Term Two has been a term like no other in the College’s history.
Kia ora whānau
Tēnā koutou kātoa ngā whānau o te kura
Term Two has been a term like no other in the College’s history. I continue to be tremendously proud of the way our students and staff have managed themselves throughout these trying times. It is essential that all of our students and staff do in fact, take a break over these school holidays. I urge everyone to recharge their batteries so that they come back well-rested at the start of Term 3.
Moving forward from COVID-19
Thank you to those members of the community who responded to our recent survey where we were seeking feedback as we reflect on our remote learning experience. The College is well-positioned to make meaningful and informed changes in our educational delivery model. We have been working diligently to develop our Graduate Profile progressions and our Vision for Learning at the College. We are now carefully considering changes that will enable us to most effectively deliver on our Graduate Profile’s aspirational outcomes. Your feedback alongside the staff and student surveys are considered emerging evidence to be deliberated against the robust Special Character, pastoral care and curriculum reviews that have been completed as part of our three-year strategic plan. These are exciting times! Please read on in the newsletter for a detailed summary of the feedback we received.
I need to acknowledge our teachers for the way they have taken up the challenge to reflect on their teaching practice following remote learning protocols. As I undertake to walk through classrooms across the College, I have been most impressed with the way I have seen teachers modifying their practice. Our teachers are now integrating digital technologies more seamlessly, providing more autonomy for students and are supporting them to take calculated risks in their learning. Our students are blessed to have such dedicated professionals at our College.
One concrete initiative we are implementing in Term 3 will be the implementation of four separate self-determined learning days for our Year 11-13 students. The main intention for the self-determined learning days is to enable our practical subjects the opportunity to have dedicated time for students to engage with their projects/experiments/portfolios, which were interrupted by the COVID-19 school closure. The ancillary benefit is to provide dedicated days for our senior students to exercise agency and autonomy over their learning in and around these practical subjects. Comprehensive details will follow from Mr Graham early next term. Still, in summary, on these days, students will have the opportunity to engage in their practical subjects (if applicable). If not, they will self-manage their learning. All students will be off timetable on these days. Students will have the opportunity to opt into subject tutorials, or they can instead choose to manage their learning in supervised classrooms. Year 13 students in possession of a ‘Green Card’ will be able to stay home (with their parent’s consent) to continue with their learning, should they choose to.
The four self-determined learning days will be held on:
Greerton Village School Service Initiative
While it is captured in more detail in this newsletter, I want to acknowledge all of our community for the way we supported Greerton Village School. Mrs Tarr, Mrs Van Zyl, members of the Student Executive, and other senior students, led a tremendous effort which provided awhi and aroha to a community in need. As I reflect on this incredible effort, I cannot help but consider Pope Francis’ words earlier this year. Pope Francis said laymen and women (people who are not members of the clergy) live out their Christian calling by sharing the gifts they received from God with others rather than keeping them for themselves. He went further to say that Christians are called “to live the faith, not individually or in isolation but in community, as a people loved and willed by God.” “To do this, it is essential to be aware that we are part of a Christian community. We are not just another group, but the family of God gathered around the same Lord,” he said. With ingenuity and personal witness, we can bring the light and joy of the Gospel to others. This is the fruit of the Spirit in action. Thank you to all of you who gave so generously in support of this initiative.
I share with you two very significant staffing updates below:
Mr Graham has signalled his intention to step down from his role as Assistant Principal at the end of this year. Mr Graham has made this decision on his own accord, seeking to establish a better work-life balance. The Board of Trustees has supported Mr Graham’s intention to seek a role transition into a more full-time teaching timetable while still retaining responsibility for the position of Principal’s Nominee. I wish to publicly acknowledge Mr Graham for his support, wise counsel, unfailing dedication and friendship in our time working together in the Senior Leadership Team. Mr Graham has a big heart which points to Christ, and in my experience, this has always guided his work. While disappointed to lose his expertise from the Senior Leadership Team, I draw confidence in the knowledge that our students will benefit from Mr Graham’s expertise in the classroom. We will suitably recognise and celebrate Mr Graham’s service as a senior leader at the end of the year.
It is with great pride and privilege that I can share that Shelley McKay has been appointed to become the foundation Deputy Principal at Suzanne Aubert Catholic School, which will open in January 2021. This is a tremendous achievement, and we congratulate Mrs McKay on her appointment. It is extremely rewarding to see a member of our staff go on to a senior leadership position within the Catholic school network. We congratulate Mrs McKay, and we look forward to working alongside her in this new capacity! Mrs McKay will begin her work alongside Anthony Mills, the foundation Principal, from August. We will miss Mrs McKay’s vibrant personality and many gifts and talents she has blessed the College with since 2016. Please keep Mrs McKay in your prayers as she prepares for her new mission.
Sacraments of Initiation
We acknowledge and pray for Mr Andrew Duncanson, who is due to complete the RCIA course this week. Mr Duncanson has entered into the final week of preparation to be received into the Catholic Church this Saturday at the 5:00pm Saturday Vigil Mass at St. Mary Immaculate Church. Mr Duncanson has waited a long time to receive the Blessed Sacraments of initiation after being denied this opportunity at the Easter Vigil due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
In acknowledging Mr Duncanson, I also ask you to keep in your prayers our six students who are currently engaged in their sacramental programme, which was also disrupted by COVID-19.
Student-Led/Three-Way Learning Conversations – 23rd July
As advised in one of my recent communications, and the student report information from Mr Graham, the College is holding student-led learning conversations for Years 7-8 students and three-way learning conversations for students in Years 9-13 on Thursday 23rd July.
Years 7-8 Student-Led Learning Conversations
The student-led learning conversations are taking place between 9:00am-6:00pm. There are no classes for these students on this day, and parents and whānau are encouraged to book a meeting with your child’s homeroom teacher at a time that is most convenient for you. Bookings are made through schoolinterviews.co.nz. You will have received a booking code with your child’s report.
Years 9-13 Three-Way Learning Conversations
The three-way learning conversations are taking place between 2:00pm-7:00pm. Normal timetables will run for these students until lunchtime (12:45pm) on this day. Buses will leave the College at 1:00pm, except for the 2623 (Te Puke), 2534 (Katikati & Omokoroa) and 2615 (Matamata) buses, which will run at their normal time. Supervision will be provided in the library for students who require it.
Parents and whānau are encouraged to attend with their child and engage their teachers in learning focussed conversations. Bookings are made through schoolinterviews.co.nz. You will have received a booking code with your child’s report.
What is Matariki?
Ko Matariki kei runga, ko te tohu tēnā o te tau!
Matariki signals the Māori New Year. It is a time of renewal and celebration in New Zealand that begins with the rising of the Matariki star cluster (the Pleiades or Seven Sisters). Matariki appears in the night sky during mid-winter. According to the Maramataka (the Māori lunar calendar), the reappearance of Matariki brings the old lunar year to a close and marks the beginning of the new year. Hence, Matariki is associated with the Māori New Year.
The physical appearance of Matariki in the sky was traditionally used by a tohunga (spiritual experts) as a forecast of the year ahead. Clear and bright stars signalled warm and productive seasons, and hazy or shimmering clusters meant a cold winter was coming and ground for crops was prepared accordingly.
Each iwi has their own stories and perspectives about Matariki and celebrates Matariki at different times. Some hold festivities when Matariki is first seen in the dawn sky; others celebrate after the rise of the full moon or at the beginning of the next new moon.
Today Matariki is generally seen as an important time to celebrate the earth and show respect for the land. It is also a time to acknowledge those who have passed away and to plan for the year ahead. Matariki is a good opportunity for all New Zealanders to come together with Māori communities to learn their stories, culture, and language.
Term 3 Teacher Only Day
As has been previously advised, please note that Monday 10th August will be a Teacher Only Day. The focus for our staff on this day will be unpacking the Graduate Profile progressions and Vision for Learning we have been developing. Our teams will also have the opportunity to plan on integrating these into their curriculum planning.
Thank you to all of you for your continued support of your child(ren)’s education this term. Education is a partnership, and we are all enriched by your active participation.
Ma te Atua tātou e manaaki
May God’s Blessings be upon us all.
M R Dalton
We used green cloth for a sign of Covid-19 and the People to represent the family. The net around means that right now some people are trapped
Aquinas College began its association with Greerton Village School, in Term 4, of last year when students made Christmas cards and cookies for every student in the school.
On Thursday, June 18 we had the joy of hosting the diocesan NET team in our RE classes for the day. rit so that we can…
We’ve had a busy term settling back into Future Pathways and helping get our students back on track after the disruption of lockdown.
This is a competition for high school students in year 11 to learn about the brain and its functions, about neuroscience research and
Thank you to all the parents that took part in the Survey reflecting on their experiences during the lockdown. We had 212 responses
Technology tools break down the four walls of the classroom – History and technology are a match made in heaven
The news that school was closing due to a global pandemic was a big surprise for our 34 International students, here in New Zealand
Aquinas College Year 9 student, Ned Shaw has been selected for the 2020 National Secondary Schools Brass Band.
We are really excited to be back to Sports now we are at Level 1. Football, Basketball and Hockey have been up and running for a number of weeks now and Netball and Rugby will be taking off as we start Term 3.
Thank you to all of our parent and community volunteers. We couldn’t offer a variety of sports and teams we do without your valuable time. Enjoy the Winter Sport Season!
The Cross Country event looked a little different this year as we came out of Lockdown and had restrictions on gathering numbers.
With National Volunteer Week taking place in June, we would like to make time to thank all of our volunteers within our school community,
Ella Svendsen has just passed her NZ Theory Test for Umpiring netball. This is an outstanding
Aquinas College is holding a parent information evening around the use of Family Zone. We encourage both students and parents to come to this meeting and learn about this valuable tool. With Family Zone, children won’t miss out on the online fun and learning that’s so much a part of their lives. They’ll simply be shielded from risks and potential harms, with Family Zone strong and flexible parental controls.
Live Webinar: Managing Screen Time During School Holidays
Tuesday 7 July at 7 pm NZST. Click here to register
Live Webinar: Family Zone’s Favourite Features
Wednesday 15 July at 7pm NZST. Click here to register
Our Learning Centre is keen to receive your unwanted Lego. Please leave all donations at Reception marked for the attention of Hanna Hobbs. Thank you!
Adolescence is a time of growth and development and can be challenging for some.
Our school nurse Ana McFarlane will be conducting health checks on students over the next two terms using the Ministry of Health’s HEEADSSS Assessment tool.
This includes a range of questions relating to home, school, eating, drugs/alcohol, depression, sexuality and safety.
Any health risks identified will have the appropriate support offered to student and family.
If you wish to opt out from having the check done please contact the Nurse on 543 2400 -Ext 241 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Physio is Marijke Sonneveld
Appointments available @ school for your injury rehab and injury prevention education
See the school office for appt requests or phone 07 5779798
Twisted ankle? Out of plaster? Pulled muscle? Sore shoulder? Injured Back?
First appointment no charge. No referral necessary
Your School Physiotherapist can help you www.bayphysiotherapy.co.nz
The 2020 term dates:
Starts Tuesday 28 April
Ends Friday 3 July
Starts Monday 20 July
Ends Friday 25 September
Starts Monday 12 October
Ends Wednesday 9 December* *Dependent on Staff only days
The Aquinas College International Department is seeking new host families for 2020. Host families receive a weekly payment of $265 in return for providing students with 3 meals per day, their own room and pastoral care. For more information please email
We’d love to hear from anyone interested in being a volunteer during the day time as a reader or writer or reader & writer for students sitting assessments. Click here to sign up.
We’re also still accepting donations of Lego. Please leave bag/box at Reception for ‘Learning Centre’.
At Aquinas College we are extremely fortunate to be able to offer the following Itinerant Music Lessons in school time.
There is no cost for the actual lessons but there will be a $15.00 charge to cover folders and music that students receive and may keep. We do have a small number of instruments available to hire. Please contact email@example.com
If your son/daughter would like to take up this fantastic opportunity they can collect an enrolment form from the school office or from Mrs Cooney
Instruments available include;
Strings: Mrs Gardiner Violin, Viola, Cello and Double bass
Woodwind and Saxophone: Ms Martin, Mrs Jones Flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone
Brass: Mr Thomas Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, French Horn, Baritone Horn, Euphonium
Drums and Bass: Mr Barlow
Out of hours beginner Keyboard lessons are also available for Year 7 and 8
Private lessons are also available where fees are paid directly to the tutor for voice and guitar.