated and helped to keep us all going. It is not often that I shovel sand, weed gardens and sweep paths with parents but I enjoyed the opportunity to meet and engage with parents and to talk about totally different topics. The middle school garden now has some structure so that the children can continue with the project and I hope in time it will be a wonderful space for learning and spending time in the tranquillity that gardens create. We would like to add some seating to this area. If anyone has any wooden garden seating that is longer required we would be interested.

Schools sharing their practice and learning from colleagues in other schools is an ongoing part of what we do. To give you some insight, just this week we have had a group of junior teachers from a wide range of schools sharing their developments with literacy. We have also had the staff from Gleniti School in Timaru here for an afternoon and next week we have a group visiting from Asia. We are proud to showcase what we do and to learn from others. On all of these occasions the visitors enjoyed engaging with our students and I am always impressed with how our students respond.

We also showcased our orchestra and middle school choir last week at the Papanui Library as part of Music Month. The staff involved also shared how well our students step up on these occasions and this is a credit to themselves, the school and also to you all as parents and caregivers.

A reminder of the ‘Eliminating Stress’ presentation next Tuesday at 7pm. I have heard that the presentations have been going really well in other schools, with fabulous feedback, so I am sure our school community will enjoy and benefit from the content.