Along with the normal hustle and bustle of the start of the school year we have had the first stage of the building rebuild start and the Education Review Office (ERO) visit this week.
ERO are the Ministry of Education external reviewers who visit every school in New Zealand and provide feedback on what is going well and what needs improvement. The ERO team had many positive things to say and a full report will be provided to the Board on Monday night. Once this report is confirmed it should be available for everyone to access in approximately a month. We will have an update for you all then.
You will find in the newsletter a new section dedicated toward the rebuild so that you can keep up to date. Make sure to check this out.
Thank you to everyone who has filled out the community consultation survey. We will present these results in our next newsletter. Please take the time to fill this out if you haven't already done so as your feedback is very important to us!
There has been a lot of talk recently about the removal of National Standards in the media and what to replace them with. Prior to National Standards, New Zealand teachers used a wide range of tools to ascertain progress. We continued to use these during National Standards and will continue to use them into the future. There is an old saying of "weighing the pig wont make it any fatter." which is very apt in this circumstance as teachers can focus even more on teaching rather than assessment now.
Reporting to parents may look a little different and once again we have asked some questions regarding this in the community consultation. But other than that, we will still be collecting a range of information on student achievement, presenting it to the Board of Trustees and making plans to improve teaching and learning.
One example of this process will be in how we teach mathematics. The Prime Mathematics programme was trialed in two classrooms in 2017 and we had enough success to warrant extending it out to the whole senior and middle school. Prime Mathematics is based on a composite of approaches, used by the top-performing nations in mathematics, and based on Singapore Maths used by over 58 nations globally.
The biggest difference that you may see is that the children use workbooks and text books to support equipment being used in lessons. The Board of Trustees has agreed to fully fund this programme in 2018 including the student stationery of approximately $30 per student.
The Board would also like to announce their new initiatives that they will fund this year.
- Continue to lower the ratio of devices to student to 1:1 in the middles and seniors and 1:2 in the juniors with 90 new Chromebooks and 15 new ipads. The Otago Community Trust have also contributed to this with a grant of $16,000.
- Manawa Enterprise (Kopua and Ana) will not only be running the Kapa Haka again but will also be working alongside teachers in classes much like we did in 2016.
- $50,000 has been set aside for a new playground should an appropriate space be found before the start of construction
- New furniture for the senior and middle classrooms. $14,000