Board of Trustees Update

May 31, 2024

Board news

Welcome to Nicole Retter

The board unanimously agreed to co-opt Nicole Retter. School boards are able to co-opt certain people to fill a skills gap or to cover issues of equity. We enthusiastically agreed to co-opting Nicole as someone who whakapapas Maori and who can enhance governance of MNS with her Maori lens. She also has a fantastic skill set in comms, marketing and generally being a connector that will be an asset to the board and MNS community.
Nicole will be our Community Liaison person.

Achievement 2023

At our final hui of 2023 we were presented with the end of year achievement report. I think it may be the best one I’ve seen since I started on the board four years ago! This is testament to our kaiako, our values, and our rich and inclusive curriculum.

The Senior Leadership Team reports on Year 2, Year 4 and Year 6 achievement results.
In 2023 Year 2 results showed targets were met in reading and writing, and not too far off in maths. Year 4 and Year 6 cohorts met all targets for literacy and maths!
The results from the achievement report have provided direction for 2024. Rimu will continue a focus on maths especially in Year 2, Kowhai and Pohutukawa will be paying close attention to writing.

Professional development for 2024 focuses on structured literacy and te reo Maori.

Structured Literacy introduction

Since our Rimu syndicate have integrated structured literacy into the classroom there has been some great literacy results. This programme follows through into Kowhai syndicate to continue supporting tamariki. We will have even more interesting data when SL has been integrated for a full school year. We are happy to have already started this programme ahead of new government policy so we are well prepared for any Ministry instructions.

One hour of reading writing and maths

We asked for an ‘audit’ of the amount of time our tamariki are spending on reading writing and maths, ahead of the government announcement.
At MNS we have always taught at least 1 hour of reading/writing and maths per day. We have ‘pure’ lessons which is directly linked to the core curriculum areas and integrated times of explicit teaching of literacy and numeracy which goes across all other curriculum areas.

In addition to the pure lessons, there’s extra focus on these subjects occurring in moments like:

· Regular Buddy Reading within buddy class

· Inquiry work

· Maths/investigation sessions

· Class library time

Property

You will definitely be noticing the construction at school with the retaining wall, and Rooms 11 and 12 upgrade in full flight! What is happening has been in the 10-year plan and we are stoked that these projects are finally coming to fruition. Thank you for your patience – we are all looking forward to their completion.

Budget

A significant portion of our school’s budget is spent on staffing. This includes teacher aides who were necessary for uninterrupted learning to occur, which the board continues to prioritise throughout 2024. We remain prudent with the budget.

Fundraising

Home and School are planning a fabulous gala this year. This is an important fundraising event for the school and many hands make light work! Look out for comms of how you can help, and put your hand up if you know you can assist with seeking sponsorship, helping with activities, kai, on the day, or leading up. It all makes a difference.

Matariki Hāngi

There is something about that moment when the hāngi is pulled up and our tamariki launch into haka that is indescribable. We are so grateful for Sarah and James who work hard to get our hangi in the ground every year. Don’t miss out and order hāngi on Kindo to support MNS!  Matariki Hāngī

School Donations

MNS did not opt into the government donation scheme. This was a decision taken by the MNS board some time ago. At the time the board considered several factors including how it was obliged to use government scheme funds, uncertainty over our decile rating, and the revenue collected by donations at the time.

The board decided to maintain the status quo, and continue to seek donations from community. This allows the school slightly more flexibility with curriculum and non-curriculum activities.

MNS appreciates all the donations received. It goes a long way to support rich learning experiences for our tamariki.

As the school is a charitable organisation, any donations made are eligible to be claimed thru donations tax credit. Just jump on MyIR to claim them.

Relationships and Sexuality Education

There has been a fair bit in the news about the health curriculum changing. Schools are required to consult the community about this regularly and we will be seeking your thoughts again in the next 12 months. If you are not familiar with how relationships and sexuality are taught at primary level here is a brief rundown, taken from https://parents.education.govt.nz/primary-school/learning-at-school/sexuality-education/

This curriculum is a drip-feed approach where each year builds on age-appropriate concepts.

At primary school children are likely to learn about:

  • the human body and its growth and development
  • friendships
  • different kinds of families
  • consent in a range of relevant contexts (eg, at the doctor, in the playground, online)
  • respect for themselves, each other, and people who are different from them.

In the later years of primary school, they may also learn about:

  • puberty
  • body development and image
  • human reproduction
  • different types of relationships
  • risks and issues that can arise online and when using social media.

PRIDE in Schools

We are proud to be once again celebrating Pride in Schools the week of June 17th. It is important for rainbow tamariki (and those with rainbow parents and whānau) to see themselves reflected at school. Look out for the rainbow flag flying and some extra emphasis on inclusion and acceptance in the classroom.

Board hui

We meet twice per term, usually on a Monday at 6.30pm. If you have suggestions or contributions for the board meeting, please email boardchair@mns.school.nz to confirm the date and time of the next hui.
Please note, this is a public forum and we are required to protect privacy and so this is not a time to make complaints about specific situations. If you have a concern to address with the school, see below for the process.

Reminder of how to address concerns

The board has a governance role, rather than operational. This means that if you have a concern about something that has occurred at school, the staff are your first port of call. They are on the ground and can deal with your concern with training, experience and knowledge.

Firstly approach the teacher/s of your tamariki. If you cannot find a satisfactory resolution, then you can contact one of the Senior Leadership Team (Sarah Mac, Vidisha, or Amanda) to find a resolution. Again, if you are still unhappy with the response, please address your concerns with our Principal Joyce.

The board steps in when things cannot be resolved at an operational level. We would look at policies and procedures and review if they have been followed correctly, and consider if they need amending.

It is important to note here that the school follows PB4L approach. This means that specific behaviours by students are addressed in a positive, rather than punitive way, as much as possible. PB4L takes a long-term approach, seeking to embed pro-social behaviour over time. Behaviour change does not happen overnight and so at times it may seem like nothing is happening, but rest assured there is significant mahi going on – from immediate positive reinforcement of pro-social behaviour, circle time/class discussions about impact of unacceptable behaviours, and continual striving towards TIKA values. You can read more about this approach here https://pb4l.tki.org.nz/.