Working bee love - In fear of sounding like a broken record, the Board would like to again thank the school community for its generous support – this time with our working bee.
There were 30 adults and 35 past and present students who turned out on the sunny Saturday afternoon to help paint, dig, fence, plant and weed our way through stage 1 of the landscape plan. The Board is extremely grateful for this help and understands how lucky we are to have such a supportive school community. Not only does the entrance way look revitalised, but every
piece of volunteered labour allows us to direct funds into other areas.
Update for stage one of the landscape plan - So far we have completed the following parts of stage one:
Re-planting of the entranceway complete with new irrigation system, final painting of pool areas, final painting to complete the renovated toilet block, new planting and weeding of all street frontage gardens.
And soon to be completed is the resurfaced tennis courts. We are sure you are all keeping an eye on this progress! Due to community volunteers and the allocation of grant funding the Board has been able to retain some funds to further advance stage one.
Therefore, the Board has approved expenditure of funds in the following areas:
Street frontage signage, revitalised office block signage, colourful signage for each classroom, and colourful battened fencing along the entrance to the school and on existing railings with street frontages.
This work will be completed as soon as possible, but will fall into the New Year due to the proximity to Christmas.
New staffing in 2016 - As reported in last month’s Buzz, Appleby School applied for a staffing review this term after student numbers grew higher than expected.
As a result, the Ministry of Education approved an increase in teacher hours. The outcome of this in the last few weeks of the year will not result in additional staff but does offer additional funds as we plan for next year.
Of consideration here is that we have a higher than usual starting roll in 2016, with 116 students scheduled for day one, and the usual growth expect over the year. Therefore the Board has decided to reinstate the sixth teacher for 2016, reducing class sizes from current numbers.
￼￼￼This teacher will be financed primarily through additional Ministry funds though a Board contribution will be necessary – how much depends on the rate of roll growth throughout the year.
The Board is proud to have found ways to finance a number of new assets and revitalised existing parts of the physical environment in 2015. And while the landscape plan is a long term project that will require more funding, the Board sees it as important to balance expenditure to benefit students in all ways, hence the sixth teacher in 2016. Sound financial planning in 2015 has resulted in a comfortable net working capital balance, enabling us to accommodate this in the budget.
However, the Board will not be hiring only one new teacher, as year 3/4 teacher Jodie Brown is pregnant and will be taking maternity leave for much of 2016. Congratulations Jodie and Craig!
Accelerating achievement in Maori students - The Ministry of Education has recently identified an area of focus as accelerating achievement in Maori students. The Ministry has alerted all schools to this emphasis, especially those with imminent ERO reviews.
Trustees were pleased to recall this year’s ERO review, where it was identified that Appleby School continues to have a rate of achievement considerably higher than national averages, and that our Maori students usually outperform their non-Maori counterparts.
For more information about the Ministry’s initiative
Future Focused Learning - Staff have been visiting schools around the region to investigate how others have implemented Future Focus Learning with a view to furthering our own plans. Deputy Principal Nic Walker reported the results of these investigations.
Of note was the fact that Appleby School already implements many of the key factors of FFL, such as:
varied workstations, the structure of key learning areas & key subjects, flexible time tabling, student-led learning, the importance of structure (offset by balance), and relationship building between teachers and students. The next step is to further enhance our modern learning techniques as well as investigating how the environment could future enhance these techniques.
Policy Updates - Each term several school policies are reviewed as part of our Annual Plan. They are amended where necessary and ratified accordingly. At our last meeting the following policies were discussed, amended and ratified: improving outcomes for Maori students and religious education.
These policies are available to view at any time on School Docs via the school website. We strongly encourage parents to view and provide feedback on these policies which are vital to the running of the school.
Financials - Expenditure and income for the month of October and was reviewed and approved as on target with budgeted figures.
As previously mentioned the school financials remain healthy, with a comfortable net working balance expected for year end, enabling the Board to implement the final parts of stage one of the landscape plan and to partly fund a sixth teacher in 2016.
Swimming lessons - Each year the Board partly funds two weeks of swimming lessons at the ASB Aquatic Centre for all children of the school.
In 2015 the timing of these lessons was moved from term one to term four. Primarily this change was made to ensure the children are water safety ready for the summer holidays. However, these lessons were also seen as somewhat of a hindrance at the start of the year as children are coming to terms with new classrooms, teachers and classmates.
Whereas in term four, the children are relaxed and thriving in their swimming tutition – staff are excited to have the children showcase their abilities to parents today. As a result of all these positives, the scheduling of school swimming lessons will continue in term four of each year. So parents who are looking at scheduling additional swim lessons for their children can be assured term one is open.
Website upgrade - Appleby School’s ageing website has long been scheduled for an upgrade – and finally it is underway!
With professionally taken photographs, a palette of fonts and colours that match the landscape plan and a newly created blog, the website will be leading edge! The idea is to ensure the website is always up to date as a one-stop shop for whanau and the community to keep
ahead of the goings on at Appleby School. The final steps in design and programming are currently being undertaken and we hope to set the new site live in the New Year. Watch this space for the big announcement!
Health & safety and hazard identification - Each month members of the Board are required to inspect all parts of the school’s grounds and facilities to ensure hazards are minimised and that we are are on top of health and safety issues.
Last month’s inspection was reported, registers checked and policies upheld.