Front row - Wendy Templer (Staff rep), Alisha Chapman (Board Chair), Jessica Wight
Back row - Duncan Elley, Johannah Dods, Phil Toomer (Principal), Vicki Eriksen, Charles Stokes
Reflections on 2020
Over the past few months, Meadowbank staff and students have welcomed more normalcy in the going-to-school routine, New Zealand being able to celebrate over 100 days without any community transmission of Covid 19, and Auckland schools enjoying being back in Level 1.  

Recent school PAT test results, which we talked about in our last Board Talk, reaffirm how successfully the school and the family community worked together to prioritise children’s wellbeing, as well as continue to progress their educational development over the unsettled time since the start of 2020 – thank you all. 

It’s great to hear how children are reflecting on this time. These are some of their comments: 

“Its nice to see teachers and friends back at school, and its nice to be able to go to school clubs again”.

“I have found it much easier to learn being back at school all the time, and I enjoy it much more being able to talk to friends and ask questions when I need to.’


We’ve set out in this newsletter some key updates and news that the Board would like to share with our community.
It has been pleasing to see the new senior school admin block being enjoyed by students and staff alike and the grand opening at the end of term 1 was a great occasion for our school. As a Board we have been fortunate in using the space for our monthly meetings.
 
We mentioned earlier in the year that the Board was investigating cooling solutions for our senior side classrooms as we know these rooms get very hot over the summer months. We have now fully designed separate air conditioning systems for the Peter Ayson and John Boyens blocks.
  • This design work has identified that the current school electrical demand is reaching the supply capacity from Vector and is unable to cater for the additional demand required for both of these new air conditioning systems.
  • We have now engaged Vector to upgrade the main school supply feed and we envisage this work will likely be undertaken mid-to-late next year. Until this time, we will have to put the Peter Ayson air conditioning works on hold, but we will progress with John Boyens (more on this below).
 
The John Boyens block will be having an extensive upgrade, with works due to commence this coming summer (2021/22). Detailed design is complete and consent documentation is currently with the council. The works will include:
  • Building a new covered deck to the upper level that will improve indoor and outdoor flow and house the student’s bagging area, with a new connecting pedestrian bridge across to the Peter Ayson block.
  • A complete fitout of each classroom, installing an air con system and creating new break-out rooms (where the current hallway exists on both levels).
The main beams for the gully bridge linking junior to senior sides will be replaced over the coming summer (2021/22). These beams were originally taken from the tramlines along Remuera Road and were repurposed as the main longitudinal beams when the bridge was built in the mid 1960's. The works will be undertaken during the holidays so that it doesn’t impact school operations.
Earlier in the year, we shared our school charter for 2021, which is an outline of the Board’s strategic direction, and sets out how we intend to make a difference to student’s progress and achievement.
 
We thought it would be useful to provide some highlights of deliverables, to date, against key actions in the Charter. These deliverables show the tremendous efforts taken by our teachers and support staff to ensure the best for our children.
 
Enhancing how we report to parents and whanau
You will have seen in the recent school newsletter that there is going to be a change in the mid-year report formats. This is to reflect a more focused effort to report student’s progress over time via curriculum levels and to include more opportunities for students reflection. You will see this on the “Learner’s Disposition” against each of the school birds.
 
Developing the student leadership programme
Our Student Council attended the National Youth Leadership Day which featured a variety of speakers from across New Zealand, as well as a video from the Prime Minister personally welcoming the students. Each leadership nest is now actively carrying out initiatives across the school with an aim of actively growing their nest to include our juniors so they can begin their leadership journey.
 
House and Sports Leaders have been running sports for the juniors during lunch times, sports assemblies and assisting at our annual events such as Field Days and Swimming Sports.
 
Manaaki Leaders have been working with ‘Bridging the Gap’ on the junior side, helping our little ones navigate playground problems and learn how to solve friendship problems.
 
The Enviro nest has been hugely busy with work in the gully, campaigning for “save our oceans’ and the “Maui 63 project”.
 
Honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi and cultural diversity
The Senior Leadership Team are actively working towards ensuring we have a lens over our planning that honours Te Tiriti and acknowledges Te Ao Māori. Since our annual Māori whanau hui, we have been ensuring staff are equipped with Matariki and Te Reo Māori resources to promote the use of Te Reo in everyday classroom settings.
 
In terms of promoting cultural diversity throughout the school, Language Weeks have taken on new life with lunchtime activities for Samoan Language Week, daily speaker calls and resources for classroom use. Our diverse community celebrates many different festivals such as Eid. We have provided resources for our staff to help our students celebrate these festivals and events with language greetings and acknowledgement of them during the course of the term
 
Reviewing our learning support and extension programmes
Work continues to upskill teachers, via external professional learning development providers, to deliver a highly engaging, conceptual-based curriculum that promotes higher order thinking. A couple of great examples of this in action is the Meadowbank Marines and the Year 5 rocket project. Work is ongoing to create a framework or criteria for better identifying and catering for gifted learners, as well as continuing our significant amount of concentrated resource to support diverse learners.
 
You can access the Charter here to see details on these and other initiatives. The Board reviews progress against the Charter in each board meeting and we will update you of further progress in our Term 4 newsletter. 
Following our road safety survey earlier this year, we let you know in the 3 June school newsletter that we were drafting a letter to Auckland Transport, expressing the significant concerns our community has around the safety of our children on the roads around our school and requesting solutions.
 
While Auckland Transport will develop their own conclusions about the best solutions, in our letter we are suggesting some potential solutions that focus on enhancing the safety of our children travelling to and from school. You can find a link to our letter here
 
We would welcome your support in garnering the help of Auckland Transport to address these safety concerns. You could do this by writing to Auckland Transport to express your own concerns, or you could use our letter if you want to mirror the concerns that we raise. Auckland Transport’s contact details can be found here.
Because Meadowbank School is a decile 10 school, we receive significantly less funding from the Ministry of Education than schools in lower deciles. This means we rely heavily on locally-raised income to fund the special education programmes that are so highly valued by our children and community.

Locally-raised income includes the money raised through FOMS, Club Meadowbank and through the school donation. All of this money goes straight back into the school. It means we can fund extra teaching and specialist staff, and special programmes like Garden to Table, Mandarin, P.E., Music and Robotics & Coding. It also gives us the ability to invest in things like the 3D printer equipment for the Launchpad (funded entirely through FOMS fundraising) and the upcoming Media Suite in the Theo Lynds Block.

We would like to make special mention of the incredible efforts of our FOMS team, especially over the challenging period since the start of 2020. Because of COVID, many of the traditional fundraising platforms, such as ice blocks and sausage sizzle, could not continue as planned. This resilient team of parent and grandparent volunteers, however, innovated and persevered and raised funds that exceeded what we anticipated in such a challenging year.

The FOMS team does not only contribute financially. They also add substantially to the spirit of our community through events such as the Go Race and the Colour Run, and they also support our local business community through product-based fundraising.

Thank you FOMS, and thank you also, our parent community, for continuing to support their fundraising efforts.

Please keep in mind that parent (or grandparent!) volunteers are vital to sustain FOMS initiatives. Please keep an eye out for volunteer requests on the FOMS Facebook page, the newsletter or school app. Volunteering is a great way to engage in the school community and meet new people.

Thank you to all the families who have paid the school donation - the donation monies form a significant portion of our locally raised income.

To keep you informed on what we’ve been up to, we will continue to provide regular updates in the ‘Board Talk’ section of school newsletters, which will support our biannual Board of Trustees newsletters. This year, our next newsletter will be released in term 4.
 
If you are interested to know more about the Board, you are welcome to attend our monthly meetings. The next regular meeting will be held on Wednesday 18 August at 7pm in the new admin block. Future meeting dates and our contact details can be found on the school website. 

Contact: boardchair@meadowbank.school.nz
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