it's that time of year when school prepares itself to start the new Term. It's been a fantastic summer, with excellent weather allowing families to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, holiday, rest and relax and unwind. My own family has made the most of our local 'taonga,' this beautiful environment and setting that we are lucky enough to call home. Either riding the rail trail, swimming in the rivers or playing in the waves on our stunning beaches that we are lucky to have right at our back door, my family has enjoyed the long holiday.
I want to begin my korero for 2015 by saying a massive thank you to Tane-our outstanding relief cleaner/caretaker since October last year. Tane, with the help of partner Luke have done an awesome job of cleaning up our school buildings inside and out over the holidays in readiness for the return of staff and children to Waikino School. In addition to the traditional holiday clean, Tane, Luke and Brian Davison from the Beach School have helped fixed the school pool-something which regrettably prevented us from opening the pool over the summer break-and will have it ready for use from this weekend-fingers crossed! I also want to thank Kath Speck, Melissa, Lily, and the PD boys who have begun the tidy up of our in school gardens, your efforts have been noticed and are appreciated also.
As said above, Term 1 begins with an opportunity for school community to get together and muck in this weekend 31 January and join our school working bee. With our school focus this year built around a learning journey and pathway through creating a sustainable community garden, this is a great platform to launch off from, and show how committed we are as a community to seeing our school grounds utilised to provide food and harvest, to provide new growth and learning for our children and families in 2015. We hope to see you all there with whatever tools you have to weedeat, rake, dig, trim and help us tidy up our school ready for the year ahead. Since deciding to go ahead with our enviro-focus in 2014, our school has also made a commitment to go spray free-this will provide exciting challenges and alternative solutions for our school community as we progress, but it will also enable us to run workshops in our school to educate our community on ways we can 'grow our own' at home, spray and chemical free, knowing exactly what goodness we put into our bodies for well being, good health and nourishment.
What more can I say? 2015 will be an exciting year, commencing in Term 1 with a 'Global Waikino' community focus: Edible Gardens to be learnt about and established by each classroom, The world of Bees will be an exciting new venture as we learn about the importance of keeping bees for our global food communities-introducing a hive of our own to educate and learn from, looked after and maintained over the year for an end of year harvest-meaning ultimately our goal to bring the Honey home to our families. These two ventures in Term 1 mark the first 2 steps in the master plan based out of the ideas generated by our children in Term 4 of 2014, during our inquiry based learning. Keep an eye out for the official presentation of this plan to the community at Assembly early in Term 1.
Within the global umbrella integrated theme for learning in Term 1 our students will also be focusing on taking our DVD/CD global by performing on the local and more 'global' main stage at the Sundaise Festival on March 6-8 of 2015. Waikino School is honoured to have been asked to open the festival with our performance, so straight back into Term 1 we will be talking about and preparing for how our performance will take shape and evolve, ready for this stunning family orientated weekend of music and sustainability workshops.
During my end of year speech I spoke about the true meaning of the Integrated Curriculum. For teachers, an integrated curriculum makes total sense and is just what we do, but we understood that perhaps some confusion existed within the community about what that really means. In order to clarify, I decided to speak to that. Again within this context and looking ahead at our Integrated theme I'd like to reiterate what I shared then. While our focus is on "Global Communities" in Term 1, this theme is integrated through the primary focus and heart of our school; reading, writing and math. We take the key learning areas of the New Zealand Curriculum of the arts, technology, science, social sciences, health, languages, and Maori and integrate these back through a rich contextualised learning environment of Reading, Writing and Math. For Term 1's focus then it means integrating our edible gardens or bee study focus back through the learning contexts of reading (shared books, guided reading, articles etc..), writing (explanations, recounts, letters, blogs) and Math (addition and subtraction, statistics ). Of course this is just the tip of the ice berg since our integrated theme extends itself through for example our Term 1 focus of swimming, Tryathalons and Cricket. How does this look? In the context of swimming it is about developing skills to swim beyond the school context: for example feeling confident to swim in the river or at the surf beach, but it also includes setting personal goals, participating in school and community events like Interschool swimming sports, the Waikino School TRYathalon or the Karangahake school triathlon as well. Cricket is traditionally taught in summer as a small ball skill but what better time to teach it with the Cricket World Cup also taking place during this first term! As you can see our rich curriculum is contextualised at the level our kids are at, and geared towards them participating at whatever level they are able, both within and beyond the school setting.
In addition our Key competencies and School Values are also threaded through the learning contexts of each term. In 2015 we are excited to announce that Discovery Time which is a fantastic vehicle for presenting and exploring the key competencies will also be offered beyond the Junior classroom only at Y1-2 level. Since we have 3 classrooms in operation this year, we are pleased to be offering Discovery time within each of these classrooms fortnightly in 2015. Discovery time will be level appropriate and include added dimensions for learning such as Music-musical instruments, Japanese language, art, Computer technology, design and food technology.
As you can see, 2015 is the next step, in a continued and exciting learning journey for our school. A school which has a strong and proud tradition of providing a quality learning environment and programmes which help our children learn and succeed. As our vision holds true: "Learners today, leaders tomorrow." If you are not already enrolled at Waikino School and you have been sitting on the fence, perhaps now is a good time to make the move to invest local. School will be open this Friday from 9am to take enrolments and we welcome your visit to the school. Our teaching staff will all be available on this day to talk you through their classroom programmes and teaching pedagogy. Please take the opportunity to call in and say, "Gidday". It may just be the best decision you ever made.
Teaching staff and classrooms at Waikino School in 2015 are as follows:
Room 1: Y1-2 Jenny Burne
Room 2: Y2-4 Lauren Bartram
Room 3: Y4-6 Carolyn Trebilco & Colin Pilkinton-Brodie
Decile changes to Waikino School
As you may or may not be aware decile changes occurred across all NZ schools towards the end of last year. The biggest impact of these changes to NZ schools is how they impact on the schools funding from the Ministry of Education: the higher the decile the less funding, the lower the decile the more funding schools receive from government.
Deciles have remained largely unchanged for many years since 2006 owing to the Canterbury earthquakes and a NZ census not taking place until 2013. As a result many school in NZ have experienced a massive shift in their school decile rating. In Waikino this has meant we are jumped significantly 'up' in our decile rating. We have been classified as a decile 3 school for many years, but from 2015 we will be a decile 5 school.
While many people believe that higher decile schools are better schools, this belief is in most cases a myth. If a school is a good school, it is usually a reflection of the school communities commitment to achieve at high standards-regardless of how much money they do or don't have. In our case, the impact to Waikino School is significant financially.
Over the next 3 years we will lose 10% of our current school funding, which is around $10,000. We already operate on a tight budget and the implications of this change represent a significant challenge for us in the future. As such the Waikino School BOT will be conducting a community survey at the end of March to determine whether or not the new decile rating is a true reflection of our community-we believe that it is not. We have indicated to the Ministry of Education that if this is the case we will appeal the new rating.
As a result of the decile change the school may need to raise it's school fees-which as a donation make up a vital financial support to all schools in NZ, all of whom are struggling to make the best from what they are currently funded. This is not only a Waikino problem. Most schools in both Waihi and Nationally are facing this same reality from 2015.
At this stage what can you do to help our school. The obvious solution is to make a commitment to pay your school fees. The other is to help us complete our survey of our community to validate our thinking around the changes to our decile based funding later in March. Until then, we will keep you posted and in the loop.
The pool will be open from Saturday 31 January, kicking off with a free swim for all our working bee volunteers at mid day followed by a BBQ lunch.
As many of you may or may not be aware, our school pool is not funded for by the Ministry of Education, so it is up to school boards and communities to fund their own swimming pools. As a result many NZ schools have closed their school pools completely. We are lucky, the Waikino School BOT is committed to keeping ours open, but can only do so with your help and support.
To help cover the cost of running the pool families are able to purchase a school key for the duration of the swimming season, where upon the key is to be returned at the end of the season. This has not always happened and a good many keys remained outstanding from last year. As a result we have changed the lock, a move designed to encourage people to be honest and purchase a new key in 2015 which supports a more 'user pays' friendly service. Pool users are required to read and sign Waikino School Pool User Guidelines when hiring a pool key for the season.
Pool keys are available from Kath at the office from Friday 30th of January at $40 for fee paying school families and $50 for other users. $15 dollars bond for the key built into these figures will be refunded at the end of the swimming season once the key has been returned. Fees have been raised from $25 dollars in 2014 ($5 bond for key) to reflect the actual cost of running our pool.
We hope families make the most of our school pool, an asset worth investment in for the future.
Vacancies: Teacher Aide, Caretaker/Cleaner Positions
Teacher Aide: Waikino School is looking for a part time fixed term Teacher Aide, commencing in Week 3 of Term 1. The position is for 7 weeks in Term 1. Hours and days required in the classroom to be agreed upon and confirmed at time of employment. Funding for the position is on a Term by Term basis, so the position, a fixed term position, is reflective of this. Applicants don't necessarily need to be experienced, though experience as a teacher aide would be preferable. Applicants must submit a letter of application in writing along with an up to date C.V-including 2 referees who can attest to recent work experience and employment- to the Principal, Colin Pilkinton-Brodie by Friday the 13th of February. Questions or enquires regarding this position can be directed to the Principal by phone (07)863-7733 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caretaker/Cleaner: Waikino School is looking for a permanent caretaker/cleaner commencing in Term 1, 2015. The person interested in this part time position must be available for 2 hours a day, 10 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Duties include cleaning of the school and the additional maintenance, operation and chlorination of the school swimming pool 7 days a week for the duration of the swimming season. Applicants must submit a letter of application in writing along with an up to date C.V-including 2 referees who can attest to recent work experience and employment-to the Principal, Colin Pilkinton-Brodie by Friday the 13th of February. Incumbent relief cleaner/caretaker applying for the position.