23 August 2007
I am very pleased to be back at school after my fellowship. I had
an amazing time away and I had many wonderful experiences.
However, it was so good to arrive back in NZ last Wednesday morning, to
catch up with family and friends and to hear lots of kiwi
accents. Each time that I go away, I come back feeling so proud
to be a New Zealander and so passionate about what we have here that we
need to take care of, especially our clean air and the relative peace
and safety of our lives.
The National College for School Leadership conference that I attended
in Birmingham was the best conference that I have ever been to.
The speakers were outstanding and there were many participants there
from all around the world. I visited a number of schools
throughout the fellowship and spoke to many talented principals and
teachers. I did not however, visit a school that was as
attractive as ours. Most did not even have a grassed area for the
children to play on.
The leadership course that I attended at Harvard University was
interesting. There were 155 principals on the course from all
around the world and it was fascinating speaking with them and learning
about the issues in their schools which are very different from
ours. For example, all American schools have full time security
guards as the terrorism concern is huge there. One English
principal talked about the terrorism insurance that her school takes
out as 10% of their students are Americans.
One of the highlights of the Harvard course was the course dinner held
at the university’s Fogg Art Museum. The collection is worth $90
billion and I have never seen such an amazing collection,
anywhere. After we had eaten, we were invited to view the
collection which was such a privilege.
One of the focus areas for my fellowship was looking at the practices
of highly effective teachers as we all know how important teachers
are. Recent NZ research (John Hattie, Adrienne Alton-Lee),
highlights the quality of the teacher as the most important factor
influencing a student’s achievement. In speaking with principals
in England, the USA and Hong Kong about this, there was overwhelming
agreement about what constitutes highly effective teaching.
At the beginning of this year, our staff developed a framework of these
practices and at our staff conference next term we will be looking at
this again within an international context. Our teachers are
committed and talented and always keen to do better.
One of the themes of all of the courses and conferences that I attended
was the idea of “betterment”. Several speakers recommended a book
called “Better” by Atul Gawende which I also recommend
unreservedly. The context of the book is the medical profession,
but the ideas explored in it have a strong relevance for
education. It is a great read.
There is a push in the United Kingdom as there is in NZ to strengthen
home/school links. As you know I am particularly interested in
developing and sustaining very strong links with all of you. The
more we all work together, the better it is for your children and you
are always welcome at school. We all value the communication that
we have with you – both formal and informal and the more we understand
each other’s perspectives and goals for your children, the better will
be the outcomes.
It is so good to be back. I missed the friendliness of our staff and
children and the openness of the kiwi way of communicating. I
have so enjoyed going around all the classrooms and seeing the children
and our staff all working very collaboratively together. Your
children are so open and warm and they are all very special. I
continue to feel so privileged.
I am so proud of our chess team. They competed in the Auckland
competition on Tuesday and came 4th. Thank you to Celia Talbot
who once again has coached our players to perform extremely well.
Please see the next section of today’s newsletter for more details.
Cluster Music Festival
I am very much looking forward to tonight’s Papatoetoe Principals’
Association Music Festival to be held for the first time at the Telstra
Clear Pacific Centre. I went along yesterday to have a wee
preview at the rehearsal and it is going to be a stunning
evening. Thank you to Nicole Hede and Linda Jefferies for doing a
great job coaching the choir. The children are stunning! I
would like to acknowledge Rex Buckley, the Principal of Kingsford
Primary School who has once again organised the festival on behalf of
Best wishes for a fantastic weekend. I am enjoying waking up in
the mornings to the sounds of the birds and it is so good to see the
spring flowers and the trees coming into leaf as we all enjoy the early
spring and the sunshine that it is bringing.
I look forward very much to catching up with you. It is so good
to be back.
Welcome to our New Students: Papatoetoe Central School welcomes the
following new students to our school – Selina Longani, Lisa
Aujla, Fabressa Iqram, Liam Supho and Diana Lim.
Assembly Day: On Friday, 24 August assembly will be run by Room
27. As always you are most welcome to attend but please make sure
that you are seated by 1.15pm. The Chess certificates and medals
will be presented at this assembly.
Class visits to St Christopher's Residential Home: This Monday,
27 August (weather permitting) at 1.30pm, Room 27 will be visiting St
Out of Zone Ballot: The Board has decided to conduct a ballot for
out of zone new entrant, Year 1, Year 2, Year 3 and Year 4 students due
to start in 2008. The ballot will be conducted on Tuesday 18 September
2007. Please note that priority is given to siblings of students
already attending our school. This is not an automatic right and
you must apply on the appropriate form which will be available at the
school office from Monday 13 August 2007. Please ensure that you
have your application in on time. Applications close on Friday, 7
Daffodil Day: We will be raising money for the Cancer Society on
Friday, 31 August. Children who bring in a gold coin may come in mufti.
$2.00 will buy a daffodil and $1.00 will buy a tattoo. Please help us
support this very worthy charity.
Cake walk is all go - Year 6 Fundraising: Thank you for your
support in our second week selling tickets. Please keep bringing in
your money. 1 ticket is 20c and 3 tickets gets 50c. The year 6's have
been busy getting ideas about what to cakes to make for week 9 Friday.
Auckland Regional Chess Competition: The members of our PCS Southern
Zone chess winning team competed in the Auckland Regional Chess final
yesterday at the Auckland Chess Centre. The boys played the four
schools who won the Central, Eastern, Northern and Western finals. This
was always going to be a huge step up for the boys, playing the best in
Auckland. The team consisting of Ben Liu, Isaiah Zarate-Rapana, Liam
Foster and Denzel Filipo finished a creditable 4th. The whole team were
totally focused through out the day. They were humble winners and I was
proud of the way they handled defeat. It was a great learning
experience for these players and will help to improve their chess in
the long term. Well done, team!
Chess Classes: We are looking into the possibility of running
chess coaching classes next term before school on a user pays bases
(much as the after school classes). We would like to gauge the level of
interest before proceeding any further. If you would be interested in
these classes for your child/children, please contact me on 2787557 ext
756, or you can leave a message with Raewyn in the school office.
Papatoetoe Chess Club: The Papatoetoe Chess Club run
classes/coaching for juniors on a Wednesday night from 6.30 till 7.30
at the Papatoetoe RSA Bowling Club, Cambridge Tce, Papatoetoe. You can
either just turn up or email John at: email@example.com for more
Pantyhose for production: We need clean pantyhose for making
production costumes. If you have any new or used pantyhose at
home that you no longer want could you please send them to room 11 or
27. Thank you.
Road Safety Fact: When waiting to cross the road we should stand
one or two steps behind the kerb and cross when it is clear both ways.
Spellathon: We started on our annual Spellathon this week and the
students will be bringing home their spelling lists and their
sponsorship forms very soon if they haven’t already done so. This
is an intensive focus on spelling over and above our usual spelling
programmes. The emphasis is on improving the spelling performance
of each student. With our new entrants the Spellathon is usually
linked to letter recognition. All students are required to
participate in the extra spelling work.
Our past Spellathons have been a very good source of raising additional
funds that all of our students can benefit from. We had fantastic
results from our Spellathon last year to the tune of $6,000 that we
used to purchase playground equipment for every classroom. The
funds we raise from this Spellathon are going to be used for our
laptops in classrooms project - COWS (computers on wheels) - designed
to get sets of laptops into classrooms. Any support you can
provide will be of real assistance to all of our students. Please
try to assist by gathering as many sponsors as possible. All
sponsorship forms will need to be signed off and/or receipted whether
or not money has been collected from sponsors. Thank you in
anticipation of your ongoing support of our students through our
Family Photos: A reminder to pay off any photos we may still be
holding from the family portraits.
Printer Cartridges: Have you been sending your printer cartridges
in to school for recycling? You may send in any printer cartridge -
some we get a small refund for and the others will still be disposed of
in the most environmentally way.
Do you have any old games or puzzles? If you have, we would love to
have them at school for rainy days. The PTA will check them and hand
them over to the school. Thanks in advance.
Next PTA meeting is Monday the 27th at 7pm. We would like to see some
Rachel Hagglund PTA