Parents Information Handbook

“Working together to achieve our very best”

The staff of Owhango School have prepared this booklet to outline the school’s current procedures and policies.  Please take a few minutes to read it carefully to familiarise yourself with the school’s routines.  Use the contents bar to the right to help guide your way through. We hope that you find it a useful source of information.

Mission Statement

We aim to create a school environment where every child can thrive, whilst developing a positive self-esteem and feel safe and secure.  We work to achieve a healthy school climate characterised by attitudes of courtesy, co-operation, consideration and tolerance.  In this setting we believe children learn effectively, developing critical thinking skills, with independent work and learning habits to master the curriculum.  From this base comes interest in creative work for personal fulfilment, participation in worthwhile physical activities and an appreciation of the arts.

While a major purpose of the primary school is preparation for future learning and further education, we want our children to live their lives fully and significantly as children. To do this they need to be focused, mentally alert, have an effective grasp on the tools of learning and have an understanding and appreciation of their natural and social worlds.  In this way we hope that they will grow into emotionally stable adults who are generous and self-disciplined, willing to shoulder responsibility and equipped to do so.

We want them to move confidently into their future

  • as citizens with integrity and courage
  • aware of the strengths and shortcomings of their society
  • with a will to work for improvements
  • and readiness to make sacrifices for ends bigger than themselves.

At Owhango School priority is given to literacy and numeracy programmes.

Staffing

Teaching Staff

Years 0 – 4      (Room 3) Mr Starkey (Principal) & Mrs Emma Tylee (Principal Release)

Years 5 – 8      (Room 2) Mrs Jessie Smith (Teacher)

Ancillary Staff

Office Administrator               Mrs Karen Erni, Office Administrator (Tuesdays – Fridays)

Board Support Secretary        Mrs Maree Ashcroft (Mondays)

Teachers’ Aide                          Mrs Theresa Owen

Cleaner                                       Ms Toni Thatcher

Caretaker                                   Ms Toni Thatcher

Board of Trustees

Aaron Owen (Chairperson)

Maree Ashcroft  (Secretary)

Mary Donovan (Treasurer)

Nicole Hosking  (Health & Safety)

Guy Hoban (Property)

Jessie Smith (Staff Representative)

Ewan Starkey  (Principal)

PTA

Theresa Owen (Chairperson)

Cara O’Donnell (Secretary)

Michelle Gavegan (Treasurer)

Office Hours

The office is manned from 8:30am – 1:30pm.  If you need to telephone the school could you please try to do so during these hours, so as not to disrupt teaching time in class.

Contact Details:

Phone             07 895 4823

Website          www.owhangoschool.co.nz

Email      office        office@owhango.school.nz

principal   principal@owhango.school.nz

2018 Term Dates

Term 1     7 February – 13 April

Term 2     30 April  – 6 July

Term 3     23 July – 28 September

Term 4     15 October – 20 December

Absences

Please notify the school office in advance if your child is to be absent. This is particularly relevant for children who walk or cycle to school. After teachers have taken the class roll office staff will phone parents to follow up on unexplained absences.

After School Arrangements

Children are to be collected by 3:15pm please.

Please ensure that your children’s after school arrangements are clearly known to both your children and the teaching staff.  We ask that the following guidelines are closely adhered to:

  • It is vital that you notify the school, preferably in writing, of any changes to your children’s normal routine arrangements.
  • We request that you organise your children’s home arrangements before they leave home in the mornings.  We do realise that emergencies do crop up from time to time and we are only too glad to try and be of assistance then.  We are trying to eliminate interruptions to the classroom programmes.
  • We suggest that children don’t organise after school visits to friends’ houses at the school gates, this eliminates children bringing undue pressure on their own caregivers and their friends’ parents.

Animals

No animals will be permitted on the school grounds except on special occasions such as Pet Day or as part of a classroom programme.

Assemblies

We hold a community assembly during the last week of terms 1, 2 & 3 where we invite parents and the community. These are advertised in the newsletter. We also have in-school ‘PAR assemblies’ every fortnight.

Bicycles

Parents will be asked to sign a permission slip stating that they give their consent for their child to ride a bike to school and they must wear a bicycle helmet.   Bikes may not be ridden on the school grounds between 8:30am and 3:00pm.  We have Bike Days during the year where the children can ride their bikes during school time and challenging courses are set up to extend their riding skills.

Birth Certificates

To fulfil the Ministry of Education requirement, you will be requested to produce your child’s birth certificate at the time of enrolment.

Cellphones

Children are not permitted to bring cell phones to school.  If they are needed before or after school they are to be left in the school office.

Chewing Gum & Sweets

Chewing gum, bubble gum and sweets are not permitted at school.

Concerns and Complaints

If you ever have a concern please discuss it with your child’s teacher.  Please make an appointment with the teacher to discuss these concerns.  The best time to do this is after school, as the teaching staff are usually very busy before school preparing for the day.

Any complaints should be referred directly to the teacher concerned, before going to the principal.  The Board of Trustees will receive written complaints only when the original complaint has not been satisfactorily resolved by the teacher and principal.

Contacting Staff Members

Occasionally emergencies crop up and you may need to contact a staff member at home.  We do ask that all other matters are dealt with at school please.

Dangerous Goods

Children must not bring dangerous goods to school.

Dental Therapist

The dental therapists now operate out of a mobile clinic which will be based at Taumarunui Hospital (near the cafeteria) when Owhango School students have their scheduled visits. The dental therapist sends out annual appointments for all children.  We are negotiating to have the mobile bus come to our school to avoid the disruption caused by having to take the children into Taumarunui, we will inform you when this is in place via the newsletter.

Contact phone number 0800TALKTEETH.

Facebook

Owhango School has a Facebook page where we post the newsletters, news and information, and photos from the school.

Fundraising

All fundraising under the school’s name must have the prior approval and authorisation of the school.  Please contact the principal to arrange this.

Group Special Education (GSE) & Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) Service

The School Psychologist is based in Taumarunui.  She and her team of colleagues from GSE, along with the RTLBs are able to provide help and support with learning and behavioural difficulties.  If you have any concerns please contact the school.

Headlice

Check your child’s head regularly for headlice.  Should you discover that your child has contracted headlice please notify the school.  The Public Health Nurse advised that it is often less expensive to treat by obtaining a prescription through their GP.  If you are experiencing any difficulties treating the headlice contact the Public Health, phone 896 0020 ext 24195.  We have occasional headlice checks done at school.  If you do not wish your child to have their hair checked, please send a note along to school.

Helping At School

We actively encourage parents to become involved with school life.  We have an enthusiastic group of parents, grandparents and friends of the school who assist in a voluntary capacity on a regular basis with reading, numeracy, sports tuition, music tuition, making teaching resources, arts and crafts, gardening.  Please contact the school if you would like to help out.

Homework

Homework is optional. We believe children should be learning through play or helping around the house when not at school. We would love it if you encouraged your child to read, build, play board or card games, create, explore and investigate while not at school; that can only enhance what we are doing with your child.

Illness

Please keep your children home if they are unwell to help halt the spread of infection to others. If they have vomited please keep them away for 24 hours.  Please notify the school office if your child is to be absent.

Immunisation Certificates

To fulfil the Ministry of Education requirement, you will be requested to produce your child’s immunisation certificate at the time of enrolment.

Independence

We encourage pupils to gain independence at an early age.  Junior room pupils in particular benefit greatly from organising their own possessions, e.g. clothing, reading books and lunch boxes.

Internet

Year 3 – 8  students must sign the School Computer and Internet Use Agreement and have the signed permission of a parent or caregiver before using the Internet at School.  These are renewed annually.

Jewellery

The wearing of jewellery to school is discouraged for safety reasons.

Keep us up to Date

Please notify the school of any changes of address, telephone (home and work), doctor, and emergency contacts.  It is most important that you keep us up to date with any changes affecting your child’s health.

Library

We have a very well resourced school library.  All classes make regular visits. The children may get two books out at a time, these books need to be returned before more will be issued. Please check your bookshelves occasionally to ensure that all school books are returned.

Lost Property

Pease ensure that all of your children’s clothing and possessions (pens, pencils etc.) are clearly named. Lost property is kept in a basket outside the office. If all clothing is named it can be quickly returned to its owner. Lost property will be disposed of at the end of each term.

Lunches

As part of our Healthy Schools programme the only drink permitted at school is water. However we do offer free milk as part of the Milk in Schools programme on Mondays to Thursdays.  Foods high in sugar are not permitted (eg sweets).  Bought lunches are sometimes available via the PTA in the winter term (term 3), watch out for these in the newsletter.

Medications

Occasionally children are required to take medication.  Consent forms for staff to administer the medication need to be signed by a parent first.  Normally though we would expect sick children to be kept home.  Please label your child’s medication clearly, and note any special instructions.

Meetings

Board of Trustees are usually held twice a term and PTA meetings once a term.  They are advertised in the school newsletters.  All are most welcome to attend.

Money

All Scholastic Book Club orders and trip money that is brought to school needs to be taken to the office for the office administrator to collate.  Please note that the office is only manned in the mornings.

Music

Pupils are not permitted to bring music to school to play unless it is part of their class programme.  Some of today’s popular music  contain material that is unsuitable for school.

Newsletters

Weekly newsletters are sent home on Wednesdays, emailed to school families and others who request them, posted onto our Facebook page and onto our school website.  The most recent two newsletters are displayed on a notice board outside the office.

Parking Outside the School

Please ensure that you park on the same side of the road as the school when collecting or dropping off your children.  The Police regularly remind us of the dangers of children running across a road at the school gate.  Please don’t park over the school entranceway, (marked with large, yellow NP letters) as this needs to be kept clear for emergency services and courier deliveries. Please don’t park over the footpath outside the school.

Pet Day and Spring Festival

A Pet Day and Spring Festival is held in term four.

Photocopying and Laminating

The school provides a photocopying and laminating service.  Please contact the office for charges and conditions.

Physical Education Participation

All pupils will be expected to take part in P.E. activities.  If your child is unable to participate due to medical reasons, please notify the school in writing.

Positive Behaviour for Learning

Owhango School is a ‘Positive Behaviour for Learning’ School (PB4L). PB4L helps schools to develop a social culture that supports learning and positive behaviour.  This is a long-term approach that supports our school to create a culture where positive behaviour and learning thrive. Students are taught in very specific terms what behaviours are expected of them and there is a consistent response to  behaviours across the school. Behaviour, like other areas of learning, needs to be formally taught.  The emphasis is put on students’ positive behaviours rather than focussing on the negative ones.

At Owhango School we teach the students to stay on PAR, where they Participate, Achieve and Respect.  We strive to engrain PAR into all aspects of school life.

Preschool Preparation Programme

This programme is to ease the transition of children starting primary school for the first time. The programme is split into two parts.  The first part takes place after school and involves one visit to the school at 3:15pm. You and your child visit the school for about 30 minutes to meet the teacher and see inside the classroom and surrounding buildings. This familiarises your child with the new and exciting environment.

The second part of the programme happens the month prior to your child’s fifth birthday (or the date that you have chosen to start your child- children do not have to start primary school until they are 6).  They attend school for three visits, from 8:45am to 11:00 or 10:30am to 1:30pm or 12:30 to 3:00pm (preferably one of each so they get a sense of a whole day’s programme).  This enables your child to socialise with the children and become familiar with class and school routines.  A parent, caregiver or suitable adult must remain at the school, but not in the junior room during these visits.  If you bring another pre-schooler they must stay with the parent and not come into the class as the additional distraction would not help.

Project Energize

Project Energize is a Waikato District Health Board Initiative, which is intending to increase the amount of physical activity that children do and improve their nutritional status.  The local co-ordinator works regularly in the school with students and staff.

Public Health Nurse

The Public Health Nurses are based at the Taumarunui Hospital. They rgularly visit the school. For information or advice ask the school or call them on 896 0020 ext 24195.

Punctuality

Please ensure that your child is at school by 8:50am.  Classes begin at 9:00, and the children need time to organise their belongings for the day. Teaching children punctuality is beneficial for their whole life.

Religious Education

There is no regular religious education programme.  There is usually one 30 minute session per term which will be advertised in the newsletter prior to taking place. These sessions are taken by the Rev Merv & Mrs Lesley Aitken.

Reporting to Parents

School reports are issued towards the end of terms 2 and 4.  Mid-year interviews are scheduled near the end of term 2 to further discuss the written school report.

Roller Blades, Ripsticks, Skateboards and Scooters

These are allowed at school and can be played with during the morning tea bread, and lunch break. Children must wear a cycle helmet and closed in shoes when rollerblading, skateboarding or scooter riding at school.  We  encourage the use of safety pads and wrist guards as well.

Scholastic Books

Students may order books and computer software from Scholastic Books.  Brochures are sent out periodically.  The school collects bonus points from all sales, and uses these points to purchase additional books for the library.

School Fees

Owhango School proudly does not charge school fees.  Instead, we make occasional requested for families to assist with working bees at school.

Smoke Free

The school buildings, grounds and pool surrounds are of smoke free at all times.

Stationery

Some stationery can be purchased from the school at very cheap prices. We buy this in the beginning of the year sales, and do not mark up the prices so that you benefit from the lower prices everyday.

Sunsmart

To prevent sunburn the school uniform bucket sunhats must be worn outside during terms one and four.  Please ensure that your child leaves this at school. We do keep sunscreen at school for the children to use too.

Swapping of Possessions

Swapping of possessions is not permitted at school.  Please notify the school immediately if your child is being asked to give their toys or other belongings to someone.

Swimming Pool

We are grateful to our forebears who fundraised and worked hard to build our school pool. Many schools are closing their pools due to the cost of maintaining them. We see the pool as  vital to teach swimming to the next generation. We will continue to seek out funding to keep our pool operating and in good order. Swimming pool keys may be purchased from the school office for $50.  A $20 key refund is made on the return of the key at the end of the swimming season.

Technology (Manual)

The Year 7 & 8 pupils attend fortnightly technology classes on alternate Thursdays at Taumarunui High School.  When they are at the High School students are not permitted to leave the grounds.  There is additional fee charges for this from THS.

Toys

Toys are allowed at school,  however we discourage children from bringing favourite or expensive toys from home as they can easily get lost or broken.

Tree climbing & Rough play

We allow the children to climb trees and participate in rough play (also known as play fighting).  We teach the skills of three points of contact when climbing trees so that if one limb slips, there are three others holding you up.  We also teach the difference between rough play – where everyone is happy and laughing and enjoying it, and fighting, where someone is crying or angry.  If you do not want your child participating in either of these activities then let us know and we can monitor them.

Trips

Please ensure that you return your child’s permission slip to the school office by the due date, so that arrangements can be finalised in good time.  We ask that you refrain from making late changes of arrangements, particularly on the actual morning of trips.  Offers of transport for school trips are always appreciated.  We ask that driver’s offer of transport is for no more children than the number of regulation seat belts available in their vehicle; that they have a current driver’s licence; the vehicle being driven is registered and warranted; and that they do not smoke with children in the car.

Uniform

Compulsory uniform was introduced at the beginning of term 2 2016 following a thorough parent consultation and vote. Ask at the office for a uniform list for the details of this.  We ask that you make sure your child is wearing the correct uniform when they come to school. We will remind to children who regularly wear the incorrect clothing.

Use of School Grounds

The public is able to make use of the school grounds outside of school hours.  Please keep dogs and horses off the grounds though to prevent faeces on the playground.

Vision and Hearing

All new entrants have their vision and hearing tested in their first year at school.  Year 7 children are also tested.  Parents are advised if any vision or hearing defects are detected.  If you suspect that your child has a hearing problem, let us know and we will refer them for testing.

Water Bottles

Children are encouraged to bring bottles of water into class to drink.

Welfare

Your child’s welfare is our concern.  Please let us know if there are any factors that might be influencing your child’s behaviour.  Any information is treated as confidential.

Working Bees

The Board of Trustees organise working bees (usually a couple of times a year).  Offers of help are greatly appreciated.

You are Most Welcome!

We have an open door policy at school where you are most welcome.  Do pop in from time to time and view our wall displays, to see what the children have been doing recently.  Morning tea is at 10:35am.  You might like to join the staff for a cuppa and a chat!

Children Learn What They Live

If a child lives with criticism, s/he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility, s/he learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule, s/he learns to be shy.

If a child learns to live with shame, s/he learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance, s/he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with encouragement, s/he learns confidence.

If a child lives with praise, s/he learns to appreciate.

If a child lives with fairness, s/he learns justice.

If a child lives with security, s/he learns to have faith.

If a child lives with approval, s/he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, s/he learns to find love in the world.