Newsletter No. 6, June 12, 2008
ACTING PRINCIPAL'S NOTES
Senior students have just completed the first round for the year, of exams and workshops. Families should also have received senior reports, and other assessment data. Interviews with teachers will occur on Thursday 19 June, from 4-7pm. The school day will finish slightly earlier (2.50pm) to allow this to happen.
We hope you will take the opportunity to come to discuss your son/daughter's progress and goals for the rest of the year.
Two students have received notification of their selection to representative teams, at national level. Congratulations to both.
Leslie Hansen applied for leave from school to travel as part of the New Zealand Synchronised Swimming Team which attended the Oceania Swimming Championships in Christchurch recently. Leslie is a member of the Free Combination Team which was placed first – so won gold for New Zealand.
Renata Gottgtroy, a year 9 student, has been selected for the U18 Inline Hockey NZ Women's team to represent New Zealand in the 2008 Junior Olympic Games & FIRS Junior World Championship in Philadelphia/USA. This team is travelling on the 21st June and returning on the 3rd July.
- Tuhoe Tamaiparea competed in the Auckland Regional Manukorero speech competition. He came second in Pei Te Hurinui (senior Maori section), a significant achievement. He was pleased to have won over more senior students, and says that "...it was hard, but putting in hard work does pay off. Tino pai rawa, Tuhoe.
- Five bands entered, and two bands reached the regional final of Rock Quest. Should we be surprised? There is a depth of talent and a foundation of success, that each year new groups build on. The final takes place on Saturday 14 June, at AGGS.
- Our Stage Challenge group performed this week. We are always impressed by the dedication of the student leaders, the performers and support crew, as their idea morphs into something special. They do really embody the notion of 'student-led' performance.
- The College Herald 'Editor's Choice' (end of May) was Sylvie Thrush Marsh, not for the first time. She challenged students to be ‘learners’ in the broad sense, to see study as it is, a part of the whole learning process.
- The Minister of Education has commended the school on the launch of the "Sustainability in Action" DVD; he was "especially pleased students took a leading role in the assembly and played such an enthusiastic part in events".
- Feedback from a parent about the opportunity that the school production provided for her son is worth sharing:"... I really wanted to affirm you all – not just for the amazing work and energy you put in to the show - and the talent and inspiration you provide, but also to acknowledge that you did this while still having to teach, plan, mark, write reports, and deal with students. I know the huge toll/impact this has on your life – so thanks."
- The kapahaka group of Nga Puna o Waiorea are travelling to Wellington to compete in the national Secondary School Kapahaka competition. Much energy has been expended fund raising, organising, practising, practising; we wish them well. Kia kaha.
NOTE: (The dress rehearsal will take place on Thursday 12 June; also a Matariki (Maori New Year) celebration.
Early Finish (1.30pm) Next Tuesday, 17 June:
The staff is committed to considering in depth the implications of the new curriculum. We really value the opportunity to talk about teaching and learning! A second workshop is to take place on Tuesday. This will not affect timetabled classes. The school will close at 1.30 pm; bus services will be rescheduled to transport students home at this time.
We are experiencing a rash of break-ins to cars parked in the large carpark outside of the school. A meeting has been convened with representatives of affected groups, including police and the city council, to consider solutions. Our advice to those parking in this area is not to leave valuables in the car.
Junior Gifted and Talented Programme:
The selection process for year 9 students has now been completed. Eleven Students from the year 9 cohort have been invited to participate in this well established and very challenging programme. Selection is based on curriculum assessment results, students’ ability to think outside the square, work habits and general interest. It is therefore a great honour but also a great responsibility.
Students who choose to accept the invitation have been provided with the necessary documentation outlining the programme to parents/caregivers. Student will be expected to select their topic over the next few days, after which they will have 10 weeks in which to complete their projects. They will be guided and supported by myself, as well as Emma Holdaway, one of our very able senior Mathematics students. Topics this year range from designing and building a toy kitchen/work bench to investigating Mathematics in the workplace. As was the case in 2007, models will yet again be auctioned at the presentation evening and we hope that we will yet again be successful in our quest to raise funds for Starship Childrens’ Hospital.
Selection for the year 10 cohort will take place at the start of term 3.
Just a reminder that the Mathematics Department will yet again be hosting a range of holiday workshops. Workshops will take place over the first few days of the second week of the holiday period.
Western Springs College has always shown strong results in the Mathematics competition formerly known as ICAS (now officially the University of NSW Educational Assessment in Mathematics). This year the ICAS Maths assessment will take place during school on July 29, so it’s time for all mathematics enthusiasts to start preparing! This is a great opportunity for students at all year levels to compare their mathematical skills with other students throughout New Zealand and Internationally. Mathematics teachers will be discussing the ICAS Mathematics competition in classes, so please make sure all interested students see their Mathematics teachers for more details and for a registration form. Registration and payment ($6.50 to the office) needs to be completed before the end of June, so don’t miss out!
Western Springs Mathematics students are now over half-way through their second term. Year 9 students are currently working with Numbers, from prime numbers to percentages. Meanwhile, Year 10 students are doing some great work with the very important topic of Algebra and Graphing this term.
Please can all parents of junior students help by making sure that:
- Your student has a scientific calculator (this was not included in the stationary pack at the beginning of the year, and is essential for this term’s Mathematics work – good Casio calculators can be purchased from the office for $20).
- Your student puts in the necessary revision to help prepare for their important end-of-term topic tests in Number, Algebra and Graphing – coming up soon!
Term 2 is always an exciting time for our chess players. The Auckland Chess Association launches its Inter-secondary schools team competition, and as usual we have a keen junior team of players. So far we have only played against Avondale, and we were led to a resounding victory by Captain Damon Bellard.
This year we welcome Sophie Batten to our team. It is great to have a female player for the first time in a few years. Sophie debuted by winning her match, meaning that we beat Avondale by 3 games to 1. Well done team!!!!
This coming June our Kapahaka group at Nga Puna O Waiorea will be travelling down to Wellington to compete in the National Secondary Schools Kapahaka Competion. It is a huge accomplishment and a great honour to represent Auckland in this absolutely fantastic competition. This is the first time Nga Puna O Waiora has ever participated in the Nationals and we have been practising very hard in order to prepare ourselves. We have also been fundraising doing various events like batons up and a very spectacular Art Auction. We will be heading down on the 16th of June and returning on the 19th. So wish us well as we will do nothing but our best.
The annual quiz night fundraising event was yet again a great success. The hall was full of jovial quizzers, prepared for a night of fun, cheese and wine. Richard Smith was the Master of Ceremonies for the night. The somewhat dodgy prizes he awarded and the informal MC-ing set a relaxed atmosphere which contrasted beautifully with the stern "Russian" doormen.
There were 10 rounds, each with 10 questions. Topics varied from history to movie trivia, right through to school life. There was a prize at the end of each round, as well as bonus prizes. Congratulations to the winning team of the entire night – "Denis was here".
Thanks to all parents, students and their friends for coming and supporting the school, and also to the involved student leaders for their help with the doors and raffle sales. However, the biggest thank you has to go to the Parent Action Group (PAG) for investing the time and energy to make the night possible.
Weylin and Nic
Year 8 Workshops:
On Tuesday the 20th and Wednesday the 28th of May a large group of year 8 students made their way through our gates in order to find out more about our school and the subjects on offer. On the 20th, Pasadena joined us while Ponsonby and Kowhai had their turn on the 28th. All students had a fantastic time. They attended two workshops broken by a quick morning tea of biscuits and juice.
Student leaders were responsible for guiding students to the required locations, answering any questions they had along the way. For the first workshop, Kirsty Joseph and I helped Ms West, the wicked witch of the west and a great mathemagician, with the Mathematics Workshops. Students had a great time getting to know their way around the school grounds by completing a Mathematics treasure hunt.
After morning tea, Olivia and I took the students to the Photography room where we helped the y8 students make photograms. They all marvelled as the photo paper went into the developer and the images started to appear.
All in all it was a successful event and as a school we look forward to the year 9 cohort of 2009.
The New Curriculum
All parents and caregivers of students in our community are warmly invited to an evening in the college library on Wednesday, June 25, for an introduction to and discussion of the new curriculum and its implications for students and parents.
The evening will consist of an introduction to the new curriculum: What's it all about? How is it different? What are the "key competencies"? Will it change the way my child is taught and assessed?
The second part of the evening will give parents and caregivers an opportunity to talk about what they want for their children and where they think the educational priorities of the future lie.
The new curriculum is a welcome opportunity for all of us to be actively engaged in developing pathways that will lead our children into a future where they are well-equipped to deal with the challenges of the 21st century world.
We look forward to meeting with you.
Where: Western Springs College Library
When: Wednesday 25 June.
Time: 7.00 – 8.30 pm
Hot Tips from the Learning Centre
Post Exam Review:
Now is the time to take a really close look at how you performed in the recent exams, learn from them and then take action. Look at where you were successful and plan to build on that success. Look at where you experienced difficulties and plan to get back on top. Hard work and persistence will pay off.
"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all." Dale Carnegie
What you should do:
- Make a list of the areas/topics/aspects of topics that you need to hone up on for next time.
- For each subject, assess what let you down.
- Was it your lack of content knowledge?
- Was it a weakness in terms of a skill? e.g. essay writing, graph analysis, solving simultaneous equations.
- Was it a combination of both?
- Next, assess what you will need to do to improve on these things and put in place an ongoing revision plan for the next 14 weeks.(up until the next exams)
- For content knowledge, you need to target an area/topic to focus on each week. Work in small chunks. As you master each bit, move on to the next. e.g. In week 1 you might decide to focus on 'cell structure' for Biology - week 2 might be 'cell processes'.
Go through your notes, use your text book, and actively make a new set of revision notes which could be in the form of diagrams, mind maps, flash cards etc. The very act of making new notes will make you process the information and therefore remember it better.
(If you want suggestions of revision techniques visit the Learning Centre.)
If there are areas you don't understand, ask the teacher if they could explain them to you again. Be proactive.
- For skill improvement, like essay writing, go for help. Visit the Learning Centre, or ask your
teacher. Practice, practice, practice. Skills improve with lots of practice, just like driving. The more times you write an essay, or solve a particular type of problem, the quicker and better you will get at it.
Take charge of your learning by taking responsibility and asking for help when you need it. Attend the after school homework centres and/or supported study sessions. Talk to your teachers. Refer yourself for help at the Learning Centre. ACT now!
Senior Report Evening (Years 11, 12 & 13)
Parent/Teacher Interviews start at 4pm – 7pm
Thursday June 19th
Performance is the name of the game in the Music department – no surprise there! Performance is the public face of the department and we have been out and about a lot lately.
A huge round of applause goes to the team who made up the band for "Little Shop of Horrors". Being in a show band was new to all of them but by the end the audience assumed the bands were professionals – well done!
Senior classes are well under way with performance assessment evenings. A reminder to families that if your child is in a senior Music class you are very welcome to come along to the performance evenings – ring me if you have any queries.
Over Queen's Birthday weekend, nine of our students took part in a creative vocal workshop with the NBR New Zealand Opera Company. Twenty-four students from around Auckland learned the story behind Puccini’s "La Boheme", then created character stories in a modern setting around this. Once the characters were set, the students wrote songs for their own mini opera which was performed on the Monday night. I was so proud of our students throughout the weekend as I popped in to be an observer. The end product involved committed performances, stunning songs (which are still in my head) and a standing ovation.
It is RockQuest time again and WSC was represented in five bands at the heats with Pachinko and Cremedelica going on to the regional finals. Good luck to both bands – good to see you keeping up our tradition of representation in the regionals!
Message from the Library
This is a free family day for children, writers and illustrators and will take place on Sunday 15 June, 10am-3pm at the Aotea Centre.
Check www.storylines.org.nz/festival for a list of International and New Zealand authors, seminars and workshops.
Sunday Star Short Story Awards:
It was indeed a pleasure to receive a $100 voucher from Zara Butcher McGunnigle. This was in recognition for her short story which was placed third in the Secondary School Division last year. With guidance from Ali Geursen the library purchased the following books from Random House. ‘After Dark’ by Haruki Murakami, ‘Illustrated Denniston Rose and Heart of Coal’ by Jenny Pattrick and ‘The Captive Wife’ by Fiona Kidman. These books are a welcome addition to our senior fiction section which I must say is becoming a very exciting collection.
Term Three will see the introduction of an Aikido club here at Western Springs College.
- A non-competitive Japanese martial Art.
- A self-defence system for both sexes, and all builds.
- Not reliant on strength.
- Based on free flowing circular movements.
- A system that develops technique, mind, and body.
- An avenue to good health, fitness and well-being.
Rosso Fernandez Sensei (6th Dan), the instructor, has been training for 28 years and was the first Non-Japanese to serve a traditional live-in apprenticeship at Aikido Hombu Dojo (the Aikido World Headquarters). He currently teaches in New Zealand and at International seminars.
- Listen out at House Assembly
- Keep your ears on the bulletin
- Look out for posters around school Speak to Mr. Norris (F4)