Eastern Courier : December 17th 2010
3 EASTERN COURIER, DECEMBER 17, 2010 NEWS www.kmart.co.nz 0405P-EC we're extending Christmas for you Fri. 17th December Sat. 18th December Sun. 19th December Mon. 20th December Tues. 21st December Open 8am - midnight Open 8am - midnight Open 8am - midnight Open 7am - midnight Open 7am - midnight 4.9pc rate rise on cards By MATT BOWEN A POTENTIAL rate rise of 4.9 percent is far from perfect for the Howick Local Board. At Monday night s first business meeting chairman Michael Williams quizzed Howick councillor Sharon Stewart on the Auckland Council s proposed increase. Some councillors tried for a 3.9 percent increase, Mrs Stewart said. At the moment it was looking like 4.9 percent but that s not set in concrete. Mr Williams then asked for a show of hands from those who support rates being kept at the rate of inflation -- all nine hands shot up alongside those in the public gallery. Mayor Len Brown, who s responsible for developing the annual plan, announced his rates target this week for 2011-2012 at a maximum of 4.9 percent compared with a forecast 3.4 percent rate of inflation. It came during a presentation on opening the books to the strategy and finance committee where councillors assessed budgets that underpin the plan. The Auckland Transition Agency indicated a rate rise of 7.3 percent would be required. This excludes the savings target of $47.7 million the agency included in the long-term plan without specifying how it would be achieved. Council officers revised that to 9 percent as the result of factors such as increased government rail charges. They indicated cost cutting associated with organisation- al savings and capital expen- diture timing issues could reduce that to 5.8 percent. Mr Brown wants extra savings of at least $13m to reduce the rates increase to a maximum of 4.9 percent. We have already ident- ified millions of dollars in savings and will be looking for more efficiencies, he says. This increase repres- ents a responsible and sustainable rating level given amalgamation and extra unbudgeted costs. Science teacher's formula for success By KRISTINA RAPLEY On top: Howick College Science teacher Steve Martin is the recipient of New Zealand's top teaching prize, a 2010 Prime Minister's Science Teacher Award. Photo: FIONA GOODALL ' The sheer joy you get from watching students learn and grow and get excited about science is what keeps me going. ' Teacher Steve Martin Getting students to think out- side the square has earned a secondary teacher high praise. Howick College science teacher Steve Martin is the proud recipient of New Zealand s top teaching prize, a 2010 Prime Minister s Sci- ence Teacher Award. Mr Martin receives $50,000 and Howick College gets $100,000. Hebegantogetalotof attention in academic circles after winning the Microsoft Distinguished Teacher award in 2009. Mr Martin formed a virtual classroom with online lessons and instant messaging so students could access their work at any time. Netbooks, laptops and mobile phones replace pen and paper and students can access resources, share infor- mation or post questions. This work is based on a teaching and learning theory Mr Martin has researched about low, medium and high levels of thinking. Simply put, Mr Martin says, we all have different levels of thinking and what I m doing is trying to get students to go from a low level of thinking to a high level of thinking. Mr Martin says asking a student a low level question like How was your day? is likely to get a low level answer. But by asking What inter- esting things did you do today? a higher level response is likely that could develop into a conversation that will reinforce what they have learnt. The students are far more engaged, they are challenged and more excited. Surveys of Mr Martin s students during the past three years show a huge increase in academic achieve- ment, motivation and ability to think more creatively. The number of students achieving excellence in their end-of-unit tests has increased from 3 percent to 53 percent. The sheer joy you get from watching students learn and grow and get excited about science is what keeps me going, he says. You can never predict what students are capable of -- it s staggering sometimes. The school s prize money will be going towards ICT equipment to support Mr Martin s ongoing projects. Greet our troops The New Zealand De- fence Force is encourag- ing members of the pub- lic to send a message to Kiwi troops who will be overseas on Christmas Day. The electronic mess- age facility on the Defence Force website allows people to send either general or indi- vidual messages to mili- tary personnel deployed overseas. The messages will be sent to each over- seas mission in time for Christmas Day. Commander New Zea- land Joint Forces Air Vice-Marshall Peter Stockwell says it s important to remember those serving overseas during the festive season. Our personnel work in dangerous environ- ments on a daily basis, and spend long periods of time away from their families and friends. Christmas is a time where that separation becomes even harder, and your thoughts and best wishes are always appreciated. Please take the time to let our people know you re thinking about them this festive season, he says. The New Zealand Defence Force has 490 personnel deployed over- seas. Visit www.nzdf.mil.nz to post your message.
December 15th 2010
December 22nd 2010