Board of Trustees newsletter - 4 September 2020
On behalf of the staff, I would like to welcome you all back to school. It was wonderful to see so many students back on Monday with big smiles on their faces and a genuine desire to be back with friends and teachers in this learning environment. I join with you in hoping that this continues to be the case for us here in Auckland as we work together to manage this latest outbreak.
My thanks to you, our parent community, for your support and the fast turnaround as we responded to the call to move to level 3, three weeks ago. It was about as smooth a transition as we could have hoped for.
Due to our alert levels constantly being reviewed and gathering sizes being uncertain, many of our inter-school events are being cancelled, the latest being our senior speech competitions, which were being held in the next couple of weeks. Reluctantly the school organising this event has had to make the call for this not to go ahead for 2020.
Our own Ag Day is a slimmed down event and the organisation for this will be dependent on gathering sizes and our exciting sports camp for senior students which was to run this week at Camp Adair has been cancelled. We will keep you posted on changes or cancellations to any other events as they come to hand. We all acknowledge this has been a really diabolical year for our students and staff with us having very limited opportunities to take the fun aspects of learning outside of the classroom.
I understand how difficult it is for you, our parents, when we have to limit your access to school under this current alert level. Please do keep in contact with your child’s teacher via email and if you find you need to come into school at drop off /pick up for any reason, please do sign in via the school office and use the covid tracing app.We have the QR code up around the school.
Our focus over the next four weeks is to ensure every child is settled back into the class and learning so if you have any concerns in this area please do not hesitate to contact the class teacher and discuss this with them.
Lastly, our class and individual photographs have been rescheduled for the third time and will be taken on 24 November. You will receive information regarding these at the beginning of term four.
Welcome Back from our BoT
The Board of Trustees would also like to welcome you all back to school, again, after the last couple of weeks of lockdown.
We appreciate how disruptive this year has been for our school community and we would like to thank you all for your patience. The teachers and staff are putting incredible effort into the operation and running of our school during these times which we are all very grateful for. We also would like to acknowledge the smooth transition into online learning for this lockdown, and whilst we hope that this doesn’t become a regular occurrence, it is reassuring to know how well prepared all of us now are, should it eventuate again.
We also want to thank our school families for their continued support of both the children, and our staff, during this time. It is definitely a team effort.
The BoT have now received several applications for the Principal position. We will now begin conducting interviews and school visits over the next month. We hope to make an appointment by the beginning of term 4. We will continue to keep you advised as to progress, as appropriate.
At the BoT meeting last week, the Totara, Pohutukawa, Kauri and Kōwhai team leaders, together with the school leadership team presented the 2020 mid-year student achievement data to the Board.
They each provided a comprehensive review of what is happening in the school at each level in regards to both achievement, and progress, in maths, reading and writing as well as a review of the impact of the Covid 19 lockdowns.
Overall school achievement across literacy and numeracy at mid year is as follows:
Teachers reported that in the main, our students have been agile in their learning and have been able to move from classroom learning to online learning easily and we have not seen a significant covid-19 impact on our achievement rates for this point in the school year. We are hoping that this will continue to be the case for the second half of the year.
50% of school donations have been paid.
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
We are still waiting for approval from the Ministry of our 5YA (5 year agreement) and 10YPP (10 year property plan) funding applications. We look forward to updating you on these exciting projects once they are finally approved.
Calling all keen gardeners and green-thumbs. The Clevedon School gardens are overdue some TLC! We are on the hunt for some willing gardeners to help us weed, prune, plant.... and make our gardens look loved again. This can be done as and when it suits you. If you are keen to give a little of your time, please get in touch with our caretaker Mark Crowther 021-957-274 or firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks so much!
Our working bee will now be held in term 4, subject to Covid restrictions being lifted, to give the school grounds an overdue spring clean. This has had to be rescheduled a couple of times this year due to the school’s closure. So, keep a watch out in the school notices next term for upcoming details…we would love to have as many people along to help keep our school looking great.
If you would like to get in touch with any BoT members please do not hesitate to send us a message on email@example.com
BoT update-August 2020
Welcome back to all our families, whanau and students. Another busy term ahead on the school calendar.
This week sees an interlude in the Watercare works around the school - albeit only for a couple of weeks. If you are able to come into school at drop off or pick up, I am sure the staff would love to see you and welcome you into the classrooms. We will continue to open the school gates at 8.30am to allow staff to prepare for the school day and to give you a little more time in the mornings to get ready for school and work.
There has been an enormous amount of feedback from schools all over the country regarding the positive consequences of parents dropping students and leaving them to walk into school - feedback has centred around a building of resilience, less stress for children saying goodbye to parents and more settled children ready for the day. We welcome you into school any morning you feel you'd like to be here but also suggest you might like to develop a mixed routine so that your children maintain that resilience you have built so well over the past few months.
Health and wellbeing focus
This week has seen the start of our major health programme on “Keeping Ourselves Safe”. This is a sensitive unit and is taught in conjunction with our local police education officer, Michelle. Please take the time to discuss with your children what they are learning and also reference Michelle in the classroom as she is doing two lessons in every room over the next three weeks.
An important part of our community consultation is our annual health consultation - please see the link here to our survey. We would very much appreciate you taking the time to complete this as it assists us in developing our local curriculum to meet the needs in this community. Your thoughts and feedback is so very much appreciated.
At the end of term two, we ran an in school survey titled Wellbeing at School. This is hosted by NZCER (New Zealand Council for Educational Research). It has been developed to assist schools in monitoring the wellbeing of staff and students. We run this survey each year and use it to assist us in our planning.
Our survey this year provided lots of positives as outlined below in the BoT report. It also highlighted three key areas which we need to continue to work on in our school. They are as follows and are areas staff are regularly speaking to our children about.
Not treating each other with respect
Not standing up against those who are being mean
A significant amount of put downs, name calling and teasing
I ask for your support at home in discussing this with your own children, taking the discussion to what is expected of them rather than what others are saying to them. If our whole school community works together with our individual expectations of how our children treat others then we will begin to see a change in this particular area. Here at school we are placing great importance on this aspect of our school values over the next two terms.
As you will be aware, Julie Schumacher will be leaving our school at the end of this year. The BoT have started the recruitment process for her role with advertisements now online and in the Education Gazette. The closing date for applications is the 24th of August and then the BoT will begin shortlisting candidates. We will keep you updated, as appropriate, as this process proceeds but do not expect to make an announcement of an appointment until the beginning of Term 4.
Learning support and children's wellness update
Lisa Banfield attended our BoT last week to present to the BoT the findings of the Children's Wellbeing Survey which was carried out by the school in June. Both children and teachers were surveyed.
It is fantastic to see this initiative being utilised in our school and for us to see a high number of positive findings and areas to celebrate in the results. Some of these positives included our children feeling safe in our school and that they are celebrated for the good things they do. Our children also believe that their teachers and parents respect each other and that their whānau feel welcome at our school. The school also identified some areas for further development which our staff are now looking at implementing and putting in place (refer to Julie’s update above).
Lisa also provided updates to the BoT on the learning support services provided at school by herself and Wayne Nel (our Learning Support Coordinator). The LSC role is a newly established role and only 660 schools across New Zealand have received an LSC. The LSC is responsible for, amongst other things, identifying and planning for the learning support needs of all children and supporting learners and their whanau in a more flexible model.
After lengthy consideration and review of school priorities, over a number of meetings, the BoT has agreed to utilise some of the capital funds held by the BoT. These funds have been built up by the school over a number of years, and we now consider it appropriate to use some of these funds to ensure that we are providing the best possible educational resources for our children.
Over the next year, the BoT will be spending some of this capital on new technology and digital devices for our junior classrooms which are long overdue an upgrade with some of the existing technology over 8 years old. Funds will also be spent on literacy, maths and science resources across the school. Funding for new heat pumps in Pod 3 for our junior children was also approved by the BoT.
We are excited to be able to ensure that our children receive the very best they can in their education. Thankyou for your ongoing support through donation payments and fundraising each and every school year.
We are still waiting for approval from the Ministry of our 5YA and 10YPP funding applications. We look
forward to updating you on these projects once it is finally approved.
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
BoT update-July 2020
Welcome back to term 3
As you will have seen from the BoT letter earlier this month, the BoT have received a notice of resignation from our Principal Julie Schumacher, with effect from the end of the 2020 school year.
For the last ten years, Clevedon School has been incredibly fortunate to have Julie as head of our school. She joined at a very challenging time, and over her tenure has not only turned a non-performing school around, but has also led it to be considered one of the higher performing schools in the country. She has set an aspirationally high level of teaching pedagogy, recognised by both her peers and by our staff.
Julie has created a unique and vibrant learning community and encouraged our students to demonstrate our PRIDE values in all that they do. She has created a future focused learning environment that helps prepare our children for their future as lifelong learners. She has led professional development for teachers around the revised NZ curriculum and National Standards and has led Clevedon School to becoming one of the first "Visible Learning" certified schools in the world. During her time at Clevedon School, Julie has created a school environment and community that we can all be proud of.
Whilst Clevedon School will be sad to see Julie move on, we support her move whole-heartedly and believe she is incredibly well-positioned for success in her new role as a Director of The Education Group, a national education consultancy company working with schools across the country. She will be working with a number of Principals and schools, assisting them in their development across a range of areas.
Julie’s departure creates the opportunity for the school to seek to engage a new level of passion and energy from her replacement, setting the framework for all our teaching staff to continue to evolve and grow.
The BoT has now commenced the important process of recruiting and appointing a new principal. It is considered best practice that an independent advisor be appointed to assist with this process. To this end, the BoT has appointed John Houston from Focus Education Limited as an external advisor to assist the BoT with the recruitment process. John has broad experience in the education system, and a strong knowledge and understanding of Clevedon School, which he can draw on during the appointment process.
It’s likely that we will advertise the role in early August, with an anticipated appointment before the end of the current school year. We will of course keep the school community informed where appropriate.
Whilst a more appropriate acknowledgement will follow in due course, the BoT on behalf of our school community would like to sincerely thank Julie for her huge contribution to Clevedon School and wish her well in her new and exciting role. Her legacy will speak for itself.
If you would like to get in touch with any BoT members please do not hesitate to send us a message on email@example.com
Term three is a generally busy term with a focus on learning over the next ten weeks. We have our annual build up to Ag Day as a feature of the school calendar. Hopefully many of you are able to participate and raise an animal this year despite the Covid lockdown disrupting everyone’s lives.
Due to the ongoing road works and disruption around the school back gate, we will be continuing our staggered finishing times until we hear from Watercare that they are done with work around the school. I personally thank you all for your support and assistance with this especially with the morning dropoff as we have seen a real calmness around the school and settled children as they arrive at school. If you are needing to come into school, please use our QR code at the gate to assist with contact tracing and feel free to walk your child to the classroom and meet the teacher. We are all aware, as we have seen recently in Victoria, that we do need to maintain our personal vigilance around hygiene, contact tracing and staying home when we are unwell.
On Thursday of this week, we are launching our 2020 Geography-athon across the school. This is our annual fundraiser (in place of the fun run). Students will be bringing home sponsorship cards and we ask that you get in behind this event and help us to raise funds for the school. Covid-19 has hit us hard as a school. We have been unable to run the events we had planned and this is one way we can all work together to help our students learn as well as raise much needed school funds. We appreciate your support.
We have some staffing updates for our community as follows:
Mrs Jalena Eade left us at the end of term two to go on maternity leave. She is expecting her second child in August and we wish her all the very best for this big occasion.
Mr Melvin Din, our technology teacher, left us also at the end of last term. He has been presented with new opportunities and we wish him well as he embarks on some new endeavours which involve teaching online to international students.
Miss Maddy Taylor is taking over room 8 for the reminder of this school year. She has returned from overseas earlier in the year and we are so pleased to have her on staff.
Mrs Katie McAra is taking over the position of STEM teacher for the remainder of this year and will work first and foremost with the Kōwhai team and then hopefully we will be able to offer some specific programmes to our other year levels as Katie becomes more familiar with our school. Katie has worked at both Baverstock Oaks and Mission Heights Primary and we feel very lucky to have her expertise in our school.
As always, do keep in contact with your child’s teacher if there are any issues or concerns you need to discuss.
The BoT would like to thank Sam McKeown for her recent presentation at our BoT meeting regarding the implementation of the digital curriculum and how this is integrated into our teaching and learning programmes at school.
The school is now half way through a three year plan for the implementation of this future focussed digital curriculum. So far, the school has set up a robotics room, carried out professional development in robotics, staff have gained digital passports, moved to BYOD from year 3 and above, and set up lunchtime coding clubs. They are currently reviewing the next 3 year plan.
Statements have recently gone out to families for outstanding donation payments. Thank you to those families who have now made payment of their donations. A further 10% of donations have now been paid this month so at this point in time, 39% of school donations have been paid.
We rely on parents paying a donation per child, and fundraising throughout the year to help make up our budget shortfall. Payment plans are available and the school would be happy to work with you regarding this.
The BoT is looking forward to a settled and productive term with hopefully no more interruptions to learning.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.