School Newsletter – 2016 Term 2 Week 9

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Welcome to this final newsletter for Term 2. It has been a busy term and I am sure the last week will be no different. Could I please ask that you spread the word concerning our Open Day and Open Night next Tuesday 5 July This is a really important occasion for our school and it is always good to see a lot of prospective parents there. Thank you for your help with this.

Can I also say a big thank you to all parents who came to collect their children from the disco last Friday night. Without a doubt it was the best collection we have had for quite some time. I think the last child was picked up by about 9:10pm, which is really very much appreciated by all the staff who were attending. Thanks to the Student Council, Miss Timblick and all the other staff who attended to support our children, and to the PTA who worked tirelessly selling drinks, food and glow items. All of these people worked together to ensure our student community could have a safe and enjoyable time, and their efforts are much appreciated.

We had the first meeting of our new Board of Trustees on Thursday 16 June. At this meeting, Victoria Sergel was elected as Board Chair. Other members of the Board are:

  • Paul Lancaster (Co-opted);
  • Dean Heney (Elected);
  • Harry Harris (Co-opted);
  • Kate Webb (Elected);
  • Peter Osborne (Elected);
  • Richard Chambers (Elected);
  • Julie Anderson (Staff Representative);
  • And myself.

I am sure that the school, is in safe hands with this dedicated group of parents.

This morning we welcomed pupils from Ilam School for our ‘Kirkwood Kid for a Morning’. This is a great event which allows us to share our school with our nearest and only contributing school. Our students were extremely friendly and welcoming which made our visitors feel at ease.

Next Friday you will be receiving your child’s midyear report. This report is based on much public consultation and we all hope you find it valuable. Please also note that it is intended to be a conversation starter for the Teacher-Parent-Child interviews scheduled for Week 2 of next term. These interviews are really important opportunities for you to talk about how your child is getting on at school and to provide information that may help our teachers work better with your child. Please make attending these a priority.

At the end of this Term we farewell Miss Kate Faith, Room 4’s classroom teacher. Miss Faith has decided to move nearer to her partner and we wish her well for her future. We are currently seeking a replacement for Miss Faith and hope to have this settled by the beginning of Term 3.

At the end of next week, the school will close for the two week mid-year holiday. I hope that whatever you do, and where ever you go, you take the time to spend time as a family, enjoying each other’s company. We will look forward to seeing you back at Kirkwood, ready for the very important Term 3, on Monday 25 July.

Best wishes!

Phil Tappenden
Principal

School Newsletter – 2016 Term 2 Week 7

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Welcome to this edition of our school newsletter. We have certainly been fortunate to have had a good spell of autumn weather this week – I am sure it will change soon and we will be plunged back into winter. However, our school sports teams are certainly enjoying the opportunity to play against other schools, and our results, whilst a mixed bag at times, do show improvement. What really pleases our staff though, is the way our children behave when out of the school, whether it be on sports outings or class trips. We are really fortunate that our children buy into our school ethos of representing our school with pride and humility, of acknowledging our own success, but also the success of others. This was shown last week by our rugby team who were being outplayed all over the field by a better team. Regardless of how the game was going and how the score ballooned out, they kept their heads up and continued to try their best, with an outstanding attitude. At the end of the day all we ask as a school is that our children display the values we hold dear, and the rugby team certainly did that. I have also heard so many positive reports on the attitude and behaviour of our children at other sporting events – korfball, table tennis, netball, football, hockey, basketball, squash and water polo. Thank you to all of those children who participate so well, so consistently, and so often. You are a credit to our school.

On Tuesday afternoon we held a small function to farewell Mrs Chrissy Ford (nee McLean). Chrissy has been with us for just over 10 years and has resigned to move to Invercargill as her husband has won a new position there. Chrissy added much to our school during her time here and will be very much missed.

You will be aware that just recently we have held Board of Trustees elections. We have always been very fortunate at Kirkwood to have had dedicated and supportive Boards to lead our school, and I am sure this Board will be no different. We have the first meeting of the new Board tonight, from 5:15pm in the staff room. At this meeting office holders will be elected. I will make sure that names and contact details are available to our community just as soon as I can. I would like to thank our previous Board for all they have done during their time with us. In particular, I would like to thank Paul Lancaster for his leadership as Board Chair for 5 years, John Goddard for his sensible advice – especially in areas of law, and Harry (John) Harris for his very worthwhile contributions to our school. Without people such as these, and those in our new Board, my role as Principal would be incredibly difficult. Thank you again to all who choose to support our school in this way.

The next meeting of our school PTA is scheduled for Wednesday 22 June at 7:30pm in the staff room. I know that any interested parents are always welcome at PTA meetings, and it is a good way of keeping in touch with what is happening at Kirkwood.

The school disco is approaching fast! This will be held on Friday 24 June, starting at 7:00pm and finishing promptly at 9:00pm. We ask parents to not let the children arrive at school too early – 6:55pm is fine, and to come and collect their children from the school hall promptly at 9:00pm. Thank you for your support with this.

I know many of our Year 8 families are applying for high school at the moment. Please remember that you should enrol at your “in-zone” school, even if you are applying for another school. This will help the high schools have a better understanding of possible enrolments next year. Some high schools are asking for a copy of your child’s most recent school report – midyear reports will be issued by us at the end of this term, which should be in plenty of time for your application. As far as I am aware no high school has a “first in first served” policy.

Thinking about enrolments, our school Open day and Night will be held on Tuesday 5 July. If you know of anyone thinking about attending Kirkwood next year, could you please remind them of this date. Enrolments for next year are now open, and it does help us to plan if we have a good idea of how many students will be attending Kirkwood.

Thank you for your on-going support of our school.

Best wishes!

Phil Tappenden
Principal

School Newsletter – 2016 Term 2 Week 5

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Welcome to this edition of our school newsletter. What a change in the weather! Winter is certainly here and with winter comes a reminder about safe travel to and from school and also don’t forget that when it’s wet we are really happy for our children to wear gumboots to school and slippers inside the classroom. Fortunately, our heating system works really well and our school buildings are usually warm and dry.

I was privileged recently to represent our school in Chengdu which is in the Sichuan province of China, where I signed a sister school agreement with the Chengdu BiLingual Experimental School. This school has children from 5 years old through to 14-15. They are very keen to learn more about New Zealand and to improve their English language schools. Opportunities may well exist for a sister school exchange trip in 2017 with students and teachers both going to, and coming from, Chengdu. I hope to be able to tell you more about this in the future.

In staff news we are very pleased to be able to share that our Head of Technology has been selected to work with the National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement (NMSSA) – a national body who work with a range of schools evaluating our education system through student learning. This will mean that Ms Anderson will be away for Term 3. We know that she will return to Kirkwood with a real in-depth knowledge of modern assessment practices. Mr Ingle will assume the Head of Technology position in her absence.

In not quite such good staff news we will be shortly farewelling Mrs Ford, who has been at Kirkwood for over 10 years. Mrs Ford will be moving to Invercargill to join her husband in his new role. It is an understatement to say that Mrs Ford will be missed. In her time with us she has added so much to our school and has been instrumental in the success of so many children. An outstanding teacher, a consummate professional and a very good friend to our school. I know I speak on behalf of our whole community when I wish her all the very best for her future, and thank her for all she has done.

Currently we are seeking two homestay families for long term students. We will have a lovely Chinese boy starting early next term who has some English, is really interested in lego, reading books and eating western food, who loves animals and who really would like to spend time with a warm and caring family. If you think you may be interested in helping, please contact me at school. We may also be asking for some short term home stay families as well – again, if you might be interested, can you contact either me or the school office.

Hopefully we may see some improvement in the weather – a fine weekend would be really good I know.

Thank you for your continued support of our school.

Best wishes!

Phil Tappenden
Principal

School Newsletter – 2016 Term 2 Week 3

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Dear Parents/Caregivers,

Welcome to this edition of our school newsletter. This week has seen the start of our winter sports programme with many of our children travelling to different venues. I know that our children are really keen to do well, and I would like your support to reinforce the concept of being humble in victory and gracious in defeat. At Kirkwood we really want to stress the “sportsmanship” aspect of sport – winning is great however participation is really important too. Thank you to all the parents who attend our sports and provide such positive support for our teams.

With the winter months approaching, we will be stressing the need for care in regards to road safety. The sun is lower in the sky making our roads less safe and with wet conditions added to this, it doesn’t help. Our children are only allowed to cross Riccarton Road at the lights and there are always teachers on duty there after school.

The ICAS testing programme began on Tuesday with the Digital Technologies exam being the first one pupils completed. These exams will continue all term and your child will be reminded the day before as well as on the day in the school notices. The exam dates can also be found on the calendar in this newsletter and also on our website.

We have an extension writing group and soon to be extension maths group. Our extension writing group have published their first Newspaper and we look forward to the second edition coming out soon.

Mr Smith is beginning an extension maths group next week. He will select a couple of pupils from each class to take part in a variety of maths extension tasks.

Our school Open Day and Open Night are coming soon – Tuesday 5 July. If you know anyone who may be thinking of sending their child to Kirkwood next year can you please advise them of this date and encourage them to attend.

Year 8’s are in the process of selecting high schools for next year. They are going to open nights and some are sitting a variety of tests for placement purposes. We don’t offer opinions about high schools but we support all children in this process.

Thank you for all you do to support our school and work alongside us as we do the best we can for your child. I look forward to the rest of this term and year.

Best wishes!

Peter Aitken
Deputy Principal

School Newsletter – 2016 Term 2 Week 1

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Welcome to the first newsletter for Term 2. I hope you all had a great holiday and your children are now refreshed and energised for a new term. I know Phil Tappenden thanked you for taking part in the TeacherParent-Child interviews, I can only stress how important these were for setting goals for your children for the term ahead.

Phil is currently away for the next two weeks representing our school at events off shore. So during this time, if you should have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.

Every term is busy and one of the highlights in Term 2 is the winter sport. This begins on Tuesday 17 May. We have lunch a little earlier on Tuesdays and our teams leave around 1:10pm. Generally, teams are back by 3pm, however, there are times when buses are held up for some reason so occasionally your child may be late back to school. Children are allowed to go home in their sports uniforms on Tuesday afternoons.

We held our commemoration assembly for ANZAC day on the final Friday of last term. For the second year, we were honoured to have Brigadier Tom Leighs come and speak to us about the importance of ANZAC day.

Even though the weather has been tremendous, we do expect bad weather at some stage. We are very lucky, having a most efficient heating system. Your children may want to bring slippers to wear in the classroom during the winter and they are welcome to do so if this is the case.

Our next PTA meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 24 May at 7:30pm in the staffroom. Please feel welcome to come along.

Board elections are very soon – please consider whether you may wish to stand as a Board member and if so, to forward your nomination a soon as possible. You should receive your nomination form in the post this week. If you have any questions please feel welcome to contact either the Board Chairman, Paul Lancaster, or me at school at any time.

We will be holding our open day and night on Tuesday 5 July. If you know anyone who may be interested in having their child attend Kirkwood next year, please let them know.

Remember, if there is ever any cause for concern, please contact your child’s classroom teacher.

Kind Regards

Peter Aitken
Deputy Principal

School Newsletter – 2016 Term 1 Week 11

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Welcome to this final edition of our school newsletter for this term. School will finish at 2:55pm as usual tomorrow and re-opens on Monday 2 May at 8:40am. I hope that all of our friends, families and staff manage to have a good break with some quality family time included. This term has been a very busy one for all of us, and I know the staff are certainly looking forward to some time to themselves.

I hope you managed to attend your Teacher–Parent–Child interview earlier this week. These are really important times where the welfare of your child is most important. Reports I have had back from our staff is that they enjoyed these meetings, and that much valuable discussion was had. I hope you felt the same.

It is interesting to walk around the school during this past week and to see how our children have grown into a school. From the beginning of the year through until now we have seen such a growth in all of our students. Most have a real sense of belonging and are proud to be part of the Kirkwood community – something that means so much to all of us. Again, I hope you and your family also feel a very important part of our school.

I will be away from school at the beginning of Term 2, representing our school at events off shore. While I am away Peter Aitken will be Acting Principal and I know he will be working hard to ensure the school continues smoothly. Please feel welcome to contact him if you should have any questions or concerns.

The Board of Trustees elections are happening soon. Nomination forms will be sent out to you at the beginning of May. If you wish to stand for the Board, please remember to get your nomination in by 12 noon on 20 May. Serving your school and community on a Board is a very valuable way to ensure our school continues to grow and thrive.

Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable break.

Phil Tappenden
Principal

School Newsletter – 2016 Term 1 Week 9

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Welcome to this edition of our school newsletter. I hope that all of our families and friends managed to have an enjoyable and restful Easter weekend. I was told that we have not had a separate Easter break since 2011 – most of the time this break coincides with our April school holiday. Hopefully all at Kirkwood will be revitalised and able to work our way through to the next holiday break.

One event I would like to encourage you to attend is the Parent, Child, Teacher interviews being held in the last week of this term. This is a really worthwhile opportunity for you to meet your child’s teacher and discuss progress to date, and future goals. We usually get a very high level of attendance and I hope that this time will be no different. If you are unable to attend a meeting at this time, please feel welcome to get in touch with your child’s teacher and make an alternative time.

At the beginning of Term 3 we hope to be hosting some children from China for a two week programme. If you think you might be able to home stay one of our visitors, could I please ask you to get in touch with Sonya Song – the more home stays we have the easier it is for our school to organise. We do pay a good rate for our homestay families, but there is also the added benefit of sharing your home with a person from another culture – which can be a very good learning experience for all involved.

Can I remind parents that, as the days become a little cooler, children are able to wear the school track pants from the beginning of Term 2, through until the end of Term 3. Also, with the mornings and afternoons getting a little darker, it may be a good idea for children to have an item of clothing that shows up clearly in the darker conditions.

Thank you for your on-going support of the school. Please always feel welcome to contact the school should you have any questions or concerns.

Kind regards

Phil Tappenden
Principal

School Newsletter – 2016 Term 1 Week 7

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Welcome to this edition of our school newsletter. School life continues to be busy with many opportunities available for our children. Part of the fun of being at an intermediate school is taking advantage of what’s available. Currently staff are holding trials for winter sports and these sports can be a really good way of getting to know more people. I see that an active Chess club has started along with a range of other things for children to do. I hope you will encourage your child to get involved, try new things and make the most of what we have to offer.

It was with real sadness that I read of the sudden death of a young girl at an Intermediate school in the North Island. It seems that bullying, and in particular cyber bullying, may have had quite a lot to do with this tragedy. In Term 2 we will be hosting John Parsons, a well known speaker on these issues and all classes will be having time with him. After school we will be holding a full staff meeting and then in the evening we will be inviting our community in to listen to him discuss current issues and trends. There will be more information available closer to the time, but I strongly suggest that you attend if you can. The evening session will, I think, be aimed more at an adult audience, but should support the learning your child will have already had in the day.

Before the end of this term you will be invited in to meet with your child’s teacher and discuss progress to date. You will also have an opportunity to set some goals for either the short term, or for the rest of the year. Setting goals with your child is a really valuable tool to help children with their learning, which is one reason why we suggest your child should be with you during the interviews. There will be more information available for you shortly.

I would like to thank all of those who were able to support our chocolate sales this year. Money has been coming in quite well, and chocolates have been sold all over Christchurch. I think the pupil who knocked on my door got quite a surprise when I answered, but I have to say she was doing everything really well by being dressed in her uniform, having two friends keeping her company and being very well mannered. It was a pleasure to see how she represented our school. There will be prizes for some lucky (and hardworking) sellers – hopefully this will all be decided before the end of this term.

Our next PTA meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 30 March, and our next Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday 31 March. All interested families are very welcome to attend.

Please remember that if you have any queries, questions or comments, you are always welcome to contact us at school. I hope you and your child enjoy the rest of this term.

Kind regards

Phil Tappenden
Principal

School Newsletter – 2016 Term 1 Week 5

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Welcome to this edition of our school newsletter. It is hard to believe that we are nearly half way through the first term already. I think the school is well settled, with our children very much getting used to being a part of the Kirkwood community for 2016. The Year 7 camps have now finished and it is really good that all camps were able to complete all the activities, rather than having some postponed due to inclement weather. It was really good to see how happy (and tired) the children were on their return from camp. This activity does help to create new friendships and a positive class culture. Many thanks to all the adults – teachers, support staff, parents and our youth workers Jeremy and Lizzie – for your invaluable support.

The Kirkwood PTA held its first meeting last week with a new committee established and office holders elected. This is a really good group of parents and I look forward to working with them over the space of this year. I would like to thank, once again, the many parents who have helped last year and who have now moved on. The support of our community is never undervalued by our staff and we hope that you have enjoyed this experience. I am sure that the PTA will welcome any more parents who wish to join at any stage during the year. The first major fundraiser is the sale of chocolates – there is more information about this later in the newsletter. I do hope you will support this fundraiser, as the money raised is spent to help your child, at your school. Thank you in advance.

In previous newsletters I have raised the possibility of the school organising a trip to China and Korea later this year. It seems likely that our sister school in Jeonju (South Korea) will be keen on a reciprocal exchange this year, which makes our visit much more manageable. I have included the expression of interest form with this newsletter – please feel welcome to return this to the school, or to come to school on Tuesday 15 March at 7:00pm for an information evening. This meeting will most likely be in the Room 7 (the ESOL classroom) and should last no more than one hour.

I do hope you are enjoying your association with our school. Please remember we are to here to provide a safe, happy learning environment where all of our pupils can achieve to their best. Working with you makes this much easier to achieve.

Best wishes

Phil Tappenden
Principal

School Newsletter – 2016 Term 1 Week 3

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Dear Parents/Caregivers

Welcome to this edition of our school newsletter. The first three weeks seem to have gone by so quickly! It is good to walk around the school and see the children feeling much more comfortable and at home. The Year 8 children are well settled and many have applied for the leadership positions we have available. Not all can be successful but that’s life – putting your name forward is a positive step and our advice to all is to keep trying. Our Year 7 children either have been on camp, are on camp, or are preparing to go on camp. I would like to thank all the parents who have been able to offer help with this – without your support we could not offer these opportunities. Thanks too, to the teaching staff who give up so much to ensure these opportunities can happen in a safe and manageable way.

Next Tuesday we will hold our Board of Trustees meeting in the staff room from 5:15pm. On Wednesday we will hold our PTA Annual Meeting at 7:00pm followed by our first meeting at 7:30pm. It would be great to see lots of parents coming forward to support the school. Please feel welcome to contact the school for more details.

On Tuesday I attended two meetings at the Ministry of Education office in Wellington. The meetings were based on On-line Safety, and Bullying Prevention. As part of the advisory group reporting to the Ministry it was interesting to see what is being done in these areas. On-line safety is an area that can cause considerable concern. One of the best suggestions I have heard about home computing is that all internet access is carried out in a public place – like the kitchen or lounge – and that parents have a list of all passwords and check their children’s accounts regularly. Also, I think asking children what they use their devices for and why they need to can lead to interesting conversations. The digital world is one where we all, but particularly children, need to carefully consider what we do before we do it. I am hoping that later this year we can arrange a public meeting where we get an expert in the field to come and talk about this to interested parents.

In the last newsletter there was an opportunity to learn more about a proposed trip to China and Korea later this year. If you would like to know more, please email the office, fill in the form enclosed with this newsletter or ask your child to collect a paper form from the office and return it to school soon. I am hoping to hold a meeting in March to explain more about this opportunity.

I hope that your child, and you, feel a part of the Kirkwood community. Please know we are always willing to talk about any questions you may have, and to work towards ensuring your children have the best opportunities available to them. Thank you for your support of our school.

Best wishes

Phil Tappenden
Principal