Kia ora koutou
It has been a very busy last few weeks here at school. We have made it to the end of the term and I know students and their teachers, (probably their parents too) are exhausted after the first full ten-week term for a while.
We are now over halfway through the academic year and Term 3 will be another busy one, so we really hope that we can keep all those colds, flus and Covid bugs away. The two-week term break will hopefully act as a circuit breaker to stop some of those ills circulating. Covid seems to be continually reinventing itself, and we are told that we now must learn to live with it. That means staying home if unwell, but not being afraid of school where proper precautions are being taken. We are probably safer here, than in the average shop or mall.
Attendance was looking good at the start of the term (85%), with everyone pleased to be back in full school. It slipped dramatically in the later weeks though and is a real concern now, with only 62% of our students in school for the last 2 weeks of term. Although we do try to accommodate the needs of those students who are not attending, by posting some learning online, this is not enough to ensure success. It is also a huge extra load on our staff as they are essentially being asked to do some of their work twice. I know that this is contributing to high staff absences across the country, and with a shortage of relievers, teachers are too often having to cover for absent colleagues as well as doing their own work. Missing their own regular teachers and routines is also sometimes a cause for misbehaviour amongst students, especially the younger ones. All in all, having everyone here at school, teaching and learning face to face is better for all, so hopefully, a 2-week break will see teachers and students returning to school as we once knew it, for Term 3.
If you have not done so already, check out our new website. Many thanks are due to Mr Plant and Mr Singh for their hard work over the last 6 months in setting this up. The aim is that the website is a portal for everything that parents, students, staff and visitors to the school might need. It has taken a while to migrate everything across, and we are still working on some aspects. We are happy to take constructive feedback.
There is a tab on the website for school and community announcements which essentially takes the place of the old school newsletter. The aim with this is to have news presented in a timely, bite-sized way rather than waiting until a whole newsletter can be completed – which is often rather challenging in the daily busyness of school.
We have ended our term with two open events that were both rewarding. The Matariki celebration just prior to the new holiday weekend was a Kahui Aako shared event and was a huge success. We were so delighted with the attendance and involvement of the wider community, support from Mana Whenua, and the exuberance and polish of the student performances.
All the students and staff were again treated to a fabulous showcasing of our student talent at our last Assembly – beautifully coordinated and run by the student council. This was a sneak preview of the Arts awards later in the year, which promise to be very fine entertainment. The absolute joy and exuberance of the student performances are a wonderful antithesis to the general doom and gloom in the world at present. Huge thanks must go to Whaea Sera, Miss Taylor and Mrs Apisai for their work in the performing arts, to bring such talent to the fore.
Report night was held on the last Thursday of the term and was well attended by parents. A whanau hui in the bilingual unit was held afterward, again with much-appreciated support from Mana Whenua and that was a lovely way to finish. Reporting generally has been under review. With all of the online learning and disruption over the last couple of years, we have tried other ways of reporting to parents. We welcome feedback on this via the short survey that was sent out last week. The next formal report will be via the more traditional KAMAR report later in the year.
On the last Friday of term, we farewelled Mrs Stephanie Carter and Mr Craig Knapman. Both of whom will be much missed. Mrs Carter is making a lifestyle choice to spend more time with her husband and family and will be checking out various tutoring options that are more flexible than permanent classroom teaching. Mr Knapman is taking on a full-time teaching role at Pukekohe High School, stepping down from the pressures of running a department. We wish them both well.
Have a good term break everybody. We will all be downing tools to catch our breath for the next 10 days or so. Keep safe and well.