BoT Newsletters - June 2020
I want to begin by acknowledging and thanking all families for the work you have done with your children over the course of the covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown we experienced throughout March and April. We are experiencing the fruits of your positive parenting now that we are back at school. By and large our children are settled and happy at school and have quickly reorientated themselves with routines and expectations for learning. The staff are very mindful of the possibility of some anxious children and are finding, in fact, that almost everyone is well.
It has been a particularly hard time for our very newest children, who were unable to have their pre entry visits and establish those relationships with classmates and teachers. We are working on this now with parents and ensuring they are settling into school.
In this current situation, I am cognisant of the diverse situations families are finding themselves in with regard to employment and the impact this has on everyone. This is an appropriate time to discuss our school values of respect, diversity and empathy with your children. We want our students to understand that they need to respect privacy of others and the diversity of situations that are no one’s fault and empathise with those friends or classmates whose families might be experiencing hardship or difficulty. Very often children won't know specific circumstances but it is the way we approach others that counts - kindness towards each other is so very important.
As a staff, we are discussing how we are establishing a “new normal” at school post lockdown. We are conscious of the many positives that came out of the lockdown in terms of teaching and learning and want to ensure we are capturing the very best of these as we move forward. Our teacher voice, parent feedback and student voice is important to us at this time as we evaluate and review in order to move forward. Teachers are collecting student voice at school and they will be discussing with you at our upcoming 3 way conferences what worked well for your children and what you noticed about their learning during lockdown. Please do complete the Google form that is coming out so that we can actively discuss this when teachers see you on 18th and 19th June.
Our drop off and pick up organisation is settling and I thank you for your patience, which I understand is being tested at this time with the alert levels and our Watercare operations around the school. We envisage these will remain in place for some time as the works continue down Clevedon-Kawakawa Bay Rd. Any changes will be communicated as soon as we know about them.
As always, please do contact your child’s teacher if you have any questions or queries around their learning and I look forward to catching up with some of you at the gate.
Welcome back from our BoT
The Board of Trustees (BoT) would like to welcome you all back to school after what, we are sure you would all agree, has been an unprecedented few weeks.
We would like to take the opportunity to thank all of the teachers and staff for the incredible effort and commitment they have put into the operation and running our school during these times.
Behind the scenes, the BoT have seen the level of organisation and work that our staff have dedicated to providing our kids with their online learning during Level 4, and then during the subsequent return of some children under Level 3. And as parents, it is fair to say that we all have a new appreciation of what is involved in teaching our children.
Thanks is also necessary to all of our staff who ensured the school complied with the numerous Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education Covid-19 requirements. It is important for all of us to know that our children are in a safe environment and that their health and well being is paramount. It is evident that this has all been well thought out and communicated to our families.
While a lot of schools had to quickly adapt to online learning, our school was at a significant advantage being so prepared and up to speed with our existing e-learning programmes. We are sure that the Covid-19 online learning environment provided some significant and beneficial learnings by our teachers, children and also their families about how an online learning programme can work.
We would like to thank our school families for the efforts they have put in to helping the children learn during these last few weeks. Your support of the staff and the school has been appreciated.
If you would like to get in touch with any BoT members please do not hesitate to send us a message on firstname.lastname@example.org
At our recent BoT meeting, the school’s 10 year property plan (10YPP) was reviewed and has now been submitted to the Ministry for approval. The majority of the works that we are requesting funding for are deemed urgent and it has been recommended that they be completed over the next 12-18 months. These include lighting, electrical, refurbishment of toilets, flooring etc. We await Ministry approval for this.
Our current hall toilet upgrade that is currently in progress has now almost been finished. We look forward to being able to use the much improved facilities in the next couple of weeks.
The Board has completed a review of the school wastewater system in preparation for the connection to Watercare in the near future. The Ministry of Education will be working with us to complete any works needed around the school and we will keep you informed as and when these take place. As always, we will be working on minimal disruption to the learning for our students and staff.
An exciting bundle of $200,000k has been allocated to our school to continue the modernisation of our school and in particular classroom spaces. After much discussion and prioritising, we have agreed that the money will best serve our students at this time by being spent to upgrade rooms 11,12,13,15 and 16. This is really exciting as it will mean much needed carpet renewal, wall coverings, whiteboard cabinets and collaborative spaces. We will keep you updated as the project gets underway.
The school has also just received approval for funding to allow work space for our new Learning Support Coordinator (LSC). The LSC is a newly established role that 660 schools have received and we are lucky enough to be one of those schools. It is a Ministry requirement that a working space is provided for them preferably within the school administration block. The Ministry has provided us with funding and we will be taking the opportunity to rationalise the administration block to provide a more cohesive approach to facilities/meeting rooms which serve our students and you their whanau when we work together. This is exciting news for our school community.
The Property Subcommittee are now in the process of organising a working bee to give the school grounds and gardens an overdue spring clean. This was previously scheduled for March, but unfortunately had to be postponed as a result of the school's closure. Keep a watch out in the school notices for upcoming details…we would love to have as many people along to help keep our school looking great.
It seems awhile off, but the Pool Committee are now on the lookout for some new committee members to get ready for our summer season. This is such an important community facility which we are grateful for the Pool Committee managing. In previous years a team of dedicated volunteers worked extremely hard to enable the school to retain the pool and allow it to be used by our school and become an integral part of our community.
Some members of the current pool committee are now stepping down due to their children having left our school. If you are keen to be involved, or want to know more, please contact Megan Harper on email@example.com.
At the latest BoT meeting, the 2020 budget was fully reviewed given that a number of revisions and adjustments had to be made to take into account a significant loss of revenue, loss of fundraising opportunities and changed costs due to lockdown etc. This reviewed budget was approved by the BoT.
At this point in time, only 29% of school donations have been paid. If donations remain at this level, we will need to consider making further reductions and cuts to our budget. We rely on parents paying a donation per child, and fundraising throughout the year to help make up our budget shortfall. Given that our fundraising opportunities have been reduced this year, we will now more than ever rely on payment of these donations. Payment plans are available and the school would be happy to work with you regarding this.
The events, activities and fundraising opportunities planned by the PTFA this year have been, like everything else majorly affected by covid-19.
The PTFA will be regrouping in term 3 (or Level 1), to determine what events they will be able to provide to the school for the rest of the year. Obviously, this will depend on the covid-19 gathering restrictions etc but we are hoping to be able to bring you some memorable opportunities later in the year.