Newsletter No. 4, May 11, 2009
Western Springs College: Top Decile 8 State School in 2008
Western Springs College has topped the same decile school NCEA results for 2008.
The recently confirmed final NCEA results from NZQA indicate that Western Springs College was the top New Zealand decile 8 state secondary school in 2008. This ranking is based on the pass rates for Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 and University Entrance ( at Level 3 ). See www.nzqa.govt.nz
- WSC’s Level 1 pass rate of 91.3% exceeds the national average by 20.9%, the same decile school average by 15.5% and ranks first in New Zealand for all 25 decile 8 state single sex and coeducational schools combined.
- WSC’s Level 2 pass rate of 90.9% exceeds the national average by 16.2%, the same decile school average by 12.3% and ranks first in the country for all decile 8 state secondary schools.
- WSC’s University Entrance ( Level 3 ) pass rate of 81.8% exceeds the national average by 16.6%, the same decile school average by 13.4% and ranks first in New Zealand for all decile 8 state secondary schools.
These outstanding results follow the school’s achievement of ranking second among all decile 7 state schools from 2005 – 2007, and also being the top ranking coeducational secondary school during each of these three years.
Nga Manu Korero Speech Competitions, 14-15 May
On Thursday and Friday this week Nga Puna O Waiorea will host the Auckland regional Maori secondary schools’ speech competitions. The school hall will be the venue for the te reo Maori speeches; the English-speaking section of the competition will be held in the gymnasium. This prestigious event features the finest young Maori speakers in the region and always proves to be a wonderful celebration of the language and the culture for participants, supporters and visitors alike.
Senior Students’ Report Interviews, 19 May, 2.30-7.00pm
Senior reports will be mailed out next week. The online interview booking system used for the junior reports day last term will continue to operate. See the directions below for more details.
Official Opening of New Physical & Health Education Block, 22 May
Members of the school community are invited to the official opening of the new block which will take place at 3.30pm on Friday, 22 May. The ceremony will feature acknowledgements of the contribution to our school of architect, Kelvin Grant, who died unexpectedly in November. We understand that the building represents Kelvin’s final work. A commemorative plaque has been commissioned for the occasion.
Classes have been operating in the block since the beginning of term last week. It has been a pleasure to hear from staff and students how much they are appreciating these new learning spaces.
Music Modernisation Project
The refurbishment of the Music department is on track for completion by the end of this month. Staff and students have been forced to cope with at times demanding alternative accommodation arrangements during March and April so we are all very much looking forward to completion and enjoying the new facilities.
Student Leaders’ Voice
On Saturday the 25th of April a group of 5 student leaders including Newton Cook, Leon Hudson, Antoinette Jowitt, Neerali Parbhu and myself attended the Point Chevalier RSA’s Anzac Day service with Margaret Ruland.
The day began with a parade of veterans, air corps, police, scouts and general public marching to the RSA clubhouse in bleak weather which matched the sombre atmosphere. Once at the clubhouse the ceremony began with opening prayers followed by speeches from veterans, current servicemen and Judith Tizard, all reminding us of the huge sacrifice made by New Zealanders in conflicts all over the world in the 20th century.
Overall it was a sentimental service ending with the last post and the laying of the wreaths. Aside from the expected group of returned servicemen attending the service there was a surprising number of younger attendees which shows how respect for fallen New Zealand servicemen has not diminished from generation to generation and that this respect still plays an integral part in New Zealand’s culture and identity.
|Students on Queen Street participating in the in the Child Cancer Annual Appeal Week
Child Cancer Foundation Fundraising
The Child Cancer Foundation is a non-profit organisation which does not receive any government funding so all donations are greatly appreciated. They support all families with children being treated for cancer and continue this support after treatment, no matter the outcome.
Western Springs College has always made an effort to fundraise for the Foundation through a range of activities in Maths week, however, has to date, not taken part in the Child Cancer Annual Appeal Week.
This year, however, the student leadership team decided to change this. We wanted to extend ourselves to not just raise much needed funds, but to give back to the community outside of school, visibly supporting the Child Cancer Foundation.
So on Thursday 26 March a group of around 20 Year13 students headed down to Queen Street, Auckland, to take part in the annual appeal for the Child Cancer Foundation. We proudly put on our turquoise bibs and grabbed our matching collection buckets and off we went, talking to everyone, selling bracelets and giving out stickers to those who made donations. This was supported by our efforts at school to get as many teachers and students as possible to donate.
We all had a fantastic time feeling really proud of our efforts at the end of the day, confident that we were able to make a very small but yet very significant difference.
News from the Mathematics Department
In the Mathematics Department we work very hard in order to provide every one of our students with the best possible opportunities to succeed. This includes endeavouring to staff each class with a highly qualified teacher, suited to the skill level, ability and learning pace of the students involved.
Due to significant changes within the Mathematics Department staffing over the last term, a decision has been made to re-allocate some classes in order to uphold this philosophy. As a result, some students will remain in the same course but, from the start of term 2, have a new teacher. Students have been informed of these changes and have been issued a new timetable as well as a letter to take home. If however, you wish to discuss this in more detail, please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gifted and talented program – year 9 students
Year 9 students will, over the next week, be invited to express an interest in the year 9 gifted and talented programme for Mathematics. The programme involves a small group of students working on an integrated programme for a period of 10 weeks. A range of topics will be available for students to explore and I yet again look forward to an exceptional standard of work. Parents of students selected to take part in the programme will be notified of the expectations as parental support is crucial in ensuring a successful outcome.
Grace and Phoebe have yet again been hard at work in order to ensure yet another fantastic edition of Maths Uncensored hits the press this year. Even though the publication is well underway, there is still an opportunity for interested students to get involved!
|PROJECT K students enjoying their activities
Homework and Supported Study Sessions are available every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, afterschool, until 4.30pm. All students are welcome to attend. Teachers and year 13 students will be on hand to assist as needed.
Top Art ‘08
Congratulations to Leslie Hansen [Painting] and Henry Christian-Slane [Design] for having their Level 3 Folios selected for the www.topart.govt.nz site. Please check out their work. As only four examples are selected in each of the Art fields to be represented on this site, this is a considerable achievement. Currently their work is touring NZ as part of a bigger Level 3 art show.
The 12 PROJECT K students from Western Springs College have returned after their 17 day wilderness adventure. This was an exciting and challenging leadership opportunity for these students. The next phase of their training will involve them in working on a community-based project for the month of May before they get matched up with their mentors in early June.
Fifty Year 11 and 12 Geography students drove to National Park in the second-to-last week of Term 1 to climb Mt Ruapehu and walk the Tongariro Crossing. The weather was stunning and allowed us all to complete our 7/8 hour walks successfully and gain first hand knowledge of the volcanic landscape of the Tongariro natural landscape in a way that would not be possible in the classroom. Unfortunately, even a 7 hour hard climb did not exhaust some of the lively year 11’s!.
Meanwhile, Year 13 students have spent a day studying coastal processes at Omaha, also on a beautiful day.
In Term 2, Year 12 will be spending a day studying Auckland’s structural and social patterns and Year 11 will be visiting Waihi Martha Mine.
Welcome back to all the Pacific families for this new term. Please check that your child is attending the Pacific Homework Centre in the library every Monday 3.15-5pm.
A reminder that Fiafia Night is at the end of this term, Thursday 2nd July. We will farewell Fa'avesi Talamaivao who is leaving for overseas in Term Three.
Finally, there is a Pacifica Parents Meeting in Week 5 of this term, Wed, 27 May in the new building, 'Waiora' by the Music department. We will meet at the usual time of 6pm. See you all there.
Gifted and Talented Philosophy Conference
32 year 10 and 11 Philosophy and Science students attended a one-day conference on Friday 1st May, designed to encourage them to challenge their preconceived ideas and think independently and creatively. A series of lectures were given by Dr Peter Vardy from the University of London.
“Last Thursday ten schools gathered at St Cuthbert’s College, all of which, bar one, were adorned in uniform - Western Springs College stood out like a white shirt in a team of black.
From 10 o’clock, we were in the hall listening to theories on the origins of the universe. Within forty minutes, I understood better than ever before the most famous theories on the big bang, an intelligent designer (God), and the multiverse - and where all that came from. Shortly afterwards, the connections between philosophies such as post modernism and art were made clear.
After a short break, we went inside for a critical view of the government system which we take for granted as superior, as civilized, and as right - that system being democracy. (Something I personally believed in, now I’m not so sure!)
During the lunch break, we were encouraged to socialise, and some of us took up the offer. The lunch break was followed by an abortion debate, the idea being that we could join in. Though this itself was not the most interesting part of the day, it was the last thing a majority of the Western Springs Students saw, as they had to leave shortly after to catch the school bus. However, some of us had arranged to stay and it was the final item that I found the most interesting.
Nanotechnology is the next big thing. Bigger than the Internet, we were told. Every major country in the world (except New Zealand) is pouring millions of dollars into nanotechnology; but I didn’t even know what it was. Nanotechnology involves altering matter at an atomic level. This means, that with enough understanding, almost anything can be made. This raised a whole raft of moral questions which we had only started to explore by the end of the day.”
Taylor Groves (Year 11 Philosophy Student)
Art Or Non-Art? – Year 11 Philosophy
The year 11 Philosophy Class was given an amazing opportunity last term to view the artworks of Cristina Beth and assess some pieces of artwork using some theories of art that we studied in class. We were placed in groups and given a specific theory, which we then had to apply to the pieces of ‘art’. We had an interesting time applying the philosophy we had selected to the four pieces, and questioning Cristina about them. Using these specific theories given to us in class, our groups had to decide and distinguish (according to our theory) whether the pieces were, or were not, ‘art’.
It was a good lesson, where we were able to explore the boundaries of art and further our understanding of the theories we were studying. In the following lesson, we had to further assess the artwork and also finalize within our groups whether the pieces were or weren’t ‘art’ according to our theories. The catch was that Cristina had also included a ‘spoof’ piece to try and catch us out.
My group had looked at Wittgenstein’s Family resemblance view, where all art has a ‘common denominator’ or needs a certain amount of ‘traits’ in order to be considered as art. It was a very interesting theory in itself, and I think my group had a great time working with it and applying it to the artwork – we also had some intense discussions.
The artwork itself was amazing, and I think everyone took a greater understanding of art and art theories from this lesson.
Ryan MacAllister (Year 11 Philosophy Student)
At present Cristina Beth has an exhibition of her works at the Wall Gallery, 55A Mackelvie Street, Ponsonby
Students exploring the boundaries of Art
Different Worldviews The Baha’i Faith - Year 11 Philosophy
Last term Year 11 Philosophy students did some autonomous research into different religious worldviews. Maddie Barratt picked the Baha'i Faith. Luckily for her representatives of the Baha'i community had agreed to come into school to give a presentation - however this also meant that she got to do the write up:
“In class we are each researching a different religion/faith and discussing philosophical questions raised by those religions. I chose the Baha'i faith. Thanks to Mr Alford we had the pleasure of having two members of the Baha'i community (Nura and Robbie) coming in and talking to the class. They explained to us the basic outlines of their faith, its key beliefs and moral teachings, and also gave us an opportunity to ask questions and discuss the religion. Nura and Robbie had created a PowerPoint presentation, which included some quotations from Baha'u'llah, the founder of the Baha'i faith.
Half way through the presentation we were asked if we had any questions and automatically half the classes hands went up. We had been asked earlier to try to identify any possible philosophical contradictions within the worldview. We spent the first half of the next lesson identifying potential philosophical contradictions, and the second half of the lesson seeing if we could resolve them within the faith system. Some of the possible contradictions we tried to resolve were: the belief that one should abide by the laws of your country, even if those laws bar you from practicing your faith; the prohibition of same-sex relationships whilst holding the position that the soul is beyond gender; and a general belief in non-violence paired with an acceptance of the validity of capital punishment.
Our class found this visit very helpful because we have been researching these religions from the eyes of an outsider, and much of the basic information we have found has shown the official position of a faith. Nura and Robbie however gave us a personal view on how they interpret their own religion. We thank Nura and Robbie for coming in and debating with us.”
Maddie Barratt (Year 11 Philosophy Student)
Science Department Message
“Science is an imaginative adventure of the mind seeking truth in a world of mystery.”
Sir Cyril Herman Hinshelwood (1897-1967) English chemist. Nobel Prize 1956.
Students from Whenua House at the Zoo
The Science Department has welcomed access to the school’s new ultranet. Resources and weblinks will be added throughout the term for students to use. Attached resources may be downloaded for homework or submitted online. We encourage students to use this resource at home to support their studies. For students who do not have access to the internet, facilities are available in the library and the learning centre. These are accessible at lunchtime and after school. All students have their own login / password and must check that they are able to access the ultranet if they have not already done this.
Year 9 Science
The Year 9 visit to the Zoo to study endangered species in New Zealand was a success. Thank you to Robert Forster for his efficient organisation and to all the teachers accompanying the students. Our students listened attentively to the Zoo Educationalist as she raised awareness of the need to protect our unique flora and fauna and they were all actively involved in researching information as they explored the animal enclosures.
NCEA Level 1
In preparation for an NCEA Level 1 Science internal assessment, all Year 11 students attended a presentation ‘The Human Impact – the Possum Problem’. Our guest speaker was Lincoln University’s Science Outreach Co-coordinator, Sue Unsworth. She discussed the problem of the possum as a pest in NZ and outlined practical techniques to monitor abundance. Students were given hands on experience using wax tags to identify animal pest species.
Futureintech Ambassadors have been sharing their expertise and offering careers advice to our Senior Science students. Erica Colley, an Environmental Scientist from Tonkin and Taylor, talked about Invertebrate Biology with Yr 12 Biologists and Paul Fletcher an Engineer from Coffey Geotechnics gave a presentation to the Yr 12 and 13 Physics classes. Brent Martin, a chemist from the Defence Technology Agency, will be visiting our Senior Organic Chemistry classes later this term.
Scholarship in the Sciences
Students intending to sit 2009 Scholarship Examinations in Chemistry, Physics or Biology will have been identified at the start of this term. The Scholarship examinations enable students to be assessed against challenging standards, and are demanding for the most able students in each subject. Scholarship students are expected to demonstrate high-level critical thinking, abstraction and generalization, and to integrate, synthesise and apply knowledge, skills, understanding and ideas to complex situations. To be successful in Scholarship the students must learn all of their Level 3 work accurately, be working at Excellence Level and show commitment to independent study. Students will have the opportunity to purchase a Scholarship Workbook and they will be given Scholarship Examination past papers to work through. Support will be given on a regular basis. Students not intending to sit Scholarship may also purchase the book to use as extra practice for raising their attainment at Level 3.
Well, Term 2 here already and along with it Technology Week in Week 7. Look out for student designed posters around the school. Also, look out for Matt Clayton at assembly in Weeks 3 and 5 talking about Technology Week activities we have planned, including daily competitions, two challenges and of course, some really great prizes.
In soft materials, we have a new toy! We are now the proud owners of a cover stitch machine. Have a look at the hem on your t-shirt. A cover stitcher makes 2 rows of straight stitch on the outside of a garment and a chain stitch to neaten the raw edge on the inside. Very exciting.
We will again this term have the benefit of knowledge brought to the department by a student teacher, Chelsea. She has significant fashion industry experience and runs her own business making bridal wear – where does she find the time!
We are also going to benefit from a member of the staff’s extensive experience in the fashion industry. Anne Millan will demonstrate completing a simple stretch garment on an industrial overlocker which she most generously donated to the department – along with an industrial sewing machine and other “technical gadgets”. These machines are finally coming into use and the students will see that they are not examples of “antique machines”!!
A warm welcome to Natsho Shimizu from Japan, and brothers Leo & Jules Cressant from France, who started late March. Welcome also to Nina Seidler from Germany, Heewon from Korea, and Sakura Nagano, Rikako Uchida, and Yuri Chong from Japan, who have just started. We see our “international people” coming and going, and we celebrate having each other and help each other enjoy and adjust to the new environment. With new faces, we are opening new pages full of care, motivation, progress and friendship.
Host families required in July to host Friendship School students from China
A Jingying Friendship School Delegation of 18 will visit Western Springs on 12th of July for 2 weeks until 26th of July. We are looking for host families. If there are any families who can help, please contact Kylie by 8156730x754, or email email@example.com
Host families required for a long term homestay service
We are recruiting local families within the school zone or at locations where it is convenient for students to commute to school. This is for long-term (at least one term) homestay for international students from Germany, Brazil, Russia, Spain, Japan, China, and Korea, etc. If your family is interested, please contact Kylie by 8156730x754, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our homestay payment is $210/week covering 3 meals per day.
Joanne Qiao, Director of International Students Department
Parent Action News
PAG Film Club – Movie Night Wednesday 13 May 8:30pm at the Rialto
We’re trialling movie nights as a way of getting together, and of course fundraising. Our first outing is Wednesday 13 May 8:30pm at the Rialto in Newmarket. ‘The Class’ was a Palme D’Or winner at Cannes, and has had excellent reviews (see www.rottentomatoes.com). We have a few tickets left at $16 each. Funds raised will go towards our current project – the upgrade of the cafeteria area. Please mail email@example.com if you’d like to come.
NCEA information evening Wednesday 27 May 7:30pm in the Library
Everything you need to know about how NCEA works. Watch a short DVD, and have your questions answered by members of the Senior Management team. PAG will provide wine and cheese, and a convivial atmosphere. This evening will be directed at parents of Year 11 students, but others are most welcome.
We’ve had to defer Quiz night as the hall is currently being used by the Music department while their refurbishment takes place. A busy school calendar and hall booking schedule has meant that we’re now looking at a provisional date of Friday August 14. Watch this space…
Parent Teacher Interviews
Tuesday May 19th
2.30 to 7.00 pm
WSC now has an online booking system for parent teacher interviews.
Go to www.schoolinterviews.co.nz
Our school code is:
Instructional screens will take you through the booking process.
If you do not have the internet at home just phone the school office for bookings on 815 6730.
Next BOT Meeting
18th May, 2009,
6pm in the Staffroom
Next PAG Meeting
2nd June, 2009,
7.30pm in the Staffroom