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Waitaki Valley School 

9 December 2015

Kia Ora Koutou
I'm not sure if anyone else is feeling like I do  . . . but I am left wondering where the year has gone!  
As we come to the end of one year, and while the holidays beckon, we are well and truly mapping out 2016.  Thank you to the parents who attended the Information Session today.  A summary of the presentation and a video that was shown is below. 
Thank you too, to the Friends of the School who supported this session with the afternoon tea.
We are also well aware of the growing research into the 'Summer Slide' with regards to reading.  Below is an outline of a Summer Reading Challenge that we are initiating, in order to keep the interest in reading over the summer.  'Reading Miles' are important - during both term and holiday times!  A Summer Bookclub will also run for a couple of sessions. Thank you to Mrs Powell for her co-ordination of this.
The time that people took to fill in our community consultation survey was appreciated.  The draw was won by Carol Harding!  We will get your prize to you Carol.
Our children have been busy preparing for the end of year production.  We look forward to our whanau groups sharing their 'stories' with you on Tuesday.
Buses will run on our final day - Wednesday.  School will finish at the earlier time of 1pm.
I look forward to seeing many of you at our end of year celebration on Tuesday.

Have a great week


Thank you to everyone who attended today's Parent Session.  Understandably not everyone could make it, so the key points are outlined here.

Today the Parent Session outlined a change in direction in regards to Teaching and Learning at Waitaki Valley.  Our Modern Learning Environment means that we are often the envy of other teachers, students and families, when they view it.  It is a great place to work, teach and learn in.

The focus of the Modern Learning Environments is two-fold though.  Creating the building or 'space' does not mean that modern teaching methods are automatically set in place.  In fact it can be very easy to continue to teach in 'traditional' ways, in a Modern Learning environment. Add in a few devices and people think we are teaching in a 21st Century School! 

The reality is not so clear cut.  Learning today requires children to be more collaborative, to have ownership of their learning, to be aware of  how they best learn, and to take greater responsibility for their learning. These do not 'just happen' and they certainly don't happen overnight.  They are skills and qualities that need to be taught, reinforced and revisited constantly.  They are difficult, if not impossible to teach in a classroom where the teacher is at the front sharing the knowledge that they have, and the students sit quietly and work hard to filter what they think is important and what's not (even if it is done subconsciously).

Next year we will operate in our school with two 'hubs' - a Junior  (Yr 1-4) Hub and a Senior (Yr 5-8) Hub.  Children will have 'home' based rooms, however the collective responsibility of teaching will be shared amongst 3 teachers in the Juniors and 2 teachers in the Seniors.  This has many pros to it, enabling children to benefit from the collective strengths of more than just one teacher as they would in a 'traditional' setting.  It means that children can be grouped according to needs, interests, student or teacher direction, with greater flexibility.

Modern learning environments require 'Innovative Teaching Approaches'.  Teachers have been involved in Professional Development this term, in order to prepare for this change, and will continue to do so for quite some time.  Teachers will be continually reflecting and evaluating the change, 'tweaking' the system as required. This is nothing new. Teachers are always evaluating themselves and their programmes.  This will be no different, except that there will be greater discussions, planning and intentional decisions made, based on a variety of aspects, not just on the age of the child/ren.

Specialist programmes (skiing, technology, Rural School's days etc) will continue for the Yr 7 & 8 students.  When relevant, specific programmes (such as Life Ed, Keeping Ourselves Safe, Changes at Puberty etc) will be targeted to the year group that these programmes best fit.

Below is a video I shared with parents today:


There is ever growing research in NZ and overseas into the effect of the 'Summer Slide' - the decline of children's reading ability from the beginning of the holidays until they return to school.  
In order to minimise the impact of the holidays, we are implementing two initiatives to encourage children to be reading over the break.
The first is a 'Reading Bingo' card.  There will be one version for the Seniors and one for the Juniors.  Children will have to have each square signed off by an adult, over the holidays.  Children who fill the card and return it after the holidays will be in the draw to win vouchers.

Mrs Powell is also running a 'Book Club' at both the Otematata and Kurow libraries.  More information in a brief newsletter that will come out early next week.


Friday 11th               Reports Home
                                 Junior Walk 11am (Parents/caregivers
                                          are welcome to join in for lunch at
                                     approximately 12.30pm)
Tuesday 15th           Final Assembly & Production 1pm
Wednesday 16th      School Finishes 1pm


Bring your gold coins to the final assembly!  The Friends of the School will have raffle tickets for sale.
Mike from Youthtown ran his final session for all classes on Tuesday.  We look forward to Mike and Gina joining us again next year.
Waitaki Valley School
1 Settlement Road
Principal: Deidre Senior

Important numbers: 
School phone: 03 4360 660
Absences: School Mobile Text: 027-714 2774
School Bank Account: 02 0900 0000532 00