Thursday 14 March 2019

1. Principal's News Week 6 Term 1 2019

Junior School First Aid Fun
We have a new system for Junior School First Aid.  

Our old system had juniors marching over to the staffroom when they believed they had a serious injury.  We'd hear a very loud and official-sounding knocking on the staffroom door and open it to find a large group of very small people with very wide eyes.  Heads would lean forward into the room, eyes scanning to find out what the teachers were up to.  An ice pack would be requested for a serious injury.  Often no-one could remember who was actually injured or where the injury was.  

We loved the visits but we've tried something new.  Our junior duty teacher now has a bag with antiseptic wipes, band-aids and dressings.  Best of all we have a spray bottle of water with lavender essence and this is sprayed on those injuries which need TLC but aren't open wounds or showing signs of redness, bruising or other actual distress.  There have been some miraculous recoveries and everyone's happy.  We also have red cross cards for the teacher to give the children to bring over to the staffroom if they need further follow up First Aid.

It's working.  The teachers are happy.  The children are happy.   

Thank you for the final responses to the consultation on uniform which helped to clarify a grey area regarding girls' uniform.  
You voted:
Have only pinafores = 19 votes
Have a choice of pinafores or skorts = 27 votes
We said the uniform decision is up to a parent majority decision so long as we had sufficient responses so now we will source some skorts which will be a uniform option moving forward.
Tartan skorts will soon be available at the Warehouse as a uniform option for girls.
We are still looking into an alternative polar fleece and are making headway.

What We're Up To

We have lots going on at the moment as always.  I've been watching the children in the garden outside my window - they are fascinated by the water tension holding the water tight on nasturtium

leaves, by the caterpillars who have demolished our swan plants, and the seeds inside the massive sunflower heads.  For the nasturtium leaves its great to see the natural scientists at work who go and get more water, and try different leaves and different scenarios to see what happens.  The sunflower seeds have all been eaten by children.  I'm surprised there's still apples on the tree.  Its lovely to see their natural curiosity and systematic inquiry skills.  I've been trying to convince them to let the horse chestnuts mature so we can have conkers and maybe a traditional conker contest but they insist on breaking them open to see what's inside.

We've had our swimming sports and 21 children represent us at North Otago swimming.  We're proud of all these children.  A particulate shout out to Paolo who said he was proud to represent his school and Atlanta who learnt how to do tumble turns in our lessons and used them at the competition. We have three Rippa Rugby teams ready to represent us at the Rippa tournament on Friday.  There are children learning and avidly practising the ukelele and drums at lunchtimes and children learning with our Pasifika/kapa haka group on Fridays after school.  Our year 7 & 8s have risen as amazing leaders in our Dominican choir/music group.  Year 8s are running a chess club in the library at lunchtimes and I know our year 8s have more plans in progress. Well done everybody.

Some of our year 8 leaders wearing their new leadership badges
This is a notice from NZEI - the Teacher's Union
It’s Time/Kua Tae Te Wā

In the week of 18 March, primary teachers and principals around the country who are NZEI Te Riu Roa members are heading to meetings to vote on whether to accept or reject the latest collective agreement offers from the government. They will also be voting on whether to take strike action should the offers be rejected.
These meetings are a crucial part of the ‘Kua Tae Te Wā - It’s Time’ campaign. They’re an opportunity for teachers and principals to come together to discuss the offer and decide next steps.
We want to ensure teaching is an attractive profession for people to join and stay in, and we have asked that the government provide for better staffing to reduce class sizes and give us more time to teach and time to lead.
The offers received are only minimally different from what was offered (and rejected) last year. This is because the government has refused to increase the amount of money available. 
Already, many schools are having to make sacrifices because of the difficulty in recruiting teachers and relievers, and we must take bold steps to turn this around.
We really appreciate your continued support. If these offers are rejected, it is the voices of parents and the wider public that will be key to forcing the government to listen as we continue our campaign to ensure every child gets the best possible education.
For more information, please go to or talk with your child’s teacher.

Our meeting is Friday 22nd March -  I am at a Catholic Principal's meeting in Dunedin that day and the teaching staff are attending the 1.30pm meeting.  We want to do the best for the children and considered having half the staff going in the morning and half in the afternoon but that would disrupt a whole day's learning, and leave room for things to potentially go wrong.  So we encourage you to pick up your child at 12.30pm from your child's classroom.  You will need to sign your child out with the class teacher.  We can't let students walk or ride home alone at lunchtime, they will need to be collected if they are going home.  Children remaining at school will be gathered in the school hall under the supervision of Mrs Winders.  We would be grateful if you could email the school office on to indicate your intentions please.

Writing Achievement
We have done a recent review of our writing data and we're happy to say that according to external testing, our intermediate class medians are well above the New Zealand norms.  This includes being above in the specific writing areas of ideas, structure, organisation, vocabulary, sentences, punctuation and spelling.  We have moderated our writing tests with other North Otago schools and with St Kevin's to check we are accurate.  

God bless and Aroha 
Lorraine Frances-Rees

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