Reporting to parents

I would like to introduce teachers Adie Bonisch and Robert Naysmith who are leading our curriculum development in 2009 and running this email discussion group.

They will be facilitating this email reference group, don't forget to tell any interested friends you have to email them or to join the group.

And while we are consulting don’t forget this term’s policy review feedback details here.

Let the discussion begin.......



Developing the New Waimairi School Curriculum

Thanks you to those who have volunteered to be involved with this working group.

Your contribution will help further clarify findings from the survey completed by many families last year.

Join the email group or add a comment to this blog entry.

Question 1

Reporting to Parents:

This is an area that our survey indicated needs change.

Questions to consider and comment on.

What do you value about reporting?

What areas of reporting are important to you? Social, academic? Why?

We report verbally and in written form. Which do you find valuable/prefer and why?

Do you find the reporting methods currently used in different areas of the school beneficial, confusing?

Please answer as you wish, these questions are just to get you thinking.

The information below explains where we are up to as a school with the New Curriculum and community consultation.

Where we are at with the new curriculum and community consultation.

At the end of last year the consultation process began in order to reach shared ideas about the school and where it should be heading. The response was fantastic and has helped us with our thinking. To start with staff have used this information to help form shared values and beliefs about education. The new New Zealand curriculum allows schools to focus on areas that are valued by them and the community, and to enhance these areas to improve outcomes/learning for children.

To begin the 2009 year all staff went to Wainui YMCA camp for two days to start the process of defining our core shared values and beliefs about education. We started to define what was important to us as a school and community, and what we value and want for our children. From this we will develop programmes and practices where our values and beliefs are the driving force. These values and beliefs are being defined at present and will be shared with the community shortly.

Throughout this year staff will be working to develop our new ‘Waimairi School’ Curriculum, which will reflect the staff and communities values and beliefs on education. A representative working group of parents (you) has been formed to help clarify some details as we move forward. Specific points raised throughout the survey will be addressed through this process. With your help we are now able to continue to develop our fantastic school.


Robert Naysmith and Adie Bonisch

(Curriculum Development Team)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - 07:57 AM
Rob & Adie
What do you value about reporting?

I like to get the end of year written report. I would prefer to get it in Term 4. In it I would like to see where my child is placed on the scale when they entered the class(after the testing in the first few weeks) and where they are at the end of the year. (For example...At term 1 xx is a Year 5 working at Level 3 and got 82/100 in the ?Test but at the end of year she got 99/100. This places her in the top 3 % of her age group). I would assume that testing would happen far more regularly than twice a year so that at any time a parent could ask this question and an answer given. I like to see evidence of the improvement they have made over the year both nationally and individually.

If there is an emphasis on the 'Two Key Goals' then I would like to see evidence by way of reference to that goal being achieved or not, so that two more goals can be set next year.

Update on childs progress (skills acheived and challenges that need addressing),
chance to discuss one on one with the teacher,
in the case of a written report a tangible update that can be shared with extended family and absentee parent,

What areas of reporting are important to you? Social,academic why?

First and foremost I want to see academic improvements in the school report so that I am able to see which things we can work on and a general direction for the next year. Then I want to see how my child is adding value to the class by behaviour, socialisation and positive participation in all aspects of school life. I'm not particularly interested in reading a teacher comment about their helpfulness,ability to keep the classroom clean and tidy and their willingness to help others(again) without first concentrating on their academic abilities.

Both although we celebrate and reward (special family dinner) the achievements in the social; side of the report rather than the academic as I believe this is the aspect of schooling that a child can control along with effort. While academic achievement is so different for every child largely based on what they have been gifted or not gifted with. I see academic reports as an update for me on progress.

We report verbally and in written form. Which do you find valuable/prefer and why?

I prefer the written end of year report but I can see value in having a verbal report/ parent meeting around the end of term 2, start of term 3 so that any problems or concerns can be acted upon before the end of the year.

I value both

Verbal, it is great to be one to one and have the option to ask questions.

Written, important to have a written update for the year and I like getting it in term 3 when there is still time to address any issues that may come to light rather the end of term 4 when the yr is done and dusted.

Do you find the reporting methods currently used in different areas of the school beneficial, confusing?

I do not like the A4 Topic and Term reports sent home at various times. This information should be on the one report at the end of the year. It is very messy to have several bits of paper to keep track of rather than one report.

I prefer the report issued to the senior part of the school and to be honest can barely remember the junior school one but at the time I thought it covered enough depth for the level.

General thoughts

I like being able to bring my child with me to interviews
I do like the annual report cards however based on feedback from others wonder if a how to read guide as the document is complicated .. what do parents from other parts of the community say …
I like getting the report at the end term3 or beginning term 4
I would like to know what my child needs to do to move onto the next step In learning

My children have always been informative about their school days so I usually know when testing and PAT’s etc have been carried out and usually make time to touch base with the teacher re the results.

Meet the teachers

It was great to see so many of you at the meet the teacher evening this week. Please see this evening of the beginning of contact and conversation between you and your children’s teachers.

Those who stayed for Alison’s Shroeder’s workshop were treated to some excellent insights into child behaviour and positive ways of dealing with some of the more frustrational aspects of parenting. Alison has provided her handout notes for you, collect a copy from Sue in the office.

Monday, March 2, 2009 - 08:44 PM
Hi everyone

Alison's workshop was brilliant. Really well run, and something for everyone in it. Is there any chance of the powerpoint being posted here?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 - 09:08 AM
Good suggestion. I have contacted Alison to see if this is possible

Monday, March 16, 2009 - 02:15 PM
Ditto above. Would like to be able to download the notes, etc. from here. Also, interesting to note how many parents were there, is this indicative of the size of the 'problem' (i.e. planning, organising, learning difficulties, etc.)?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 - 11:20 AM
Alison has kindly agreed and will be providing the notes as a download soon.
We had around 60 people present for Alison's workshop.

Thursday, March 19, 2009 - 01:07 PM
You can now download a copy of Alison's slides from the "Info' Central" page of our school website . Many thanks Alison for making these available

A levels playing field

If my child is a Year 4 student and in a Year 3 & 4 class how on earth can his teacher cover his Year 4 work and also teach the Year 3 kids their Year 3 work?

A common question with a fairly straightforward answer. There is no Year 3 curriculum, Year 6 curriculum or Year 1 curriculum for that matter.

During their time at primary school children work towards attaining skills and knowledge at three levels of achievement. By the end of Year 2 we are looking for attainment at level 1, by the end of Year 4 attainment at level 2 and by the end of Year 6 attainment at level 3. You can see from the chart above that it is a two-year journey for most children between levels.

Most children in Year 1/2 and 3/4 and 5/6 are working at the towards the same level. This is why we take advantage of composite classes to allow us to group children who will work best together. There are, of course, children who develop much faster or much slower. This is why we group classes together in vertical teams, tribes or rivers. With synchronised timetables within a team containing all age groups children can work with the teacher and children, at certain times of the day, best matching their needs in key subject areas such as maths, reading and writing. During the next few months some of our teachers will begin trialling this new flexibility with groups of children.

New Junior Playground

Thanks to our PTA, with support from the Eureka Trust, we plan to start construction of a brand new playground specially designed for our smallest students. This project, costing in excess of $50,000.00 is a stunning example of the parent power harnessed by our PTA. Thanks to not just the PTA committee but to all of you who have attended events or bought fundraising products, your money is being put to a very good use.

At this stage construction is planned for the April holidays.

Working on our school

Businesses often stagnate or even fail because those involved spend most of their time working ‘in’ their business rather than working ‘on’ their business. At times the same can be said of schools. At the end of January almost all of our 48 staff spent two days at Wainui on Banks Peninsular working ‘on’ our school.

The mission was to work out exactly what we value and believe about learning, teaching and working at Waimairi School. Our new school curriculum, our policy documents, our rules and procedures and our daily interactions with children and parents need to be based on a common and agreed set of values and beliefs to make sure everyone is working to realise our shared vision for the school.

It takes a long time, and will always be an evolving process but thank to parent input, the staff and Board are now forming our School Charter for 2009 - 2011. This public document will contain:

Who we are - information about the school, its community, history, location, etc.

The school vision

How the Board will recognise New Zealand’s cultural diversity and, in particular, how i will provide learning opportunities in Tikanga Mäori and Te Reo Mäori.

A strategic planning section that sets out the Board’s objectives for student achievement for the next 3 to 5 years and the ways in which the Board intends to achieve those objectives.

The expectations set out in this section will reflect the Board’s decisions as to how it intends to meet the aspirations of the school’s community, and how it intends to contribute to the achievement of national education priorities.

This section will also contain or refer to:

the Board’s longer-term curriculum development and implementation priorities;

the Board’s 3 to 5 year financial objectives, including how the Board will monitor and control Board expenditure in a prudent fashion and how it will meet its financial reporting and auditing responsibilities.

the Board’s plan for providing a safe and healthy learning environment, including either a copy of or summary of the school’s 10 year property plan.

The Charter must also include an annual plan that will need to be updated each year.

In this section the Board will set out the short-term priorities and targets for improving student achievement, which it has set for the coming year, to make progress towards its strategic objectives. This must detail how the Board intends to achieve those outcomes.

In this section the Board will also describe or refer to:

its capital improvement and maintenance projects for the forthcoming year including all significant expenditure items;

its plans for personnel development, performance management, and meeting EEO obligations;

its financial plans which show how resources will be allocated to achieve improved student outcomes; and

the school’s annual budgeted financial statements;

its health and safety strategies for staff and students;

how the Board intends to implement and integrate programmes for which the school may have been granted special support or additional resources.

The Board will also use the Charter to communicate:

Its proposed processes and timelines for consultation with the school’s community including the Mäori community (as required in the NAGs).