Friday, 20 October 2017

1. Principal's News Week 1, Term 4, 2017

A big congratulations to Morgan Tangney who has been appointed as the cross-school teacher in our Whitestone Community of Learning (Kahui Ako).  This is a big achievement for Morgan and a good reflection on our practice at St Joseph's.  It means she will be part of building practice across the five schools in our Kahui Ako (St Kevin's, Weston, Glenavy, Papakaio and the Oamaru Kindergarten Association).  She will have access to professional development which will further her own practice as well as feeding into raising practice in St Joseph's.   We will lose her for 10 hours a week and her position will be a job share next year.  That means she will not be in the year 8 class as that does not suit job share.  This cross-school teaching position is a great initiative as it means we have a way of further developing our own staff without having to lose them immediately to leadership positions elsewhere.  Well done Morgan.

Teacher allocation to classes will not be known until later this term and I will tell you as soon as all the variables are known.

Progress and Achievement
In the last year we've made a lot of changes to how we do teaching and learning.   The main change has been re-establishing our systems for monitoring and promoting the learning of all students, including those who need acceleration, and challenging high achieving students.

So far in 2017 children who have made more than a year's progress (ie accelerated progress):
Reading =  37.5%
Maths = 29.6%
Writing = 29.1%

This year in maths, all students are making at least expected progress and many have had big accelerations.   A small proportion of students (13% and 8%) are struggling to make a year's progress in reading and writing but may well achieve it by the end of the year.  For half of these children, attendance of less than 90% is a factor in their struggles and we continue to promote full attendance.

Our next step is to upgrade our student's self management and motivation so they can take back some control and hence build greater SELF-motivation in their learning.  Now that we have rebuilt our capacity and shared understanding of explicitly and successfully teaching the basics very well, we will focusing on further building up the children's 21st century learning skills - creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication.  We will also have a broader curriculum focus and turn our attention to helping our students fulfil themselves and find their special areas of gifts across the whole curriculum.  We will do this in a very measured way that maintains and builds respect and achievement for all students.


This term our value focus is one of our 4Rs - REVERENCE.  Reverence is the deep respect we have for God.

We will encourage the children to marvel at the wonder of God revealed in Creation.  

We will also teach them some of the reasons for our church rituals,  These are outward signs that remind us we are in the presence of God.

For instance - did you know that genuflecting to the tabernacle (where the host is kept) is associated with paying homage to a king?  As we are acknowledging we are in the presence of God we bend down on one knee.  This is linked to the practice of the knight in Medieval times kneeling to offer service to the king.  So this church ritual of genuflecting is a way of reminding ourselves that God is our King.

God Bless and Aroha
Lorraine Frances-Rees

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