Kia ora koutou katoa, Talofa Lava, Malo e lelei, Ni Hao, Anyoung haseyo, Magandang umaga, Konnichi wa, Guten tag, Bonjour, Ola, hello to our whole school community.  A special welcome to Jessica Radley and Isabelle Reeve who started in our new entrant class.

I can’t believe how fast this term is flying by already and when each fortnight comes around for me to write my piece I feel like I’ve only just finished the last one!

As I walk around the school and visit the classrooms it is so great to see the children so enthusiastic about practising their poems and speeches in preparation for presenting to their peers.  I’ve seen many of our Tika students showing innovation and  creativity with their costumes to support their poem.  We are all looking forward to the finals in Week 6.  

PTA

On Tuesday night I attended the PTA Annual General Meeting.  On behalf of the staff, students and the wider community I would like to thank the PTA for the awesome amount of effort they put in to supporting our school.  Listening to the annual reports from the Chairperson Ana MacFarlane and the Treasurer, Tracey Phizacklea it is quite impressive to hear just what has been accomplished over the last year.  The PTA is incremental in providing support physically for events e.g. Discos, Quiz Night, Adventure Day.  They also provide monetary support for those extra projects that may not be afforded otherwise, the Junior Sandpit is a great example.  Thank you to the PTA, we could not survive without your huge input.  

Industrial Action

Thank you to all of our parents for being so supportive and understanding when the teachers went on strike this Wednesday.  

We are hoping that our action sent a strong message to our government that we believe they are not valuing our profession or the importance of teachers.  The current offer on the table is not addressing the key issues of the teacher shortage, challenges teachers have in the classroom with workload, and the lack of funding for children with special needs. This is not just a claim for extra pay as has been reported in the media; it is a campaign for the changes we see as essential to providing the best education possible for your children.

Key Competencies

At St Mary’s we understand the importance of the Key Competencies.  Over the next term, through the newsletter, I will be looking more in depth at each key competency. So far I have covered Managing Self and Relating to Others.  This week I am focusing on ‘Participating and Contributing’. 

We want our children to be active participants.  This includes being involved in local communities like family, whanau, school, our Catholic Parish, sports groups and cultural groups.  This can spread much wider to being involved in national and global initiatives.  “This competency includes a capacity to contribute appropriately as a group member, to make connections with others, and to create opportunities for others in the group.  Students who participate and contribute in communities have a sense of belonging and the confidence to participate within new contexts. They understand the importance of balancing rights, roles, and responsibilities and of contributing to the quality and sustainability of social, cultural, physical, and economic environments.” TKI Online

As teachers and parents we need to provide purposeful learning experiences that give our students opportunities for this involvement.  We need to give them experiences that develop their knowledge of what is possible and what it means to be a productive member of a community or group.

Have a great couple of weeks, no doubt Week 6 will be here before we know it!

Reminder about Absence and Lateness 

It is a concern for us that several students have high absences from school and many students arrive late to school on a regular basis.  Children who are not at school or are regularly late do not learn as easily or with the same rate of progress as other children. Staff, parents, children and the community have responsibilities in this area.  Ayn Harris and I will be contacting parents early next term if we are concerned about your child’s absence or lateness.  

Children are considered to have unsatisfactory attendance at school over the course of the year if they miss 16 days of school or 8% of their time at school. This means that if a child has had 4 days off school in a term the school is concerned.  

It is interesting and alarming to note that 10% of a child’s time at our school (Year 1 – Year 6) is 32 weeks (3 terms), and 20% is 64 weeks (6 terms).  

“If students experienced more than a day between one opportunity to interact with a new idea and a subsequent opportunity to interact with the new idea, then forgetting occurred and instructional opportunity was wasted” 

(Alton-Lee, 2003, p.50). 

Fa’amanuia le Atua (God bless)

Anna MacKinnon

Acting Principal