NEWS FROM THE PRINCIPAL
Welcome to our second newsletter of the term under Level 2 restrictions.
What a time it has been. Filled with the joys of reconnection, careful monitoring of well being, transitioning students back to school and making the most of the strengths and benefits that we have noted from the ‘school-led learning from home’ programmes as well as incorporating the tools used more readily into our classroom programmes.
We have celebrated the feast of Pentecost last Sunday. Although we were not able to gather as a whole school to celebrate this important feast in our Church Calendar as we usually would on the Friday before, we did so in our classrooms. It was wonderful to see so many children wearing cultural clothing, participating and sharing in the key messages of Pentecost; the Holy Spirit working within and amongst us, uniting people from across cultures in our commitment to living with Jesus as our guide. You will see more about Pentecost and the celebration of this special feast day later in this newsletter.
With Parishes able to open up and celebrate Masses together once again, we truly have the opportunity to embrace the community element of our Church – We are the Church! Please follow this link to this Sunday’s readings.
We also celebrated Samoa Language Week last week. The theme for Samoa Language week was ‘Tapena sou ōso mo lau malaga’ which in English means ‘Prepare yourself a gift for your travels’. This year’s theme urges us to prepare for the journey ahead. It highlights the need to honour, respect and share the gifts of our life’s journey, a perfect fit with our Connected Curriculum theme of Taonga this year. When Pacific Peoples prepare for travel, traditions are part of the journey alongside the sharing of ōso (gifts/food) with people along the way. With the sharing of these gifts, we all build, nurture and strengthen our language, culture and identity. Our staff were very fortunate to have members of the Fono group share beautiful coconut buns which we all enjoyed for morning tea – thanks to Agnes Cuer and her Aunty for the freshly baked treats, it was very much appreciated. See further celebrations of Samoa Language week at OLSOS later in this newsletter.
Home – School Partnerships
Those members of our community who were fortunate to participate in our Community Dreaming Day and subsequent consultation period in the middle of last year contributed strong voice to the development of our revised school vision which we had the pleasure of launching at the end of last year;
Our Lady Star of the Sea School Community: living, learning and serving with Jesus as our guide.
We are currently in the process of investigating signage options in order for our vision and values to be visible within our school environment.
We also used the community consultation day and subsequent on-line consultation period to hear from families what they value about our school and we worked together to identify the key learning dispositions (attitudes, behaviours and competencies) in order for our children to become life-long learners. Part of this process also included a review of our reporting practices.
This year our focus is on embedding our new school vision and making connections between the vision and our curriculum delivery. The common themes from our consultation relating to reporting were a popular desire for information to be included about students ability to communicate and collaborate with others, as well as being an active learner who is self-managing and self-motivated. With COVID-19 necessitating a blend of time spent in ‘school-led learning from home’ and schooling on site in the first half of this year, there is no better time to engage home and school in collaboration over the learning journey of our young learners.
Mid Year Sharing of Learning 2020
As mentioned above, COVID-19 has meant that our students have had such varied time at school and have engaged in ‘school-led learning from home’ for a large chunk of the first half of this year. As a school, we have spent some time reflecting on how we capture the learning journey so far this year and what shape our mid year reporting will take. We acknowledge that our reporting cannot look or sound the same as it has done before at this time of year.
There is a richness in the learning that has been undertaken that needs to be captured and recorded, however, the approach to gathering and recording this richness will look different this year. We anticipate that it will begin our journey to connect the learning dispositions identified as important through our community consultation and our reflection on the review of reporting which was also part of the extensive consultation process mentioned above.
To this end, we will soon be sending out a form to help us capture your observations in regards to your child/ren’s growth in their learning dispositions over the time they were engaged in ‘school-led learning from home’. We will take this information and use it to begin learning conversations with families as our teachers work alongside their classes, having been back at school for the past 3 weeks.
Mid Year Learning Conversations will be held at school on 22nd and 23rd of June. These conversations will be based around a combination of parent/caregiver observations during the time of ‘school-led learning from home’, your teachers’ observations of your child’s time at school in the first half of this year and your child’s reflections on their learning to date. Agreed next steps will be established at these 15-minute conversation slots.
In place of the usual mid year report, a summary of the discussion from the Mid Year Learning Conversation and agreed next steps will contribute to a Mid Year Learning Review. This document will also contain an indication of where your child is currently achieving in reading, writing and mathematics. The Mid Year Learning Review document will be available, via the school portal, early in Term 3.
We are keen to capitalise on the positives that have come out of the COVID-19 experience, and a strong home-school partnership, including equal sharing of knowledge of the learner from home and school is one of the things we believe will build capacity going forward. We want to hear your thoughts on the process after we have engaged in this form of sharing of learning in the middle of a school year, so we will send you a quick survey after the process has been enacted to find out what families thought so we can build strength into end of year reporting and beyond.
Thanking Our Unsung Heroes
Students from Rm 18 in our community identified local unsung essential workers who supported our wider community over the lockdown and wrote to them in thanks. They have had some wonderful and surprising responses! I encourage you to scroll down and have a read of these and other interesting items shared from the classrooms and beyond.
It is with great sadness that I announce that Mr Barry Vernon will be retiring after 23 years of service at OLSOS at the end of this term. Barry has contributed to the learning of many a student across his time at OLSOS as classroom teacher and in more recent years as our Reading Recovery teacher. He has also put together, trained and supported some incredibly skilled and competitive cricket and football teams over his time with us. Barry will be greatly missed for his wisdom, his patience, humour and skill as a teacher. We wish Barry all of God’s blessings as he leaves us for many adventures in his retirement. Details about a farewell for Barry will be shared closer to the time.
I take great pleasure in announcing the appointment of Mrs Heather Collins to the position of Year 5/6 Team Leader. Heather will be joining our learning community from the beginning of Term 3. She has a wealth of classroom and team leader experience and is coming to us from the Manaiakalani Group in East Tamaki where she has been a professional learning and development provider across a number of schools for the past 18 months. I know you will join me in welcoming her at the start of next term.
Heather will be taking over Room 21 from Mrs Leanne Newlyn who has done a great job of looking after the learning and well being needs of the students in the first half of the year while we went through the recruitment process. We thank Leanne for her commitment and energy. We also thank Mrs Karen Noble-Campbell who has continued on as Year 5/6 team leader in the first half of this year as well as undertaking her Deputy Principal portfolio. This has been a huge task and we are very appreciative of her support of the team.
We anticipate that COVID levels will shift again shortly. With this in mind, we are reflecting on ways we can capitalise on the positives of the last few weeks, including the increased independence of our children as they enter and exit school with a wave to parents/caregivers at the gate and the smoother entry and exit with less parking issues. We are also developing ways we can ensure that we maintain our community-feel so that families can still feel connected. As we are guided by the government on our levels of response, watch this space for further ideas and sharing of plans and information.
Wishing you all of God’s blessings over the next fortnight, between now and our next newsletter.
Ngā mihi nui
FROM THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Kia ora Whanau,
Recently we held our second remote Board meeting using some of the technology that our students have been using over the past 2 months during the Covid 19 pandemic. This month we discussed amongst other things, the Gala questionnaire results. Firstly, I would like to thank the families that responded to the questionnaire. We had a resounding response, with a return in the high 80%. The represented results spoke quite clearly as a community voice and as such, the Board has decided to postpone the Gala this year & re-instate it for the 2021 calendar year. We will also be looking at options to hold a community-based event later this year in place of the Gala.
The COLA (covered outdoor learning area) plan is currently almost ready for the consent stage with Auckland Council. Unfortunately, we have no time frame for the approval from Auckland Council but rest assured that once granted, we will be scheduling works to begin at the earliest possible start date and you will be advised.
As you are aware, the Education Review Office audited the school in November 2019. As a result of that Audit the school was sent a letter from the Minister of Education Hon. Chris Hipkins today that included the following comments:
“I have been informed by the Chief Review Officer that Our Lady Star of the Sea School (Howick) has recently been reviewed by the Education Review Office and that ERO’s overall evaluation is that your school demonstrates strong performance in achieving valued outcomes for your students.”
“I am aware that the criteria leading to this decision by ERO are demanding. I congratulate all involved for the work you are doing to ensure your school is providing a high quality of education for its learners.”
Although the letter was addressed to me as Board Chairman, I believe it reflects the work done by the Board, Principal, Staff, students & the wider community of Our Lady Star of the Sea. So well done all and take pride in the work we all do to support our students & their needs.
Until next time
Kia ora korua & kia manaaki ati atua koutou
FROM THE PTA
The PTA meeting scheduled for Monday 8 June has been postponed.
A MESSAGE FROM THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF AUCKLAND
SCHOOL ATTENDANCE DUES COVID-19
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
Pentecost Sunday saw the doors of our church reopening. It was a wonderful feeling to be back ‘home’, celebrating mass together as a parish family. Masses this weekend will be celebrated at 5pm and 6.30pm Saturday evening; 8am, 9.30am, 11am and 5.30pm Sunday. While we are still under Alert Level 2 restrictions, please contact the parish office 534 8710 or [email protected] to nominate which mass you will be attending this weekend.
breathe on us your Holy breathe
that the Spirit may bring us
new life, vision and energy
in the service of Your Son,
The greatest gift we ever receive is the Spirit of God. Through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, the Spirit of God brings us the gifts of Courage, Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Reverence, Right Judgement, Wonder and Awe in God’s presence. These gifts help us maintain our moral compass, they help us to have the strength and courage to do good things. They help us to live out the mission of Jesus in our community. One of our parishioners, Bernadette Pereira, has been awarded the high honour “Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit” (MNZM) “for services to the Pacific community, and to women.” She is a true disciple of Jesus.
It is with great excitement we announce the recommencement of this year’s parish Sacramental Programme. Children already enrolled in the programme will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, Friday 21 August at 7pm, and the Sacrament of first Holy Communion over the weekend of the 22 and 23 August. This celebration is much awaited. Dates for the programme are below.
The last 3 months have proved to be challenging in many ways – lockdown, employment issues, relationships, isolation, uncertainty to name a few. These concerns are generally adult focussed yet children are very sensitive to the impact these things have on the adults around them, which may heighten their sense of anxiety. Anxiety can show up differently for children.
Some of the strategies you can use to support them include:
- letting your child know it’s ok to ask for help.
- nurturing optimism by looking at the positive things that are happening at the moment.
- talking through the problem
- using breathing techniques, i.e smell the flower, blow out the candle
Family prayer times are perfect opportunities to promote each of these strategies. When things get tough, I work on the theory that God has bigger shoulders than any of us. God is always there to help carry the load. (Matthew 11:28). Through prayer we can offer our concerns and worries to God, give thanks for all the goodness in our lives which we often overlook, use meditation techniques to promote peace and calmness and most importantly build our relationship with God.
If your child is finding things tough at the moment please let the classroom teacher know.
‘ Take care of our children.
Take care of what they hear.
Take care of what they feel.
For how children grow,
will be the shape of Aotearoa.’
Dame Whina Cooper
We give thanks for the many blessings we receive each day. Fill our hearts with a Spirit of gratitude, bringing Your peace and Your love to our lives.
Keep safe. God Bless
Deputy Principal / Director of Religious Studies
NEWS FROM THE CLASSROOM
Samoan Language Week
Talofa Lava, last week was Samoan Language Week. In our classes we celebrated this by using new phrases and words in Samoan. The Middle team also came together on the Friday to have a liturgy for Pentecost where we celebrated all the cultures of our school with a special emphasis on our Samoan culture.
Here we share with you Cullen demonstrating the Sign of the Cross in Samoan. We encourage you to use this in your family prayer.
POEMS from COVID 19
When this is over, may we never again take for granted…
Getting a haircut
Going to the gala
Having parties with my friends
Greeting the bus driver at the front door
Passing the rugby ball from side to side
Hugging friends and family
Buying clothes at botany
A dark cinema room
Giving someone a hand shake
The bell to start school
A Big Mac with a frozen raspberry drink
Making Tik Toks with friends
Catching the bus.
By Keanu Milne
When this is over, may we never again take for granted…
Visiting my grandparents
Using cash to pay for groceries
Watching a rugby ball flying over the post
Fishing from the dinghy
Taking a sip of warm hot chocolate
Swinging on the monkey bars
Eating spicy burritos
Shopping with others
My feet covered in the sand
Having long walks to the beach
Full shelves of food
Having a haircut
A Friendly handshake
By Toby Stewart
We Can Bring a Can
Before lockdown started, our school was taking part in our yearly Lent campaign of ‘We Can Bring a Can’ to help our parish Foodbank stock their shelves. In Room 23, we got into groups and chose different food companies to write to, and ask for their help to get even more food for the foodbank! We wrote to Sanitarium, but forgot all about it when we went into lockdown. Yesterday we got a surprise when a letter arrived from them! They were kind enough to send us $40 worth of vouchers that our Parish foodbank can use to buy Sanitarium products to add to their shelves! Thank you Sanitarium!
By Phoenix Lubich, Rios Hey and Justin Jung
Thanking Our Un-sung Heroes
Room 18 have been busy writing letters to our unsung heroes who have worked tirelessly during the lockdown period, risking their health and wellbeing to keep our community safe. We have had some wonderful responses. Christian Lianto thanked the Countdown in Meadowlands. His letter was greatly appreciated and in turn, received a box of chocolates as a thank you. Monica Naylor, Anthonio Mitalauskas, Luca Dreaver, Lucas Kato wrote to the Howick Fire Station and received a letter of thanks in return, which was very exciting! Mrs Cole also took Kristian Jelavic, Nicola Xue and Stefan Kozina to the New World in Howick and the Howick Police station to personally hand deliver their letters. These acts of appreciation and kindness have given us all the warm fuzzies in Room 18!
NEWS FROM THE INFORMATION CENTRE
Lunchtime in the Information Centre
The information Centre is such a busy place at lunchtime!
TERM DATES 2020