Week 1 -  Term 3  -  2019

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Calendar of Events - through to Week 9:


Kia Ora, Talofa Lava, Malo e Lelei, Bula, Namastē, Namaskar, AyubowanKia Orana, Taloha Ni, Kumusta,  Aloha Mai E, Fakaalofa Lahi Atu, ‘Alii, Malo Ni, Halo Aloketa Aloha, Nī Hāo, Sawatdeekhrap  Sabaidi, Terve, Dobradan, Bonjour, Hola, Guten Tag, Ciao, Salaam, Olā, Zdravstvuyte, Konnichiwa, Ahn Young Ha Se Yo, Hoi, Merhaba, Jambo, Yasou, Shalom, Salamat Siang, Ahoj, Xin Chāo, Sawubona, Bok, Yiassoo, Hej, Dia Dhaoibh, Cham Reap Sour, Hoi, Vanakkam.


New Term Message:


This holidays started off very well for me personally. The mighty Canterbury Crusaders won the Super Rugby Championship for the third year in a row, and the tenth time overall.

My connections to the Crusaders come from living in Canterbury for 35 years in total. I taught Todd Blackadder - ex Crusader and ex Crusaders coach. 

One of my bosses was Terry Mehrtens - father of Andrew Hehrtens - who featured very strongly in the Crusaders’ first three-peat in the early 2000’s. Andrew’s mum was a teacher on my staff when I was a principal in Kaiapoi for eight years. I played tennis against Andrew a number of times - and always got a hiding from him even though he was only a youngster at the time.


I will always support the Canterbury Crusaders but I certainly don’t have any desire to go back and live in Crusader country. We went down to Christchurch for my sister-in-law’s 40th birthday last weekend, and it was FREEZING! I love Auckland because it is so much warmer, so much more multi-cultural and there is so much to see and do. The views, like the beaches, are stunning. And of course, it is home to the best school, the best staff, the best community I have ever in my life had the privilege to be a part of.

Next month our Rippa Rugby team head to Wellington to compete at the National Rippa Champs. They  will be creating their own history when they do, and we wish them well.

Speaking of creating history. Our Jump Jam team have created history many times now - National and North Island Champions on a number of occasions. They are already hard at work training for their next big challenge and we wish them every success too.

Speaking of success - lots of segues in this article - we have had so much success we couldn’t find room to display it all. So we purchased a (much) bigger trophy cabinet. It takes pride of place in our Office foyer now. I do hope you get a chance to see it some time, it is quite impressive.


Celebrating Matariki at Waitakere College:


At the end of last term we took our Kapa Haka Ropu to Waitakere College. We went early to be part of the unveiling ceremony - unveiling the name-carving for their Whare Nui.

Following that the schools in our Waitakere Community of Learning - Kahui Ako - all celebrated Matariki together. Each school performed and I know I am biased but our Haka was fearsome, awesome and inspiring. The raw passion was incredible to see and experience. Maika is a powerful and inspiring leader.


Property Upgrades and Updates:


Property has been one of my biggest challenges since starting at Western Heights. At that time we had almost 150 children here who were out of zone and so we did not receive any accommodation allowance for them. That meant we were short five classrooms. While the roll was smaller, this was manageable within the space we had. As our in-zone roll grew, this became almost impossible to manage.

So we have therefore had to be incredibly creative with the limited options we had available to us.

We concreted and lined underneath our hall and put in an internal wall. We cut donated classroom table tops (nearly new) in half and made shelves to line the walls. This freed up other areas that had been used for storage and it ensured the stuff we stored would be kept in clean and dry condition.

We removed a wall from the old Dental Clinic and did it up to turn it into a classroom (room 30).

We turned our smallest classroom (room two) into a library and turned our huge library space (and librarian’s office) into junior Flexible Space classrooms (rooms 27, 28, 29).

We turned our swimming pool into an outdoor stage and sandpit - used by up to 200 kids each day. It also serves as a break-out space for seniors in the summer, and a Haka stage for our Haka group when the hall is already in use.

We turned our swimming pool changing sheds into a PMP classroom (Perceptual Motor Programme). This freed up room 30 to be a classroom - where we previously ran PMP. That new PMP room also houses music lessons for piano, drums and guitar at times.

We turned our Senior School Resource room into a specialist Music Classroom - putting in a verandah, sound baffling in the ceiling and on the walls and with double aluminium doors to come soon. This freed up room 17 - where our music programme used to be run from - to be a classroom.


Each classroom also gets a 3.6 metre by 2 metre wall unit with sliding whiteboards that conceal cupboard space in behind. These are incredibly space-efficient and versatile.


Over the holidays we also installed new curbing. Due to rain it couldn’t be finished and so more will be done this weekend. It takes a week to set properly so we have to keep children away from it for a week - not easy!

This makes a huge difference to the look and feel of the school and stops the bark and mulch from spilling over the paths every day.


Over the holiday period we installed $86,000 worth of new LED lights - replacing every light in our school. Many of the old fluorescent lights were overheating and needed replacing. The light they give off is not ideal for learners - the new LED lights are proven to enhance children’s learning.

We have taken out a loan to pay for this project. The savings in electricity is $16,000 a year so in five years we will have paid them off at no additional cost. With a lifespan of 15 years we will then save $16,000 (at current prices) a year for the next ten or more years.


We have an upgrade project happening in our middle school. This has to be done in stages as they only release the funds in stages. We will be upgrading three rooms at a time - with new wall panelling inside, improved acoustic panels, new paint inside, triple sliding aluminium doors opening onto the deck and a reconfiguration of the back end of room 17. We will also be installing a big shade roof (just like over our sandpit) at $80,000. We will remove the existing verandahs and this will provide a great break-out area for our students in rooms 16, 17 and 18 - and also the other middle school rooms.

Below are two new shipping containers we purchased and installed over the holidays. These will initially house all the furniture from each set of three middle school rooms as they are being upgraded. When that purpose has been served they will become home to skate ramps and rails, skate half-pipes etc for Wheels Days. This will allow easy storage and set up right next to where they are needed. They will also house some sports equipment.


But wait - there is more!

This holidays iFusion installed an IP Paging System into our school. It features 37 internal speaker points and five external speakers.

It has a touch-screen master unit in our main office. Classes can now be paged - very loud and clear - from the desk unit or from an app on my mobile phone. We can choose to broadcast to the whole school, individual rooms or spaces, or all the outside areas. 

The benefits of this are huge. When a teacher is paged a green light shows on the wall speaker and the message comes through. The teacher can push a button and speak back like an intercom - or if it needs to be a private conversation, can use the classroom phone.

Music can be played over the speakers - so no more bells, awesome music instead. I’m thinking 1492 by Vangelis - theme music for the Crusaders - would be ideal 😉.

When we have a fire drill I can speak into my phone and every child will be able to hear the message through the outside speakers without need to take out portable speakers and microphones.

If we need to have a Lock-Down we can announce it to our whole school simply, clearly and calmly. Every visitor, parent-helper, child and teacher - no matter where they are in our school - will hear the message and know to get inside the nearest classroom calmly and safely.

Lock-Downs could be due to an angry adult on site, but more likely an unwelcome and unsafe dog or even a swarm of bees. The safety of our people is our number one priority here.


We upgraded our Music Room with a new verandah roof extension so children and their shoes  can have protection from the elements.

We also lined the walls with bright coloured, state of the art sound deadening panels and installed sound baffling panels in the ceiling also.


The final property job over the holidays was recabling our senior school network panel. 

What a difference it makes to access, management, trouble-shooting and expanding capabilities

With so many devices on our network we really need it to function at full capacity..


Mr McLay chose the bright colours and is very happy with the difference it all makes.


This stands for 

Saving The Best For Last


After six years of concerted effort with eight different Ministry of Education Property Advisors we have finally achieved a victory in the battle to have our classroom deficit addressed. The Ministry have announced Western Heights will receive four new classrooms in this current financial year - July 2019 to July 2020.    With a current roll of 700 children here, we need this.  YES!!!!!


Scholastic Book Fair at WHS:


Book Fair winners. 

Thanks to everyone who supported our Book Fair this year. Due to your support we received $2200 worth of free books for our library! 

Here are our winners who chose another book as a prize. 

Jacob - Room 3

Ansar - Room 4 

Lily - Room 9

Ryan - Room 10

Lucas - Room 14

Josh - Room 17

Hlaina - Room 20 

Marvin - Room 23


Drop Off Zone Reminder:


Please do your bit to help us manage this area.

Lots of times parents will stop over the yellow lines in front of the bottom gates at the bottom of our drop off zone. They don’t see many cars around and so think that will be fine.

The problem is it makes other parents think this is an OK thing to do, and it can lead to huge congestion on Sturges Road, crowding at the entrance to the drop-off zone and danger for kids and others crossing on the footpath.

To be honest it is pretty frustrating when you have to ask some of the same parents over and over to please do the right thing and go RIGHT UP TO THE TOP OF THE DROP OFF ZONE - ALL the way up to the top. It may be quiet when you stop half-way up, but in a couple of moments then can suddenly be a huge queue behind you.


Catch Ups:


Room 22 enjoying reading the “Kakapo Leader”, a newspaper written and produced by ????? from room 22 and featuring room 22 celebrities - such as Miss Eyre.


Learning Conferences:


Thank you for your support for our Learning Conferences - we achieved our goal of 92% parent-engagement.

We learned a lot from this initial exercise and have taken on board the parent feedback received. It is very early days and there will be lots of refinements made, but early indications are very positive. We’ll keep you informed!


Tough Guy Tough Gal Annual Mud Run:


Huge thanks to DP Teresa Hannard and TA Crystal Osmond for all their work managing the annual Tough Guy Tough Gal Mud Run. I was in Napier so missed it this year, but as usual it was extremely muddy and tough and fun.


Raise A Problem Solver By Talking Less And Questioning More:


The hardest parenting lesson I had to learn was to stop telling my kids what to do. It was much easier for me to bark out orders than to let them figure things out on their own. Doing so took time and patience, neither of which I had in abundant supply when my daughter and son were younger.

And the net result of that were two kids who relied heavily on me to tell them what they needed to do, when they needed to do it, and where they needed to be. They had become expert direction followers.


“What is your plan ... ?”

“What is your plan after dinner/this weekend/to study for your maths quiz when you get home from soccer so late?” Asking this question helps your child begin to develop a sense of time. For the most part, your child lives in two worlds: the “now” and the “not now.”

They have a very difficult time making the connection that what they have to do later (in the day or the week or the month) can and should affect what needs to be done now.

This lack of “future awareness” is one of the hardest concepts to teach and one of the hardest to learn. It is the essence of time management. This question is an organic way for children to begin to formulate routines and schedules and remember what they need to accomplish in the process.

“What do you need to do in order to ... ?”

This question helps your child build visual checklists for responsibilities such as getting ready for soccer, getting ready for school or taking out the trash. Another great one is “What is the first step for starting your science project/studying for your test?”

If a child is picturing the whole picture all at once, they might feel overwhelmed and not know where to start. You might also ask “What are your priorities today?”—a question that requires the brain to do some heavy lifting.

For younger children, use specific language to help them see what is in front of them: “What do you need to do in an hour/before dinner/after rehearsal?”

“How are you going to remember to remember?”

Are you going to write it down? Take a photo? Text it to yourself? The list is endless.

“What could possibly get in your way?”

This question helps your child to foresee potential barriers and plan ways around them. Perhaps they must finish their project this weekend, but their little brother will be having seven friends over for a birthday sleepover. How will they work around this?

“What does ‘done’ look like to you?”

I love this question because if you have a child that has a hard time initiating, it helps to look at the end product and build a roadmap to get there.

Finally, “Tell me, what do you know?”

Deploy this anytime they say, “I don’t know” in response to a question. This gives you a

starting point.

In other words, by asking instead of telling, you’re requiring your children to do some problem solving. Do this consistently, and you all will begin to reap rewards—more skill building for them, less exasperation for you.


Give. Kid A Blanket - or A Jacket:


Room 22 were very proud of their achievements as they handed over blankets and jackets to keep Westies-in-Need warm this winter.

Thank you to everyone who got behind this awesome Pay It Forward initiative - we are very grateful for and appreciative of your support.


Parenting - Teaching - Learning = A Weekly Series:


The Tuckshop will be closed on Thursday 8 August.

They have a big catering job at St Pauls that day.


Have a Child Starting School in the Next Six Months?

We really need to know if you have a child due to turn five within the next six months. If this is the case and you have not let us know, please get in to see our friendly Office staff and get this done as soon as possible. We are growing so fast and need to know so we can be prepared - thank you.


Scholastic book orders are due back by Friday 2 August.



Playball is an introduction to eight different sports, Football, Basketball, Netball, Cricket, Baseball, Tennis, Hockey and Rugby.

For all Year 1, 2 and 3 students:

Our aim is not to create superstars, but rather to provide children with the opportunity to develop a host of necessary social, educational and personal skills by giving children competence in sport.

Playball for term Three will commence on Thursday  the 1st of August from 3:15pm-4:00pm.

We will be limiting spaces to 36 children for term three. Signing up prior to the start date is essential. Ask about a free trial today. 

To enrol your child/children please sign up online http://www.playball.co.nz/find-a-class/westernheights

Any queries please call James on 027-481-7000 or email james@playball.co.nz


Harmful Effects of Sugar on your Teeth

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth using sugar from foods and drinks to produce acids that dissolve and damage the teeth. 
Sugar sweetened beverages have high levels of sugar and drinking these can significantly contribute to tooth decay. 

Regular and ‘diet' soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit juices, fruit drinks and cordials also have high acid levels that can cause tooth erosion.

Tooth erosion occurs when acid attacks the teeth to dissolve the outer surface of tooth enamel. 
Regular loss of enamel can lead to cavities and exposure of the inner layers of the tooth that may become sensitive and painful. 

Prevention of enamel loss is very important for the long term health of your teeth.
Each acid attack lasts for around 20 minutes. Every time you take a sip of the drink, the acid damage begins all over again.

How to fight tooth decay and erosion

Drink soft drinks only in moderation, if at all.
Use a straw so your teeth are less exposed to the sugar and acid in the drink.

Take a drink of water, preferably tap water that has been fluoridated, after a sugary or acidic drink to help rinse out your mouth and dilute the sugars.

Protect your teeth by using fluoride toothpaste. Also, after drinking sugary or acidic beverages, don't brush your teeth right away. Wait at least one hour so your teeth can recover and your enamel can re- harden before you take the brush to them.

Do not sip a sugary or acidic drink slowly or over a long duration. Doing so exposes your teeth to sugar and acid attacks for longer.

Never drink sugary or acidic drinks before you go to bed – if you do so, the liquid will pool in your mouth, coating your teeth with sugar and acid.
Drink water instead. It has no acid, no sugar – and no kilojoules.

Your Dental Health Matters to you and to us.

Visit me, Dr Lisa Fernandes at Lake Panorama Dental which is situated at 22 Lake Panorama Drive, Henderson Heights. We are open Mondays to Saturdays. I have over 20 years of experience in Dentistry having practised since 2001 at Henderson and Mt Roskill.

We provide the below services and benefits:-

  • Free for children under the age of 18 years of age

  • Free Dental Check up/consultation and 20% of all treatments valid until 30.11.2019

  • Free ACC Consultation

  • Free WINZ Quotes.

We  accept, Mastercard, Visa,Efptos, Q Card, Q Mastercard, Farmers Mastercard ( Up to 12 months no repayment, no interest) and Southern Cross Easy Claim cover Insurance.

Phone us on 09 2186000 or text for any queries or for an appointment to 0211363444.


David Pogue’s Life Hacks - A Series - Food Tips:


Thursday’s Thoughts:


Kindness is the Key:


Welcome to our Newest Western Heights Whanau:


The warmest of warm Western Heights welcomes to

Avalee Bracey, Seth Maranan, Brooklyn Reid, Pingrambhai Comemadang, Chloe Soma, Aminah Nawaaz, Leah Yars, Jayden Zhang, Eric Wang, Zoe Stephenson, Flynn Collins, Jonas Qiao, Owen Collins, Kason Green, Avishi Jain, Abigail Garton, Nina Merritt, Tracey Cai, Livia Zhang, Ellie Jing and Waimarie Brown.

 We are delighted to have you join our Western Heights whanau and hope and trust you all feel right at home here.




This Week on Twitter


Western Heights School

126 Sturges Road


Auckland 0612

P -  09 8361213

E -  macash@mac.com

M - 021 779 009

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