I am delighted to be able to report on another very successful year for Liberton Christian School. Having carefully considered evidence of learning, we as a Board of Trustees believe the school continues to offer a very high quality education for its children within the context of its Christian special character. Despite the continued success of the school, we see no evidence of complacency; rather the staff team continues to strive for evidence-based improvement. As a board, we have been provided with extensive, valid and reliable data by the principal and teachers. We have supplemented this by seeking the perspectives of students from the school and their parents. Together, these data have allowed us to better understand and respond to the needs of students. Our responses have included professional learning for staff, gaining additional resources and teacher led interventions.
We recognize that the success of the school is a consequence of the hard work of its dedicated staff. We are most grateful for their work in ensuring high quality administration, a clean and safe learning environment, effective classroom support, outstanding teaching and strong leadership. The board is grateful to all of the employees of the school and recognize the important contribution of each of them. Joining the school staff in 2016, we have welcomed Mrs Melanie Boyd, welcomed back Mrs Kyra Jones, and as the year closed we appointed Mrs Georgie Urquhart for 2017. We have said goodbye and thank you to Miss Renee Cox. We wish Renee well for her new appointment overseas and acknowledge her significant contribution to the school.
We are grateful to school’s proprietors, the Dunedin Christian Schools Association, who have worked hard to support the development of the school. We join with them in celebrating the granting of an increase to our school roll by the Minister of Education. Our school growth is an indication of the growing awareness of the school’s success in our community. We believe an increased roll will allow the school to have the critical mass needed to maintain the breadth of opportunity and stability that underpins school effectiveness. Further, we thank the proprietors for their work in maintaining and developing the school site.
As chair of the board, I would like to thank the board members for their thoughtful and diligent service to the school. Elections in 2016 saw a change of membership. We welcomed Mrs Tania Bretz, Dr Daryl Schwenke, and Dr Kelby Smith-Han. These new members have wasted no time in making a rich contribution to our work. Mrs Sheryl Davies and Mrs Jessica Smith stepped down from the board. These women have been generous with their time and made important contributions to the governance of the school.
Visitors to Liberton Christian School often note what a happy and friendly place it is. This reflects well on our students, their families, our teachers and the wider school community—past and present. The success of the school is built on the goodwill of many. It is with this firm foundation that we look forward to the opportunities of 2017.
With a projected full maximum roll of ninety students, the board of trustees committed to operating five classrooms for 2016. As this was our second year operating with five classrooms, and there was every indication our roll was stable, we rearranged the staffroom to become the library and transformed the library space into a classroom. This allowed the new library area to be a flexible learning environment where a variety of activities could take place. There were no staff changes from the previous year and we can give thanks to the Lord for the dedicated and high quality teaching staff in our school. We started the year with 87 students and finished the year with 99 students.
The teachers and class levels were:
Year 6-8 Mrs Bennington
Year 5-6 Mr Robertson
Year 3-4 Miss Wiseman
Year 2-3 Miss Cox
Year 1-2 Mrs Sizemore and Miss Neill
Specialist visual arts teacher, Mrs Jones.
Our loyal support staff are Mrs Karen Boyes as school administrator and Mrs Sheila Mannix as teacher aide. Mrs Netty van der Woude continued her long and faithful voluntary service to the school as librarian. We are also thankful for the many other parents and friends who support the school in a variety of ways.
We continue to strive to be faithful to the vision the Lord gave to our founders and to honour the history and faithfulness of our school community over the last thirty-four years. Our school vision statement is central to this, “Our children, as part of the Christian community, learning with enthusiasm, growing in knowledge, developing their abilities, and desiring to serve God.” We aim to live this out every day through our teaching and learning programme and the many extra-curricular activities that we participate in.
We welcome opportunities to demonstrate our Christian character as a school community. We were able to support a number of projects during 2016, included providing pillows to the Red Cross for refuges being settled in our city, and an outstanding World Vision 40 Hour Famine effort where our students raised over $6700.00 for children and families affected by the conflict in Syria. Our community also raised $820.00 for Servants Health Centre in response to a compassion project a group of our intermediate students led by collecting donations at our school production.
Our student leadership programme continues to be an important part of being an intermediate student at Liberton Christian School. All of our year 7 students attended the GRIP (generosity, responsibility, integrity, people) leadership conference in preparation for their year 8 leadership roles. A mix of year 7 and 8 students attended the Christian School leadership conference held at Hillview Christian School in Christchurch. All the year 8 students attended the National Young Leaders Day where they were encouraged by well-known athletes and leaders from around the country to persevere and strive to reach their full potential. Within the school our year 8 leaders were a fun group who gave out weekly year-eight awards at school assemblies, thanked visitors to the school, organised fun days and provided a positive leadership model to younger students. A notable achievement of our year 8 leaders was their idea to create a school hoodie. Working with clothing manufacturer Adventure Outfitters, the students selected a design and colour scheme, and the hoodie proved to be a popular success.
We had sports teams participating in rippa rugby, netball, soccer, badminton and t-ball competitions. We also completed our usual swimming lessons at Moana Pool and held our own school cross-country and athletics events. A smaller group of our students went on to the North zone and Otago championship level events.
The education outside the classroom highlight was the year 6-8 summer camp held at Berwick. There was a lot of fun and adventure as the students tried new outdoor activities such as abseiling and a challenging high rope course. It is a joy to see our young people taking risks (in a safe environment!) and learning more about themselves and their place in the world.
Our school production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the cultural highlight of the year. We enjoyed two fun shows with a great turnout of our wider community, including a good number of our past students.
I would like to acknowledge and thank our faithful and hard-working staff, Board of Trustees members, and the Dunedin Christian Schools Association. We are also blessed with a wonderful parent and wider community who support the school in many ways. We are especially grateful to all those who uphold the school in prayer. We give thanks to God for the many achievements and blessings of 2016.