Lockdown Update

31st August 2021

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Dear Parents & Caregivers

As we now know, we will be in Level 4 for another two weeks and after that presumably Level 3, which means on-line learning continues for up to three more weeks.

There are a few small changes that happen at Level 3, but we will let you know about that closer to the time.

Thank you to you, our parents and caregivers, who now often find yourselves in the role of teacher. This is not easy and I would like to acknowledge the way in which you are helping your child/children get engaged with their learning, while often trying to balance your own work commitments.

What I do want to assure parents and students of, is that everything is going to be fine, regardless of how long lockdown is. Staff are reporting high levels of engagement in learning, which is really pleasing. If your child is getting worried about NCEA exams and how it will affect their future, please reassure them it will be ok:

Everyone in Year 11 will move into Year 12 and do the subjects they want.

Everyone in Year 12 will move into Year 13 and do the subjects they want, or they will go off to start the tech course they want.

Everyone in Year 13 will get to university or technical college, as planned.

Just like last year, adjustments will be made so that no one is disadvantaged. The NCEA exams have all been moved back two weeks to give us more time, and other changes will no doubt be implemented.

The only condition I would put on these promises is that you still have to keep doing your work to the best of your ability. Even if you are having some challenges, do your best.

At Principal's assemblies before lockdown, I have been talking about the concept of getting 'unstuck'. This links to one of the Learning Values - Strive, and the habit of resilience.

I am a firm believer that we all get stuck from time to time - it's a normal part of life and learning. One of the key attributes of people who appear successful, is that they have learnt lots of strategies for getting ‘unstuck’.

As you share your child's learning journey, you are probably hearing the comment, "I’m stuck", or, "I couldn't do it, because I’m stuck". As parents, we sometimes think we need to jump in and get them ‘unstuck’. However, as parents (and teachers), we actually need to ask them how they could do this themselves. Challenge them to think of some strategies they could use. The more strategies in their kete (basket), the more successful they will be.

The Learning Habits team at school has come up with a model for you and students to use when they get stuck:

What should I do if I am stuck with my distance learning?

Some other helpful things to remember, especially when our children get frustrated or ‘stuck':

  • Laughter is a great medicine: as children get ‘stuck’ and frustrated with their learning, it is sometimes hard to know how to help. Try making a silly or wacky suggestion so they laugh and correct you - whatever works.

  • Take a break: we all need a break from the screen and online learning is dominated by screen time. Get them to stand up, stretch, walk around the house, do star jumps - anything to get them to move.

  • Rewards are a must: all children are learning differently. Recognise their efforts of determination, and resilience as they persevere and don’t give up. Rewards could be time to do hobbies, free time, talking with you, or even chocolate!

Students Helping Students

One key strategy is always to ask for help. The student Academic Council has been working on an online tutoring site, (they started this earlier in the year) to provide students with another place to go to for help. Any student, parent or caregiver can email: tutoring@pakuranga.school.nz to ask for help. We will assess the student's needs and make sure they are matched with someone who can help them.

He waka eke noa.

Mike Williams