Newsletter No. 2, March 09, 2009
Junior Students’ Parent/Teacher Report Evening, Tuesday, 24 March, 2.30-7.00pm
Progress reports for Years 9 & 10 students will be mailed home early next week in readiness for the report evening scheduled for the following week. The mail-out will contain information about how to book appointments on-line with subject teachers, form teachers and deans; alternatively, parents can telephone or write a note to the school office staff with appointment requests.
Student Pedestrian Safety
A recent accident in which a Year 9 WSC student was hit by a car as he walked to school has highlighted the need for the Auckland City Council to give urgent attention to the inadequate footpath network in the area. The student was thrown from the bonnet and windscreen of the vehicle onto the road; he has sustained a serious knee injury, but has now returned to school.
The student was crossing Old Mill Road opposite the playground area on the Auckland Zoo side at the top of the hill. His mother has correctly pointed out that a continuation of the footpath down the Jaggers Bush side of Old Mill Road and a pedestrian footbridge over Meola Creek would remove the necessity of WSC and Pasadena Intermediate students walking to school having to cross Old Mill and Motions Roads.
At a time when the Auckland Regional Transport Authority has launched a Travel-Wise programme encouraging our students to walk or bike to and from school, we will be making strong representations to the A.C.C. to give this matter the priority attention it clearly warrants.
Site Renovation Works
Strong representations were made to Ministry of Education property officials last week in relation to the delays in approving and funding badly needed remedial works on the school site. We have been informed that a case will finally be presented to Wellington at the end of this month.
We have been bedevilled literally ( not figuratively ! ) by report after report after report over many years concerning this chronic issue. Quite frankly, our frustration levels are unhealthily high and we will be mobilising your active political support if the matter is not dealt with satisfactorily within the March-April time frame.
Education Outside The Classroom (EOTC)
I would like to acknowledge the dedication of the teachers who are leading these and other expeditions to follow later in the year. EOTC enriches our learning programmes in ways we should all be grateful for and which we should never take for granted.
During the latter half of this week WSC teachers and students will be undertaking two major fieldtrips beyond Auckland. The Year 11 Physical Education students will take on Challenge 2009 up at Mangawhai Forest, while the Year 12 Biologists will venture off to Leigh Marine Reserve and Tiritiri Matangi Island.
WSC Student Learning Centre
We are located downstairs in B Block.
We are open all day from Monday to Friday and after-school on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Any student may come and refer themselves to us for help for any learning need, (small or large), and we will endeavour to get them the help they need. The students who gain the most from working with us are those who come early, (as soon as a problem arises), and those who genuinely want to learn. So don’t wait until a teacher or a dean directs you to us. Make the choice to take charge of your own learning. Call in and book a time to discuss your learning need.
Peer Assisted Learning
Training of year 13 students as Peer Readers/Mentors will begin in week 6. Each student will receive a training certificate at the end of the 8 training sessions and a further certificate at the end of 2009 in recognition of the work they have done.
We already have a long list of volunteers, but are still keen to hear from other year 13 students who would be willing to give up the equivalent of one study period per week, for most of the year. This is a superb opportunity to show leadership and give back to the school.
If you are interested please call in to the Learning Centre at any time and add your name to the list.
Homework Centre and NCEA Study Support
Mondays and Wednesdays
After-School 3.15 – 4.30 p.m.
If you are a student who has difficulty getting your homework done at home, or could do with some help, then you should be attending one or both of our homework centres.
Being a successful learner is about making the right choices. If you don’t know what that means come and talk to us.
News from the Physical Education Department
The Physical Education department is booming this year with three new permanent teachers. We welcome Kieran O’Sullivan, Peter Bircham and Carla Elford to the team.
Congratulations to Chelsea Fowler and Tessa Hodder for making the Auckland/Waitakere Netball Under15 High Performance squad. Fantastic effort!
On 11th-13th March the Y11 Physical Education students will be heading to Mangawhai Forest to take part in “Challenge 2009”. Students will be competing in a number of different challenges and working towards
an Assessment Standard while they are away. Good luck to all of the students and be prepared for some hard work!!
Students are currently working towards an Aquathon (400m swim, 5km run) which will be held in Waihi in Week 9. Information about this camp has been sent home with the students and a deposit of $100 needs to be paid by the 20th March. Keep pounding the pavement people!
Unitec has recently sent out to schools information about the 2009 Step Up courses. These are basically intensive revision classes in a variety of level 1-3 NCEA subjects, and they are designed to help students consolidate their knowledge base in preparation for their end-of-year external exams. Examination Preparation classes are also offered, covering skills such as exam preparation, time management etc
If you are interested in finding out more about these courses, please phone 0508 STEP UP or visit http://stepup.unitech.ac.nz
The search for our best and brightest Year 11, 12 and 13 poets is on – the New Zealand Post National Schools Poetry Awards are here again! Any students keen to submit a poem or lyric, or to find out more, should call into my office in the main corridor for an entry form. You can also check the website for more details nzpost.co.nz/poetryawards. This Poem category winner will receive a weekend for two at the NZ Post Writers’ and Readers’ Week in March 2010, plus a cash prize of $500.
Debating in 2009
It is gratifying to see an embarrassment of debating riches in 2009: well over thirty students have signed up. Particularly pleasing are diversity of age – all years are well and truly represented - and the arrival of many boys to our teams.
Competition for the four junior and two senior teams will begin mid-late March. The juniors debate every second Monday from the 23rd; the seniors on Tuesdays.
If the great parental support of 2008 can be replicated in 2009, we can look forward to a very successful year. Any enquiries can be directed to:
Simon Ferguson firstname.lastname@example.org or Ali Geursen email@example.com
Science Department Message
“Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition”
Adam Smith (1723-90)
Our Year 9 students have studied the unit “Being a Scientist” and are currently researching Famous Scientists. The task is posted on our intranet which can be accessed from home, through the school library or learning centre. Students need their student logon and password. Year 10 students are finishing off Atomic Structure and then foraying into the exciting field of Human Biology.
Year 11 students have built on their ideas of Atomic Structure from Year 10 and this has eased them into this crucial NCEA year.
Senior Scientists will all have started their respective first units with plenty to do for homework; be it set tasks or going through the day’s lesson to keep it locked in their memory banks. Independent study is an essential part of NCEA Level 2 and 3 Science subjects.
It is going to be a very exciting time for Year 12 Biologists who will be off on their first Biology field trip to Leigh Marine Reserve and Tiritiri Matangi Island on the 11th, 12th and 13th of March. This field trip is to collect data for the first internal assessment that the students will be doing. It is also to appreciate the necessity for marine reserves and the amount of effort and energy put into conservation. Thanks go to Robert Forster for organising and leading this trip.
All senior classes should have been given assessment dates for the year. This year the Science department, in-line with the whole school, will adhere to new assessment policies, whereby if a student does not attend an assessment period (which can be over a whole week due to practical work in class or research), or an assessment day, then they must apply in writing to both the HOD Science, Helen Armstrong and the Deputy Principal Ivan Davis. The letter of application must accompany a medical certificate if they have been sick or a note from a parent for bereavement etc.
If the application has been approved, the teacher will advise the student of a new due date. If not, the student does not have another opportunity to sit the assessment and will be entered as Not Achieved. One further assessment opportunity, previously known as ‘reassessment’, will be left to the teacher’s discretion as they have to consider time, resource constraints and various other factors. Students will know before they sit their assessment whether a further opportunity exists. However, if a student has met the initial deadline, and wants to improve on their grade, there may be the possibility of resubmission within a set time. This will depend on the assessment task.
Apart from the 11 SCC course, Science courses will not conduct any assessment in term 4 so that students can focus on revision for external examinations. If you are unclear of the Science assessment process, please do not hesitate to contact HOD Science, Helen Armstrong (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If any student is struggling with an aspect of Science please encourage them to seek support from their Science teacher, to make a self- referral to the learning centre or speak to Helen Armstrong (Lab D6).
A HUGE PLEA to parents and students: PLEASE return any Science textbooks your son / daughter may have brought home. We need them for students of this year and cannot afford to replenish stock all the time. If students have not returned a textbook from the previous year they will not be issued with one for this year, until they do so. Only Year 12 and 13 students have been issued with an ESA Study Guide. Years 9, 10 and 11SCI have their own workbook, which will be used in class and for homework.
Helen Armstrong / Gerry Victor
Philosophy at WSC – Going to the Dogs?
This year 25 Year 11 Students have embarked on a completely new course at Western Springs -NCEA Year 11 Philosophy. The course utilises Achievement and Unit Standards from a variety of subject areas, and offers 20 NCEA credits. Below Kieran Wilding (Year 11) explains one of our first tasks, getting to grips with Plato's Theory of Forms.
“In class we have been looking at (and we acted out- GREAT FUN!) the basics of the theory using The Analogy of the Cave.
The Analogy of the Cave is one of Plato’s creations. Several slaves are tied up in a cave and forced to face forward towards a wall in a sick experiment. A fire blazes behind them illuminating the cut-outs of objects that exist outside the cave. The example we have been using is dogs (as you will see upon entering S3- one wall is covered with many epitomes of ‘dog’). The slaves associate the cut-outs with the word dog and the ‘woof’ that dogs make. They believe that these are actually dogs, and yet they know nothing of the true “form” of dog.
Plato uses the Analogy of the Cave as a way of answering one of, if not the most, important question in philosophy: ‘Is there a perfect form of dog? Or is the idea of dog a human construction?’ – and by extension are there perfect forms of ‘justice’, ‘courage’ and ‘beauty’ etc?
This is extremely important because if perfect forms (or something like them) do exist then there are truths which exist independently of humans; and if they do not it may be that meaning is only a construction of man’s imagination! “
Over the last two weeks, Year nine students and their Year 13 peer supporters, ventured to Bethells beach. The Beach education days form an integral part of the peer support programme at Western Springs College.
Moana house appeared to have drawn the short straw weather-wise, with quite the summer storm joining us. However, this did not stop the intrepid young souls of the house having a most definitely memorable experience in the angry sea and on a slightly less angry beach. The other houses had equally fantastic experiences, of course minus the bleak and foreboding weather.
To some cynics, beach days may seem like nothing more than an excuse for fun in the sun. Not to say that it isn’t fun - but there is more to it. Beach-related competitions, lifesaving practice and general shared time all assisted the new Year nine students to build confidence with older students, teachers and each other-which is extremely important in aiding the significant transition from intermediate to high school.
A very big thank you to all the deans and teachers as well as the peer supporters who gave up their time to make beach days 2009 a success, no matter the weather!
|Beach related competition
||Building sand creatures
New Families’ BBQ
When Richard Smith (member of the Parent Action Group) launched himself on top of a picnic table and commanded everyone at the new families’ barbeque to “Mingle!”, I must admit I felt slightly apprehensive…
But after the initial sheepish awkwardness had disappeared, it was hard not to have a bit of fun. The lawn outside the library was packed with a fresh batch of parents and kids for the school to feast on. Along with all the salad and sausages you could eat. Perfect.
The ‘new families’ barbeque was a chance to see those familiar community faces, and more importantly, meet those new to our school. One parent commented; “It’s a good way to learn about the school – not the academics, but the support… the sense of community.”
Everyone soon looked much happier and more comfortable than they had when they arrived – congratulations to PAG for a successful event.
As predicted and eagerly anticipated, Athletics Day proved itself once again to be one of the most enjoyable, exciting and downright inspiring events on the Western Springs College calendar. The day began with colour – green, blue, red or yellow – each representing a different house, and an opportunity to adorn oneself, however ridiculous the result. To many, this creative process began with paint – on faces, legs, arms, backs, even in hair if one so desired. Ribbons, hats, wigs, and sunglasses were thrown into the mix, and the transformation was complete. After filing onto our appropriate buses, our journey to Mount Smart Stadium began, where we enjoyed some last minute practicing of our house chants and some nervous predictions of what lay ahead.
On arrival, we were pleased to find the weather was nothing short of perfect – a flawless summer day, but a heat which would indeed test our endurance as the day progressed. The activities for the day spanned all the major track and field disciplines. Track included the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and the arduous 1500m and the field events being the usual, but no less popular long jump, high jump, javelin, discus, and shot put. With Ms Green, our official announcer for the day, ready with microphone in hand, the events began and people were very quickly able to begin celebrating their triumphs or swallowing their losses. Participation across all year levels was truly commendable. Many signed up for events on the day which they had not at all originally intended to do – and some competed in consecutive races until their muscles burned and their stomachs ached.
Perhaps the most exciting and notable event of the day was the relay races, which seemed to instil a new sense of house spirit as the day was drawing to an end. This involved each house selecting four of their best runners for three levels; Junior, Intermediate and Senior. By the time each team’s final runner was sprinting the last 100m, every house was erupting in cheering and screaming, their last hopes lying on the success of their competitors. As new house leaders, we were truly heartened by the level of enthusiasm displayed by those in our houses. Their eagerness to participate and the support and encouragement that they demonstrated towards their fellow competitors was inspiring. If this is a taste of what’s in the year ahead - bring it on.
Deserving a special mention was the fine new talent who both inspired certain sections of the audience with excitement and left their competitors with a looming sense of dread. I wish all those who are competeting in Inter-School Championships the best of luck. I sincerely hope you spread that dread.
The annual Western Springs College Swimming Sports, this year held on Thursday 17 February at West Wave, saw around 400 students make a splash. The programme on the day included both fun activities and more competitive events such as butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. 22 Students were selected for the Western Springs College squad. These students competed at the Auckland Secondary Schools Inter Zone swimming championships on the 25th of February.
|Our congratulations to:
Mary Carol Holdaway
Thank you to Karalee Green, Peter McIntyre as well as all the other staff and students who made the day a fantastic event.
Meet the Rumaki and International Leaders
At Western Springs College, we have always prided ourselves on the successes of our Rumaki students and staff. Students, who have had the opportunity to be part of this very unique community within the school, speak with great delight of not only the opportunities, but also the support available to them within the unit.
It must therefore be said that being a Rumaki Student leader is not only a great privilege, but also a very big responsibility. Besides the everyday tasks, there are additional responsibilities such as Kapa Haka,
Waka Ama, Powhiri, Homework centre and regular Live-In opportunities. Student leaders are expected to take an active role in all activities, setting an example for the younger students at all times.
It is therefore with great pride that we welcome the Rumaki student leaders for 2009. We look forward to the many significant contributions they will make over the coming months.
Being an International Student Leader brings with it, yet again, a very different list of responsibilities. The Department for International students, under the leadership of Joanne Qiao, works very hard in order to secure a smooth transition for all new international students into the Western Springs Community. Student Leaders play a key part in the process on top of their everyday responsibilities. Being actively involved in the student leadership group allows them to represent and advocate for the needs of their fellow international students. In addition it ensures that they are at all times completely informed regarding all events and activities and are then able to introduce these to their peers.
It is with great excitement that we welcome the International Student Leaders for 2009. We wish them all the best for the year ahead.
News from the Maths Department
Year 9 Banding
It’s that time of year when our year 9 students are eagerly awaiting to hear who will be their new maths teacher, and more importantly, which class they will be in!
At Springs, we band the students half way through the term so that we can not only look at prior assessment data, but also use teacher assessment and topic exam (in our case transformations) to place the students in the classes most suited to their abilities.
The banding process starts by analysing the data we receive from the feeder schools, and comparing this to their current PAT data. We then add into the mix the results from the exam and discuss the final banding list as a department. This ensures that the majority (there are always a few anomalies) are correctly placed. When we are unsure of a student’s placing, we enlist help from the learning centre to individually interview and assess the student.
It is a very long, thorough process, and we have been very successful in matching the students’ needs to their classes.
With regards to the banding, we have an accelerated, two middle band and one paced classes.
I am often asked what the difference is between the classes, so I shall try and explain, briefly. All of our junior classes follow the National Curriculum, aiming for students to achieve within level 5 by the end of year 10. We reinforce skills that are already known and fine tune them so that the students will be able to further extend their knowledge in year 11. The accelerated classes are given the opportunity to investigate areas requiring higher order thinking to develop their problem solving skills, but remain within the same programme of study that the other students follow. The paced band follows the same programme, but with an emphasis on achieving within their level. They do not receive as much extension into the merit style questions as the middle band may be exposed to. Where appropriate, students may be withdrawn from class to work in small groups in the Learning Centre.
All of the students sit the same exams at the end of the academic year, and the assessment data is then used to organise classes in year 10. So, for example, a middle band student who has worked hard and achieved well in all of the topics studied may be placed in an accelerated year 10 class.
Banding is completed by the end of week 5, and your student will be given a note informing them of their new class and new teacher. Once they have been introduced to their teacher, they will come home with the note for you to sign, and an information sheet detailing the course outline and an assessment timetable. Please ensure that you read through this with your student so that he or she is very clear what the expectations are for the year.
Message from the Library
I have been heartened by the usage of the library services almost from the time we opened our doors at the beginning of the term. The role of Library Monitor is so popular that this year there are 20 monitors. Their duties include shelving, issuing, returning and they manage the desk during breaks. Furthermore I have included students from years 11 and 10 who will assist the senior students.
Library Monitors: Year 13
Library Monitors: Year 12
Library Monitors: Year 11
Library Monitors: Year 10
Please contact the library if you would like to have a copy of the school magazine (formerly the ‘Seddonian’) We have been sorting the archives and have spare copies available for the years 1962-2005.
HEALTHY BREAKFAST IDEAS
Too many of us come to school without having breakfast!!
Here are some quick easy ideas:
Two PB-and-Banana Wraps With Milk
Prep time: 2 minutes
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 medium banana
1/2 pint fat-free chocolate milk
Spread a tablespoon of peanut butter over each (briefly microwaved) waffle. Divide the banana between them and roll each to make wraps. Wash down with chocolate milk.
Yogurt with Fruit
Prep and Cook Time: 5 minutes
1 apple chopped
½ cup raisins
1 cup seedless grapes
1 tablespoon mixed seeds or nuts
2 sliced bananas
1 cup berries, whatever is in season
2 cups plain or vanilla low fat yogurt
(you can use any fruits you want…..so no excuses)
Just cut fruit and top with yoghurt. Then drizzle with seeds or nuts and enjoy.
From Health Promoting Schools
Next Board Meeting
6pm in the Staffroom/Library
6th April, 2009
Please phone 815 6730 and leave a message on the absence line before 9am if your student is away sick.
This will save us a lot of wasted time phoning to see where they are