Newsletter No. 3, March 26, 2008
Enrolment Scheme Review
A special meeting of the Board of Trustees has been convened for 26/3/08 to review school roll trends including, in particular, the significant increase in home zone enrolments. A major issue confronting the Board is the Ministry of Education policy of limiting per capita property funding to home zone students. As a result WSC has been placed under extreme pressure in providing classroom accommodation to cope with the roll increase.
School Review: Parent / Student Feedback
At the February board meeting trustees received a report affirming the quality of education provided at Springs and detailing recommendations for improvement of the quality of service delivery based on the survey feedback received from parents and students towards the end of last year.
While the surveying has revealed high satisfaction levels among both groups, as reported in November, there has been recognition of the need to consider ways of further improving school-home communication. Accordingly, we have decided to undertake a policy review in this area which will take in such issues as email contact between teachers and parents, better utilisation of the website, and reporting of sports results.
In relation to concerns about the school grounds I can report that the Ministry of Education has finally appointed a project manager for the site remediation work for which WSC has sought MOE funding support for over three years. This issue has been a source of huge frustration for staff, trustees and students for too long. We are seeking extraordinary funding in acknowledgement of the site-specific problems unique to this former landfill site. The outcomes sought include landscaping which provides the school with levelled footpaths, driveways and lawns which eliminate the multiple trip hazards which currently bedevil the site.
Congratulations to Nga Puna O Waiorea for their impressive performance on Saturday, 15 March at the Auckland Secondary Schools Cultural Festival. The kapahaka group were awarded second place in both the waiata ( action song ) and haka and were placed in the top six overall. A special tribute to Norbryn Vaiula who placed third in the kaitataki ( female leader ) category.
Report Interviews, 1 April & 8 April, 4.00 – 7.00pm
A reminder that your opportunity to discuss your son or daughter’s beginning to the year with subject teachers, form teachers or deans/academic directors is either next Tuesday, 1 April for students whose surname begins A – L, or the following Tuesday for surnames M – Z.
French Students’ New Caledonia Trip, 16 - 23 April
Best wishes to the senior French students travelling to New Caledonia at the end of the term under the guidance of teachers Elodie Tempest and Matt Clayton. The trip includes a five night homestay experience and language intensives for four mornings along with afternoon excursions to centres of local interest.
News from the Mathematics Department
Following yet another successful publication of Maths Uncensored in 2007, Phoebe Balle and Grace Kennedy have decided to jointly take on the task of editor and chief for 2008, under the mentorship of 2007 editor, Hannah Cleverly.
Phoebe and Grace will be kicking things off over the next couple of weeks, calling for expressions of interest. A complete publication team with skills and talents ranging from cover design, to proof reading and cartoon drawing will be required. All students, irrelevant of their mathematical ability, who have an interest in getting involved, must keep a close eye on the daily notices. Maths Uncensored provides a fabulous opportunity for students wanting to extend and challenge themselves.
With only a few short weeks left before the term 1 school holidays, parents and caregivers are reminded of the holiday workshops which will be available for Achievement Standards students at level 1, 2 and 3.
Workshops will be scheduled for the start of the second week of the holiday period.
Students will be issued with an exact timetable during the last week of term. All workshops are free of charge and bookings are not required. We would therefore like to encourage parents and caregivers to urge their students to make use of this worthwhile opportunity.
A reminder that the teaching of mathematics very heavily relies on students having the correct equipment. This includes normal stationery, a protractor, compass, ruler and appropriate calculator. Students who do not have the correct equipment seriously disadvantage themselves as this will impact both on their ability to complete the relevant class work, as well as their actual level of achievement. Staff in the department will remind students of the requirements on a regular basis. It would be appreciated if parent/caregivers could do the same.
We have five junior teams involved in the competition this year, and in the first two rounds they have had five wins. The senior team lost narrowly in their first debate, and unfortunately had to default their second. Thanks to coaches and parents for helping with transport and encouragement. Debating has always been strong at WSC and it’s great to see this continuing this year.
Aspiring young poets and lyric writers at year 12 and 13 should put pen to paper for this year’s New Zealand Post National Schools Poetry Awards. You can enter either through the Writer’s Club at school (see Mike Norris) or through the website: go to www.thebigidea.co.nz and scroll down to Poetry Competition.
The deadline for submissions is June 3rd
Best Poem will be judged by accomplished New Zealand poet Paula Green. Best Lyric will be judged by former Split Enz musician Mike Chunn and the Phoenix Foundation’s lead singer, Samuel Flynn Scott.
The Awards this year also include a new teacher category to recognise the work teachers do in inspiring their students to take up writing. The winning teacher will receive a travel and accommodation package for a weekend at the Sydney Writer’s Festival 2009.
Samuel Flynn Scott will adapt the winning lyric into a song which Loop Media (New Zealand based independent music and media company) will record and release accompanied by a music video for television.
The winner of the Best Lyric category will also receive a $500 cash prize and the opportunity to spend time in a professional recording studio with the artist and sound engineer.
The Best Poem winner will receive a HP Pavillion dv2610TU notebook and a cash prize of $500.
To: Parents, Western Springs College
Creating a sustainable school
Participant information sheet
26 March 2008
For the next year we will be working with the school on an action research project “Creating a sustainable school”. The project is supervised by Niki Harré, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Auckland. The rest of the research team are psychology students - Sindra Sharma and Lucy Hawcroft (master’s thesis students) and Charlotte Blythe and Victoria Dillon (honours dissertation students).
The purpose of this research is to test, measure and document strategies to create a more environmentally sustainable school at Western Springs College. We hope that our project will provide a case-study that other schools may find useful, and demonstrate that it is possible to make positive changes in a secondary school context.
The project will involve activities designed to create a more sustainable school, in keeping with the school’s strategic goal to work towards sustainability. The activities will be decided jointly between ourselves and people at the school, through the newly established sustainability panel. We will document and measure these activities through observations, interviews and measuring resource use or features of the school environment as appropriate.
To start, we will be surveying all students (and staff) on their attitudes towards sustainability using a questionnaire. This questionnaire will be conducted in May and again later in 2008. The questionnaire will be conducted during form time. We estimate it will take 15-30 minutes to complete. The questionnaire is voluntary and parents may withdraw their child.
For further information see http://www.psych.auckland.ac.nz/people/Harre/Harre.htm
To contact Niki Harre: Department of Psychology, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142. Ph 3737599 ext 88512, email@example.com
If you have any concerns of an ethical nature you can contact the Chair of the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee at 3737599 ext 87830.
APPROVED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF AUCKLAND HUMAN PARTICIPANTS’ ETHICS COMMITTEE ON 20/2/08 for three years from 20/2/08 to 20/2/11. Reference Number 2008/024.
News from the Physical Education Department
Year 11 Physical Education Challenge:
The Year 11 Physical Education students headed to Mangawhai Forest for 3 days in Week 6 for a ‘Challenge’. The event was a huge success giving the students an opportunity to achieve a Level 1 Achievement Standard. There were 3 teams in the ‘Challenge’ with the winning team “Sweetbix” taking home the shield. A big thanks to Matt Clayton for his help and well done to the class for an enjoyable teaching experience and what we hope was a very valuable learning experience.
Year 13 ‘Aquathon’ Training:
In 2 weeks time the Year 13 PE class will be travelling to Waihi to participate in the annual Year 13 Aquathon which consists of a 400m ocean swim and 5km run. This is part of an Achievement Standard assessment that the students have been working hard towards in class and training even harder for outside of class. Best of luck to the students in their final 2 week preparation for the event, keep pounding that pavement and chalking up the k’s in the pool. With that in mind here are a few words of advice from one of New Zealand’s great triathletes.
“The pain of regret (failure on race day) is far worse than the pain of pushing
yourself (training hard now).”
Another Outstanding Sporting Achievement from a ‘Springs’ Student:
Charlotte Clabrough of 9AE recently attended the Surf Lifesaving Ocean Athletes Champs (Junior NZ Champs) where she was a finalist in both the Swim/Board/Run and Surf Swim events. Well Done!
The Piha Under 19 Year “Underdog” Crew
This is a remarkable story of five young men who previously had only rowed a Surfboat for fun and who were very much ‘under achievers’ in the surfboat world.
The crew consisting of Logan Flutey ‘Capt’, Nicholas McKenzie ‘Nicko’ (Lynfield College), Wyatt Bell ‘Techo’ (Western Springs College), Thomas Jaca ’Wavecaller’ (Western Springs College), and Patrick Marsh ‘Stickerman’ (Western Springs College) made a commitment to their Sweep (Bugsy) that they would set themselves the goal of collectively training and focussing on being the best surfboat rowing crew they could possibly be.
Surfboat rowing comes with its dangers. Big surf, strong rips, heavy solid oars flying around in the boat when it all goes wrong in the big water. This crew identified that team work, discipline and mental toughness were required to minimise the risks and to achieve.
For months these young men trained four times per week, often to the point of exhaustion, until dark.
They first realised their hard work was returning success and respect to them and their Piha Club when they won the North Island championship title in big surf at Waihi beach in February this year.
This increased their motivation to get onto the podium at the NZ Champs at Ohope Beach on the weekend on 15/16 March 2008.
With 2-2.5 metre wave sets consistently forming and breaking approximately 200 metres from the beach the racing called for courage. This crew stepped up and rowed with the courage and commitment they had given earlier in the year.
They rowed out through big green waves, huge angry white water and cracked a 2.5 metre wave once they had rounded the cans out the back, riding the wave 200 metres to the beach in a dead heat with only one equal competitor. The run up the beach to the finish line had the spectators on their feet and the crew finished second by a half metre. Silver medallists in the ‘short course event’.
The following day was the long course event and again the crew threw all they had at it. Leading from the start they crashed their way out through the surf, rounded the cans, and rowed like their mates’ lives depended on it.
With 20 metres to finish they were leading by 10 metres but were cruelly denied the gold when their Sweep was unable to control a wave they fought to catch and the boat broached into the barrel of the wave, catapulting the Sweep out of the boat.
This would be the end of the race for any normal crew, but not these guys. They took control of the bad situation and a boat half full of water and managed to get the boat back on track and over the finish line for a third placing. Bronze medallists in the ‘long course event’.
These young men over the weekend won the respect and admiration of the Surf Lifesaving community, their club members, their family and their Sweep.
They showed everyone and themselves that if they set themselves a goal and work very hard at it they can achieve success.
Congratulations, guys. You are credit to yourselves, your families and your school.
Bugsy (Piha Underdog Sweep)
We have been working closely with the Health promoting Schools Committee to achieve The Heart Foundation Silver Award for the school canteen. One of the ways of doing this is to have a pastry free day. We plan to do this every Tuesday from April 1st. This is not an April Fools Joke! On that day and subsequent Tuesdays we will be providing Fried Rice, Hamburgers, Nachos, Panini, Spaghetti Buns, Bolognaise Buns, Hot Dogs, Wraps and anything else I can think of before then which conforms to the pastry free criteria.
It’s good to see lots of Yr 9’s ordering their food and thus ensuring they get what they want and don’t have to wait in the queue.
If the weather ever gets cool we will be providing home made soup and garlic bread in addition to our usual fare.
AnyQuestion.co.nz is a collaborative service supported by libraries and education agencies. It enables students to find information from quality sources. This is a pilot programme that recognises that many students are searching the web and finding vast amount of information which is not all relevant. The site is managed by a team of live online librarians who give direct, real time help. The site also provides information for parents. Parents can encourage our students to take advantage of this service for homework and their class work. Interested students can collect an ‘information’ bookmark from the library. Please take the time to use this site and give me your comments when you next visit the library.