Telephone: + 27 (031) 205 1277 | Email: info@openairschool.co.za
16
JAN
2014

Newsletter Term 1 – 2013

Dear Parents, Guardians and Staff

This was the headline that graced the front page of many newspapers in KZN, when the 2012 Matric results were released. It was certainly a historic event, as all the top achievers for the 2012 Matric exams in the special educational needs category in KZN, were from Open Air School. Lunga Mcunu, Thabane Tshange, Darion Fynn, Xolani Shabane and Robyn Tyne were all placed in the top five (Special Schools category), and managed to triumph despite the various challenges they have faced. No other LSEN school featured in the top five.

Aside from this amazing accomplishment was the fact that our school also bagged a 100% pass rate, showing consistent academic excellence for all our matric learners.

This is no easy feat and can only be achieved through a team of hard-working and dedicated educators, therapists, nurses, learners, parents, teacher aides, hostel personnel and other support staff.

STAFF NEWS

  • Congratulations: To Mr DN Moodley (Principal) and Mr S Naidoo (Deputy Principal), on their respective appointments.
  • Welcome: To Ms S Martens (OT), Ms C Pillay (locum for Mrs Brislin), Mrs Landa (Educator for Tourism), Ms Vincent, Mrs R Naidoo (Grade R), Ms Prinsloo (Locum for Mrs Kuhn), and to all the new facilitators ie. Ms Mthethwa, Ms Mbele, Ms Alberts, Ms Nunnan and Ms Montgomery.
  • Resignations: Mrs Roux (OT), Mrs R Naidoo (Grade R) and Mrs Canning (Librarian). We wish all of you the very best in your future endeavours.
  • New arrivals: Best wishes to Mrs Kuhn on the arrival of her baby girl, Sarah Mary and Mrs Pool on the birth of her baby boy, Aidan.
  • Get well wishes: To Mrs Brislin: Wishing you a speedy recovery.
  • Condolences: To Mrs Hartley (ex-principal) on the sudden loss of her husband. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

GOVERNING BODY NEWS

The Governing Body by-elections were held on 19 March 2013. The following parents were elected onto the Governing Body: Mrs Eekstein and Dr Patel. Our office bearers for 2013 are as follows:

  • Chairperson: Mrs Permall
  • Deputy Chair: Mrs Hoar
  • Treasurer: Dr Bugwandeen
  • Secretary: Mrs Pool

Thank you for being willing to take on this responsibility in the interests of the school and the learners.

PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT:

For our school to maintain our status of being a school of excellence, all stakeholders, especially parents, must become more involved. Our staff and certain parents give of their very best in supporting this vision. However, for this vision to become a reality, more parents must climb on-board. An earnest appeal is being made to all parents to become more interactive and support the various committees we have on our governing body. All support would be greatly appreciated, especially in the area of fundraising.

LEARNER NEWS

Grade 11 Speech Forum:

On 28 February 2013, Busisiwe Mthembu, Aaminah Pharos, Nonhlanhla Ussivane and Andile Phoswa represented Open Air School in the annual speech forum held at Clifton High. They performed very well and we are indeed proud of them. We would also like to thank Ms P Devenish for assisting and preparing the learners for the Speech Forum.

Movie Day:

On 28 February 2013, the Grade 11’s held a ‘Movie Day’ for learners from Grade 4-11. This was done as a fundraising initiative. The learners enjoyed delicious popcorn made by our very own Grade 11 learners, as they watched The Journey to the Mysterious Islands. We would like to thank all those who supported and assisted, and to Mrs B Naidoo for co-ordinating the event.

Grade 12 excursion to the Natal Playhouse:

William Shakespeare’s "Othello" was brought to life in an exciting production at the Natal Playhouse on 13 March 2013. The production was outstanding and the actors played their roles convincingly. The Grade 12’s enjoyed the play immensely and indicated that it added greatly to their understanding of the plot, characters and themes.

Our learners also had the privilege of meeting the actors after the production and had the opportunity to ask questions based on the play. The learners’ views were: "It was amazing", "Awesome"!

Time of the Writer Festival:

The 16th International Writers’ Festival took place from 18-23 March 2013. Open Air School was privileged to receive a visit by an acclaimed National and International writer, Elana Bregin, on 19 March 2013. Ms Bregin, a fellow South African, is a writer, author and publicist. She has written in a variety of literary forms, including poetry, and penned award-winning young adult titles, which she’s become well known for. Her books include the magic-realist novel, The Slayer of Shadows, for which she won the English Academy’s Percy Fitzpatrick Award in 2000.

During her presentation Ms Bregin read one of her published short stories to our high school learners. She thereafter held a discussion session where learners were encouraged to ask questions and make comments on her story, as well as holding a discussion on creative writing in general.

Learners enjoyed the reading immensely and participated enthusiastically in the discussions. I believe that our learners have benefitted greatly from these discussions and our aspiring writers will be able to use the experience as a springboard to develop their writing skills and creativity. Thank you to Ms S Naidoo for organising this event.

Senior swimming gala:

Not even the threat of impending rain could dampen the spirits of the learners as the gala commenced, albeit a little late (due to the grey skies). The cheerleaders made their much-anticipated entrance and learners roared in support of their favourite houses. As the day progressed, the skies cleared and the teams were ready and willing to battle it out for the Best Spirited House Award and the 2013 Winning House Shield.

Special Awards/Trophies were awarded to:

  • Thea Harman (Gr 10): Keenest Swimmer.
  • Britney Hope (Gr 5): Most Improved Swimmer.
  • Ranetsi Manyoni (PVC): Paraplegic Swimming Champion.
  • Nosipho Malinga (Gr 11): Open Air Swimming Champion of the day.

Bader emerged as the winner of the 2013 House Shield, scooping it away from last year’s winner, Roosevelt. Like any other event, this swimming gala would have not been a success without the teamwork of many people. Thanks to Mrs Hope, Mr Kennedy and Mrs Dawson, the lifesavers who were prepared to offer their assistance in the event of an emergency.

Our special thanks and appreciation go out to Mrs Dawson, assisted by Ms Bellars, for co-ordinating the event, and the team managers, Mrs Fourie, Mrs Ntshangase and Mrs B Naidoo, who made this event a success.

Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS): Gr4-Gr6 (incl. PVC)

The National Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement is a single, comprehensive and concise policy document, which will replace the current Subject and Learning Area Statements, Learning Programme Guidelines and Subject Assessment Guidelines for all the subjects listed in the National Curriculum Statement. Accordingly, new assessment criteria (pass/fail) have been implemented in Term 1. Parents are requested to peruse learner reports and direct any queries to Mrs Lottering.

Parent – teacher meeting (Gr PP – 12):

A reminder that this will be held on Wednesday 24 April from 16:00 until 18:00. Please put the date into your diary and make every effort to come and see your child’s educator. A letter will follow early next term.

FOUNDATION PHASE

Junior Swimming Gala

The junior swimming gala was held on 15 March. It was a lovely warm day and many parents attended. The children really enjoyed themselves. Thank you to Ms Rademeyer and the physiotherapy department for co-ordinating the event, as well as to the facilitators/therapists who assisted in the pool. A special thank you to Mrs Gregg and Ms Pillay, the two parents who volunteer to help every Friday in the pool.

If anyone else is interested in helping next year, please contact the physiotherapy department. It will just be for the first term, every Friday from 8:00 to 10:00. The more helpers the better, as each child can then be assisted individually in the water at all times.

Parents, please remember that your child is not water safe and supervision is required at all times in the pool. Please encourage your children to get their faces wet, as many of them are still afraid to put their heads in the water. Encourage them to blow out when putting their heads under the water so that they don’t swallow water.

LIBRARY NEWS

Our school was honoured by being chosen to host the launch of National Library Week in KZN. This event, organised by the Musgrave Library, took place on Monday 18 March in the school library. An international storyteller, Mama Nomusa, entertained the Grade 3s and 4s with stories and songs. An art competition was held for the Grade 7s who had to draw a picture of their favourite character. Mrs Linda Murray judged the pictures beforehand and the prizes were awarded on the day.

Unfortunately, Mrs Viv Canning, who joined us at the beginning of the term, will be leaving us to take up a full-time teaching post. We thank her for her hard work and enthusiasm and we wish her well.

We have started a Book Buddy Club with five enthusiastic Gr 5’s who are keen to work in the library. These learners come at break and help "tidy up" the books. We have one senior Library monitor, Simphiwe Ndlovu.

FUNDRAISING

Miss Robarts, our Educational Psychololgist, recently returned from a two-week cycling trip across South Africa. She participated in The Rotary Connection Ride, which was organised through the Rotary Club of Empangeni and is aimed at raising money for various charities selected from the Zululand area. Miss Robarts cycled from Kosi Bay to Cape Town (roughly 1600 kms) over a 15-day period, and some of the money raised from her efforts is to be donated to our school. Donations can be made up until the end of March. For more information please contact Miss Robarts through Open Air School or check out the Facebook page ‘Rotary Connection Ride’.

PHYSIOTHERAPY DEPARTMENT

  • Reece Smith (Grade 2) received a powered wheelchair this term from the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation (MDF). Reece is very excited about his new-found independence. Thank you to the MDF team for this generous donation.
  • Please note that seatbelts are compulsory and that no children in a wheelchair will be allowed in the school without one. They can be purchased from Mrs Goosen for R30. The penalty for not wearing a seatbelt will be detention.
  • Also note that all children should use their own wheelchair and parents are responsible for the upkeep of these wheelchairs. A wheelchair that is borrowed from the physiotherapy department by a child is the responsibility of the parent and if there is any damage to the wheelchair, you as the parent are responsible for paying for the repairs. This includes powered wheelchairs. No children are allowed to take a school wheelchair without the permission of the physiotherapy department. If any equipment is loaned over weekends or holidays, it has to be signed for by the parents. Please contact the physiotherapy department for any queries in this regard.
  • Please continue with your childrens’ stretches and home exercise programme during the holidays.

School fees:

Parents and guardians are reminded that it is a legal requirement to pay school fees. School fees for 2013 are R 5880.00 whilst hostel fees are R 7700.00. Payments can be made in various ways and more information can be obtained by contacting Mrs Gabriel the finance department.

Important: Mrs Gabriel, the school bursar, has made an urgent appeal to all parents/care-givers to please use the learner’s name and surname or admission number as a reference when making any bank deposits or internet transfers. The bank is charging the school an exorbitant amount to track unreferenced deposits.

"My School" Card:

Parents are requested to please apply for a "MySchool" card. MySchool cards can be obtained from 0860100445 or from enquiries@vmp.co.za. They are free of charge. There is now a wide variety of shops supporting MySchool cards, including Woolworths, Dirk’s Meat Markets, Mugg & Bean, Everfresh and more.

Exams:

Please remember that if a learner misses an exam, a doctor’s certificate must be brought to school otherwise the learner will get 0% for that exam. For any other absences (non-exam) a letter must come with the learner on the first day he/she comes back to school. This letter should contain the learner’s name and surname and class, the reason he/she was absent, the dates of the absence, and the signature of the parent. Please help us to foster a sense of responsibility in our learners by adhering to these requests.

Transport:

Thank you to the Transport Department for their sterling work. Please note that there is a new fee structure in place that has been approved by the Finance Committee. Notices were sent out earlier this term and queries should be directed to Mr S Naidoo (Deputy Principal).

Photographs:

Our apologies for the postponement of the school photo shoot. Please note that any monies paid will still be used when the photo shoot is re-scheduled in Term 2. You will be notified in due course.

Mother’s Day:

We are hosting a special Mother’s Day programme in our school hall on Saturday 4 May 2013. The tickets are R150.00 and include a fashion show, beauty treatments, pampering and light refreshments.

Final note:

It has been an interesting term and our school is growing at a rapid rate. The Department of Education is building four new classrooms which should be completed by the end of June 2013. We would like to extend our appreciation to the Department for their continued support of our school. A special thanks to the parents, staff and learners, who have patiently put up with the construction process. However, as time progresses, we would all agree that it was a worthwhile sacrifice.

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday and a blessed Easter to all that celebrate this festival.

Important dates for the year:

Please find overleaf a list of the most important dates for Term 2, 2013. Please detach and keep for future references.

Yours sincerely

Mr DN Moodley
Principal

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