Thursday, 8 February 2018

1. Principal's News - Week 2 Term 1 2018

Circle of Friends
Lachie and John
Part of our approach to prevent bullying and put-downs is to introduce "Circles of Friends."   I have asked for volunteers from children to be part of a Circle of Friends in each class.  The children had to write why they wanted to do it and I'm very pleased that the majority of children in each class have volunteered to do this.  They will be rostered in groups of three for a couple of weeks and during this time they will especially look out for anyone who might be left out or having difficulties in one way or another and decide on actions to help them become included and promote the kindness and awareness of their whole group..  They will also lead the way as "advocates for justice" and stand up and speak when something is not right.  The whole group will meet with me a couple of times a term and the rostered groups will meet with me weekly to help them to promote an atmosphere of inclusion and kindness.  If this was just a small group it could be difficult for them to stand up and be different as its a big job, but so many children have volunteered that we can be clear this desire to stand up for the good, to include and be kind is the majority wish and the majority are prepared to help to make it happen.

It was particularly heartwarming to read the reasons the children had written for wanting to help each other.  These two stood out and I have permission to share them with you.  I just asked the children to each to write a short comment on why they did, or did not, want to be part of a circle of friends.

Lachlan wrote, "To find happiness you need to be in the present moment.  To be in the present moment you must focus on other people's happiness." 

Lachlan explained later he had found this quote through Google and it made an impression on him.  We use the SOLO thinking taxonomy and Lachlan has shown that he can take a piece of information and move to extended abstract thinking.  This is the type of thinking that gets NCEA excellences.  He has abstracted the idea from its context and used it in a different context and is using it to make a difference.

John wrote, "I believe that people should always be happy and Jesus said that we should love each other as you would love yourself.  I hope I can be accepted to this role/opportunity because if people are sad it could make our school a bit less happy and more sad."

"Thank you boys for making my day" 😊😊

Goal Setting Meetings

The teachers are presently working with the children on identifying their next steps in reading, writing, maths and the key competencies. This year we will be reporting differently. We will still be reporting in writing, in plain English twice year and still emphasise the vital core literacy and maths skills but we will have a bigger focus on the whole curriculum. Your child will also include their goal -setting and evidence of their progress as part of the reporting progress. This is new for us, and for you. We will be inviting you to a hui to have an open conversation with you about it in term 2.

This is not completely new territory. In 2012-14 we had ongoing consultation with parents about the content of report forms and we had developed a very holistic report which valued the whole child. Due to technical restrictions in the way reports have been provided in recent times we have lost that richness and we want to regain it. We will be actively seeking your feedback throughout the year so that we can make sure we are really explaining your child's learning and we will be open to making improvements. So we hope you work with us on this and understand that its a work in progress.

In the meantime, we want the goal setting meetings to be about you telling us what makes your child tick, what their interests are and what you are worried or hopeful about for your child at the moment. You already know how they're doing because you had their reports at the end of the year. What we need to decide now is how to go about lifting them to their next stage in a way that engages and interests them as well as supporting them to reach their full potential. We will then take that information into account in how we plan the curriculum for your child and how we report to you on progress.

The meetings are Wednesday 28 February and Thursday 1 March in week 5. We need at least one parent/caregiver to attend for each child and we will be sending a form home in hard copy for you to complete in advance and/or a digital form with a few questions. We need you to do this please. To book an interview time go to and enter the code es4nv or contact the office and they can book a time for you.

Commissioning Mass

Jesus commissioned his disciples to, "Go out into the world and preach the Good News to all creation," Mark 16:15. Each year the staff of all Catholic schools are formally commissioned to go and spread the Good News. This happened today at our school/parish mass. We are humbled but proud to be continuing to carry out Jesus's commission and we intend to do our utmost in 2018 to be true to this calling.

God Bless and Aroha

Lorraine Frances-Rees

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