Rototuna Junior High School almost ready to welcome first students
The builders might still be on site at Hamilton's newest school, but it will be ready for its first students in a fortnight.
The first full day of class at Rototuna Junior High School will be on Thursday, February 4, and the roll already numbers 610 students.
"Between now and then we have got new teachers starting on Monday for a couple of days' induction and then all the staff are back next Wednesday in preparation for the start of the year," foundation principal Fraser Hill said.
"We've spent quite a bit of time organising, preparing and we are all just really excited about getting the students here on site."
Teachers for the Year 7 to 10 school have so far been confined to one section of the building, called block A, which has "learning commons" areas and specialist areas for subjects such as science, materials technology, visual art and digital technology.
Block B is due to be handed over on January 31 and includes a food-technology space and the school cafe.
"It's just a matter of us shifting furniture into those spaces and we're ready to go," Hill said.
Students arriving for their first full day on February 4 will start with a powhiri and it's straight into learning after that.
But the physical space is different to what many will have experienced and open days prompted a lot of questions, Hill said.
"I think we probably all remember going to high school with the single-cell classrooms - 30 students, one teacher, one subject. Our environment is quite different from that. We've got teams of teachers working together, so three teachers working with a group of 60 to 70 students in large, open spaces. And integrated learning areas - so not just science or maths, it might be integrated science and maths."
For example, food technology and English might be brought together in a learning module by going from food preparation to language used in menus, and on to oral stories and family histories.
Flight time modules will give students the chance to explore interest areas from robotics to music to mathematical problem-solving to drones.
"We're looking for community members that have some expertise in different areas to come and work with students - and a teacher - to develop some learning around those sorts of things," Hill said.
Sport won't take long to start, as cricket trials have been held and touch teams are planned.
The school's arts facilities are in block C, which the school will use from term 2, but cultural groups such as kapa haka, choirs and rock bands will be formed before then, Hill said.
"We'll just have to be creative with the sorts of spaces that we practise in until we get those areas."
A formal opening for Rototuna Junior High School is expected to take place in term two of 2016.
The junior high will share a site with the Year 11 to 13 Rototuna Senior High School, which will open for the start of the 2017 school year.