Friday, 20 February 2015

1. What's new ? Principal updates Week 3 Term 1 2015

Engagement in learning
As we come to the end of our third week of the new school year, I will share my personal experiences teaching in Senior Hub 2 and general observations across the school.

I had a chance to teach the Year 7 class for Religious Education this morning and was extremely impressed with their work ethic, the way that they focused on the task and the engaged manner in which they worked individually or with a partner to complete the task. This is the digital link to the task. 

The children could make the following choices:

  • To access the task via devices (the digital link was accessible in their docs) or they could access a paper copy of the task. Some children used the school chrome books or their own devices.
  • Where to sit or stand to complete the task. Some children chose the leaners, others were at tables, some on bean bags and some worked on the floor.
  • To work independently or with a partner. This was about a 50% split.
  • To write their answers on the task sheet or in their books or type their answers into the document. 
  • To access the bible passages using search engines on devices or locate the passages in real 'book' bibles. 
This simple variation in choices for the children created an environment that catered for the needs of a diverse range of learners. As a result, every student was engaged in their learning. They took ownership of the task by self - managing the way that they engaged with it. 

What role did the teacher play? After the initial introduction to the task, my role was to roam around the learning spaces and engage with the children. I was available to guide, support, assist, discuss, recommend, encourage and challenge the learners. I was also ensuring that all children were on task. 

This lesson is an example of what happens across the hubs during other learning times. Senior Hub 2 has the advantage of 3 classroom teachers. The children have the opportunity to choose to work in the independent workroom (Year 8 homeroom), the group work room (Yr 7 homeroom ) or the Workshop room (Year 6 homeroom). When one teacher is assigned to run workshops, there are 2 teachers available to take on the roaming role. 
Parents and caregivers of our senior children will know that we have high expectations for our children's behaviour ; their actions and the way that they use their devices. There are no excuses for using the devices for anything other than learning and this has been made very clear to everyone. Respect for the environment and for each other is still a focus right across our school in all learning hubs as behavioural expectations are established.

During my visits over the past few weeks throughout all learning hubs I have seen children settling into new routines with their teachers at the start of a new school year. Children have begun to learn to take responsibility for their own actions as they develop valuable self management life skills that will continue to develop as they progress through the school to St Kevin's and beyond.

If you have any questions, concerns or queries about anything that is happening in our learning hubs across the school then Mrs Frances- Rees (DP and Learning Hub Facilitator) or I  would be happy to discuss these with you. Both of us will be available during the goal setting meetings next week. Don't hesitate to share anything with us. It's always better to address issues as they arise. Talking about these with our school leaders and teachers who are 'at the coalface' and in direct contact with your children is a positive and pro active way to look for answers and solutions rather than searching for answers from other parents in outside school forums. 

Parent Reference Group - open school forum 
This is a school based forum where parents can meet with school leaders (usually the principal) to ask questions and have discussions about learning and school based activities and events. We have moved these meetings to the new time of Fridays fortnightly from 8:30 - 9:00 am  and will have our first meeting in Ruma Koru next Friday. Anyone is welcome to join us. We encourage you to take the opportunity to use this forum as the best place to discuss answers to your queries and questions.

Board News : . message about concerns

Every year the board shares with our community the 'Concerns Flowchart' procedure to ensure you understand the pathway to take should the need arise.
This is an ideal time to clarify that the role of parent trustees on the board is not to listen to concerns or complaints and provide answers for you. Approaching a parent trustee on the board in this manner puts them in an awkward position. The board wishes to make this quite clear. Parent trustees will direct you to follow the proper channels for your answers as indicated on the Concerns and Complaints procedure.

First you go to your child's teacher, then to the principal and then if after this your concerns haven't been satisfactorily addressed then you put them in writing to the board of trustees. It is at this point that your concern is brought to the table at a board meeting and the whole board together will discuss and address the concern.
It is only when parent trustees are together at a board meeting that they can discuss the concerns that have come to the table in writing. They cannot address them in any other manner outside of these meetings. 

We have recently created a board blog. This will replace the termly board news updates. If you check the blog you will be able to read the board reports and keep up to date with board news. Here is the link. You can also access this from the Teaching and Learning site under the 'communication' tab.

Uniform news from the board
As a result of responses to the survey carried out with the community last year, the board have recommended that the school ties be phased out for children from Year 1-6 during the winter terms (Terms 3 and 4). Ties will remain a compulsory part of the Year 7 and 8 uniform to help prepare them for wearing ties at high school.

Health Promoting School News and Healthy Lunches and Subway changes
This is a repeated message from a previous newsblog post.  If you need to discuss this further then please contact me for any clarification.
We will be removing the option of chocolate chip cookies and drinks off all future Subway orders as part of being a Health Promoting School. Orders will still be $5 with the fruit option remaining available instead of the cookie.
We wish to continue our procedure of only drinking water and school milk at St Joseph's and the fruit option with the Subways orders is a healthy alternative to the cookie.

Year 8 leadership retreat
It was a pleasure to accompany Mr Moore and the Year 8's to the Deep Stream Walking Track with many wonderfully supportive parent helpers. This day formed part of the Leadership Retreat days that have taken place during the week. 

Pasifika Fono

This were some of the members of the group who joined us for a meeting this week (a few of the group had already left before we took the photo). We looked at our Pasifika reading, writing and maths data and spoke about continuing the weekly learning and cultural group on Wednesdays at 5:30 pm. The first one will commence next week. We also looked at how to access the Teaching and Learning Site and links via the school Facebook Page.

 Goal Setting Meetings 24th and 26th February 3.30 until 8.00 pm and Winter Sports registrations
Our Sports Coordinator Mrs Souness will be at the Goal Setting Meetings taking registrations for Winter Sports. Please make sure you catch up with her.

These are our first meetings for the year where you get a chance to meet with your child's teacher and your child and plan their initial goals for the year. We aim for 100% attendance to these important meetings. We are happy to organise a translator if you need a support person for these meetings.

You can book a time for your meeting by going to and typing in our school code 2VS6K then look for your class teacher's name and choose a time that suits you. Alternatively, Anne and Paula in our office are more than happy to make a time for you if you ring the office or come and see them.

I will be contacting any families that haven't made a booking on Monday to support you with making a time for a meeting. As I mentioned above, Mrs Frances Rees and I will also be available to meet with you.

Thanks for your continued support as we keep reaching for the stars as lifelong learners in the Catholic Faith together. Remember to follow your children's learning by accessing our Teaching and Learning Site here.

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