Sunday, 24 April 2011

Waitati School Column

By Antony Deaker

The school hosted staff from Education Review Office (ERO) in April.
This was a follow-up visit from a review completed two years ago. They
shared their preliminary findings with us verbally, which were all
positive, and a strong affirmation for the way the school is being
managed currently. They were impressed by the strong support for the
school from families and the community, which was demonstrated by the
numbers that turned up for a mihi whakatau to welcome them. When their
written report arrives we will publish it on the school website.

The school's strategic plan is now on the website. This describes our
goals to do with the management of the school, implementation of the
curriculum and our targets for pupil outcomes. You can read it at
www.waitati.school.nz

The school roll has continued to grow and we are likely to reach a
threshold later this year where a new teacher can be appointed. We
have seven new entrants starting in the second term.

In the last month our staff have attended further professional
development training in literacy and numeracy. Next term's inquiry
subject will be focused on science and we have the support of students
from the University Chemistry Department who will work in our
classrooms at various times.

Jenny Hayden and Mikaela Wilson have started a job-shared position in
the school garden and supporting enviro-Fridays. They offer a great
mix of in-depth garden knowledge with child-focussed strategies for
engagement and learning. Their position is supported by funding from
WWF.

In the last term our senior pupils have completed some great projects
to do with the school. One group tackled the dysfunctional water
fountains; did everything they could to sort it out themselves, found
a plumber got his advice and then asked him to complete the repairs.
An unexpected outcome of the exercise was learning the value of
getting written quotes from tradespeople.

Another group inspected the chicken house, identified the work that
needed to be done to get it ready for new chooks and did it
themselves! They have now put the call out for new chooks – if you
have more hens than you need please call the school to arrange
delivery or collection.

With the impending removal of the admin building a group of students
have come up with possible designs for the empty space. We think their
idea for a shelter, like a large pergola, where guests of the school
can be welcomed in any weather is great and we will investigate it
further with the pupils.

The other group is working on designs for a new school t-shirt.

Like many schools, Waitati briefly hosted refugees from the
Christchurch earthquake, we recently got this letter from one of them:
Dear Waitati School
Thank you for looking after me after the Christchurch earthquake. You
are very lucky to be at Waitati School because you can bring your
bike, scooter or your ripstick. I liked being able to climb trees and
have lots of space to run around in. It was nice to be in a class with
small numbers of children but big rooms. Best of all you were very
friendly.
Love Thomas Johnstone

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