Thursday, 4 December 2014

1. Principal News Week 8 Term 4

Hot Topic of the Week: Learning and change at St Joseph's for 2015

Firstly a HUGE thank you to the many brave parents that have taken up my offer to come and talk to me about our plans for classes for 2015.

I have asked those same parents to spread the word and encourage others to do the same. This weekend, I intend to write a blogpost on the principal's blog that will reflect some of the questions that parents have asked me. I will share the link to this post via our school Facebook and email. Our rich discussions are very valuable and all contribute to ensuring success for our learners.

While I have been busy meeting with parents, Mrs Frances-Rees has been meeting with, talking to and listening to our senior children. Their honest and thoughtful feedback will contribute towards class and team planning for 2015.

The underlying theme throughout all of our discussions is 'relationships'. In particular, relationships between learners and what these will look like in our classes.
We have spent many years of professional staff development focused on quality learning relationships. We aim to ensure that we get to know every learner and connect with them to support learning and achievement as well as ensure that the relationships between all learner are respectful.

Respect, reverence, resilience and good relationships are our school values and we work very hard to focus on these at all times. I would like to emphasize that the focus at the start of the year will be on positive relationships and high expectations (as is always the way in any class) but this time it will be looking at what this will look like across learning hubs. 

Transition Morning:
Next Thursday morning the children will have a chance to meet with their class teachers for 2015 after mass.

Visitors this week:
Mrs Brosnahan-Pye and Mr Young, the principal and syndicate leader from St Joseph's in Timaru came to find out more about teaching and learning at St Joseph's. They have been reading our blogs and talking to Mrs Frances-Rees, who used to teach with them and were keen to understand more about our student engagement in learning for success at our school. They were very impressed and keen to share our practices with their staff in Timaru.

Mr Gerald Scanlon is the new General Manager of the Dunedin Diocese. He met with Mr Olsen and I at St Kevin's and then came for a tour of St Joseph's. We are looking forward to liaising with Gerald in the future about Catholic education in North Otago.

We were delighted to attend a special NZEI dinner at the Homestead last week to celebrate the full registration of teachers across North Otago. Both Mr Moore and Miss Jackson were presented with their certificates for full registration. New Zealand teachers are recognised with this award after completing the equivalent of 2 years of full time teaching. We are very proud of Chantelle and Thomas and privileged to play a part in their registration. Special thanks to Miss Becci Huls  and to Mrs Frances-Rees who have been their mentors, along with the rest of our very supportive staff.
Many of our students performed at the Pasifika Success Talanoa Fiefia awards night at St Kevin's last Friday. Congratulations to Jerome Misiloi, Inoke Halaholo, Sivaenga Katoa and Utumalama Latavao for being recognised with special awards. Thanks to Peni Latavao and Jan Plieger for coordinating the evening. Special thanks to our parents who helped prepare the costumes - Tua, Malia ,Talanoa and Lisa and to our children who performed so well.

Feedback from recent survey:

The outcomes of our parent survey are up on the strategic planning wall outside the main school office. Most of the responses were either in category 1 or 2 with 1 being excellent.
We received many comments to also inform our future planning.
As a result of the feedback around communication, we have decided to transition away from a paper Pulse for 2015. Instead we will continue to post our news on our news and learning blog and our school Facebook page. Responses indicate that these are the most popular places for keeping up with school news and events. We will still publish the bulk of our news on a Thursday and will share this link as well as a screen shot of dates and sports draws on the school Facebook page. We will also provide a hard copy of anything you wish if you request this from the office.

First Reconciliation:
It was quite special to be part of the group of children and their families who made their First Reconciliation last weekend.Thanks to everyone involved. You are all continually showing us how to reach for the stars as lifelong learners in the Catholic faith.

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