The Opua School Art Show opened on Wednesday night, September 21st, at The Opua Gallery on the wharf. It was a wonderful evening and our children’s art and talent was centre stage. The quality of art that has been produced by all our children across all rooms in the school is staggering. It is a “Must See” event and I encourage everyone to take some time out to pop down and view the show.
Firstly, I would like to thank Charlotte Scott for coming up with this fantastic concept and offer to me many months ago now. Her vision for showcasing our children’s art and the offer of her gallery for free were very, very much appreciated. Thanks must also go to Far North Holdings Ltd. for supporting her offer to us and our free use of their premises. My thanks and congratulations must also go to Linda Worthington who has put many hours into not only mounting and displaying much of the art but also inspiring our children in their art. Further congratulations to all our teachers who have, with Linda, guided our children on their pathway to producing artistic excellence at such tender ages! Finally, as always, many thanks to our PTA and support staff who have worked, under Ben’s guidance, collaboratively and with great enthusiasm, to help us present the art, get the show ready to open and man the show over a series of weeks up to mid October.
What a superb team effort!
On Thursday, September 22nd, we said the fondest of goodbyes to Brody and Harlem Going. Both boys have made a wonderful impression on everyone connected with Opua School. They are excellent students, superb athletes and two of the nicest souls. They leave happiness wherever they go and we are all blessed that they have spent so long with us sharing their qualities in true Opua School fashion. We wish them all the very best in their new schools on the outskirts of Auckland and know that they will be successful and that we will hear of them and see them again in the future.
With typical Going family generosity, at assembly on Thursday all the children – 105 of them – were given a goodbye gingerbread man each to enjoy. Thank you so much Brody, Harlem and, of course, mummy and daddy. We will miss you.
We had a celebration assembly on Wednesday noting the fantastic achievements of our school’s hockey team this year. They keep going from strength to strength and are excelling in as well as enjoying this sport. Thank you to Peter and Paula for doing such an amazing job coaching them and to all the parents who have supported them and the children throughout this latest successful season.
Coming out of teacher conversations and our parent feedback comments, we are, from week 1 of next term [Friday, October 14th], moving our weekly Sharing Assemblies from Friday mornings to Friday afternoons [2 – 3pm]. Hopefully this will help more parents be able to attend these special functions. Each week children from one of the four houses will present. To help you work out if your child might be presenting, we will also try to remember to publish this information in our newsletter the day before.
Finally, please remember that if you are unable to make these events, we are trying to publish images of each one on our website: www.opua.school.nz > School Assemblies > Sharing Assemblies > Click on the relevant date.
Thank you to all those parents who managed to contribute to our 2016 survey. You have given us much to think about as we prepare our targets for 2017. Appreciated.
We are conducting our 2016 Parent Survey and would appreciate you taking the time to give your thoughts on how we are performing and on what you think we should focus on in the near future and ‘medium term’. The more respondents the merrier!
Please either highlight the following link, right click on it and click on the ‘Go to’ instruction or copy this link into your browser and it should allow you to complete the survey online. Alternatively, hard copies will be available on the counter in the Main Office and at our two public meetings this week: on Tuesday [our staff and parent shared meeting on Digital Citizenship and online safety] and Thursday [our Board Open Forum].
The deadline for surveys to be completed is Monday, September 12th at noon.
The Teachers’ Unions have called for a meeting of all teachers to be held in Kerikeri on Wednesday, 7th September, 2016. This will mean that normal teaching can not occur after 12.30pm on that day. We urge all parents and caregivers who are able to, to collect their children from school at 12.30pm on that day. There will be a ‘skeleton staff’ at school to ensure that any children who have not been collected or are not able to be collected are supervised [but not taught] at school until they can be collected.
Whilst I apologise for this significant inconvenience, this is a situation faced by all schools on different days between September 5th and 16th nationwide.
It is important for parents to understand why the teachers’ unions are taking this action. As a result and for your information, enclosed in this newsletter is a factsheet that explains the unions’ thinking.
There is still pressure on traffic especially at the end of the school day. Please could I urge all parents to follow this advice:
- Always use the turning circle that is now provided. Please do not do 3 point turns at the top of Kellet Street or on Franklin Road. Also, please only ever go one way around the turning circle!
- Please use the 12 extra parking spaces provided in the turning circle area as well as the original 3 in front of the school.
- Please do not double park or park on the left hand side at the very top of Kellet Street [as this makes it one lane only and often blocks the free flow of traffic]. For your awareness, the council are going to make this area [on the left, next to the white fence] a no-parking / no stopping zone as soon as the road markers can schedule a visit here.
- Try and stagger pick up times, especially at 3pm.
All this advice is given because children’s safety is our top priority.
Kay McGowan is leaving Opua School today and we will miss her very much. Kay has been our main Teacher Aide for three and a half years now and she has always been eager to make a positive difference, to help individual children with their learning and be constructive, creative and very professional. She has worked incredibly hard to support all Opua School’s teachers and pupils and her compassion for the children, collegiality, hard work and ‘glass half full’ attitude will be greatly missed. Thank you for all you have done for Opua School’s pupils and teachers, Kay.
I will be putting an advertisement in the local newspaper shortly to begin the search for a suitable replacement for Kay. As always, be assured that I will seek out and appoint the most suitable candidate for this important role.
Many of you will be aware that we are working through a Professional Learning programme at Opua School up-skilling ourselves in the effective use of Digital Technology in education for the benefit of the children here. It is important for everyone to know that, as we work through this programme, central features are that:
- We will only be using computers and tablets at Opua School to advance children’s learning experiences, engage them in worthwhile learning activities and deepen the quality of their thinking and their use of their other key competencies;
- We want to ensure that we help children [and parents supporting their children] to be good digital citizens;
- All the varied teaching and learning experiences that have and continue to make this school a great little school will not change. Use of computers in our classrooms will be carefully managed and only ever be employed to enhance learning. The essence, tone and culture of this school remains most important and will be enhanced not weakened as we adapt and advance our learning, tapping into new, rich learning experiences and resources.
During my absence, and out of genuine enthusiasm feeding off the children’s excitement, the provider of our training acknowledges that she, at this stage, went one step ahead of what we had agreed upon as we move through this process.
It is now important to take that one step back and share what our aims are and how we intend to manage computer use and Digital Learning at Opua School. As a result, all parents are welcome to attend an information / consultation meeting on this subject in our school hall starting at 3.30pm on Thursday, 11th August. This session will begin with a short presentation from the providers and me and then we are keen for it to be an open, ‘Question and Answer’ session for the rest of the time to answer all your questions and allay any apprehensions that might be circulating.