Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Proposed Closure - One Week On


Kia ora koutou Burnham whanau,
The last week has been a very difficult one for our children, our teachers, our parents, our BOT and our
community, as it has been for other communities in Christchurch and surrounding areas.  We are still reeling
from the proposed decision to close Burnham School in January 2015.
I would like to acknowledge the professionalism of our staff, who after just 15 minutes of finding out that the
Minister of Education had announced that our school was proposed for closure, fronted up to our parent
meeting.  They also turned up the following day to teach our children and to attempt to answer their
questions as well as those of parents when they were still so confused themselves.  To our staff you are an
amazing group of people!  You should be proud of the support you have shown our community over the last
week.  I am!
To our parents and community members you too have shown your aroha and support for our school in your
determination and your concerted efforts to attempt to change our Minister of Education’s decision.  This
determination has given our staff and BOT strength.
To our children who know what is right and what is wrong, you too have show strength and self-belief.  A
stranger who entered our school grounds on Monday afternoon was met by a group of five and six year olds;
who as soon as they saw her began to jump up and down singing ‘Save our School’.  Our children have
mobilised, they have organised a petition, created videos about the importance of Burnham School, have
made posters for cars at BOOST, have helped to paint posters, have started to write letters and have even
phoned the principal at Waiouru and asked her for help.
To our wider community including the NZDF who have telephoned, sent e-mails offering support, provided
staff with morning tea and someone to talk to and seek advice from.  Thank you.  Your thoughts and good
wishes at this time have been gratefully received.
The fight to save Burnham School has just begun - we will keep soldiering on until we have convinced the
Minister of Education that she has not taken into account the size of Burnham, the unprecedented growth in
our area, the unique nature of our school and special way in which our school is able to support our NZDF
families and children, especially when a parent is deployed overseas or away training.  We will also seek
clarification around the 3.5 million which is supposedly required to bring our school up to 66% of the current
building code and is a reason why the MOE has decided our school is uneconomic to bring up to code.  Yet
no one has been to our school to complete the DEE (Detailed Engineering Evaluation), this figure has been
calculated using a desktop survey only.
I have been invited to attend a meeting with the MOE on Thursday evening, along with other principals and
BOT chairpersons of schools proposed to close or merge.  Hopefully, we will return with a greater
understanding of exactly what the proposed community consultation will look like.
The BOT and myself will endeavor to keep everyone informed of what is happening.  Please come along to
our community meeting at 1500hrs/3pm and find out more and share your ideas on how to move forward.
Sandra Keenan
Acting Principal

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Ski Trip 2012

I had the great pleasure of attending the 2012 Senior School Ski Trip on Friday.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Kelly Sheppard for organising this wonderful EOTC activity for our children.  Thanks also to our team of parents and staff who made the day a great success! This team spent the day encouraging children, picking children up off the snow and those parents and teachers who knew how to ski taught the children after the group lessons finished.
During this trip I was impressed with the behavior of our children and their determination to succeed!  When I praised a child at the end of the day for her determination, she replied, 'you never give up, Ms Keenan!'  She didn't give up, and she ACHIEVED!
It was great to see our children following our Burnham School values!
Sandra Keenan
Acting Principal

Monday, 16 July 2012

Welcome Back & Learning Conferences


I trust everyone had an enjoyable and relaxing break over the holiday period.  The children and their teachers are refreshed and ready for learning!  I spent time in each classroom this morning and also had the opportunity to welcome five new children to our school.  I know they will all enjoy their time at Burnham.  Thanks to everyone for making our new children and their families feel so welcome.

Learning Conferences
Learning Conferences will take place next week on Tues 24th July and Wed 25th July.
Please go to the school web site and click the link 'Learning Conferences' to make your booking. You need to put the school code of: YVRCD into the system, then follow the prompts.
School will finish at the usual time of 3pm on both days.  
If you do not have access to a computer please call Trish and she will make a booking over the phone. 

Important Message for Burnham Residents
Cherie Mansell, Burnham Camp's Community Services Officer has asked me to pass on the following information;

10 PL D COY will be conducting night training on the 189 on the 19th of July; this will include blank firing and thunder flashes. It will be completed by approximately 2200.

I suggest that if you live in the Burnham area, you let your children know that this will be taking place, that way they won't mistake the noise for an aftershock.

Our newsletters will now go out on Wednesdays rather than Thursdays.  Since we changed assemblies and hui to Thursday afternoon, it has been more difficult for staff to ensure that newsletters are given out.  Look out for this week's newsletter on Wednesday.

Calendar of Events
Today a 'Calendar of Events' was given out to the eldest child in the family.  Please keep this somewhere safe, so that you can refer to it during the term.  Please note we have a Teacher Only Day on Monday 27th August.


Monday, 2 July 2012

Another Great Term

   Term 2, has been a very busy term, the children have visited Ferrymead,    dressed
   in period costume, ridden on a tram, competed at our Cross Country, met
   and played ball with the Crusaders, been given a new vest, and a
   survival torch and even played in the snow!  All senior school children
   competed at the soccer and hockey tournament. Some children attended
   zone cross country and triathlon, have ridden their bikes on the bike
   track and competed in our very own Next-Factor.  Almost all children
   have now received their first report using National Standards.
   Without the support of our parent community and hardworking dedicated
   staff many of these learning opportunities could not have taken place!
    Thank you for all you have done to support our children and their
   learning over the last 10 weeks!
   Rest up over the holidays everyone, as Term 3 is likely to be just as
   exciting, rewarding and busy!

   PTA Update:
   At our last PTA meeting it was decided that all proceeds from the
   sale of Takeaway Meals from the Burnham Fish and Chip Shop will go
   towards reducing the cost of school trips.  All proceeds from the PTA
   sausage sizzles will now go towards the purchase of outside games and
   equipment for our children.

   Burnham Dollar Prize Draw:
   At our assembly last Thursday we had our very first ‘End of Term
   Burnham Dollar Prize Draw’. The School Leaders' Council organised the
   prizes for the draw.  The council organised a Mufti Day to help with
   the cost of purchasing the prizes.  Corin Shaw from Hot Shots also very
   kindly donated a huge box of prizes.
   Our children are now working very hard to earn Burnham Dollars.
   Children are picking up rubbish without being asked, opening doors for
   adults, using their manners and displaying fantastic work habits.
   Thanks to Linda Sweeny and her team (The School Leaders' Council) for
   making the Burnham Dollar initiative so successful!

   Preparations are well underway for Term 3:
   Staff spent today (Monday 2nd July) planning yet another exciting term!
    During Term 3 our Senior School will be going on a school Ski Trip
   (optional), and performing at the Cultural Festival in town.  The
   Junior School will be going along to the Cultural Festival to watch.
   We will also be visiting Coes Ford once again to continue our efforts
   to help restore the river by planting trees. Chris Thurlow is
   organizing this trip.  Chris has already managed to secure funding to
   pay for the majority of the cost of the buses!  Well done!
   Shalagh and Finnly, with the assistance of the PTA are planning a
   Disco on Friday the 17th August.  Keep this date free!

   Kind regards

   Sandra Keenan
   Acting Principal

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Hei kona o Tiori whanau

Thank you to everyone for the wonderful send off yesterday - I feel very touched with the kinds words and appreciation expressed through your words, songs, haka, the kowhai tree and gifts. I will miss Burnham School greatly and will keep in touch. Below is the speech I gave as part of the assembly yesterday.
Kia ora koutou katoa,
Thank you for the lovely farewell today, it means a lot to me to be part of such a great school.

I’m glad that Amelia and my sister Jane can be here today to support me and apologise that Angela and Isabella can’t be here as they had to go to the US unexpectedly earlier this week.

2011 was a year of challenges which provided us all, myself included, with heightened clarity about what is most important - and that is family. As already explained, I am moving on because of our desire for me to be closer to our family, especially while they are young.

Burnham School is a really special and unique place and I’ve loved my time here. As I reflect on the last two and a half years of my life at Burnham School, it strikes me that we’ve achieved a great deal in a rather short space of time and there is much to be proud of.

The variety of improvements and initiatives that the school has developed has been largely due to the amazing staff we have and the support they receive from our Board. One of the major achievements is the development of our own curriculum designed to meet the needs of our community now and in the future. This work, along with many of the initiatives that support it, as now being recognised as what I believe is best practice. One example of this is our elearning system ‘Burnham Ako’ which allows children and whanau to share learning as and when it happens, gaining feedback and therefore strengthening both the learning itself and our partnership. Another example is how we've strengthened taha Maori across our school and the range of initiatives underway as part of the Whanau Hui process.

To the Board and staff team, thank you, your professionalism and desire to continue to learn and improve your practice is truly inspirational. I’d like to take this chance to wish you well for the rest of 2012 and to welcome Sandra Keenan as Acting Principal. With Sandra’s support and guidance the school will continue to develop and grow because of her abilities as an amazing leader for our school.

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a Principal is getting to know each family and seeing our children develop and learn and I’ve appreciated my contact with each family. Thank you for your ongoing support of your children and our staff to create the best learning possible for your children. I’ve loved working with camp personnel and other organisations to strengthen our connection, in particular Cherie Mansell, Phil McKee, Bill Blair, Trevor Todd, Birgit Bracewell, Cilla Frew, the BOOST team, Denise Sheat and others. There has also been a range of consultants who have supported us in the background - Al, Tom, Christine, Sue, Lois and others. Thank you for your support of me and of our school.

To our children - I think you are fabulous, you are talented, fun, energetic and caring. I want you to know that you can do anything you wish for if you put effort in to it. Keep looking after each other and work to meet your goals, listen to your teachers and parents and enjoy your time at this amazing place.

To that end I’d like to give you a parting gift. This gift is in the form of an award and I’d like explain what this award is for. The symbol behind this award is the koru, which stands for new beginnings, growth and harmony. The double koru symbolises protection and aroha. This award will be mounted on a piece of rimu and is to be given to a person in the school who shows they are solving a problem by showing strength and/or respect towards others; this could mean a problem in the playground or a challenge in their learning - it doesn’t matter what the problem is, what matters is that they are overcoming and showing strength and respect, two of our school values. Ideally the award will stay at school during the week so the class can see and think about it, but it should go home on weekends - as long as you are careful with it! You will get a special certificate to keep to go with this award.

I need to give this out for the first time and I’d like to give it to someone who is well on their way to meeting one of their goals in their learning. This goal relates to solving problems themselves with less help from Mum and Dad and so it shows our value of strength. Please support Breanna Shaw as she comes forward. Well done Breanna, your challenge now is to notice someone else in the school who is solving a problem by showing either respect or strength; discuss this with your friends and teacher first and you can award this at any time - it doesn’t have to be at an assembly or hui.

I will cherish the memories of my time at Burnham School. It is a special and unique environment which has challenged and broadened my skills and abilities. I believe I have grown as a person and as a leader in this school.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the Burnham community and lead Burnham School. I look forward to seeing the school move forward and following the progress of our students.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Digital Safety Guidelines - final draft

Please find below the final draft for our Digital Safety Guidelines for our school. This document has been in draft form for the last couple of weeks as we've asked for feedback from parents. We've considered the feedback and included it as follows in this document:
  1. One suggestion was to make the student rules more positive as they read as a long list of 'do nots'. We've altered most of the rules for students - some (eg. do not look up inappropriate material on the Internet), remain as do nots!
  2. Another query related to the legality of us asking for student and parent signatures on a document that could be seen as a legal document (as it is signed), and would therefore require re-signing after every revision. Our intention in requiring a signature is to ensure the document is given importance. We've decided to only ask for a complete re-signing if the content is dramatically altered. We've also decided to give families adequate notice of any upcoming revisions and improvements to the document.
Below is the final draft document which will be put out for signing by every student and family day one of Term Two. If you want to be ahead of the game you may download the document here, prior to it coming home.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Heal Christchurch special event


Here's something that just came through which may be of interest/use to whanau:

On 24th and 25th March qualified healthcare practitioners are giving FREE 30-minute stress relief sessions at the Geo Dome. This event is called 'Heal Christchurch' and is targetted to supporting people with ongoing effects from the earthquakes. It looks well worth checking out. You can event book an appointment here...

Here is the flyer...

I might need some healing after the City to Surf on Sunday!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Appreciation from Afghanistan


Here is a lovely email received recently which we've shared with the children...

Hello Mr Clarke,

I am the Commanding Officer of the New Zealand Defence contingent serving in Bamian, Afghanistan. 

A few days ago we received xmas cards that had been made by students from your school.  Unfortunately these were significantly delayed through the mail system. 

The cards are fanastic.  So much effort has obviously gone into them by the students.  It was a wonderful and much appreciated gesture that you, your staff and the children made.  Please accept our gratitude and pass on our thanks to all concerned;  the staff and children.  We were humbled by such thoughtfulness.

All the very best to your school for 2012.

Kind regards 

Brett Wellington 
Lieutenant Colonel 

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Taiaha Wananga - Easter Weekend


Here are the registration, medical and brochures for the Taumutu Easter Weekend wananga

  1. Outside Brochure
  2. Inside Brochure
  3. Rego + Medical Form

We had two of our boys attend the last wananga and they had a fantastic time!