Kia ora koutou,

Thank you all for a great first week for 2023. We started with our Mihi Whakatau and I would like to awhi our Kapa Haka rangatahi and tutors, our kaimahi (staff) and our whānau who attended and supported this event. 

Thank you for your patience while we sorted out our oversubscribed classes in the senior school. We let our year seven upwards choose their classes each term because we value learners’ choice and autonomy, however the flip side is that we can’t always predict class sizes, so there can be some movement in the first week of classes. 

We are aware that there has been an instagram post organising a ‘battle of the hoods’ encouraging people to come and fight’ at the bus exchange on Thursday February 16th at 3pm – with a postponement time of 4pm on the 17th at Eastgate Mall if police are present at the Bus Exchange. We will talk to the police early this week and make a plan to ensure our students’ safety. We will be in touch with families later in the week. Thank you to all the whānau who forwarded the message to the school. 

Staffing update: Congratulations to Rob Miceli who is the new Community Leader on Floor Three. 

Arotahi (SDL) sign in for the roll: Students are asked to use the QR codes on each floor to sign in for Arotahi. If they don’t have their phones with them then they should sign in with the Community Leaders on the floor, or with Beth or Harmony at the front desk. 

Y7-13 Hapori: The Hapori options for Terms 1 and 2 are now visible in Arotahi. Here is the link to the Arotahi page Arotahi at Ao Tawhiti You can see these in the same place as the colour block course descriptors, down the bottom of the page in the Karaka/Orange block. Hapori runs across a three hour block on a Friday and is a time for passion- and project-based learning, with an emphasis on 21st century skills and competencies. Students will need to let their HBLA know by Wednesday morning which option they would like to choose. 

Covid: Numbers of positive covid cases are increasing throughout the school. Please monitor your children for symptoms and keep them home if they are unwell. Symptoms include sore throat, cough, temperature, upset stomach, fatigue, headache, cold symptoms. If your child does test positive for Covid then they must isolate at home for seven days. Here is the link to the Ministry of Health website for updated advice. https://www.health.govt.nz/

Upcoming Events: Term One and Two’s calendar is below. Note a couple of events. This Friday evening at 5:30pm we are having fish n chip evening at Margaret Mahy. This is an opportunity for whānau to come along, bring some fish n chips and meet other families in a relaxed environment. The second event to note is our whole school Athletics’ Day on Thursday 23 February at Ngā Puna Wai sports ground. All our whānau are welcome to come along and support this day. 

You are also invited to a presentation, Behind the Screens – Parents in the digital age this Thursday 16th February 5.30pm-6.30pm in 2c. The presentation will be delivered by Attitude and is developed to complement Ao Tawhiti’s health education programme. We hope you can make the most of this opportunity to learn how to further support your children in navigating the digital age.

Calendar Term One and Two 2023

Friday 17 February5:30pm Fish n Chip evening at Margaret Mahy playground.This is an opportunity for all our whānau, in particular our new whānau, to come together and meet one another and ask questions. All are welcome.
Thursday 23 FebruaryWhole school Athletics Day at Ngā Puna Wai Sports’ Hub. All whānau are welcome to attend.
Thursday 6 April Last day of term one
Monday 24 AprilStaff Only Day – school is closed for instruction. This is a Ministry of Education mandated staff only day to support staff to prepare for the curriculum refresh and changes in NCEA.
Tuesday 25 April ANZAC Day – school is closed.
Wednesday 26 AprilIEMs
Thursday 27 AprilIEMs
Friday 28 AprilNormal timetable for term two resumes
Friday 30 JuneIEMsLast day of term two

Emergency and Evacuations: If we have to evacuate the building then we will gather in Matai Common (next to the school). If it is unsafe for students to re-enter the building then caregivers will be contacted via text, email, school apps, website and social media.

Learning Advisors and students will walk through the evacuation procedures in the first two weeks of term. We will have a practice evacuation drill mid-way through the term, and again in terms two, three and four. 

If we have to evacuate the building because of an earthquake then we will walk the students down to Hagley Park and gather opposite Hagley College on Hagley Avenue. We will aim to communicate with caregivers through text, email, school apps, website and social media – but please be aware that communications could be patchy after a big earthquake. 

If we have to lockdown the school site then we will contact caregivers by text, email, school apps, website and social media. Please be aware that we will be unable to let anyone, including whānau, into our building during a lockdown until we are given an ‘all clear’ by police or emergency services. We will keep our community updated during any emergency situation.

Our emergency planning documents are on our website and will be reviewed and updated in March. Please don’t hesitate to contact the school if you have any questions. 

Safety Concern- unsupervised students outside school hours: Students aren’t allowed to remain in the building after school without supervision. We can’t guarantee that there will be an adult in the building after 3:30pm to look after children in an emergency. Unless an arrangement has been made with a staff member, for example an after school club, all children have to have left the school building by 3:30pm. Thank you for your support with this.  

New whānau information

There are 5 main platforms for communication here at Ao Tawhiti. It would be great if you could make sure that you have access to these and regularly check in with them.

We also have an information booklet available at this link Whānau Information

Please don’t hesitate to contact the school if you have any questions. Our office email is great for general queries at office@aotawhiti.school.nz or contact your Home Base Learning Advisor for specific queries about your child. 

Ngā mihi nui