Newsletter No. 1, February 15, 2008
NCEA Excellence Certification
Since the January newsletter we have identified a number of additional Level 1 and Level 2 students who have received Excellence endorsements. The full list to date is:
The outstanding achievements of Paolo Edgerton-Bachmann warrant special recognition. As a Year 11 student in 2007, Paolo achieved Excellence certification for both Level 1 and Level 2, and also University Entrance!
New Families’ BBQ
Another invitation to families new to our school community to come to the annual barbeque on the library lawn from 6.00-8.30pm on the evening of Wednesday, 5 March. This gathering, hosted by the Parent Action Group, provides a timely opportunity to meet form teachers, subject teachers, deans, academic directors and senior managers as well as making contact with other parents.
Subject Class Attendance
After a staff review of the situation in the last semester I will be talking to our students at the next assembly about the importance of prioritising attendance at timetabled lessons. One group this is likely to affect particularly is those students whose course is comprised of subjects which have significant fieldtrip components. I want to see senior students, especially, closely monitoring their absences from subject lessons and taking steps to ensure they make wise decisions in cases where they can exercise discretion.
Education Outside The Classroom (EOTC)
I would like to acknowledge the considerable efforts of our excellent staff in taking responsibility for managing the many off-site events and activities which are a feature of term one. Our students are fortunate to be able to benefit from such a wide range of experiences.
Student Leaders 2008
I consider it a great honour to be closely associated with the student leaders of 2008. They are a committed, enthusiastic and truly fantastic group of young people who will make every effort to serve the school and the community to the best of their ability.
We congratulate and welcome to the role:
Kapura House Leaders:
Atea House Leaders:
Moana House Leaders:
Whenua House Leaders:
News from the Mathematics Department
It is with a great sense of accomplishment and pride that we look back at 2007. It was a very successful year for the department in terms of examination results and we look forward to analysing these in greater detail. It was also an exceptional year in terms of students using their mathematics skills to support their community. Maths week saw the department raising $4500 for child cancer while the Gifted and Talented students donated $1000 and two dolls houses to Starship children’s hospital. I would like to publicly acknowledge the efforts of the Mathematics Department staff. They are an extremely dedicated and passionate group of people who I greatly admire and who I am truly fortunate to have the privilege of working alongside again in 2008!
As was reported at the end of last year, Fa’avesi Talamaivao has decided to hand over the reigns as assistant HOD, after 8 years. All I can say Vesi is thank you, knowing that it will never be enough. It is however with excitement that we look forward to the vast levels of skill and experience Bryony West and Simon Henley will bring to their new management rolls within the department.
Please note that all Mathematics students will need a calculator in order to successfully complete their studies this year. Junior students will need a scientific calculator, which may be purchased from the front office. Senior students, depending on their course of study, will either need a Scientific or a Graphics calculator. Classroom teachers will notify students of the requirement for their course over the first few days of returning to timetabled classes.
Students in the department will yet again have the opportunity to partake in a range of different extension activities such as Mathematics Competitions, Gifted and Talented Groups, Chess, Maths Publication and much more. As the year progresses, relevant information will be passed on to students via the daily bulletin and newsletters as well as their classroom teachers. Parents and caregivers are also reminded of the holiday workshops for senior achievement standards students which are scheduled for the second week of each holiday period. Students find these hugely beneficial as they provide a fantastic opportunity for structured and supported revision. Attendance is highly recommended.
We look forward to yet another fantastic year!
The Role of the Academic Directors at WSC
- As a school, we believe in positive intervention. These positions were set up to monitor progress of Year 12 and 13 students and support students in their academic endeavours; we work closely with Deans who provide pastoral support, and with Senior Management.
- We work hard to establish personal relationships with students; ours is not a disciplinary role.
- At the beginning of the year; students fill out a questionnaire about their lives, strengths, weaknesses, and goals etc, which helps when we come to interview them. Last year we had Year 12 do a survey which gave us some valuable insights into student progress, their learning needs and the kind of support they feel they need.
- Progress is monitored: Reports in March, July and Sept show us clearly which students need help and support; also there are constant referrals from subject teachers and form teachers re students who fail to meet deadlines, complete work, or who have issues in their lives which make learning difficult. We also get referrals from concerned parents, and we welcome that contact, and we encourage students to self refer if they have any problems at all with academic achievement.
- We refer students to staff who may have extra hours tagged to supporting pupils with problems in specific subjects, to the Guidance team, to the Careers Advisor and to the Learning Centre who provide excellent support. Often before exams, Helen Thorpe works with all the Year 12 English classes to improve study skills and ensure effective revision.
- I would like to reassure you that the students we deal with have a sound understanding of NCEA and that it serves them well. Within each discipline we are able to assess a range of skills and cater to each student’s strengths. With standard-based assessment, the students are able to re-attempt if they have not reached a standard, so they are not denied the opportunity to achieve because of one test or exam.
- It would be good if you can ensure that your child is doing homework regularly; despite what they may tell you, there is always something they could be working on for an hour a night. Anyone who is constantly saying: “ I never have homework”: refer them to us. Please ensure your child has a diary and is using it. It’s essential as work and leisure activities start to pile up, that students can keep a track of commitments and deadlines. Be wary if your child is doing more than 10 hours a week in a job; it can really impact on learning as the year goes on.
- Year 12 is much harder than Year 11 and requires more detailed analysis. Students may get through Year 11 on natural ability but will not succeed at level 2 or 3 without sustained work, careful preparation and rigorous revision. This is required throughout the year, not just for externals at the end, hence the need for regular homework.
- Contact us at any time if you have concerns. Remember there is a progress report in March, a full report in May and September and report interviews in early April and in mid June.
Ali Geursen Year 12 Academic Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Thea Kilian Year 13 Academic Director email@example.com
The year has started well in the English department. We are happy to welcome four new staff members: David Burton, Michael Norris, Elliot Lavey, who is relieving for Ali Geursen for Term One, and Simon Ferguson, our new Assistant HOD.
Thank you to parents for support in returning text books owing from 2007. There are however, still hundreds of dollars worth of books that are still outstanding. It would help our budget enormously if we did not have to spend a lot of money on replacements! Could I ask for parents to check if there are any school texts lying around the house, and to get them back to the school as soon as possible? They can be handed in to Beth at the front office or given to any English teacher. Prompt payment of invoices for lost books would be appreciated. Thank you for your support with this.
Debating has always been very strong at WSC and three of our junior teams got through last year to the semi-finals of the ISAY competition, a tremendous achievement. The competition gets under way again soon, and interested students should watch the notices for news of the first meeting.
Writers’ Club will also begin in the next few weeks. Students should ask their English teachers for details.
Our library opens next week for borrowing and Year 9 students will be going for an orientation visit with their English teacher very soon. There will be timetabled periods for Sustained Silent Reading every week in English periods, because we know the importance of practising that vital skill. If parents can encourage and model reading at home, that would be wonderful.
Fieldwork is an essential part of Geography at WSC, and below are the proposed dates for our 2008 fieldtrips.
Year 11 have compulsory ½ day and 1 day trips to the Volcanoes Exhibition at the Museum on 18/19th March and Waihi on 16th June. The total cost for these two trips will be approximately $50 for transport.
A 6/7 day optional overseas trip will run about the 15th - 21st August, costing approximately $1700 in total.
Our 3 day trip to Mt Ruapehu, may still run in April if students are not interested in the overseas trip.
Year 12 have a compulsory 1 day trip to carry out their research in the Auckland urban area 27th March, costing approximately $20 for transport.
Our 3 day trip to Tongariro National Park to complete the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, will be from 13th - 15th April.
Students may be able to attend the 6/7 day optional overseas trip from 15th - 21st August, costing approximately $1700 in total, if there are places available after Year 11 have been asked.
Year 13 have a compulsory 1 day trip to carry out a coastal study on the 31st March, costing approximately $20 for transport, and we will run a day trip to Waitomo in the first week of September.
Students may be able to attend the 6/7 day optional overseas trip from 15th - 21st August, costing approximately $1700 in total, if there are places available after Year 11 have been asked.
We look forward to an exciting and successful year.
Jenny Jones and John Ward
First of all congratulations to all of our students who achieved brilliant results in their NCEA exams. All the hard work and effort paid off and we are immensely proud of your success.
I am happy to welcome Erica Kirby and Monique Olivier into the Languages Department this year.
Erica teaches Japanese from year 9 to year 13, replacing Renae Liao who is on study leave in Japan for 2008.
Monique Olivier is teaching French part-time to a year 9 class thanks to the increased number of students opting to learn the language.
I will be acting Head of the Languages Department in Renae’s absence as well as teaching the French and the Spanish programmes.
I am sure the senior students of French are looking forward to the trip to New Caledonia at the end of the term as much as I am! It promises to be a very valuable and memorable experience for all of us!
Thanks for your continuing support and best wishes to you all,
Physical Education Department
A big welcome back to all those returning students and an even bigger one to all students and families new to Springs. We’ve got a busy start to the year with Swimming Sports and Athletics early on, starting with Swimming Sports this Friday. We also have been working hard over the holidays and have an exciting year in stall for all levels of Physical Education.
Here are a few friendly reminders for Term One from the department:
Year 9 and other students new to Springs.
- You are required to purchase a PE uniform that is to be worn at every PE lesson (twice a week). The cost is $60. ($35 - top, $25 - shorts).
- This needs to be paid at the office before the end of week 3 (Friday 22nd) and a receipt needs to be given to your PE teacher who will issue you with a uniform. This will be issued to the students that have already paid, during their second PE lesson.
- If there are any concerns with payment for this please see Ruth Roberts.
- Please ensure these are named straight away so we can identify any stray uniforms immediately.
Senior PE classes
- All students in senior classes (Y11-13) are required to purchase a workbook that will be used both in class and for homework activities this year. This was outlined in the course book at the end of last year and the cost is $25.
- This needs to be paid at the office before the end of the week and a receipt needs to given to your PE teacher who will issue students with their own workbook.
Y11 PE Camp (12th - 14th March, Week 5!)
- By now students should have received an information and permission slip in class. All students are required to pay a deposit of $50 by Wednesday 20th February (next week!) to the office to confirm their place on this camp. The total cost as outlined in the course book at the end of last year will be between $180 - $220. However we can not give an exact cost until numbers are confirmed on Wednesday the 20th. The total amount will be due before we leave on camp.
Y13 PE Camp (9th – 11th April, Week 10)
- These students will be competing in an Aquathon (400m Swim, 5km Run) in Waihi. Camp and deposit information will be sent home within the next week.
We hope you had a great break, and are looking forward to the year ahead. Let’s take advantage of this beautiful weather and get outside and get active.
Here’s to a great 2008
The PE Department
Warm Pacific greetings to all new and existing Pacific families for 2008.
We hope to keep you regularly informed throughout the year of the important events for Pacific students at Western Springs College
A few important events/dates to remember:
Pacific Homework Centre – every Monday 3.30 – 5pm.
The Homework Centre will reopen Monday 18th February and every Monday thereafter. The purpose of this is to support Pacific students with homework and class work during the year. Please encourage your student to attend.
Pacific BBQ – Thursday 21 February, 6pm.
We encourage all Pacific parents to attend this BBQ, especially the families of our new students. This is a chance to meet the Pacific staff at Western Springs College as well as connecting with our Pacific parents.
Niuean Non-Competitive Group – ASB Festival, held 12 – 15 March, Wesley College.
As a result of the interest shown by parents in 2007, we have entered the Niuean group in the non-competitive section of the ASB Festival. Please support your child in this.
We look forward to working with you all in 2008.
Tupe Tai, Pacific Island Coordinator
I am looking forward to my new full time role as the Library Manager. I will be assisted by Angela Henty who has a part time position. Rachel Baxter has returned for 2 weeks and has been working on a brilliant ‘welcome to 2008’ display which will show students a range of fiction to suit all reading styles. I hope the display will encourage students to borrow or come to the library to read during their breaks.
The Library hours will be 8.15 to 4.30. Students are welcome before and after school to catch up on classwork and homework. Parents – please note that homework completed at school ensures deadlines are met and the Library will provide necessary resources.
I am keen to expand the fiction section and would appreciate suitable suggestions of recommended reading. This can be done through the form teacher or you may come directly to me.
OVERDUE BOOKS – Unfortunately there are many books which were not returned in 2007. If you have an overdue book its return will be greatly appreciated.
WSC Learning Centre
The Learning Centre is intended to provide an inviting and stimulating environment where students from any year level can come individually, or in groups, to seek assistance with almost anything related to their learning. Ours is a learning partnership in which we work alongside students to identify and assess their learning needs; encourage them to set learning goals and develop action plans; and then help them work towards developing the skills and strategies needed to achieve those goals. We are not so much about teaching subject content, as helping students to develop strategies that they can take back into the classroom with them, to assist them in becoming more independent and successful as learners.
All our interventions are negotiated with the students themselves and may involve as few as one or two sessions, or as many as a series of regular sessions over an extended period of time. Students from year 9 -13 are encouraged to refer themselves for help, and many do. Ours is a revolving door policy, where students are able to move in and out of the Centre as they feel necessary.
In 2007 Learning Centre staff assisted students with senior and junior essay writing, senior and junior exam preparation, junior literacy and numeracy, study skills and general organisational issues, as well as specific subject and assignment support. Students were encouraged to ask questions, to develop strategies for finding out information and for clarifying meaning when they encountered concepts they found challenging. Some junior students benefited from working closely with senior students as part of the Peer Assisted Learning Programmes. In 2008 we will be continuing these interventions and also providing targeted programmes as listed below.
Programmes operating in 2008
- ‘Start Right’ study skills sessions, covering: organisation, time management, effective learning strategies, exam preparation and exam technique.
- Senior essay writing for History and English.
- Peer Reading.
- Peer Mentoring.
- Peer Tutoring.
- Senior English groups run to gain necessary literacy credits missed in 2007.
- Year 9 Literacy and Numeracy, small groups attending Learning Centre during either English or Maths classes.
- Year 10/11 ASDAN Programme, selected students will be invited to take part in this exciting new programme.
Learning Centre Hours
The Learning Centre is open from 8.15 a.m. Monday to Friday. It is open most intervals and lunch times. Students are able to use the space for study, access computers for research, and call on Centre staff for assistance in a range of subjects.
Learning Centre Staff 2008
Helen Thorpe – LC manager
Helen Hogg – literacy/numeracy specialist
Trina Sellers – LC support – (part-time: Tuesdays and Thursdays)
NCEA Study Support Learning Centre
Tuesday After School 2.50 – 4.30 p.m.
The Learning Centre is running study support sessions again this year. Students who attended these sessions last year found them very helpful.
If you are a senior student and you would like to get help with essay writing, research, breaking big assignments down into manageable pieces, time management, study skills and exam techniques, please either: Come to the after school sessions on Tuesdays, or come book a time with Helen or Trina.
International Students Department
The beautiful New Zealand summer has helped welcome 30 new and 20 returning international students. They are from Japan, Germany, Korea, Thailand, Brazil, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Samoa.
I would like to say “thanks” to you all, staff, host families, student leaders and returning students who came over to greet the new students and help on our Orientation days. Thanks to you all who have helped the new students to find their classroom or answer questions when they got stuck. I have also received 15 local students’ offers to join the International Student Buddy Team and help the new international students at our campus. Thank you very much for your offer. I will organise more programmes for you.
The new students have started enjoying the Western Springs’ warm and caring culture. I believe the warmth and care you have given to the international students will reflect well on us in their home countries.
Please dial 846 8197 (x754) to contact us for any feedback and suggestions, and even an offer of your help.
Ferndale Kindergarten (Mt Albert) 65th Reunion
Did you attend Ferndale Kindergarten? Are you a past parent or committee member? We are welcoming registrations from all interested people for our 65th Reunion on 1st March 2008. We plan an afternoon of rekindling old acquaintances, swopping memories and fun for the children. You can register at www.aka.org.nz (click on the link for 'Notices and Upcoming Events') or collect a form from the kindergarten at 830 New North Road. We look forward to seeing you and your family there.
Soccer at Western Springs Soccer Club
Enrolments for the 2008 soccer season are open at Western Springs Soccer Club. The club welcomes all players from 6yrs to 17yrs. Practices are held at Seddon Fields, Meola Road and Saturday matches are scheduled from 6 April. Enrolments may be made on line at www.wsafc.org.nz. Any enquiries should be addressed to the relevant coordinators as advised on the above website or to Kim Roberts who can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 09 634 5657.