Kia ora koutou. Nga mihi nui ki a koutou.
Well, we are at the business end of the term. Teachers have been busy doing running records (reading testing), marking and moderating writing samples etc. etc. They are highlighting matrices and making OTJs - overall teacher judgements in relation to national standards. Students have been reflecting on their learning and I know in Harakeke they have been putting conference presentations together to share with parents. It is always good to do a stocktake of how effective our teaching and learning programmes have been. Testing and assessment provide a report card for teachers as much as for students. It is exciting as a teacher to see evidence in children's work that what you have taught them, they are doing. Equally, it provides an opportunity to identify things that you haven't taught. These gaps give a clear pathway forward for what students need to learn next. Our teachers always work very hard, but they work particularly hard at this time of the term. I am very grateful for how much our teachers are prepared to invest in their students.
We have a few things on the go right now. We are currently making some small improvements to ALF which will speed up the time it takes teachers to moderate writing on ALF. Going forward, we are looking at some quite big developments which will improve everyone's experience of ALF but which will also make use of the considerable data that ALF generates to automate some aspects of teacher planning. Personalising learning and teaching to students' needs have considerably increased the workload of teachers, now we need to begin to think about what we can automate (and what teachers need to use their own judgement about) to help reduce it a little. We have some exciting ideas which we think are quite cutting edge.
I am thinking that we are a little overdue in creating an Amesbury School App for quick and easy access to a range of school-related things. I have some ideas about what would be useful. But you probably would know better. Please put any ideas you might have for an App on this doc: Amesbury School App Ideas. Crowd sourcing will always give us a better result than just a small number of us making the decisions.
Our bike track/pump track and skills track are going in over the next month or so. Some work has already started. A big thanks to Rachel who has been managing this project. Also thanks to Bike On Charitable Trust and Wellington City Council for their generous funding contributions. Also thanks to those families and local businesses who have provided financial support. More funding is still needed, so please consider whether you or someone you know might be able to support this project or the wonderful cookbook project. Thanks to so many people who have contributed their time and effort to these projects.
We are exploring hosting international students at Amesbury School and hope to start taking a limited number of students from Term 1, 2017. There is a considerable amount of work involved in gaining Government approval to be able to take international students, but this work is well underway. We'd love our Amesbury community to get involved, so if you know of anyone considering sending international students to New Zealand, they can let us know here. If you are interested in hosting an international student and parent in a home stay situation, you can let us know here. We are excited about the possibilities that international students can bring to our Amesbury family and we'll keep you posted on progress!
Well that is it from me. Enjoy hearing about your child's learning at the conference next week. Enjoy the anticipation of school holidays. And be safe always.