Alert Level 2 - Principal's Bulletin No 5

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St Michael's School Community Newsletter
76 Lisa Crescent, Rotorua       Ph: (07) 3481 362
Principal's Message Week 5, Term 2 - 2020
3 Sleeps to the re-opening of St Michael's School under Alert Level 2
CURRENT NUMBER OF FAMILIES WHO HAVE COMPLETED LEVEL 2 ATTENDANCE REQUEST
 
93/99
Thank you for this outstanding communication effort. It has made all the difference in our ability to make sure we are aware of who is returning and the health situations of the people you share a home with. Thank you for acknowledging and agreeing to our protocols. Your support really makes us feel like our efforts are valued and that we are a united community.
 
In today's bulletin
  • Setting the scene for our school return
  • Frequently asked questions
  • St Michael's School - Community Code of Conduct
  • Wellbeing updates from MOE

Setting the scene

Today's Gospel reading is the perfect scripture for us to reflect on as our working week winds to a close. Our committed teachers were busy bees preparing the classrooms, cleaning, listening to the protocols and asking questions to make doubly sure they are completely understanding of how we are going to welcome back uor beautiful St Michael's tamariki. Each of their small daily tasks have been executed not just because they are professional but because it is our way of showing aroha (love) and care to for our families.  Today's Gospel reading speaks of aroha. It urges us to love one another. For this is our commandment.

John 15:12-17     The Word of God

‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

In the stories we read in the Gospels we see Jesus interacting with all manner of people in all manner of situations, loving them, healing them, encouraging them. He embraces all the messiness of our lives and loves us, just as he loved those people he met in the Gospels. I need only to abide with Jesus to see what his love means.

A sincere and heartfelt thank you to everyone. For all the small things. The tiny actions that come from a place of love and care. Not just for your own children and family but for the love and protection of our entire school community. I am enormously humbled by the words of support, the honest feedback and expressions of concern that have helped me to have a greater insight into your needs as a community. This honesty in your interactions has meant we are able to adapt, change, move with the priorities of eachother. 

This weekend I pray that you all feel blessed. That you are given time to feel at peace and are confident that on Monday your child will return to a loving school committed to the care and protection of not just your tamariki, but all of them. 

God bless you all,

Whaea Kristina

Frequently asked questions

Whaea Kristina. Can you please let our St Michael's families know what exactly the St Michael's School "Community Code of Conduct" is? I saw it in the return to school form and I don't think I've seen it before? (St Michael's Galilee parent)

Thank you for asking this question. I often forget that in your busy lives you don't all have the time to pour through every school policy and commit them to memory. I take for granted that everyone knows what I am talking about. I apologise for this assumption. But thank you for prompting me to share this code not just with you but with everyone who may be in the same situation as yourself. This code reminds us that we ALL have a responsibility to keep eachother safe. It outlines how we can manage any threats to the health and safety of our staff, our students and our parents. 

Community Conduct Expectations

St Michael's School is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for students, staff, and visitors.

Our Code of Conduct serves as a reminder to all parents, caregivers, and school visitors that their conduct must support everyone’s emotional and physical wellbeing, and not harm it in any way. The school’s board has set this Code of Conduct as a condition of entry.

The Code of Conduct applies:

  • to all conduct, speech, and action, and includes emails, texts, phone calls, social media, or other communication
  • while on school grounds or at another venue where students and/or staff are assembled for school purposes (such as a camp or sports match).

Standards of conduct

St Michael's School expects parents, caregivers, and visitors to:

  • treat everyone with respect
  • work together in partnership with staff for the benefit of students
  • respect and adhere to our school values
  • set a good example for students at all times
  • follow school procedures to handle any complaints
  • adhere to school policies and procedures (such as those listed below), and any legal requirements.

Examples of unsuitable conduct include:

  • threats, bullying, harassment
  • profanity/offensive language
  • insulting, abusing, or intimidating behaviour
  • discrimination (e.g. based on ethnicity, religion)
  • physical aggression
  • deception/fraud
  • damaging school property
  • smoking, possessing or using alcohol/drugs/other harmful substances on school premises or at another venue where students and/or staff are assembled for school purposes (except possession or use of alcohol in accordance with school policy)
  • placing unreasonable and excessive expectations on staff time or resources
  • pursuing a complaint or campaign, or making defamatory, offensive, or derogatory comments, regarding the school, its board, or any staff or students on social media or other public forums
  • wearing gang insignia on the school grounds. (This is not allowed under the Prohibition of Gang Insignia legislation, and anyone wearing it will be asked to leave.)

Dealing with breaches of the Code of Conduct

How St Michael's School deals with breaches of our Code of Conduct depends on the nature of the incident and its seriousness, and the process any witness or victim of the behaviour feels most comfortable with. Examples include:

  • documenting each instance of behaviour, including the date, time, place, who was present, what was said (verbatim if possible), how any witness or victim felt and/or responded
  • holding a meeting with the relevant person, the principal, and/or board chair (or their delegate) or appropriate staff member to discuss the problem and possible resolution
  • issuing a warning letter that outlines the problem and required resolution, and reminds them of the possible outcomes of repeated conduct
  • arranging a meeting, which may include restorative practices, as an alternative or in addition to the processes above.

Outcomes of breaching the Code of Conduct

If a parent, caregiver, or visitor acts or speaks in a way that contravenes the Code of Conduct, possible outcomes may include:

  • The school (principal, board member, or staff member) may ask a person to leave the school premises by revoking their permission to be on the school grounds, then asking them to leave under section 3 of the Trespass Act 1980.
  • Unacceptable behaviour of a criminal nature may result in the police being informed. For example, under section 139C of the Education Act 1989, it is a criminal offence to assault, abuse, or intimidate a staff member within the presence or hearing of any student while on school premises or in any other place where students are assembled for school purposes. Other instances of criminal offending may occur where drugs are involved, an assault has occurred, or a person persists after being trespassed off school grounds.
  • In the case of behaviour amounting to harassment, a restraining order may be sought.
  • In some instances, it may be appropriate to refer behaviour to a third party for resolution. For example, a Facebook comment that contravenes this policy may result in a report to Facebook. If unacceptable behaviour occurs at a sports event or sports venue, then it may be appropriate to involve the governing body of that sport, event, or venue.

Whaea Kristina. I am confused about what the first days will look like for my child? My child is nervous to return to school. I'm nervous for them to return. What is in place for them so they can feel relaxed and safe?

Another excellent question and our most frequently submitted query. The Principal's Bulletins over the past week have been rich with information. I encourage you to return to them as often as you need to reassure yourself that our plan is robust and considers every aspect of school life. I appreciate that the amount of information may be overwhelming and hard to digest quickly. Let me unpack our philosophy of care for you all.

The Ministry of Education AND The Ministry of Health stresses to all parents that ALL schools are safe for children to return to. At St Michael's. Our teachers pride themselves on knowing your children very well. Each of us knows the name of every child. Often we know their parents and extended family members and very nearly always understand the unique circumstances of your family situations. Our connectedness and close affiliations are one of our greatest strengths as a community. We will be using this knowledge of each other to stay in tune with how your children are feeling, behaving and communicating with us both in and out of the classroom. 

The first days, indeed the first two weeks are about establishing a routine, creating safe spaces for open discussion and sharing of experiences. Routine provides our children with a level of security. It makes the environment predictable. Listening to the tamariki makes them feel valued and validates their emotions as normal and healthy responses to what has been a trying time for many of us. We have a focus on two key values KINDNESS and RESPECT over the next two weeks. We will have celebrations together, fun days of community sharing. We are actively rebuilding our sense of kotahitanga (unity). We are now and have always been in this together.

There will be no pressure applied to your children to rigidly slot back into heavy academic loads. There will be no judgement as to whether some families did a large amount of home learning or others did very little. We will accept every child and family for where they are at now and validate and affirm that everything is fine. We respect your experience and situation as being completely unique.

Should we notice unusual behaviours that we recognise as distress, discomfort or dis-ease we will sensitively communicate our concerns with you. Through communication we will create a cacoon of love and support around the children. We have access to our social worker who can assist with unpacking big emotions. We have resources that will focus on building emotional regulation and identification. We will move slowly and with care. You as a parent are welcome to contact the school office during the day to check in and to see how your child is if this is what will provide you with comfort. Our teachers will share your children's happy faces on Seesaw. They will show you how well they are managing with learning about the new Health and Safety Protocols. We will communicate clearly and often. We hope that this will support everyone.

We are focussed on kindness. This is how we intend on giving service at our Mercy School.

Links to wellbeing and Mental Health supports for families

Sparklers - Helping Tamariki when times are tough

Ministry of Education -Well being and support for parents 

A guide for supporting young people and children's wellbeing during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Bullying Free NZ

 

Posted: Fri 15 May 2020

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St Michael's Catholic Primary School is a Special Character Catholic School