Bird's Eye View - Thursday 12th December

Kia ora koutou

Welcome to Daisy Watkins to Muritai School. I am sure you will thoroughly  enjoy your time here.

As the year draws to a close, like any other organization, the school reflects on how it has performed over the past 12 months. This year we are very proud of our children and what we have achieved. It has been very busy and a well-earned break isn’t too far away.  

Often parents reflect on the year at this time and pass on their thanks to the teaching staff realising that Muritai is a pretty good place for their children to be educated, and indeed to spend their formative years. This appreciation is always well received. Of course there are always bumps, speed humps and bruises along the way, but we need these challenges to grow and develop as people. The data we gather shows that Muritai students are achieving at very high levels in the curriculum, both boys and girls, and in big numbers. Information fed back from the secondary schools shows that the year 13 school leavers who attended Muritai have achieved strongly and are on the cusp of entering the big wide world in very good shape. As any review process entails, we have spent a large chunk of the last few weeks planning for the year ahead, establishing targets and objectives and making decisions on teaching staff and classes for 2014 to make sure we continue to keep going forward with our strategic vision.

Muritai School life over the last weeks are always very enjoyable. The year 8 group left on Sunday for their long awaited final experience – Abel Tasman.  Years 1-7 have been out and about amongst their local community experiencing all sorts of education outside the classroom activities. Thank you all for helping us make these activities happen.

We congratulate Raihania and Kelly Chadwick for the birth of their baby girl Kaia. Everything is going to plan. That makes 3 babies this year for the staff!

Staff have worked through class placements for 2014. This is an enormous task and takes a huge amount of time and effort  to get the best fit for your child.  There are many variables relating to the teaching and learning needs of every child that require careful consideration when making these placement decisions.   Some parents have made requests for specific teachers, or for their child not to be placed with other children when close friendships have run their course . Some of these are reasonable and 90% were actually in place as teaching staff had already identified these issues and had discussed that a change was required .          
The reality is that we have placed 419 children into 19 rooms and so it is impossible to realise an individuals preference of a teacher or friendship group, while needing to allocate all children into classrooms across the whole school.  Please trust our professional judgements regarding class placements.

As we approach the end of the year we have confirmed our 2014 plans. As always we have some subtle changes that were required but still maintain the strength of the school. 

Next year,  year 7-8 AP Stu Devenport will not be teaching a specific class in the senior school. He will still spend the bulk of his time teaching in year 7-8 and deliver remedial, extension and specialist programmes in year 7-8 as well as having overall responsibility for the day-to-day running of the senior school.  Joining the senior teaching team in room 23 will be Anand Ranchod, who has many years of teaching year 7-8 children. Anand joins us from Fergusson Intermediate and is hugely passionate about sport so this will appeal to many of our senior children.

Richard Dobson is stepping down as AP of year 3-4 and out of the classroom. Richard has requested a change and will move into a part-time role teaching at Muritai. He will be working between year 1-3 delivering reading recovery and remedial/extension learning programmes. Richard is keen for a change after 20 years straight teaching and is very well respected in our community. Luckily we can still retain him at Muritai School.

Replacing Richard as associate principal of year 3-4 is Jess Savage. Jess is extremely highly regarded by our children, her colleagues and parents, and thoroughly deserves the opportunity to move into leadership.

Joining the year 3-4 team as a classroom teacher is Carol Algar. Carol joins us from St Josephs in Upper Hutt and along with her classroom teaching experience she has additional strengths in music, singing, drama and the arts to compliment the rest the 3-4 teaching team.

We also welcome back Annabel Smith to the teaching team from maternity leave. Unfortunately our time schedules didn’t work to secure Karen Houghton on our staff as she won a position at Korokoro School before our vacancies were confirmed.

2014 Staffing layout

Senior leadership team – Andrew Bird, Maureen Buckley, Jess Savage, Deane McKay, Stu Devenport

Year 7-8 – Melissa Coton (22), Lisa Allen (24), Anand Ranchod (23), Ruth Hooke (24), Stu Devenport
Year 5-6 – Murray McMillan(15), Kirsten Berry (14), Deane McKay (16), Raihania Chadwick (13)
Year 4 – Hayden Ray (7), Karen Chao (8), Carol Algar (9)
Year 3 – Jess Savage (11), Annabel Smith (10), Hayley Skilton (12)
Year 2 - Morag Roberts/Jo Salisbury (6), Gabrielle Heath (5), Barbara Ryan (1) (term1) then Mikaela Cody (room 4)
Year 1 – Margs Mills (2), Maureen Buckley/Liz Sullivan (3), Barbara Ryan (1) (term 2 on)

Additional teaching staff – Sarah Richardson (learning support), Richard Dobson (reading recovery, learning support, extension, release), Ruth Hooke (performing arts / release)

Despite a bit of shuffling, for the third year running we have no teaching staff leaving but we have two of our key support staff moving on. Abby Wilton, teacher aide year 3, is leaving us due to the impending birth of her baby. Abby has played a big part in our inclusion team for our children in their school community and will be missed by the children right across the school.

Sue McCormack is heading off on a new adventure to live on Waiheke Island. Sue’s contribution to Muritai at the front office has been enormous. Everyday without fail, the children, parents and visitors get a warm greeting and a smile and throughout the day Sue attends to all the children’s needs and messages, always with kindness and care. We wish Sue and Warwick well on their next adventure.

The Board of Trustees are currently completing their annual health curriculum survey. This closes on Friday. If you would like to compete it then click here… 

Congratulations to our year 5-6 cricket team who beat St Brendans last week and have made the final of the Milo Trophy. They will play Karori Normal on Thursday.

Our athletics team continued their strong run with the following qualifying from the inter zone to the Wellington championship.
Year 4 – Chelsea Summers (60m and 100m), Henry Evans (long jump), Jack Evans (high jump)
Year 5 – Tom Griffiths (80m and 120m), Charlotte Humphries (1000m), Relay team = Charlotte Humphries, Charlotte McFarlane, Samantha Woolley, Tessa Treadwell-Burke
Year 6 – Macey Caughley (80m, 120m, long jump), Phoebe Evans (long jump, high jump), Relay team = Macey, Phoebe, Grace Olsen and Helena Cvitanovich
Year 8 – Maya Hahn (1000m)

Congratulations to the year 6 relay team and Maya Hahn who won their events and to Chelsea who placed 2nd in 60m and 3rd in 100m; Henry who placed 2nd in long jump, and to the year 5 relay team who placed 3rd. This is great reward to these children, many who are doing athletics outside of school. It shows their dedication to training and the skills they have developed. Thank you to our parent team of supporters and a special mention to David Lewis, a parent of the school and athletics coach who has worked with the team over the last few weeks and taken the team to the next level.

The last few days…

Thursday 12th December -
Friday 13th December – Y4-8 reports and class lists come home, 
Monday 16th December – children meet 2014 teacher and visit their new classes,
Tuesday 17th December -
Wednesday 18th December – year 8 formal dinner
Thursday 19th December – year 3-6 Xmas concert
Friday 20th December – last day. Final assembly at 11.00. School finishes at 1.00pm

Term dates for 2014
The Board has settled on its term dates for 2014.

Term 1 = Monday 3 February - Thursday 17 April
Term 2 = Monday 5 May - Friday 4 July
Term 3 = Monday 21 July - Friday 26 September
Term 4 = Monday 13 October - Thursday 18 December

There are 2 teacher only days in 2014 at Queen's Birthday and Labour Weekend

2014 Term Dates

Please note the following dates for the 2014 school year.