Board of Trustees - Latest Update

October Meeting

As the end of the year approaches the focus of Hoana and the school board is turning to planning for the new year. At our October meeting there was discussion on the priorities for the year ahead and in November the staffing plan and budget will be presented for approval. 

The Board would like to send a huge thank you to all the families who have paid their school fees this year. In October we were at 96% of our target, and if we reach 100% it will only be the second year we've ever achieved that goal. All schools have to work within very tight budgets, and it's a challenging part of a principal's job to make a little money go a long way. You can be reassured that your contributions make a significant difference. 

We had some more good news on the financial front in October with a $6000 donation from Fuji/Xerox. The school pool pump needed replacing, so this timely windfall will be used to buy a new self-dosing pump.

 

Previous meetings

September 2014

We spent some time building an understanding of the funding mechanism for the school, which is a complicated process based on forecast and actual student numbers. Over the next two months we'll be setting the budget for the 2015 year.
Earlier in the year we received approval to build six new classrooms replacing rooms 9,10, 11 and 12. The new buildings are likely to be two storey buildings so that we don't take up any more flat land. The latest update is that the Ministry of Education have appointed a project team and architects. We'll be involved in design in consultation with staff and expect to have the new classrooms up and running in 2017.
We have a full class of new entrants expected by the end of the year, so we have agreed to start a new Year 0 class, starting at the beginning of Term 4. We look forward to welcoming Whaea Pam to the school.

June 2014

Applications for funding for the school concert and Maori medium class trip have been made. The BOT acknowledge Anne Williams' leadership in this area and are pleased that Tracy Burke, Leisa Nathan and Leerina Savage are all learning the fundraising process and contributing to these applications - our thanks to you all.
The school needs to develop a new website and move off the current platform. Options are being explored, and we had a presentation from Allteams covering a proposal for website development and hosting. There is more to be done in this area before a decision can be made.
You'll have seen in last week's newsletter that the Newton has received an exceptional draft report from ERO. Watch this space for more details. Well done Hoana and all the Newton Central School team.
Lisa Smith has resigned from the BOT and is being replaced by Jo Stafford. Our thanks to Lisa for her contribution and we look forward to Jo joining the board.
Sarah Kelly, one of our Newton parents has done a great job researching motorway noise at school and has submitted a paper to the Ministry of Education. We're pleased to see that this is being taken seriously by the Ministry and they are taking a lead in coordinating further investigation. Thanks to Sarah for taking this up on behalf of the school.

April 2014

The Board of Trustees met on Monday evening and there were several points of interest for the school community:

  • The school roll is growing, and currently is at 263 students compared to 246 at the same time last year. It's great to have more students join the best little school and also means we will receive additional funding from the Ministry of Education.
  • We've been talking about it since last year, and finally ERO will be visiting the school on May 12th. We look forward to their visit and feedback.
  • The Board have approved a teacher-only day on August 25th, which is in the middle of Term 3. Pop it in your diaries. There will be more reminders closer to the time.
  • The Board have also approved the purchase of software and equipment for The Steps - Literary Support Programme. Sheila has been blown away by the results in other schools using this programme with children with special learning needs, so we look forward to seeing it in practice at Newton Central. If you're interested you can find more information at http://www.learningstaircase.co.nz/why-steps/
  • Lastly we'd like to acknowledge the effort of students, staff and whanau in term 1. It's been a great term with Fia Fia day, school swimming sports, special visits and great engagement inside the classroom and out. Enjoy the holidays everyone you all deserve a break.

March 2014

Our meeting started with a visit from representatives of the Arch Hill Residents group, who gave us information about the upcoming footpath works and an update on their opposition to Bunnings on Dean Street. It was good to establish connection with the local community beyond our parents, and you'll have now seen information in the school newsletter on the footpath improvement works. If anyone wants to connect with the residents group they can do so through their Facebook page 'Arch Hill Matters'.

A proposal was received from a group of parents interested in heating the school pool. The BOT fully endorse this great idea, but unfortunately there is no funding in the operations budget or property plan in the foreseeable future. This means the funds will need to be raised externally and the group behind this proposal have a plan to do this. Hoana apologises that she has not yet written to the group of parents to inform them of the Board decision and that while she discussed it at the parent consultation group, she has not had the time as yet to write to them to formally acknowledge their vision and arrange to meet with them to see how perhaps we can strategise for this in the future.

The Board has been doing some work in response to a parent query on motorway noise and the impact on teaching and learning. There will be more information on this over the next couple of months.

Thank you to the parents who have volunteered for the parent consultation group for the mainstream classes, it's great to see that we have representation from most classes.

Lastly the Board would like to extend a huge thank you to all the teachers, parents and whanau who contributed to Fiafia day. What a fantastic day and the money raised makes a big difference to the school. Thank you!!

February 2014

Tena koutou katoa, we hope that the new school year has started well for everyone. We had the first Board of Trustees meeting of the year on Monday. We've got a busy year ahead with the ERO review in May and an internal review of our school charter and strategic plan among other activites. The key points of interest from our meeting were:

  • Te Kawahau Hoskins and Christine Herzog were re-appointed as the board co-chairs.
  • The Board warmly congratulates Ruma 6 teacher Cass Johnson on passing her Masters with Honours.
  • The junior playground improvements were completed over the holidays. It's looking great, go and check it out when you have a chance. Re-roofing of rooms 1-6 was completed over the holidays, so we look forward to a dry year.
  • Newton Central has joined the Positive Behaviour for Learning programme, which will develop a school wide approach to positive behaviour. This will involve clearly defining what behaviour is required for learning, and implementing a consistent approach to behaviour management. A team is currently being formed and it would be great to have a parent representative. If anyone is interested, please contact Hoana.
  • Hoana would like to form a parent consultation group in the mainstream school, which would meet regularly to discuss parent views on school life. Similar groups already exist in the full immersion and bi-lingual units and are a valuable opportunity for parents to provide their input.  It would be great to have good representation from mainstream whanau. If you are interested, please contact Hoana. 

Lastly a reminder that anyone is welcome to attend the Board of Trustees meetings, which are held monthly with dates and times notified in the school notice.

December 2013

Monday's Board of Trustees (BoT) meeting was the last for the year and we finished on a high note with the reporting on student achievement. We've seen fantastic results in 2013.  

The key items covered at the meeting were

  • Hoana presented a comparison of start of year and end of year student achievement, and the improvement seen over the year has been impressive. The reading recovery programme, rainbow reading, small class sizes, the professional development focus on literacy and great teachers have all contributed to these results. 
  • The staffing plan for 2014 was finalised and the BoT has kept its commitment to small class sizes by employing two teachers in addition to the Ministry of Education staffing allowance.
  • The BOT committed to a full review of the school strategic plan in 2014, which will include consulting with the school community.  We look forward to working with you and your children to capture your aspirations and ideas for the future of Newton Central School.

November 2013

Monday's Board of Trustees meeting was the first for Hoana since returning from study leave and it was great to welcome her back, especially as we start planning for 2014. Hoana's extensive experience in managing the school is invaluable to the Board, especially as we have several new members after this year's election.

The key items covered at the meeting were:

  • The Education Review Office has advised that Newton Central will have its ERO audit in May next year. We welcome ERO back. Newton Central's 2011 ERO review was very positive, and can be found on the ERO website.
  • The Ministry of Education have advised the allowed staffing levels and funding for Newton Central for 2014. Retaining our great staff and special programmes such as reading recovery is a top priority for the school. Hoana will be working on a staffing plan and budget over the next month to fit with this allowance.
  • A 10 year Property Plan has been agreed with the Ministry of Education and is with the BOT for approval. There are some exciting developments included in the plan and we'll provide more details once it is fully approved. The first priority is replacing the floor in room 12 and the roofing for rooms 1-6 and 9-13. This is planned for the Christmas break so that we're all dry next year. Then in 2015 there are awesome new buildings planned to replace the prefab rooms 9 - 13.
  • Thanks to great work by Anne Williams we have grants funding that covers a good proportion of the upgrade of the Junior Playground. The BOT has committed additional funds from the budget to allow this work to be carried out over the school holidays and completed by the start of the 2014 school year.