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2016 Term 1 - Welcome and Introduction

Welcome to the 2016 school year. We all hope you have had a superb Christmas break, enjoyed celebrating Christmas and had a great time with your family. 2016 promises to be a big year and I look forward to telling you about different things as the year progresses.

Our Kid on the Rock unit, school camp, 'Own Your Own Devices' in the Senior room, modern learning environments and other key events will all be big news over the next few weeks. Every term is always a big one here at Matamata Christian School which is just one of the things that makes this such a great school. Please get involved with us as your involvement is very, very welcome.

Last year I spent time talking to you about the school's vision. I shared with you how we have begun promoting and developing five learning styles as part of our modern learning environments, we have been sourcing furniture that will promote and enhance learning, we introduced a new project style of learning we have called 'Breakthrough', and we introduced 'Own Your Own Devices' with our Year 7 and 8 students which we today extended to our Year 6 students too. We have actively prepared for each phase over a number of years and have not introduced any of these until the time was right and we could prove their worth. Nothing is done for the sake of it or to be trendy, we have had to first believe the investment is worth it.

By no means is this the end of our modern learning environment development. This year we will continue to develop each of these functions, our collaborative learning environments, intensively develop our iPad programme and evaluate whether this should be brought in from Year 5 and up (this is certainly not a given), and we will be working toward the redevelopment of our physical learning spaces.

Across the school we will continue to develop programmes to deliberately meet the needs of students who may be excelling or struggling. For nearly a decade now we have been developing such programmes that make a significant difference. These include reading interventions, developing foundational skills, having a Mathematics specialist teacher, extension programmes, programmes for students where English is their second language, programmes for speech problems, developing critical thinking skills and of course in-depth Bible programmes.

We are very proud of who we are as a school and what we do. This is God's school and we want to make sure it focuses on Him. We are continuing to actively develop the discipleship model we run as we want every student to know about God, have a relationship with Him, and desire to have a heart after God's own heart.

We have always worked on developing every child academically, physically, spiritually and socially. This is what we believe is important.

This is going to be a great year and we want you to be a big part of it with us. Please talk to us about your children, your family, and your hopes and dreams for your children. We want to work together with you in partnership to help them be all they are intended to be before God.

So as I finish let me thank a number of people in our community who have worked on the school preparing it for the first day of term. Huge thanks goes to Rod Brooks for painting lines on the field, to Jim and Donna Cover for gardening and trimming plants, to Sarah Thurlow for painting the letterbox, and Paula and Claudia Greenhill for working in the library, on school uniforms and tidying resource areas. You are all an enormous blessing and make all of our jobs so much easier.

Finally we welcome Dirk Mostert to our school. Dirk started today in Year 6. We are thrilled to have him here and welcome him and his family, who have come from South Africa, to our school family.

Welcome back and we look forward to seeing you over the next days.