Friday, 1 September 2017

Think to Drink - Drink to Think

Today we launched our next strategy Think to Drink - Drink to Think.

The ‘Think to Drink: Drink to Think’ programme is part of a project which aims to foster an environment that supports children following the Canterbury earthquakes. The experience of these earthquakes may have caused stress therefore taking care of one’s body is an important way to help cope with stress. In class your child will be given a free drink bottle so that they can increase their water intake in the afternoons. This bottle is NZ made and BPA free.

In class they will learn about the importance of staying hydrated for their mind and body. We have provided you with some basic information so that your child can come home and tell you what they have learned.

Why do we need to think about drinking?

Studies show that many children, from both hot and cold climates, are often dehydrated when learning at school. Being adequately hydrated has been shown to improve short-term memory and kidney function, which may make bed-wetting less likely to happen.

What is hydration?

Hydration is simply having enough water in your body. Being hydrated simple makes you feel better and think more clearly. Dehydration may result from inadequate water intake and/or from losing body water and can develop rapidly or slowly.

How can you tell if children are dehydrated?


Symptoms of mild dehydration can be difficult to spot. By the time children get home from school many are complaining of tiredness or headaches and some may be too lethargic to do anything but slump in front of the television. Although we may think of this behaviour as normal, it is now known that it may, at least in part, be due to the effects of dehydration.

How much should children drink?

The standard recommendation is 5 glasses (1 litre) for 5 to 8 year olds, 7 glasses (1.5 litres) for 9 to12 year olds, 8 to 10 glasses (2 litres) for 13+ years.

What effect does drinking water have on thinking?

Water makes up about 80% of the brain and is an essential element in neurological transmissions. Staying hydrated positively affects a child's mental performance, learning ability, and helps to cope with stress.

Reference: Information taken from resource provided by the Cluster

Friday, 11 August 2017

What Does the Future of Learning Look Like?

Each week we want to share articles with you that discuss the future of learning in our schools. We would love to start some conversations with you about teaching and learning so feel free to comment or ask questions.

This article is sources from http://educationreview.co.nz

Author of The Future of Learning, MARK TREADWELL, says we need to embrace learning systems that have proven over thousands of years to be far more equitable and successful than rote learning has proven to be over the past 200 years.


Education Review: If the purpose of education is to ready young people for the life ahead of them, what should the future of learning look like?

A: Schools were designed in the 19th and 20th centuries, where the focus was on selecting the top 10–20 per cent of ‘clever’ students to go to tertiary institutions to learn how to manage and tell the remaining 80 per cent what to do. The 80 per cent mostly worked in poorly paid, tedious jobs in factories, administration, service or manual work environments.

In the 21st century that landscape has changed dramatically with software-driven, automated, robotised, prefabricated solutions created using 3D printing processes, ordered online, while our personal lives are often lived out in a hyper-connected environment, resulting in further complexity.

To read more of this article click here

Feel free to make comments, ask questions or start conversations in the comments section below.  

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Farewell to Our Year 8 Students

Last night we held the inaugural prize giving for St Francis of Assisi Catholic school. For those who were unable to make I have decided to post the speech that I made because there are messages in that we think everyone would like to hear...




Mr Music, Members of the Board of Trustees, Staff, Parents and friends of St Francis of Assisi Catholic school and of course our wonderful students

You are the people that make up the community of St Francis of Assisi Catholic School.

What a fabulous opportunity we have all had this year, it has come after a number of years of challenge for many of you.

Challenges always come to prepare you for the great things that are coming your way.

Often the best view comes after the hardest climb.

When I accepted this role as Principal of St Francis I knew I would face some challenges. I consider it a privilege to have been welcomed into this community as Principal and to lead the establishment of this new school. At this point I want to thank the establishment BOT Alison Wilkie, Tom Music, Bill Morgan, Matt Tippen, Liz Gardiner  and our Governance Facilitator Terri Johnstone - your support throughout my first few months in this role was unwavering and I am very thankful to have had your expertise and backing.

I would also like to thank our new BOT so ably led by our Bot chairperson Tom Music - Jo Byrne, Katherine Eveleigh, Jonathan Mckenzie, Carol Dean, Clare Bell, Tania Ellenbroek, Richard Mackay . Thanks for putting your hand up and making our a school a priority. Your time and input is valued. I am enjoying working with all of you.

It is parents and school working together that make this community special, it is the commitment of Tom Music and the BOT, Kim Goggin and the PTA and the support of the Parish that make this community special, and it is you - the parents who also make our school community special - thank you to all of you.

If we are doing our job of being a truly Catholic school, then the philosophy behind the school, the ethos we should have, the way we do things should be distinctively Catholic.

I would like to thank Father Simon and Father Paul for all that they do to help us be distinctively Catholic. We appreciate the support and guidance you both provide.

Education in a Catholic school is based around the belief that our Creator made each one of us with all our gifts and talents and abilities.

Because we believe that God created each one of us, we try to respect each person, and to teach them about the rights and responsibilities that each of us has.

The Catholic school philosophy is built on the Gospel values that Jesus modelled to us.

Parents and teachers work with each child to discover and develop their God given talents.

We try to help students experience the support, responsibility and sense of achievement that can come from working in teams and communities.

Every day you parents hand off your children, your most cherished possessions to us. Each of your individual children is special and loved.

Sitting here tonight you can be assured that St Francis is the right place for your children to be. St Francis is an exciting, stimulating and challenging place. We’ve lived through many challenges, we’ve demonstrated our resilience and now is the time to move on. We are inspired to move forward.

At St Francis we have teachers in front of your children who are, in partnership with you the parents dedicated to teaching the whole person.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff - teachers and support staff, the foundation staff of St Francis of Assisi school - we are very lucky to have staff with such a high level of enthusiasm and expertise. Every decision that has been made, every activity that has been planned, every action has been carried out - has happened  with the learner - your children - at the centre.

Walt Disney once said “you can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful idea in the world, but it requires people to make the dream a reality. This is certainly the case at our school. The learning experiences that have taken place this year could not have happened without a  great deal of commitment  and support from a lot of different areas - your children are at the heart of this.

From day one, by design, everyone who teaches at St Francis shares the common commitment to deliver the curriculum in a way that will best suit the needs of our children. We are blessed with this wonderful environment. Here we guide your children to develop the competencies that they will need to become critical thinking and actively involved citizens in this ever changing world. This means that curriculum delivery will look different from the way it was when you went to school - and this is a good thing.

We are really proud of the fact that we are among the forerunners in introducing innovative practice. Already Staff from other schools are visiting and observing our teachers practice to help them develop their own innovations. We are upping the anti on this next year as we roll out the 1-1 Chromebook initiative from Year 5-8.

Technology is a game changer for educators. Preparing our students not only to be digitally savvy, but leveraging these technologies to help them create, communicate, connect and collaborate will prepare them to be contributing citizens to their future. We have the opportunity to bring the world to the classroom everyday. I would be excited to have this opportunity as a learner, but I am even more excited as an educator. We have the means to create opportunities where our students not only learn, but connect with people around the globe.

At St Francis we have a group of professionals who are constantly striving to ensure that we are abreast of best practice in 21 century education… and it  has been my pleasure to work with this dedicated group of people during 2016.

In particular I want to acknowledge the Senior Leadership team. Maire Bowler and Sarah Burrowes - you have both worked so hard this year and with such vision - you have guided and supported staff…. What a privilege it has been to work so closely with both of you this year.

Sadly tonight we farewell some of our teachers as they seek other opportunities.

Ali Ward -  Ali has been our Reading Recovery teacher and has worked in Learning Support this year. She is taking up the opportunity to work closer to home next year. We thank you Ali and wish you well for you start at Oaklands in 2017.

Melissa Burtenshaw - Melissa has been working in our Paiaka Hub this year and has secured a permanent job at Marshland School. We congratulate you Melissa, you have made a great start to your teaching career and we wish you well.

Carly Burgess, Carly came to us half way through the year and very quickly became an integral member of the Tumu Hub. She is staying in the Catholic system but is off to  Melbourne. Thanks Carly - we have enjoyed having you here and wish you well.

Charlotte Parish - Charlotte originally came to St francis for  the first term however we managed to persuade her to stay for the year and we are so glad we did. Charlotte is taking some time to work on growing her family business next year but we are not ruling out the fact that we might see her in the future. We wish you well for next year - and we really hope to have you back here in the future.

Sarah Burrowes - Sarah has been an integral member of the Senior Leadership team this year. Sarah has had the fantastic opportunity to move with her partner to Gore to establish a business there. Sarah has also secured an Assistant Principal role at West Gore School. Sarah, I want to thank you for your commitment right to the end, your loyalty to St Francis School, the staff and especially the senior leadership team. We are really happy for you and wish you well for this next phase in your life - however you will be greatly missed.

Even though these five staff are leaving - they will always be linked to us as foundation staff members fo St Francis of Assisi Catholic School.

Year 8 Leavers
And now to our Year 8 students - tomorrow will be your last day at Primary school - Our future seems destined to be in capable hands - this year  as will be highlighted in the awards part of our evening our Year 8’s have achieved great things - too many to highlight or single out suffice to say that these students have aimed high, set their goals and for the most part not only achieved them but surpassed them.

Tonight is a celebration of your graduation - from Wednesday you will not be a student at St Francis but always remember you will never cease to be a foundation student of  St Francis.
As you face and tackle the inevitable challenges - hold true to yourselves. Be distinctively Catholic - Remember to hold onto your value system, your work ethic and most importantly your humanity. It is these qualities that will guide you further on your journey.
Remember the best view often comes after the hardest climb - and it is your attitude along the way that will make all the difference.

I wish you all a happy and holy Christmas and thank you for your presence here tonight.

Thank you.


Monday, 2 May 2016

St Francis of Assisi Board of Trustee Elections

The role of the establishment Board of Trustees comes to a finish on the 10th of June this year.. This is the date that our newly elected Board of Trustees will take over the reins.What a fantastic job they have done in setting up this wonderful new school and supporting the staff through the first term. Thanks to Alison Wilkie (eBOT Chair), Matt Tippen, Tom Music, Liz Gardiner and Bill Morgan for all their efforts. Thanks also to Terri Johnstone for everything she has done in her role of Governance Facilitator as well.

We are now looking for people who are willing to step up and put their names forward and become part of the first Board of Trustees for St Francis of Assisi School.

Have you thought about becoming a Trustee? We need people who are willing to help develop the vision of the school alongside all our stakeholders: parents, students, teachers, parish...

The BOT Elections are happening at the end of this month. As a parent you will receive information through the post this week about the election process. Should you wish to nominate someone or be nominated there is a form to complete and send back to our returning officer Wayne Jamieson, CES.

Time Line

By Friday 6th May  Nomination forms will be posted to all persons on the schools caregiver roll.

Friday 20th May 
NOMINATIONS CLOSE – 20th May at noon. An election will then be held if the number of nominations exceed vacancies. For our school the number of vacancies is 5.

Wednesday 25th May 
Voting papers will be sent by post to all on the school caregiver roll. 

Friday 3rd June     
Voting closes at 12 noon.

Thursday 9th June 
Votes are counted and candidates advised of the results.


Friday 10th June     
New Board takes office

The Role of the Board of Trustees
The board is the employer of all staff in the school and is responsible for setting the school's strategic direction in consultation with parents, staff and students, and for ensuring that it school provides a safe environment and quality education for all its students. Boards are also responsible for overseeing the management of personnel, curriculum, property, finance and administration.

The Board entrusts the principal with the implementation of the charter and policies on a day to day basis.

To find out more about what is involved being a Trustee check out this link. It is an excellent resource.

A Parent's Guide to the Role of the Board of Trustees


Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Take Time to Stop and Smell the Roses

             What a fantastic journey we are all on ... It has been a fast and furious 11 weeks.





Wednesday 13 April

A visitor to our school yesterday gave me cause to stop and reflect about just how far we have come in such a short time and I am very grateful because in the throws of the normal school day this is something I forget to do sometimes!

A tour of the school - visiting all the learning spaces during our numeracy time slot was enlightening. Our visitor reported that there was a hum about the place, a high level of engagement in all the learning areas. As teachers - this is exactly what we want to hear. This is what we strive for.

"Engaged students are more attentive, excited, involved, and eager to participate. From the perspective of the teacher, there is a strong positive correlation between student engagement and student achievement." (Hoff, 2013)

In eleven short weeks the teachers have developed programmes of work, established positive learning environments, built connections with the students in their learning hubs, built connections with their team members and begun to build some strong connections in the community. 

It is definitely time to stop and smell the roses before marching forward into Term 2! 


Jo Earl


Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Holy Week - Breaking Open the Gospel


For the four days this week we have gathered as a school to retell the story of Easter. Holy Week is one of the most important weeks in the Catholic Liturgical year and began last weekend on Palm Sunday. 

We have used a resource called the Resurrection Eggs to help break open the Gospel readings for the children. Each day we have opened three eggs to find out the symbols inside - these symbols help us retell the story.

Thanks so much to our DRS Suzanne Newton and our Year 8 Special Character Leaders for organising these very special mornings for us.



MONDAY
Egg #1: Donkey Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem. In times of peace, a king would ride a donkey. We celebrate this on Palm Sunday. 

Egg #2: Coins 
Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 silver coins. The Jewish leaders did not believe Jesus. They wanted him to die. 

Egg #3: Cup 
Jesus and his followers drank from a cup. They were together for the Passover meal. This was the last meal before Jesus died. It is called the Last Supper.                                                    

TUESDAY
Egg #4: Praying hands 
Jesus went to a garden to pray. The garden was called the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was sad. But He knew that He must die.

Egg #5: Leather strap 
Jesus was whipped. They used leather straps to hit Jesus. 

Egg #6: Crown of thorns  
The soldiers placed a crown of thorns on Jesus’ head. 

WEDNESDAY
Egg #7: Nails 
We do wrong things. We do not obey God. God is perfect. Jesus never did anything wrong. But, Jesus was nailed to a cross. Three nails were driven into Jesus’ hands and feet. Jesus died for us. He died instead of us. Now we can come to God – because of Jesus.

Egg #8: Die (Dice) 
Jesus was on the cross dying. The soldiers played a game using dice. They wanted Jesus’ clothes.

Egg #9: Spear 
Jesus was on the cross. Soldiers put a spear into his side. Jesus was dead. 

HOLY THURSDAY
Egg #10: Linen
They took Jesus from the cross. Joseph was a follower of Jesus. He wrapped Jesus’ body in a linen cloth. Joseph put Jesus’ body in a tomb. 

Egg #11: Stone 
A very large stone was placed in front of the tomb. The stone protected the tomb. No one could get in or out. Some women came to the tomb early on Sunday morning. The stone had been moved!

Egg #12: Empty 
The women looked in the tomb. Jesus was not there! An angel appeared. He said, “Jesus is not here. He has risen.” He is still alive today. 


Sunday, 13 March 2016

Holy Week at St Francis of Assisi School


Next week is Holy Week. 

Click here for The Story of Holy Week

Holy Week is the week before Easter commemorating events in the last days of Jesus' life on Earth. It begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Monday.

Each day of Holy Week we will gather together as a whole school at the beginning of the day to break open the Gospel, share the Holy Week story with the children and pray.

Please join us daily at 9.05am next week - we would love to share this special time with you.

Jo Earl and Suzanne Newton