Friday, 23 June 2017

1. Principal's News Week 8, Term 2, 2017

Resilience is one of our four 'R' values.  It means the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.  I have had huge support from parents as we have worked to increase respect in children.  I love to hear visitors to the school tell me how children greet them respectfully, escort them to the office, stand back so they can walk through doorways etc.  A visiting local principal was very impressed with some of our older boys yesterday in the way they greeted and welcomed her.

Resilience is our next big challenge I think.   Children do have to deal with difficult things.  Sometimes their learning is difficult.  I have always said to children that I think a big test of character is not what has gone wrong, or what you did wrong but what you do after it.  Taking responsibility for one's own actions, being supportive of others when they go wrong and learning from mistakes are all signs of resilience and good relationship in action.  Genuine learning is never a relaxing breeze.  Friendships can be difficult and sometimes our little people fall out with each other and say or do things they don't mean.

Someone I trust asked me today what was on top.  My reply was what I want most is, for all the children in the school to become closer and closer to what God intends them to be, to their own full glory, and to enjoy the journey of getting there.  I want them to know that sometimes other people have difficulties and sometimes don't act like their best selves but nevertheless to support each other and truly believe they can grow together.  To believe that if one person is struggling we are all struggling and we pull the weakest up with us and for them to be loyal to the school and feel proud to be here.  I think the majority of our children feel like this.

Some of our classes have been working on "positive tracking."  This is actively looking for the good in any situation.  So I've shared these thoughts with you in the hope that you will support us to build the value of resilience by always helping your children to look for the positives in situations and to believe they can find solutions.
Our mid year reports are due to come out at the end of next week.  The teachers have put a huge effort into making judgements about children's progress and working together to make sure they are making valid judgements.  Some of the children will not have achieved as highly as they did at the end of last year.  I believe we are going from strength to strength but we are getting three teachers to look at every change in judgement and I think we are getting it right and will continue to get it right moving forwards.  Remember the mid year judgements are only a projection on where we think they will be at the end of the year based on current progress.   Term three is the real engine room of learning and a lot of growth happens in term three.

I don't like our present reports.  Parents who have been around for a while will remember giving feedback into our reports over several years.  We developed reports which showed the whole child and reported on their overall picture - a lot more than National Standards.  As we had a change of student management system (digital) in 2015 our system lost the capacity to produce the previous reports.

We need to report to you in plain language in writing twice a year.  I would like us to start developing a more descriptive e-portfolio system where children can demonstrate their learning and show how it meets benchmarks.  It would show you exactly where your child is and where they are going but in a more interesting way.  This will take some time to develop and get right.  I hope for it to start operating next year.  In the meantime I don't want to waste our time and money on trying to re-develop more holistic reports using the present system.  I would rather wait and do it right.  So in the meantime, we are going to stick with the reports we have.

Please take the opportunity to book in to parent interviews in week 10.  This gives your child's teacher a chance to connect with you to talk more about your child's learning and what they are doing to help.  The details are in the news section of the blog.

Teacher Only Day
Please also note that we have a teacher only day and school will be closed on 22nd September so staff can attend the Dunedin Diocese teachers' Gathering.  The length of the school year has been determined so no school days are lost from this closure.

God bless and Aroha,
Lorraine Frances-Rees

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