Teena Johnson is the principal at Somerset Crescent School.
Kia ora koutou, Talofa lava, Malo e lelei, Kia orana, Kamusta.
We began this year with a beautiful mihi whakatau welcoming our newest staff members Ms Fiona Mitchell who joins the Rata Team in Room 8, and Ms Kayhla Cousins who is teaching collaboratively in Room 12 alongside Mrs M & Mrs J in the Kowhai Team. We also welcomed all our new students who joined us in term 4 2017, who had birthdays during the holidays, and who came from other schools. Nau mai haere mai.
The heat also joined us this year. It has been glorious, however more difficult to learn within than normal. Our fans have been working overtime and our swimming pool has been well used. We are so fortunate to have our own school pool to cool down in, have fun in, but more importantly learn water safety skills in that promote confidence and safety. All students are timetabled to swim every day so togs & towels are a daily feature in their backpacks. You will notice that the old wooden seats have been replaced with new ones, and that the concrete walls are being repainted so that our pool area looks more inviting and fresh.
We are also phasing in our cool new green hats that you may have heard about and seen. Our students look primo in these and will all eventually be able to wear one. They also look fabulous in their uniforms and take a huge amount of pride in wearing these to school.
We have a brand new gate now in our carpark that matches the rest of our fence line. This is a vast improvement from our chain. Mr Telfer is able to pull this across at 2pm each day to help keep everyone safe and then open it up at 3:15pm.
We have taken part in 4 Teacher Only Days at the beginning of this year. Each of them focused around how we can improve our teaching and delivery of our students’ learning programmes, and how each student can become more responsible for their learning and behaviour. You will notice in each classroom ‘Learning Intentions & Success Criteria’ on the walls. These explain explicitly what the goals are that the students are trying to achieve, and how they can go about successfully achieving these alongside their peers and their teachers. There are also examples of work and clear explanations/guidelines that show the students what is expected at each level or stage of learning. Once a student achieves at a level or stage they will be able to see where they are heading next and where they have come from. This is called building ‘student agency’. This means that our students are more clearly understanding what they are trying to learn and why. When you talk with your children about this you should ask them “what are you learning?” instead of “what are you doing?” Over time they will be able to tell you, but at this stage they will need the support from school to help them out until they know how to use the language we are teaching them.
We also had the opportunity to work alongside Nathan Mikaere-Wallis over these 4 days. He is an expert in the field of ‘Brain Research’. He spoke to us all about the importance of the first 1000 days in a child’s life, and how important it is to talk with your children, hug your children, sing to and with your children, dance with your children and be present in your children’s’ lives. This information and knowledge along with the professional development we did with Greg Jansen about ‘Restorative Practice’ has given us more tools and skills that we can apply in the classroom and at our school that will make such a positive difference to our students’ engagement and achievement as well as their joy for learning.
In a couple of weeks we will have our Meet & Greet BBQ evening. We look forward to seeing you all there so we can again begin to celebrate another year of schooling alongside your tamariki. Well done to you all for ensuring your child/ren are coming to school. Every day counts.
Near the end of this term we will again be having our Student Led Conferences. Your child/ren will be able to share their learning goals, and strengths. We look forward to you contributing to this information so that we can provide the best education we can with the most knowledge possible.
Ka kite ano