Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Road Safety

Dear Parents/Caregivers

It was with much sadness that I read of a small child being run over outside Cannons Creek School on Friday. It felt all the  more poignant having just taken all of our beautiful 350 children around the corner from that very spot last term for the Production.

I am really concerned about the behaviour of some of our parents and caregivers at our school gate. I cannot bear to imagine what it would be like for our children and parents to witness the death of a pupil at Papakowhai School. I really need your help.

Road safety was the number one issue that people in our recent consultation wanted the Board of Trustees to focus on. This is not just a School Board, or council or staff issue, this is an issue we can all help with.

There will be a staff member on patrol Mondays  – Fridays, 8:30 - 9am and 3:00 - 3:15. You will see them wearing a high visibility vest.

This is what I need your help with:

  • Be patient with other drivers, staff members and council workers
  • Encourage walking to school
  • Be a Walking School Bus driver ( See over for details)
  • If you are dropping off children aged 7 years and older - avoid Spey Place altogether
  • If you do come into Spey Place respect the Council’s orange lines and no stopping areas
  • Turn in the turning circle of Spey Place rather than backing into driveways
  • Respect that the staff carpark is for staff vehicles and deliveries only between 8:30am and 3:15pm.
  • Walk your child across the road rather than calling to them while seated in your vehicle
  • Encourage your children to walk around the cul-de-sac rather than crossing Spey Place
  • If your children are crossing Tweed Road encourage them to do so at the bus stop by the dairy
  • Make use of all entry points to the school (Cromarty Place and Yarrow Place)
  • Try coming to school a little earlier, rather than being in the 8:50am rush
  • Try picking up older children at 3:10 rather than sitting and waiting in vehicles from 2:30pm.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Digital Citizens

Dear Parents/Caregivers
Yesterday we had a great staff meeting presented by four of our teachers who went to the ULEARN conference in Auckland over the holidays. The theme of our meeting was digital citizenship. You may be someone with all the gadgets who is very much operating as a digital citizen already or you may be someone who can’t be bothered with all “the toys” and looks on nervously at the digital landscape. Like it or loathe it, whether it is right or wrong, our children are digital citizens already and we need to find ways that engage them and also keep them safe.

Yesterday we looked at expanding our digital capability by looking at apps for ipad that are useful and meaningful in the classroom. We also talked about how digital learning is not an “extra” that you do at the end of a topic but something that is embedded right through the teaching and learning process.
We talked about not getting in the way of what the children can already do and as teachers we can’t withhold digital opportunities just because we are a little nervous or slow to work out how to do something. We need to be empowering children to teach us and others while still increasing our digital literacy so that we know what questions to ask.

There was also a focus on cyber safety. Most of the danger on the internet comes from what children post themselves. Children need protocols for what is and isn’t appropriate to “like” or comment on when they are on the internet. We talked together again about Facebook only being legal for children aged 13 years and over. We will look at ways for including cyber safety to be included in our upcoming Keeping Ourselves unit but we also agreed that cyber safety is something that needs to be talked about in a planned and ongoing way.
Stephen Heppell says teaching digitally is like teaching skateboarding. You don’t have to be able to all the tricks yourself but you do need to provide a safe environment to do it in, know what questions to ask and have played a bit on the skateboard yourself so you know what to look for and talk about.

I’m always interested in your feedback.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


Dear Parents/Caregivers

One of the things that I really enjoy about working at Papakowhai School is the neat level of parent support. This was clearly evident in the last week of the production with parents contributing hugely to the success of the show. I really value the help that we received with props, costuming, choreography, transport and refreshments. It was great to see the Papakowhai community working so well together.

If you don’t feel connected to the school community and would like to be, there are several opportunities opening up for 2013.

The Home and School Committee is a great place to start. The cool thing about this group is you just “do what you can when you can”. This group is about community building with the added bonus of raising funds at the same time. They run events that bring people together, like the quiz night in a couple of weeks, or the school BBQ’s. Meeting times will be published in the newsletter or you can contact Tanya Macdonald on 027-2222-986, or if you would like join up. They really need new members, as many of the parents currently involved have children that will be leaving Papakowhai School shortly for college.

The Board of Trustees is another opportunity. There are BOT elections in April and we will need new members. You are welcome to come to our next meeting on November 12th if you would like to see what is involved or you could contact me or Steve Messenger, our chairperson, ( ) for more information. The BOT plays a key role in legislative requirements, school achievement and curriculum, school property, finances, policy and future planning, health and safety, and of course ensuring that your children are receiving the highest level of care and education.

Sports and the Arts is another area that you can become involved in 2013. We are lucky to have wonderful parents who coach netball and basketball. We are looking for a new netball co-ordinator for 2013 and we are always pleased to hear from people who would like to be coaches or managers of teams. We are able to offer more sports with parent support. We also have great parents who help with dance groups and choir, and if you have a passion for the Arts I would be keen to hear from you. Please email .

We also benefit hugely from parents and grandparents who are parent helpers in our school. If this is something you would like to try please contact Shane Robinson our Deputy Principal who can match you with the class or activity you would like to help with. Email .

Thank you for your continued support for our school.