A Year in Summary
What a year it has been. Some of the thoughts that come to mind are; disruptive, unsettling but also increased technology skills, Zoom experts, new ways of doing and closer connection, through virtual means, and in our homes with family. It will certainly go down in history as a turning point. As a Christian community of learning we have supported one another and held to the hope we have in an unchanging God, our Rock Christ Jesus who is ever present. He has kept us safely in the palm of His hand and as we put our trust in Him, He will continue to do so not matter what happens in the world around us.
Although we have lived through two lock downs a lot has happened in the time we have been at school. I will recap some of the highlights of the year.
We have welcomed 4 new staff members, over 40 new students and opened a second NE classroom part way through the year. A number of babies have been born to staff members and families in our community and we have had a wedding and quite a few significant birthdays to celebrate. Each Term we are welcoming new families and staff to JCS in a formal manner, holding a mihi whakatau.
Students have been on trips to enrich learning to the Chelsea Sugar Factory, Corban’s Art Estate, a stream study and the Star Dome. Tiwai had a grand time at Kauearanga Christian Camp in the Thames. We manage to squeeze in a House Picnic just before lockdown and once again the students’ outfits did not disappoint. House pizza lunches were very motivating and enjoyed by the winners each term. Ika ended the year with a trip to Jump.
Topics investigated this year have ranged from space exploration to learning about great inventions and inventors. JCS had many inventors solving problems innovatively. Their ideas and prototypes were on display at our Expo Days. In the health learning area, we were guided by the police programme to learn how to Keep ourselves safe. Many students have sat a variety of ICAS exams through the year. The Tiwai speeches were of an extremely high standard with some excellent and convincing content, delivered with conviction and humour where appropriate. Tiwai did a study on the importance of water. The H2O team raised over and above the amount of money to reach their goal. The money will be used to build wells, (through world vision) for people in developing countries, where fresh water is in scarce supply. This initiative has been run by a team of Tiwai students who have shown incredible leadership ability and compassion for those in need. The project has been hugely successful and will impact the lives of many people in faraway places who are not forgotten by our God. They are an inspirational group of students.
Digital technologies have been developed throughout the school; coding with Mbots, Microbits, Spheros, Awbie and Beebots and creating digitally using 3D printing and other programmes. Digital Ignition held programmes to develop computation thinking. To help those who do not find some aspects of learning easy we have had a Lego group running to encourage healthy social skills and confidence. Google Read and Write is a digital programme helping students get their good ideas into print. Two counsellors have been available for students who have needed it.
We have learnt how God is a transformer of lives, He is all powerful and He provides all we need for life and godliness. Our values of hope, love, faith in Christ and truth undergird all we do and provide a rational for how we treat each other explained in the Jireh Way. Teachers from the Children’s Bible mission came and enriched some of the Daily Discipleships lessons and a new pilot programme looking at the history of Christianity in New Zealand was trialled in the Tiwai classes. What a treat it was to have Watoto Children’s Choir perform at school!
Through the Kahui Ako, teachers have had professional development to be better equipped to plan an effective learning programme for second language speakers. The focus for next year will continue to be on helping second language learners and student and staff wellbeing.
In the sporting arena we had our first Athletics Day. There was cricket, badminton, basketball, swimming, touch rugby, soccer, netball and cross-country coaching. Cricket, touch rugby and cross-country teams represented JCS at the Auckland Christian Schools zone days. Tiwai went rock climbing for the first time and the Manu team enjoyed the Perceptual Motor programme.
As a means of outreach and mission we have supported Benimana, our TEAR Fund sponsor child, through Mufti Days and sending cards. Once again there was generous giving to Feed the Streets Avondale for their Christmas party. The Manu team visited Selwyn Village and blessed the residence with song and cheer.
A number of extra-curricular activities and classes are offered for students to deepen and broaden their learning experiences. Some of these are; Young Engineers, Mandarin, Art, Abacus Maths, Coding Club, music lessons for a variety of instruments.
The opening of a Pacifica Homework Centre has been a powerful initiative with the real possibility of accelerating learning for some of our tamariki. The Ministry of Education has acknowledged this in the form of funding to remunerate teachers who provide tutoring at the Centre.
The Makerspace is in full construction and we hope to have this up and running for the start of term 1 2021. We welcome some specialist teachers for next year, they are introduced in the contents of this newsletter. The year ended with the Year 8 Graduation Dinner and 2 Awards ceremonies, where we celebrate success in various areas of school life: growth, tenacity, academic achievement and Christian character.
The Parents Association have put on 2 BBQs at each end of the year where we have had the opportunity to meet and get to know some of the new families to JCS and connect with those known to us.
This has certainly been another year of growth numerically and relationally. We managed to squeeze in 1 Open Day but now have a wonderful virtual open day on our website and Face Book page filmed and produced by Frog Productions.
Thank you all for your ongoing support in making JCS a happy, vibrant, God honouring school with lots of exciting learning opportunities for all.
Principal in partnership