Newsletter No. 5, June 2, 2009
NCEA Results (2008)
The recent NZ Herald NCEA results table (15/5/09, page A2) indicates that Western Springs College ranked first for Level 1, first for Level 2, and second for University Entrance (Level 3) among state secondary schools ( single sex and coeducational schools combined ) in the Auckland region in 2008, a particularly impressive achievement for a decile 8 school.
Parents who wish to view a detailed report of WSC’s academic results, including gender and ethnic groups analyses, can access the 2008 Principal’s Annual Report on the school website from 5 June. The report also contains the Analysis of Variance, which evaluates the school’s degree of success in achieving its annual learning targets.
Nga Manu Korero Speech Competitions (14&15 May)
Nga Puna O Waiorea has received widespread commendation for its excellent organisation of this year’s Auckland regional speech competitions held at Western Springs College over two days a fortnight ago. The success of the event owed much to the detailed planning and preparation undertaken by Rumaki administrator, Tracey Watkinson, and the willing and able support of the whanau and kaiako.
Highlights were the achievement of Tuhoe Tamaiparea in placing second in the senior Maori ( Pei Te Hurinui Jones ) section, and that of Viniece McIntyre who was the top female speaker and placed third in the junior English ( Sir Turi Carroll ) section of the competition.
Travel Wise Road Safety Report
Auckland Regional Transport Authority officials and Auckland City Council engineers recently (14/5) met with senior managers to report on measures designed to make walking and cycling to school safer for students.
- The 40km zone outside WSC is likely to be in place by term 3 or 4 once the by-law change process has been attended to. The zone, stretching from near the corner of Motions and Great North Roads to the top of the hill on Old Mill Road just before Garnet Road, will operate for 35 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes after school.
- The ACC carpark exit will have a speed table installed and the width of the exit will be reduced to reduce the speed of traffic and make it safer for pedestrians walking past.
- A pedestrian refuge will be constructed on Motions Road on the northern side of the main zoo vehicle entrance.
- The Meola Road speed indicator sign, telling drivers how fast they are going, will be operational in the new financial year.
- The footpath and footbridge on the northern side of Old Mill Road are now more likely to be constructed in the 2010-2011 financial year rather than in the coming year.
MOTAT Depot Operations
The Board of Trustees has notified the Auckland City Planning Division that it opposes on health and safety grounds the continued operation of the depot adjacent to the school currently contracted to John Fillamore C. Ltd. Senior staff have met with Auckland City Environments personnel in relation to concerns about the dust, noise and road surface debris generated by the large volume of heavy vehicles coming and going from the site. We also have road safety concerns given the already difficult access to the main entrance of the school.
Curriculum Development Support Day, Thursday, 25 June
This teacher-only-day scheduled for Thursday, 25/6 in Week 9 has been mandated by the Government to enable teachers from the Auckland isthmus to come together from different schools to work in subject groups on the implementation of the NZ Curriculum. Accordingly, there will be no classes taught on this day, meaning that parents will have to make alternative arrangements for their daughters and sons.
Some parents have expressed concern about the NCEA internally-assessed writing standards, and the special conditions that apply, so I thought it would be helpful to explain the conditions set by NZQA in relation to these.
For reasons of authenticity, all draft writing must be done in class, and kept in class. Under no circumstances can drafts be taken away and worked on at home. After four to six hours of drafting, the students hand in their work for feedback from the teacher, who may write a comment about the strengths and weaknesses of the writing or discuss it with the student in person, or both. At this stage, teachers will teach to specific areas of weakness identified in the drafts and explain how the writing may be improved by further crafting. Students are encouraged to discuss their writing with their teachers but the classroom teacher and English department colleagues are the only people permitted to give feedback.
We are not allowed to go through the piece of writing and identify all the specific mistakes because the whole point of this standard is to test whether a student is able to independently write, edit and correct a piece of writing. We may closely annotate ONE paragraph with the student, to indicate the kinds of errors that are a problem but the student must correct the rest. The focus at this level is on crafting, which is “a systematic process of reworking and reshaping the writing, and selecting language deliberately to achieve a coherent, planned whole.”
When students have had feedback, they may use a computer to type up a good copy, which means they may make use of a spell-check and grammar-check. They are usually given a week to do this. They are required to email their completed work to the teacher or print it out at the end of each period. Once the teacher has marked the work, it is rigorously checked and moderated by all staff teaching that standard, using national exemplars and guidelines.
Students who have special assessment conditions are subject to the same restrictions. They may use a computer, but no one can type for them or give them help with punctuation, grammar, syntax or paragraphing. NZQA explain this clearly in the notes which accompany these standards: “The student must demonstrate an independent command of written English, including the accepted usage of writing conventions.”
The ICAS English competition is coming up very soon and we would like to encourage year 9 and 10 students to take part. The cost is $7.50, which needs to be paid to Beth at the front office by Tuesday June 30th. Students will sit the test on Tuesday 4th August and it will take just over one period.
Year 12 students have just completed a successful transect, following Great South Road from Karaka to the CBD and Year 11 students will be visiting Martha Mine in Waihi on Monday 15th June.
In conjunction with the Science Department, we have booked the Hall on Wednesday 24th June for Years 11, 12 and 13 to sit a one hour practise exam. All levels will have a Skills Paper and a written paper on Volcanic Eruptions (Y11), the Tongariro Natural Landscape (Y12) and Coastal Processes at Omaha (Y13).
|Year 12 students have just completed a successful transect, following Great South Road from Karaka to the CBD.
Message From The Library
Our recent displays have been very well received by both students and staff. Many thanks to Kirsty and her two junior art classes, 9D and 9G who produced a variety of decorated Wakahuia – treasure boxes. Other classwork on display has included the outstanding year 10 Elizabethan booklets compiled by Rita Stone’s year 10 English class and Phobia posters produced by Trina’s year 9 English class.
Thanks to Pascal and Margaret Robertson who donated NZ Musician magazines for the New Zealand Music Month display.
AnyQuestions.co.nz is an online opportunity for students to get direct help from a trained librarian to find information they need and to build their research skills.
Due to staff requests we now subscribe and have received our first copies of OnFilm and Danz Quarterly.
Many books due in March and April are still outstanding. These must be returned immediately or renewed.
Having the correct equipment is fundamental to the success of any student studying Mathematics. Whether at an accelerate level or paced level, calculators in specific, play an important part in the teaching and learning of a range of topics. Not having access to a calculator adds to the challenge of an already demanding subject, severely disadvantaging many students.
Parents are able to support their student by ensuring that they have access to a calculator and that they make an effort to bring it to class every lesson. Scientific calculators can be purchased from most stationery shops and are also available for purchase from the school office.
Your support in this matter will be greatly appreciated.
Technology Department News
Technology Week - June 8th - 12th. Look for the two designs of cool, prize winning posters around the school designed by two talented Graphics students.
Week 6, Thursday 4th at lunchtime, be in the Technology courtyard for the launch and flight of paper aeroplanes. Matt Clayton and the Technology Department teachers will be on hand to judge the winning form class group (maximum 4 people), whose craft flies the furthest by being thrown or blown!
The winners of this competition will then be eligible to enter the main Technology Week competition which involves protecting raw eggs for a drop from a second story. The prizes for the winning group are generous indeed.
So join in and have fun. Listen up in form class for more details.
Science Department Message
“Innocence about Science is the worst crime today – Sir Charles Percy Snow (1905-80) English novelist and scientist.”
I Love My Heart
On the 15th of May a group of year 10 students attended “I love my heart”, an interactive lecture by Professor Mark Hanson from the British Heart Foundation. During the course of the seminar students learned about how the heart works, how to measure their own pulse and to see the effects that exercise can have on heart rate. Students had the opportunity to see heart monitoring equipment in action, as well as ask Mark Hanson questions about the heart. Students came away with a new appreciation for the complexity and importance of their own hearts.
Endangered Species Project
Currently the Year 9 students are studying Whakapapa (Biological classification) and as part of the unit, they are completing a research assignment and producing a presentation on a NZ endangered species. The next unit is Matariki; an astronomy unit set to coincide with the rise of Matariki on 25th June.
Our Year 10 students have just begun studying Physics. Most classes are exploring a Forces unit based, on Newton’s three Laws of motion, with an emphasis on developing their investigative skills. The other classes are beginning Electricity with a focus on energy production in NZ. Some students will be undertaking an energy audit of their classroom and/or their home, with a view to examining the issues of energy conservation and sustainable energy production
Meet a Metre Project
9WE, 9WU and 9KA have embarked on a ten week project called Meet a Metre. This is a New Zealand International Science Festival and Department of Conservation interactive online project for year 1 to 10 students throughout New Zealand. The aim of Meet a Metre is to promote good science and the raise the profile of the 2010 New Zealand International Science Festival in Dunedin. The project also gives young scientists a unique chance to connect to DOC scientists as they explore flora and fauna in local areas. Once species have been identified, the students will formulate a plan to enhance the area and increase its biodiversity. It is envisaged other year 9 groups will become involved as the project develops.
|9KA students setting up their quadrats.
9WU examining fungi.
Year 12 and 13 Chemistry students enjoyed a visit from Futureintech Scientist, Brent Martin. Brent works for the Defence Technology Agency. His presentation not only gave our students an insight into his role as a chemist, but also touched on his experience of University and his career path so far.
Our first Project K students recently graduated from their 18 month leadership training. These students have done exceptionally well and have really grown in stature and knowledge over this time. The 2008 graduating students are:
|DANIEL DE LEION
|| ELLEN MACKENZIE
We wish them all the best for their future schooling and endeavours.
Project K School Co-ordinator
|2008 Project K students and their mentors at their graduation ceremony 23/5/09.
Here are some great healthy snack ideas from Health Promoting schools
- Monkey roll – banana in bread
- Fresh fruit – serve whole or chopped into bite size portions.
- Vege sticks – chilled and served up with cottage cheese or yoghurt dip. Try natural yoghurt with grated cucumber, lemon juice and chopped mint for a refreshing dip.
- Sandwiches – peanut butter, vegemite, baked beans, jam or thinly sliced cheese. Spread margarine thinly on one side of bread or try an alternative like hummus or relish.
- Muffins, fruit buns, scones, pancakes made with fruit like grated apple.
- Popcorn – pop using only a little oil or margarine.
- Yoghurt, custard in pottles, cubes of cheese.
- Fruit smoothie - made with green top or light blue top milk and fruit such as banana and berries.
- Plain crackers and biscuits/bite-size muesli bars.
In 2008 the school forwarded its strategic goal to work towards environmental sustainability in all areas of school life. Our activities culminated in the school achieving an Enviroschools Bronze Award. A sustainability panel was formed that included members of staff as well as parents and students. To help achieve the goal and document our progress, we were involved in an action research project, led by Niki Harré from the Psychology Department at the University of Auckland. Niki and her students, Sindra Sharma, Charlotte Blythe and Victoria Dillon worked with the panel and the school’s environment leaders Zarah Butcher McGunnigle and Gus Robertson throughout the year. The research team delivered a questionnaire to staff and students that showed very pro-environmental attitudes and so provided a strong mandate for the school to forward its sustainability goal. Focus groups further indicated that students are in favour of the goal, but environmental activities need to have a much higher profile at the school in order to develop an ‘eco’ identity and enduring behaviour change.
The school’s environment group led a number of activities during the year, including rewards for cyclists and walkers and an Ecoweek. A mechanical check of students’ bikes was conducted (courtesy of TravelWise, a council run initiative to increase sustainable and safe transport options) and three counts of the number of students cycling to school were carried out. The typical cyclist was a junior boy, with very few girls cycling to school. The school also hosted the first Auckland secondary schools Waste Wise cluster meeting. Waste Wise is a programme that helps schools reduce waste and ensure what is produced is recycled or composted where possible.
Three new student environment leaders, Grace Elliott, Georgia Kirkham and Greer Rasmussen, and their support teacher, Jarrod Dunn, have exciting plans for 2009, including new look cups, bins and emails.
If you are interested in hearing more about our activities and plans, or if you have ideas or would be keen to participate in sustainability initiatives at the school, we’d be delighted to hear from you.
Please contact Niki by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (work hours) 3737599 ext 88512.
To: Parents, Western Springs College
Creating a sustainable school
Participant information sheet
This year we will be continuing to work with the school on our action research project “Creating a sustainable school”. This project started in 2008 and 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 - Charlotte Blythe (a masters thesis student) and Briar Douglas and Amadia Disbury (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 sustainability panel established in 2008. We will document and measure these activities through observations, interviews and measuring resource use or features of the school environment as appropriate.
Later in the year, we may approach you about your child being involved in an interview on sustainability at the school, or we may ask to observe a sustainability activity your child is involved in. The principal has assured us that participation or non-participation of students in our research will in no way affect their relationship with the school or jeopardise their participation in sustainability activities.
All data collected this year will be stored indefinitely, and kept on the researchers’ computers at the university or at home. We wish to keep the data indefinitely in case it is useful for further studies. If you have any questions or concerns at all, please get in touch with us. You are welcome to a summary report of our findings, if you contact us by March, 2010.
To contact Niki Harre: Department of Psychology, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142. Ph 3737599 ext 88512, email@example.com.
The Head of the Psychology Department is Associate Professor Fred Seymour: Department of Psychology, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142. Ph 3737599 ext 88414, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Board of Trustees Meeting
6pm 29th June
OUR PHONE NUMBER IS 815 6730