NEWS FROM THE PRINCIPAL

Dear Families,

Greetings to you all from a very different start to Term 2 over the past few weeks.

As a country, we have rallied together to navigate our way through the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a community, the impacts and effects of Level 4 lockdown and more recently the still restrictive Level 3 requirements have been felt by us all in many different ways. Many families remain away from school, continuing their at home learning from the safety of their home bubbles. Thank you sincerely to all those who have managed to keep their children at home and engaged in learning while juggling the wider impacts of the state of emergency through working from home, job uncertainty. changes, losses and the stressors that come with all of these.

Amongst the stressors and challenges of our government’s request for us to remain at home as much as possible with limited interactions, there has also been many wonderful realisations and opportunities to create new habits and discover new and different levels of connection and enjoyment. Many stories of families rediscovering the joy of local walks, bike rides, baking, arts and crafts, gardening and other outdoor activities, whilst enjoying the chance to spend time together in a more unhurried, flexible timeframe will be something that many of us will remember and treasure as our country looks to plan for moving back through Level 3 into Level 2.

After the government’s announcement yesterday about Level 2, we await Monday’s cabinet meeting to learn when this will take place. Our Leadership Team is working on what school will look like at Level 2 based on the Ministry of Education and Health advice and guidance, and will share this information with you as soon as it is ready.

We have had between 5 and 10 students at school over the past couple of weeks at Level 3, operating in one bubble group. With the support of two teachers and a teacher aide, they have continued their home learning while adhering to physical distancing and health and safety requirements. The experience of ‘school’ under Level 3 looks and feels very different and we are proud of our young learners in their resilience while working at school.

At home learning – How are we doing?

Last week we sent out a survey to find out from families how our home learning delivery was being received. Thank you to those families who took the time to fill in this survey. We are very pleased with the results which I would like to share with you now. Should at-home learning continue beyond next week we will survey again to ensure we continue to meet the needs of the community as fully as we are able.

We received 137 responses from a broad range of year levels, giving us a decent cross-section of voice from the community.

You told us that you were comfortable with between 1 and 4 hours of learning tasks each day.  54% of respondents stated they were happy with between 1 and 2 hours of learning and 36.5% saying they were happy with between 3 and 4 hours daily.

Pleasingly, 89.1% of respondents reported their children understood the learning tasks as presented by their teacher.

 

86.2% shared that the number of learning experiences provided was either just right (62.8%) or there were too many experiences being provided (23.4%). In reflecting on this, we can see that the learning tasks provided meet many of our families’ needs. Where a family feels there are too many learning tasks, we reinforce that you can choose what tasks to engage with, sharing with your teacher which tasks you pursued following your child/ren’s interests, and which you decided not to engage with as you decided you were not going to undertake all tasks.

75.2% of respondents thought there was a good balance of online and offline or unplugged tasks. 16.8% let us know that they thought there were too many online tasks with 8% sharing they thought there were too many offline tasks. Our teachers have taken this information on board and have reflected on their balance of online and offline tasks.

Pleasingly, 80.3% of respondents felt the learning experiences were just right for their children; neither too hard or too easy. We encourage families who feel the learning tasks are either too hard or too easy to be in touch with their teacher via email to let them know.

The next two questions we asked were designed to be viewed and analysed together. 89% of respondents told us that their child either needed help some of the time (59.1%) or all of the time (29.9%) and 78.8% told us they were comfortable with the amount of help that their child needed. 21.2% informed us they were not comfortable with the amount of support they were required to provide to their children. Once again, if you are in this position, please be in touch with your class teacher via email so they can make suggestions on how to modify a task in order for your child to work with either more or less dependence on you. Our teachers are more than happy to hear from you to help in any way they can.

It is great to note that 85.4% of families reported that communication from their teacher was just right. Our teachers have been working very hard on ensuring they are in touch in a timely manner and are also aware that many families will have multiple items of correspondence from multiple teachers, so to know that on the whole, families are feeling the level of communication is just right is very heartening.

It is also pleasing to note that the feedback our teachers are giving to their students is helpful, gives advice, suggestions, next steps, is easy to understand and regular. Again, our teachers have invested much of their online working week in responding to posts, so to hear from our community that this part of the teacher’s focus is helpful and valued is good for us to know.

89.1% of respondents found the level of communication from the school in general over this challenging time has been suitable.

 

We have taken on board all of the comments sent in through the survey. We note that instructions with examples, youtube clips, or voice-over instructions and bullet points are helpful. We have taken on board that parents could do with teachers sharing tasks in advance to give parents the opportunity to have a look and a think, a chance to prepare before working with their children and the inclusion of an expected time frame for working on or completing a task would be helpful. We have heard that printing at home is problematic for a number of families so our teachers will endeavour to remove this need from their home learning offering.

As we have become more familiar with Seesaw and it’s modified use from home to school over this lockdown period, we have discovered a few tips and tricks to make life easier at home. One of these is how to manage the ‘list’ of tasks that families see. If families don’t click on ‘respond’ the task will sit in the list and as more tasks are shared the list can become long and daunting for children as a result. Our teachers have worked on troubleshooting from our end how to keep items in the list of assigned tasks to a minimum without the inclusion of simple greetings and messages, and how to remove tasks that have sat for some time. From a home perspective,  if you click on ‘respond’ and include a message such as ‘thanks for this activity, we are working on others instead’, the task will no longer appear in the list. We also note that if a teacher creates a template for children to use, it cannot be seen until a family clicks into the ‘respond’ area of Seesaw, so teachers will make sure that they include the fact there is a template in their instructions so you can see before you begin, that there is a template to use.

I am hugely proud of all of our teachers and support staff, especially at the way everybody has responded to this temporary new normal. The agile thinking of our staff as they make programme modifications to suit at-home learning, the shift in practice to an online platform and the way that our teachers have undertaken all of this new learning with enthusiasm and a ‘can-do’ attitude, where the challenges that we have faced have been tackled as opportunities rather than our staff being daunted and overwhelmed – they are all to be commended in the way they have handled themselves. On your behalf, I would like to express my heartfelt and sincerest thanks to all of our staff for all of the hard work that has been undertaken and will continue to be undertaken over this unprecedented time.

A very happy and blessed Mothers Day to all Mothers for this Sunday. Thank you to all of our community for your patience, your support and your resilience as we navigate this challenging time together. Wishing you all a blessed and safe fortnight ahead.

Ngā mihi nui

Louise Campbell
Principal

NEWS FROM THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Hello Our Lady Star of the Sea families and community

The Board of Trustees met last week, the first since the lockdown started, to review how we (the community) have been coping with the lockdown, the current and future delivery of lessons to our children.

What has become obvious, is the huge amount of dedication, support and effort that has been both given and shown by our staff in the development, delivery and engagement of the remote teaching process. The Board of Trustees would like to thank the Our Lady Star of the Sea staff for all their over and above efforts during the lockdown.  Extra thanks to those staff involved in the Level 3 face to face teaching as well.

Also acknowledged was the tremendous support that you as families have given to ensure that the help and resources are available to your children, so that they can continue their educational pathway and achieve the great outcomes that they have.

The Board of Trustees would also like to acknowledge that the burden of the lockdown has been significant to the school community in terms of financial and social impacts. To this end, we are looking at sending out a community survey with the idea of finding out from our community whether it would be best to look at postponing or cancelling this year’s Gala. Also, to support the community the Kahui Ako Principals have met and decided to postpone the Teacher Only day that was scheduled on Tuesday 2nd June and as a Board, we have agreed to withdraw the Teacher Only Day on Friday 12th June. The intent with this is to reduce the burden of additional days of parental coverage post the lockdown.

Two other updates are as follows:

  • The mud kitchen redesign is moving into the next phase. We have commissioned the developer to create comprehensive plans of the space with the fantastic design ideas that were created based on the student working group, so watch this space.
  • The Covered Outdoor Learning Area (COLA) is still in progress with the consent paperwork being impacted by the lockdown.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, thank you for your support, patience and understanding throughout this hopefully, once in a generation event.

God Bless

Vaughan Fraser  

BOT Chairman

A MESSAGE FROM THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF AUCKLAND

SCHOOL ATTENDANCE DUES COVID-19

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

Financial assistance is available to assist families who may need financial support as a result of the Covid-19 Virus with the payment of 2020 Attendance
Dues for students attending Catholic schools in Auckland Diocese, both primary and secondary.
Families facing financial difficulties can contact their school office, their Parish Priest or the Revenue Manager on 09-360-3069 at the Catholic Diocese of
Auckland for further information.
Application forms for this assistance are available from school and parish offices, or can be down-loaded from the Catholic Diocese of Auckland Website:
https://www.aucklandcatholic.org.nz/catholic-schools/covid-19-attendance-dues-assistance/

FROM THE DIRECTOR OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES

Mea ana te atawhai haere mai i runga i te aroha me te awhi

Mercy invites us to love and to care

Mother’s Day is upon us. The day, every year we celebrate our Mums. This year we will be celebrating our mum’s from our bubbles, which may mean a screen time celebration for some. Whichever way it is, it is important to acknowledge what mothers do for us. At the same time every year, for the whole month of May, we honour Mary, our Mother, the Mother of God. As Catholic’ Christians we acknowledge the importance of Mary to us all. Mary will always be a model to us of faith, hope and love. An example of commitment to God by saying that three letter word ‘Yes’. Mary’s yes to God wasn’t about personal needs and desires, it was a yes to belief, to faith, a great commitment of love. During the month of May, while we remember our own mums, take the time with your family to remember Mary, our mum and give thanks to God for her as part of our Catholic identity. Mary is the patron of our Nation, our parish and our school. We pray for her continued protection.   Our Lady Star of the Sea – Pray for us.

For some of our children, lockdown may cause heightened anxiety. It is normal for children faced with uncertainty to react in different ways. They will be influenced by our behaviour and responses to the current situation with lockdown as well as what they hear and see on the tv, radio and online. It is timely to remind ourselves as well as our children of the most reinforced phrase in the bible. ‘Do not be afraid. I am with you.’ It might not always feel like this, but the Footprints in the Sand poem says it all.

 

The following websites could be useful for you as you continue to support your child’s faith formation not just during lockdown but ongoing. I encourage you to take a look if you haven’t already.

CathFamilyAn innovative Catholic resource library for raising children in the faith    https://cathfamily.org/

Kids Corner  – on the Auckland Catholic Diocese website   https://www.aucklandcatholic.org.nz/the-church-covid-19/celebrate-easter/kids-korner/

There is a growing awareness of how the earth and all creation has benefitted from the time out during lockdown across  the world. Pope Francis has announced  Laudato Si’ week with a world day of prayer 24 May.   https://laudatosiweek.org/

Prayer Intention    During this time of uncertainty around the world we pray for the grace to meet all challenges we face with strength and courage.

Keep safe. God Bless

Detta Fairweather

Deputy Principal / Director of Religious Studies

NEWS FROM THE INFORMATION CENTRE

As our Information Centre at school is closed at the moment, we have set up our library catalogue home page to be an online centre of information for our students and parents.
Check out the colourful, eye catching collection of fun and exciting links to the online literary world!
There are links to:
  • author websites
  • drawing tutorials
  • quizzes
  • read aloud stories
  • craft activities
  • activity pages – Harry Potter, Dav Pilkey, Granny McFlitter etc
  • an ANZAC story
  • authors reading
  • authors singing!
  • homework help
  • Mother’s Day activities
  • A Book of Hope – a free eBook with contributions from over 100 children’s writers and illustrators and dedicated to UK hospital workers
  • Harry Potter at Home – stars reading a chapter of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone from their homes
  • Super Felix – an eBook written by NZer Phoebe Morris to help children make sense of Covid 19
  • and much, much more!!
No borrower code is needed to explore the home page – Juniors may like to do this with their parents.
Here is a graphic showing children how they can independently find our catalogue on a device at home:
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Our catalogue will be regularly updated so keep checking in!
We are so lucky to have this wonderful resource and can’t wait until we can welcome everyone back into our physical library space too!
TERM DATES 2020
Term 1   Monday 3 February to Thursday 9 April (teacher only day 3 February)
Term 2   Tuesday 28 April to Friday 3 July  (ANZAC DAY holiday Monday 27 April)
Term 3    Monday 20 July to Friday 25 September
Term 4    Monday 12 October to Friday 18 December (12 noon)