14 April 2022

14 April 2022

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!

What is the most important thing in the world? It is people! It is people! It is people!

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

I have chosen this whakatauki as it talks to the importance of human connection and relationships. This is what creates community and enables people to flourish. This has been particularly important this term as COVID-19 took hold of our country and has presented all of us with enormous challenges.  Supporting our staff, our students, and our community has been extremely important as we have tried to ensure that our school year still offers as many opportunities as possible so that everyone can enjoy success.

As I write this, I am at home self-isolating as there is COVID-19 in the family.  Based on our experience I can fully appreciate how challenging COVID -19 has been for our whānau/families that have had similar experiences and also having to cope with on-line learning would have been a challenge at its best.

While we did have to roster home year levels over two weeks through staff shortages we have now been able to return to our normal timetable. Student attendance has also risen from approximately 65% to just under 90% which is positive.  While I would encourage students to have a good break, I would also like to think that those who have been away will use the time to catch up. Should the virus stay at similar levels to what they are now or fall further, then the posting of on-line learner next term will discontinue.  On-line learning is extremely demanding on everyone and with attendance rates returning to normal, it is now time for students who do not have COVID-19 to return to school.

The current COVID-19 settings still place limitations on us and this will restrict us in various ways next term. For example, sport played outdoors will have no restrictions, and most school’s gyms will be able to cope with the 200 restriction.  Music, Choirs and Kapa Haka are able to continue to practice, and different venues have started to welcome back students.  However, there are still restrictions in place, we are unable to have full school assemblies and the school ball could not currently be held in the same way as it has been in the past. This of course could change with the next review of the Alert Level System.  We will be watching this with interest.

Despite the challenges of COVID-19 and its challenges we manage to achieve a lot and I would like to invite you to review some of these highlights at our Term-in-Review page which can be found at,

 

As the borders begin to open we will able to re-establish our international students programme which has been in hiatus for the last two year.  We have been receiving applications from overseas and as visa requirements are fulfilled we start enrolling students from several different countries.  An important part of this programme is the homestay experience.  If parents/guardians are interested in being a hosting an international student, please see the information below.  

Congratulations to Sophie Ewens and Keya Parekh who won prizes in the recent Absolutely Positively Wellington Short Story Competition. Keya's tale, "Innocence of the Pure" won Most Imaginative Story, while Sophie's "A Letter, a Lighthouse and the Wind" won Best Story in the 13-18 age group category.

As we head into the winter term a couple of reminders.

Senior students, Year 11,12,13 will now be wearing their blazers.  This will continue until the end of term 3.  If a Year11 student has not yet got their blazer they can be purchased from NZ Uniforms.  Please sort this during the holidays.

Please do not come down the drive to pick up or drop off students.  I know the traffic on Bracken Road can be challenging but with the loss of our carpark, the building work and taxis picking up our Learning Support Students there is no capacity for extra cars.

Ngā manaakitanga,

Grant Jones

Homestay message

10 March 2022

10 March 2022

He pōkeke uenuku i tū ai

Against a dark cloud the rainbow stands out brightly

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

We are now entering the end of week six.  Summer sport will be drawing to a close over the next few weeks and our winter teams are having trials.  March 15th has been laid down as the announcement date that will give clarity (hopefully) about the conditions that students, both vaccinated and unvaccinated can play under. Today we would have hoped to have had our Tabloids Sports but the risk was too great so sadly we have had to cancel this long tradition for this year.

COVID-19 has certainly played havoc with many schools including ours.  In an earlier email I indicated what our three step plan would look like if infections rose.  While this has not happened yet, we can definitely see a rise in the number of staff and students who are absent through infection, or having the infection in the household. While staying open is the Ministry of Education’s directive, and we will endeavour to do so, I cannot ignore that many of our students are not being taught by their regular teacher and we are having to use relief teachers to cover classes. We are doing all we can to minimize this problem, but the challenge still lies ahead of us.

We have still managed to achieve some of our traditional activities that we undertake at this time of year. Last week we announced our Student Executive Council for 2022 and they were presented with their badges.  This event was pre-recorded and streamed to the students, and the parents of the Executive.

The student leaders for 2022 are:

SCHOOL COUNCIL EXECUTIVE 2022

Head Student

Paige Puketapu (Te Atiawa)

Head Student

Joshua Taefu

Academic Captain

Leandra Broughton

Arts Captain

Russell Gill

Sports & Active Recreation Captain

Jayden Gomes

Wellbeing Captain

Jemma Ellingham

Kowhai House Captain

Ranz Niebla

Matai House Captain

Aurora Riley-Ngatai (Ngāti Haua, Ngāti ti Tūwharetoa, Te Ati Haunui-a-Pārārangi)

Rimu House Captain

Izzy Godfrey

Totara House Captain

Zeus D’Mello

Pou Rangatahi

Mahera Wiki (Te Aupōuri)

Komiti Pasifika

Grace Fruean

International Student Representative

Harry Vu

Board Representative

Adya Dutta

Congratulations to all of them.

While many of us have been occupied with the impact of COVID-19, some of us may have missed the ASH survey that was recently released.  ASH surveys approximately 25000 Year 10 students annually to track changes in cigarette and vaping behavior.  The results are not really surprising. The key ones are:

Vaping has been promoted as an alternative to cigarette smoking and an aid to help people quit.  Unfortunately, some of the flavours have attracted young people who see no harm in vaping, and I believe that this will cause long-term damage to their health.  While the government has changed the law regarding the sale of vaps, too many young people still have access to the product.  This is reflected in our own statistics,

Vaping and e-cigarettes – Newlands College (2021)

 

Tried

Regular User

Daily User

Newlands College

31.6%

12.4%

6.8%

National Mean

42.7%

20.3%

9.6%

While it is comforting that we are under national means, the actual percentages of participants are way too high. The statistics show that we have 17 daily users!  This is an issue that both the college and parents need to address. The full report can be found ASH Year 10.

The building work in the College continues.  The old staffroom has now been demolished and in its place the new one, plus a guidance centre, has now been framed up.  It is hoped that the roof will be on by the end of the term.  The prefabs, formerly known as C1 and C2 as well B7 have been removed and the library has been demolished. A large temporary bridge, like a gantry, now spans the site to allow the students to can access to the buses.  A lot of underground service work, is currently been comlpleted.  The new roof to A  block is now in place.  We are definitely looking forward to our new buildings and they will be an addition to the school site, even though they are causing us some challenges with the shortage of space.

I wish you all the best for the upcoming weeks and hopefully the number of COVID-19 cases reduces.

Ngā manaakitanga,

Grant Jones

9 February 2022

I orea te tuatara ka puta ki waho

(A problem is solved by continuing to find solutions)

 

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

I would like to extend a warm welcome to all the students and their whānau as we begin the 2022 school year.  A special welcome to all our new Year 9s, over 240 of you and other students who have arrived at our school for the first time.

I have chosen the above whakatauki as I think that it will be a common feature this year.  I think that we are going to face a range of challenges, many of them driven by COVID-19 and omicron, and there will be challenges that we have not faced before.  Should the college start getting cases in the school, and overseas experience suggests that we will, we will need to consider the best way to manage these.  This will involve the curtailing of many traditional activities e.g we have already had to cancel the school production as singing inside is not permitted under the Red Alert and the delivery of the curriculum with students and staff away will become problematic.  This is why I think this year is going to be one of solving problems that we have not experienced before.

Despite this, we have managed to hold our Year 9 Peer Support Camp, at El Rancho which accommodated 300 of our students and 35 staff.  We had to do a number of things quite differently, eg meals in several different dining rooms because of number restrictions, and not holding activities that broke social distancing rules.  The weather was outstanding and our students still managed to get involved in a variety of activities, swimming, a beach hikoi, the water slide and initiative activities. Everyone had a great time and the students made many new friends before their classes started.

PHOTO

At the start of the year, we received our preliminary NCEA results and while we do not get the final results for a couple of months, I am extremely pleased how successful the students were. The table will give you some idea.

As a reminder, any student who has been in the school for 70 days is counted in the data.  Also students if they identify with more than one ethnicity are counted in each of their chosen identities with up to three choices. The data includes students who have not yet engaged with Level 1 on the curriculum (NCEA Level 1 is Level 6 on the curriculum) and students who left during the year.

NCEA Results (%)

 

Newlands College Mean

National Mean

Level 1

85

68

Level 2

89

77

Level 3

80

69

University Entrance

60

50

Also of note is that our Pasifika and Māori students did extremely well, although in some cases using percentages can be misleading, as the groups of students are small in numbers. For this reason, I have not included all the data. National means are in brackets:

Māori Level 1 71% (56%) Level 2 100 (67%) Level 3 70% (56%)

Pacific People, Level 1 72% (60%) Level 2% 64% (70%) Level 3 (too few students)

We would also like to congratulate the following students who were successful in the Scholarship examinations.  Scholarship is awarded to the top 0.5-1% of all candidates.  Congratulations to:

Teran Abeydeera (Drama), Kimberly Zhu (Biology), Jason Xie (Physics and Chemistry), Anush Goel (English and Biology),  John Zhang (Physics and Calculus), Samuel Kurian (Chemistry and Technology)

For families that are new to our school the ways that we communicate with you are very important. Communications, such as the Principal’s Newsletter are provided on the website every three weeks, and we advise parents of them by e-mail. In addition, parents and paregivers can find important information specific to their own student(s) through the Parent Portal. This information will include attendance, timetable, invoicing, and personal details. The students' progress is also reported through the portal, subject by subject as significant pieces of work are completed. In this way, you will receive regular feedback. All students will also receive a Me Whakamātau Report. This will replace the engagement report that we have used in the past.  It will be uploaded to the Parent Portal on a regular basis and more details will be provided shortly. The portal is password protected and you should have received your password by now. If you have any difficulties with your password, please contact my P.A. Fei Gao at [email protected].

Since September last year (2021), a team of Newlands College students has been participating in the Space for Planet Earth Challenge run by SpaceBase. This challenge aims to minimise the harms of human activity on corals and combat the negative consequences of coral reef deterioration. One team, consisting of six year 13 students: John Zhang, Anush Goel, Nitya Chatla, Jihye Moon, Jayden Kah and Joshua Taefu, has advanced to become one of the three high-school finalist teams selected from across Oceania. On February 18, they will be presenting their research and prototype, competing for the $10,000 grand prize.

The building work continues.  The staffroom, C1 and 2, B7, and the library have now all been demolished. Three relocatable classrooms have been brought on site and we are very cramped for room.  Unfortunately we also have to contend with a lot of additional noise.  I appreciate that this is less than ideal, for the outcome will be well worth the inconvenience.  The staffroom and guidance centre is due for completion at the end of the year.

Next week we begin the selection of our student leaders and these will be announced in my next message.

I will keep you informed of what is happening in the college as the year progresses, please regularly check the website and the Parent Portal as there is a lot happening this term.

Ngā mihi nui

Grant Jones


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