Thursday, 9 March 2017

1. Principal's News Week 6, Term 1 2017

Our Dominican Charism
It is important for us to understand that our school is part of a long and solid history.  This year we are having a special focus on our Dominican Charism, led by Mrs Brookes.  As we are having a rebuild and consolidation year, it is very important for us to know who we are/where we stand - our turangawaewae, and where and who we came from - our whakapapa.  We cannot move forward effectively without acknowledging and being true to our whakapapa and turangawaewae.

The children have been investigating our Dominican history which starts way back in 1216 when St Dominic founded the Dominican Order - the Order of Preachers.  This is a Catholic religious order with the mission to share the truth about God.  Dominic was also a man of the people who sold his books and gave up his privileged lifestyle in order to support the poor and spread the Good News.

In 1871 the first Dominican sisters arrived in Dunedin.  The Dominican sisters, like many other Catholic religious orders who came over from Europe at this time, started the schools in New Zealand which became the education system we know today.

In 1884 the first classrooms were set up in what is now the presbytery on Reed Street.  The Basilica was built between 1893 and 1918.  The church and parish school grew together and are still strongly connected.

The children have created artwork to celebrate our whakapapa and some of this is displayed in the hall.

Pasifika Fono, Filipino Pagsasama and Chinese Cultural Group

After discussions last term we moved to a new format of having all three groups on one evening.  Each group meets first to have discussion in their first language then each group meets separately with myself, Jan Plieger or Tua Misilioi to discuss any issues, questions or areas to explore further.  We all gather together in the staffroom for an opportunity for presentations, sharing and discussions which effect the whole group followed by amazing food.

Everyone liked the new format and feedback about the start of year was very positive.

In particular the groups liked the weekly emails from the teachers and being specifically told through the goal setting interviews how you can support your children at home.

Our teachers are always open to hearing from you and want to help solve any issues that come up as quickly as possible.  We understand that many people work and can only email in the evening but if you do, staff won't reply after 6pm as they need time to recharge their batteries.   As teachers have to prepare for their classes in the morning and then spend the day teaching, they are unlikely to be able to reply until after 3pm the following day.  Please be assured they are concerned and will act quickly even if they are not able to reply immediately.

Also if you do have an issue the best way to get it solved is to bring it to us rather than talk it over with others.  We are grateful to the people who do this because we want to help.

Board Elections
Due to a number of parent vacancies on the board, there will be a bi-election to elect new parents.  Voting papers will be sent to each family and you are to post your votes back to The Returning Officer.  Remember your vote counts.

Our Year 8's
We are so proud of the way our year 8s have stepped up into their leadership roles this year.  The house captains led their houses very effectively for the swimming sports.  Then they worked as a group showing the key competency skills of self management and participating and contributing very effectively when they planned and executed a pancake feed of 150 pancakes across the whole school last Tuesday.

Well done year 8's you are really rising to the challenge of being our school leaders.

God bless,
Lorraine Frances-Rees

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