Nga Puna O Waiorea
 Newsletter No. 9, September 1, 2008  

Newsletter No. 9, September  1, 2008


Effective School, Home & Community Partnerships was the title of one of the presentations at the Harvard Principals’ Centre leadership course I attended in July.

Karen Mapp, an African-American lecturer and researcher at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is co-author of A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family and Community Connections on Student Achievement, and Beyond the Bake Sale: The Essential Guide to Family-School Partnerships.

Karen characterised schools as fitting one of four types: fortress schools; come-if-we-call schools; open door schools; and partnership schools. Interestingly, only a handful of the 150 principals at the conference from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Caribbean and the USA claimed to represent “partnership schools.”

Karen Mapp defined a partnership school in these terms:

  • Home visits are made to every new family.
  • All school-family activities connect to what students are learning.
  • There is a clear, open process for solving problems.
  • Parents and teachers research issues together.
  • Families are actively involved in decision-making.

Schools which are really open to partnership tend to hold the following core beliefs:

  • All parents have dreams for their children and want the best for them.
  • All parents have the capacity to support their children’s learning.
  • Parents and school staff should be equal partners.  (This does not mean that they have the same role nor does it mean taking over each other’s role; it means working together and respecting each other’s role.)
  • The responsibility for building partnerships between school and home rests primarily with school staff, especially school leaders. (Staff need to cross the bridge and extend a welcoming hand.)

Karen Mapp’s research has identified three factors that influence parents’ engagement with the school:

  •  how parents develop their job description as a parent (their “role construction ”)
  •  how confident parents feel about their ability to help their children (their “efficacy”)
  •  whether parents feel invited, both by their children and school staff

(their “sense of invitation”)
The key finding from the research concerning home-school partnerships is the positive and convincing relationship between family involvement and benefits for students, including improved academic achievement – a relationship which holds across families of all economic, racial/ethnic and educational backgrounds and for students at all ages.

When parents and school staff work together to support learning, students:

  • adapt better to school and attend more regularly;
  • are more likely to achieve above average academically;
  • display better social skills and behaviour;
  • graduate and go on to higher education

All of this reinforces the significance of the role of the four parent/teacher groups which form such an important part of the Western Springs College school community. We may not be a “partnership school” in Karen Mapp’s terms yet, but we have certainly made some big steps in that direction.

Ken Havill

Art Department

Congratulations go to Diva Blair, Petra Millington-Leary and Ziggy Lever who had work entered in the Konica Minolta Secondary Art Exhibition held at the Hilton Hotel this week.  We are pleased to announce that Ziggy Lever was awarded 2nd prize. He received $300 and the Art Dept $1250.

A reminder that all NCEA students should be working at home completing school based tasks etc to ensure all folio work is completed on time. Teachers are regularly giving up their lunchtimes and organising after school slots to help students continue with their development. Students are encouraged to make the most of these opportunities and avoid any last minute rush.

Due dates for NCEA folios:

  • Level 1 – Wed 22 Oct [Term 4 week 2]
  • Level 2 Design, Painting and Photography – Wed 29 Oct [Term 4 week 3]
  • Level 3 Design, Painting and Photography – Fri 7 Nov [Term 4 week 4]

Peter Coxon

Geography News

33 students, 4 staff members and Rangiora, the bus driver, set off for Rotorua on Sunday 17th August in drizzle, but the weather cleared for 3 beautiful sunny, clear days (and frosty nights!) We practised singing the WSC Waiata on the bus and sang it with enthusiasm, after Patrycks' Mihi at the Powhiri onto Ohinemutu Marae.

All of the students completed an internal assessment "Bubble Trouble" after visiting a number of geothermal sites and the highlight of the trip was the rough boat ride to White Island. Even some of the toughest had to ask for a sick bag! Once on the island, however, it was all worthwhile.

The crater lake with a PH of -0.5 was amazing, but the students enjoyed being able to taste the sulphur crystals, the stream that tasted of blood and Savanaah enjoyed putting her foot in a mud pool!

Thanks to Margaret Ruland and Joe Kerrigan and all the staff at Ohinemutu Marae.
Jenny Jones

P E Department

Y10 Cross Country

As part of the Year 10 Physical Education course, students will be participating in the inaugural Western Springs College Cross Country.  This will be taking place on Friday the 5th September from 1.45- 3.15pm.  The course will start on the school field, heading up Jaggers Bush and back through Seddon Fields, totalling around 3km.  Any parents/caregivers are more than welcome to come along and support the athletes during this time.

Note to Parents/Guardians
If your child has a medical condition that may stop them from participating, please let their corresponding Physical Education teacher know. Thanks for you support.
WSC PE Department

Congratulations to the Junior Girls Soccer team who came first in their grade! They were unbeaten in 7 games, scoring 34 goals and conceded only 3! Thanks to Rob Clarke who did a great job of coaching the girls. Well done girls!


Congratulations to all our students for their great effort over the winter season.  Special mention should be made about the following teams.

Junior Girls and Senior Girls Soccer, Senior Boys Squash, U19 Girls A Basketball and Senior Badminton all won their finals.

Senior Rugby Boys made the final and won their division on Saturday, 30th August.  This game was played against Hillary College the score was 27 – 10.  Well done boys!  The great support went a long way to helping the team.   The Mixed Underwater Hockey won their semi final and will play their final on Thursday 4th September at the Manurewa Aquatic Centre at 9.12pm.  Girls Senior A Premier Netball were placed 2nd.

Thanks to all our coaches and managers for the hard work they have put in.
Peter McIntyre

Languages Week

Once again, International languages week was a colourful celebration of the languages taught at Western Springs College as well as an opportunity for all students from the four corners of the world (nga hau e wha) to share their cultures.

We had a different quiz each day of the week asking students about France, Japan, Germany, China, and Spain.  Questions related to the geography, language, politics, history or pop culture and brought about some interesting responses.  For example, one response to a question asking ‘What was different between the Olympic medals this year and those of the past years?’ was that this year’s medals had ‘Made in China’ on the back!  (The actual answer is that they have jade on the back.)

Our cordon bleu chef, Maggie, from the school canteen made different delicious dishes each day.  There were French Crepes on Monday, Fried Rice on Tuesday, Black Forest cherry cake on Wednesday, Paella on Thursday and Sushi on Friday and many calories were added to waistlines during the week!

Tuesday was a day to dress up in clothing relating to an international language or culture and it was great to see so many teachers and students dressed up.  At assembly students walked the catwalk up to the stage where the ten best dressed students received a prize. The outfits were all very colourful: saris, kimonos, berets, lava-lavas mixed elegantly and even a cave man was spotted strutting his stuff!

The 2008 celebration of International Languages Week was a cheerful event and is always a time that we look forward to as it highlights the many vibrant and different cultures we have at Western Springs College.

Science Department News

The Science Department has welcomed Catherine Taiapa to the Team.  Catherine studied Chemistry and Information Systems and has a real passion for integrating sustainability into the curriculum.  During ECO week Catherine and Erica Kirby challenged the teachers to reflect on their understanding of sustainability by displaying thought provoking posters and encouraging them to collect food waste. Catherine is teaching Science to Year 10 and 11 and Mathematics to Year 9. We are sure she will enjoy her time at Springs.

Term 3 has been very busy, in the build up to Senior Examinations.  Revision classes are being organised and will be held during the next few weeks and in Term 4.  Students will be notified by their subject teachers and through the school bulletin. There are many useful revision websites that will support students with their revision.  The following website outlines what students need to know for each course and gives them study and examination advice:


Here are a few others to try.  The sites do not directly match to NCEA but they contain similar material.

Course: 11 Science Website:
http://www.revisionwebsites.com/science/login_content.html Password: apex

Course: 12 / 13 Biology Websites:
http://www.mrothery.co.uk/ http://www.s-cool.co.uk/topic_index.asp?subject_id=3&d=0

Course: 12 / 13 Chemistry Websites:
http://www.chemguide.co.uk/ http://bestchoice.net.nz/bclogin.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fDefault.aspx http://www.s-cool.co.uk/topic_index.asp?subject_id=7&d=0

Course: 12 /13 Physics Website:

Our Year 13 Biologists have been busy this term. As part of the Human Evolution, the Year 13 biologists visited Auckland Zoo.  They attended a lecture hosted by one of the excellent educational officers  at the zoo who work closely with schools to support their programmes.  The presentation discussed human classification and explained why apes and monkeys are our DISTANT cousins.

In Week 3, the biologists seized an opportunity to attend a lecture by Professor Michael Meaney from McGill University in Canada, organised by the Liggins institute. Professor Meaney’s lecture titled : “More cuddles, Less Stress”,  was about his experiments on mother rats who had healthier offspring if they licked their pups, to show affection, while weaning them. Many of his recent experiments have focused on animals, often rats, who show either high or low levels of nurturing care through licking and grooming their offspring.  By studying the offspring who received different levels of care, Meaney and his colleagues have made a startling discovery: “the kind of care a mother gives to her offspring alters the chemistry of the DNA in certain genes, involved in the stress response”.

The Year 13 Biologists experienced a whole day of Biotechnology in Week 6.  Senior educator, Helen Mora, ran a seminar at the Liggins Institute in Grafton.   The students were captivated with hands on activities and practical work on techniques such as Polymerase Chain Reaction and Gel Electrophoresis.  The students were involved in the sort of science, which many may have seen on CSI.   The group also met scientists who use these techniques on a daily basis in their research projects.  These practicals cannot be offered in schools due to the expensive equipment needed and so this opportunity is invaluable.  The Liggins Institute runs these seminars free of charge for secondary schools, due to the generosity of their sponsors, and Western Springs College is thankful for this experience.
Helen Armstrong and Gerry Victor