Welcome to the 2020 school year. We are now in our ninth year as a school, and I think we can now officially stop being classified as a new or even ‘new-ish’ school, given that our school was built in the previous decade!
As many of you will know, Lesley, our principal, is on refreshment leave for the year, taking time to think, research and write about education. She will still be involved with the school in a range of ways, and you may still see her around school at times, being part of a number of aspects of our ongoing learning. Demelza, Lisa and I will all be 'acting up' - no, not misbehaving, well, at least not for most of the time! Rather, we will all be stepping up into new leadership roles. I will be acting principal for the year, and Lisa and Demelza will both be acting associate principals. We have all worked together since the school opened, and we make a great team. We are looking forward to the new challenge, and to many new learning opportunities!
Over the past few weeks it has been fabulous being part of the preparation for the new school year - the energy, motivation and dedication that our whole staff has is amazing, and I am feeling very secure that all of our students are in safe, capable hands.
We move to a slightly different school structure this year, in response to our changing school numbers. We now have three teams: our year 0-2 team, Koru Hub; our year 2-4 team, Harakeke Hub; and our year 5-6 team, Pōhutukawa Hub. This new configuration has been created to allow more room for growth, and therefore a more settled year for all students; we are aware that the high number of transitions last year were not ideal.
We have a ‘Meet ‘n’ Greet school event on Friday 14th February, where parents can meet the new hub teams and hear information about how each team will operate. There will be more information coming out about this event shortly.
High on most people’s priority at the moment is the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus. As you will be aware, we have followed advice from the Ministry of Education and put a 14 day delayed start to school in place for any staff or students returning from China recently or anyone who has had close contact with anyone confirmed with the virus. After 14 days, if they are showing no signs of sickness, they are then welcome to start back at school. We have a number of students and a teacher who will be delaying their start to school due to this, and we appreciate that they are helping to keep all of us safe.
As a board, we have in-house expertise in health and education, and this has been, and will continue to be, extremely helpful in formulating a plan to keep our school and wider community as safe as possible. All teaching teams will be ensuring that there are clear and strong hygiene practices set up in hubs at the very start of the year, and that these practices are followed by all students. Regular hand washing with soap and water, particularly at key times through the day, open windows and doors, and discussions around coughing and sneezing etiquette are all areas that teachers will cover.
Please be aware that, under advice from the Ministry of Education and health experts, we will be very vigilant around signs of sickness, especially signs of respiratory illness. Students who are showing signs of sickness will come out of hubs and parents will be called to pick them up and have them checked by a health professional. This is good practice for stopping the spread of germs and sickness, and we need to be particularly vigilant about this when there is heightened risk of an infectious illness.
We are confident that we have good procedures in place for keeping all of our students as safe as possible. If you have concerns and you would like to check whether your child needs to stay away from school, please contact me or your child’s whānau teacher to talk about it further.
We are all looking forward to a fantastic year with you and your children.
Ngā mihi nui,