Exactly a year ago, I wrote my newsletter expressing frustration at how our renovations to the classrooms were taking forever to get approved by the Ministry of Education. I was hopeful that the work would finally get underway this year. Well it is! But not in rooms 19 – 21 which were the rooms I talked about last year!
I have spent many hours talking to the Ministry about getting new classrooms (as many of our neighbouring schools are getting) but we do not have an urgent enough reason for them to consider a new build rather than a refurbishment / repair.
On 18 December, the builders will start working on re-levelling rooms 15, atrium, 16, 17, 18. These classrooms have significant issues caused by subsidence. The Ministry has deemed this project more important than turning rooms 19 – 21 into flexible learning spaces, so this is now on hold until our next round of funding starting in 2019. These buildings will, however, be re-levelled as they are also affected by subsidence.
We hope that the new playground will be installed over the holidays as well. You may remember that the PTS raised $115,000 in 2014 which was for the development of an outdoor learning space beside rooms 19 – 21 as part of the upgrade to flexible learning spaces. We have held onto that money but given it is not going to happen until 2019, the board has given approval for us to allocate these funds to the new playground.
Rooms 19 – 21 and rooms 7 – 12 are getting new roofs during the holidays so the school will be quite a construction site. We hope all the work will be complete by the middle of term 1.
We have engaged painters to paint the exterior of the school. This work was planned for the holidays as well, but there will be too much construction work happening so we have deferred that until later in 2018.
The board met on Monday to discuss our property needs for the next 5 years in order to develop a longer term property strategy using both Ministry funds and board money. This plan will take a couple of sessions to develop but will give us something specific to work towards. Once we have a draft plan I know the board will share it with the community.
The year 4 classes will be relocated for the beginning of term 1 which of course will impact on all areas of the school. Short term pain for long term gain! I will give more details of the relocation of the year 4 classes nearer the end of the year.
Last Friday we thanked Shelley Cunningham at assembly. Shelley has done a fantastic job in her role as PTS chairperson. She has put many, many hours into the school, working tirelessly to organise and run events, support other PTS members with their events, liaise with the school and troubleshoot where needed. We have really appreciated everything she has done for VAS.
Before we farewelled Shelley, she presented a cheque for $50,000 to the school. Naturally the children were very impressed and there was much appreciation shown! This year, the PTS has raised $100,000 from wonderful events like the gala, the quiz night, the athon, bake sales, ice block sales, entertainment book sales as well as some funds from the family fun night and Halloween disco. Our huge thanks to everyone who organised, ran and helped at these events as well as to all the parents who supported the events.
We are delighted to let you know, that as a result of this fundraising, we have just bought brand new sets of class furniture for rooms 7, 8, 9, 10, 17, 18. The teachers and children are delighted. Last term we were able to use the funds raised by the PTS to purchase ten new iPads for rooms 11 and 13. We will use more of this year’s PTS funds to buy furniture for the year 1 classes as well as topping up iPads and chromebooks across the school.