Board of Trustees Newsletter – Term 4 2019

The Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees’ meetings are usually held on the third Monday of each month at 6:30pm and, with the exception of some confidential matters, are open to the public to attend.

We update you on Board issues regularly and welcome your feedback.

New Members of the Board of Trustees

Firstly, we would like to introduce new members of the Board of Trustees

In June this year we welcomed two new members to our Board – Kathryn Furness and Craig Jordan – alongside Kristin Sutherland and Matt Bolger who joined the Board earlier in 2019 to fill vacancies.  These newer members join Brad Dunstan (chair), Paul Engles as Principal, and Carrie Mills as Staff representative. During Paul’s sabbatical his Board role has been ably filled by Deputy Principals Debbie Ellery and Meegan Hill.

Communication Survey

In Term 3 you will have received a request to take part in a survey on how the school communicates with parents.  We’ve done a lot on communications over the last few years including the new website, digital newsletters and the Flexi-Buzz app. The survey results will help us understand where the school is doing well and where it can improve so that we continue to build on the strong school community, and we will incorporate the feedback into the updated communications plan currently being developed by the school.

Strategy Review

In Term 4 the Board will commence its strategy review to set the plan for the next 3 years. This is a critical process to decide on the priorities of the school, and we will be engaging with parents and community to understand different perspectives as an input into the strategy review. Keep an eye out for a survey in Term 4.

Property

Over the school holidays Rooms 14, 15, 16 and 17 have been refurbished with new fittings and heat pumps, and a new roof for Room 14. This is part of the ongoing work to keep older class rooms fit for purpose.

Digital technology in the school

After receiving a letter from parents regarding the use of digital technology in the school, the school leadership and Board have been working through a series of follow up actions, including two activities underway:

  • Cyber safety and monitoring: One issue that was raised by parents was ensuring sufficient cyber safety for students using devices at school. The school has already been using Network for Learning, a government provided programme that blocks harmful content and is used in about 98% of schools across New Zealand, and Hapara, which is a system which allows teachers to monitor device use of their students and block individual sites / devices if required. Over the last months the school has also run a trial on Family Zone which adds additional features in monitoring use of devices at the school, and also offers packages that families can use for cyber safety on their devices at home. At its September meeting, the Board approved the adoption of Family Zone for the school, and the school will engage with the parent community on who may want to take up a license for use at home. Family Zone does come at an additional cost.
  • Digital policies: The Board has also conducted a review of the various policies and procedures that relate to aspects of digital technology and its use in the school. The review found that while there is a lot of documentation on policies and procedures in this space, it is captured across many different documents making it hard to navigate. The Board agreed at its September meeting to bring together all policy and procedure information into a cohesive framework built on core principles that will drive the use of digital technology in support of the school’s wider goals.

Ballot for out of zone students

The Board has made the decision not to open a ballot for out of zone students for the coming year.

In the past Kohimarama School has accepted out of zone students via the ballot process, but with the school roll having expanded very quickly over the last 24 months the school is now at capacity. This is placing pressure on classroom sizes and spaces just to accommodate in-zone students, therefore the decision was made not to open the ballot for the coming year.

The decision not to open the ballot was a difficult one for the Board as it affects several families within our community, but we believe it was the right thing to do given the need to manage the school’s limited resources with a fast-growing role.

Donations

We’d like to say a big thank you to those parents who have paid their donation. As at 23 September 73% of parents have paid their annual donation in full. This is tracking lower than the 78% at the same time last year.  The donations really are critical to the school, so if you are able to contribute but haven’t yet, you can do so by:

Eftpos or credit card at the school office

By direct credit to account:  12-3027-0453441-01

Reminders are sent out by the office each term.

You can contribute annually at the start of the year along with your stationery from Officemax, as a one off payment or each term.

You may wonder what the school donations are used for, so we’ve provided some more detail. The Ministry of Education funds most of our operational expenditure and the salaries of most of our staff. But this is not enough to run all of the things the school provides.

Alongside the PTA fundraising, the annual parent donation provides a vital bridge in the gap between the base level of funding we receive from the Ministry and the actual cost to the school of funding the range of programmes we offer.

Specifically these donations permit us to fund an additional three teachers, ensuring that every class in the school is smaller and thereby significantly improving the learning opportunities for every child. Our ability to provide this improved student/teacher ratio is only possible through the funds we receive from the annual school donation.

The Board reviews the amount of the donation annually taking into account the financial impact on families. It is currently set at $470 per student. We believe this represents great value given its direct contribution to raising the achievement standards of our students and the benefit to our school as a whole.

Please also remember that there are several ways in which your donation can provide a tax deduction benefit.

We welcome your feedback around the donation. If you have any questions relating to the donation please contact any member of the Board.

Once again, thank you to the majority of families that have already paid their donation. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Thank You

We’d like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone in the Kohimarama School community who puts in an effort on behalf of our children and their future.

To the parents who freely give of their time as parent helpers, coaching sports teams, helping with road patrols, walking school buses, in the classrooms and in any way asked.

To the PTA who continue to fund raise and bring the community together in a fun and enjoyable way.

The staff who, without exception, go the extra mile and visibly show their professionalism, enjoyment and enthusiasm for the children and their development.

And finally, the children themselves.  We’re all proud of you and look forward to continuing to share your journey.

The Board of Trustees, Kohimarama School