Amesbury School

Kia ora koutou,

Even though we are in a fresh new year, we still need to be ready to adapt and change quickly when the need arises, as the past week has shown us. Thankfully we were all well prepared, and the shift to alert level 2 and back again to level 1, did not seem to phase us much. Thanks again to all of our staff, community and tamariki (children) who coped with the changes incredibly well and followed protocols to keep each other safe.

As this is the start of a new school year, I thought it would be timely to talk about an issue that can occur from time-to-time in communications between staff and parents. We have occasions when an issue is raised by a parent in a way that assumes full knowledge of what occurred when, in reality, the facts of the situation may be quite different. In these circumstances, parents often quickly change their approach to one that is more measured to take account of the new information they have received. However, the problem is that by this time teachers have already experienced anxiety and distress that was not warranted. Being mindful of the way those initial interactions are approached could help considerably to reduce this.

We are all working for the very best outcome for our tamariki, and no-one ever sets out to do the wrong thing for a child. We fully accept that we don’t always get it right, and that issues may well occur, especially in busy, complex environments such as schools. As a staff, we are always willing to talk through situations, and look into any problems that occur. I find that approaching a situation initially from a perspective of curiosity - not assuming that you have all of the knowledge yet and asking questions to find out more, can help to keep discussions in a positive place. If you have a concern or you think a problem has occurred, broaching the situation with a question can give a teacher the chance to explore the situation more, if needed, or explain all of the detail to give a more complete picture of what has happened. In doing this, everyone can stay in the ‘middle ground’ and hopefully feels heard, understood and respected.

Staffing update

We have recently made two new appointments for support staff for the rest of this year. On Monday we will welcome Jenny Moore, who will be working across Harakeke and Pōhutukawa Hubs to support students with additional literacy needs. Jenny is a parent in our community, and has been a teacher for a number of years in her home country of America. She will be working with students in the morning blocks from Monday - Thursday each week. On Tuesday we will then welcome Caro (Carolina) Cazares to our team. Caro will be working in the library for two days a week, helping to keep all of the systems and structures up to date and running smoothly. She will work with Regina and our newly appointed team of student librarians, to keep our library running well and meeting the needs of our tamariki and wider community. We think both staff members will be fabulous assets to our team

We will also be soon welcoming back Gemma to our team. Gemma has been on maternity leave for the past year, after having her twin boys, Alex and Liam, last year. She is now very much looking forward to returning to Amesbury. Gemma will be working with us three days per week as our ESOL (English as a second language) teacher across the school, working with students and teachers to help our tamariki with their English language learning. Gemma will start back with us in Week 6 of this term.

Sadly, we will be saying farewell to Grace, who joined our team at the start of this term as a release teacher across the school. Grace’s family has been through a difficult time recently with several bereavements, and Grace has decided to move back to Auckland to help support her whānau. She will be with us for most of this term in the meantime, and we are currently going through an appointment process for another release teacher. We will keep you updated once an appointment has been made.

Events coming up

- Four year old programme begins on Thurs 25th Feb, 2pm

- Electives start in Week 5 (next week) on Monday 1st March

- Parent information session (a session for new families, and a session about Hero for all families) on Tues 2nd March

- Board of Trustees meeting on Wed 3rd March

Enjoy the sunshine we are being promised for the next few days, and have a good week.

Ngā mihi nui,

Urs Cunningham  

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