Deb's message - 2 July 2020

Updated: Aug 7

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

As we come to the end of Term Two, I would like to reflect on what has surely been an unprecedented time in human history. In years to come, we will remember these weeks when the entire world stayed at home, and as students and teachers, we all learned and taught from home.


The world has become a very different place during the last 12 weeks, and the way we learn, interact and conduct our lives has changed a great deal in a relatively short time. I hope that we can remember this as a period where great cultural learning took place and look to the future with positivity, hope and optimism.


Term two has been a difficult time for us all, and now we can take this two-week break to collectively catch our breath, recover, and prepare for the remainder of the year. While the impact of the pandemic is far from over, we have, both as a school and a nation, endured an extraordinary time and are in a place much better than many other countries.


What have we learned?

My view is that we are all a bit more resilient than we were at the beginning of the year. Across society, we have seen many examples of innovation and creativity as people have pivoted to develop new ways of doing. In particular, education has moved quickly to create alternative ways to learn outside the classroom.


To be able to move, as we did, to online learning, took enormous effort and collaboration. While it wasn't perfect for everyone, it did demonstrate how quickly we can shift, change and work together to find solutions to difficult problems.


Above all else, we have learned that human contact is a necessary component in all of our lives. The ability to mix, collaborate and learn together is a distinctly human characteristic, and this has been realised, more than ever, during the last 12 weeks.


As our students and teachers returned to Island Bay School, the smiles on their faces as they greeted each other for the first time, was gold. They missed each other and the need to come to school each day; to learn, to socialise and to connect with others is critical to our wellbeing and sense of self.


Challenges

Many challenges have come our way, and leading a school during this time has been trying at times. However, I have been amazed by the level of support and the sense of community that exists at Island Bay School. Many members of our community have experienced extreme financial hardship during the COVID-19 period. Coupled with the added stresses of supervising children at home, this has made for some incredibly challenging times. I understand and acknowledge these difficulties and encourage families who need continued support to please contact us.


Endorsements

To watch our students come to school each day with an authenticity that cannot be replicated has been an absolute joy. I am incredibly grateful to be leading a staff who have worked so tirelessly throughout this term to relearn every aspect of their roles and move into a new working environment with such a positive outlook.


Thank you too, to the parents and families of our school for your efforts and support during Term two. This term has been difficult for everyone, and many members of our community have been under enormous strain. I thank you for your commitment to Island Bay School, for supporting the school as it implemented new and challenging ways for students to learn and, importantly, for your patience.


Progress toward Term 3

There are still many changes to aspects of our school programme in Term three from COVID-19. These involve reporting, student-led conferences and personalised inquiries for the remainder of the year.


Changes to reporting means you will receive your child's report on 5 August and Student Led Conferences will be available for booking on 12 & 13 August. Bookings will open in the first week of Term 3. Personalised inquiries will also be developed over the remainder of the year.


I wish you all a fantastic holiday break. I hope you can use this time to refresh, renew and reconnect with friends and family. I also hope you find time to reflect on some of what has been achieved this year and move forward, feeling confident that we can tackle whatever lies ahead. I thought I might leave you with the last staff video.


What are you grateful for?

Ngā mihi

Deborah Fenton

Island Bay School Principal


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