Nga Puna O Waiorea
 Newsletter No. 2, March 7, 2011  
Springs Calendar
Term One
Week six
March 7 - March 11

Monday 7th March:  Singlets go on sale to raise money for Christchurch Earthquake Appeal.  $15.00

Week seven
14th March - 18th March

Friday 18th March:  ASB Polyfest starts.
Saturday 19th March: ASB Polyfest Maori Performance Day.  Held at Manukau Sports Bowl.

Week eight
21st March - 25th March

Monday 21st March: Junior Report Day.  Details to be advised.
Friday 25th March: MID TERM BREAK

Week nine
28th March - 1st April

Wednesday 30th March: Pacific Island Parents'Meeting. Time TBC.
Thursday 31st March: Yr 12 Biology Trip to Leigh (two days).

Week ten
4th April - 8th April

Sunday 3rd April: Yr 12 Geo Trip to Tongariro (three days).
Tuesday 5th April: Waka Ama Nationals in Rotorua (four days). TBC.

Week eleven
11th April - 15th April

Monday 11th April:  Senior Parent / Teacher Interviews.
Friday 15th April:  LAST DAY OF TERM


Mid-Term Break, 25-27 March
A reminder that the Friday of Week 8 ( 25/3 ) is a long weekend for Western Springs College. This break was highlighted in the term calendar sent to families in mid-January.

Parent/Teacher Interviews: Junior Students, 21 March
In order to accommodate the ongoing PPTA work ban outside 8.30am - 5.00pm we have had to schedule parent/teacher interviews for Years 9 & 10 students on 21/3 within those hours from 9.00am - 5.00pm. This means that there will be no normal classes on this day. It is expected that junior students will attend the subject teacher interviews with their parent(s); senior students will be able to invest the time in working on their assignments at home.

Progress reports for Years 9 & 10 students will be mailed home early next week. Parents are now able to make on-line bookings for subject teacher, dean or academic director interviews. The booking times are i) 9.00-11.00am; ii) 12.00-2.00pm; iii) 3.00-5.00pm. (See the notice below.) Remember that you also have the option of telephoning the school office on 815 6730 for bookings.

Outstanding NCEA Results
The outstanding NCEA pass rate results of WSC students in 2010 have been highlighted now that comparative NZQA data is available to schools. Western Springs College has gained a top ranking of second behind only Westlake Girls'High School among all Auckland state schools, single sex and coeducational combined, and including all deciles, when measured across all levels:
Level 3 University Entrance: 86.3% - first place;
Level 3 Certification: 80.6% - seventh;
Level 2: 89.8% - fourth;
Level 1: 91.5% - first

Moreover, WSC ranks first amongst all New Zealand decile 8 state secondary schools.

2010 Scholarship Results

  • The 26 scholarships achieved constitute the best ever WSC result.
  • The top Subject Scholarship award in the country for Photography was gained by Aretha Jansen.
  • There were 3 Outstanding Scholarship awards: Phoebe Balle in English; Sophie Blazey in Graphics; and Ari Jansen in Photography.
  • The scholarships were achieved across 15 subjects.

Nga Puna O Waiorea at Polyfest, 2.30pm, Saturday, 19 March, at Manukau Veledrome
I would like to urge you to make time to see the Nga Puna O Waiorea ( WSC's rumaki ) kapahaka group performing at the Auckland Secondary Schools'Cultural Festival at 2.30pm on the weekend after next (19/3). As most of you will be aware, Nga Puna O Waiorea were the winners on the Maori stage last year. They are very determined to maintain their top ranking in 2011. The more supporters we have out at the velodrome, the better!

Parent /Teacher Interviews - Years 9 & 10 - Monday, March 21st, 9.00am. to 5.00 pm

WSC has an online booking system for parent teacher interviews
Bookings are now open.
Go to www.schoolinterviews.co.nz
Our school code is: 2YSCT
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, 815 6730


A warm welcome to all the Pacific parents of WSC.  As this goes to print, we will have had the Pacific Families' BBQ scheduled for Wed 2nd March. We also have the Pacific Island Homework Centre up and running every Tuesday from 3.30-4.30.  We strongly urge you to encourage your child to attend this session as it forms sound habits as well as ensuring homework is completed.  We are lucky to have a Maths specialist, an ex student - Cathy Roberts, who is an honours student at Auckland University.  She has committed her time to helping the Pacific students with all aspects of Maths - she is at the homework centre every Tuesday so please make use of her.

If you are a new parent/guardian, please feel free to contact me or any of the Pacific staff on any matter relating to your child.  The Pacific staff at WSC are Ka'u Te Paki - Gateway Coordinator, Margaret Ruland - Careers Advisor/Gateway,  Lily Laita - Art,  Tupe Tai - English and Pacific Island Liaison.

We will have a PACIFIC ISLAND PARENTS'MEETING in week 9, on WEDNESDAY, 30TH MARCH.  I will confirm a time after school once the PPTA bans have been lifted.  Please keep this evening free.  We look forward to meeting with you all in the near future.
Tofa Soifua
Tupe Tai
(My email address is tait@westernsprings.school.nz)


It is very pleasing to have begun the year with two English Scholarships for 2010, including one Outstanding Scholarship.  Congratulations to Phoebe Balle, who won the latter, and to Allanah Colley.  Both of these students richly deserved this accolade.

We would also like to welcome several new members to the department:

  • May Lee Allen and Miriam Kent , who are both Year One teachers,
  • Brigid Fogarty, who has just returned to NZ after achieving outstanding results as a teacher in the UK,
  • Belinda Develter and Damon King, who come with glowing recommendations from Northcote College and Birkenhead College respectively,
  • Huia Walker, a skilled and experienced  educator who is taking the two Rumaki year 9 classes this year, and
  • Dr Shaun Hawthorne, our recently-appointed Deputy Principal and former HOD English at WSC, who is also taking a year 12 English class.

Our literacy rates for 2010 were also extremely pleasing.  95.1% of our Level 1 students gained their literacy credits, and 77% of our Level 2 students gained University Entrance literacy.

We would like to urge parents of Year 11 students to pay their school fees promptly, or at least begin the payment process, because $25 of this fee is for an English coursebook which is full of material vital for the new Standards. The book contains very useful material on writing literature essays, and speech-making - both of which are in the course this term  - but it also has excellent language and terminology lists and a wonderfully detailed section on Close Reading of Texts, one of the papers in the external exam.  We cannot issue these books until the payment is received, or the process begun, so we hope parents can make this a priority.  

This year we are putting in place a Reciprocal Teaching programme with the year 9 cohort, which has a primary aim of enhancing reading comprehension skills, but has also been shown to improve students'self-esteem and confidence, especially in their own reading and decoding abilities.  The students will be grouped according to reading competence within their English class, and taught four strategies that have been shown through evidence-based research to assist students to make meaning from text.  The teacher will demonstrate how to use the strategies using an excerpt from a text at the appropriate level, then group members will take turns at leading the discussion.  By 'thinking aloud'about the process, the students learn, not only what is being read, but how the process of reading works. 

Each class will have three 30 minute slots a week for five weeks, beginning with 9KU and 9MN in week 7. The class teacher, a teacher aide and the Learning Centre staff will all be involved in the programme.  The other classes will be timetabled for terms 2 and 3. 

John Hattie, Professor of Education at Auckland University, rates this is as one of the most effective techniques teachers can employ. We are confident that the programme will have a positive impact on our students'reading comprehension, not only in English but in other subjects as well.  Research indicates Reciprocal Teaching can greatly enhance academic achievement for students right through to tertiary level, so we look forward to its implementation with interest and enthusiasm!

Over the last four weeks, we have done PAT and asTTle tests with our new year 9 students, and also given them a Shonell spelling test.  This data is invaluable in helping us to provide courses and modules which allow change, challenge and choice in our classrooms! We look forward to discussing the results of these tests, and your child's progress, at the Junior Parents'Day on March 21st - Week 8.
Ali Geursen
HOD English


Year Banding:
It's that time of year when our year 9 students are eagerly waiting to hear who will be their new maths teacher, and more importantly, which class they will be in!  At Springs, we band the students in Mathematics in term 1: we not only look at prior assessment data, but also use teacher assessment 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 class tests and projects, and discuss the final banding list as a department.  This ensures that the vast 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 up to 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 will be completed by the end of week 8, 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.
Bryony West


Athletics Day - by Amy Flynn

On Monday 21st February we all headed off to our annual Athletics Day full of anticipation for the coming events. It was an 'all seasons' kind of day, however that didn't dash anyone's spirits as the fluctuating weather provided students with a break from the harsh sun threatening sunburn. Encouragement never ceased throughout the day and a very high level of pride and participation was shown by all houses as well as a huge amount of talent displayed by many competing students from all over the school. One highlight of the day for field events was the intermediate boys'high jump which lasted long into the next event as two final competitors remained. Unfortunately we ran out of time for house relays and had to hold them during school on Wednesday but we still had a great turn-out on the field to support the event. Congratulations to all those who made it through to the zones and to everyone else who participated.  All round it was a great day.

Special thanks to Pete McIntyre, David Okey, Karalee Green, and all staff members who came along, the sports academy and sports council. Without you, this day wouldn't happen and with your help we had an amazing event.

Beach Day - by Matt Jeffries

During week three, the year 9's and some of the year 13's all went off to beaches around Auckland where we all had some great fun in the sun.

On Monday the 14th of February the students from Moana house descended on the hall to await the boarding of the buses.
After checking the roll we jumped on the buses and headed on over to Karekare beach.  After a bus trip that seemed to take forever we made it to the car port just off the beach. From there our Dean told us to make our way to the surf club and wait for the year 9 students still to arrive.

This little "escapade" led us through a creek and over black sand before we got to the club. Once there we all settled down and we were introduced to the lovely lifeguards, Lauren and Phil, who would be looking after us. After quizzing us on their boat, rips and putting one of our awesome year 9's, who kindly volunteered, into the stretcher (good job Edwyn!!!) it was time to apply the army grade sunblock and head down to the beach for games and swimming, possibly the best part of the day. The weather was amazing, it was brilliantly sunny and though there were a few clouds it was still a great day for the beach. We spent a decent few hours on the burning, hot black sand before heading into the water to cool down. Of course we could not call it a day before we had participated in the fine Kiwi summer sport called the black sand sprint.

Back at the club we got changed and thanked the lifeguards for an amazing day. Then it was back through the creek to the buses for the trip home. Thanks WSC for making this happen. I think I can comfortably speak for all the houses saying we enjoyed having the opportunity to learn a bit about beach safety and have a generally great day in the sun.

Travel Wise Facts - by Beth O'Reilly

  • Ever notice how hard it is to walk and worry at the same time? A brisk walk in the fresh air is a great way to unwind.
  • Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, which contributes to climate change. About 40% of our carbon dioxide emissions come from transport, mainly private cars.
  • One third of car trips in New Zealand are less than 2km, two thirds are less than 6km. Short distance trips generate the most pollution per km travelled.
  • The average cost of running a small car is $6000 per year

From the Travel Wise Website

A healthy recipe from your Health Wise leaders - by Shaheen Patel

1 cup wholemeal plain flour
1 teaspoon dried yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup low-fat cheese, shredded
1/2 cup reduced-salt tomato paste
1 medium capsicum, sliced
1 onion, diced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced

1. Heat oven to 220 C. 
2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, add water and mix to a soft dough. If too sticky, add 1-2 tablespoons extra flour. 
3. Cover and rest in a warm place for 15 minutes. 
4. Turn dough onto floured board and knead until smooth. 
5. Roll out dough to the desired size (22cm pizza or mini pizzas). 
6. Lightly brush or spray pizza pan with oil. 
7. Put dough on lightly greased tray and cover pizza with plastic wrap. Stand in warm place for 10 minutes to rise. 
8. Top with tomato sauce and toppings. Cover with low-fat, grated cheese. 
9. Bake at 220 C for 20 minutes and serve hot.

Serves: 4
Nutritional Analysis (per serve)

Source: Modified from the original recipe by Brittany Netherton and Claire Miller, Geelong High School.  Published in the Geelong Advertiser 'Fifteen Minutes of Food'series.

Waste Wise Update - by Nell Mooney

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an area located between Hawaii and California. This is where 3.5 million tons of waste swirls around in the Pacific Ocean, the result of humans dumping trash in the oceans of the world. 90% of this trash is from plastic, which takes 500 to 1000 years to break down. This week is sea week. Think about the ways you and your family can reduce the impact of waste on our oceans. Check out www.seaweek.org.nz for ideas!

Due to the student leader focus on raising funds for Christchurch we will not be doing a creek clean up this week. This event has been re-scheduled for later this term during Get Wise week.

We are currently in the process of making four back boards for the waste stations made last year to highlight what waste goes into each bin; compost, landfill and recycling. If you have unwanted test pots of paint, we would appreciate it if you could drop these in to the school.


Term One Year 13 Interviews
If you have not had your interview yet then please text your name and Yr 13 to 0226773284.  Parents can text too!  We usually like to talk to students first  but decision making often concerns the whole whanau/family and so feel welcome to arrange a meeting with us with your teen.

Some Early Dates (more will be posted on the school intranet later this term)

The University of Auckland Parents Seminar

March 28th 7.30 pm - 9 pm Owen  Glenn Building Fisher and Paykel Auditorium

Come with your children and learn about admission, programmes, costs, scholarships, and services etc. 

Please register to Rhonda Grogan r.rogan@auckland.ac.nz or Phone 0800616263 or Txt 5533

April 5th 1-1.40 pm Otago University Officer will speak to all Year 13 about University jargon and entrance requirements.   Students interested in attending Otago will be able to speak to her afterwards.

May 2nd Auckland University visit.  Chris McClymont (Liaison Officer) and Cathleen Fetokai (Pacifika Liaison) will be available to answer your queries in Waiora at lunchtime (times TBC)

May 4th Wednesday Unitec Visit from Patrick Mose 1.30 - 2.20 in Waiora to talk about Unitec's learning pathways.
23 May Monday Year 9 Careers Week (TBC)

June 2nd Late Afternoon  Thursday Careers Talk for Parents of Year 12 students - Preparing for Expo and Parents as Careers Educators.

June 9th-11 Careers Expo for general public (parents are encouraged to go with their children, although some Year 12's will go from school)


Aretha Jansen's Submission

Big congratulations go to the following students who were awarded national scholarships:

Aretha Jansen in Painting and Photography.  Aretha's Photography submission was awarded Top Scholar in NZ with a $7500 tertiary study grant over 3 years awarded. Sophie Blazey in Design and Painting, Eddie Crawshaw in Photography, Katie Milne, Kenah Trusewich, Finn Godbolt in Design, Catherine Cumming  and Zoe Marler in Painting and Josephine Thomas in Art History.

This was an outstanding result. The creativity, high level thinking skills, dedication and hard work that these students demonstrated throughout the year was simply outstanding.

Year 11 Museum Trip
The 3 year 11 art classes and a class of International students recently visited the Auckland Museum for a drawing study that focussed on early Maori tools, games and implements. It proved to be a very worthwhile experience. The students were kept very busy looking and drawing for almost two hours and will use their observations for an internally assessed drawing achievement standard currently in progress.
Peter Coxon