The Board held its eighth and final meeting of the year on December 5th.
Student Achievement Data
We talk frequently within the school about the “value add” that we aim to provide to all students, i.e. how much progress they can make throughout each year in each of the curriculum areas. All students are assessed in each area at the beginning and end of each year, with on-going assessments throughout the year to keep everyone on target.
The greatest focus at our last Board meeting of the year is always on the year-end Student Achievement data. This is presented to the Board in a large booklet, with comprehensive reporting across each year group and subject area. Results are also typically broken down into gender, and there is also separate reporting on Maori and Pasifika students.
We are pleased to report – yet again – that in general terms our students have made very good progress throughout the year in each curriculum area. The beauty of this reporting is that it shines a light on areas of both strengths and weaknesses, and that can be used to tweak the future focus.
The individual testing described above is what our management and teaching staff really focus on. The school is also obliged to report on all students against the National Standards, and the usefulness of this is that it provides a very high level summary of where we are at. As a reminder, National Standards set an “expected” level of achievement in Reading, Writing and Mathematics, and we report on the number of students achieving “well below expectation”, “below expectation”, “at expectation” and “above expectation”.
In 2016, Victoria Avenue School students achieved superbly against the National Standards. The proportion of our students who were assessed either “at expectation” or “above expectation” was 92.7% in Reading, 90.2% in Writing and 94.1% in Mathematics. These excellent results are very similar to what our students have achieved over the past three years, and that’s particularly interesting when we factor in that the number of students classed as “English as a second language” has increased from 30 to 48 over that time.
So in conclusion, congratulations to all our wonderful teachers for their hard work, and our wonderful students for producing these great results.
Each area of the curriculum is periodically reviewed as part of an on-going cycle. This is a requirement of the Ministry of Education intended to ensure that the way we are delivering the curriculum is up to date, relevant and as effective as it can be. Reviews typically involve input from teachers, school managers, the students themselves and in some cases parents and caregivers. The findings of each review are used to tailor the curriculum delivery in future years.
The Board received reviews of both the Technology and the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) curriculum areas at its last meeting. One interesting point to note is that approximately 30% of our students meet the defined criteria for GATE extension in one or more areas. As we have traditionally high levels of academic achievement in the school, one of our core areas for further growth for the past few years has been on providing as many opportunities for GATE extension as possible. This will remain a key focus for the way the Board allocates resources in 2017.
The school’s financial year is the same as the calendar year, so we reviewed the draft budget for the 2017 year at our meeting. This will be finalised, together with the closing position for 2016, at the first Board meeting of 2017.
Thanks very much once again to the wonderful helpers in our Parent Teacher Subcommittee for another great year of fundraising and friend-raising. The events held in the school each year – from the minor to the major – all add to the richness of the experience and we really appreciate the passion and hard work brought to the school by this team of volunteers.
As you will all be aware, Linley is retiring at the end of this year after 16 years of loyal service to our school. In addition to her admin duties within the school, Linley has also served as the Board of Trustees secretary for all of that time.
We are really grateful for all of Linley’s input and help throughout this time, and the Board of Trustees wishes her the very best for a long and happy retirement.
This is the last Board newsletter for the year. There are still some key activities left in the school calendar such as the Carol Service and the Prize-giving, so we’re not quite at the finish line yet. However, we would like to take this opportunity to wish all members of our school community best wishes for a safe and relaxing summer break.
Board Contact Details
You can find the email contact details for Board of Trustee members at the following link; //victoriaave.com/bot/