Nga mihi nui ki a koutou

Greetings to you all and hello autumn!  A special welcome to our new families and new children, Jyron Felix, Rodi Parshikov, Silvia Cha, Ethan Peters, Vienna Vale, Rusila Moqe, Vin Villegas, Sophie Schiphorst and Felix Shin.

Over the last couple of weeks we have had the opportunity to participate in a number of events as a school.  Ones that we should be extremely thankful for.  Of course top of the list is our fantastic PTA who, despite having to wait for the weather, ran another amazing outdoor adventure day.  Our school grounds were buzzing with parents and excitement as all children got the opportunity to test themselves on the well laid out course.

On behalf of our school community I would particularly like to thank Mel Gash for her wonderful organisation of this event.  I would also like to thank the organisation of our PTA on, and leading up to the day.  Thanks also to the  many parent volunteers who assisted in a variety of ways.  

I would like to put a plug in for our PTA, they consistently raise a significant amount of money that goes directly towards the benefit of our students.  The next meeting for this year is on April 11 at 7pm and it would be great to see a few new faces among the mix.

The Launch of The Parish of St Thomas Aquinas

It was great to see such a large number of our community at the Mass launching our new combined Parish earlier this month.  The capacity of the Aquinas College Gymnasium was of course tested but in doing so was a great sign of community.  Many I have spoken to were extremely impressed with the homily given by Bishop Stephen Lowe as a part of celebrations.  It was a great recount of the history of our church in Tauranga spoken through the spiritual domain and with reference to our local area.  Bishop Stephen has therefore indicated that he will provide a copy of it for people in the near future.

Innovative Learning

As we continue our journey towards the development of our learning environments as student centered enablers of learning I would like to continue to present parents with relevant information.  Therefore, I have again included a couple of links that may help widen your knowledge in regard to the rationale behind changes to education both globally and within New Zealand.

Tony Grey: www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6xrTxx8hek

Ken Robinsons:  https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_changing_education_paradigms

Mark Osbourne: http://edtalks.org/#/video/considering-modern-learning-environments

Traffic Safety

Of concern has been the number of children put at risk as a result of driver behaviour around our school grounds.  While our building project is continuing there is a restriction of access between room 10 and room 9.  This has meant an increase in foot traffic down our driveway.  This in turn means that we must all respect that no parent cars are to enter or exit our school driveway at all times.

The safety or our students is paramount. We therefore request that all parents take due care and diligence in respect to driving and parking around our school.  The best place during summer months to drop off and collect children is our Harvey Street boundary.  If this is not possible please remember that no child should be left to cross roads by themselves after being dropped at school.  

Before School Procedures and Punctuality

There has been a growing number of children arriving late to school recently which is not ideal for learning.  Hopefully with some more light in the mornings post an end to daylight savings routines will be easier to manage.  On the other end of the spectrum there are often children who are dropped off before 8am or sometimes earlier.  Our before school procedures state that all classrooms will be open and supervised from 8.30am which means children who arrive before this will need to wait in an outside area.  During summer months this is not so much of an issue but as the winter months arrive it is not ideal.  Ideally any time from 8.15 - 8.45 is a good time to get to school.

New Build

Work continues on our current building project and I am sure you will, like me, be following progress.  The new block will house our year 2 students and will in the future provide a continued pathway of innovation through our junior school teams.  

Present predictions for the completion of this project are for late June, early July, which will mean open for business at the beginning of term 3. 

A reminder of some health and safety practices that we have been required to implement.  These include controlled entry of all construction related vehicles and specific site access requirements.  Please ensure when you are here out of hours with your children you are aware of any work that is in progress.

Last week, I accompanied a group of leaders from within our school to the most recent ‘newly built’ school in our wider area. Endeavour school in Hamilton.  Of great interest was how teachers focused on providing deeper learning experiences enabled by the environment. 

Contact with our Community

In order to remain in contact with our school community it is vital that we have up to date contact details for all parents and caregivers.  If your details have changed, paticularly phone numbers and email addresses, or you think you are not receiving information either from our office or your child’s teacher please let our office know.

Nga mihi nui

Ben Fuller

Principal