Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Student Achievement

Dear Parents/Caregivers

In April all children in Years 3-8 at Papakowhai School sat standardised tests in Reading and Mathematics. Papakowhai children did really well.

In these tests children are given a stanine ranking. Children at stanine 9 are in the top 4% of children in New Zealand for their year group. Children at stanine 1 are in the bottom 4% nationally.

23% of children nationally score stanine 7, 8 or 9

54% of children nationally score stanine 4, 5 or 6

23% of children nationally score stanine 1, 2 or3

The average national stanine ranking is 5. Children at Papakowhai School averaged stanine 6.1 in both Reading and Maths. This is an excellent result.

The table below shows the percentage of children in the above average band as well as the stanine average for their year group.

% of children at stanine 7 or higher for Maths
Stanine Average for Maths
% of children at stanine 7 or higher for Reading
Stanine Average for Reading
Year 3
Year 4
Year 5
Year 6
Year 7
Year 8

The data shows that our Maori and Pasifika students scored equally as well as all children on these tests. The data did show that girls performed equally as well as boys in Reading but slightly lower in Mathematics, particularly in Year 7 and 8. I am keen to talk with our senior girls about how we can boost their confidence, enjoyment and achievement in this area. One of the ways we know makes a difference is when Mums affirm that their daughters are capable mathematicians and engage in doing Maths, like Mathletics, with their daughters.

If you would like to know more about how you can support your child with Maths at home, Shane Robinson is running Maths sessions during parent interviews next week. Please read on in the newsletter for more details.

I hope that you can make time to read over your child's learning portfolio on Friday and make a time to discuss your child's progress at interviews next week.

Kind regards

Mark Smith


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

National Support Staff Day

Dear Parents/Caregivers

Today is a national day for celebrating support staff. We are very lucky to have a fantastic team supporting the teachers and students at Papakowhai School. If you have a message of support you could leave a comment and I will pass it on.

Valerie Cook has worked in our office for many years. She tends to cuts and bumps, answers hundreds of phone calls, answers every question that could possibly be asked, and makes sure all the staff have all the supplies they need. Thank you Valerie.

Judy Munro is our lovely librarian. Judy’s love for books and reading is infectious. We are very fortunate to have someone so knowledgeable and passionate about reading working in our school.

Heather Turner is our Executive Officer. Heather looks after the school’s finances, payroll and administration. Heather is a real asset to our school and to a new principal!

Chris Crowe is our caretaker. Chris works tirelessly getting balls off roofs, looking after our pool and keeping our buildings and grounds in good condition. Contractors in our school say that this is the tidiest school they have ever worked in.

Diana Parker works as a teacher aide supporting students in Rata and supports staff with assessment. Diana is a teacher’s best friend when it comes to learning portfolio time.

Alison Flint works supporting students in Kauri block and with English language learners. Alison has also supported children participating in the mastermind challenge. Alison is always ready to take on new challenges.

Ann Apperley works with children who need a boost with their reading. Ann has worked for many years listening to reading and encouraging children.
Rachel Parker works supporting children in Rata. Rachel is a very patient and kind person who takes lots of extra care with children who need it most.

Judy Caradus works with students in Rata and Kauri and supports students at Technology. Judy is new to our teaching team and we enjoy the kindness and care she shows.

Molly Goh works with students in Rimu. Molly is speaks several languages and is a real asset to our school. Molly is great maker of resources and a champion laminator.

Susan Dixon is our After School Care supervisor. This is not strictly a support role but we acknowledge the great job she does supporting our families who are at work after 3pm.

Gary Ward is our new cleaner. He is fantastic. The children’s toilets at Papakowhai School have never smelt so good. That is no easy task!

Kind regards

Mark Smith

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Road Safety

Road safety at the school gate is of paramount importance. We really want our children to be safe when they are arriving at and leaving school. There are some unsafe behaviours that parents and caregivers currently exhibit, that are putting our children at risk. These need to stop.

Driving up and down the school driveway, often at speed. The school carpark only has capacity for staff vehicles; there are no spare carparks for parents. When parents come up the driveway they park illegally which makes turning for other vehicles difficult. Children cross the driveway as they walk around the cul-de-sac and may not see a car coming up or down the driveway. There have also been two cases in recent years where staff vehicles have been hit by parent cars trying to turn in narrow spaces. I know, mine was one of the cars.

Letting children stand or walk around the carpark when they are being collected from After School Care. Staff members reversing out of the carpark are not expecting there to be children walking through it to their vehicle. Staff members are concerned that they might hit a child that is not visible to them. Please make sure children are accompanied to their vehicle and board it promptly.

  Parking in the no stopping zones or on the orange lines.
The left hand side of Spey Place (as you are leaving the cul-de-sac) is a no stopping zone. When cars park on both sides of the street it makes it difficult for cars to drive through and turn. Please respect these signs.
Reversing into driveways to turn your vehicle. I get weekly reports from upset parents who say they have observed large vehicles reversing into driveways, while children are walking along the footpath. Please turn in the turning circle, that’s why the council have put orange lines and no stopping signs there.

Parking on the far side of the street and calling your child to cross the road. It is much safer if you accompany your child across the road. Can you really see if the road is clear when you are seated inside your vehicle?

Getting angry at other drivers.  I know that it can be very frustrating at times in busy traffic, but getting angry only puts our children at risk. Try parking 50 m further away and walking up to school. You might find it a lot less stressful.

Your feedback is always welcome. Email

Kind regards

Mark Smith


Samoan Language Week

Talofa Lava

It is Samoan language week this week, so I thought I would bring you some warm Pacific on a sunny but cool wintry day. There is a website called . It has numbers and days of the week and other phrases in Samoan. A good feature is that some of the phrases have button so you can hear how to say the phrase.

We have a number of Pasifika families in our school who are keen to form a cultural performance group.

If you have an interest or a skill in this area we would be keen to hear from you.  One of our class dances in our Production this year will have a Pacific theme so we would be keen for some help with this too. 

This morning I attended a principal’s meeting looking at the Ministry’s Pasifika Education plan. The focus of this plan is to have the Pasifika learner at the centre, and focus on their identity, language and culture.

The plan encourages parent involvement and a school focus on raising achievement.

Last year we co-opted Petelo Alosio on to our Board of Trustees. Together, Petelo and I hosted a Hui for Maori and Pasifika families in Term 1. We are keen to repeat this again next term. Two of our identified targets are to establish a cultural performance group and to introduce some Pacific languages into our classrooms.

Why not try and learn one new word or phrase in Samoan this week. Mine is: Fa'afetai = thank you.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Tofa Soifua

Mark Smith