Thursday morning start time for students

Dear families of Green Bay High School students

You may be aware that a large and growing number of high schools in New Zealand, and certainly in Auckland, have made changes to their start times once a week, to provide extra time for professional learning for teaching staff. We have held back from doing the same for some time, acknowledging that this can be disruptive for families, however the pressure to meet our professional obligations has increased significantly. Modern teaching practice requires a significantly higher level of planning and assessment than traditional teaching models, and there are certainly increasingly high expectations and levels of accountability for all teaching professionals.

From the start of the regular teaching programme in 2016, students will have a later start time on Thursday mornings. Their classes will commence at 9.20 a.m., 40 minutes later than the usual 8.40 a.m. start time on other days of the week.

This will provide some additional structured school-wide professional learning time for teaching staff. All teachers will be required to attend school-based professional learning sessions on Thursday mornings, commencing at 8.25 a.m. through to 9.15 a.m. when regular classes commence. During this time, the focus will be on strengthening our provision of high-quality, effective teaching informed by current educational theory. In particular we will be developing an approach that makes teaching and learning more visible for teachers, students and parents, based on the research by John Hattie.

You can be assured that our teachers are already committed to their professional learning, doing this mostly in their term breaks or during the occasional Teacher-Only Day during the year. Teachers are already required to attend before and after-school weekly department meetings for curriculum based professional learning, assessment moderation and department administration. So this ‘late start’ proposal is in addition to the existing obligations of the teaching staff.

There will be no loss of instruction time over the day for students – the usual five periods during the day will occur. The later start time is gained back by eliminating form period and assemblies on that day, and reducing the length of lunchtime. School would finish at the usual time of 3.15 p.m., the same as all other days.

We expect most students will simply arrive later on Thursday morning – many arriving sometime after 9.00 a.m. – but other students who rely on bus transport are likely to continue arriving earlier. At present a number of students arrive on school buses at around 8.00 a.m. or thereabouts. Unfortunately, Ritchies are unable to provide a later bus service.

In the meantime, we are planning to open a number of classrooms on Thursday mornings. These will be supervised by duty staff, and students can use these rooms for homework or preparation.

This is a trial arrangement and we will review the effectiveness of this strategy each term. Your Board of Trustees supports this initiative and will be eager to see outcomes that have positive benefits for our school community, but especially our students.

Further details about any changes to bus times, or other matters related to the structure of the day, will be posted on our website and facebook during the week beginning 18 January, 2016.

Kind regards, Morag Hutchinson
Principal
8 December 2015

# This Notice was first published on 8 December 2015, on our school website and via our weekly school newsletter on the same date.
The second notice (reminder) was published in our weekly school newsletter and website on 5 February, 2016.