NEWSLETTER #36 November 9th 2017

Dear Parents, Friends and Families,
Only 26 more school days in 2017…. and so much to do!

All parents will get a progress report this term as usual, either the ‘anniversary’ reports at fixed points after starting school, or the end of year ‘annual’ report. These will look much the same as usual, but you will also get the specific assessment information that teachers gather, analyse and then use to write reports. This is about your own child and helps us to understand progress since the last report and especially what needs to happen next.

Like most schools we use standardised ‘running record’ assessments at regular intervals to monitor progress in Reading. For our Juniors, we mainly use ‘PM Benchmarks’ which gives really helpful information about how a child is learning the ‘mechanics’ of reading as well as analysing their understanding of the text.

Once they reach a certain level then we use ‘Probe’ which is more useful for helpful us gauge student understanding. Inference is a big factor at this stage. For students who are reading at adult level, beyond the Probe range, then we may use AsTTLe reading assessments. These assessments give good diagnostic information to the teacher and the student, and they also generate a specific reading age within a six-month band. We can then compare with previous Running Records to get a good picture of the rate of progress. This helps us know if a child is not making good progress so we can do something about it. This is much more specific and helpful than the ‘National Standard’ comparison.

It is very important that we ‘calibrate’ our assessments. There are only two ‘instruments’ which can do this. National standards cannot. Both PAT assessments and AsTTLe assessments are ‘standardized’ and ‘normed’, they tell us how a student is performing compared with all students of the same age in New Zealand, and we also know the assessments take place in similar conditions for everyone.

We use a mix of PAT and ASTLE tests, but now we will develop a consistent whole-school approach to make it easier for everyone to monitor progress over time. If your child is year 4 up then we will use PAT assessments for Maths and for Reading at the end of each year, so we can understand how much progress each child has made.

We use a whole range of other assessments but that’s probably enough about reporting and assessment this time. Next week I will talk about some of the other tests and assessments we use.

We have completed our Needs Analysis and are now organising for 2018. Some things I can tell you already…

Years 0 – 2 will become one single syndicate. We will keep new entrant students with the same teacher for about two years, in the same class. So all the students who start in term 1 will stay together for about two years. All the students who start in term 2 will also stay with their teacher for about two years, and so on. We are working on the best way to make this happen.
Years 3 & 4 will move to rooms 20 – 27.
Years 5 & 6 will relocate to rooms 12 – 19.
We will try to keep students with the same teacher for two years wherever it is working well. This probably means that these syndicates will be mainly organized in composite classes, but with some flexibility.

Next week I will be able to tell you about who is leading these teams and some more information about how they will be organised.

Next year we will introduce school wide ‘house structure’, to help students build relationships across the age range, to allow our seniors to take on school leadership roles, and to introduce an element of competition for sports and other events without spoiling the joy of participation for everyone. This will start up in Term 2.

The Library and the Computer Suite will change a bit too. It will become an ‘Information Commons’ but actually it will look more like the Public Library, with computers, books and other resources integrated across the learning environment.

I am sorry this is such a long message, but there is so much to share!  Please come and talk to me if you have any worries.

Nga mihi nui

p.s. Hope you get a chance to catch our wonderful show – Aladdin Trouble.

Hailee Panui, Harper McLeod, Shannon Ne’emia-Tawhai, Georgia Preston, Josiah Tavita, Ryder Morton, Jing Xuan Ooi, Kiana Siaki, Jessie Skinner, Kanye Te Tai, Shavaughn Addis-Williams, Teinakore Addis-Williams and Ava McKay. Happy Belated Birthday to Emma Wilson, Ruby Gillard, Obee McComb, Xavier Brunel-Morvan, Peyton Kay, Nathan Rizzi, Stella Mitchell, Sarah Suifua, Chelsea Doughty, AhiAhurei Paki, Georgia Thomson, Alvin Yu, Nina Horva’th and Emily Shepherd.

Tomorrow’s assembly is at 2:30pm in the hall for the Taonga and Mana syndicates and will be hosted by Room 27.

Te Atatu Spring Festival 2017 is happening from 18-26th November. Free community festival with loads of events for all ages – dance, bikes, robotics, yoga, stress management and so much more! Starting with a Family Gala Day on Sat 18th November with bouncy castles, games, stalls and a Bakeoff competition. All entries to Bakeoff welcome, get in quick!

A pair of Alex Perry sunglasses – pick up from the school office.

On the evening of Thursday 14th December we will be holding an outdoor Christmas concert and hangi for all the family. Bring a blanket, salads and drinks and enjoy a summer celebration of Matipo talent. Gold coin koha entry. More details to come soon…

A reminder that class and netball photos will be taken on Monday 13th November. Please return your order forms to the office by TOMORROW Friday 10th November.

The Te Atatu Santa Parade is coming up on Saturday 2nd December. Matipo is entering a “Santa’s Workshop” float and all children are welcome to join in. More details to come in next week’s newsletter.