This year has certainly challenged me both professionally and physically. I started as a first time principal, at a new school, navigating the first wave of school attendance with COVID. I finished my Masters in Educational Leadership – which I don’t recommend anyone trying to do when starting a new job and working full-time!
And now, have ended the year with a curve ball for my me and my whānau. The board of trustees, Birkdale staff and learning community have been extremely supportive; which I’ve been really appreciative of.
Last week, I received over a hundred encouraging words through cards and notes from students across the school – how can I not get better! We’ve got some very wise children 🙂
I’m not sure what the future holds, but it looks positive and I do know that whatever I need to do to fight this will be easier with such a supportive community behind me.
Noho ora mai
All the cards I received last Friday – WOW!
In hospital – with a visit from my girls.
HOW WE FIT
Birkdale Primary School
Warning: The following is pretty information heavy. I’ve received questions and corrected misconceptions around the way Birkdale is structured. So below, I’ve tried to clarify what we do, and why we do it. It will also answer some of the questions people have about next year.
At Birkdale Primary School, we have two learning pathways for students.
TheNew Zealand Curriculum [NZC].
This is the standard curriculum for all primary schools in NZ. Students in this pathway learn in English. We often refer to it as ‘Auraki’ which means mainstream, to distinguish it from Rumaki. We have two teams in Auraki/mainstream. Juniors Y0-3 and Seniors Y4-6. We’re coming up with better names!
Te Marautanga o Aotearoa [TMoA]
Where students learn in Te reo Māori. It’s often referred to as ‘Rumaki’ which is the name in NZ for an immersion Māori unit within a state school. We have one team in Rumaki.
Our Māori pathway team is called ‘Te Puāwaitanga’.
Each curriculum and pathway has it’s own priorities, learning areas and outcomes. That means that sometimes there will be activities or experiences that students in one pathway may participate in, that the other may not. That’s ok. Different curriculums require different things. At the moment, both are currently being revised nationally.
Outside of learning experiences, we also have whole school events that build whanaungatanga | connection between us all, and sometimes cross over both curriculums. These events are important to help unify us as one school – Birkdale Primary School.
Next year, there will be 12 classes. 8 in Auraki [2 teams] and 4 in Rumaki [1 team].
Rumaki – Te Puāwaitanga: Tī Kouka, Māhoe, Pūriri and Koromiko
Auraki – ‘Juniors’ [new name coming]: Tōtara, Kōwhai, Pōhutukawa and Kauri
Auraki – ‘Seniors’ [new name coming]: Mānuka, Rīmu, Tānekaha and Kahikatea
Compared to this year, Te Puāwaitanga will have an extra teacher. This is to make sure that teacher release and leave can be covered without having to employ English speaking relievers which can disrupt students’ language aquisition. We can never find te reo Māori relievers and learning a second language is hard enough!
In Auraki, Junior team – one of the classes will be a reception class. This is the extra class. All new Y1 at the beginning of the year, and Y0 starting after will start in this class. We have chosen to have a reception class to help students transition into school easier – and to also help us identify any support learners may need earlier. Students will be assessed and stay as long as necessary before transitioning into a more traditional class. Tranisitoning will stop when we need to balance the numbers to keep from overcrowding, we expect this to be around Term 3.
Teachers have not been finalised for specific classes, but we have employed 4 more teachers to complete our staffing entitlement for 2023.
Next year, we welcome Tahlea Fong in Rumaki, and Malia Natiti and Kirstyn Ratu in Auraki. Sarah Dunn has been employed as a part-time release teacher to cover some leadership release and the Classroom Release Time [CRT] in Auraki. All NZ teachers are entitled to 10 hrs a term CRT – Rumaki teachers will cover this release among themselves, the whole reason for the extra teacher allocated.
Classes in Auraki will be spending an hour a week with Sarah who will be teaching NZC Music integrated with Dance and Drama. She currently teaches music at another primary school. Some may ask why students in Rumaki don’t get specialist Music/ Dance and Drama teaching as well – this is an example of knowing why we do what we do, and making sure that students experience opportunities authentic to their learning pathway. A music class based on the NZC and not TMoA, in English, would not be appropriate. In TMoA, ‘Te Toi | The Arts’ is expressed and taught differently.
Unfortunately, the welcome of new teachers means we also say goodbye to Whaea Pamela who has decided to resign and leave the day-to-day demands of the classroom behind her. We will still see her around relieving from time to time. All the best Whaea Pamela! Whaea Judy will also not be based in Pōhutukawa any more. We thank her very much for supporting our teachers in the junior area of the school. Her wealth of experience has been invaluable!
2023 class information will be sent home on Wednesday 14th December, when students will have met their new teacher and classmates. They will bring home a notice and a welcome letter from their teacher, to let you know this information for 2023.
Year 6 Celebration
On Tuesday the 13th December, we will have a small celebration at school from 4-6pm. The same day as prizegiving, in the afternoon.
We feel it’s important to recognise the time we’ve spent together and acknowledge an important time of transition and growth for our Year 6s.
An invitation will be sent home soon. Please RSVP so we can order the right amount of food.
We’ll miss them – and our Year 6 whānau!
SCHOOL DATES for 2023
We’re trying something new by starting and finishing a little later than Birkdale normally does. We’ll try it first, then at the end of 2023 we’ll ask whānau if they prefer the earlier or later starts for school and go with the majority for 2024.
School START: Tuesday 7th February. FINISH: Wednesday 20th December
A letter should have come home today (Tuesday), outlining our shift to supply stationery packs.
As next year is a transition year, whānau will be able to either buy the school pack by transfer into the school account or to pay at school.
Account no. 12-3035-0598237-00
You need to let us know by the end of the year if you wish to by the pack. Please return the slip back to school at the bottom of the letter. If the slip is not returned we will assume you are using the list to buy the stationery yourself, as usual.
THANK YOU very much for all your support at our Birkdale Primary School Gala on Friday. It was so encouraging to see so many people there. We will publish the amount raised shortly.
There is a box in the foyer at the office if you have anything you’d like to donate to the ‘Birkdale | Beach Haven Community Project’ Christmas drive.
It’s an opportunity to donate non-perishable food items and gifts that will be distributed out to local tamariki and whānau.