Newsletter Week 7 Term 2 / Pānui Wiki 7 Wāhaka 2

Kia ora koutou

Auē, what challenging times! We are all working really hard to remain open for instruction. But, there are no guarantees at the moment. In the past week and a half, 6/7 of our full-time teaching staff have been unwell. It is a similar situation in a lot of schools. My son’s high school has been ‘hybrid’ for a lot of time due to teacher shortage. Sickness is stretching support within school, cover, and also finances.
Please help us look after our teachers! Keep children home when unwell, remind them about hygiene, and encourage masks (proper ones). Today we had 1/4 of the school absent due to illness. The old saying, “there must be something in the water”, I think would be more accurate to say, “there must be something in the air ” (windows are open but it is definitely a time to reconsider masks). I think we all know masks reduce the spread of illness if worn well, we are just a little over wearing them. But, needs must. Masks are available from school if you don’t have any. Whilst it is not compulsory if you don’t want to have to take time off work because we have had to move to online learning, perhaps encourage it with your child. No one likes wearing a mask, but let’s help our teachers (and each other) stay well over the next few weeks!

Short-term pain, long-term gain!!!!
In a few weeks, the building of two new rooms will be commencing at St Anne’s. Immediately following that, the renovation of Rooms 1 and 2 and the boys’ toilets attached to them. Hann Construction will be in action every day and our school will definitely look like a construction site!!!!
What’s happening? Due to our roll, two new kitted out rooms with kitchenette, toilets, break-out rooms, and a deck are being built, in addition to our 6 rooms and Mission Centre (currently Room 7 and 8). It will be built at the current location of the Music Room and Scooter Track.
Once this new block is built, classes will move in, and Rooms 1 and 2 will be vacated whilst they are upgraded and those smelly boys’ toilets get a real makeover.
Yes, music lessons will stop for the rest of the year. Yes, there will be a period of time without a scooter track. However, we have many play spaces and a new track on the cards.
There will be many changes to help with safety management.
♦  Fences will be erected through the basketball court, taking it out of action, to allow safe entry for trucks.
♦  Access to the school behind the junior rooms will be blocked and you will need to enter through the entrance foyer or around the library
♦  Kidsbase – You will need to walk students around the long way. It may take a few minutes longer to drop off during this time, so the alarm may have to be two minutes earlier for a while.
It is exciting to have a few more rooms to spread our children out and in the end to have four brand new rooms for our children. Don’t panic, they aren’t fully open plan, they will be flexible though, with glass sliding doors to allow classes to work together easier, should they want or need to.

Children changing classes for the second half of the year!
Due to our roll reaching capacity over the rest of the year and lack of space to fit another room at present, we will need to move children through to allow Room 1 entrants class to remain at a reasonable size. This means a number of children will be moved through from the room they are in, to the room one number higher. If this affects your child, you will be told in a few weeks (before the holidays). This will affect all rooms except Room 7.

Too many children are absent without explanation or notification.  It is a requirement for absences to be advised and we are required to follow up on all unexplained absences.  If a valid explanation is not obtained we mark as truant.   This is taking so much more time than usual in the morning. Nothing can be done in the morning until the process is complete. A few years ago, it was done by 9.05 am. Sometimes now we are still calling parents at 10 am. It is crazy! Please message us via the Skool Loop app (this won’t work if you have ‘no data’). Otherwise, call 03 3843073 and push 1. Before 9 am would be amazing.
Unless you can advise otherwise each day will need notification of absence.

Gate Safety
 NO parking on the yellow lines for ANY reason, it is not a drop-off zone!  You block traffic and cause congestion.  Please avoid U-turns outside of school.   Shut the gate as you come through so younger children cannot get out, please.

Gondola Trip and Bridle Path Walk
As a way to launch a new resource Mr Halkett and Miss Mapley have created for hundreds of teachers, and to experience a story the whole school has been reading ‘The Ghosts on the Hill’ both the junior and senior school set off to see Horomaka/Banks Pennisula/Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū. With Mr Isherwood’s amazing knowledge of early European history, coupled with Mr Halkett and my knowledge of early Māori history and stories of the area, we set off to see and hear about the area from two different perspectives.
We taught and told:

♦ Volcanic history
♦ Early European  stories
♦ Maui and the Monster
♦ Te Waka o Aoraki and Tūteraki Whanoa/Kahukura/Marokura
♦ Early Māori settlement (Rapuwai/Hanea/Waitaha/Ngāti Mamoe/Kāti Kurī)

Both trips were completely different and we hoped your children enjoyed them!

Here is a short recount from Charlotte Wright of Room 6, who joined the juniors as a helper.
On Wednesday I went on the gondola with the junior students. I was excited to join the junior students and on the way up I was in a carriage with Miss McVicar. We all got up safely and I was happy to be at the top with my feet firmly on the ground.

“Wow, pretty!” I said as I looked out at the view. I wasn’t that hungry but when I got my lunch box out I realised just how hungry I actually was.

Mr Wichman led us on a walk down the trail to ‘Ōketeupoko’ to talk to us about Maui, his wife, kids, and the monster. Then he told us a scary story about the spot where we were sitting, but we had the choice to listen to the scary bit or not.

After that Mr Wichman brought me and Shammie a treat for helping. She got a hot chocolate and I got a popsicle, then we went on the bus back to school.

Storytelling – Are your children ready?
This is next week! Hopefully, your child is learning a story ready for sharing next week. Some classes are doing it inside the class, and some have set it as extra homework. If you have not heard, please message your child’s teacher. Time is running low. We are excited to hear all the stories next week and then the best from each class on the Thursday before the Matariki holiday.

Sorry about the huge newsletter!
Have you ever read ‘A Squash and a Squeeze’? I think the school grounds will be a lot like this book over the rest of the year!
Have a great week!!

Dallas Wichman