From the Principal’s Desk

Term 1 and 2 2019

Kokopu students have been challenged and extended in plenty of fun ways from the very beginning of the year. A fearless group of parents and students completed the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in January – an amazing accomplishment. We were very kindly billeted by Ngakonui Valley School in Taumarunui. It felt at times like blood, sweat and tears climbing the various slopes and tracks – but how stunning the views and sense of achievement were afterward! Well done to all.

We ripped through the Senior Camp at Taurikura like a whirlwind – baking hot sun to compliment the kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, sailing, bridge jumping, biscuiting and surfing. A huge amount of parental support underlined how involved and committed our wonderful parents are. Following Camp a salty group of students, who had enjoyed the sailing so much, continued a weekly sailing club for the duration of Term 1. Continuing our water theme, February and March also saw a small group of intrepid scuba divers learning the finer points of buoyancy – again it was great to see parents and students developing their skills together.

Our impressive Swim Sports events and Triathlon whole school competitions provided a context for many students to excel. The triathlon was a tough event for all ages, particularly the seniors. A huge thanks is in order for Kevin MacKenzie of Bike Northland, Stu Bell, Simon WDC & Anthony from Fulton Hogan for support around safety and logistics on Kokopu Road.

Cultural experiences for our students are a priority. The whole school visited the Treaty Grounds at Waitangi before the end of Term 1. The educators employed at the Treaty Grounds were brilliant, making the day a significant experience for everybody. Shaun McMurchy and Tony Riley, along with funding from the PTA and the DoC/Fonterra Living Waters grant, have been very busy turning the School Council’s dreams into a reality: Kokopu now boasts a great in-ground trampoline and a stunning Enviroschool Shade House. Enviroschools carries a strong Maori Kaupapa. We also enlisted the help of Andrew Younger to build our amazing mountain bike track in the Wild Area – an enduring example of School Council aspirations coming to fruition.

As the school continues to grow and expand, our Year 5 & 6 students have taken ownership of our new classroom. Room 3 is an ideal new learning space for our students. The teaching staff have also grown their professional skills on a number of fronts this year, including improved ways to coach writing using the acclaimed ‘Write that Essay’ approach, a programme endorsed by ERO. I was very pleased that the Board of Trustee elections have again resulted in another dedicated team of parents to take the reigns of strategic direction for the school.

Finally, some things to look forward to: the students are rising to the occasion and rehearsing vigorously for the mid-year concert. There will be two productions, one by our Years 1-3 students, ‘Gruffalo’s Child’ and the second by our Years 4-8 students, ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’. In Term 3 we will also be revamping our library (finally). As this building is Board owned and not Ministry funded, a number of Working Bee’s and several thousand dollars of fundraising, courtesy of our outstanding PTA and our generous families, will be used to greatly improve the library learning space. Term 3 will also bring our muddy Cross Country events, Speech Competition and the NZ Police Keeping Ourselves Safe programme. Years 1-3 will also enjoy a very exciting camp based at Kawau Island. Thank you for being such a supportive and involved school community.

Mark Ashcroft