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Principal's Letter to Parents and Students dated 15 March 2011

 
Picture of Marinda van Vuuren
Principal's Letter to Parents and Students dated 15 March 2011
by Marinda van Vuuren - Tuesday, 15 March 2011, 3:28 PM
 

15 March 2011

Dear Parents and Students

Obviously the school community, Board, staff, students and families, has been shocked and dismayed by the events surrounding the recent earthquake. If there is anything I or the school can do to support members of our community, please feel free to contact me via the school.

The Board and I realise that there will be a degree of uncertainty surrounding the school, the teaching programmes, and some of the administrative changes that are related to the earthquake. However, I have been most impressed and grateful to Mrs Sandra Sidaway and other senior staff for the leadership and care they have shown and for the manner in which they have prepared the school for both our students and those from Avonside Girls’ High School. While our priority is the physical and emotional safety of our school community members, we are also determined to ensure that quality teaching and learning is re-established and that students are not overly disadvantaged in terms of meeting their academic goals for the year.

As you will be aware, as part of our service to the community, we are accommodating Avonside Girls’ High School on our site during the afternoons. Mrs Hume (Avonside Girls’ Principal) was, until 2010, a Deputy Principal at Burnside High School and leader of North Division. She understands Burnside High School and will, we believe, help ensure the best interests of our students as well as her own are met.

The new timetable is set out in this newsletter. While our teaching programmes will be largely unaffected, these arrangements will, unfortunately, have an impact on our extracurricular activities. Fortunately, the Creative Arts aspect of the school will continue virtually unaffected; however, aspects of the sporting programme, which require gym facilities, may be disrupted. This will be because Avonside Girls’ will be using them for teaching in our normal after-school slot. Indeed, sport throughout Canterbury is likely to be disrupted for some time and coaches/managers will update students when more information is known.

NZQA has been very supportive of all Christchurch schools and is fully aware of the impact of the earthquake on assessments, lost teaching time, etc. While they have yet to form their official response, I am confident that, like last year, they will do all that they can to ensure students are not disadvantaged. I will let you know more when details emerge. Our own Faculty and Department Heads will modify programmes (especially for seniors) to ensure the focus is on students gaining quality NCEA results. Much of this work is already complete. Our two main themes will be firstly to ensure students at Level 1, 2 and 3 get their qualifications, and to then ensure they get the best quality qualification.

I have included an additional letter for Year 11 students to advise them about NCEA. Year 12 and 13 students should be well aware of expectations in this regard but I will add the Year 11 letter to our website for the general information of all families.

Finally, while Burnside High School has been very fortunate in terms of our physical site, we will continue to check and monitor all buildings and water quality.

I enclose a copy of Mrs Sidaway’s latest column on the website which contains important information for our Burnside High School community. Our website will be updated as necessary

My best wishes and thanks to you all. Staff and students have already shown through the work they did following the earthquake and the attitude shown over the last few days just how amazing Burnside High School people can be. Together we will continue to meet our mission of providing a first rate education for our students.

Warwick Maguire

Principal

* Attachment 1 - Revised Bell Times

REVISED BELL TIMES from WEDNESDAY 16 MARCH 2011

For Year 12 and 13 Students


Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri

Form Time/Assembly

8.00 – 8.15am

Period 1

8.15 – 9.00am

Period 2

9.05 – 9.50am

Period 3

9.55 – 10.40am

Interval

10.40 – 11.00am

Period 4

11.00 – 11.45am

Period 5

11.50 – 12.35pm

Lunch for Yr 12 & 13s with afternoon

classes. Others released.


Period 6 Classes

Wk1 Mon – D Wk2 Mon - C

Wk1 Tue – A Wk2 Tue - B

Wk1 Thu – C Wk2 Thu - F

Wk1 Fri – E Wk 2 Fri - A

Either 1.15 - 2.00pm if in room shared with AGHS.

or 1.30 – 2.30pm if room not used by AGHS


Wednesday

Period 1 (Home Study – Yr 12 & 13))

8.00 – 8.45am

Period 2

8.50 – 9.35am

Period 3

9.40 – 10.25am

Interval

10.25 – 10.45am

Period 4

10.45 – 11.30am

Period 5

11.35 – 12.20pm

Lunch for Yr 12 & 13s with pm. classes.


Period 6: Wk 1 – B, Wk 2 - D

1.00 – 1.45pm or 1.15 - 2.00pm

Period 7: Wk 1 – F, Wk 2 – E

1.45 – 2.30pm or 2.05 -2.50pm

Notes:

1. 5 minutes travelling time is allowed between P1 & 2, P2 & 3 and P4 & 5.

This is to ensure that there is a full 45 minutes of teaching and learning.

Please take advantage of this and be punctual to class.

2. Afternoon classes are compulsory. Your teacher will take a roll.

3. When lunching at school, please put all rubbish in bins as the

Junior Divisions are not available after lunch to pick up litter.

4. Afternoon period times will vary depending on the room and/or

the teacher. Your teacher will tell you this.

5. Detention will be held in A1 from 12.45 – 1.30pm Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri

REVISED BELL TIMES from WEDNESDAY 16 MARCH 2011

For Year 9, 10 and 11 Students


Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri

Form Time/Assembly

8.00 – 8.15am

Period 1

8.15 – 9.00am

Period 2

9.05 – 9.50am

Period 3

9.55 – 10.40am

Interval

10.40 – 11.00am

Period 4

11.00 – 11.45am

Period 5

11.50 – 12.35pm

Year 9 – 11 released – Students must leave the

Grounds by 1.00pm unless in supervised activity

Lunch for Yr 12 & 13s and Staff with afternoon

Tutorial or Assessments.



Wednesday

Period 1

8.00 – 8.45am

Period 2

8.50 – 9.35am

Period 3

9.40 – 10.25am

Interval

10.25 – 10.45am

Period 4

10.45 – 11.30am

Period 5

11.35 – 12.20pm

Year 9 – 11 released – Students must leave the

Grounds by 12.45pm unless in supervised activity

Lunch for Yr 12 & 13s and Staff with afternoon

Tutorial or Assessments.


NOTES:

1. 5 minutes travelling time is allowed between P1 & 2, P2 & 3 and P4 & 5.

This is to ensure that there is a full 45 minutes of teaching and learning.

Please take advantage of this and be punctual to class.

2. At the end of P5, students may visit the library or purchase lunch from the

canteen but they must leave the grounds by the time listed above, unless

they are in a supervised activity.(eg sport, drama, music, peer tutoring).

3. An afternoon activity programme is being planned by local youth workers,

for up to 150 Yr 9 students who need supervision in the afternoon. More

details will follow.

4. Detention will be held in A1 from 12.45 – 1.30pm Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri

** Attachment 2 - Information for Parents of Year 11 Students

INFORMATION FOR PARENTS OF YEAR 11 STUDENTS


There has been significant time lost with the earthquake on 22 February and the ensuing national emergency, and now the alteration of the school day will also have some impact on classroom time. Nor is there sufficient room in the school to keep Year 11 students for the afternoon tutorials.

The school has, however, taken steps to help Year 11 students and to preserve their ability to gain Level 1 qualifications in NCEA in 2011. We are also conscious of the need for these students to be able to progress successfully into Year 12 in 2012.

1. In re-structuring the timetabled day the school has been careful to ensure that teaching periods are no shorter than 45 minutes. For the first time at Burnside five minutes “travelling time” has been added between periods so that teachers do have their Year 11 students for that full 45 minutes.

2. The timetable has been preserved so that all five periods are run each day. This means that Year 11 students will still study each subject four times a week, even though the length of class has had to be reduced.

3. Students will be given material to enable them to continue their studies at home in the afternoon. This is a common pattern in a number of countries overseas and one our students must now adjust to.

4. NCEA requires 80 credits at Level 1 but, like most schools, we have offered well in excess of 80 credits in any given year. Teachers are now considering their programmes anew and re-structuring these so that, in most subjects, we shall be offering fewer Standards. Heads of Departments have worked very carefully through this process so that classes cover the syllabus to prepare the students for Year 12 in 2012. In Year 11 English, for example, the Faculty has cut Achievement Standard 90857 Construct and deliver an oral text. English teachers acknowledge the importance of oral skills and will still be teaching these but by removing this assessment from their programme they have saved up to three weeks of teaching time for 2011. Students of English will still have in excess of 20 Credits available to them.

  1. The message that Burnside High School is giving very clearly is that while students may be assessed for fewer Standards, the aim is still to gain Excellence in those assessments.

Both the Ministry of Education and NZQA (the Qualifications Authority) understand that Christchurch students' educational needs must be given extra protection, especially in the Qualifications area. There are now ten secondary schools in Christchurch involved in co-share arrangements and the Principals of all these schools will make a powerful lobby on behalf of your sons and daughters.
In the Divisions we always track our students in their academic progress and clearly this is going to be even more important in 2011. At the beginning of this year an extra Dean’s position was established in each Division so this staffing will prove very important in monitoring our Year 11 students.
Finally, you as parents play a pivotal role in ensuring the academic success of your sons and daughters. Homework is going to be critical in 2011 and please do not hesitate to phone the Deans if you have specific concerns.

*** Attachment 3 - Important Information

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

DRINKING WATER
We still do not have a guaranteed source of clean drinking water and so all students and staff are requested to bring their own bottle of drinking water.


Students must not use drinking fountains or any other taps in the school to obtain drinking water.


A tank has been delivered to the school and situated by Student Office. This is expected to be filled with drinking water on Wednesday 16 March and so from then on students will be able to refill their bottles at school. This will continue until the water is safe to drink without boiling.


TRANSPORT
ECAN have been asked to look at the timing of buses to enable all students in "sharing schools" to get to school at the earlier time. This will take time to arrange and to get new schedules out.


We are also aware that, because of the earthquake, many roads are in a poor state, others are congested and so travelling times are greatly increased.


For these reasons, while we like students to be punctual, we also realise that a number of students will have difficulty getting to and from school and so we are prepared to issue late passes for students in these situations. Please send a note to your Dean, explaining your particular difficulty and the expected time of arrival. They will issue a late pass.

AFTER SCHOOL CARE
We understand that a number of families will be uncomfortable about having their junior students home by themselves in the afternoon. Unfortunately, we do not have sufficient space to accommodate all 500 Year 9 students or all 500 Year 10 students in the afternoon while Avonside Girls' High School is on our site.
Where possible, it would be great if families can make their own arrangements (with neighbours, friends, the non-working parents of class mates etc) so that students are not just at the local malls every afternoon but are doing homework and other useful things.
We are pleased and grateful that Arise Church, supported by our own Youth Workers, is looking at an After School Programme for up to 150 of our junior students. Their proposal is to base it at the Burnside Rugby Football Club and to bus students to that venue. Students would take their own lunch (from home or purchased from the canteen at interval). After lunch they would offer a supervised homework space and organised games and activities though until 3.00 or 3.30 pm. They would like to think this would happen from this week but buses are an issue at present. We will send more information as we have it.


In the meantime, unfortunately, families will need to prepare for having their Year 9 to Year11 students out of school each afternoon from Wednesday.
We are aware that we have a few students who, because of where they live, are unable to travel home independently. If they are Year 9 or Year 10 students, they will have first priority for the After School Programme. If they are a Year 11 student, we will try to look at other ways to accommodate them. Please send a written note to your dean, outlining where you live and the difficulty in your student making their own way home so we can see the extent of this concern.


EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
Burnside High School is anxious to continue with as many extra-curricular activities as we can. Some sports will be limited by the damage caused by the earthquake to grounds and facilities around the city but others are keen to get up and running again as soon as possible.


We intend to continue with musical activities, Stage Challenge, Major Production etc. This will mean that large numbers of our students will be involved in extra-curricular activities at least some afternoons during the week. We will advertise the times as soon as we are able so that you can be assured of the whereabouts of especially your junior students in the afternoons.


STUDENTS IN NEED OF SPECIAL CONSIDERATION
We are aware that there are families who have lost loved ones, suffered enormous damage in their homes, been displaced etc. We will not know the extent of this and which students we particularly need to look out for until students return. Please make sure that your Divisional Principal or Dean is aware of anything that may make school difficult for your student over the next few days, weeks or months.