Kia ora whanau
Nga mihi nui ki a koutou
Term Two has been another busy, exciting and successful term! This newsletter is filled with rich content that details the life of the College. My intention is to highlight some key messages, developments and events.
As you would have read in our recent emails, we have partnered with Family Zone as part of our ongoing commitment to educational excellence and our duty of care to ensure students’ safety and well-being. On June 27th, Saunil Hagler from Family Zone, presented at our parent meeting about this exciting product which is being supplied to families of Yr. 7-12 students. As teaching and learning programmes integrate more digital tools we must also ensure that students are protected from some of the risks (and distractions) associated with the digital environment. While students are at school, we have a firewall that filters all internet traffic through our Wi-Fi network. Family Zone extends these filters to students’ 3G/4G networks as well, ensuring a safer, more productive learning environment at all times. From Term Three, this will be compulsory for all students from Yr. 7-12 bringing their devices to school.
The Family Zone product allows you as a parent, to extend this protection to six mobile devices across three children at home. You are able to alter this level of protection easily or follow age-appropriate restrictions as set by the Family Zone. There is no cost to you for this service.
This is not spyware and there is no discernible slowing of internet connectivity. More information about the product can be sourced at this link: https://www.familyzone.com/aquinas-nz . It is our intention to have another parent evening at the start of Term 3.
The Mind Lab is coming to Aquinas College
Aquinas College will be hosting the next cohort of The Mind Lab’s Post Graduate Certificate of Applied Practice. There have been 3500 teachers who have completed this course in the past four years. The Mind Lab by Unitec is a future-focused, NZQA accredited blended learning programme for educators who want to adopt new, contemporary, research-informed practice. I am excited about this opportunity and look forward to supporting our teachers who take on this learning journey.
We are most fortunate to host Frances Valentine (CNZM), the founder of The Mind Lab at school this Thursday, 5th July. Frances will be presenting her Future of Education presentation to our staff and students. Frances is a passionate educator and technologist. For over 20 years she has been committed to shifting education and business practice to respond to the future of work and industry. In 2013 she founded The Mind Lab, developed to empower students and educators to develop applied digital knowledge and capability. In 2016 Frances launched Tech Futures Lab to support individuals, organisations, and government to navigate the impact of technological advancement and cultural change in the workplace. In the past five years, her organisations have taught over 150,000 school students, 3,500 teachers and worked with 250 New Zealand organisations. In the 2018 New Year Honours, Frances was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit recognising her lifetime of contribution in education and technology. Last year, Frances received the NZ Flying Kiwi Award and was inducted into the New Zealand Hi-Tech Hall of Fame. Frances was also named one of the top three NZ Innovators of the Year at the 2017 New Zealander of the Year awards. In 2016 Frances was named one of the top 50 EdTech Educators in the World by EdTech International, and was also awarded a Sir Peter Blake Leader Award. In 2015 Frances was awarded the Westpac New Zealand Woman of Influence (Innovation) and the NEXT New Zealand Woman of the Year (Education). Frances sits on the boards of Callaghan Innovation, KEA, and the NZ Artificial Intelligence Forum. She sits on a US Board of Talentnomics, committed to the empowerment of women in developing nations. She holds a Master of Education Management from the University of Melbourne.
Having Frances present to our staff and students is a privilege and it presents a wonderful enrichment opportunity for all of us.
Supporting wellness and promoting activity has been a priority with the wellness programme in Yrs. 7 and 8. I thank the staff members and members of the Student Executive whose continued support ensures these opportunities exist for our students. With the generous support of the College PTA, we are able to extend the coordination of this programme through until the end of the year.
Night at the Races
I want to thank and commend the PTA for their extensive planning that led to a very successful night. Thank you also to our community for your wonderful support of this night. We are very privileged to have such a supportive community!
This newsletter is full of the rich and varied ways in which our students are achieving and contributing to our College. Our philosophy of holistic education is celebrated in their Special Character, cultural, performing arts and sporting achievements, together with a continued emphasis on every student working to their academic potential. I wish you all a safe and relaxing term break and I look forward to another successful school term starting on Monday 23rd July, 2018.
May God’s Blessings be upon you all.
Mr. Matt Dalton
A group of Board of Trustees members (including Student Representative Ben Sokimi) and staff attended the triennial New Zealand Catholic Education Convention, held in Wellington this term. This was an opportunity to grow our vision for Special Character across every curriculum area of the College. The keynote speakers, Dame Therese Walsh, Professor Br David Hall, Fr Daniel Horan and David Wells, offered great insights and the breakout workshops challenged thinking, promoted reflection and enabled the group to further their individual faith journeys.
Celebrating our school’s Special Catholic character, students from Yr. 11 and 12 attended Retreat days this term.
Yr. 11’s attended a Retreat run by Real Talk where they participated in a reflection day. The day was organised around the topics of relationships and personal identity, based on Catholic Christian values. The students were engaged in the meaningful discussions about the pressures and ideologies that society portrays as being perfect.
Yr. 12’s were immersed in a Retreat Day run by the CDC Missions Team from Auckland. The theme of the day was Faith and Life– living in a relationship with Jesus. The Missions team was engaging and the students responded well to their message.
The Yr. 7 and 8 Faculty was visited by the Wellington Diocese Missions Team earlier this term. The team attended Mass in the school chapel before spending some time with our students.
The team discussed the theme of the Holy Spirit, using song, dance and role-play to help students gain insight into this part of the Trinity.
It was an enjoyable experience and the students were inspired by their presentation.
We have been fortunate to have Fr John Joliffe SM coming to provide professional development to the Aquinas College staff. His focus is on the Gospel of Mark; the Gospel which is read from most Sundays of the liturgical year. He will also teach about the Lectio Divina, a traditional Benedictine practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to increase knowledge of God’s Word.
Putting their faith into action, 16 students volunteer their time to help with Loaves and Fishes. Our team includes students from Yrs. 11 -13 who meet every Tuesday at Saint Mary’s Church. These students make up to 300 lunches for students in our local school communities. The lunches are prepared each morning from 7.20 am through to 8.20 am and then packed into bags and delivered by students or the Public Health Nurses. Thanks to Meari Vickers and Alex Eagles-Tully, the Saint Vincent de Paul co-ordinators, and to Mr Smith who work closely with our students to provide this service. As Mr Smith is fond of saying “We can’t all do great things but we can do small things with great love”. This is just one small example of the Service that our students provide to our Tauranga community.
Aquinas College staff braved the cold to bare their legs and participate in the annual ‘Shorts for Hospice’ fundraising day. A key ethical principle of the Catholic Church is the sacredness and value of every human life. The holistic palliative care provided through Waipuna Hospice is an example of helping people to live and die with dignity, and as a school community we are proud to put our faith into action and support this worthwhile cause. While over $200 was raised to support the work of Hospice in our community, the day was also a chance to celebrate the goodness of life. A special mention to Mrs Gilbert for sporting the best outfit and to the Social Sciences team for their efforts as the best dressed faculty.
Thanks to students, families and staff who attended the two parish-school Masses held this term, at St Thomas More Church and St Mary’s Immaculate Church.
Our students participated in the readings, prayers of the faithful and served as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.
Both Masses were a joyful celebration with our wider faith community.
We are now around half way through the senior academic year and all students should be making sound progress on internally assessed Achievement Standards.
Many subjects will also be moving on to the externally assessed aspects of the course.
Progress reports will be sent to families this final week of term and should provide useful information on how students are progressing towards the achievement of their academic goals in 2018. Please note that all students can check on their own academic progress by logging into the Aquinas College portal here.
Please click this link for a Progress Report on the Yr. 7 – 10 Curriculum Review currently being undertaken at the College.
Term Two has flown by with a number of our students taking up opportunities to extend themselves and represent Aquinas College.
The Tauranga Kids Literature Quiz for 2018 was held at Tauranga Intermediate. Congratulations to Chloe Davison, Dawn Villegas, Mia Knowles and Phoebe Watson – top scoring team in rounds 1, 2, 3 and 8 coming out at 6th overall (28 teams).
One of the main learning focus areas this term has been writing. In Week 4 we had the pleasure of author Stu Duval joining with us for 4 days. Stu was an inspiration to our students as he shared his love of writing, music and storytelling. Over the week he worked with each year level as well as running some focus sessions for smaller groups.
A large group of Yr. 11 and 13 Technology students visited Fieldays at Mystery Creek. With four hours to explore, the students made their way to the Careers Pavilion, explored the Innovation Centre, and learnt about an array of agriculture and wider industry technology on display. They even got to catch up with the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern for a selfie or two! As always, it was a fabulous learning experience and a momentous day was had by all. The students represented Aquinas College with pride.
Student Led Conferences – Yrs. 7 and 8 – Tuesday, 31st July – These interviews provide an opportunity for parents/caregivers to meet with their child’s home room teacher to discuss academic progress in the first half of the year and to work together to set goals for the second half. Please contact Mr Banbury (Head of Faculty Yr. 7/8) with any queries – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parent Interviews Evening – Yrs. 9 – 13 – Two evenings have been scheduled for parents and caregivers to meet with teachers. These nights are Tuesday, 31st July 4:00 – 7:30 pm and Thursday, 2nd August 4:00 – 7:30 pm. Further notice will be given on booking appointments online. For more information e-mail Mr. Graham – email@example.com.
Aquinas College welcomed a new International student from Thailand this term. Put Suthisrisinipa is a Yr. 11 student interested in art, music, graphic design and basketball. He has joined the Tauranga Youth Philharmonic orchestra where he plays violin, and also the Yr. 12 social basketball team. His host family have enjoyed sampling authentic Thai cuisine thanks to his talents as a chef.
If you are interested in hosting an International Student please e-mail Ms. Jarden Director of International Students on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spirit Week was an amazing display of house and school spirit with fun events happening throughout the week. This included crazy tie days, house block entrance decorations and whacky hair day. A major event of note during the week was the fundraising initiative for ‘Shave for a Cure’. This saw our Aquinas College community raise over $5000 in just one week resulting in Mr Dalton, Mr Kennedy, Mr Smith and members of our student community losing their hair. The week ended with Aquinas Day where students took part in face painting, Zumba, tug of war, a whole school Kahoot quiz on Maori myths & legends and the long held tradition of House Haka.
Yr. 12 student Izzy Northcroft was chosen to participate in an amazing youth development opportunity aboard Hinemoana. This is a traditional double-hulled Polynesian sailing canoe. Izzy was a crew member for 8 days with 12 other students and adults from across the Bay of Plenty. Izzy was selected from a number of students who applied for the Hawaiki Rising Voyaging Trust Scholarship package of $1,200, kindly donated by Jon Morrison, the owner of Pak’nSave Tauriko. Thanks Pak’nSave Tauriko for your support.
The Aquinas College Options Evening is on Tuesday 14th August, 7:00 – 9:00 pm, in the School Administration Block. The night has been scheduled to give parents and students the chance to discuss options with subject specialists at Aquinas College. It is a valuable opportunity to gain insight on which subjects will best suit your child into the future. Mr Smith, the Careers Advisor at Aquinas College, will also be available to meet with parents. If you have a child who will be in Yr. 10 or above in 2019 then you should consider attending this evening.
Parents and whanau may have heard that the Ministry of Education are currently reviewing the shape and direction of NCEA to ensure it is future-focused and continues to meet the needs of learners now and into the future.
The National Certificates of Educational Achievement were introduced into secondary schools over 15 years ago and now you have the opportunity to take part in this important national conversation at:
All Yr. 9 and year 10 students are part of the REACH academic programme at Aquinas College. This programme operates like NCEA where each subject contributes points towards a grand total. The type of certificate awarded at the end of the year depends on the total number of points that have been earned through assessments and tests: Certificate of Excellence requires 160 points, Certificate of Merit requires 120 points, Certificate of Achievement requires 80 points and a Certificate of Completion requires 40 points. Each assessment is worth a maximum of 4 points. Points are awarded as follows: 4 points – Achieved with Excellence, 3 points – Achieved with Merit, 2 points – Achieved, 1 point – Working towards Achieved or 0 points – Insufficient evidence of Achievement.
The mid-year reports will be emailed home this week and are available on the Aquinas College parent portal here. These will contain a record of REACH assessment results. By now we would expect students to have between 50 and 80 points.
The cooler weather has certainly made its appearance and when you are courtside Friday evening at the Netball, or at the Tauranga Hockey Centre on a Monday night, you know that winter has arrived!
Preparation for the AIMS GAMES is now in full swing. Aquinas College is entered into 12 different sporting codes and expects to have over 140 students participating this year.
We love to hear and celebrate your children’s success. If your child achieves something individually or in a team outside of Aquinas College, please do let us know either via this link online or by e-mail to Mrs. Tarr – email@example.com.
As a new addition to the Aquinas Sports Webpage, you can also view weekly draws for all of our sports teams here. There are sports teams playing every night of the week aside from Thursdays and Sundays. Our teams would love to see you supporting on the sideline of the turf, pitch or court. As part of this webpage, we are also showing results for the previous week. Coaches, Managers or Captains are able to submit this to us via a link on the Sports Webpage. We also enjoy hearing about our Sports Teams results on a Tuesday morning at assembly. If your team is missing results, please follow up with your team Coach or Manager.
Congratulations to our Yr. 8 Girls Basketball Team who won ‘Best Dressed’ and the Gold Medal at the Basketball World Cup. Anika Hyland and Mariah Gardiner-Hano were named in the Tournament Team.
After hosting and training with a school group of wrestlers from Indiana USA, Yr. 10 student Blair Bromwich took part in the North Island Wrestling Championships in Hamilton on 17th June. He competed in the under 59 kg weight group against athletes aged 13-15 years. After a 14- hour day Blair came home with a silver medal. Awesome results!
The Waikato / Bay of Plenty Cross Country Championships were held in Taupo on the 6th of June. Four students attended to represent Aquinas College. It was a stellar effort from all four boys, however special mention has got to go to Reece McCarthy who pulled out all stops in the last 300 m to overtake half a dozen competitors. Reece finished 3rd in the Junior Boys Race, qualifying to represent the Bay of Plenty at the North Island Cross Country Champs. In the Junior Boys Race, Tom Hoffart finished 27th and in the Yr. 9 Boys Race, Jordan Smith finished 17th and Josh McCarroll was 49th.
It was an incredible turn out at the Zone Yr. 7 and 8 Cross Country Championships on Wednesday 20 June. Twenty six students attended in the two age groups to race and represent Aquinas College. The weather played ball and provided near on perfect conditions for racing at Waipuna Park. The top performer of the day was Izzy Jones who placed 3rd in the Y7 Girls Race. Congratulations to the following students who qualified to represent Aquinas at the BOP Middle Schools Championships at Kaharoa School on Tuesday 26 June – Scott Brebaart, Sarah Edwards, Sophina Finnimore, Darcy Gilbert, Ella Hill, Izzy Jones, Grace Kahle, Hugo McCarroll, Jesse O’Hara, Callum Roberson, Henry Scholes, Brayden Stowers and Rozalia Wisnewski.
On Wednesday 20 June, we celebrated the tremendous amount of talent in the Arts Faculty, as well as the hard work that individuals and groups have been putting into an array of performing arts groups and items over the course of this year. Our Performing Arts Evening took place at the Otumoetai Baptist Church, where audience members were treated to a wide range of performances. Items were performed by the Concert Band, Jazz Band, String Ensemble, Chamber Group, Year 10 Music Class, Voci Celesti, Acafellas, Junior Choir, Rock band (the D-SETS), Drama students, as well as group and solo items. The calibre of performances was very high and was well received by the packed out audience. A huge thank you to all staff and students who made this evening a huge success.
ARTS AND CULTURE
We were fortunate enough to have world-acclaimed Jazz Musician Matt Harris conduct a workshop with the Aquinas Jazz Band on Friday 15 June. He had just finished touring New Zealand with Rodger Fox and his band from the United States. Matt Harris is an active clinician, conductor and composer for high schools, colleges and professional bands around the world. He has conducted the Nevada, Oklahoma, Arizona, South Dakota and Texas all state bands. He has been commissioned to write music for bands spanning the globe. Matt has been a guest clinician for over 30 years with topics ranging from improvisation, rhythm section, piano, arranging, composition, business of music and creative aspects of playing jazz. We thank Matt for taking the time to visit us at Aquinas and the students all gained so much from the experience.
ARTS AND CULTURE
The regional Chamber Music Competition took place on Wednesday 13 June and the Aquinas College Ensemble performed Menuetto Trio Opus 87 by Beethoven. The quartet consisted of Yr. 10 Isaac Jarden (clarinet), Yr. 10 Ella Svendson (flute), Yr. 12 Tiziana Hawkes (violin) and Yr. 13 Anais Magner (violin). These students delivered an outstanding performance and received very complimentary comments from the judges.
ARTS AND CULTURE
On Friday 8 June, our choirs Voci Celesti and Acafellas competed in The Big Sing regional competition. Voci Celesti performed three pieces; Kyrie from A Little Jazz Mass, Ubi Caritas and May the Road Rise to Meet You. The Acafellas performed I’m a Train and You Raise Me Up. Both choirs performed well and received a Commended award. The students also performed one piece at the evening Gala Concert which was well received by the audience. Mrs Lynda Cooney received the prestigious Conductor’s Professional Development Award which we would like to congratulate her on.
Congratulations to the Aquinas College PTA for hosting a fun and entertaining mid-winter fundraiser event last weekend. Thanks to the support of our College families, we raised over $30,000 for the students of our school. Well done to the Race Caller Extraordinaire, Mr Lee for his exceptional performance on the night. Congratulations to the 2018 Aquinas Cup winners Kevin ‘Billy the Kid’ Schuler of Schuler Bros Goat Farm and trainer Jo Orchard.
Please spread the word to friends and family that 2019 enrolment applications close on the last day of term – Friday 6th July.
House of Science is running Science Holiday Programmes students aged 8 – 13 years. The Robotics Programme runs from the 9th July to 13th July and the Fantastic Physics Programme runs from 16th July – 20th July from 9.00 – 3.00 pm. For more information or to register go to www.houseofscience.nz or or phone 07 5710711.
For all you need to know about scholarships, school visits, Tertiary Open Days, Information Evenings and how to choose the right career, all Yr. 12 & 13 students and their families are invited to visit our new careers portal at www.aquinas.careerwise.nz