Junior School Update

It has been fantastic welcoming 150 new Year 7 students and their families into the Sancta Maria whānau over the past few weeks. Students have settled quickly and have developed a real connection to their new Turangawaewae – which is their learning context for the term. We had a fantastic turn out at the ‘Meet the Teacher’ evening and thank all those who attended for giving up their time to invest in the home/school partnership. 

Returning students have returned with energy and enthusiasm for learning, settling quickly into the routine of learning while adapting to changes implemented for 2024. Navigation Time has been added to student timetables on Mon/Weds/Fri. For Navigation Time, students have been grouped in your houses (Akaroa, Hokianga, Kororāreka and Waitematā), with junior groups being Year 7-10 and senior groups Year 11-13. The title for Navigation Time takes inspiration from our school motto ‘Faith is our Compass’ and the fact that our school name comes from Bishop Pompallier’s schooner – the Sancta Maria which he travelled on around Aotearoa spreading the good word.

These groups are much smaller than the traditional homeroom and are led by a ‘Kaiurungi’, who will assist students with goal-setting and academic tracking while also delivering life skills learning, and enhancing our Special Character through service. The small size of these groups will ensure that your Kaiurungi knows students well and that every student has a champion who is invested in their success! The title Kaiurungi was chosen because that is the ‘steerer’ in a waka, they are the people that will keep you on course and help you get to your destination.

The Navigation space also provides additional leadership opportunities for students because of the Tuakana Teina aspect of these groups. Tuakana meaning older and Teina meaning younger – the translation is “older sibling, younger sibling”. This will give students the opportunity for peer to peer mentoring and the chance to pass on knowledge – for example as they are getting to know each other, our Year 9 and 10 students will have a massive amount of knowledge about the school that they can share with our Year 7 and 8s. 

Houses are led by a junior and a senior Kaihautū, who will take on many of the responsibilities of our traditional Deans. A Kaihautū is a leader, they are the person in the waka who gives time to the paddlers ensuring that everyone is moving forward towards that common goal – which here at school is personal excellence. Our Kaihautū are all very excited to get to know and work with the students in their houses and lift house spirits to a new level. 

We are all excited about all the new and exciting opportunities 2024 has to offer!