Onepoto Primary – Navigating Change

Onepoto Primary
Onepoto Primary

At the end of 2019, the whole school (all 54 students) moved into the school hall so work could begin on providing the area with a brand new primary school – hopefully by the end of Term 3, 2021. We asked Principal Daniella Latoa-Levi how it’s been going.

“The shift into the hall was probably the hardest. It was a huge team effort with all staff and students at the end of last year. Once in the hall, the open plan learning environment is better than we expected. We were concerned about noise levels, but we’ve found some great ways to maintain our students’ attention during class time and it’s been an amazingly natural transition.”

“We’ve started with three classes, renamed Waka Iti, Waka Nui and The Navigators. Having all the students together really works because staff are able to discuss things easily and support students as a team. Our collaborative teaching and learning journey has begun!”

Breakfast Kids

“The Breakfast Club has been a great way to start our day for both our staff and students,” says Daniella.

Sponsors support the school with supplies – KickStart Breakfast, which is supported by Fonterra, provides Weet-Bix. Fonterra also donates milk for the school’s needs. KidsCan supplies Marmite and peanut butter, jam, fruit pottles and EasiYo makers to make yoghurt. “We serve this with toast (donated by staff) and fresh fruit donated by Fruit in Schools. Staff are all involved and sometimes have breakfast with the kids too. It makes for a great family atmosphere to start the day.

“As for the build – contractors took over the site on March 9, however, this came to a halt on March 23rd when the country went into lockdown. Work restarted again on May 18th and demolition will be taking place in the next couple of weeks. So we’re back on track again. It’s an exciting time!”

Future Forward

Since we last spoke with Daniella, transitioning her students back to school at COVID-19 Alert Level 3 and Level 2 has been her priority. Ensuring the school and staff were ready for students to return safely.

"Our staff and students have been amazing. My staff were highly supportive during lockdown, providing students with Onepoto Home Learning Packs and online learning. Our home-school relationships were further strengthened. Our students have returned very settled, happy, taller and so responsible! It has been a seamless transition for us. Our parents and caregivers did an outstanding job over lockdown!"

The new housing builds at Tonar Street and Fraser Avenue have advanced so well that new families with primary-school aged children may move in ahead of the school’s proposed opening date. But with her characteristic can-do attitude, Daniella says, “We’re looking at what we can put in place to accommodate new students if we need to – we’ll figure it out, we're flexible!"